An­droid P: Ev­ery­thing you need to know

looks at Google’s lat­est mo­bile op­er­at­ing sys­tem

Tech Advisor - - Buying Guide -

It’s that time of year again. No, we’re not talk­ing about back-to-school or the end of sum­mer – it’s time for a new flavour of An­droid. And this year the tasty con­fec­tion is... Pie. That’s right, the ninth ver­sion of An­droid has an of­fi­cial name and that means it’s ready to in­stall on the pre­cious few phones lucky enough to sup­port it on day one.

This year, how­ever, the wait for An­droid Pie might not be so ex­cru­ci­at­ing. Thanks to Project Tre­ble, sev­eral

phones al­ready have beta ver­sions of An­droid 9 in the wild, so it could be weeks, not months, be­fore it starts show­ing up on more phones. But no mat­ter how long it takes, it’ll be worth the wait. Pie in­tro­duces enough new fea­tures to make any Oreo user jeal­ous, so even if it hasn’t landed on your phone yet, you’ll want to learn all about what’s in store for the ninth ma­jor ver­sion of An­droid.

How to get An­droid 9 Pie Can I get An­droid Pie on my phone?

Of­fi­cially, the crop of hand­sets that were able to in­stall An­droid Pie on day one is smaller than ever now that the Nexus phones have dropped off the list: Pixel Pixel XL Pixel 2 Pixel 2 XL

How­ever, thanks to An­droid One and Project Tre­ble in Oreo, more phones than ever are tak­ing ad­van­tage of the eas­ier up­grade path. Many man­u­fac­tur­ers have al­ready pushed out An­droid Pie be­tas, so if you have one of th­ese phones, you should be next in line to get a piece of Pie: Es­sen­tial Phone Nokia 7 Plus One­Plus 6 Oppo R15 Pro Sony Xpe­ria XZ2

• Vivo X21

• Vivo X21UD

• Xiaomi Mi Mix 2S

If I have a Pixel, how do I get Pie?

Easy. Once it’s avail­able for your de­vice (which could be to­day or to­mor­row, de­pend­ing on your car­rier and model), you’ll get a no­ti­fi­ca­tion telling you that the An­droid 9 up­date is avail­able. Tap it, press the in­stall but­ton, and restart when prompted to give it a whirl.

If you don’t want to wait for the easy over-the-air de­liv­ery, you can also down­load the fac­tory im­age to your PC and in­stall it on your phone man­u­ally. It’s a lit­tle more dif­fi­cult and re­quires a work­ing knowl­edge of the com­mand line on your Mac or PC, but it’s the only way to be sure that you’ll be among the first to have it on your phone.

If I have one of those other phones, how can I get An­droid Pie?

If you have an Es­sen­tial Phone, you can get it right now. Just head over to Sys­tem up­date in the Sys­tem set­tings and tap Check for up­date. The An­droid 9 up­date will ap­pear and you can down­load and in­stall it now.

For the other phones on the list, you can ei­ther wait un­til the man­u­fac­turer pushes the of­fi­cial ver­sion to the pub­lic, or you can down­load the ap­pro­pri­ate beta sys­tem im­ages onto your PC and man­u­ally flash An­droid P onto your phone. It’s not for the faint of heart and you’ll be writ­ing over very im­por­tant sys­tem files, so you should def­i­nitely make sure you have a backup of your phone’s im­por­tant data first. But if you choose that process, you’ll be well ac­quainted with An­droid Pie by the time the of­fi­cial pub­lic ver­sion ar­rives.

I al­ready signed up for the pub­lic beta. Do I need to re­move it to in­stall the new ver­sion?

No. You’ll get a no­ti­fi­ca­tion when the new ver­sion is avail­able and you can in­stall it right over the lat­est beta build. Plus, you’ll still get ac­cess to all fu­ture An­droid Pie be­tas. How­ever, if you want to start from scratch, you can al­ways per­form a fac­tory re­store by go­ing to Set­tings > Sys­tem > Ad­vanced > Re­set Op­tions >Erase all data (fac­tory re­set). Then you’ll be sure to get the best pos­si­ble per­for­mance out of An­droid Pie.

An­droid 9 Pie fea­tures Dis­play cutout sup­port

In case you haven’t picked up an An­droid phone in the past few months, there’s a new trend: cam­era

notches. And with the up­com­ing Pixel 3 ru­moured to in­clude one too, Google did the log­i­cal thing and added dis­play cutout sup­port in An­droid Pie. You won’t no­tice too much of a change in non-notch phones, but apps and videos on phones such as the LG G7 and One­Plus 6 will be sure to dis­play cor­rectly once you in­stall An­droid Pie.

One notch-re­lated change that will af­fect all phones in Pie is the sta­tus bar. Be­cause the mid­dle of the top of the screen is re­served for a cam­era, a few things have been tweaked to ac­com­mo­date the loss of space. For one, the time has been shifted to the far left of the screen, leav­ing the bat­tery icon and per­cent­age (if you opt to dis­play it) at the far right. Also, you can only see four sta­tus bar icons at a time, so you’ll prob­a­bly be

spend­ing more time in the no­ti­fi­ca­tion shade. Ba­si­cally it doesn’t mat­ter if you have a notch on your phone or not – An­droid Pie thinks all phones have one.

New Over­view screen to dis­play re­cent apps

While most peo­ple might not no­tice the sta­tus bar tweaks to ac­com­mo­date the cam­era cutout, there’s one in­ter­face change ev­ery­one will rec­og­nize: the new Over­view screen.

Prior ver­sions of An­droid fea­tured a ver­ti­cally ori­ented screen, mean­ing you had to swipe down to se­lect a pre­vi­ous app and you couldn’t re­ally see what was go­ing on in most of the screens. With the

new sys­tem, app screens are ar­ranged hor­i­zon­tally, so you swipe left and right now to nav­i­gate through them. And there’s no over­lap­ping, so you can see the whole screen. There are other changes too: Be­low the re­cent app screens, you’ll find a search bar and a set of sug­gested apps, so the mul­ti­task­ing screen is more use­ful than ever, even with­out the big­gest change in An­droid P.

Ges­ture nav­i­ga­tion

While the new Re­cent Apps screen is vis­i­ble to all users, it’s mainly de­signed to take ad­van­tage of An­droid’s new op­tional ges­ture-based nav­i­ga­tion. Head over to the Sys­tem set­tings, tap on the Ges­tures tab and you’ll find a new tog­gle: Swipe up on home but­ton. Turn it on and the nav bar will change from the tra­di­tional Back, Home, and Re­cents trio to just two icons: a small ar­row and a pill-shaped home but­ton.

That’s where new ges­ture-based nav­i­ga­tion in An­droid takes over, let­ting you jump be­tween screens, quickly close apps, and in­ter­act with them in fun new ways. Granted, it’s sure to have its de­trac­tors, but we def­i­nitely rec­om­mend giv­ing it a try. Check out our in-depth look at ges­ture nav­i­ga­tion to learn how it all works – go to


Each new ver­sion of An­droid tends to brings some changes to the no­ti­fi­ca­tion sys­tem, and Google has once again tweaked its sys­tem for the new ver­sion of An­droid. It’s pretty great. Among the small but use­ful changes to no­ti­fi­ca­tions are:

An­droid Pie brings sup­port for all kinds of notches

An­droid Pie’s new ges­ture-based nav­i­ga­tion is op­tional, but it’s worth a test-drive

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