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feature spotlights


Android N Dev Preview 2 Patches Bug In Secure App Flag That Revealed Important Data In Recent Apps List

Dev previews are by definition not finished, so bugs are to be expected. Sometimes bugs are also patched, though. You might have noticed something that looks broken in the new Android N dev preview recent apps list, but it's not. The missing app previews are actually addressing a bug in the secure apps flag. It's a security thing.

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Android N Dev Preview 2 Limits Fast App Switching To Just Two Apps

One of the coolest features in the first two Android N previews was the fast app switching feature of the overview button. It was essentially like alt-tab on Windows, and it made it a breeze to cycle through recent apps. In the new developer preview, Google appears to have drastically scaled back this feature. You can only toggle between two apps now.

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Android N Feature Spotlight: Automatic System Updates Can Be Disabled In Developer Options

System updates are a good thing usually, but not for everyone all the time. Maybe you've got some mods that you don't want to break or you've heard about some nasty bugs in a new build that you want to avoid. The Android N developer preview lets you block updates in the event you don't want them.

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Android N Feature Spotlight: Full Importance Settings Offer Granular Control Of Notification Priority

Google made a few tweaks to the notification options in Android N, but you can use the system UI tuner to make these options much more powerful. A toggle called "Show full importance settings" changes the notification options from three simple toggles to a 5-point scale of increasing "importance."

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[Update: Images Will Work When Apps Add Support] Android N Feature Spotlight: Drag And Drop Text Between Apps In Multi-Window

You're probably aware of Google's new multi-window feature in Android N. We've demoed it a few times, but there's yet more multitasking goodness to go over. When you're in split-screen, it's possible to drag and drop text between windows. Yes, Samsung has done this for a few years, and the Android N implementation is messy. Buy hey, we're getting there.

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Android N Feature Spotlight: Long-Press On Notifications Now Opens In-Line Notification Options

Google has changed the way notification long-pressing works in each of the last few versions of Android, and N is no different. Long-pressing again gives you quick access to notification options, but it's even quicker now as you don't have to leave the notification shade to see them.

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Android N Feature Spotlight: Color Balance Calibration Now Available In System UI Tuner

Two different phones might have screens that share all the same specs, but in practice they may display colors differently. If you've ever wished you could easily tweak the way those colors are shown, Android N might give it to you. The system UI tuner includes a color calibration menu with sliders for the red, green, and blue channels.

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[Android M Feature Spotlight] Dev Preview 2 Launcher Changes: Landscape Mode On Phones, App Drawer No Longer Broken Up By Letters, And Fast Scrolling In Widget Picker

We're playing around with the new Android M preview today, and it looks like there are several notable changes to the launcher (i.e. the Google app). The new app drawer is no longer broken up by letter and the widget picker has a fast scroll bar. If that's not good enough, you can view the whole launcher in landscape mode after toggling a setting. Cool, no?

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Left: old, Right: new

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[Android M Feature Spotlight] Faster Text Selection And A Floating Toolbar For Text Actions

During its I/O keynote, Google glanced a bit over a new text selection behavior in Android M, but the changes are interesting enough to further dwell over.

First up is a faster way to select text in M, where after highlighting the first word, you can drag to expand the selected text, word by word, but then when you try to retract you can be more precise and move by character. It should make it easier to pick bigger chunks of text without having to painstakingly try to hit the end of the word you want, while still giving you freedom should you want to truncate the selection in the middle of a word.

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[Android M Feature Spotlight] Priority Interruption Mode Is Now Do Not Disturb (Again)

You might remember that the L preview last year introduced a Do Not Disturb mode to Android, but you don't have that exact feature in Lollipop. By the time it was done, this feature became the somewhat more convoluted Priority/None settings. In the M preview it's called Do Not Disturb again, and the basic functionality is a little simpler.

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