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New Android update lets you unlock Google Home without touching your phone

Best new features of Android 13

Google’s next major update to the Android operating system for smartphones — Android 13 — launched a few weeks ago. Among the biggest features is a function that lets you control your connected smart devices right from your lock screen — without having to unlock your phone. Next time you want to dim your lights, start your washing machine or change your thermostat’s temperature you can do it faster and easier.

In this article: Google Pixel 6 Pro, Google Nest Hub (Second Generation) and Google Nest Learning Thermostat.

How do I set up lock screen control?

This feature isn’t on by default, so you need to dive into your settings to turn it on.

  • First, get to your settings by swiping down on your screen twice, then tapping the icon that looks like a cog.
  • Secondly, scroll to the display section of your settings.
  • Thirdly, in the display settings, there’s a section called “lock screen.” Access that.
  • Finally, turn the “control from locked device” setting on.

However, enabling this setting is only half the battle. For your Android 13-running phone to control connected devices, you need to go into your to-be-controlled devices’ settings and turn on the ability for them to be controlled in this manner. Each device has a different settings structure so there’s no general guide for this. But, if you look through their settings long enough, you’ll find it eventually.

What else is new in Android 13?

There are many updates in Android 13, but some of the best are:

  • Cross-app customization: Non-Google apps can automatically match your phone’s theme and colors.
  • Multilingual: You can choose which language is used on a per-app basis rather than being stuck with one across your phone.
  • Update media player: The visuals of your music and podcasts will be more true-to-form based on what you’re listening to.
  • Updated Bedtime mode: Several updates have come to Bedtime mode, including being able to trigger dark mode and wallpaper dimming based on the time.
  • Enhanced security: Security has improved in multiple ways, such as being able to only share specific photos with apps rather than your entire library and auto-clearing your clipboard if it has sensitive information.
  • Improved connectivity: Android phones and tablets and Chromebook laptops now have a suite of improved connectivity features that make it easier to seamlessly shift from one device to the other.

What’s the best Google Pixel to buy?

Google Pixel 6 Pro

This is Google’s current flagship phone, packed with all the best technology such as fast charging and 24-plus hours of battery life. It also has the largest 6.7-inch 4K and 120-hertz screen.

Sold by Amazon

Google Pixel 6

The Google Pixel 6 takes only a small step down from the 6 Pro. It has the same fast charging and long-running battery, but with a smaller 6.4-inch HD and 90-hertz screen.

Sold by Amazon

Google Pixel 6a

The Google Pixel 6 is yet another step down, with a smaller 6.1-inch HD and 60-hertz screen. It also lacks support for wireless charging and isn’t as water resistant.

Sold by Amazon

Google Pixel 5

The Google Pixel 5 has both better and worse specs than the 6a. Screen-wise, it’s almost identical with a 6-inch HD display, though it has a 90-hertz refresh rate. Battery-wise, it doesn’t last as long, but it supports wireless charging and can use its power to charge other devices.

Sold by Amazon

Google Pixel 5a

Again with the Google Pixel 5a comes specs that are better and worse than the 5. The screen is larger at 6.34 inches and its display is slightly higher quality, but it doesn’t have the 90-hertz refresh rate. Its battery lasts longer, but it can’t charge wirelessly or charge other devices.

Sold by Amazon

Google Pixel 4a With 5G

The Google Pixel 4a with 5G is the oldest current model of Pixel that can still take advantage of the current best data speeds, 5G. It has a 6.2-inch HD screen but its battery is the weakest and shortest lasting yet, plus it doesn’t have wireless charging.

Sold by Amazon

Google Pixel 4a

If you don’t need the fastest data speeds, then the 4a is your best bet. It has a 5.8-inch HD display with a solid camera and a fast-charging capable battery.

Sold by Amazon

Google Pixel 4 XL

If you don’t need the fastest data speeds but still want the best possible specs, consider the 4 XL. It has a larger 6.3-inch display with a quality between HD and 4K and a 90-hertz refresh rate. It also has a better battery with wireless charging capability.

Sold by Amazon

Google Pixel 4

The Google Pixel 4 is the oldest model still supported by Google. Its specs aren’t good enough for more than basic calls, texts and web surfing, but it’s also practically free compared to most modern smartphones. If you just want the basics, it’s hard to do better.

Sold by Amazon

What’s the best Google smart home device to buy?

Google Nest Hub (Second Generation)

This is the ultimate Google-based smart home hub. It can play music, show you footage from your doorbell, play videos from streaming services and can even make video calls.

Sold by Home Depot and Kohl’s

Google Nest Audio

This powerful speaker is built for music lovers. With Android 13 you can control the volume, skip between songs and scrub through your podcasts. It comes in five colors so it can blend on or become your new centerpiece.

Sold by Home Depot, Kohl’s and Staples

Google Nest Mini (Second Generation)

This is mostly meant to serve as an auxiliary speaker away from your main rooms, such as a bedroom or a bathroom. However, it’s still capable of outputting high-quality music and easily controlling all your smart devices.

Sold by Home Depot

Google Nest Learning Thermostat

This thermostat goes beyond just being able to change the temperature of your rooms by voice. It learns what temperatures you prefer and when you prefer them so it can automatically adjust, both for comfort and to maximize energy conservation.

Sold by Amazon and Home Depot

Google Nest Doorbell

Doorbell cameras have become practically a requirement in current times. Google’s version lets you easily access the feed anywhere at any time, plus it has backup protocols if your Wi-Fi goes down. It comes in battery-operated and wired forms.

Sold by Amazon, Dell, Home Depot, Kohl’s and Staples

Google Chromecast With Google TV

With all the streaming services available now, it can be difficult to keep track of them. This Chromecast puts them all under one controllable roof and lets you manipulate other aspects of your TV too, such as the power and volume.

Sold by Amazon, Home Depot and Kohl’s

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Jordan C. Woika writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money. 

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