Google released Android 13 to the general public yesterday. The update is now available for all the eligible Google Pixel phones, while the devices from other Android manufacturers will receive it “later this year.” As we noted in our comparison post of Android 13 and Android 12, the new OS isn’t a major upgrade over the last year’s software, but it includes some minor changes and new features that make the whole user experience much better.
We have been playing with Android 13 for quite some time now, and we have spotted many small features throughout the operating system that you might not be aware of. Here are the top 7 hidden features in Android 13 that you should check out:
Android 13 Hidden Features
View 7-Day History in Privacy Dashboard
One of the best features of Android 13 is that it unifies the Security and Privacy settings, making it easier to discover all the features under one section. Interestingly, one of the hidden features of Android 13 is in the new Privacy Dashboard itself.
While the Privacy Dashboard is also available on devices with Android 12, the new operating system shows the sensitive permissions that apps have accessed not only in the last 24 hours but also in the last seven days. This 7-day view gives you a clearer idea of which apps are accessing sensitive permissions again and again. The feature, however, hasn’t rolled out on Pixel devices yet but is expected to be available in the near future.
Third-Party File Managers Can No Longer Access Android Data and Obb folders
If you have ever installed apps using third-party app stores or APK files, you must have used the /Android/data and /Android/obb folders. These folders are accessible via all the File Managers on Android. Unfortunately, you won’t be able to do so on Android 13 when using a third-party file manager, as Google is restricting access to these folders in the latest OS.
Launch Multiple Instances of Same App in Split-Screen Mode
Split-screen mode is gaining a number of new features with Android 13. First, the new OS brings a new way to launch split-screen mode directly from the notification shade. You can now simply long press on notifications and drag them to enter the split-screen mode.
Moreover, you can now launch a second instance of the same app when in split-screen view. For example, you can launch two Google Chrome windows side-by-side in split-screen mode. The feature is a part of large screen optimizations in Android 13. It is, however, worth pointing out that all the apps do not support this feature at launch, and developers will have to update their apps to bring support for this feature.
Clipboard Will Autoclear After 1 Hour
Android 13 comes with a revamped clipboard overlay. It not only allows you to view and edit the contents of your clipboard without pasting it anywhere, but it also provides relevant options depending upon the type of content you copy. For example, you’ll see an option to open a web browser when you copy a link. Similarly, you’ll see a photo editor option if you copy an image.
One less-known feature of Android 13’s clipboard is that it automatically clears all the contents that are older than 1 hour. Be it a picture, text, or link, the OS will clear the content of the keyboard after one hour. The feature has been implemented to improve the performance and security of the OS. It is already available in Google’s Gboard keyboard app, but Android 13 implements this feature system-wide.
Control Smart Home Devices Without Unlocking Your Phone
In Android 13, Google has added an option in Android 13’s Lock Screen settings that allows you to bypass the lock screen and control some smart home gadgets without unlocking your phone. While the previous version of Android also came with a similar ability, it didn’t allow users to control smart home devices without unlocking their smartphone, making the entire experience feel slow and clunky. In the new OS, smart home devices can be controlled more quickly thanks to the new option.
Quick Settings Tiles for One-Handed Mode and QR Code Scanner
Google introduced the one-handed mode with Android 12. It works pretty much like iOS, wherein you have to swipe down from the bottom of the screen to down bring the contents on top of the display. If you don’t like to activate the feature via the gesture, or find it hard to do so, Android 13 allows you to add a quick access toggle to trigger one-handed mode in the Quick Settings menu. In addition to this, Google has also added a dedicated QR code scanner in the quick settings menu. You can now swipe down and scan a QR code with just a few taps.
Cinematic Wallpapers and Wallpaper Dimming
Android 13 features a new WallpaperEffects API that makes the wallpaper move when your phone moves. Interestingly, it doesn’t require users to download compatible wallpapers. In fact, users can apply it to their current wallpapers as well. There is also a new wallpaper dimming feature that darkens your current wallpaper, so bright/vibrant wallpapers become less blinding.
Despite being a relatively small upgrade over last year’s Android 12, Android 13 offers several useful features (and stability improvements) that enhance the overall experience. Additionally, these hidden features further add to the quality of the experience. Have you installed Android 13 on your device yet? How has your experience been? Let us know in the comments section below!
You can try Android 13 on these Pixel phones right now!
Google Pixel 6 Pro
The Pixel 6 Pro is the more premium Pixel flagship. It has a 50MP main camera, a telephoto with 4x optical zoom, and a useful ultrawide sensor. It supports 120Hz, and both the Pixel 6 and Pro come with 5 years of support by Google.
Google Pixel 6
The Google Pixel 6 is the more compact and affordable variant from the new flagship series. It features most of the same features and comes with the same primary and ultrawide camera as the Pixel 6 Pro.
Google Pixel 6a
Google Pixel 6a is the latest budget smartphone from Google. Despite being affordable, the Pixel 6a comes with best-in-class features and specs, such as a Google Tensor chip, the same camera software as the Pixel 6 series, a new design, and more.