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What’s new in Android 7.0 Nougat?

Grzegorz Matyszczak

Introduction

After all the speculations about the name of the new Android version (there were bets if is it going to be Nutella or maybe Namey McNameface), we’ve finally learned that it will be Android Nougat! The 1st preview version was released on March 9, even before the Google I/O 2016 event, so people could play around and pass some feedback to Google engineers. At the moment there’s 5th preview version available and it is a good moment to review the all new features of Android Nougat.

Multi-Window

From now on users will be able to display multiple applications simultaneously on the screen. But remember that developers can block their apps from being resizable, so not all of them may work in that mode. There are 3 modes of the multi-window feature:

Split Screen

Apps are displayed side by side or top to bottom, depending on the screen orientation. To launch it, you just go to recents, long press on the application and drag it to the top of the screen to use it in split screen. Then press on another application and enjoy using them side by side. If you want to resize windows, you can drag the movable bar located between them.

nougat_multi_window

Picture-in-Picture

Another mode allows to display a small preview of the activity on top of another activity and it works for Android TV. It could be useful for playing a video in one application while doing something else in another app.

Freeform

The last mode allows to display applications anywhere on the screen and resize them freely, just like on the regular desktop. The activity window also contains caption/title area at the top and window control buttons like close and maximise.

Multi-Window Drag & Drop

It is also possible to drag & drop elements between applications that are in multi-window mode. To dive deeper into the new multi-window features you can check the fresh series of posts on our blog.

Notifications

This important part of the system were updated too. First of all, they changed the notifications design. It still contains old elements, only located differently, plus some new ones like app name and expander icon. Once you expand the notification, you can see the action buttons, that are only in the form of labels and without the icons. Beside new design, notifications now can be bundled into groups and, unlike in the previous Android versions, you can see each notification in a group separately. The next new feature worth mentioning is a direct reply from the notification, even when the screen is locked. For example, the user can type a reply directly in the notification and it can be sent right away in the messaging app.

nougat_notifications

Quick Settings

In Android Nougat users can access few chosen settings from above the notification list. It is a list of “quicker-quick settings” as we heard on Google I/O. After expanding the panel they can see all the quick settings that are now editable, which means that user can add or remove settings of choice and reorder them accordingly to their preferences. The good news for developers is that they can create their own quick settings tiles for the apps.

nougat_quick_settings

Display Size

In settings, users were able to change the font size of the whole system. It affected all the texts, but whole layouts stayed unaffected. From now on users can change also display size and unlike the font size change, this one will affect the whole layout. All the components on the screen will be resized, even the toolbars. While changing the display size you will see a nice preview of how the current setting would look like in the piece of UI example.

nougat_display_size

Multi-Locale

In the language settings users can choose now more than one language and order them. These will be the preferred languages. And for example, if the application doesn’t support the language that users has chosen at first place, but it supports the second one, the app would be displayed in the second language.

nougat_multi_locale

Doze

Doze mode was first introduced in Android Marshmallow and it got updated in Nougat. Before talking about its changes, let’s recall how it’s worked so far. The general purpose of Doze mode is to save battery life. When the device doesn’t change the location, its screen is turned off and it works on the battery, after some time of inactivity it goes into Doze mode. It means that background operations are limited to work in maintenance windows, so apps cannot access device’s resources whenever they want to. The longer device stays in Doze mode, the less frequently maintenance windows occur. In Android Nougat, there’s a new, lighter Doze mode added. It restricts fewer background operations. It is launched whenever the screen is off, and the device is on battery but it doesn’t have to be stationary. That’s the difference between light Doze mode and deep Doze mode. After some time in light Doze mode, the device goes into deep Doze mode.

Data Saver

If you go to the Data usage settings screen, there’s a new Data saver option. It allows the user to turn on data saving mode and decide which applications will have restricted access in this mode and which won’t.

nougat_data_saver

Direct Boot

If the user has pin code set up on the device and it will reboot unexpectedly, applications wouldn’t restart as long as the user doesn’t put in the pin code. That’s what was happening on previous Android versions. Because of that, some messages or phone calls might have been missed. Starting from Android Nougat, some applications will be granted the permission to run before users enter the pin code, so the users won’t miss anything important.

Scoped Directory Access

There’s also change in the accessing external storage permission. From now on there’s a Scoped Directory Access permission, which grants access only to a specific directory. It prevents some security issues that might have been happening.

Summary

These are the main new features in Android Nougat. If you would like to test the new Android version on your device or the emulator you can follow this link.

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