What’s new in the March 2023 Feature Drop of Android 13, now in beta

What’s new in the March 2023 Feature Drop of Android 13, now in beta

What’s new in the March 2023 Feature Drop of Android 13, now in beta

Google just released the first Android 13 Feature Drop, but the company is already hard at work preparing the next update, which is expected to release in March 2023. That’s right, the first beta for this second Quarterly Platform Release (QPR) is now out. . While Google hasn’t spilled too many beans about what will be new, the avid pundits have taken a look at what’s happening behind the scenes and what new features will be released as part of it.


Interface changes

The visual changes are always the most noticeable and there are a few changes available in QPR2 Beta 1. The quick settings tiles in the notification shade have been moved up a bit and are now closer to the clock and date. When you expand them by scrolling down, you’ll also notice that the clock increases in size as you scroll, while the date moves below the clock. The mobile service provider also appears above the status icons to the right rather than next to them.

1st image: New media player animation. 2nd: big clock in the notification area.

Google can’t stop tweaking the media player that sits in the notification shade, and Android 13 QPR2 is no different. The new Android version adds a misty overlay to the album art which is used as the background for the media player which comes alive when you first view the player. The animation disappears after some time and doesn’t respond at all to the current playback, which leads us to believe that it is still in development and not finished.

Another notable change (or bug) also concerns the notification area. When you swipe down on the lock screen without unlocking it first, it will show a black background (even in light mode) and hide silent notifications altogether. In older versions of Android, silent notifications didn’t appear on the lock screen, but they did appear again once you swiped down.

First pair of images: Notifications on the lock screen. 2nd pair – notifications on the home screen.

As noted by 9to5Google, the QPR2 beta’s Pixel Launcher has made changes to icon density and padding. In folders, app icons are now further apart, making it harder to accidentally hit the wrong one. The app icons on the home screen itself have also moved up a bit from previous versions of Android 13, complete with more padding to the left and right. This also applies to the app launcher which you can access by swiping up anywhere on your home screen.

Desktop mode and partial screen sharing

Mishaal Rahman, Android expert at Esper discovered more changes under the hood. As he mentioned in his rundown on Android 13’s December feature release, work is continuing on the currently hidden desktop mode that was originally only meant for developers testing multi-screen environments. When you use desktop mode on this version of Android, there’s a floating bar overlaying your freeform or floating windows, offering options to minimize, maximize, enter split-screen mode, and more. This makes it clear that the company is trying to prepare the mode for consumers.

Google is also continuing to work on partial screen recordings, which Rahman first discovered in the current December Feature Drop. The option will let you choose an individual window to record or broadcast, similar to how you can choose individual tabs or windows for sharing in video conferencing. On Android, you’ll be able to choose between individual apps and full-screen sharing.

New Material You theme

Another tidbit Rahman spotted is a new theme from Material You called “MONOCHROMATIC.” It’s not available for use right now, but it’s already visible in the code. Judging by his name, it will probably be one of the quietest options you can choose. It will likely be similar to the “SPRITZ” option introduced with the first version of Android 13, a desaturated option that already looks monochrome by itself.


A big update like this fixes even minor issues. Some people report that their Pixel 7 Pro scrolling issues are fixed which was inconsistent for them. Then there are people who have lost access to the new unified security and privacy settings pane, which appears to be related to how Google implements that option (using Google Play services rather than system updates). There are even more fragments found by Mishaal Rahman, collected for your convenience below.

  • The Google Pixel 6 Pro has received a 1080p display option with this update, similar to what the Pixel 7 Pro already offers.
  • Spatial audio has been re-enabled for all supported Pixels (Pixel 6 series to Pixel 7 series). You may be able to notice a difference when listening to spatial audio sample videos on YouTube with spatial audio enabled.
  • A new adaptive alert vibration option could reduce the intensity of notification vibrations when the phone is placed face up on a surface, although this feature is not yet turned on or accessible.
  • There’s more evidence that Google is developing software for its rumored foldable Google Pixel Fold: A new setting will be available for devices with side-mounted fingerprint sensors (which the Fold is rumored to feature), allowing you to only unlock the phone with it. when the screen is on.
  • Google is considering separating the ringtone and notification volume. In older versions of Android, this has always been the case, but Google combined these two options on Pixel phones a long time ago.

Join the Android 13 QPR1 beta program

If you have a Pixel phone, you can join the Android 13 QPR2 beta program on the Android website. Here, you’ll need to select the “View your eligible devices” option to choose the phone you want to sign up for the beta. As always, keep in mind that there may be bugs that completely disrupt the way you use your phone, so proceed with caution and only if you can do without your Pixel phone in an emergency. If you’d rather sideload the beta, be sure to learn how to install the Android 13 beta.

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