Android 13 is here. Google has announced that owners of Pixel phones can download the completed version of this year’s major operating system update from today.
The launch comes around a month earlier than we were expecting, given the company usually drops the update in September or October, often alongside new Pixel hardware. This year it’s coming well ahead of the Pixel 7 devices.
However, after a few months in beta, Android 13 is now ready for prime time and Pixel users can jump on board with immediate effect. Perhaps the early launch is possible thanks to a refined release this year, rather than the wholesale changes we saw in Android 12?
This year Google is focusing on redesigned media controls, Material You theme creation and personalisation, and a raft of privacy-focused changes that enable users to lock down their devices and prevent developers hoovering up too much of their data without express permission.
There’s also the ability to control smart home devices directly from the Lock Screen, while there’s also a new quick settings menu, support for Bluetooth LE, and enhancements for more than 20 stock apps to support larger displays, including foldbles. There’s also per-app language selection and loads more.
If you’re not rocking Google’s homegrown handsets, you can expect the update on your ASUS, Nokia, Motorola, OnePlus, Oppo, Samsung, Sony, and Xiaomi devices in the coming months. Many manufacturers, like Samsung and OnePlus are already trialling the update with users in beta.
Google is also pushing out the Android Open Source Project version of Android 13, meaning everyone else can start playing with and customised by manufacturers very soon. In previous years, Google has tended to stagger these two releases.
In a post on the Android developers blog, the company writes: “Android 13 is rolling out to Pixel devices starting today. Later this year, Android 13 will also roll out to more of your favourite devices from Samsung Galaxy, Asus, HMD (Nokia phones), iQOO, Motorola, OnePlus, Oppo, Realme, Sharp, Sony, Tecno, vivo, Xiaomi and more.”
There’s still plenty of work to do to get users of currently devices on board though, considering Android 12 is currently only installed on around one in ten Android devices, a year after it launched.