Google Releases Android 13 Developer Preview 1

Posted on February 10, 2022 by Paul Thurrott in Android with 6 Comments

Google has announced the first developer preview of Android 13, which focuses on privacy, security, and developer productivity, and it builds on some of the newer updates the firm made in 12L.

“Today, we’re sharing a first look at the next release of Android, with the Android 13 Developer Preview 1,” Google vice president Dave Burke writes. “This is just the start for Android 13, and we’ll have lots more to share as we move through the release.”

Some of the key updates in this release include:

System photo picker. This new photo picker allows users to share photos and videos securely with apps, and without needing permission to view all media files on the device.

Wi-Fi permissions. A new nearby Wi-Fi devices permission for apps lets you manage the device’s connections to nearby access points over Wi-Fi, and it will be a requirement for many commonly-used Wi-Fi APIs.

Quick Settings Placement API.  Google is making it easier for users to discover and add app-based tiles to Quick Settings, using a new tile placement API that includes a new system dialog so that it can happen without leaving the app.

Themed app icons. Android 13 is extending the Material You dynamic color beyond Google apps to include all app icons, so that users can opt into icons that inherit the tint of their wallpaper and other theme preferences. I’m actually surprised that Android 12 shipped without this feature.

(There’s a lot more. Check out the original blog post for the full list of changes.)

Android 13 Developer Preview 1 is available now for the Pixel 6 Pro, Pixel 6, Pixel 5a 5G, Pixel 5, Pixel 4a (5G), Pixel 4a, Pixel 4 XL, and Pixel 4. Or, you can get an OS image for the Android Emulator in Android Studio.

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Comments (6)

6 responses to “Google Releases Android 13 Developer Preview 1”

  1. JacobTheDev

    Excited about the themed app icons, that's something I've always wanted in Android. I was pumped it was in Android 12, but then, like you, I was surprised it was limited to only Google's apps.

  2. crunchyfrog

    I'm less enthusiastic about the theming elements as I am about more features coming built into Android that phone makers have had to implement through their own alterations. Less bloat equals better phones.

  3. dftf

    So I'm guessing the photo-picker essentially boils-down to "we will display only image types of files, not music and video files". Which I'm not sure quite why this difference is needed. Right-now, if you use the system-picker, you can choose "Images" to filter. And recent versions of Android already disallow access to "all files", unless an app needs it (such as RAR for Android).


    Paul's summary for the Wi-Fi change misses a key part of the change. I'd summarise it as "apps will be able to discover, and connect to, nearby devices using Wi-Fi without obtaining the location of that device" (emphasis on the missing detail -- extra privacy has been added).


    I also didn't understand how Android 12 could launch without theming all of the icons, given for non-system ones you only need to apply a tint to them, and possibly leave some black areas black, and white areas white. Though I honestly find the new customisations in Android 12 rather pointless, and think Android 11 offered better options, such as font, icon shape and system-icon colours.


    Within the blog-post Paul links to, it also says "more of Android updated through Google Play", which is obviously helpful to prolong the life of some devices, by shipping some security-updates that couldn't be done in the past. But it will also mean that devices on the same major version of Android will not-necessarily have a reliable, consistent series of API updates and component/engine versions, which could break some apps. Also, the more they update outside of major Android releases, the less-point there is to having them. Maybe in pulling everything they can out of major-releases and updating via the Play Store is essentially a concession that Apple called it right to begin with in not allowing device-manufacturers to block updates? And if so, why not just do the same -- which other OS would they switch to if they didn't agree, as no-alternative to it or iOS really exist now,

  4. dftf

    The Pixel 3a and 3a XL won't be seeing Android 13 then... which I don't mind, as I've generally found Android 12 less-stable on my 3a than 11 was.


    But it's strange to see the Pixel 4 and 4 XL both will be, given support for them ends this October, and the final-release of Android 13 will be minimum August. Assuming it does launch in August, that's only two-months of updates to patch any bugs.


    (Didn't something similar happen with Android 12 being released for the Pixel 3 and 3 XL in the final months of their support period?)

    • Paul Thurrott

      I know that the Pixel 3/3 XL likely just exited support (and got their last monthly security update). I guess the theory here is that the Pixel 3a/XL will exit support before Android 13 is done.

  5. tarnishedtinman

    The drag here is the fact that while some people will be able to run the 13 preview some of us (Samsung customers) won’t even get 12 until July. So only a few months after we are updated to 12, 13 will be released.


    Say what you like about Apple, but unless your device is out of support (3-4 years old) you can update on the day a new release is released, not have to wait until your hardware vendor gets around to releasing it for your hardware.

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