4 super-handy features coming in the next Android 13 update

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At MWC 2023 in Barcelona, Google has announced several handy features coming to your Android smartphone via its next Android 13 update.

As expected, the changes are more incremental than you’d see from a larger Android 14 overhaul, but nevertheless, the tools being added to the best Android phones are still worth paying attention to. They include new Emoji Kitchen brews, handier Google keep notes, and less noise in Google Meet calls (via Google’s blog).

The updates should be rolled out over the next few days and weeks, so be sure to check your device’s update settings to see when you can upgrade to the latest Android OS.

Google Keep widget

If you rely on Google Keep notes to keep your life in order, you’ll be excited to hear that the app is getting an Android widget that lets you see notes on your phone’s home screen. This can include your shopping list note that you can tick off as you go around the store, an image of some specific item you need to look out for, or any of your many other reminders. 

Taps on WearOS smartwatch setting up a Keeps reminder

(Image credit: Google)

Plus, those of you with a WearOS watch like the Galaxy Watch 5 or the Pixel Watch will benefit from two new shortcuts, allowing you to create notes and to-do lists with a couple of taps on your watch face. 

Google Meet noise cancellation

This feature was already available on some Android devices, but it’s finally rolling out to more of them. Thanks to noise cancellation, the next time you have to join a meeting from your smartphone you won’t need to worry so much about the noise around you – like that annoying neighbor mowing their lawn, or the noise of the cafe you’re working in – will be filtered out. The system isn’t able to hide all background noise, but it does a pretty solid job of making callers easier to understand.

New Emoji Kitchen combos

Emoji Kitchen is the Gboard feature that automatically melds your Android emojis to create a combination that better captures your mood. If, for example, you want to communicate that you find something both mind-blowing and hilarious, Gboard can merge the exploding head and crying laughing emojis into one image to capture that emotion. 

Taps showing an Android 13 user creating a basketball heart emoji

(Image credit: Google)

This Android update brings new possible emoji mash-ups to help you convey an even wider range of emotions. In the teaser gif above we see that a basketball fan is able to express their love of the game by merging the basketball and sparkling heart emoji. 

Improved zoom for Chrome

Zooming in on pages in Google Chrome was like zooming in on a static image; the words and icons get larger but disappear off the screen. The upcoming Android update will allow you to zoom on a page up to 300% while still maintaining the page’s layout and keeping everything on-screen. You can also set a preferred content size, so that each page is automatically zoomed in when you load it.

This feature won’t roll out until March, but you can access it via the Chrome Beta and going into the app’s Accessibility Settings.

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