It's been a long journey traveling from P to Pie through the Android 9 developer previews, but Google has recently finished its newest version of Android. The platform has worked its way down Alphabet's alphabet all the way to "P," with this latest version first landing back with the March 7th release of developer preview 1. We've since learned that Android P stands for Pie, but that's only one among a long list of changes present in Android 9, and we've been keeping track of all of them. 

Our coverage of Android P wouldn't have been possible (or, at least, would have been much more difficult) without the help of all our tipsters, we ❤ you. Together, we've spent quite a lot of our time playing with Android P to show you all its new features, following along with every developer preview as we hunt for changes big and small. Now that Android 9 Pie has been finalized and released, this list isn't likely to change too much, so consider this near-final.

For both your and our convenience, we've put everything we've found together into a list with (very) brief summaries. That way you can catch up if you've fallen behind with our Android P Feature Spotlights.

(Note: A few features may realistically fall into more than one of our categories below, but we've done our best to place them where we think they best fit.)

Entirely new features

  • Inline photos and smart replies: Remember Reply? Now you have that built into Android. Developers can also add support for showing things like images and stickers in-line as well.
  • Screenshot editing: You can crop and draw on screenshots you capture. This has been a long time coming.
    • Update: DP2 added support for this feature on the OG Pixel, as well as general improvements in both the editor and notification.
  • Volume buttons control media volume by default: Android does a lot of things really well, but audio management probably isn't one of those things. Your hardware volume keys control different things, without much of an indicator until you actually press one. Now by default, it's set to change media volume, as opposed to the ringer (as in Android O and before).
  • Simultaneous connection of up to 5 Bluetooth audio devices: The limit in 8.1 was two, one for calls and one for media. But with P you can allow up to five devices to be connected at one time. No simultaneous playback, though.
  • Zoom lens for text selection: Like iOS has had since forever, when you select text, on P you can get a nice magnified view of the area above your finger.
  • Temporary rotation lock: A bit difficult to explain, but when you have rotation locked in portrait, a new icon appears on the nav bar when you turn your phone sideways that will quickly toggle to landscape, and vice-versa.
    • Google continues to tweak how this particular feature works. As of DP4 it gets a more prominent placement in the gesture navigation, where the old app switcher button once lived. The icon has also changed to no longer match the quick settings rotation lock, which makes sense, considering the functionality is different.
    • As of Android P DP5, the icon has also been tweaked.
  • Alarm quick settings toggle: There's a new Alarm tile/toggle in quick settings. It shows the next alarm, gives you a shortcut to all currently set alarms and allows you to easily set new ones.
    • Update: And it's gone as of DP2, replaced by a bit of text above the brightness slider that shows your next alarm, if you have one.
  • App notification tracking: If you get an annoying notification, you can easily track down which app it came from. That should help cut down on notification spam (if you have problems with that).
  • Wired charging sounds: Google never fails to impress. They've managed to miniaturize the machine that goes ping into the Android P developer preview, triggering it every time you plug your phone into power. Ah, technology.
    • Update: The sound has changed as of DP2.
  • Chrome-like 'feature flags': You know how Chrome has a bunch of extra options called "flags" for enabling testing features or tweaking things? Now Android has the same thing, called "feature flags." Basically, all the unstable testing stuff with convenient toggles in one spot.
  • Pulling down the notification tray results in vibration: Pretty simple. When you pull it down, you get a bit of haptic feedback.
  • Text selection, image sharing, and other interactions via the app switcher: DP2 tweaked how the recents/app switcher UI works, allowing you to actually interact with content in the previews, including things like copying text and pulling images (even from apps that otherwise try to block that behavior).
    • The feature originally wasn't enabled for the 2016 Pixels, but for a short period, Google did turn it on for those devices. However, we're told that was a mistake. As of DP4, it has been turned back off.
    • Whatever we were told, Google has decided to turn things back on as of the full, final release of Android P (which is Pie), and the feature has returned to the OG Pixels, though it only works if your language is set to US English.
  • Offers to hide frequently dismissed notifications: If you keep dismissing the same notifications over and over, Android P will ask if you'd prefer to just have them be hidden.
  • Gesture Navigation: Like it or hate it, Android P DP2 introduced a new gesture-based navigation system (that was previously leaked by Google itself). It isn't a default yet, but it's certainly polarizing.
    • DP3 made a few tweaks to how gesture navigation works and added a convenient tutorial (since it is a bit confusing and unintuitive, visually).
    • DP4 further changed the icons for the navigation/gesture bar, just a bit.
  • New App Switcher: Gone is the vertical list of recent apps, replaced in DP2 by a horizontally scrolling gallery. It even works with the gestures which arrived with the same update. Interestingly enough, it's actually a part of the launcher.
    • DP3 overhauls the recents menu/apps switcher with some translucency tweaks and a rebounding animated effect.
    • DP4 further changes the slider for app-switching to be the full width of the screen, also increasing the size of the previews in the app switcher, making them fill most of the screen in the app switcher.
  • App Actions: Detailed at I/O, App Actions are sort of like the existing app predictions in the Pixel launcher. But instead of simply recommending your next service, they take things one step further by recommending your next action. Developers need to build specifically for this, though.
    • Google added support for this feature to the 2016 Pixels as of DP4. Previously it was only available on the Pixel 2s.
  • Ring mode shortcut: Pressing the power and volume up keys together triggers a customizable command that enables the Vibrate or Mute modes.
  • Accessibility Menu: We can't actually find it yet, but Google assured us at I/O that P would include a new menu for motor-impaired users in the form of a convenient navigation bar shortcut.
    • It arrived with DP3, and we first spotted it in DP4. It adds a new option for a menu in the navigation bar that provides a more accessible means of getting to specific gesture or multi-button operations like screenshot or Assistant, which may be a bit difficult for those with disabilities to trigger.
  • Weather on the lockscreen: As of DP2, the local weather will be shown under the clock. Note, a later update to the Google app appears to have broken this in the short-term.
  • Calendar events on the lockscreen: It was previously part of the Pixel launcher, but now upcoming events in your calendar have joined the weather on the DP2 lockscreen. Again, a specific update for the Google app broke this. Only the version DP2 shipped with allows it to work (for now).
    • Again, fixed in DP3 (for now).
    • Weather comes in, calendar events go out, can't explain that. DP4 seems to have randomly broken/fixed this feature for a few people, YMMV.
  • Automatic Color Adjustments: Discovered in some recent teardowns from DP2, it is rumored that the Pixel 2 may be able to dynamically adjust calibrated color modes based on content.
  • Android P will be Android 9: The version number increment in Android P will be a major revision, with a move from 8.1 to 9.
  • Camera laser sensor toggle: Added back in DP1, but unnoticed until DP3, Android P adds a toggle in the developer options for disabling the Pixel's camera laser sensors.
  • Automatic 24-hour time format: Some countries use 12-hour time, others use 24-hour time. As of DP4, Android P can switch between the two automatically based on location rather than a binary, user-configured toggle.
  • P stands for Pie: No ".0" follows version 9, either.
  • Digital Wellbeing beta lands with Pie: Initially revealed at I/O earlier this year, Google's suite of notification mitigation and device use reduction/statistics finally debuted shortly after the final launch of Android 9 Pie.

General visual changes

Modifications to existing features

Privacy tweaks

  • Apps can no longer access mic or camera in the background: Probably not great that they could do that before, but for the privacy-conscious, now you can be sure they aren't.
    • Update: As of DP2, notifications will show if the backgrounded app has requested permissions including the use of your camera or microphone.
  • Fingerprint dialog consistency, unencrypted HTTP block for some apps: Google has introduced a new API for fingerprint sign in, hoping to make things more visually consistent when apps ask for your digits' details. Android P also blocks by default all cleartext traffic for apps that use Network Security Configuration, though it can be individually disabled per-domain if need be.
  • Lockdown option to disable fingerprint sensor and other less secure login methods: A new "lockdown" option in the power menu disables potentially involuntary methods of entry into your phone. When enabled, no one can use your voice, fingerprints, or location to get inside.
  • MAC address randomization: Helps prevent tracking on public networks. Long overdue, even if it's just an experimental feature right now.
  • More granular phone permissions: A new permissions structure in Android P moves the call log permissions into their own group, so apps can't see your call history without a separate request. The change in permission structure should also prevent potential phone redirects.

Under the hood/API/developer stuff

So far, these are all the new features we've found in Android P, but be sure to check back in if you're following our feature spotlight coverage. And, as always, tips for undiscovered features are welcome.

DP2 features added

Stuff discovered in Google's latest Android P DP2 images has now been added, as well as features announced at Google I/O

DP3 features added

All the things we've found in the recent Android P DP3/Beta 2 are also now included.

DP4 features added

DP4/Beta 3 may have been a bit more lightweight on changes, but we still tracked them down to add to this list.

DP5 and final Android 9 Pie release features added

Both DP5 and the final release landed in quick succession. There aren't too many changes on top of what we've already seen, but we've got them all here. Welcome to Android 9 Pie.