Android 13 Upping its Security Game

Jamie Kavanagh
Jamie Kavanagh
May 25nd, 2022

The Google I/O last week had lots of useful information on what to expect from the company over the next 12 months. One of the most interesting parts to us were the changes in Android 13.

The OS itself looks good and should be a solid update to what we have now, but we are most intrigued by the new Security & Privacy settings page.

Security & Privacy settings

The proposal is to introduce a similar option as is in the Pixel Security Hub to the Android OS. It will provide a simple, no-nonsense page with clear, color-coded readouts of the various privacy settings you’ll come across.

Android 13 will also apparently add ‘clear and actionable guidance' to improve security on the phone.

Other security updates in Android 13

Android 13 will bring a couple of other security improvements to the OS, which will be welcome.

One is a non-permanent copy and paste. When you copy something your clipboard now, it will remain in memory until replaced or rebooted.

Android 13 introduces a temporary clipboard that will drop whatever you copied after a while. This means apps won’t be able to read what you have in your clipboard, which closes a security loophole.

Photo picker control

There is also a new photo picker feature that enables more control over what images an app can see. Currently, you have a binary choice. Allow an app to access your album or don’t.

This new feature will allow you to manually select individual images from your album that you want the app to see. Presumably this will have most value for photo editing apps, but could be usable everywhere.

WiFi without location

Another welcome change will be the option to connect to a WiFi network without having to turn on location. If you frequently use guest networks you will often be asked to turn on location even though GPS has nothing to do with WiFi.

You will finally be able to connect to any WiFi network without having to turn location services on first. It’s a minor security update but a very welcome one.

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