Android 13 reaches Platform Stability milestone with Beta 3 release
At I/O 2022, Google released the second Android 13 beta release earlier this year. The update introduced a couple of noteworthy features, like a protective back gesture, resource files for specifying supported app languages, and a new permission to use exact alarms. Now, Google has started seeding the third Android 13 beta release for its Pixel devices, and here’s what you need to know about it.
What’s new in Android 13 Beta 3?
First and foremost, the third beta release brings Android 13 to the Platform Stability milestone. According to Google, this milestone means that “Android 13 has reached final internal and external APIs, final app-facing behaviors, and final non-SDK API lists (greylists).”
App, game, SDK, library, and game engine developers can now use the Platform Stability milestone as a target for planning final compatibility testing and public release to ensure their compatibility updates are ready before the final release.
With the third Android 13 beta release, Google is also urging developers to test app compatibility. Now that Android 13 has reached Platform Stability, app developers should test their apps for compatibility in time for the final release so that they have time to make any updates needed before the stable Android 13 rollout.
Google has also highlighted a couple of changes app developers should watch for while testing their apps on Android 13 beta 3. These include:
- Runtime permission for notifications: Android 13 introduces a new runtime permission for sending notifications from an app. Make sure you understand how the new permission works, and plan on targeting Android 13 (API 33) as soon as possible.
- Clipboard preview: Make sure your app hides sensitive data in Android 13’s new clipboard preview, such as passwords or credit card information.
- JobScheduler prefetch: JobScheduler now tries to anticipate the next time your app will be launched and will run any associated prefetch jobs ahead of that time. If you use prefetch jobs, test that they are working as expected.
After testing and publishing an updated version of the app, Google further urges developers to start the process of updating their app’s target SDK version, review the behavior changes for apps targeting Android 13, and use the compatibility framework to detect any issues. Google has highlighted a couple of changes developers should test if their apps target API level 33 or higher:
- Nearby device permission for Wi-Fi: Apps that manage a device’s connections to nearby access points should use a new NEARBY_WIFI_DEVICES runtime permission for Wi-Fi operations like scanning, without needing access to device location. Some Wi-Fi APIs require your app to have this new permission.
- Granular media permissions: If your app targets Android 13 and reads media files from common data storage, you must request one or more of the new granular permissions instead of the READ_EXTERNAL_STORAGE permission.
- Permission changes for body sensors: Android 13 introduces “while in use” access for body sensors. If your app needs to access body sensor information from the background, it must declare a new BODY_SENSORS_BACKGROUND permission.
- Intent filters block non-matching intents: If your app sends an intent to an exported component of another app targeting Android 13 (API 33) or higher, it now needs to match an intent filter in the receiving app.
- Media controls derived from PlaybackState: Android 13 derives more media controls from PlaybackState actions, to show a richer set of controls that are consistent across device types. Make sure your app handles these changes.
Tablets and large-screens support
Lastly, Google has also highlighted that developers should include tablets and other large-screen devices as part of their testing. Developers can test optimizations for large-screen devices by setting up an Android emulator in Android Studio or using a compatible large-screen device, like the Lenovo Tab P12 Pro and the Xiaomi Tab 5. Here are a few changes developers should pay attention to during testing:
- Taskbar interaction: Check how your app responds when viewed with the new taskbar on large screens. Make sure your app’s UI isn’t cut off or blocked by the taskbar.
- Multi-window mode: Multi-window mode is now enabled by default for all apps, regardless of app configuration, so make sure the app handles split-screen appropriately. You can test by dragging and dropping your app into split-screen mode and adjusting the window size.
- Improved compatibility experience: If your app isn’t optimized for tablets yet, such as using a fixed orientation or not being resizable, check how your app responds to compatibility mode adjustments such as letterboxing.
- Media projection: If your app uses media projection, check how your app responds while playing back, streaming, or casting media on large screens. Be sure to account for device posture changes on foldable devices as well.
- Camera preview: For camera apps, check how your camera preview UI responds on large screens when your app is constrained to a portion of the screen in multi-window or split-screen mode. Also check how your app responds when a foldable device’s posture changes.
Google’s blog post does not highlight any user-facing changes in Android 13 Beta 3. However, it’s likely that the build includes a few undocumented changes. We’ll be giving Android 13 Beta 3 a go on our Pixel devices, and we’ll make sure to let you know if we spot any such changes.
How to download and install Android 13 Beta 3 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.
To learn more about the third Android 13 beta release, head over to the official blog post on the Android Developers blog.