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Google has only released the first feature drop of Android 13, but the company is hard at work preparing the next update, which is expected to be released in March 2023. Just like that, the first beta for this second quarter platform release (QPR) arrived. While Google hasn’t spilled too many beans on what’s new on December 12, 2022, keen experts have taken a look at what’s going on behind the scenes and which new features will be released as part of it.

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Interface changes

Visual changes are always very noticeable, and there are quite a few tweaks in QPR2 Beta 1. The quick settings tiles in the notification shade have been moved up a bit and are now set to the time and date. As you swipe down to expand them, you’ll notice that the time increases in size as you swipe and the date moves below the clock. The mobile service provider is displayed on the status icons on the right side, not on their side.

1st image: New media player animation. 2nd: Big clock in notification shade.

Google never seems to stop tweaking its media player that sits in the notification shade, and the Android 13 QPR2 is no different. The new version of Android adds a foggy overlay to the album art that serves as the background for the media player that runs when you first view the player. The animation fades out after watching it for a while, and doesn’t respond to current playback, leading us to believe that it’s still under construction and unfinished.

The notification shade indicates another significant change (or error). When you swipe down on the lock screen without unlocking it first, it shows a black background (even in light mode) and hides security notifications. In previous versions of Android, silent notifications will not appear on the lock screen, but will reappear after swiping down.

First pair of images: Notifications on the lock screen. 2nd Pair: Notifications on Home Screen.

Another option Google is working on with this release is the ability to launch an app in full-screen mode when you tap the pre-split screen option. This is useful if you change your mind about using an app in split screen mode. Now, when you want to launch it in full screen view instead, you’ll have to select the app in question again from your recent screen or your home screen.

As spotted by 9to5Google, the QPR2’s beta pixel launcher has tweaked the density and texture. In folders, app icons are now spaced apart from each other, making it harder to accidentally hit a bug. The app icons on the home screen have also been moved up a bit compared to previous Android 13 versions, with more padding on the left and right. This is also the app’s launch status, which you can access by swiping anywhere on your home screen.

Another small interface tweak has been made to the battery health setting first found in the QPR1 code. The panel will show you the details of your battery and how much of its original capacity it still has. You’ll get a green tick that tells you everything’s fine as long as it’s not aging as much as it should, but the panel also offers practical tips on how to extend your battery’s life.

Desktop mode events

Esper Android expert Mishal Rahman More changes under the hood have been revealed. Work continues on the current stealth desktop mode, which was originally intended only for developers testing multi-screen environments, according to a summary of Android’s December 13 feature drop. On this version of Android, when using desktop mode, there is a floating bar that overlays on floating or freeform windows, which provides options to minimize, minimize, enter split-screen mode, and more. This makes it clear that the company is trying to prepare the mode for users.

After a bit of hacking, Mishaal Rahman was able to enable the mode and demonstrate how these floating windows look in action, which you can see below.

Partial screen sharing.

Google continues to work on partial screen captures, which Rahman first revealed in this December’s feature drop. The option of how to select individual tabs or windows to share on video conference calls lets you select a single window to record or capture. On Android, you can choose between individual apps and full screen sharing.

New immaterial you theme

Another new material theme introduced by Rahman is called “Monochromatic”. Initially it was not available for use but was able to activate via root. As you can judge by the name of the theme, it is one of the most muted options you can choose. It’s similar to the “SPRITZ” option introduced with the first version of Android 13, an incomplete theme that already feels monochromatic, but takes things further with a black and white base. If you’re someone who can’t get in with you, this could be your theme.


Such a big update also fixes small issues. Some people report that their Pixel 7 Pro scrolling issues have been resolved, which was inconsistent for them. Then there are those who lost access to the new unified security and privacy settings pane, which seems to have something to do with the way Google rolls out that option (using Google Play Services instead of system updates). Below are more bits and pieces from Mishaal Rahman collected for your convenience.

  • Google is looking to add a reduced vibration mode to the Pixels, presumably to help those devices with bad haptic motors.
  • The Google Pixel 6 Pro has received a 1080p display option with this update, similar to what the Pixel 7 Pro offered.
  • Spatial audio has been re-enabled for all supported Pixels (Pixel 6 series to Pixel 7 series). When you listen to spatial audio sample videos on YouTube with Spatial Audio enabled, you may notice a difference.
  • Although this feature isn’t live or accessible yet, a new adaptive alert vibration option can reduce the intensity of notification vibrations when your phone is lying flat on the screen.
  • There’s more evidence that Google is working on software for the rumored foldable Google Pixel Fold: a new setting for side-mounted fingerprint sensors (the fold is said to be rumored) to unlock your phone with just it. When the screen is turned on.
  • Google is considering separating caller and notification rates. This has always been the case in older Android versions, but Google combined these two options a long time ago on Pixel phones.

Join the Android 13 QPR1 beta program

If you have a Pixel phone, you can join the Android 13 QPR2 beta program on the Android website. Here, you need to select the “View your eligible devices” option to select the phone you want to enroll in the beta. As always, be aware that there may be bugs that actually break the way you use your phone, so proceed with caution and only do so if you can do without your Pixel phone in an emergency. If you choose to sideload the beta, be sure to learn how to install the Android 13 beta.

Updated: 2022/12/14 12:23 EST by Manuel Vonau

More features and details

The article has been updated with more hidden discoveries and details in Android 13 QPR2 Beta 1.



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