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Overlays For Android 13 Screen Savers Finally Appear In Video

Android 13 to logo from dev site DG AH 2022
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Following last week’s reports that Android 13 could bring usable information and actions to screen savers, those “complications” have now been shown working in video. The video was uploaded to Twitter by Esper’s Mishaal Rahman before being widely reported.

While the new feature is still very buggy, what it does show is how useful screen savers on Android 13 might finally be. The feature has been in place since Android Jellybean 4.2 in late 2012. But, prior to the newly-spotted complications, they didn’t really do much. Now, the screen savers show the At a Glance Widget, time, date, weather, and battery information.

As shown in the tweet embedded below, Mr. Rahman shows those details over the “Colors” screen saver. Prior to the new feature, that would only have shown a shifting color gradient.

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What’s the big deal with this change to Android 13 screen savers?

Now the feature in question could ultimately be dropped before the final release of Android 13. Right now, the firmware is in its second developer preview. With beta releases coming in the future — reportedly in the next month or so.

In its current form, Google has effectively hidden the complications entirely from view. So they aren’t available to just anybody in the developer build. Mr. Rahman first needed to dig into the underlying code to activate the feature. And then he needed to activate the “Show additional information” toggle within the screen saver settings.

So the feature could ultimately be dropped.

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In the interim, Android 13 Developer Preview 2 also contained a new wallpaper effects generator API. Specifically, that’s for applying visual effects to wallpapers. Google could ultimately drop that feature from the roster as well. But if it does include the feature, especially if that’s alongside the new complications feature, this would mark the biggest change to screen savers in Android in nearly a decade.