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[Minor] Android N Dev Preview 2 Shows A New Icon When Your Recent Apps Screen Is Empty

Gather 'round people. There's a change in the second Android N Dev Preview and it will rock your whole world upside down. Oh who am I kidding, we spotted it and we know you guys like these teeny tiny tin-tastic changes in Android, even if they mean nothing to the way you use your device, so we're sharing it with you. Prepare to be underwhelmed.

If you decide to use the new 'Clear All' option in Preview 2 or if you manually clear out all your app instances from the Recents screen, instead of the lifeless "Your recent screens appear here," you'll see a graphic icon of recent apps with "No recent items" beneath it.

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Comparison: New Human Emojis From Android N Dev Preview 2 VS Old Yellow Blob Emojis

In its announcement of the second Android N Dev Preview, Google mentioned support for Unicode 9, including more human emojis, skin-tone emojis, more characters, and overall more realistic emojis. Google explained that developers should start taking advantage of the new emojis in their messaging and keyboard applications, and one of the most obvious examples is Google's own Keyboard which shows many of these changes.

First up, the emotions / faces panel sees more forward-facing blobs instead of the many emojis that were previously looking toward the left. There are a few changes here and there in some emojis, but most of them kept the same allure.

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Android N Dev Preview 2 Includes A New Style For Google Now Launcher Folders

We're still digging into the new Android N preview to see what little things have changed, and one of the most immediately apparent tweaks is the new home screen folder style. Rather than the stacked icons in the round frame we've had for the last few years, folders are like small cutouts, peeking into a grid of app icons.

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New Android N Developer Preview Build Includes 'Clear All' Button In Recent Apps List

Most major Android OEMs have seen fit to include a button to clear the entire recent apps list, but that's never been a feature of stock Android. Well, until now. In the latest Android N developer preview, Google has added a 'clear all' button to the recent apps list.

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[Android N Feature Spotlight] Direct Boot Will Keep Your Encrypted Phone Functional After An Unexpected Reboot

Sometimes phones spontaneously reboot. The problem isn't too big a deal, unless your phone is encrypted. Then the phone sits, not taking calls, not pulling down email, and wasting battery life as it waits to decrypt.

In Android N, Google is making the experience less painful. When a device reboots on its own, you will retain the ability to receive phone calls. Email clients, instant messengers, and other apps will deliver notifications. Alarms will go off in the morning. In short, your phone will continue to do its job.

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[Android N Feature Spotlight] Switching Connectivity Or Taking A Photo/Video Will No Longer Destroy Performance Thanks To JobScheduler

As was the case with Marshmallow, some of the most exciting aspects of Android N aren't things you can see, but changes that are taking place in the background. When the next version comes to your phone, you're going to see a performance boost.

To understand why, close your eyes. Okay, now open them back up so that you can continue reading. Crap, I've already lost you.

Alright, you've made it this far. That means you've opened your eyes. Thanks for that. Now, picture the lag that happens whenever you take a picture or toggle Wi-Fi on after it's been off a while.

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Android N Feature Spotlight: Android TV Has A New Look For The Settings App And Now Supports Multiple Accounts

Android N will be responsible for some big changes to phones and tablets, but that doesn't mean there aren't going to be some interesting things happening to the Android TV platform, as well. Installing the developer preview images onto a Nexus Player reveals some welcome improvements to the look and behavior of the Settings app, including a new visual layout and support for multiple accounts.

New Design for Settings


Left: previous version. Right: Android N Preview.

The Settings app has been given an entirely new look. Say goodbye to multiple rows of tiles, they've been replaced by a single column that looks very similar to the regular Settings app on phones or tablets, except it's anchored to the right side of the screen.

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Android N Feature Spotlight: Freeform Window Mode Offers True Windowed Multitasking, But It's Disabled By Default

Android N is finally making multi-window mode a reality on Android, but the included features are somewhat limited. There's support for split-screen apps, but what about true resizable windows a la Remix OS? That's possible too, but this feature seems much more rough around the edges. It also takes a little monkeying around to enable.

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[Update: Play Store Downloads Too] Android N Feature Spotlight: The Download Manager's Notification Gets A Quickly Accessible Cancel Button

If you often download files and apps on Android, you must have noticed that the Downloads app (or the Download Manager) doesn't really do much. Whether you're triggering a download from Gmail, Chrome, or any other app, you simply get a notification that shows you the progress and nothing else. That's slightly changing in Android N with the addition of a Cancel button that lets you quickly, well, cancel the download.

Here's what things look like on Marshmallow with the example of starting an APK download from APK Mirror. The notification only has a progress bar.

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Android N Feature Spotlight: Fast Scroll Through The Apps List In Settings

Android N's preview has been released for about 10 days and it even received its first update, yet here we are still uncovering little tidbits about this upcoming version of our favorite OS. This one change is far from being a major feature. It is, however, a nice improvement over M, especially if you were the kind to frequently dig into your Settings for the Apps section.

In Android Mashmallow, when you open Settings > Apps, you can scroll through the long list (if you're anything like us and you install dozens of apps) of applications on your device. You can't activate a fast scroll action like the one in the Contacts list for example.

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