After Google released the first build of Android N to developers, many people started fooling around with the software on their Nexus devices and Android Authority, 9to5Google, and Android Central are no exceptions. They’ve been checking out the latest version of the mobile OS and has written up a few new features I didn’t discuss yesterday, so I thought I’d update everyone on what’s been discovered in Android N so far since then.
One of the first new features found in Android N that didn’t stand out immediately after installation is a new resizable display option found in “Display” in the Settings app. This means that users can have content displayed on their screen become either bigger or smaller. This will make it easy for impaired vision users to see what’s on their screen, and it will be nice and handy when someone wants more room on their display for content. To access this new feature, head to Settings > Display > Display size.
So what does this mean for developers? Well, Google says you won’t have to change any of your code so your app adapts to the shift in screen DPI, however they suggest that you test your app on different screen sizes just in case.
Obviously, one of the most notable multitasking features of Android N is Multi-Window support, however that’s not all Google added to the latest version of the mobile OS to make you king of getting things done on your phone. They’ve also added some new tricks to the recent app button on the bottom bar.
As Android Central notes:
From your home screen, double-tap the Recents key to jump to the last-used app.
With an app open, double-tap Recents to jump to the app you had open before.
Bring up the Recents menu, then keep tapping the Recents key to cycle through apps in the deck. When you stop, the selected app will go fullscreen.
With the Recents menu open, long-press the Recents key to switch to split-screen view. (You can also long-press and drag on an app preview.)
In split-screen mode, long-press the Recents key again to go fullscreen.
This is a feature that I’d love to have on my Moto E (2015) as I’m constantly switching through multiple apps, especially Chrome tabs. However since I’m still not sure whether I’m even getting Marshmallow, I have a lot to be desired.
Speedier “Optimizing Apps” Process
(This tip is actually from Android Police, as they noticed this first.)
You know that little dialog box you get sometimes when you restart your phone or upgrade your software that says “Android is upgrading… Optimizing apps”? Well, it’s annoying. And thankfully, Google has increased the speed of that process by a lot via a ‘Quick Path to App Install’, which uses a new JIT compiler (by ART) to speed up app installs, meaning some apps can be optimized for the latest Android versions in a matter of seconds.
Quick path to app install
One of the most tangible benefits of ART’s JIT compiler is the speed of app installs and system updates. Even large apps that required several minutes to optimize and install in Android 6.0 can now install in just a matter of seconds. System updates are also faster, since there’s no more optimizing step.
So what’s the cause of this box anyway? Well, it all started when Android switched form a Dalvik runtime to an ART runtime. The Dalvik virtual machine would process Java into native code on the fly. However, ART processed the Java code ahead of time, allowing for smoother operation. It also meant the arduous optimizing apps step after each system update. But now, Google has fixed this problem (which was pretty much bound to happen) and we’re all very thankful.
The System UI Tuner was first introduced in Marshmallow and allowed you to customize Quick Settings and the Status Bar. Android N adds a bevy of new options. It is still activated by going into Quick Settings and tapping and holding the Settings gear icon until it spins. Afterwards, the System UI Tuner will show up at the bottom of the Settings app.
You can show new icons in the Status Bar and there are new settings for Battery and Time. By default, battery percentage is only shown when charging, but there is now an option to get rid of the icon completely. You can also completely remove the time from the status bar or have seconds show alongside hours and minutes.
Under “Color and appearance,” you can activate the Night mode and calibrate the display. Tapping the latter brings up RGB sliders to fine tune the screen. In Night Mode, you can set it to turn on automatically and have it adjust tint and brightness. Settings for “Do Not Disturb” allows you to show the control when changing the volume and turn off the volume buttons shortcut to activate it.
Lastly, in Other, you can enable a split-screen by swiping up from Overview/Multitasking button. With this option, you can slide up in an app to split-screen it. It’s much quicker than going into the app switcher to manually select what apps you want side-by-side. Other options allow you to disable fast toggle and to show full importance settings.
Usually, when an app crashes on Android, all you get is an option to close the box that pops up notifying the user that the unexpected occurrence happened. Now in Android N, if an app totally stops, users will have a choice of either restarting the app, sending feedback to the developer who made the app about the crash, or simply closing the box presented on the screen. If an app keeps stopping, users can either reset and restart the app, send feedback, or close the box presented. This is very welcome as this reminds me of a feature where you never know you need it until you have it.
That’s your update on what has been discovered in Android N so far! If you have anything that you noticed in the latest developer build that isn’t on this list, feel free to email us the tip at firstname.lastname@example.org along with a screenshot of the feature so we can update this post!