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Google releases Android 13 QPR1 beta 3 for Pixel 4a through Pixel 7 line

Oh, that Google! Lately, you never can figure out when an update is coming. Remember, Android 13 arrived in August this year, weeks ahead of schedule. Right now, some Pixel users are running Android 13 QPR1 beta 2 which is a beta version of the upcoming December Pixel Quarterly Feature Drop that could be released on December 5th. The third beta wasn’t expected until next month with the fourth release being the actual feature drop in December.

Google releases Android 13 QPR1 beta 3 approximately two weeks early

But Google surprised us once again and owners of the Pixel 4a through the newly released Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro have received Android 13 QPR1 (for Quarterly Platform Release number 1) beta 3. To install it, go to Settings > System > System update and follow the directions. The build number is T1B3.221003.003 and, at least on my Pixel 6 Pro, the update weighs in at 130MB.

While Google didn’t release a list of new features that are part of the update, it did provide a list of bugs that are exterminated with Android 13 QPR1 beta 3:

  • Fixed an issue for some devices where the screen unlock UI was displayed over notifications and other lock-screen content. 
  • Fixed an issue that prevented the “Flip camera for selfie” gesture from working on some devices.
  • Fixed an issue that sometimes caused the screen to go blank while attempting to unlock a device.
  • Fixed an issue that sometimes prevented a device from being unlocked using either Face Unlock or Fingerprint Unlock when the device had been idle for multiple hours.
  • Fixed an issue that sometimes caused fullscreen video playback to flicker after enabling always-on-display features and locking the screen.
There are a couple of known issues, one for the Android platform in general and another for the Pixel phones specifically. The former issue deals with a problem with a phone’s graphics processing unit (known in this neck of the woods as the GPU) causing the System UI to freeze during normal use. Google suggests restarting the device to work around this.

The next release should be the final, stable version of the December Pixel Feature Drop

The known Pixel issue is one where a Pixel phone displays a notification reading “Missed call” instead of “Call answered on another device” when a call is answered remotely by a Pixel Watch (in untethered mode). Google also might have activated some server-side updates earlier in the day as this writer noticed some changes to the labeling of buttons when answering an incoming phone call on the Pixel 6 Pro.

You can join the Android 13 QPR1 beta 3 program by going to www.google.com/android/beta or by tapping on this link. Press the button that says “View your eligible devices” and you’ll see a picture of your Pixel phone. Underneath the image is a box that says Opt in. Press that box and you’ll receive an update at Settings > System > System update.

Do not opt out of the beta program until the final version of Quarterly Feature Drop is indeed dropped. Otherwise, you will have to wipe all of the data off of your phone. On the other hand, if the aforementioned bug fixes don’t affect you and you don’t mind waiting until December for the new features that will be added to the Pixel 4a, Pixel 4a (5G), Pixel 5, Pixel 5a, Pixel 6, Pixel 6 Pro, Pixel 6a, Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro, just sit back and relax and wait for the update to drop.

Before you know it, Google will release the Android 14 developer preview as soon as February. That will be followed by the Android 14 beta program as the cycle repeats. This year, Google started the Android 13 developer program in February and released the first Android 13 beta in April. We should see similar timing with the first Android 14 beta made available sometime in April 2023.

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