An incoming Android tweak stops your phone from blinding you in the dark

Google Pixel 7 review with Google Pixel 7 Pro
The latest Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro handsets (Image credit: Future / Alex Walker-Todd)

We're still some way off from getting any real news about Android 14 from Google, but the tweaks and updates are still appearing for Android 13 – and one that's apparently in the pipeline will stop your phone's screen from blinding you in the dark.

As spotted by Mishaal Rahman (via Phandroid), the code for the next Android update looks to include a feature that will sense the ambient light conditions around a smartphone even when the screen is switched off.

So, the next time you lock your phone, go somewhere that's a lot darker, and then unlock it again, you won't be blinded by the previous brightness setting. The phone will recognize it's now in a darker environment and adjust the brightness accordingly, assuming of course you have the brightness set to adjust itself automatically.

On the way

If you have a Pixel phone from Google, you'll find the screen brightness options in the Display section of Settings, though for now this feature isn't enabled, and is indeed only in the Android 13 QPR2 beta release that isn't widely available yet.

That QPR stands for Quarterly Platform Release, so the extra option may appear as part of an Android 13 update in the next few months. Alternatively, Google's software development team might decide to hold it over to Android 14, which is due to be officially unveiled at Google IO 2023 in May.

Let's hope it does indeed arrive at some point, as it's a useful tweak – as you'll know if you've ever locked your phone in a bright environment (outdoors in the sun, for instance), and then unlocked it in a darker environment (such as a theater).

Analysis: the ever-changing mobile OSes

We're now very familiar with the idea of Apple, Google, Samsung and other phone manufacturers pushing out regular updates for their mobile operating systems. These updates can add features, squash bugs, and more besides.

The example we have above shows how tweaks can be useful even if they're small. This fixes a very real annoyance that a lot of people are going to come across on a regular basis, and it means Android is going to be better to use.

It also shows the benefit of mobile OS updates appearing throughout the year, rather than in one hefty chunk on one particular date. When it comes to iPhones, we're now up to iOS 16.3, and there have been lots of improvements since iOS 16 launched in September 2022.

If the brightness feature does indeed make it into the next Android update, it's difficult to predict exactly when your phone might get it – a lot of it depends on the manufacturer of your phone, and Google's own Pixel handsets are going to be first in line, as usual.

David Nield
Freelance Contributor

Dave is a freelance tech journalist who has been writing about gadgets, apps and the web for more than two decades. Based out of Stockport, England, on TechRadar you'll find him covering news, features and reviews, particularly for phones, tablets and wearables. Working to ensure our breaking news coverage is the best in the business over weekends, David also has bylines at Gizmodo, T3, PopSci and a few other places besides, as well as being many years editing the likes of PC Explorer and The Hardware Handbook.