Android OS

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Android O feature spotlight: Granular battery usage for system-level items and services is gone

What's the opposite of a feature spotlight? I think we should call this an "Android O feature regression" post, because that's what we're looking at here. If you've installed the first Android O dev preview and you've been monitoring battery usage to see if all that fuss about the improved battery management and new background limits is true, then you may have noticed one thing missing: you can't see granular usage anymore for system-level items.

Previously, on Nougat, when you went to Settings>Battery, you could tap on any item in the list below the graph to see its usage details since the last full charge.

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Android O feature spotlight: The navigation keys go dark when pulling up the Pixel launcher's app drawer

As far as features go, this one is a pretty teeny tiny change, but we know you, dear Android Police reader, like to check out the nitty gritty of every Android release, and that's what we're here for.

On Android O, when you pull up the app drawer in the Pixel Launcher, you may notice one change: the navigation buttons no longer float still float on top of the drawer in a translucent overlay, but they switch to dark icons and ditch the translucent bar beneath them when scrolled to the very bottom.

Left: Android O on a Pixel. Right: Android N 7.1.2 on a Nexus 5X.

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Android O feature spotlight: Expandable quick settings only work when tapping the text, not the icon

In Android 7.0, there are a number of expandable quick settings for things like WiFi and Bluetooth. Those toggles still exist in Android O, but the way you interact with them is quite different. Expanding requires you to tap the text instead of the icon.

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Here's the default wallpaper from today's Android O Dev Preview

With a new release of Android come new included wallpapers, but since today's Android O release is just a Developer Preview, there's only one for now. If you want to download it in the full 2880x2560 resolution, just click the image embedded below, then save it.

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Android O feature spotlight: The install source permission is now limited to only user-authorized apps

Installing apps from outside of the Play Store can be a good thing (I mean, it's the whole basis for APKMirror), but it can also lead to trouble. For some time now, a user would have to go into the Security settings and toggle "Install from unknown sources." One of the many changes in Android O is to how this model works — that old option is gone and each app now must be granted the install source permission for APK installation.

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Android O feature spotlight: Battery percentage indicator can't be placed in the status bar icon anymore

If you're not aware, System UI Tuner is a hidden setting in Android that allows some degree of interface customization. It doesn't have as many abilities as custom ROMs, mind you, but still contains some very useful settings. One feature in System UI Tuner allows you to add the battery percentage to the status bar inside the battery icon.

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Android O feature spotlight: The status bar in the notification shade gets a bit more information-dense

If you pull down the status bar on your Google Pixel running Android 7.1, you'll see the time, day, date, and a settings quick access button in the status bar area. In the new Android O preview, things have been changed a bit. For one, we have a much cleaner font for the time and date information. But we also still see our connectivity statuses for Wi-Fi and mobile data, the current battery percentage (plugged in or unplugged), and the individual battery icon is gone (it now just toggles battery saver). Compare below - current Nougat on top, new O version on the bottom.

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Android O feature spotlight: Custom shortcuts can now be added to the lockscreen via System UI Tuner

Google's version of Android has historically been relatively light on features, but the Mountain View-based company has been rapidly closing that gap. Other implementations of Android have had multi-window for a while now, but that took until 7.0 Nougat to make its way onto stock Android. Now, we're getting another feature that we've seen on other skins: custom lockscreen shortcuts.

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[Update: Maybe not] Android O feature spotlight: Ambient display gets a downgrade

Sometimes updates to Google products are two steps forward, one step back. Ambient display originally showed up in stock Android with the launch of the Nexus 6, which turns on the display for a few seconds when notifications arrive. It has remained a popular feature, but Android O changes it quite a bit.

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Android O feature spotlight: The settings app has been completely overhauled

While Android 7.0 already offered a pretty extensive rethink on Android's stock settings app, it appears Android O will go a step even further than that, overhauling the interface and navigation model extensively.

The first thing you'll notice is that Google is moving to an organizational approach much more like a smartphone manufacturer, organizing categories of settings at higher levels, resulting in a much shorter top-level settings list. It's half or less the size of the settings menu on the Pixel on the current Nougat beta - which should tell you how extensive a change this is.

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