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All about Android 13 - Full Enhancements and Improvements

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The first developer preview of Android 13 is now available

All about Android 13 - Full Enhancements and Improvements


Every day, billions of people across the world use their Android device to assist them in accomplishing their goals. Android's ability to perform well for each of them is due in part to a collaborative process with end users, the Google developer community, who share input to help us improve Android.

Developer Preview 1 for Android 13 Google continues to emphasise on important key themes in Android 13: privacy and security, as well as developer productivity. Google also built on some of the more recent modifications we made in 12L to help you take use of the 250 million or more large-screen Android devices that are now in use.

Privacy & security at the core of Android 13

People want an operating system and apps they can trust with their most private and sensitive data. Android 13 focuses on establishing a responsible and high-quality platform for all by delivering a safer environment on the device and more controls to the user, which is central to Android's product principles. Google introducing a photo picker in today's release to allow users to safely share photographs and videos with apps, as well as a new Wi-Fi permission to reduce the requirement for apps to have the location permission. Google is  asking  you try out the new APIs and see how they effect your project.


Photo picker and APIs

Android 13 introduces a system photo picker – a standard and streamlined approach for users to share both local and cloud-based photos securely — to help preserve users' photo and video privacy. The long-standing Android document picker allows a user to share specific documents of any type with an app without requiring that app to have access to all media files on the device. This functionality is enhanced by the picture picker, which provides a dedicated experience for selecting photos and videos. The picture picker APIs allow apps to access shared photographs and videos without requiring access to all media assets on the device.

Photo picker and APIs


Google is planning to bring the photo picker experience to more Android users through Google Play system updates, as part of a MediaProvider module update for devices (excepting Go devices) running Android 11 and higher.

Nearby device permission for Wi-Fi

For apps that manage a device's connections to nearby access points through Wi-Fi, Android 13 introduces the NEARBY WIFI DEVICES runtime permission (part of the NEARBY DEVICES permission group). The new permission will be required for apps that use several of the most commonly used Wi-Fi APIs, and it will allow apps to discover and connect to nearby Wi-Fi devices without requiring location permission. The location permission restrictions were previously a problem for apps that required to connect to neighbouring Wi-Fi devices but didn't require the device's location. Apps targeting Android 13 will be allowed to request the NEARBY WIFI DEVICES permission with the "neverForLocation" flag instead, promoting a privacy-friendly app design while minimising developer friction.

Developer productivity and tools in Android 13

New features and tools for developer productivity are also included in Android 13. One of Google key aims is to help developers build beautiful apps that run on billions of devices, whether it's in Android 13 or through Google tools for modern Android development, such as a language developer enjoy in Kotlin or opinionated APIs with Jetpack. Google hope to reduce developer development costs by assisting them in becoming more productive so developers can focus on creating outstanding experiences.
Here are some of the new features in today's version.

Quick Settings Placement API

Users can modify settings or perform quick actions without leaving an app's context by using Quick Settings in the notification shade. Google is making it easier for users to discover and add their custom tiles to Quick Settings for apps that provide them. 

Quick Settings Placement API


Developer app can now prompt the user to add their custom tile to the collection of active Quick Settings tiles using a new tile placement API. Rather of needing to go to Quick Settings to install the tile, a new system dialogue allows the user to do so in one step, without leaving their programme.

Themed app icons

Material You dynamic colour is being extended beyond Google apps to all app icons in Android 13, allowing users to select icons that inherit the tint of their background and other theme selections. Only a monochrome app icon (for example, your notification drawable) and a change to the adaptive icon XML are required from developer app. 

Themed app icons

All developers are encouraged by Google to supply suitable icons to allow users who have opted in enjoy a consistent experience. Themed app icons are currently only available on Pixel devices, but Google is working with their device maker partners to expand their availability.


Per-app language preferences

To suit the demands of multilingual users, several apps allow users to select a language other than the system language. Such apps can now use a new platform API to select or retrieve the user's chosen language, reducing boilerplate code and improving compatibility when it comes to setting the app's runtime language. A comparable API will be added to an upcoming Jetpack package for broader compatibility.

Faster hyphenation
Wrapped text is easier to read with hyphenation, and it also makes your UI more adaptable. Google improved hyphenation performance by up to 200 percent in Android 13, so developer can now use it in their TextViews with nearly no performance hit. Use the new fullFast or normalFast frequencies in setHyphenationFrequency to enable faster hyphenation.

Programmable shaders

Programmable shaders

The Android Graphics Shading Language is used to define the behaviour of programmable RuntimeShader objects in Android 13. (AGSL). AGSL is similar to GLSL in syntax, but it is used within the Android rendering engine to customise painting on the canvas and filtering of View content. These shaders are used internally by Android to generate ripple effects, blur, and stretch overscroll, and Android 13 allows developers to apply equivalent advanced effects in their app.

OpenJDK 11 updates

Google have started refreshing Android's Core Libraries in Android 13 to synchronise with the OpenJDK 11 LTS release, which includes both library upgrades and Java 11 programming language compatibility for app and platform developers. Google also want to make these Core Library modifications available to more devices via Google Play system updates as part of an ART module update for Android 12 and above devices.

App compatibility in Android 13

Google is aiming to make upgrades faster and smoother with each platform release by emphasising app compatibility as we roll out new platform versions. Most app-facing changes have been made opt-in in Android 13 to offer you more time, and Google have upgraded their tools and processes to help developers to get ready faster.

More of Android updated through Google Play

Google is continuing to invest in Google Play system improvements with Android 13 to give apps a more consistent, secure environment across devices, as well as to provide new features and capabilities to users. Through upgrades to existing modules, Google can now bring new functionality like picture picker and OpenJDK 11 to users on previous versions of Android. New modules, such as Bluetooth and Ultra wideband, have been been included to increase the breadth of Android's updatable core capabilities.

Optimizing for tablets, foldables, and Chromebooks

With the growing popularity of large-screen devices such as tablets, foldables, and Chromebooks, now is the time to get developers apps ready for these devices and create fully adaptive apps that fit any screen.

Developers can now begin by following Google instructions for optimising for tablets, then on to learning how to create for huge displays and develop for foldable devices.

Easier testing and debugging of changes


Easier testing and debugging of changes


Google will make many of the opt-in modifications that potentially effect developer app toggleable again this year to make it easier for developer to test them. From Developer options or adb, developer can use the toggles to force-enable or deactivate the changes separately.

Platform stability milestone

Google is letting you know about their Platform Stability milestone early this year, like they did last year, so as developer you have more time to plan for app compatibility work. Google will publish not only the final SDK/NDK APIs, but also the final internal APIs and app-facing system behaviours at this point. This year, Google anticipate to hit Platform Stability in June 2022, and developers will have several weeks to complete their last testing before the official release.

Platform stability milestone


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