Of course, you don’t have to install the beta to get a load of what’s new in Android 13. Google has laid it all out in its Android Developer blog. Here’s what’s new and what you can try out for yourself if you decide to brave the beta. If you’re already flirting with the latest Android 13 Developer Preview, you know Google’s been doing some work behind-the-scenes concerning permissions. The company has announced that the first Android 13 beta will debut more granular permissions for media files. This means that Google has adjusted the original permission system not to be an end-all, be-all solution. Instead, there are now sub-permissions, so you can cut off only what shouldn’t be accessed.
Charge and back up your Pixel smartphone. Android fans can try out the in-development OS by downloading it. Google’s first public-facing Android 13 beta, which was released today, is spot on. The beta is the third version of the operating system preview, and it’s the first one that non-developers can download and check out. If you’re interested, you may download it on your Pixel phone. However, keep in mind that this is an in-development version of Android, which means you’ll have to deal with bugs and other peculiarities if you decide to stick with the beta until Android 13’s formal release in the fall. Before you try the beta, make a backup of your phone.
The media permissions in Android 13 have been split into three parts: images, video, and audio files. You’ll have to grant individual permission to each of those three elements before an app has access to them. It’s an easy way to help lock up backdoor access. While it means enduring more annoying pop-ups each time you install an app, it’s how the OS asks for consent before accessing anything. This Desktop App Helps You Write More Effectively. A rendering of what the OS will pop up when it asks for this. Google’s new granular media permissions will ask to access music, images, and video individually. Image: Google.
There’s also some good news for developers surrounding Keystore and KeyMint, which Android uses to store cryptographic keys. The two security repositories will now supposedly offer better retry key generation if your app generates keys. Unlike the Android 13 Developer Preview, getting this build on your compatible device is more effortless. You don’t have to be a developer. But you do have to enroll in the beta to get the Android 13 update over the air. If you’re already running the Developer Preview, the OTA update should hit your device soon.
Musicians, it might be time to reconsider the Android operating system for your melody-making needs. In the last developer preview, Google added MIDI 2.0 support, so you could connect peripherals to Android. That ability should pair nicely with Android 13’s new anticipatory audio routing, explicitly coded to help apps identify which audio formats can be played and rendered directly.