Android 13 Beta 2: Best new features and improvements

Jack Wallen took a look at the second beta version of Android 13 and reveals the best features.

Photo: prima91 / Adobe Stock

The second beta of Android 13 is out, and it’s ready for testing. This new version was announced at the Google I/O conference, where new features and improvements were also introduced. Android 13 thus far appears to be more of a polish of Android 12 than a major release. That’s great, because Android 12 has proven to be one of the best – if not the best – versions of the platform so far.

From Android 13 Beta 1, I’ve found animations smoother, textures improved, QR codes easier to scan, notifications are better managed, suggested apps feature again and display/text size can be configured in the same location.

But what about Android 13 Beta 2? What new features and improvements have been made to the flight? Let’s find out.

See: BYOD Consent Form (TechRepublic Premium)

Global Search for Pixel Launcher in Android 13 Beta 2

If you’re a Pixel phone user, you’ll be glad to know that the global search option is back in some way. This feature, which allows you to search your device from the static Google search bar on the home screen, was originally added to the launcher on the Pixel 12, but has been removed from the first beta of Android 13.

As of Android 13 Beta 2, Global Search has again added the ability to search for apps installed on your device, but nothing more than that. Hopefully, in the coming months, we’ll see this full feature added again – with possibly more features.

For example, on my Pixel 6 Pro running Android 12, if I click the persistent Google search bar and type Slack, I see the search results as well as the Slack launcher (Figure A).

Figure A

Photo: Jack Wallen/TechRepublic. Android 12’s global search feature is fully functional.

If I have any other Slack related files on my phone, they might show up fine in the results.

However, in Android 13 Beta 2, we see the same results as Android 12, except for any related content.

Scheduled dark mode in Android 13 Beta 2

This feature is sure to please those who wake up in the middle of the night to use their phone, only to have to stare at the bright light. With Android 13 Beta 2, you can schedule a semi-darkness that is designed to turn on automatically at bedtime. To do this, open the Digital Wellbeing app and tap Bedtime mode (Figure B).

Figure B

Photo: Jack Wallen/TechRepublic. Bedtime mode is found in “Digital Wellbeing”.

in the resulting screen (Figure C), make sure Grayscale is enabled and click Next.

Figure C

Photo: Jack Wallen/TechRepublic. Enable grayscale mode for bedtime.

in the next window (figure d), configure the time to start and end sleep time mode and tap Done.

figure d

Photo: Jack Wallen/TechRepublic. Schedule bedtime mode in Android 13 beta 2.

Once completed, grayscale mode will be turned on and off at the times you want.

Android 13 Beta 2: More changes and improvements

There are a few changes and improvements to be found, but none of them include much of the “wow” factor.

  • Minimum battery saver increased from 5% to 10%.
  • The Battery Level widget has been improved and now only shows the Pixel’s battery level – if you don’t have Bluetooth devices connected.
  • Animations have been further improved and include a pulsating fingerprint scanner icon in the screen.
  • The media player has been modified with some controllers moved (like fast forward and backward) to the right side of the player and the ability to hide the media player more easily.
  • It is now easy to access split screen mode from the apps in the dock. Long press on one and you will see a split screen icon in the popup. Note: Although I upgraded my Pixel 5 to Beta 2, this feature has yet to appear.
  • The new photo picker adds more controls over the files that can be accessed through different apps and now allows you to select specific file types to share with specific apps.
  • Clipboard history is now cleared automatically after a “short period”.
  • Settings categories no longer “pop up” as soon as you click on them but have a subtle slide animation.

How to test Android 13 Beta 2

Remember that this is only the second beta of Android 13, so there will be more tweaks, features, and improvements in the future. If you’re interested in testing the Android 13 beta (I don’t recommend doing this on a daily driver), head over to the Android Beta program and register one of your devices.

2022-05-17 14:08:00

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.