Android updates aren’t as exciting as they once were, but there’s still some fun to be had if you’re patient. Google began the process of overhauling the Android UI with Material You in Android 12, and the process continued in Android 13. As with so many changes over the years, Material You will only reach its full potential with buy-in from developers — this has long been Google’s Achilles’ heel. There’s reason to be optimistic about Material You, but it’s too soon to call it a success. Some pieces of the puzzle are still missing, and they may never slot into place the way Google envisions.
There were plenty of reasons to be skeptical of Material You’s success right out of the gate. Google rolled out Android 12 on the Pixels with good but not great first-party support. Most of Google’s apps supported the basic theme options, but some stragglers took a few months to catch up.