How to get An­droid P fea­tures right now

THE LAT­EST OS TAKES THE BIS­CUIT FROM OREO.

TechLife Australia - - WELCOME - [ CHARLES HANDMER ]

WHILE MOST USERS with newer phones are al­ready run­ning An­droid 8 Oreo, plenty are still wait­ing for the up­date. But Google has re­cently re­leased the public beta for the lat­est ver­sion — An­droid P. Not sur­pris­ingly, it can be in­stalled on Google’s own Pixel and Pixel 2 phones, as well as mod­els from OnePlus, Sony, Xiaomi, Oppo, Nokia and Vivo. For the rest of us, though, with a lit­tle el­bow grease, it’s en­tirely pos­si­ble to repli­cate some of the best fea­tures on older ver­sions of An­droid. The best part is that no root ac­cess is needed, but most of the apps need to be side­loaded, mean­ing they are down­loaded from sites and ser­vices other than the Google Play Store (we in­cluded in­struc­tions on how to do that). We ran through the in­struc­tions for a phone run­ning stock An­droid Oreo, so keep in mind that some of your set­tings menus might be slightly dif­fer­ent.

AN­DROID P BETA

In many ways, some of the best fea­tures of An­droid P are be­hind the scenes and can’t be eas­ily repli­cated. The new ver­sion fo­cuses on of­fer­ing a sim­pli­fied, in­tu­itive user in­ter­face, as well as im­prove­ments on bat­tery use and au­dio. It even im­proves sup­port for screen notches, if that is your thing. If you hap­pen to have one of the sup­ported phones (check at de­vel­oper.an­droid.com/pre­view/de­vices), then try­ing the beta for your­self is very easy.

It’s worth not­ing, though, that as a beta, you might ex­pe­ri­ence some bugs or in­sta­bil­ity that will be ironed out for the of­fi­cial re­lease. So be­fore get­ting started, make sure ev­ery­thing on your de­vice is backed up. To get the An­droid P Beta, check you are logged into your Google ac­count and head to the An­droid Beta Pro­gram Web­site ( www.google.com/an­droid/beta). Se­lect ‘View your el­i­gi­ble de­vices’, then se­lect the En­rol but­ton next to your de­vice and agree to the terms and con­di­tions. It can take a lit­tle while, but you will re­ceive a no­ti­fi­ca­tion from Google that the up­date is ready to down­load, and it will walk you through the process.

AN­DROID P LAUNCHER

One of the eas­i­est changes to get the look and feel of An­droid P is to in­stall the new launcher. Check out the XDA de­vel­op­ers fo­rum post here ( bit.ly/2Li8wqy), then down­load and in­stall the APK file. Tap­ping your home but­ton should prompt it to ask if you want to set it as your new de­fault launcher. If not, head to ‘Set­tings > Apps & No­ti­fi­ca­tions > Ad­vanced > De­fault apps > Home app’ and se­lect the An­droid P launcher. An­other more com­plex op­tion (al­beit with more flex­i­bil­ity) is to use Nova Launcher ( no­valauncher.com) and recre­ate the look of the An­droid P launcher man­u­ally. We have cov­ered how to cus­tomise Nova Launcher in a pre­vi­ous guide (see is­sue 76, page 94), and you can find loads of great info via Google search.

RO­TA­TION CON­TROL

An­droid P in­cludes a new smarter way to con­trol your au­to­matic screen ro­ta­tion, us­ing a lit­tle icon that only pops up when the screen ro­tates. But you can get the same fea­tures, with even more cus­tomi­sa­tion abil­ity, us­ing the free (with paid up­grades) app An­droid P Ro­ta­tion ( bit.ly/2Nfep8D).

VOL­UME SLIDER

It might seem like a small thing, but An­droid P has a funky new vol­ume slider. In­stead of run­ning hor­i­zon­tally up the top of your screen, it’s now ver­ti­cal down the side. It still op­er­ates the same, but just feels more in­tu­itive. Once again, some XDA de­vel­op­ers have made the new slider avail­able, and even added the abil­ity to cus­tomise it. Down­load it to your de­vice here ( bit.ly/2KZ5QBZ), in­stall it (it will ask for some per­mis­sions) and then en­joy ver­ti­cal vol­ume slid­ing. For even deeper vol­ume cus­tomi­sa­tions op­tions, check out the free (with paid up­grades) app Vol­umeP ( bit.ly/2rG1qEz).

SCREEN­SHOT MARKUP

While avail­able from third par­ties and man­u­fac­turer cus­tomised ver­sions of An­droid, un­til An­droid P you could not im­me­di­ately edit a screen­shot af­ter tak­ing it. It’s not a ma­jor change, but the abil­ity to quickly trim down a screen­shot be­fore send­ing it to some­one is a nice lit­tle time saver for many. And an XDA de­vel­oper has made the fea­ture avail­able for any­one ( bit.ly/2uwBEUT) — just down­load and in­stall it. You do need to share the screen­shot to Markup af­ter tak­ing it (which is an ex­tra step com­pared to An­droid P) but it’s still handy. An­other op­tion is the great third party app, Screen­shot Crop & Share ( bit.ly/2b3mWMy).

LOCK­DOWN MODE

In An­droid P, press­ing the power but­ton brings up the op­tion to put your phone into a locked mode where bio­met­rics such as fin­ger­print scan­ning or fa­cial recog­ni­tion are dis­abled and the PIN is needed. This makes it harder for some­one to force you to un­lock your de­vice, or to try and fool the bio­met­rics. Sim­i­lar func­tion­al­ity can be achieved with a third-party app called Lock­down Mode from An­droid P ( bit.ly/2Ll6k1v). The only down­side is that it needs to be run with your phone un­locked, rather than di­rectly from the lockscreen, but is still a handy ex­tra layer of se­cu­rity.

IT’S WORTH NOT­ING, THOUGH, THAT AS A BETA, YOU MIGHT EX­PE­RI­ENCE SOME BUGS OR IN­STA­BIL­ITY THAT WILL BE IRONED OUT FOR THE OF­FI­CIAL RE­LEASE.

Lock­down Mode al­lows you to tem­po­rally dis­able bio­met­ric se­cu­rity and only al­low lo­gin with a PIN or pass­word.

While the An­droid P launcher is great, Nova Launcher can give the same look with loads of ex­tra cus­tomi­sa­tion.

The free app Vol­umeP en­ables an An­droid P-style vol­ume slider, as well as plenty of other op­tions for au­dio con­trol.

Screen­shot Crop & Share al­lows you to quickly edit screen­shots af­ter tak­ing them and share them.

The handy free app, An­droid P Ro­ta­tion Con­trol, pro­vides smarter ways to con­trol your screen ro­ta­tion.

Side­load­ing an app means in­stalling from a source other than the Google Play Store, and needs special per­mis­sions ac­ti­vated in the se­cu­rity set­tings.

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