Google increases the minimum specs for an Android 13 phone

Android Requirements

What has just happened? The Android mobile operating system has come a long way over time. And, just like with a lot of other types of software, the minimum device requirements for running the OS have kept going up. For Android 13, Google has raised these minimum requirements once again.

Android 13 has been in beta and preview for a long time. In August, Pixel phones started getting it. It’s good news for people who always want to use the latest version, but the new requirements for the operating system are likely to affect a lot of phone users in developing countries.

Google says that Android Go users who want to switch to Android 13 will need at least 2GB of RAM. Android Go is a low-power version of Android designed for cheaper smartphones. Compared to Android 11 and Android 12 (Go Edition), that’s a 1GB increase. In contrast, Android 8 through 10 only needed 512MB.

ReleaseAndroid 8Android 9Android 10Android 11Android 12Android 13
Android system requirements over the years.

Even though it’s not mentioned in Google’s post, Esper’s Mishaal Rahman and Google Product Expert Jason Bayton write (via Ars Technica) that the minimum storage requirements have also gone up to 16GB.

Google’s requirements won’t have much of an effect on the US market. Even cheap phones like this one from Walmart for $30 have 3GB of RAM and 32GB of storage space. Most of the requirements for Android Go are meant to keep OEMs in the developing world in line, where devices with 1GB of RAM are still available. Google says that over 250 million people are using Android Go right now.

Even though these are just the phone requirements, it would be a good idea for every Android device to have at least 16GB of storage. Protocol said last month that Google “strongly encouraged” makers of smart TVs and streaming devices to include 16GB of storage. Google’s Chromecast with Google TV is based on Android, but it only has 8GB of storage and is always giving people trouble. It’s so bad that we wouldn’t be surprised if the cheaper model, which is said to have more storage, turned out to be true.

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