Android 13 Developer Preview 2 Hands-On: Key New Features

It’s hard to believe that a month after the first developer-focused release, Android 13 Developer Preview 2 is now available with a slew of new features and functions. Here is a short list of some of the best.

Video — Android 13 Developer Preview 2: the main new features!

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Yet Another Media Player Redesign

Let’s start with the so-often-changed media player, which gets a facelift in Android 13 Developer Preview 2. In the first developer preview, a few things were changed, probably by accident, but now we have a better idea of ​​what’s changing. Almost paying homage to the pre-Android 11 media player that featured album art, the new player styles all playback media with a large circular play/pause button and a playback progress bar taking up more of the panel .

You’ll also get media app specific controls here, including skip forward, skip back, shuffle, and favorite options, if available. It’s a big change to essentially go back to the old style of player – albeit with a Material You twist.

Android 13 Developer Preview 2 also extends the usability of the pop-up play selector with an additional option to pair a new device. This should help streamline the process of connecting to Bluetooth speakers and headphones, as you don’t need to close this panel and then go directly to settings to access broader pairing controls.

Extended notification shades setting

There’s a lot more going on in the notification shade than just the media player. Google decided that this important part of the UI needed attention in Android 13 Developer Preview 2, so there’s a lot to unpack here.

  • Do Not Disturb renamed “Priority Mode”
    • While the functionality remains intact and blocks all unwanted distractions and notification pop-ups, Priority Mode is Do Not Disturb’s new name. However, opening the wider settings may still show “Do Not Disturb”.
  • Device controls renamed “Home” with new icon
    • Control of all connected smart home devices is now done under the “Home” banner rather than the generic “Device Controls” toggle. Much like the Priority mode toggle, no functionality has changed. However, there is also a new icon on the lock screen.
  • QR code scanner tile now works
    • Although added in Developer Preview 1, the QR Code Scanner Quick Settings tile should now work on most devices. This allows you to quickly scan QR codes without needing to open a dedicated app or even Google Lens. You may have issues with this following a Google Play Services update, but it should work after you get the correct version.
  • Security and Privacy Toggle
    • Not content with the microphone and camera access toggles, Google has added a new toggle called “Security & Privacy” that consolidates camera, microphone, and location access controls under one banner. This could eventually replace three tiles, but for now you can have both.
  • New quick settings and power button pinned icons
    • At the bottom of the notification shade, you’ll also notice new pinned toggles for the Power menu, Settings, and Profiles (if enabled). This is visible when you fully expand this panel and makes it even easier to access any of these important options.
  • Active apps
    • Probably to help you instantly see which apps are running in the background at any given time, there’s a new option called “Active apps”. Tap it to open a pop-up window that will show all running background apps. You can also stop them from running to free up system resources if you want.

Lock screen notification adjustments

Android 13 Developer Preview 2 Lock Screen Notification Bundle Adjustments

If you receive multiple notifications at once, Android 13 Developer Preview 2 now groups those notifications together once you have more than three. You will see the last two notifications and all the details while app icons will appear below to indicate that you have other app notifications waiting to be opened. Tap it to fully open and expand the notification shade so you can see anything you might have missed.

Notification Permission Popup

Android 13 Developer Preview 2 notification prompt

Likely as part of the broader enhanced privacy dashboard controls, when you launch an app in Android 13 Developer Preview 2, you may see a pop-up asking you to confirm whether you want to allow said app to continue sending notifications . This can be especially useful for infrequently used apps that can clutter and invade your on-device notifications.

Improved haptic feedback controls

There are a few new options for you to tweak and adjust the haptic experience on your Pixel with Android 13 Developer Preview 2 – as long as your phone is in ring or vibrate mode. The total silence option still disables all haptic feedback in this build. You can adjust vibration strength more options including alarms, media, etc.

Custom Guest Profile Pictures

New Guest Profile Icons in Android 13 Developer Preview 2

Although we’ve been able to create multiple profiles on the device for a long time, Google is fixing a minor issue by adding the ability to create and upload your own profile pictures. When creating or editing an existing profile, you can now choose from some basic colorful avatars or take an image using your Pixel camera, in addition to being able to upload from your camera roll or from your gallery.

Widescreen tablet/taskbar app drawer

Android 12L is now available and focused on larger, foldable form factors. As part of this, a new taskbar or “dock” has been added, but we see even more functionality changes in Android 13 Developer Preview 2. When testing with a tablet-like DPI – typically higher than 600 – you will get an app drawer button if you have an app currently in full screen mode. This makes it easier to quickly launch into other apps for multitasking purposes, but it’s still not ideal for large screens.

Language settings per app

App language controls in Android 13 Developer Preview 2

Although this feature was added in the first preview, if you are multilingual you can now set individual languages ​​for each app. This can be found by going to Settings > System > Languages ​​& input > App languages. Each app will default to your system, but you can adjust this setting to any language available on your device.

Reimagined

When your Pixel is rooted, you can activate a screensaver to display a kind of semi-smart display. In Developer Preview 2, this menu has been revamped and now looks more like the Wallpaper and Style section. Instead of diving deeper into the menus, you get a tiled layout with all the options available, including the clock, colors, or your Google Photos library.

To make visual adjustments easier, Android 13 Developer Preview 2 merges the “Display size” and “Font size” sections into a new “Display size and text” section that gives you control over all visual elements associated with the screen. You also get better previews of your changes in a smaller section.

Android 13 Developer Preview 2: What’s your favorite new tweak or feature?

There are more than just surface-level changes in Android 13 Developer Preview 2, but this small selection includes the main user-facing features we’ve found so far. Naturally, we expect to see more of the little things that might have slipped through the cracks in the days and weeks ahead. We’ll likely get a deeper dive into everything that’s been added, including some features that need a bit of work to become fully operational in our full preview coming very soon.

Which new feature(s) do you prefer? Let us know in the comments section below!

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