Backing up and restoring data is something that Android hasn't always handled so well, but it's got a lot better in recent versions. Since Marshmallow, automatic app data backups have made switching between phones a whole lot easier, bringing all your apps and settings with you. This means that you can set up a new device and have it look identical to your old one, without having to go through the agony setting everything up again.
What hasn't been possible, though, is restoring data to a device after the initial setup is complete. That appears to have changed with the Android 8.1 Oreo developer preview, and also in 8.0 on the new Pixels, which share a bunch of features with the 8.1 build you'll get on OG Pixels and Nexuses. Read More
Google made some big changes to Ambient Display in 8.0, not all of which made people happy. It was a very minimal interface, rather than being a monochrome version of the lock screen. In Android 8.1, Google is adding a few new elements to Ambient Display, but it's still keeping the minimal vibe. Read More
It's long been possible to receive important emergency alerts on your Android device, and with the introduction of the 8.1 developer preview the settings have been given a bit of a makeover. This one can definitely be filed with the other minor but useful dev preview changes. As well as a reorganization of the alerts section in the settings, there's also a history list so you can see previous alerts, including those you've accidentally dismissed. Read More
Over the course of the last few Android versions, Google has seemingly struggled to decide on exactly how some of the quick settings options should work. Some are simple toggles, some bring up extra details in the quick settings pane, and some take you through to the settings app. Several of them also have different behavior depending on whether you short or long-press them. Read More
So far, the changes we've uncovered in the Android Oreo 8.1 developer preview have mostly been superficial and/or relatively minor. This one's no different, even if it is rather useful. The 'Apps & notifications' section in settings is the place to get app info, choose which apps show notifications, or change permissions and defaults, among other similar functions. In the 8.1 dev preview, this menu has been updated to include recent apps. Read More
The images for the Android 8.1 developer preview may have gone live yesterday, but it took a full day for the OTA update to start rolling out. If you signed up for the Android Beta Program on a compatible device, you should see the 8.1 developer preview update hit your device soon.
On that note, Google also seems to have pulled the manual OTA file downloads for the 8.1 developer preview, so right now your only options for migrating to the developer preview are registering for the Android Beta Program and waiting for the update, or flashing from the full factory images onto an unlocked bootloader. Read More
The Pixel 2 and 2 XL include a number of small tweaks that other 8.0 devices, even the OG Pixels, don't have. For example, the home screen's theme changes based on your wallpaper. We already knew that was coming to more phones in 8.1, and there's another theme feature from the Pixel 2 that's in 8.1 as well. Accent colors are pulled from your wallpaper for the notification and power menu shadows. Read More
Android 8.0 introduced some big changes to notifications, but not all of them have been well received. The "running in the background" notification could be annoying if you always have something like a VPN active. We covered a way to get rid of that notification with a third-party app, but the Android 8.1 dev preview makes it possible to hide it without installing anything else. Read More
One of the new features in the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL is the 'Visual Core.' As we covered before, this is a custom chip developed by Google to improve photo processing. The Pixel 2 and 2 XL shipped with this chip disabled, with Google promising that it would be activated "in the coming months." Read More
Have you ever had the experience of turning your phone back on after running out of juice several hours prior, only to be bombarded with a barrage of delayed notifications, beeping and pinging as soon as it connects to the internet? Or maybe you're just in a particularly chatty WhatsApp group and someone decides to send everyone else 20 photos all at once, sending your phone's poor vibration motor into a frenzy? Yeah, that can get annoying.
Fortunately, a change in Android 8.1 aims to address this issue. According to documentation on the new features in the developer preview, apps can now only make a notification alert sound once per second, even if more notifications come in at the same time. Read More