Android M is the latest and greatest Android operating system that’ll be pushed to devices later this year and onto 2016. And while it’s still brand new, there might be features that may be added or taken away. I’ve decided to compile 10 hidden or lesser known features of Android M that I want to share with you guys. A couple of these features I already mentioned in my walkthrough video of Android M but without further ado, let’s go ahead and take a look at 10 hidden or secret features of Android M worth checking out.
The first hidden feature of Android M that actually wasn’t announced at Google I/O is the full state app backup functionality, which is certainly worth mentioning. Android M will actually backup all of your app preferences and settings into Google Drive so that when you backup your device or you switched devices and backup all your other info, it’ll just be so much more seamless than it ever was before. Apps won’t only be reinstalled, they’ll actually be fully setup and working just like you left it last on your previous device. And apps won’t have to be compatible with this feature. They’ll just naturally work as long as you’re running Android M since this feature and this functionality is baked into Android M, which is pretty awesome.
In addition, you can now customize that darn quick settings notification drawer that slides down from the top. Settings like airplane mode, auto-rotate, flashlight, screencast—they can all be customized, added or removed from the quick settings drawer, which is a feature that was desperately needed to be added to Android and now it finally is, thanks to Android M. you can now uninstall apps directly from the Home Screen, which sounds super simple but it actually wasn’t available in previous versions of stock Android so now we have it. Now when an app is on your Home Screen, you just long press on it and you have the options to remove it from the Home Screen or uninstall it from your device entirely.
Some smaller, new improvements include 5GHz tethering as opposed to the previous 2.4GHz tethering. Android M also now features A2DP Bluetooth streaming which is a higher quality Bluetooth streaming protocol that is now baked into the operating system so developers can take better advantage of it. It’s not the highest quality Bluetooth streaming protocol but it’s a step in the right direction and it’s certainly better than what has been baked into previous versions of stock Android.
There’s also expanded support for external storage so if your device has a microSD card, it’ll now be treated as if it were native storage. Those are the new features that works in the background of Android M and just works to save you a ton of battery life. It uses the sensors built into your smartphone or tablet to determine when you’re not using your device so that it will ultimately increase standby time by disabling certain functions that you’re not using and you don’t really need running in the background. It’s one of my top 2 or 3 features of Android M because I feel like battery life is one of the biggest issues and biggest problems with the Android OS and I think it could definitely be improved and it’s something that manufacturers don’t really care about nowadays, especially with these flagship Android smartphones that are super thin and sleek but have terrible battery life. So if it improves battery life, I’m all for it.
Hidden deep into the developer preview of Android M, we now have a dark theme setting. When the final build of Android M is pushed to devices later this year, we might very well see a dark themed option which will probably take advantage of OLED displays and ultimately save battery life by having the menu and the settings drawers all black. There’s also an automatic mode, which will automatically switch the theme depending on the lighting situations. So if you’re in a low light area, it will switch to dark so that you’re not blasted with light.
Hidden further into tablets that are running Android M with the developer preview (of course), there are a couple of new exclusive features that Tim from Qbking77 discovered. First of all, there’s now going to be multi-window support baked into the operating system so you can now have true multi-tasking by running more than two apps at a single time and it works very well. You’ll actually be able to run up to 4 windows at a single time, which is awesome. In addition, there was also a split keyboard function which we might see in the final build of Android M that will just allow you to type more effectively on large displays like tablets.
Once again though, these features are exclusive to tablets running the developer preview of Android M/. So whether or not they come to smartphones with large displays, I’m not sure. I’m just glad that Google is working on these features because they are much requested and could seriously improve the overall experience of Android.
But with that last one, these are 10 hidden or secret features of Android M that you should definitely keep an eye out but also keep in mind that this is a developer preview and a lot can change between now and when the final version of Android M is released so just keep that in mind.