My Abuelita wants to occasionally use my Android phone to check out pages on the Web. I use my phone in English but she prefers Spanish. Can I have just a single app work in Spanish in Android 13?
Android 13 proudly advertises that it does indeed support per-app language changes so that exactly your situation should work: The phone’s default language is English but a specific app is set to work in Spanish instead. There are dozens of languages that (theoretically) should work too, from Chinese to Arabic, German to Croatian. But does it actually work? Well…
Shortcuts: Add Language in Settings | In App Langauge Settings | One Last Try
Informal research suggests that maybe 20% of Android apps support separate language settings, but even with those, changing your setting and having the app recognize those settings are two entirely separate things. Let’s have a look and perhaps you’ll have good luck with your own settings. For this demo I’m going to try and change the default language in the popular Opera browser for Android to Spanish while leaving the default language of the device to English…
ADD LANGUAGES IN SETTINGS
The first step is to go into the Settings app and navigate to System: You need to add the support files needed for the new language.
The very first option is what you seek: “Languages & input“. Tap on it.
Tap on “Languages” to start, then you’ll be able to pick the new language you want to add:
Well, once you tap on “+ Add a language” that is…
There are a staggering number of languages from which to choose, but fortunately, Español is numero uno. Tap on it. Theoretically, you should now be all set.
SWITCH TO THE OPERA BROWSER APP
Time to switch to Opera, which has its own settings to allow you to choose a different language. You can reach it by tapping on the profile icon on the lower right corner of the screen. A window slides up with quite a few options:
Almost there. Tap on the gear icon on the top right and you’ll have access to a lot of settings:
Just below the horizontal divider line is “Browser: Language, startup, default browser“. Tap on that to proceed…
The third option, “App language and webpage translation” is the last step you’ll need to take. It will take you to this prompt:
Tap on “App language” to change it from English to Spanish. It’ll show the available language choices:
Looks so promising, right? A tap on the language you desire and it should just switch. But I’m sad to report that I did not find that to be the case on my test phone, even after multiple restarts. Instead, I got this error message when choosing any language other than the system default of English:
Theoretically, however, this is exactly how you should change languages in an app.
ONE LAST TRY IN SETTINGS
There’s one other possibility; in Settings > System > Languages & input there was an option for App Language. Choose that and it shows a small subset of your total apps, ostensibly those that support switching languages. Opera, I will note, is not on that list.
Google News is, however, but when I tried to switch that to Spanish, it looked like it was all set up properly, but the app worked in English nonetheless, including its own settings and profile screens.
Does the feature work? Is it fixed in Android 14? Unfortunately, I’m going to have to leave that to your experimentation because so far I haven’t been able to make this work.
Tip: There are lots of ways to manage your Android 13 devices and ensure the best possible experience. Learn more by checking out my extensive Android help area while you’re here too!