An­droid Nougat tips

An­droid Oreo is here, but you prob­a­bly haven’t tried ev­ery­thing in Nougat. Now’s the time. RYAN WHITWAM re­ports

Android Advisor - - Contents -

Google used to pro­duce a rather bare-bones ver­sion of An­droid, count­ing on OEMs like Sam­sung and LG to add in all the other cool fea­tures peo­ple might want. But to­day’s stock An­droid is more pow­er­ful, more fea­ture-rich, and more at­trac­tive with­out any help from the de­vice mak­ers.

This could mean some great fea­tures that you don’t even know about. So here are eight cool fea­tures in­side Nougat you’re prob­a­bly not us­ing.

1. Split-screen Chrome

An­droid 7.0’s split-screen app ca­pa­bil­i­ties are well known, but there’s one app that in­cludes a use­ful fea­ture that isn’t so ob­vi­ous: the Chrome browser lets you run two dif­fer­ent tabs on the screen at once.

To run two web pages in split-screen, open Chrome and en­sure you’ve got at least two tabs open. Long-press your An­droid over­view but­ton (it’s the one shaped like a square, right next to the home but­ton) to launch split-screen mode as you nor­mally would. Now tap the over­flow menu but­ton in Chrome, and select ‘Move to other win­dow’.

The tab you have up will move over to the other side of the split as a second in­stance of Chrome. When you’re done, exit split-screen mode by drag­ging the di­vider to one side. The tab will go back into your sin­gle Chrome in­stance. You can also close the tab and open a dif­fer­ent app in split-screen mode.

2. Clear all apps in mul­ti­task­ing

Some­times you just need to start fresh in your over­view screen, or shoo away all those open apps. Not all An­droid de­vices of­fered a quick way to do that be­fore, but as of An­droid 7.0, there’s a proper ‘clear all’ op­tion for the over­view list on all de­vices.

Some OEMs like Sam­sung and LG make the Clear All but­ton very ac­ces­si­ble at the bot­tom of the screen – maybe even too ac­ces­si­ble, as you can ac­ci­den­tally hit it and close all your open apps. On Google’s build of An­droid (and those based closely on it, like Mo­torola’s), you can find a Clear All op­tion at the top of your stack of apps. Just scroll all the way up, and you can press the but­ton to re­move all apps. Im­por­tantly, this does not clear back­ground tasks – it only ends user-fac­ing ac­tiv­ity.

3. Third-party quick set­tings

All phones and tablets run­ning An­droid 7.0 in­clude a cus­tom­iz­a­ble quick set­tings panel. How­ever, there’s an­other as­pect of this fea­ture that might in­ter­est you. You can also use third-party quick set­tings tiles on any de­vice. To find out if you have any, open the quick set­tings and tap the edit but­ton (it looks like a pen­cil).

Be­low the main list of set­tings is a se­lec­tion of un­used tiles. Any apps you’ve in­stalled that have their own quick set­tings tiles will show up here. You can long-press and drag to add or re­move apps. You can get quick ac­cess to things like VPN con­nec­tions (PIA), a Twit­ter client (Flamingo), and a va­ri­ety of cus­tom set­tings (Tile Ex­ten­sion for Nougat).

4. Apps in­stall source

Google has grad­u­ally been beef­ing up the in­for­ma­tion avail­able in your app set­tings in­ter­face. Nougat added a par­tic­u­larly cool new fea­ture: you can now see where an app came from – Google Play or a side­loaded APK.

To find this bit of info, open your sys­tem set­tings and select ‘Apps’. Pick any app in the list and scroll down to the bot­tom of the info screen. It will say ei­ther ‘App in­stalled from Pack­age In­staller’, or ‘App in­stalled from Google Play Store’. For those apps in­stalled via the Play Store, you can tap the em­bed­ded link to go right to the app’s list­ing in the Play Store. The pack­age in­staller link for side­loaded apps won’t do any­thing, though.

5. Quick app switch­ing

Google re­vamped the mul­ti­task­ing in­ter­face back in Lol­lipop, but An­droid 7.0 of­fers a new, faster way to flip be­tween apps. If you need to get back to the last app you had open, you don’t have to tap on the card in the over­view screen.

Just dou­ble-tap the over­view but­ton, and you’ll switch to the last app. Do it again, and you’ll re­turn to the app you just left. This should work on all An­droid de­vices run­ning Nougat or higher.

6. App short­cuts

Google’s app short­cuts are one of the few new fea­tures that rolled out as part of An­droid 7.1. All it takes is a long-press on the app icon. With the long­press menu up, you can tap on the list of short­cuts to open the app to the cor­re­spond­ing screen or ac­tion. For ex­am­ple, Google Drive has search, scan, and up­load as app short­cut op­tions. Set­tings has bat­tery, data us­age and Wi-Fi. The phone di­aller will show you op­tions for fre­quent con­tacts.

There’s an­other layer here: if you find your­self of­ten go­ing to the same place and do­ing the same thing in an app, you can make the long-press app short­cut into a reg­u­lar home screen short­cut. Sim­ply long-press on one of the short­cuts and drag it out of the pop-up menu. It be­comes an icon that you can drop any­place you want, and then launch it with a tap.

7. Pin apps to share menu

The An­droid share menu makes it easy to push links and files from one app to an­other. How­ever, if you have a lot of apps in­stalled, the list of apps and ac­tions in the menu can get rather un­gainly. There’s a lit­tle­known fea­ture in Nougat that can help: If you’re fre­quently us­ing the same few apps in the share menu, long-press on them in the menu. You get a popup that of­fers to link the app info set­tings or pin the app.

Pinned ac­tions in the share menu al­ways ap­pear at the top of the list for eas­ier ac­cess. But be aware, this works only in the na­tive An­droid share menu. If an app im­ple­ments its own ver­sion of the share ac­tiv­ity, your pinned apps may not be vis­i­ble at the top.

8. Data Saver

Most of us have to live with capped mo­bile data plans, but An­droid 7.0 added a new fea­ture that can help you stay un­der the cap. The Data Saver fea­ture is avail­able on vir­tu­ally all Nougat phones un­der the Data Us­age set­tings menu. Data Saver low­ers your mo­bile data us­age by pre­vent­ing apps from us­ing data in the back­ground. Just turn it on, and apps will pull down bytes only when you’re ac­tively us­ing them.

All phones have at least a few apps and ser­vices that are ex­empted from the Data Saver re­stric­tions. You can see which ones have un­re­stricted ac­cess in the Data Saver set­tings (they’re usu­ally Google Play Ser­vices, no­ti­fi­ca­tion han­dlers, and other sys­tem com­po­nents). You can turn un­re­stricted ac­cess on or off for any app, but be aware you might break things.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.