Google’s next iteration of Android is finally here. Named Lollipop, the fifth version of Android is now rolling out to those with a Nexus 4, 5 and 7 and of course the recently released Nexus 6 and 9.
Bringing with it a whole new design and updated features by the boat load, we’ve dug around the the new update to bring you all the tips, tricks and new features you need to know about, so you’re ready for when Lollipop lands on your device.
Set up multiple users
We’ve had multi-user support on Android tablets for a while now, but 5.0 finally brings the highly requested feature to phones. Working as you’d expect, you can now set up multiple profiles, each with there own set of apps and settings. This is great if you often share your phone around, but don’t want to give away full access to all your content.
Do more with mulit-tasking
The multitasking, or Overview as it's now called, menu has been given a complete overhaul this time around, ditching that static card view and going instead with a style that could be compared to rolodex. But, the key thing to know is that apps may appear more than once, for instance, if you have multiple Google Docs open then each one will be given its own spot. It works similarly for tabs in Chrome, so you can easily get to the page you want from any other app.
Stretch your battery
Battery saver modes have been included on almost every skinned version of Android for a while now, but finally Google has decided to bake it into the stock version, so everyone can eek an extra bit of juice before reaching for the charger. When your battery dips below a certain amount, the battery saver mode will kick in, turning the status bar of your device a lovely orange hue. Once initiated, you should be able to stretch around 90 extra minutes of use and it manages this by toning down animations, switching off background data and reducing brightness.
You can also manually turn it on, by heading into the battery area of the settings app.
Prioritise your notifications
We hate getting bugged by constant notifications from apps we never use or at times when you just want to concentrate. A new priority notification feature should help get rid of this, letting you set, on an app by app basis, which notifications will come through. For instance, if you set the phone into ‘Priority’ mode, which can be done through the pull down notification tab, only ones set as Priority will show up.
Experience the Material Design
The biggest change to Android in Lollipop is clear to see as soon as you boot up, and that’s the introduction of Material Design. Altering almost every aspect of Google’s OS, the completely new design language adds an animation to almost every action and a complete reworking of how everything looks. But, if you’re looking to fully experience Material Design, check out a few of Google’s updated apps (you can even do this if you’re on 4.4 Kit Kat). Google Play Music, the Play Store and Play Newsstand have all received updates, we expect there are many more to come, and they look fantastic.
Skip the lock-screen
Another small, yet super handy feature of Lollipop lets you completely bypass the lock-screen if your phone is connected to a Bluetooth device that it knows you’re wearing, an Android Wear watch for example. If you're wearing the watch and it’s connected to your phone then you can unlock straight to the home screen, saving many precious seconds.
Lock to an app
Why hasn’t anyone thought of this before? One of our favourite additions to Android 5.0 is a feature called ‘Screen Pinning’. It basically locks your device into one app, so if you give your phone to someone else, they won’t be able to exit the app unless they know your password.
Restore your phone from another device
Finally, a built-in way for us to easily transfer data from one Android device to another. When you set-up a Lollipop toting device for the first time you’ll be greeted with two new options, ‘Copy Google accounts and app data from an existing Android device using Android Beam and Bluetooth’ and ‘Restore from a specific device on your account, and then select individual apps from that device’, using the first option lets you transfer files from one device to another by simply touching them together (obviously you’ll need an NFC compatible device for this).
The second option, for those sans NFC, lets you pick a device that has been backed up with Google and copy specific apps and settings from it to your new phone. It’s easy, quick and painless.
And finally.....play the secret Lollipop game!
Google always puts a little easter egg inside the Android operating system and this time it's a ridiculously difficult Flappy Bird inspired game. It's easy enough to find, just head to Settings, About Phone, then repeatedly tap the Android Version option until a lollipop appears. Keep on tapping that lollipop and it'll change colours, eventually taking you straight to the game. Now, we got a score of one, can you beat that?...