Android 13: three things we've learned from the public beta so far

Android 13 logo
(Image credit: Google)

We've been combing through the Android 13 public beta this week to see which features can benefit the most, as we head into Google IO on May 11.

As Google announced the availability of the public beta on April 26, users have been wanting to see what the next version of Android will bring to their Android smartphones.

While Android 12 brought a new theme called Material You, where you can customize the colors for every button and menu, it wasn't without its faults, such as enlarged buttons and color choices in places that weren't needed.

This is why Android 13 already looks to be a release of refinement, especially due to the three features we've found in the public beta so far.

Faster QR Code scanner

QR codes have exploded in use in recent years, where you can scan a code at a store or at an event, and your device will show some detailed information about the subject matter.

Ironically, Android was the first to embrace QR codes before iOS, but it's fallen by the wayside in recent releases, with the camera app being slow to scan a QR code, and also often being unable to decipher what the code contained.

But in Android 13, this looks to be in the past, with a QR code able to be scanned and directed to a web page in quick succession.

Better Copy and Paste

While the copy and paste feature has been in Android for over a decade, Android 13 looks to make it easier on what's been copied, and how to manage it.

Similar to how a screenshot is displayed in the bottom left corner in iOS, text that's been copied will show in the same area in Android 13, allowing you to drag it to the app you're currently using.

But if you realize that you've made an error in copying some text, you can tap this section of the screen, and go back to where you copied the text, enabling you to copy the right part.

This can be very useful for those who may not be sure as to what they've selected to copy, but we're curious as to how this will apply to sensitive information, such as credit card information.

Material You Tweaks

Android has seen its fair share of refinements in its user interface, with animations and colors replacing the blocky green shades that would be across early versions of the operating system.

But Android 12 doubled down on this with Material You, Google's new focus on how Android should look for the coming years. While it was warmly received by users, some of us on the team felt as though it was the first step, with colors being applied to buttons and menus that made them garish and ugly.

Android 13 looks to be refining this, with more choices in color and shades, and a slight step back in how these apply to menus and buttons on your device.

Daryl Baxter
Software & Downloads Writer

Daryl had been freelancing for 3 years before joining TechRadar, now reporting on everything software-related. In his spare time, he's written a book, 'The Making of Tomb Raider'. His second book, '50 Years of Boss Fights', came out in June 2024, and has a newsletter called 'Springboard'. He's usually found playing games old and new on his Steam Deck and MacBook Pro. If you have a story about an updated app, one that's about to launch, or just anything Software-related, drop him a line.