Android 7.0 Nougat is another feature-refining build for the OS, with lots of little tweaks and optimizations throughout. Google covered a lot of the big features when it announced Nougat (then called “Android N”), but today we’re going to highlight a handful of features that you may not have already heard about.
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The Settings Menu Is Now More Efficient
The Settings menu in Android has always been a relatively simple place, with everything broken down into an easy-to-use list. One of the more subtle additions here is a new “suggestions” option at the top of the menu—things you may not have yet set up that Google thinks you may want to. I like it.
With Nougat, Google also delivered a feature we didn’t even know we needed in the Settings menu: relevant info under each option. For example, the Wi-Fi menu entry now shows the network name below it, as does Bluetooth. Data Usage now offers a quick look at how much you’ve used, without ever having to enter the menu. Sound shows the current ringer volume, Storage shows how much is used. Really, there’s a lot going on here, and it’s great. Again, this is all about efficiency.
Not only that, but the top-left Hamburger Menu is also present on the Settings page now. That means if you need to jump between menus—let’s say from Wi-Fi to Sound, for example—you no longer have to go back to the main Settings menu to do so: just tap the menu in the upper left, and tap where you want to go. Fassssst. I love it.
Nougat Tells You Where Your Apps Came From
“Sideloading”—or installing apps from a place other than the Google Play Store—has long been a staple feature for Android power users, but sometimes it’s hard to remember exactly where an app came from. With Nougat, the App Info screen for every installed application will show where it came from: either “App installed from the Google Play Store” or “App installed from Package Manger,” with the latter indicating that it’s a sideloaded app.
It’s the little things, you know?
Double Tap the Recents Button to Go to Your Previous App
If you guys had any idea how often I go back and forth between two apps, you would know how insanely excited I am for this feature. Basically, when you tap the Recent Apps button once, you get the recent apps menu (obviously), which allows you to switch back to another app. But with this new feature, you can simply double-tap it to instantly load the previous application—no menu needed. Switching between a text message and browser just got insanely simple.
Apps and Upgrades Install Much Faster
If you’ve ever updated your phone (and I’m sure you have), you’ve had to deal with several minutes of “Android is upgrading…” afterwards while Android got apps ready for the new system. This was in large part due to the move from the Dalvik Runtime to the then-new Android Runtime in Lollipop.
Now, with Android Nougat, the Android Runtime (Generally referred to as ART), has been updated to allow for much faster installs. That means not only do apps install much quicker, but the “Android is upgrading…” dialog is essentially no longer necessary, as this process has been streamlined to be much, much faster. Thanks Google.
This is by no means a definitive list of all the cool stuff that Google included in Android Nougat, but rather some of the lesser-known stuff that many users may not have seen, as well as some of my favorite features of this build. There’s still lots to explore, especially now that Nougat has reached its final implementation and public release.
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