Unlike previous OS upgrades, Android Nougat was released before Google officially launched its new home-made Pixel phones. But when those Pixels finally came, they shipped with a tweaked version. Android 7.1 came with a fresh design, launcher and features.
Since the launch, several phones have been update to support the latest version of Android, and some will likely be waiting for some time yet. In the mean time, here's an in-depth list of things to try in the newest mobile OS from Google.
- Google Pixel XL review: Android's new heavyweight champion
- Google Pixel review: Android at its best
- When is Android 7.1.1 Nougat coming to my phone?
It's worth remembering that manufacturers will have their own take on Android 7.1 Nougat. Some features might be reserved as they are here, and some will not.
Android 7.1 Nougat general tips and tricks
Android has long been known for its customisation capabilities, but with Nougat, the options are even greater. You can change the way a number of features appear and how the system works.
Adjust icon/screen size: In Settings>Display there's a new option to adjust the size of onscreen content and icons. Simply select the Display size option and move the slider until the icons are the size you want them to be.
Enable developer settings: To turn on the developer settings, head into Settings > About phone. Scroll to the bottom and repeatedly tap on the Build number. After a number of taps, you'll unlock the developer options.
Unlock System Tuner UI: This is a clever hidden setting that offers a range of options you can't otherwise get to. You have to first enable the developer settings (as above). Then you swipe down the Quick Settings and press and hold the settings cog at the top next to the battery. After a long press, the System Tuner UI will be unlocked, and a new option will appear in the settings menu.
Show the battery percentage: Once you've unlocked the System Tuner UI (as above), you have the option to show the battery percentage in the battery icon at all times. (Most third-party skins have this as a default option.)
Turn on ambient display: A feature of Android Wear and Motorola devices, it's now on Android 7.0. Head into Settings > Display and you'll be able to glance at monochrome notifications.
Quick launch the camera: Head into Settings > Display and there's the option to quick launch the camera with a double press of the standby button. It's much faster than unlocking your phone and hitting the icon.
Play Android Nougat easter egg: Nougat's Easter Egg is a little different to previous Flappy Bird style games. Instead, you've got to try and catch cats by selecting a tasty treat. Head into Settings > About phone/tablet > Android version. Then tap the Android version repeatedly until it changes to the Nougat screen.
Once you have the full Android 'N' logo visible, tap repeatedly, then press and hold, then you should see a little cat icon appear on the screen. Watch the video below to see an overview on how to play the game.
Search settings: Rather than rooting through everything, you can search the settings. Just open up the Settings menu and hit the magnifying glass and type what you're looking for.
Use Now on Tap: Just press and hold the home button. If you're looking for the settings, go into Google Now > Settings > Now cards and you can enable or disable Now on Tap.
Find the Google Settings: There was previously an app to handle Google settings, in Nougat this is now in the main Settings menu. This is where you'll find settings for accounts and services, backup, and transferring content to a nearby device.
Use adoptable storage: If you have Nougat and a microSD card slot, you can turn that external storage into integrated internal storage. Head to Setting > Storage & USB. At the bottom you'll see the SD card details, with the option to format and use as internal storage. You then get to manage and move content to this partition once done.
Use the native file explorer: There's now a file explorer in Android. Head to Settings > Storage & USB (or just Storage on some phones) and scroll to the bottom of the list. Tap Explore and you can view folders, open files, delete and share.
Android 7.1 Nougat app tips and tricks
Since phone screen sizes have been on the increase, it makes sense to make better use of that real estate. Along with a number of other additions, you can now have two apps running side-by-side on the same screen. You also get the same granular controls on apps that you got in Android Marshmallow.
App shortcuts: With Android 7.1 certain apps have shortcuts to actions that you can access by tapping and holding their icons on the homescreen. This can be taking a video or photo with a camera, navigating home with Maps, or adding contacts, plus many more.
Create shortcut icons: Once you have your list of app shortcuts pop up on the screen, you can drag and place them on the screen as their own individual icons.
Split-screen multitasking: Android Nougat is the first version of the OS to feature built-in split-screen multitasking. You can activate it a number of ways (as detailed in the video below), but the easiest is just to press and hold the recent apps button. You can also reposition where the split appears onscreen.
Stop adding new app icons to homescreen: If you don't want new apps you install cluttering up your homescreen, head into Play Store > Settings and uncheck the box.
Clear all apps from your recent memory: Tap the recent apps button to see all the apps running, scroll to the top of the screen and choose 'clear all'.
Add Yahoo! Mail or Exchange to Gmail: You can add Yahoo!, Exchange or other mail services to Gmail. Tap the icon to open the sidebar, scroll all the way to the bottom and hit Settings > Add account. You have the option for Google, IMAP/POP3 services (like Yahoo, Outlook.com) and Exchange.
Attach anything to Gmail: Tap the attachment button and you can attach local files, things in Drive, Photos, Dropbox files, OneDrive box and so on. It's really flexible.
Customise Google Now: Go to your Google Now screen and access the sidebar menu. Find settings and use it to customise which cards appear, what language you use as well as privacy settings.
Turn off backgrounds in Calendar: Don't like the seasonal backdrop in your new calendar? Head into Settings and tap the slider to turn it off.
Change the default app: Android lets you decide which is the default app, if you have more than one that will do the same thing. Under Apps, select the app, and hit "open by default". Here you can clear defaults so you can change to another app for those tasks.
Control app permissions: Nougat, like Marshmallow did, lets you manage all the permissions for each app on an individual basis. Go to Apps and select the app and hit Permissions. This will let you toggle permissions on and off, so you can disable location access, for example.
Android 7.1 Nougat notifications and volume tips and tricks
Notification fine-tuning has been ramped up a notch with Nougat. It's no longer a case of just having priority or non-priority, but you also get to choose which exact level of priority an application should have, as well as replying directly from a notification.
Enable power notifications: Go to System UI Tuner in your settings (having enabled it using the method near the top of this article) and choose other>Power notification controls. On the next screen switch the toggle to the on position. Once enabled you can fine-tune the priority level of any app's notification.
Direct reply: With Android N, you'll be able to direct reply from any app that has it built in. Swipe down on any notification card and if there's a "reply" option, hit it and type away without leaving the screen.
Quickly switch to vibrate alerts: If you want silence, but are after vibration alerts still, then push the volume button and tap the bell on the pop-up. This will switch to vibrate.
Turn down media volume: Hit the volume up or down button, and the volume slider will appear. Tap the down arrow on the right-hand side, and you can change the ringer, media or alarm volumes.
Engage Do not Disturb: Swipe down Quick Settings and tap the Do Not Disturb button. This gives you the option to have total silence, alarms only, or priority only. You can choose if this is for a time period, or until you turn it off.
Schedule Do not Disturb: Swipe down Quick Settings then press and hold the Do Not Disturb button. Choose Automatic Rules and customise which times the Do not Disturb feature should activate automatically.
To mark an app as a Priority app: Head into Settings > Apps. Tap on the app you want. In Notifications you get app controls, and you can set an app as a priority so you always get notifications from that app.
To turn off notifications on an app: Go to Settings > Apps > Tap on the app you want. In Notifications you can block all notifications for any app on your device.
To turn off peeking on an app: Go to Settings > Apps > Tap on the app you want. In Notifications you can turn off peeking, so you don't get a toast notification for that app.
Instant access to lockscreen notifications: Just tap a notification twice and it will open up the app. Want to dismiss it? Just swipe it away.
Pinch to expand: Got a stack of notifications? You can pinch to expand them, both on the lockscreen and in the notifications area.
Hide sensitive information in lockscreen notifications: You can have lockscreen notifications without too much information being revealed. Head to Settings > Sound & notification > App notifications, to manage apps with sensitive information.
Then go to Settings > Notifications > When device is locked, to change the information revealed. This will then ensure that all apps you've marked up don't give anything away.
Android 7.1 Nougat Quick Settings tips
Quick settings were good before, now they're even better. There are more options and there's far greater customisation.
Manage Quick tiles: In Android 7.1 you can manage the order of the quick settings tiles by dropping down the usual shade from the top of the screen and hitting 'edit'. Now you can re-order, and even add new quick access toggles for things like Google Cast, night mode, data saver and such.
Enable night mode: Using the method above, add the night mode tile to your quick settings tiles. Once it's there, just tap to activate it or press and hold to access night mode settings to customise.
Enable data saver: Just like above, you can add the data saver toggle to your quick tiles. In essence it helps you limit how much of your data the phone consumes by limiting how much data apps use in the background.
Quickly select a Wi-Fi network: Swipe down for Quick Settings, then click the network name beneath the Wi-Fi icon. This takes you through to the Wi-Fi settings.
Quickly manage Bluetooth: The same applies to Bluetooth. Click beneath the Bluetooth icon in Quick Settings and you'll head into settings to select your device.
Turn on torch/flashlight: There's no need for a separate app, just tap the button in Quick Settings to turn on your flash as a torch. Or just say "Ok Google, turn on torch/flashlight" and it will turn on.
Cast your screen: Want your Android device on your TV? Just swipe down and tap Cast screen and it will be sent to your Chromecast. If it's not there, add the Cast tile to your Quick Settings using the method mentioned above. Not all apps are supported though.
Android 7.1 Nougat battery tips and tricks
Having brought Android Marshmallow's Doze mode across, Nougat is already great at conserving energy, but now it's even easier to get a picture of what your battery is doing and how you can optimise its use further.
See your battery percentage: Open Quick Settings with a two-finger swipe. Your battery percentage is displayed in the quick settings screen. Tap the icon to see a more detailed overview.
Time till fully charged: Charge time is displayed when connected to a charger. Look at the bottom of the lockscreen and in the battery status screen, but it takes a little while for Android to calculate how long charging will take. If you're fast charging, it will say "charging rapidly"
See what's eating battery: Swipe down Quick Settings, tap the battery icon. You'll go to the battery status page and see how long you have left and what apps are eating your battery.
Turn on battery saver: Drop down the Quick Settings, tap the battery icon and toggle Battery saver to the on position. If you want to set it up to switch on automatically when it hits 5 per cent or 15 per cent, hit 'more settings' and tap the battery saver option at the top of the screen.
Android 7.1 Nougat multiple user tips
Whether you want to add new user profiles or make it easier to get to your emergency information, Nougat has you covered.
Add emergency information: Go to Settings > Users then select Emergency Information. Here you can add contact details, medical conditions and any medication you're currently taking.
Guest profile: In the same area (Settings > Users) you can create a Guest profile. While it is setup, you'll get the option to access as a guest from the lock screen.
See how much storage they're using: If you want to know how much space is being used up by another profile, head into Settings > Storage. At the bottom of the list it says how much other profile and the guest is using.
Android 7.1 Nougat Security tips
Manage fingerprints: Head into Security > Nexus Imprint and you'll be able to add or remove fingerprints that will unlock your device. A pro tip is to register fingers on both hands so you can unlock your phone with whichever hand you have free.
Bluetooth unlock: Again in Security > Smart Lock, you have the option to nominate trusted devices, so your Android will unlock when connected to something else. You can nominate Bluetooth devices (like your smartwatch or car Bluetooth) or select an NFC tag.
Android 7.1 Nougat keyboard and language tips
Typing should always be easy and personally tuned to your needs, and with Nougat, that's even easier thanks to the ability to support multiple languages and customise the keyboard.
Add multiple languages: Go to settings then languages & input, tap languages and then "add a language". There are dozens of languages available to use (including Welsh).
Change themes: Head to Settings>Languages & input>Virtual keyboard, then select Google keyboard at the top of the page. Select theme and choose one of the available colours or just add your own image as a background. Toggle the key border if you want one.
Enable one-handed mode: When the keyboard is onscreen, tap and hold the return key. Select the icon that looks like a hand holding a phone. Switch the keyboard to the left side of the screen by tapping the chevron on the left side.
Change keyboard height: Once again in the virtual keyboard settings, select the Google keyboard and choose Preferences. Find Keyboard height in the list and adjust the slider until the keyboard is at your required height.