Google has begun to roll out its latest software, Android 7.0, also known as Nougat. The tech giant has a long tradition of naming its updates after sweet treats, including Marshmallow, KitKat and Ice Cream Sandwich, and this year it opened the decision up to its fans .
Although the company has being releasing developer previews of Android N, as it was previously known, as far back as March, the final version is now finally available to download. Here are all the key features in the new update, and how you can download it.
Can’t get enough of those little yellow faces? You’re in luck, as Nougat supports more than 1,500 emoji, including 72 brand new ones. Among the new symbols are an avocado, a pregnant lady, bacon and an owl.
For the first time Android users will be able to modify the skin tone of certain emoji, which iPhone owners have been able to do since last year .
You can do it by pressing and holding your emoji of choice, which will trigger a new menu providing a variety of skin tones.
Better battery life
Battery life is a key consideration when it comes to choosing a new phone, and Google is committed to developing software to help it run more efficiently and conserve power.
Last year’s 6.0 Marshmallow release introduced Doze, a clever feature which powers down your phone once it’s left stationary. Another hidden feature also helped to extend battery life by up to 30% .
This year, Doze has been updated to enter low-power usage mode even when it’s in your pocket or you’re moving around with it.
Google has ramped up its productivity features, designed to help Nougat users juggle multiple apps simultaneously and simply.
The first of these, Quick Switch, allows you to jump between your two most recently opened apps – for example, Messages and Play Store – by tapping the Overview button on the far right.
You can also reply directly from within your notifications for the first time, removing the need to open up the app. Notifications are also bundled together, meaning all recent messages, emails and other alerts from other apps are stored in one spot.
The Multi-window feature has been designed to allow two apps to run on-screen at the same time, so you can continue watching a video on YouTube while replying to an email. You can resize the windows by dragging the divider up or down.
Custom quick settings
Nougat brings with it the ability to rearrange the tiles in your Quick Settings, granting you quick and easy access to the important functions you use the most, such as Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, battery life and location data.
New security features are focused on updating your device without interrupting you, and keeping your handset more secure.
A new function called Seamless Updates allows certain new Android models to download software updates in the background, allowing you to continue to use your phone without having to wait for it to sync with all your apps.
Nexus owners will also benefit from significantly faster download speeds, according to Google.
Should you need to restart your phone, Direct Boot will help it to get up and running again more quickly. Apps will also begin running securely before you even unlock the phone, removing any potential for vulnerabilities.
Individual files will also be encrypted, resulting in better detection and isolation of any potentially harmful files on your handset.
Daydreaming in VR
Phones running Nougat will be able to support VulkanTM and Daydream, Google’s mobile virtual reality platform, due for release later in the autumn.
Can I download Android 7.0?
As usual, Google releases its new software updates in batches, meaning newer devices will be first to receive Nougat and owners of older phones may have to wait a while.
Currently the Nexus 6, Nexus 5X, Nexus 6P, Nexus 9, Nexus Player, Pixel C and General Mobile 4G (Android One) devices are eligible for the free, over-the-air Nougat update. Older devices will be able to upgrade in the next few months.
LG’s forthcoming LG V20 smartphone will be the first to ship with the new software, and is likely to be followed by Google’s next generation of its phones some time in the autumn.
How do I download it?