Android 13 will help developers test their apps with slower internet connections
It’s always important that Android apps work well on a wide variety of screen sizes, chipset types, mobile networks, and so on. Testing on slow network speeds is especially important, since not everyone has gigabit internet or unlimited 5G data connections, but it’s always been difficult to artificially throttle internet speeds on Android. Thankfully, Android 13 might finally change that.
Google is working on a new feature for the upcoming Android 13 update that will allow any network connection to be throttled, according to a blog post from Esper. The functionality isn’t actually working yet, but code from the Android Open Source Project (AOSP) indicates you’ll be able to set network speeds in bytes per second.
The only catch is that this feature requires kernel-level support, and since most devices don’t receive updates to the kernel after they are released, many existing phones and tablets probably won’t support network throttling. The kernel also has to be built with certain config options enabled, such as CONFIG_NET_SCHED.
It’s already possible to run the Android Studio Emulator with a throttled network connection, but there has never been an easy way to test slower network connections with a real physical device. Some developers have used microwave ovens (when they’re not running) or faraday cages to weaken wireless signals to a device for testing.
Google also supports throttling network connections in the Chrome web browser, which can be handy for testing how sites or web apps perform with slow networks. That setting is available in all Chromium-based web browsers, too. Apple’s iOS and iPadOS has allowed network throttling in the developer settings for a while, but reaching that menu requires using the Xcode development studio on a Mac.
Android 13 Developer Preview 2 also adds runtime permissions for app notifications, improved Japanese text wrapping, a new Text Conversion API for languages like Japanese, COLR fonts, MIDI 2.0, Bluetooth LE Audio, and other changes. Check out our main Android 13 Developer Preview 2 coverage for more information and the download links for Pixel devices.