Enabled: Android 13 QPR2 brings desktop mode, new back gesture, separate ringtone volume, and more

The Android 13 Q2 update beta includes working on desktop mode, new animation for back gestures, separate ringtone and notification volume controls, and much more.

With every new Android Beta release, there are often quite a few new features that everyone can enjoy once they install the update. Beneath the surface, Google is keeping many upcoming features broken, which our team is able to show with some extra effort.

These features are usually left disabled because they are not quite ready for testing. Since things are still in development, it’s too early to tell if it will launch with Android 13’s second quarterly update in March (or launch at all). In this case, take these feature previews as interesting insights rather than a solid roadmap for the future of Android.

In some cases, you can easily experience these work-in-progress features yourself. However, by doing so You accept the risk Your device may become more unstable than the pre-release software actually makes it out to be.

In this case, we just suggest that you try it on a secondary device and only if you are already familiar with using Android ADB tool. disable Any of these, run the same command shown but change “true” to “false”.

Renew movement back gesture

Since Android phones got gesture navigation back in 2019, the back gesture has basically remained the same, with a simple arrow on the side of the screen to show that the current swipe will bring you back. You can also cancel this swipe-back gesture by going back to the edge of the screen, which flattens the arrow into a line.

In Android 13 QPR2 Beta 1, Dylan Roussel revealed the completely redesigned back gesture indicator. Once enabled, the simple arrow is placed inside a circular bubble that stretches pleasantly to match your gesture movement.

If you choose to cancel the back gesture, the dot flattens slightly and sticks to the edge of the screen when it’s close enough. Another minor detail in the animation is that the arrow is no longer flat but instead folds in on itself.

‘Quick Launch’

The Pixel Launcher’s search bar is also getting some love with the latest Android Beta with the addition of a new Quick Launch feature. If you type in the name of an app on your phone, you can press the Enter key (including on Gboard) to launch directly into that app.

While Gboard offers a decent experience with this particular tweak, Quick Launch, to us, looks like a prime candidate for the upcoming Pixel Tablet. Google hasn’t yet shared any plans to release a keyboard accessory for the Pixel Tablet, but we’ve seen signs of a Pixel Tablet “Pro” in the works that could be a perfect keyboard fit.

You can easily try quick launch on your own device using below command. We’ve also included a second command you’ll likely want to try, because it lets Gboard know to show the Enter key when using a quick launch.

adb shell device_config set launcher ENABLE_QUICK_LAUNCH_V2 true

adb shell device_config set launcher GBOARD_UPDATE_ENTER_KEY true

Separate ringtone/notification sound

For years now, Android has associated volume levels for ringtone and notification sounds. However, there are many who do not want that to be the case, perhaps they would prefer to have a loud ringtone and soft notifications.

Android 13 QPR2 includes the ability to separate ringtone and notification volume, but it’s disabled and hidden for now. Fortunately, it can be enabled with one simple command. Once enabled, the Volume section of the Settings app now lists ringtones and notification levels separately.

adb shell device_config systemui volume_separate_notification set as true

Redesigned taskbar

One of the biggest changes for Android tablets and foldable devices in recent years has been the addition of a taskbar to keep your favorite apps accessible. With the latest Android Beta, we got our first look at Google’s next iteration of the taskbar, the Transient Taskbar, which works somewhat like the taskbar on ChromeOS tablets.

Instead of having a permanent bar across the screen space on your tablet, you can do a small swipe up from the bottom of the screen to reveal the new taskbar. This might be a little tricky for some as swiping too large will simply take you back to the home screen.

Just like the taskbar available on Android today, the revamped version only includes shortcuts to apps you’ve pinned to the Pixel Launcher’s bottom row. To the right of it, you’ll also find the usual button to open the full app drawer. Most importantly, all of this is now presented in a clean texture in your style, complete with dynamic colours.

desktop mode

The revised taskbar isn’t the only big change going for Android tablet owners. Google has been working on a “desktop mode” for Android for a long time, and the Android 13 QPR 2 beta includes the best look yet at a work-in-progress feature.

In desktop mode, all applications are treated as if they are placed in free-form windows that can be dragged around the screen. To help do this, each application window is given a new control bar with useful controls.

The main part of the control bar is a simple line that you can use to drag the window around, and to the sides you’ll find buttons to go back or close the window. By clicking on the bar, another set of controls is revealed, though most of them don’t seem to work yet. Judging by the icons, they appear to be quick options for full screen, split screen, and a few others.

From our little time testing it, we don’t think it will ever launch desktop mode very Soon, but it’s still exciting to see the progress.

Reorganization of the main screen

Google also appears to be revamping the way Pixel owners reorganize apps and widgets on their home screens. The fix, dubbed Home Gardening, is still in an early stage of development, but some noteworthy tweaks are already in the works.

For starters, the Remove and Uninstall drag targets have been moved from the top of the screen to the bottom. In today’s Android 13, those options are out of reach of your thumb, which makes this a welcome change for one-handed use.

Plus, with Home Gardening enabled, the home screen doesn’t move back and forth like it did before. This might make it a little easier to position an app or widget so you can drag it exactly where it needs to go. We think this part of the home screen reorganization isn’t finished for now, but it could turn into something exciting.

Theme for you grayscale material

When Material You and its dynamic colors arrived for Pixel phones, Google went to great lengths to allow Android apps to use those same colors. Over time, this has made Android apps look surprisingly consistent, even between Pixel and Samsung Galaxy phones.

However, the dynamic color scheme has some unfortunate flaws that need to be addressed. In particular, we have heard a first-hand account from a 9to5Google Reader that introducing more tones could be harmful to someone prone to seizures.

With Android 13 QPR2 Beta 1, our team explored the beginnings of a “monochrome” (or grayscale) theme option. From what we can piece together, the theme was created with two colors – #666666 and #333333, shades of light and dark gray, respectively. This should result in a less visually demanding experience across the entirety of Android 13.

While we were able to show the theme in the menu, it doesn’t seem to be working as intended yet.

Dylan Russell Contribute to this article.

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