DeGoogled OS Reviewed: GrapheneOS on Android 13 After 2 Weeks of Usage

Discussing the Android 13 Release of Graphene OS

It’s been around two weeks since the release of the Android 13 version of Graphene OS, which is why I’m going to talk about the changes made in this version. It’s important to note that most of the changes are from Android 13, not from the Graphene OS team. If you have any issues, you will need to take it up with the Android Open Source Project.

Not A Heavy User

I’m a basic user when it comes to my phone, and I keep things simple. It’s comparable to my life’s color palette, which is light gray, dark gray, and a different shade of gray. Before we move forward with the demo, if you’re getting any value from Graphene OS, please consider donating to the project. The developers make way more money working in a regular tech company, but they choose to work on this instead, so any contributions are appreciated.

Android 13 Build of Graphene OS is Solid

The Android 13 version of Graphene OS has been super solid, and I haven’t had any issues with it—I don’t use an always-on VPN on my personal device, so I haven’t run into issues with blocking my connection. On the left side of the screen is a Google Pixel 5a running Graphene OS Android 12, the last build before Android 13. On the right side of the screen is a Google Pixel 6 running the latest Android 13 build of Graphene OS.

Changes in the Swipe Down Menu

One of the most significant changes I’ve noticed is some changes in the swipe-down menu. If you use additional user profiles, the location for switching user profiles has changed. It’s now in the bottom right-hand corner instead of right below the permission buttons up top. The power button has been moved to the bottom as well. The pencil remains up top, but with a little bit of a different design change. There’s a new feature on this screen, which is the Active Apps screen. It shows apps that are active and running but are not necessarily in use. It improves app functionality, but it can also affect battery life.

Show Touches on Screen for Screen Recording

Graphene OS has brought back the Show Touches on Screen feature for screen recording. It was removed from Android 12, but it’s back in Android 13. This feature is beneficial for people who make a lot of screen recordings on their device because it allows them to see where they’re touching the screen.

Notification Pop-Up After Installing an App

There’s a new notification pop-up after installing a new app on Android 13, which Android 12 did not have. It’s pretty great because it asks if you want to allow the app to send notifications. If you don’t want to allow notifications, you don’t have to do anything.

Improvements to Copy and Paste Functionality

Android 13 also has improvements to the copy and paste functionality. Once you make your selection, you can click copy, and a little pop-up will show up in the bottom left-hand corner. You can select that, edit whatever was in your clipboard and paste the edited copy instead of the original text.

Active Playing Screen

The active playing screen is one of the biggest visual changes in Android 13 from Android 12. When you’re playing some sort of media on your device in Android 13, there’s a nice view showing album art, on-screen controls, and an animated play bar. The new design looks great.

Charge Screen Animation

Another subtle change in Android 13 is that when the device is plugged in to charge, you get a full-screen animation. It’s a nice little design touch to the OS.

Final Thoughts

Overall, there weren’t many visual changes from Android 12 to Android 13 for my use cases. Android 11 to Android 12 had some significant visual design changes. If you’re interested in seeing all the Android 13 related changes, Esper.io has a great blog post summarizing all the changes that were made. Lastly, if you’re interested in hearing from me outside of this weekly video, head over to Cidabritos.com and sign up for my somewhat weekly newsletter.

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