As a Pixel 6a user, I received a much-appreciated email today from Google with the title “Get even more out of your Pixel”. So what is it?
Following the rollout of Android 13 for previous Pixel devices, including the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro, the OS upgrade was not initially available for the Pixel 6a (as attested by Google (opens in a new tab)). But all that has just changed.
As I type this, I’m watching my Pixel 6a “install security update” on an Android 13 update page, which details the promise of exciting new features that Pixel 6a owners like me will receive as part of the upgrade.
I should have checked sooner but I’ve been too busy getting into the iPhone 14 and Motorola Edge 30 Ultra launches but the Android 13 update on the Pixel 6a is likely to bring me back to that big, affordable phone in the near future (well, if the Pixel 7 Pro doesn’t take over my world, which October is even more likely).
So what exactly will the Android 13 update bring to the Pixel 6a? There are tons of features out there, so here are five of the most important ones to look forward to:
1. Theme app icons
Personalization is at the heart of Android 13. Indeed, it is probably the biggest advantage of this version. It now includes expanded themed app icons to match wallpaper colors, including non-Google apps to ensure a unified look that wasn’t possible before.
2. New app notification controls
There’s also more granular control over apps, including the ability to specify when a given app can send notifications. This will be ideal for downtime and quiet times.
You can also stream messaging apps directly to a Chromebook, although that’s a feature I probably won’t use!
3. More security with photo selections
You no longer need to share your entire media library with your apps, which means you can instead select only specific photos and videos. This is great for privacy and extra security.
At Google I/O 2022, this was one of the biggest visual features Google showed off around Android 13: the all-new media player.
It includes album art and a new playbar, the latter of which Google describes as “fun” – that’s because it now “dances” to the beat.
5. Multi-Language App Support
There are new APIs for app developers in Android 13, which means better support for multiple languages. This means the ability to assign different languages to different apps, if you are multilingual and want to change your keyboard type and default language in specific apps.