Just as Google promised, the first Android 13 Beta is now available for anyone with the patience to install it. This Beta release doesn’t pack as many new features as last month’s Developer Preview, but it’s the first version of Android 13 that’s stable enough for the average geek to test.
The biggest new Android 13 Beta feature focuses on user privacy; Google is unveiling three new permissions for apps that want to access media files. Instead of simply requesting to read external storage, apps must now ask to read media images, video, or audio. This change should provide a bit of transparency for users, as it clarifies which file types an app wants to access.
Other new Android 13 Beta features are more developer-focused. A set of new audio route APIs helps apps determine which AudioFormat is best for playing sounds. And apps that generate, sign, or encrypt keys will now show more detailed and accurate errors with Keystore and KeyMint.
I know, this stuff doesn’t sound too exciting. But the previous Android 13 Developer Preview introduced a bunch of features that users can enjoy, such as an updated photo picker, vectorized emoji, and a new notification permission that pops up the first time you use an app.
Installing the Android 13 Beta is pretty easy, so long as you have a Pixel 4, Pixel 5, or Pixel 6-series phone. You can install this update over the air by joining the Android Beta program or manually flashing the new Beta to your device. Additionally, you can test Android 13 Beta in an Android emulator.