Google releases Android 13 for Pixel phones

Google has released Android 13 for its Pixel phones. The operating system had been in beta for months and now comes as an upgrade to Google’s own phones. Upgrades for third-party phones begin this month.

Google says releases for phones from other brands will follow “later this year.” This includes models from Samsung Galaxy, Asus, HMD, iQOO, Motorola, OnePlus, Oppo, Realme, Sharp, Sony, Tecno, vivo and Xiaomi. The first models would already receive the upgrade this month.

The release of Android 13 is therefore earlier in the year than of the two previous Android versions. Android 12 came out in October last year, while Android 11 came out in September 2020. Android 10 did come out in August of 2019.

The upgrade comes for three generations of Pixel phones: the Pixel 4, 5, and 6 phones. This ends support for the Pixel 3 generation, including the Pixel 3a. Google promised three years of support for its phones until the Pixel 5, from the Pixel 6 that is five years.

In Android 13, the search giant announced earlier, apps can have basic versions of their own icons for use in ‘themed icons’. As a result, all icons are in the same style and with the same color scheme. Android 13 also gets a new WiFi permission, NEARBY_WIFI_DEVICES. With this permission, apps will be able to connect to other Wi-Fi devices without having to share the device’s location and give permission via Android. Apps that want to connect to nearby Wi-Fi devices, but do not need location data, can opt for this runtime permission.

Developers of apps that can generate their own Quick Settings buttons can use a new api in Android 13 to call up a banner in their app that allows the own settings button to be added directly to the Quick Settings panel. This eliminates the need for users to exit the app to add the button to the panel at the top of the screen. Android 13 also gets a ‘photo picker’, with which Android only gives access to selected photos instead of all photos.