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AH Primetime: Changes To Look For In Android 6.0 Marshmallow

October 8, 2015 - Written By Debarshi Nayak

Android 6.0 Marshmallow is the latest update to Android. It looks largely like Android Lollipops with subtle updates in design, but Marshmallow has been one of the most extensive under-the-hood updates to the Android operating system. It was released a few days ago to the supporting Nexus devices, and going by the list of changes Marshmallow introduces, it is worthy of the increment to version 6.0 from Android Lollipop Version 5.1.

The most anticipated feature of Android 6.0 is Google Now on Tap. It brings the Google Now functionality system-wide, without the need for copying and pasting the phrases into Google Now. Once it is enabled, it can be summoned from any app, with a long-press of the home button, and it will parse the data from the screen to provide relevant data. Another subtle change is the inclusion of Google Now into the lock screen, replacing the dialer icon. It makes sense as you can use Google Now to call someone by speaking, and do a lot more along with without having to unlock the screen.

Doze is a battery-optimizing feature introduced into Android, with some serious improvements to battery life. When the phone or tablet is inactive for a while, the system automatically hibernates most apps leaving the critical system apps, priority notifications and alarms. It works like the root app Greenify, and you also have the option to exclude up to three apps from hibernating when the screen is off.

Marshmallow also allows you to associate specific apps with corresponding URLs, which is a great not so under the hood change. Now all Twitter links would open up in the specified Twitter app instead of showing up a choice menu. The RAM Manager has replaced the running tab in the apps section. Unlike previous versions, apps lists aren’t broken down into a tabbed ‘Downloaded’, ‘Running’, ‘All’, and ‘Disabled’. Instead, there’s only one dropdown menu in RAM Manager showing up the list of all and disabled apps. It also gives us much more granular control and detailed information about RAM usage, and ability to force-stop the app if necessary.

Granular app permission has been one of the most requested features of Android, and it is finally here. Android now lets you manage permissions on a case-by-case basis, without developer interference, and it has not caused app crashes yet. Marshmallow also gives you the ability to switch between light and dark themes, a feature that was surprisingly absent considering how many users like the dark tone, and also the battery saving aspect of AMOLED screens. Developer settings always existed as an open secret, but now it has been revamped to include OEM unlocking, and tweak animations, along with a host of other options. The system lets you uninstall apps from the home screen, a welcome feature for those not relying on custom launchers. Notification Peeking can now be disabled from individual apps, regardless of how the developer programmed it.