Android is one of the best mobile operating systems. You can find it in smartphones, tablets, smart watches, fitness trackers, and even in your car dashboard.
The success of Android is partially due to its flexibility and open source.
Android Guides includes all our latest how-to guides on using Android devices organized in following sections:
Android 101 section covers core features of Android. These guides are version-independent.
Android 101 is also an excellent start point for new Android users.
Android Lollipop Guides
Android Lollipop guides section covers new features in Android Lollipop 5.0 and 5.1.
Android Marshmallow Guides
Android Marshmallow guides section covers new features in Android Lollipop 6.
Android Nougat Guides
Android Nougat guides section covers new features in Android Nougat 7.0 and 7.1
List of recent Android guides
What is split-screen mode (multi window mode) in Android Nougat?
One of the most prominent new features in Android Nougat is the split-screen mode, aka, multi-window view. It is part of the multitasking and productivity enhancement features.
Split screen mode (multi-window view) allows you to run two apps side by side in Android Nougat.
Actually, some Android vendors already implemented such a feature in their customization.
LG also has own multi window solution,
But such customization usually only supports selected apps. In other words, you can only use a few apps in multi-window mode on such devices.
In Android Nougat, split-screen mode (multi window mode) is implemented in the system level. This means all apps are compatible with this feature.
And therefore, you can use any apps in spit-screen mode on the Android Nougat phones or tablets.
How to use split-screen mode (multi window mode ) in Android Nougat?
By default, split-screen mode is always enabled in Android Nougat. You do not need to enable anything.
To use split-screen mode in Android Nougat, you may follow these steps.
Step 1: Start the first app normally.
For example, you can use Chrome to browse a website as shown below.
Step 2: Tap and hold overview button.
After you tap and hold the overview button (aka Recent button), the Chrome window shrinks to half of the screen.
At the same time, the overview button changes from a square to two rectangles as shown below,
Step 3: Select the second app.
When the first app (Chrome browser in this example) shrinks to top half of the screen, the bottom half now shows recent apps.
You can tap any of the apps so that the app occupies the bottom part.
For example, as shown below, tap Google Play store as shown below.
Now, two apps are running together in the screen as shown below.
You copy text in one window and paste it to another app window.
How to resize screen size in split-screen mode (multi window mode ) in Android Nougat?
Once you are in the split-screen mode, you can resize the window size for each app.
To resize the app window, you can drag the “__” icon between the two windows as shown above.
For example, as shown above, you can drag the icon downwards to increase the window size for Chrome browser.… Read the rest
The post How to use split-screen mode (multi window) in Android Nougat 7.0/7.1? appeared first on Android Guides.
Why you may care about version of Android in your device?
As you already know, Android has been updated consistently. Each new version of Android brought some new and enhanced features, in addition to bug fixes (and new bugs as well).
In recent years, Google has been tried to release one major update each year.
But for Android phones or tablets, most vendors only update the Android version for less than 2 years since the release of the product. And normally, only flagship (=expensive) models get such update. Please check this post on why some Android devices never receive any update.
Therefore the majority of the Android phones and tablets in use are running old (not latest) versions of Android. For example, as shown in the chart below, by October 2016,
- 34.1% Android devices are running Android Lollipop (Android 5.0/5.1).
- 25.2% Android devices are running Android KitKat (Android 4.4).
- 24% Android devices are running Android Marshmallow (Android 6.0).
- 13.% Android devices are running Android Jelly Bean (Android 4.1/4.2/4.3).
- 1.3% Android devices are running Android Ice Cream Sandwich (Android 4.0).
- 1.3% Android devices are running Android Gingerbread (Android 2.3)
- 0.3% Android devices are running Android Nougat (Android 7.0/7/1), which is the latest version of Android.
- 0.1% Android devices are running Android Froyo (Android 2.2).
You may want to know the version of Android in your device so that you can check whether you have some special features of certain versions of Android.
How to check version of Android in your phone or tablet?
You can always check the version of Android in your phone or tablet in Settings —About phone (or Settings–About device) as shown below.
In Nexus and Google Pixel phones, the Android version is indicated below about phone as shown below. Other Android vendors seldom show the version of Android here.
Anyway, tap About phone as shown below, you will find the version of Android and other software info including:
- Android version.
- Build number.
- Android security patch level.
As explained in this guide, you can tap build number 7 times to unhide developer options in settings.
Please note, different Android vendors may choose different ways to show Android version and other software info.
The post How to check version of Android in your phone or tablet? appeared first on Android Guides.
So, you should not expect so many new features in Android Nougat 7.1 as in 7.0.
Because new features in Android Nougat 7.1 were mixed with Pixel phone’s unique (exclusive) features, some users are a bit confused on the new features in Android Nougat 7.1.
This Android Nougat guide will explain to you the new features in Android Nougat 7.1 (compared to Android Nougat 7.0) and exclusive features of Pixel (and Pixel XL) phones.
Top 5 new features in Android Nougat 7.1
In addition to general bug fixes, the major new features in Android Nougat 7.1 include night light, fingerprint swipe down gesture, Daydream VR mode, app shortcuts support, circular app icons support.
#1. Night Light
In Android Nougat 7.1, you can add blue light filter to your screen. This may be good for health of your eyes according to this post because of “exposure to blue light at night, emitted by electronics and energy-efficient lightbulbs, harmful to your health”.
Although I am not fully convinced by such researches, I do feel more comfortable when the ambient is dark if night light is turned on. This Android Nougat 7.1 new feature will make the display a bit yellowish.
So, night light, as suggested by the name, is nice for reading when the ambient light is turned off.
Please note, as many other Android features, some Android vendors may not implement this night light feature in Android Nougat 7.1 phones.
#2. Fingerprint swipe down gesture
In Android Nougat 7.1, you can swipe down on the fingerprint scanner from any screen to see your notifications (access notification shade).
Of course, this requires a fingerprint scanner.
But some fingerprint scanner may not support this feature. At least Nexus 6P and Nexus 5X will not get this feature.
#3. Daydream VR mode
Daydream VR mode was mentioned in Android Nougat 7.0. But it is fully functional only in Android Nougat 7.1
For Daydream VR mode, there are two types of Android Nougat phones:
- Daydream VR ready. The phone is certified for Daydream VR mode.
In this Android Nougat guide, I will try to highlight the top 11 Android Nougat 7.0 new features. For new features added to Android Nougat 7.1, please refer to this page.
For the detailed usage of these new features, please check individual guides in Android Nougat guides page.
#1. Vulkan API: one of the best Android Nougat 7.0 new features for game players
Many mobile game players should be excited about this new feature. More and more games will benefit from Vulkan API.
This means game players will get sharper graphics and fancy effects without slowing down the game. Of course, the actual performance gain depends on both hardware and app developers.
#2 Android Nougat 7.0 New Features: Split-screen mode (multi window)
Split-screen mode (or multi window mode) is another most welcomed new feature in Android Nougat. You can run two apps side-by-side. You can also share contents between two apps.
For Samsung Android phone users, multi window was introduced since Galaxy Note II in 2012. And most of Samsung’s flagship phones later got this feature. But it only works on certain apps in Samsung phones.
In Android Nougat 7.0, Google finally added the split-screen mode in Android. This means all Android phones, once updated to Android Nougat, will have this feature.
Compared to Samsung’s multi window, split-screen mode in Android Nougat 7.0 works with more (actually all) apps.
#3 Android Nougat 7.0 New Features: Quick switch between most recent 2 apps
In addition to split-screen mode allowing you to run two apps side-by-side, Android Nougat 7.0 also introduced a new feature allowing you to switch between two most recent apps.
You can double tap the Overview button to switch between two most recently used apps.
This is one of the most useful Android Nougat 7.0 new features for many users. For example you may want to search some info when composing an email. Now, you can quickly switch between email app and browser app.… Read the rest
Android Nougat is name of Android 7.0 (and 7.1), a successor of Android Marshmallow (Android 6.0).
The name was announced on June 30, 2016. The official release of Android Nougat was August 22, 2016
will be in August/September 2016 with new Nexus devices.
As in other Android major updates, Android Nougat introduced many enhancements and new features.
Some prominent new features and enhancements in Android Nougat will include: Multi-window, revamped notification shade and quick settings panel, updated Doze mode, better graphics (especially for games), suggestions in settings, package identifier for apps that are not from Google Play store.
We will cover the new features in the this Android Nougat Guides page gradually.
Please note, this page is dedicated to Android Nougat (Android 7.0/7,1). You may check this page for any questions related to Android Marshmallow, this page for Lollipop, and this page for generic Android.
List of Android Nougat Guides
This is a live page: new guides and tutorials will be added regularly after they are well tested and checked.
So, if you cannot find the guide you want, please let us know in the comment box below so that we can speed-up the the release for any relevant guides.
You can also post any Android Nougat related questions of problems (if they are not addressed in any released guides). We will try to help you find the solution. Improved Doze, Bundled notifications, Direct reply and notification control, Direct Boot, Seamless update, and Quick Settings bar and Customizable Quick Settings. Read on….
Some of the nee features in Android Nougat 7.0 was explained in this guide. These include: Vulkan API, Split-screen mode (multi window), Quick switch between most recent 2 apps,Data saver, Lock screen wallpaper and screen saver, Improved Doze, Bundled notifications, Direct reply and notification control, Direct Boot, Seamless update, and Quick Settings bar and Customizable Quick Settings. Read on….
What’s new in Android Nougat 7.1? what are Google Pixel phone exclusive features that are not included in Android Nougat 7.1?
This Android Nougat guide explains the top 5 new features in Android Nougat 7.1 (compared to Android Nougat 7.0) and the difference between Android Nougat 7.1 new features and Pixel phone exclusive features. Read on...
How to update to Android Nougat?
Everything you need know about split-screen mode (multi window view) in Android Nougat 7.0/7.1.
What’s Android Marshmallow battery optimization?
As explained in top 12 new features of Android Marshmallow, doze and app standby greatly increased the battery life in Android Marshmallow devices.
Android Marshmallow battery optimization is the front end for you to control doze mode and app standby, although for most users doze mode and app standby just work out of box without any user intervention.
In other words, for most users, it is NOT necessary to change settings in Android Marshmallow battery optimization. The default settings are perfect in most cases for most users.
But for a few users, you may want to check Android Marshmallow battery optimization if you have serious battery issues in Android Marshmallow. Please follow this page on how to check Android battery usage.
Anyway, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
What’s the difference between Android Marshmallow battery optimization and battery saver
Android Marshmallow battery optimization is totally different from battery saver introduced in Android Lollipop.
Battery saver (battery saving mode) can save battery by limiting (turning off) background processes and connections. It can be turned on automatically when battery level is lower than certain levels.
Android battery optimization saves battery by forcing apps into standby mode based on certain algorithms. Normal background process is not affected.
In other words, battery optimization is more intelligent on limiting the activities of apps. Background activities are analysed and prioritized based on certain criteria. Data syncing may be slightly delayed, but is active. Sync settings are honored. While battery saver (battery saving mode) does not perform such checks: it simply stops all background activities for non-essential apps. Your sync settings are NOT respected.
Another difference is that Android Marshmallow battery optimization is enabled by default.
Battery saver is not enabled by default. You will get a notification and be asked whether you want to turn on battery saver when battery level drops to 15%. Of course, you can enable battery saver at any time or set it to be activated automatically when battery level drops to certain levels.
Android Marshmallow battery optimization allows you can set exceptions for certain apps. Battery saver does not allow you to set any exceptions.
For the usage, Android Marshmallow battery optimization is for day-to-day use (and this is why it is enabled by default). Battery saver is more or less for emergent or one-time use.
How to use Android Marshmallow battery optimization?
The post How to use Android Marshmallow battery optimization? appeared first on Android Guides.
Android battery usage: when it matters?
Most of our Android devices rely on batteries. The No.1 complaint of most smartphones, tablets, and smartwatches is probably the battery life.
When battery runs out of juice, all your mobile devices, expensive or cheap, are useless before you can charge them.
So, understanding Android battery usage is an important (and actually easy) skill that all Android users should have.
In all Android phones and tablets, battery usage is always reported. And the report is getting more and more accurate in recent Android versions.
Understanding Android battery usage matters if:
- you want to find out why your phone battery life is shorter than your expectation.
- you want to get better battery life (e.g., longer screen-on time) for your phone or tablet.
- you want to compare battery usage of two or more apps.
- you are curious about how Android works.
Although, in all Android phones and tablets, Android battery usage info is provided, some vendors may offer more or less info than others.
A few Android vendors may offer additional battery management tools. But normally, it is NOT necessary to install any third-party battery saving apps or task managers. They usually do the opposite: shorten your battery life. Android does not need any of such apps except a few debugging apps.
How to check Android battery usage?
You can access Android battery usage page in at least two ways:
- Tap the battery icon in the status bar when you are in quick settings panel. This works in stock Android (e.g., on Nexus devices and Moto devices) and CynogenMod as well.
- Tap Settings –Battery as shown below. This method works on all Android devices.
In the battery usage info page as shown below, you can find:
- battery usage history plot (marked as 1).
- battery usage by individual apps.
- battery usage menu (marked as 3).
Check Android battery usage history
Tap anywhere on the plot (marked as 1 as shown below) to get a detailed view of the battery usage history since last full charge as shown below.
In battery usage history page, you can rotate the screen to landscape orientation to get a better view.
The plot is always starting from last full charge, or last reboot, whichever is later.
Below the plot, as shown above, some very useful info is given:
- Cellular network signal. This tells you whether the cellular (mobile) network is connected or not.
Why you need to manage, use and reset default apps in Android Marshmallow?
Just like in previous versions of Android, for one operation (task), there are possibly many apps can handle it. This is the good thing for Android: choices. For example, to open a website link, you can use any browser apps in your Android phone: Chrome, Firefox, Opera….
By default, Android will ask you to choose an app each time if there are more than one app can do the job. This can be annoying if you have a preferred app for certain operations.
So, you can set the preferred app as the default app for such a task. You can do this in Android Marshmallow and previous Android versions as well.
Sometimes, you may want to change the default apps to others (for example, a new app). Or you may want to reset default apps.
In Android Marshmallow, a new feature, app link, is that some apps can open certain links within the app itself without using web browser apps. Of course, you can also configure them in default apps settings.
This guide will show you how to manage, use and reset default apps in Android Marshmallow, as well as how to manage app links.
Please note, default app settings are inside application manager, which is universal in all Android devices.
But some vendors may change the icons and organize the settings in a slightly different way. This guide is based on stock Android. For Samsung devices with Android Marshmallwo, you may check this page.
You can manage default apps in two ways: for individual apps, or for all apps.
How to manage, use and reset default apps in Android Marshmallow for individual apps?
To manage default apps in Android Marshmallow for individual apps, you need to enter Application manager first.
You can access application manager in your Android device through Settings—Apps.
Once in Application manager, tap the app you want to manage default apps for.
Reset default apps
For example, in this guide, you want to check and manage default apps settings for Chrome browser app.
Tap Chrome browser app to enter App info page for the app as shown below.
Tap Open by default as shown below.
In Open by default page, you can tap Clear defaults as shown below to reset the default app for opening web links.… Read the rest
The post How to manage, use and reset default apps in Android Marshmallow? appeared first on Android Guides.
What is application manager in Android Marshmallow?
Application manager is an essential component of Android. It makes it possible for you to manage apps installed in your Android devices. For example, you can uninstall or disable apps on the device. You can reset the app by clearing cache and clearing data for it.
All Android versions have an application manager in system Settings. And in each version of Android, a few new functions and features were added into the application manager.
Application manager in Android Marshmallow have a few major updates. For example, a new section of application configuration was added. Memory usage was also added into application manager.
For some new Android users, application manager in Android Marshmallow can be overwhelming because there are so many functions and options. This guide will try to help you understand and master application manager in Android Marshmallow.
What can you do with application manager in Android Marshmallow?
You may need to use application manager in Android marshmallow when you want to:
- uninstall an app.
- disable a pre-installed app.
- stop an app.
- manage storage of an app.
- clear cache for an app.
- clear data for an app.
- manage permissions of an app.
- manage notifications of an app.
- reset default app.
- check battery usage by individual apps.
- check data usage of an app.
- check memory usage of an app.
- set default behavior on opening internal links of an app.
Please note, in stock Android, application manager is named as Apps under system settings. A few Android vendors (e.g., Samsung) may use Application –Application manager or Applciation manager directly under settings. This guide is based on stock Android.
How to use application manager in Android Marshmallow?
Using application manager in Android Marshmallow is similar to that in other versions of Android.
Interface of application manager in Android Marshmallow
To access application manager in Android Marshmallow, you can tap Apps in phone Settings as shown below.
You can access phone settings in two different ways:
- from Settings app in your phone. This app is available in all Android phones and tablets.
- from notification panel. You can swipe down from status bar, then tap the gear icon.
By default, after tapping apps, you will get a list of apps installed on the phone as shown below. The size under each app is the storage used by the app excluding cache.
In the application manager interface, in addition to the list of apps, 2 buttons: menu and configure, are also offered (marked as 1 and 2 as shown below).… Read the rest
The post How to use application manager in Android Marshmallow? appeared first on Android Guides.
What is Android Marshmallow RAM manager?
Android Marshmallow RAM manager allows you to check memory (RAM) of the system and individual apps. This may help you understand and diagnosis some performance issues you may encounter for you phone or tablet.
You can then also Android Marshmallow RAM manager to force stop apps that use memory excessively. But rarely, you have to manually force stop an app. Android has a good resource manager already.
This means it is not necessary to install task manager apps or memory optimization apps in Android Marshmallow. Most of the third-party task manger apps actually do not improve the performance of your Android devices.
Please note, although Android Marshmallow RAM manager is offered in vanilla Android and most other Android devices with Marshmallow or later versions, some vendors, e.g., Samsung, may offer RAM manager through applications manager only.
Some Android vendors may offer their own task manager, including RAM manager.
How to use Android Marshmallow RAM manager?
There are two ways to access Android Marshmallow RAM manager.
Method 1: access Android Marshmallow RAM manager directly
For most Android devices, you can access RAM manager in Android marshmallow from Settings —Memory as shown below. Some vendors may just name it as RAM, or RAM manager.
After tapping Memory, you can find memory usage as shown below.
By default, the memory usage report is for last 3 hours. You can tap the arrow button next to 3 hours as shown below to change the report for:
- 3 hours
- 6 hours
- 12 hours
- 1 day
To check RAM usage by individual apps, tap “Memory used by apps” as shown below.
All apps that were active in last 3 hours will then be listed. The amount of RAM used by individual apps is of course listed.
By default, the memory reported is average value in immediately last 3 hours. Sometimes, you may be interested in the maximum (peak) memory usage of some apps.
You can tap the menu key (3 vertical dots) as shown above. Then tap sort by max use as shown above to check the peak memory usage of these apps. The memory usage reported now is the peak (maximum) usage.
After sorting the apps either based on average RAM usage or max usage, you can then further work on individual apps.
For example, in this guide, I want to check RAM usage of Pages manager app.… Read the rest