Today, Google began rolling out its latest mobile operating system — Android 7 (AKA "Nougat") — to select Nexus devices. Here are the major changes you need to know about.
The OS formerly known as Android N is officially out today for a range of Nexus phones. Now dubbed "Android Nougat", the new mobile operating system ushers in some noteworthy improvements and new productivity tools which we've outlined below. But first, here are the Nexus models that are currently supported by the update:
- Nexus 6
- Nexus 5X
- Nexus 6P
- Nexus 9
- Nexus Player
- Pixel C
- General Mobile 4G (Android One)
[Note: If you've been using the official Android Beta program, you should also receive the update.]
Android 7's new notifications pane has been overhauled with a bunch of new options. For example, notifications from the same app now bundle themselves together for easier viewing. Simply tap on the main icon to see the rest. Each app also has its own notifications settings. This means you can adjust features like vibration or silence notifications at the app level.
Among Android Nougat's biggest new features, the OS will now support multi-window mode for most apps. To activate multi-window mode, simply long-press the square Recents button and open two apps at once. While this is nothing new for Samsung Galaxy users, it's the first time it's been built directly into the Android OS.
You can now switch back and forth between apps with a double tap of the menu button.
Icon size adjustments
In addition to text size, you can now change the size of the icons on your device. If your vision isn't the best this is obviously a nice option to have.
Advanced file manager
Android's built-in file manager has always been a bit crap, necessitating the use of third-party tools like File Commander or ES File Explorer. The new-look menu makes it a lot easier to access specific file types and directories. You can also rename files and move them to different folders.
Data Saver is a new tool that lets you limit how much data your device uses. When activated, non-essential apps that run in the background won't be able to access your data.
This is a new battery saving feature that automatically activates low power usage when you're carrying your phone around without using it.
Customise Quick Settings
You can now rearrange your Quick Setting tiles to prioritise the ones you use most. A neat little time saver.
Direct replies from notifications bar
You can now reply directly to messages and emails from the notifications bar without opening the required app.
Multi Locale language settings
If you're bi-lingual, you can now use two or more languages at the same time.
72 new emojis
Android now has over 1500 emoji built in. We're too old for this shit, but plenty of users are going to be chuffed.
Android's latest application programming interface (API) is designed to work across different mobile and console and desktop gaming platforms and is purportedly easier to develop for. This is a boon for anyone that's into mobile gaming or uses graphically taxing work applications.
The latest version of Android's JIT compiler optimises apps for your phone's unique hardware specifications. This has the potential to significantly reduce the storage space needed for certain apps and should also make updates run faster.
Virtual Reality mode
Android now comes with an inbuilt Virtual Reality mode that will be compatible with Daydream-ready phones.
Where to download
If you have auto-updates enabled, you should have received a prompt to update your operating system by now. If not, you may need to manually download Android Nougat by diving into your phone's settings. As with other mass updates, it could take longer for some users to receive the update than others: Google has indicated that it could take several weeks to reach all devices.
You can find more information about the OS at Google's official Android website.