10 new Android Nougat features you should check out now
Google is starting to roll out the latest version of Android. If you have a Nexus device, you can grab the update now.
While many of the biggest improvements — like longer battery life, better security updates and VR-ready features — won't be immediately obvious once you get the update, there are still plenty of new features to get excited about.
From new emoji and data-saving superpowers to more customization features than ever before, here's a look at our 10 favorite features in Android Nougat.
1.) Split-screen multitasking
One of the biggest additions to Android is the ability to use two apps at once in a new split-screen multitasking view. Tap the overview button and drag the app you want to use to the top of the screen, then choose a second app to run beneath it. The windows are resizable too.
2.) New emoji
The Nougat update adds the 72 new emoji Unicode added earlier this summer. The new characters include the selfie, bacon, and avocado emoji, as well as support for skin tone variations. There are also are 14 new "animals and nature" emoji and 12 new "activities" emoji.
3.) Customizable Quick Settings
Quick Settings, the shortcuts that you pull down from the notifications shade, are now customizable. You can drag them around to re-order them or add new ones, like the option to turn on data saver mode or invert your display colors.
4.) Notifications reply
You can now reply directly to notifications without switching apps. Use the feature to reply to emails, texts and notifications from other apps.
5.) Quick Switch
Among the new multitasking features is something called Quick Switch, which allows you to quickly move between your two most-recently used apps. Double tap the overview button to toggle between the two.
6.) Split-screen gesture shortcut
This may be best suited to power users, as there are a few steps to enable this, but there is a hidden setting that allows you to enable split-screen viewing with just one gesture. First, you'll need to enable a secret settings menu called "System UI Tuner" by holding down on the settings icon in the notifications shade. Wait until you feel a vibration to let go. This activates the System UI Tuner menu in the device's main settings.
From there head to Settings —> System UI Tuner —> Other —> Enable split-screen swipe-up gesture and turn the setting on. Once enabled, you can switch to split-screen from within any app by swiping up on the overview button. It's important to note, though, that Google is constantly changing what's in the System UI Tuner so any settings you find in there could disappear without warning.
7.) Advanced notification controls
This is another one you'll only be able to access through the System UI Tuner menu. From there, enable the setting for "Power notification controls." (System UI Tuner —> Other —>Power Notification Controls.) This allows you to prioritize notifications on an app-by-app basis and fine tune what actions notifications can take. For instance, you can mute sounds and vibration for a specific app or block its notifications from appearing on your lock screen. Simply hold down on a notification and adjust the slider to change its settings.
8.) Data Saver
Android Nougat comes with a new Data Saver mode that helps you reduce the amount of data your apps are using in the background. Additionally, you can add the option to your notifications shade so you can easily toggle it on from Quick Settings.
9.) Call blocking
The way that Android is handling blocked calls is improving. The numbers you block from texting and calling can now be shared with other apps so the same numbers will be blocked across all the services you use.
10.) Picture-in-Picture (for Android TV)
Similar to split-screen mode, Google added picture-in-picture support to Android TV devices so you can browse apps during video playback. Select the picture-in-picture icon while watching a video to pin the video to the top right corner of the screen. You can then browse different apps while watching that video. Press and hold the home button to switch back to the original video or a different recently used app.
Note that Google's Nexus Player is the only set-top box that supports Nougat for now, though it will eventually be available to other Android TV-enabled devices. The feature also requires developers to opt-in, so not all your apps may support picture-in-picture right out of the gate.