Android Marshmallow
September 30, 2015

Everything You Need to Know About Android Marshmallow

Written By Rebecca Larkin
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Android Marshmallow has been unveiled in all it’s glory, and it looks like it’s going to be great. After 3 developer previews and a multitude of changes Android 6.0, formally known as Android Marshmallow, was shown to world on September 29th.

If you’re clued up on Android and can tell your KitKat from your Lollipop, then you’ll know exactly what you have to look forward to in the latest update. Just to be safe, we’ve rounded up the key things to know about Marshmallow.

What’s new in Android Marshmallow?

For Android users, the features of this update are not as few or as flashy as the previous Android updates. In fact, some features can even go unnoticed, but they’ll be worthy additions and improvements to your device.

Android Marshmallow

App Permissions

We’ve all been there before where you go to download an app and get hit with a list as long as your weekly food shopping of what this app needs to access. Why does Twitter need to access my GPS location out of the box? Why does this game want to know my mother’s maiden name? While people are becoming more conscious of their digital security and privacy, they’re becoming less willing to give apps unfettered access to their contacts, camera, location etc.

App permissions will be the most easily noticeable change for Android users, as it’s a completely new way for apps to gain access to various aspects of your phone. Instead of writing a blank cheque for the app to access all of the permissions it could possibly need in the future, it asks for permission the first time you use a feature. For example, if you want to upload a photo to Facebook but haven’t yet given the Facebook app permission to access your gallery, a pop-up will ask whether you want to give that particular permission.

You’ll even be able to modify app permissions in your phone settings for those who want to really crack down on security.

Native Fingerprint Support

Fingerprint technology is not as wide spread over Android products when compared with, dare we say, Apple.

Finally, Google is opening up the necessary APIs so developers can add fingerprint support to any app, hurrah!

This native fingerprint support will also play a big part in the worst kept secret of the whole event, Android Pay.

Android Pay

Ahh Android Pay, what every Android user has been waiting for since Apple got in there first and released Apple Pay.

Working much like Apple Pay this NFC payment system will use fingerprint scanning and encrypted codes to keep your bank details safe and make payments quicker and easier than ever.

Don’t get too excited about Android Pay though, as there’s still no signs of a UK release date, sob.

Chrome Custom Tabs

Now this a feature for developers.

In a bid to improve mobile web experience, developers will be able to change the way an app pushes you into web view. Developers can now use custom tabs to load on top of the app so you don’t need to open another browser, with these new tabs being able to support automatic sign ins, saved passwords, multi-process security and autofill.

Once up and running, we think this change will be one that will be extremely beneficial for users.

Doze

Depending on your phone usage, this new feature may in fact be your life saver (or at least your battery saver).

This new Marshmallow feature will recognise when your device is in a rested state and automatically take actions to conserve your battery power.

Google claim that when tested on a Nexus 9 it made the battery life last almost twice as long when in this standby mode with fewer apps running, and Google have made sure that you won’t miss out on any of your important notifications as Doze will still allow those to come through, phew.

Google Now on Tap

Like it or not Google’s virtual assistant will be bigger and better than ever in Android Marshmallow.

Google Now is getting smarter and will focus on three key areas: being aware of different contexts, providing answers and helping you take action. So next time you’re watching a video on YouTube and want to know more about who’s in it, simply hold down on the home button and ask.

Another small addition to the Google Now assistant is the ability to access it from the lock screen. On top of that, the ability to herald a response from Google Now by simply saying ‘OK Google’ – regardless of which app you are using at the time – will now be the default. Creepy or convenient? We’ll let you judge that when you’ve lived with it for a while.

USB Type C

Arguably the biggest improvement to Android Marshmallow, the addition of USB C support.

USB C will mean that Android phones and tablets will see a massive improvement in charging and also see Android products become even more versatile.

Direct Share and Floating Toolbar

We think that these two additions will go pretty much unnoticed at first, but boy will they be useful in the long run.

Direct Share can learn who you share content with frequently from different apps and turn the process into the press of a single button.

With the floating toolbar, improving the way you can copy and paste content from web pages or documents, you’ll wonder how you ever functioned without them.

The Little Changes

Big changes aside, Android also has a whole host of little newbies that will improve the overall Android experience.

App Links
Android will have a greater awareness of which apps can open content directly, instead of inundating you with dialogue boxes every time you want to click a link. We’re sure you won’t be missing those dialogue boxes any time soon.

The App Drawer
This is one of Marshmallow’s more obvious changes. The app drawer you’re used to will be gone in this latest update, and instead your apps menu will be be grouped together in a new white box with vertical scrolling, with your top 4 apps being at the top for ease of access. Over time, Marshmallow will learn which apps you use the most at certain times of the day and present these in your top apps.

RAM Manager
RAM manager aims to provide users with more accurate and comprehensible information regarding the maximum and average RAM usage of apps. Although hard to find (simply go to Settings > Apps > Options > Advanced > Memory) it’ll be well worth having a look at app demands and the effect on your device.

Rotating Home Screen
Exactly as it sounds, your home screen apps will now follow you into landscape when you tip your phone.

Android Dark Theme
For those who find the colourful and bright Android theme a bit too overbearing, you’re wishes have been granted as Android Marshmallow will come with a dark theme option. This feature is purely cosmetic, and doesn’t effect all devices or backgrounds, but at least you’ll have the chance to get rid of some colours if you want a more greyscale feel.

Android Marshmallow

Overall we’re loving the look of Android Marshmallow and look forward to using it’s new features and functions.
Release dates for the operating system are still a bit up in the air, but it will definitely be coming to Nexus devices next week.

We’ll keep you updated on when Marshmallow will be available on other devices so make sure you follow us on Twitter.