We’ve already had a chance to look at Android 13 extensively thanks to Google’s developer previews, but with the arrival of Android 13 Beta 2, we’re starting to see exactly how it’ll shape up — on non-Pixel phones, no less. While it may feel like Android 12 has just been released, Google’s development cycle calls for a new Android version every year. To ensure it’s free of bugs and applications are ready for it, the company opens up its previews, and that’s no different this time around. Given that we’ve had the chance to play with quite a few pre-releases already, there is a ton we’ve learned about the new OS version.
What is Android 13 Beta 4?
The first developer preview for Android 13 arrived in early February, granting us an early look at Google’s next major release. Since then, the company has dropped either a developer preview or beta every month, with the latest patch — Beta 4 — arriving in mid-July. With this update, Google has dropped Android 13’s release candidate, meaning it’s more or less ready for primetime. This milestone follows platform stability, which Android 13 reached with Beta 3 in June.
As you might expect, this year’s update is basically all but finished, offering us a complete idea of what makes up Android 13: a focus on privacy and security, new ways to personalize your phone, and even more improvements for tablets and other big-screen devices.
What’s new in Android 13 Beta 4?
Right now, it doesn’t seem like much. Google’s Changelog mentions some routine bug fixes — something to be expected as we get ever-closer to Android 13’s official launch — but otherwise, we have yet to spot any new features. That might make Beta 4 sound boring, but that’s the entire point of a release candidate. This beta is as close to ready as we’re going to get before a full launch for Pixel phones in the coming weeks, and in its own way, that’s pretty damn exciting.
All the Android 13 features we know so far
With all these new additions in Beta 2 now on the table, we know a lot about what’s coming down the line for this year’s update. Here’s everything we found so far.
All Android versions used to come with delicious, sweets-based codenames; remember Android 4.4 KitKat or Android 9 Pie? While Google doesn’t use these codenames for marketing purposes anymore, its developers still use them internally. For Android 13, this name is confirmed to be Tiramisu, following up on the not-publicly used Snow Cone for Android 12, Red Velvet Cake for Android 11, and Android 10’s Quince Tart.
Remember Android Beam, which allowed you to tap two phones to send links, files, and more to each other? It was replaced with Nearby Share, which doesn’t rely on NFC technology but instead on Bluetooth and Wi-Fi Direct. But this tap-to-transfer method is just too handy and intuitive to vanish into Nirvana, and it looks like Google wants to resurrect it. As we exclusively covered, a similar method for sharing and playing media is bound to return to Android 13. At the moment, it’s codenamed “Media TTT” (tap to transfer), but it’s unlikely that Google will market it under this name.