Android 13 Beta 1 is here with better media file permissions
February saw the release of the first Android 13 Developer Preview, and with it came the groundwork for the next iteration of the world’s biggest operating system. It brought along a number of changes that benefit developers and made improvements to privacy, Material You, language controls, and more. Following that saw the advent of the second developer preview with notification permission requests and other changes that benefit developers. Now we’re exiting the “developer preview” stage with the first release of Android 13 Beta 1.
Unlike “developer preview” builds which are for developers only, beta releases of Android 13 are for general users that want to try out the next version of Android. Google is particularly watching for general feedback here from normal users on how they experience the new Android version. As a result, while you maybe should still be wary about installing it on your daily driver, it’s expected that this build is a little bit more stable than previous builds.
The most notable features of Android 13 beta 1 include:
- More granular access to media files
- Better error reporting
- Anticipatory audio routing
When will Android 13 release?
For Android updates, Google typically reveals a “platform stability” milestone so that developers can know when Google intends on delivering the final SDK/NDK APIs, along with final internal APIs and app-facing system behaviors. Google intends on reaching platform stability in June 2022, with several weeks at minimum planned before the official release. Android 12 hit platform stability in August of 2021 and the final version was released in October of that year. Google has released more details about the release timeline that you can check out.
What’s new in Android 13 Beta 1?
More granular permissions for media file access
Currently, when an app wants to access files on a phone’s storage, it needs to request the READ_EXTERNAL_STORAGE permission. That permission grants access to all kinds of media files though, which isn’t always necessary. As an example, why should an audio-playing app have access to your photos? With Android 13, Google is introducing three new permissions:
- READ_MEDIA_IMAGES (for images and photos)
- READ_MEDIA_VIDEO (for videos)
- READ_MEDIA_AUDIO (for audio files)
Google says in order to simplify the experience for users, if an app requests READ_MEDIA_IMAGE and READ_MEDIA_VIDEO at the same time, the system displays a single dialog for granting both permissions.
Better error reporting in Keystore and KeyMint
For developers who generate keys, Keystore and KeyMint provide better errors. There is now an exception class hierarchy under java.security.
Anticipatory audio routing
So that media apps can identify where their audio will be routed, Google has added a set of new audio route APIs in the AudioManager class. The first is the getAudioDevicesForAttributes() API, which allows you to retrieve a list of devices that may be used to play the specified audio. Secondly, Google also added the getDirectProfilesForAttributes
How to download and install Android 13 Beta 1 on your Google Pixel device
Google is officially releasing this beta update for the Pixel 6 Pro, Pixel 6, Pixel 5a 5G, Pixel 5, Pixel 4a (5G), Pixel 4a, Pixel 4 XL, or Pixel 4. You can use the 64-bit system images with the Android Emulator in Android Studio, and you can also use a GSI too.
What are your thoughts on the latest beta build? Will you be installing it on your device? How has your experience been? Let us know in the comments below!