Before we get started I want to remind you that the standard Android OS mantra applies.. you probably don’t have it yet and only your phone manufacturer and carrier can tell you when you might see this update. So far, rollout of this version has begun for Nexus devices, although Google has said Nexus 5 and Nexus 9 owners are out of luck, they won’t be getting this update at all. If you want to know when your Android device will be receiving this update your best bet is to check your phone manufacturer’s website to see when and if, you’ll be getting this sweet update.
Now that that’s out of the way, let’s get to the exciting part of this article, what’s so great about Android Nougat, when you do get it? What can it do for you that the previous version, Android Marshmallow couldn’t?
Well, the highlights of this update include: an improved Doze; support for an API that will deliver a richer gaming experience; a VR mode that will work with future Daydream VR-ready Android phones; a splitscreen mode for better multitasking; and a fully redesigned Quick Settings bar.
- JIT compiler: The new JIT compiler sounds like a bunch of nonsense to us, non-technical folks, but what you need to know is that it’s designed improve the runtime performance of your device. It also reduces the amount of storage required for apps and makes app and system updates noticeably faster.
- VR mode: This is system level support for something that isn’t quite a thing yet. It’s designed to work with Google Daydream VR and Daydream-ready phones, neither of those two things have been released yet.
- Vulkan API: Like the JIT compiler above, you may be scratching your head wondering what those words actually mean. But what you need to know is that on supported devices this will deliver eye-catching, high-performance, 3D graphics in apps that choose to support it.
- Doze: Doze is an extreme power-saving mode introduced with Marshmallow designed to improve the battery life of your device. Now it works to conserve battery life, when you’re not using your phone, even when you’re on the move (the previous version required you to be stationary.)
- Data saver: This is the feature you’ve all been waiting for, when enabled it prevents apps running in the background from accessing your cellular data. So it can potentially save you from paying data overages on your next bill.
- Split-screen mode: This feature is for multitaskers, it allows you to run two apps side-by-side in split screen mode. That way it’s easier to text when watching YouTube videos or see both your timer and favourite recipe app.
- Picture-in-picture mode: This is for you if you have an Android TV, it allows you to continue watching your current video while browsing or fiddling with your settings.
- Quick switch: Double tapping the Overview button (the one that looks like a square), will allow you to quickly switch between your two most recently used apps.
- Bundled notifications: Instead of getting a ton of notifications from the same app, they can be grouped together in an expandable “bundle” that will appear as a single notification. You can dismiss them all at once by swiping or you can expand it to deal with each one individually.
- Direct reply: Now you’ll be able to reply to a message quickly and conveniently directly from your notification shade. It saves you from having to open the actual app to craft your response.
- Notification controls: Taking charge of your notification settings becomes even in easier in Android Nougat. When a new notification comes up, you just tap and hold it to toggle its notification settings. That’s right you’ll be able to silence future app alerts in the notification itself.
- Customizable Quick Settings: Now you’ll be able to rearrange your Quick Settings tiles, so you can find the setting you’re looking for faster. For instance, now you’ll be able to put the battery saver Quick Settings tile before a lesser used setting, like airplane mode.
- Quick Settings bar: A subtle tweak to the Quick Settings bar, puts your top Quick Settings tiles directly in your notification shade.
- Improved Settings navigation: Google recognizes that your Android settings can be a confusing maze of menus, so it’s taken steps to clarify and improve the way settings are displayed to help you find what you’re looking for faster.
- Settings suggestion: Again to make changing Settings less of a hassle, Settings can offer you suggestions on how to get more out of your Android device.
- ‘Clear all’ in Overview: Now when you press your Overview button, (again that square-iconed button that shows you which apps are open), you’ll get a “clear all” option. That way you can close all the apps that are running in the background at once.
- Emergency Information: Now you have the option to add important emergency information like your name, blood type, allergies and emergency contact information to your lockscreen so that it’s readily accessible to emergency responders.
- Lockscreen wallpaper: Instead of having to go through third party apps, now you can set up different homescreen and lockscreen wallpapers on your device directly.
- Unicode 9 emoji: You’re getting more of those cute little emoji to help you express yourself including redesigned human emoji that look less like amorphous blobs and the ability to add different skin tones. Also and this is super important, they’ve added bacon, selfie and avocado emojis, among others.
- Direct Boot: Direct Boot helps you when you restart your Android device ensuring that it not only restarts faster, but it also allows important communications to run. So before you’re prompted to unlock your device you’ll be able to receive you’ll still be able to hear your alarm clock or recieve an important text message.
- Seamless software updates: On select Android devices running Nougat, new OS updates will be able to be downloaded and run in the background. This allows you to get on with your day and use your device while the OS quietly updates in the background.
- File-based encryption: This is built on top of Android’s existing security platform, introducing file-based encryption. By encrypting at the file level instead of the block level, Android can better isolate and protect files for individual users on your device.
- Scoped folder access: Apps can request access to specific folders that you can allow or deny access to (just like app runtime permissions). So instead of an overarching the storage permission for apps, they can specify they that only need access to certain folders. It can also allow apps to request direct access to removable media (on devices with that hardware).
- Trusted face: Trusted face, a part of Smart Lock, has updated its new face recognizer. The new recognizer is less sensitive to conditions like lighting, new facial hair, whether or not you’re wearing glasses, and how you hold your phone. This feature will only be available on select devices.
- Improved system backup coverage: More device settings are covered by Android Backup, including accessibility settings, run-time permissions for apps, Wi-Fi hotspot settings and Wi-Fi network restrictions. So if you have to restore your device from a backup it’s easier to get it back exactly the way you like it.
- Multi-locale support: This is primarily about your language settings. If you set up to select multiple locales in Settings you’ll be able to have a more personalized experience, with features such as showing search results in multiple languages and not offering to translate webpages in a language you already know.
- New languages supported: In addition to allowing you to select multiple languages preferences, this version of Android allows you to select from 100 new languages and 25 locales for commonly used languages such as English, Spanish, French, and Arabic. This helps your apps provide to better support and understand your language preferences, even if your devices lacks official support for it.
- New language preferences: You can sort your language preferences so that apps can pick the right keyboard & text for you.
- Accessibility settings in setup: Instead of fixing your accessiblity settings after you set up the device, now you can, setup magnification, gesture, font size, display size, and TalkBack right out of the box.
- Display size: Now setting your display size extends beyond just deciding on the size of the text on your device. Now you can resize of all the display elements including icons and images.
- Accessibility mono output: This is a feature that assists users with hearing loss in one ear, by combining stereo left and right channel output to a single mono stream.
- Variable text to speech speed: This is designed to make it easier for of text to speech users to take advantage of this accessiblity setting by allowing you to set a wider range for speech speed and pitches.
- Work mode: Work mode allows you to turn on and off your device’s work apps and notifications to improve your work, life balance.