Android M Feature: Apps Manager is Simpler, Yet Insanely More Powerful

One of those back-end sets of changes in Android M that I think you are going to really love has to do with the new App Manager or “Apps” section in Settings. In previous versions of Android, this section included three columns of “Downloaded,” “Running,” and “All” apps. These three columns could be navigated easily, but always seemed a bit convoluted. Now, the upfront interface of “Apps” is much simpler, but man, are there are all sorts of new tools and options to tweak should you really want to dive into how your phone runs.  (more…)

Android M Feature: New Vertically Scrolling App Drawer and Widget Picker are Greatly Improved

If you flash the Android M developer preview images (our tour!) on the Nexus 5, 6, or 9, one of the first things you will undoubtedly notice is the new app drawer. With a change in direction of how it scrolls, you might be thrown off at first, but trust me, it’s not as bad as others have made it out to be. Along with that new app drawer, we are also getting a greatly improved widget picker that makes it much easier to find the widget you intended to find. (more…)

Android M Feature: Do Not Disturb Mode Returns With Automatic Rules, Repeat Caller Settings

In the Android L developer preview, Google introduced a Do Not Disturb to Android for the first time, then randomly changed its name to “Interruptions” when it went stable as Lollipop. “Interruptions” never really made much sense as an adoptable or recognizable name, so now in the Android M preview, we are back to Do Not Disturb (hopefully, for good). And with that name change, we have new features and a different setup to it all, so let’s talk about it.  (more…)

Android M Feature: Be Gone Terrible Lollipop Volume Controls!

You know how the volume/do-not-disturb combination of things in Lollipop drove almost all of you nuts? Google heard you loud and clear and have attempted to fix the volume situation with Android M. We now have simplified volume controls that actually make sense and work like they used to.

As you will see in the video below, you can once again press the volume down button on your phone to take you all the way to vibrate, but another tap then jumps into silent mode, which really is now Do Not Disturb mode (again). That mode makes everything quiet, outside of alarms, which is exactly how it should be and should have been.  (more…)

Android M Feature: Auto Backups of Apps to Google Drive, Plus Auto Restoring

If you happen to change phones a lot or wipe your device often enough, you probably know that the backup and setup process on Android has been pretty brutal for, well, ever. That should change a bit in Android M thanks to auto backups of all apps installed on your phone. Because Google wants to “ensure a good experience” for those who do setup phones more regularly than others, all of this behind-the-scenes magic will happen without any work from users or developers.  (more…)

Android M Feature: Notification Shade on Tablets Moves to Wherever You Swipe From

If you have used a tablet running stock Lollipop, then you probably know that the notification shade situation isn’t exactly ideal. Before Lollipop, Google was using two separate pulldowns for the notification shade on tablets, one that would show notifications and another that gave you access to quick toggles. Since those were combined into a multi-layered single notification shade in Android 5.0+, they decided to center it on tablets, no matter where you swiped from.   (more…)

Android M Developer Preview Tour!

We have now been running the Android M developer preview on a Nexus 6 and Nexus 5 for the better part of the last couple of hours and are now ready to share some of our findings. While there aren’t a lot of big, forward-facing UI changes, there are all sorts of little tweaks everywhere, some that we like, others that we may need to sleep on before we make any bold claims about.  (more…)