Android 13 in 2023: a taste of desktop mode, new gestures and other news

In the past few hours, Google has released the beta version of Android 13 QPR2 for compatible Pixels, which is the second quarterly update of Android 13. In addition to the already known news, there are more contained in the package: you go from “Desktop Mode” at new gestures up to the quick launch of applications.

Desktop mode

There is a hidden desktop mode in QPR2 Beta 1. It is a method that is still incomplete and requires numerous expedients. However, many improvements can already be registered and certainly it is the best work of Google in this regard.

Specifically, in this mode all apps are treated as if they were windowed freehand and can be dragged around the screen (each window is assigned a control bar). The main part of this bar is a simple line that can be used to drag the window, while on the side there are buttons to go back or close the window.

New gestures

Google has totally redesigned the animation of the “Back” gesture. In particular, the arrow is included in a circle that stretches following the movement of the fingers on the screen. If instead you choose to cancel the gesture, the circle flattens by sticking to the edge of the screen. Finally, the arrow no longer flattens but folds back on itself.

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Quick launch of apps

In the Pixel Launcher now the new “Quick Start” feature is included. In practice, just start typing the name of an app, press enter and the application will start directly. Probably, this is an especially useful function for the new Pixel Tablet, perhaps when it is connected to a physical keyboard.

To enable the function, however, the following command must be entered adb shell device_config put launcher ENABLE_QUICK_LAUNCH_V2 true; to enable the Enter key as well, the command is the following adb shell device_config put launcher GBOARD_UPDATE_ENTER_KEY true.

Separate volumes for ringtone and notifications

Android 13 QPR2 includes the possibility to separate the levels of the ringtone from those of the notifications. The option must be enabled manually with the command adb shell device_config put systemui volume_separate_notification true.

The new application bar

One of the biggest changes for tablets and foldable devices has been the introduction of a new taskbar that behaves as already seen on ChromeOS devices. This bar, in particular, is not always present but disappears when not in use. It can therefore be recalled by swiping up.

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This new version also includes app shortcuts, while to the right is the button to open the entire app drawer. Finally, everything adheres to the Material You style.

Renewal of the homescreen organization

The revision of the homescreen, named Home Gardeningconsists of the new positioning of the buttons to remove or uninstall an app, now moved to the bottom so as to be more accessible in one-handed use.

Furthermore, the homescreen reduction effect is no longer present: this could simplify the positioning of an app or a widget since you can drag it exactly where you want. In any case, Google’s work on this is still in progress.

New dynamic theme

The team of “9to5Google” has identified the introduction of a new grayscale color palette. The theme would consist of two colors: #666666 and #333333, a light and dark shade of gray, respectively. This should result in a less visually demanding experience on Android 13.

Supported devices

here is thedevice list and links for download files to manually install the update. We remind you of our guides to install updates on Pixels via OTA e factory image.


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