Skip to main content

How to get the best Android P features on any Android phone

Google’s upcoming Android release, Android P, brings a new look to the popular operating system — we particularly liked the colorful, rounded interface — as well as a cavalcade of new features. Although the latest developer preview for Android P is only available for select devices, some clever developers have made apps to replicate some of P’s most notable new features, ones that will work on phones that don’t have access to Android P as of yet.

These apps aren’t available through the Google Play store, however, so if you want to install these new features on your Android device, you’ll need to adjust your settings so that your phone supports apps from unknown sources. To do this, go to Settings, select Lock screen and security, and toggle the slider beside Unknown sources. Keep in mind that, if you’re using Android Oreo, you’ll need to enable specific apps to install APK (Android PacKage) files.

With that out of the way, let’s run through the various Android P features you can add to your older Android system.

Android P launcher

Image used with permission by copyright holder

One of the biggest changes you can make to your Android system is to change the launcher. Download the Android P launcher APK, tap it within the notification shade, and install it. If using Oreo, tap to allow it to install from an unknown source.

Smart replies

One of P’s most nifty features is the ability to use “smart suggested replies.” When you get a text message, you can view it within the notification shade, and Android will automatically generate some appropriate responses that you can select with a simple tap, if you wish. Simply download the Smart Replay APK, and install it like before.

Note: Smart Reply also works with a host of popular messaging apps, such as Facebook Messenger and Hangouts.

Screenshot markup

A more substantial update found in Android P has to do with how screenshots function. In the latest iteration of Android, users can start marking up screenshots directly after taking them. The Markup app that enables this on older Android devices works a little differently, however. Once installed, you’ll need to share your screenshot with the Markup app, which will then allow you to make alterations.

Android P volume slider

Image used with permission by copyright holder

Another popular change in Android P is the placement of the volume slider, which has moved from the top of the screen to the side. As before, download the APK from the appropriate source, and install it to enable the switch.

Lockdown mode

The final feature worth mentioning is Lockdown mode. Android P users can tap the power button, followed by Lockdown to disable the fingerprint sensor, which will prevent users from unlocking the phone via biometrics. As with the other features, download the Lockdown APK and install it to enable the feature.

David Cogen — a regular contributor here at Digital Trends — runs TheUnlockr, a popular tech blog that focuses on tech news, tips and tricks, and the latest tech. You can also find him on Twitter discussing the latest tech trends.

Editors' Recommendations

Will Nicol
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Will Nicol is a Senior Writer at Digital Trends. He covers a variety of subjects, particularly emerging technologies, movies…
How to get better service — 9 tips for boosting cell phone signal
An iPhone 14 Pro Max with the display turned on. We see the Home Screen and Pixel Pals running in the Dynamic Island.

There are few things more frustrating than experiencing a poor signal on your cell phone. From dropped calls to messages that won’t send and streaming services that stutter and die, a lack of solid signal can cause all kinds of inconveniences.

Sadly, building towers yourself to get more bars isn’t an option — but don’t worry. There are plenty of things you can do to avoid poor cell service interfering with your day-to-day life. Take a closer look at our expert tips on how to boost your cell signal, starting with something simple you may have not even thought would have made a difference.
Use a cell signal booster

Read more
How to root Android phones and tablets (and unroot them)
galaxy s9 Plus hands-on review front full

Android rooting is the ideal way to get more control over your smartphone, opening up a world of unknown possibilities, but it’s important to approach it with caution. Rooting isn’t without its risks -- and if something goes wrong, it can void your warranty, leave you with a broken smartphone or tablet, or worse.
Before proceeding, it is important to understand that rooting is not always a straightforward process, and you may encounter hiccups along the way. If you decide that you absolutely need to root your Android device, continue below, but know that it isn't for the faint of heart or technology-inexperienced.
Manufacturers and carriers will dissuade you from rooting, and they aren't just scaremongering. If you don't follow instructions properly, the worst-case scenario can irreparably damage your device, but many people feel that the potential benefits are well worth it. With a rooted phone, you can remove bloatware, speed up your processor, and customize every element of your phone software's appearance.
This guide on how to root Android phones will walk you through the steps to root your device. While we can root some phones in minutes, others are going to take a little more research. But one thing is clear: rooting your phone is one of the best ways to tap into your Android device’s true potential.
See more

Best root apps for rooted Android phones and tablets
Best Android Phones
Best Android 10 tips and tricks 

Read more
The best tablets in 2024: top 11 tablets you can buy now
Disney+ app on the iPad Air 5.

As much as we love having the best smartphones in our pockets, there are times when those small screens don't cut it and we just need a larger display. That's when you turn to a tablet, which is great for being productive on the go and can be a awesome way to unwind and relax too. While the tablet market really took off after the iPad, it has grown to be quite diverse with a huge variety of products — from great budget options to powerhouses for professionals.

We've tried out a lot of tablets here at Digital Trends, from the workhorses for pros to tablets that are made for kids and even seniors -- there's a tablet for every person and every budget. For most people, though, we think Apple's iPad Air is the best overall tablet — especially if you're already invested in the Apple ecosystem. But if you're not an Apple user, that's fine too; there are plenty of other great options that you'll find in this roundup.

Read more