Android 13 Beta 1: all the official news, hidden and undocumented

Last night Google released the first Beta of Android 13, which in the development timeline is the third public build after two Developer Previews. As with previous builds, we have decided to collect all the news, both official and hidden or undocumented, in a single article that we will update as more details emerge. Let’s start with some pretty big news:

Well, more or less. You have to have a reasonably recent smartphone and have some experience in fiddling. Specifically, Google has released the GSI (Generic System Image) of Android 13 Beta 1. The GSIs are part of the so-called Project Treble: for some years now, all smartphones with the Play Store must be able to start a GSI, which is basically a “basic” version of Android without software customizations, without major driver or hardware compatibility issues.

Basically every native smartphone Android 9 and later that has the Play Store necessarily supports Project Treble, so anyone who owns one with these characteristics and is interested has to do nothing but download the build from the official Android Developers site, making sure you choose the right build for your processor, and install it manually. The precise procedure varies from device to device, and typically requires unlocking the bootloader and installing a custom recovery. Google indicates that there are at least three known issues to consider:

  • Phone audio: You may not hear any incoming sound during a call if you are using the pre-installed phone app.
  • Boot loop: Restarting the GSI may not work on some smartphones. You have to go into recovery and wipe user data, perform a factory reset and then reboot.
  • Partitions too small: on some smartphones, the GSIs of Android 13 which also include Google services (GMS) may be too large for the pre-existing partitions. One solution may be to delete some non-essential dynamic partitions.

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