Android 7.0 Nougat is finally here, and that means getting used to a new version of Android. While not much has changed since the last beta preview, we’ve put together a list of Nougat tips and tricks to optimize your experience with Google’s latest Android flavor.
Not just anyone can download the new update, though — that honor is saved for Google’s Nexus devices, namely the Nexus 5X, Nexus 6, Nexus 6P, Nexus 9, Nexus Player, Pixel C, and Android One’s General Mobile 4G. You can read more about availability, and when your device will receive the update here.
Notifications, Night Mode, System UI Tuner, and Data Saver
Edit tiles in the notification drawer and enable night mode
One of the most easily distinguishable changes to Android Nougat can be seen in the quick access notification bar and the notification drawer. You can edit the tiles that are visible and choose the ones that you use most often. For example, if you never use the Hotspot tile, just tap the Edit button on the bottom right of the drawer, press and hold the tile and drag it off. You can do the same thing to the other tiles to rearrange their position, and the idea is for developers to make quick access tiles to trigger actions for their own apps — you’ll be able to control them here.
You may have heard rumblings about a Night Mode in Android Nougat. It was there when the first Developer Preview launched, but it was sadly taken out in Developer Preview 3. At a certain time (based on sunset and sunrise), the device would switch its display color calibration to remove blue hues — it’s apparently better if you want to get a good night’s sleep, and viewing devices emitting blue light at late hours can have serious health effects. In addition to displaying warmer tones, the Settings app would also swap to a dark mode so that you’re not blinded when you open it in the dark.
But even though the feature was removed from Settings, it’s still available in the final version of Nougat — sort of. If you came from the betas and had a tile for Night Mode in the notification drawer, you’ll find it still there. You can turn it on and off whenever you want but it doesn’t automatically turn on after sunset. If you want the feature and you’re coming from Marshmallow, just download this app. Night Mode Enabler lets you toggle the Night Mode feature on, and brings it into your notification drawer. The app also fixes the automatic toggle, so Night Mode will turn on after sunset.
To access Night Mode in your notification drawer down, tap the Edit button, and scroll down to find the Night mode tile. Place it in your drawer, and voilà, you can sleep better at night. Tap it once to turn it on and switch to warmer hues, and press and hold the tile to go into Night Mode settings. That offers a little more control on the tint and brightness. Dark mode for the Settings app seems to have disappeared completely.
Trigger System UI Tuner
Android Nougat is all about more control — such as changing how your status bar looks. The status bar is the area you see at the top when in any screen and it displays the icons of your notifications and other important details like your battery status, Wi-Fi and data connection, the time, and more. Android 7.0 lets you customize this bar via the System UI Tuner.
Pull down the notification drawer and tap and hold the gear icon on the top right. The gear will start spinning immediately and System UI Tuner will be unlocked, and you’ll be able to access it at the bottom of your Settings menu. When you’re in the Tuner, tap on Status Bar and you’ll be treated to numerous toggles for things like Auto-rotate screen, Hotspot, and Volume. Tap each individual setting to remove or place them in your status bar. Don’t want anything but notifications in your status bar? You can do that too.
Battery and time have more customization options — you can choose to always show the percentage of battery you have left, show the percentage when charging, or remove the battery indicator entirely. For time, you can hide it, show the hours, minutes, and seconds, or just show the hours and minutes.
Prioritize your notifications
You can set a priority level for every notification that appears on your device. To do this, swipe the notification a little to the right or to the left — don’t let it disappear. You should see a gear icon appear, tap it and you’ll see Importance with a specific level attached.
There are six levels: Level 0 blocks all notifications from an app; Level 1 prevents full-screen interruption and never vibrates or makes a sound; Level 5 always allows full-screen interruption and appears at the top of the notification list; and so on. For more information about each level, head over to Settings > System UI Tuner > Other > Power notification controls.
So you can swipe the bar all the way to the left for Level 0, and all the way to the right for Level 5 — it all depends on what the app is and how you want to see notifications from it. You can also find these controls for each app by heading to Settings > Notifications.
Save your data
Have a limited data plan? Google wants to help conserve some of the data apps use with a new Data Saver tool baked into Android Nougat. Head over to Settings > Data usage > Data Saver to turn the feature on or off. When you turn it on, it will tell you how many apps are allowed to use unrestricted data when Data Saver is on.
Data Saver essentially limits apps from sending or receiving data when in the background — it doesn’t completely stop them from accessing data, but these apps will do so less frequently. If you’re particularly close to hitting your data limit, this tool could prove useful. You can tap on Unrestricted data access to toggle which apps you don’t want Data Saver to restrict.