Android 13 review: Plan ahead, but not much to offer today

Android 13 review: Plan ahead, but not much to offer today

The Google

The Android update treadmill continues with the release of Android 13. It is one of the smallest versions of Android in recent memory, with hardly any user-facing features to mention. However, keep in mind that this update follows the release of Monster Android 12 from last year. This is too secondly The Android operating system was released this year, and the previous version was the tablet-focused Android 12L update that rolled out quickly in March.

We’d have more work to do if Android 12L was part of this release, but as it stands, we’re left with a bag of features for Android 13. It includes many essential features for Android tablets and smart screens, but there’s not much here for phones.

However, there are things to discuss, so let’s delve into it.

notification panel

Apps now need to beg for permission to show notifications.
Zoom / Apps now need to beg for permission to show notifications.

Ron Amadeo

The addition of runtime notification permission is one of the nicest changes made to Android 13. You’ve been able to block apps from showing notifications for years, but now apps need to request explicit permission to flag you and it will show you an Allow/Deny box on startup. As someone who rarely wants my phone to bother me, I’ve found my approval rate to be very low. It seems like 95 percent of apps ask for notification permissions, and I probably agree with 10 percent of them. It is very satisfying to proactively turn off annoying notifications.

As far as I can tell, this permission popup only appears if I start from a fresh install. For upgraders, everything already has notification permissions, and the OS won’t ask for it.

Google has already created a task manager

Another new notification feature is Google’s Provided Services (FGS) Task Manager, which is a user-facing task manager found at the bottom of the quick settings panel. Both Google and Apple are trying hard not to let consumers control smartphones as much as they control computers, but Google has finally given users a list of running apps they can kill. It’s not a per-app list like a traditional task manager; It is just a list of the services provided. Foreground services are Android apps that are currently doing an active job, even if they don’t show a user interface—things like a music player, fitness tracker, automation, or sync service.

The task manager is located at the bottom of the quick settings panel as a long circular bar that reads, “X apps are active.” Clicking on it will bring up a list of running apps, with a “Stop” button next to each one. This isn’t the first Android task manager—there have been many running APIs available in developer settings over the years—but it’s a first for consumers.

In Android 8.0, Google has turned off the hammer in background processing, saying that if apps don’t want to be stopped automatically by the system, they need to show the user when it’s running. In previous versions of Android, the app would throw a notification saying it was running. While it’s useful to know which apps are running, putting this information in the notification panel and showing the eye-catching status bar icon was annoying. It should be a notification panel for new and temporary items, not a 24/7 reminder that says “Tasker is on.”

In Android 13 the task manager takes care of notifications, now the permanent notification is no longer required. The notification will still pop up, but it can now be dismissed, unlike in previous versions of Android. Swipe the notification away, and the only indication that an item is on will be in a neatly minimized number at the bottom of the quick settings panel. This is a much better way to deal with notifications of a running app.

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