Let’s get one thing out of the way here: Android 13 is absolutely not your average Android update.
There’s no getting around it: Google’s latest version of Android looks pretty boring on the surface. It almost feels like a subtle refinement of last year’s much more consequential Android 12 release, with few standout features and the appearance of more polish than progression.
The reality is much more complicated. Android 13 is actually significant, monumentally. In fact, it may ultimately turn out to be one of the biggest Android releases. But its biggest changes are aimed at the tablet and folding front, and most of us won’t feel the full effect of its presence yet.
While the impact of software on the traditional phone front may be relatively limited, Android 13 definitely offers some notable new things. And whether you’ve had the software on your phone for months or received it much more recently, there’s bound to be something useful you haven’t figured out yet.
Here, appropriately, are 13 of those treasures just waiting to be found.
Please note that these features are presented as they apply to Pixel phones made by Google and Galaxy devices made by Samsung, specifically. Different device manufacturers modify Android in different ways, so if you’re using a phone made by another company, the availability and exact packaging of some items may vary.
1. Forget the headaches of text copying with Android 13’s nifty new clipboard editing capability. Unfortunately, Samsung chose not to include this in its current version of Android 13, but if you have a device made by another manufacturer, look out for the new pop-up that appears every time you copy text from anywhere on your phone. .
Android 13 will display any text you copy in a small popup in the bottom left corner of your screen.
Tap the bubble displaying your copied text to edit the text, as it appears on your system’s clipboard, if you want to shorten what’s there, for example, or remove any misplaced characters. Tap the share icon directly next to the text to immediately share what you copied to another app or service on your phone, to send it to an email or Slack message, perhaps, or save it to your favorite Android note-taking app . Touch the icon that looks like a computer and phone together to open Android Near Share and wirelessly transmit the text to another active and compatible device in your area.
With just a tap, you can share any text you’ve copied to another compatible device in your area.
Bonus tip: For an even more effective phone-computer clipboard connection, check out this nifty little Android clipboard improvement.
2. Android 13 officially introduces a useful new shortcut to scan a QR code from anywhere on your device. Swipe down from the top of the screen twice to open Quick Settings, and if you don’t see the option in the series of scrolling tiles in that area, look for the edit command (a pencil-shaped icon on a Pixel or a text-based option within the three-dot menu icon on a Samsung device) to add it to the mix.
3. Speaking of Quick Settings, on a Pixel phone, Android 13 adds another useful shortcut worth mentioning: a one-tap tile to turn your phone’s one-handed mode on or off. Again, if you don’t see it right away, use the edit command in that area to find it and drag it to the Quick Settings list of active commands.
4. If you own a Samsung, you don’t have that possibility at your fingertips, but you have a surprise shortcut added to Android 13 that’s even more interesting: a whole new series of time-saving gestures for flying. your phone.
First, you can swipe up from the bottom of the screen (or from the side of the screen, if you’re holding the phone horizontally) with two fingers to jump right into Android’s split-screen mode and see two apps side by side. on your screen at the same time.
Swipe up with two fingers and boom – you can switch to a split screen setup.
And second, you can swipe down diagonally from the top corner of the screen to switch any app to a floating popup.
A single diagonal swipe down puts any app into a mobile floating window.
To enable those gestures, look in the Advanced Features section of your phone’s system settings. Tap the line labeled “Labs,” then toggle on the buttons next to “Slide to Split Screen” and “Slide to Popup View.”
5. Here’s for anyone using Android 13 on a Pixel 4a (5G) or later model: Android 13 lets you turn your phone’s flashlight on or off simply by double-tapping the back of your device. Look in the System area of your settings and tap “Gestures” followed by “Quick tap to launch actions” to enable that feature, if you haven’t already, and then select the newly added “Toggle Flashlight” option.
6. Also for the Pixel owners among us: Android 13 lets you access your connected device’s controls right from your phone’s lock screen, without having to do any digging or authentication. Go to the Display section of your phone’s settings, then tap “Lock screen” and turn on the toggle next to “Show device controls” and “Control from locked device” to make the option available.
Personalization and control
7. Google’s Material You system is one of Android’s most impressive and underappreciated advancements. And with Android 13, you have even more control over exactly how it works.
Material You, if you’re not familiar, is a feature introduced with Android 12 that makes the entire interface of your phone change dynamically based on the colors of your wallpaper at any given time. Everything from home screen icons to quick settings, system settings, and even interfaces within certain supported apps adjust on the fly every time the wallpaper changes, creating an extraordinarily personalized effect and sensation of perpetual freshness.
With Android 13 in place, you can go beyond the system’s automatically applied color schemes and choose from an expanded selection of palettes to fine-tune the look of your interface. To get started:
Long press any open space on your phone’s home screen and select “Wallpaper & Style” from the menu that appears. On a Pixel phone, swipe through the color options under “Wallpaper colors” and “Basic colors” to see the full set of options. On a Samsung device, tap “Color Palette.” You may then need to tap the switch next to the words “Color Palette” on the screen that follows (along with a secondary switch next to the words “Apply Palette to App Icons”) to activate the system in the first place. Place: You can then swipe through the available options under “Wallpaper Colors” and “Basic Colors” to explore your options.
Setting up the Android 13 Material You palette on a Pixel phone, left, and a Samsung phone, right.
8. Galaxy Band, listen up: Samsung’s Android-13 partner software adds some awesome new settings to customize your lock screen and completely change what’s on it and how they look. Touch and hold any open space on the lock screen to find all the available options.
9. Friends of the Pixel, you don’t have that level of flexibility right now, but Google’s Android 13 software introduces the ability to change the lock screen clock style. If you are not satisfied with the large two-line layout that was featured in the previous version of Android, look in the display area of your system settings and then tap on “Lock screen” to find an option to turn it off and clever. return to a more compact watch style.
10. Here’s another neat Samsung-specific Android 13 addition: As of this latest update, you can now drag and drop two equally-sized home screen widgets on top of each other to create a stack. As long as the widgets are exactly the same size, they will exist in the same space, and you can then move between them by swiping left or right on their surface.
Samsung’s Android 13 implementation allows you to stack widgets on top of each other to take up less space.
11. Got a pixel? Good news: With Android 13, you can now customize the intensity of your phone’s vibration for different circumstances. Head into your system’s Sound & Vibration settings, then tap “Vibration & Haptics” to take control.
12. If you’re using Google’s own version of Android 13, you’ll find a new “Active Apps” option in your phone’s notification panel. Swipe down twice from the top of the screen to reveal it…
Android 13’s new Active Apps command, as seen on a Pixel.
And then tap on it to see a full list of all the apps that are actively running on your device at any given time.
All your active running apps, now easily accessible.
Just keep in mind that it’s generally not recommended to force-close apps unless you have a specific reason (such as an app crashing or misbehaving in some way). Android is designed to manage running processes and system memory automatically, and forcing things to quit for no reason will make your phone less efficient by forcing Android to restart those processes and then recalibrate.
13. If you switch between different dialects throughout your days, don’t miss Android 13’s new nuanced language selection powers. They’ll let you choose different display languages for specific apps instead of having just one option for your entire phone experience. Tap “Languages & input” within the System section of your phone’s settings on a Pixel, or look under “General management” settings on a Samsung device to discover the “App languages” area.
Android 13 makes it easy to set different default languages for different apps.
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