Google Has a Powerful New App Backup Tool, If Developers Use It
Google has relied on the cloud to backup most of your data for forever. The one key exception, though, has always been app data. If you uninstall an app or move to a new device, you have to change all your settings all over again. While the company has allowed developers to optionally backup data to Google Drive for a while, the company has finally built a powerful new system.
What that means for you is that you shouldn’t need apps like Titanium Backup just to get your home screen back to normal. Of course, it comes with some limitations. For starters, only 25MB of data will be backed up. That should cover things like your settings, but it may not include the 5GB of music you downloaded. Developers can also choose to opt-out of including certain files, or disable the backup entirely. This is a good thing, as there are certain types of apps and data you don’t want backed up by default. However it does mean there may still be a few things you have to manually transfer.
The problem is that developers can still opt out, and most so far have. In order to use the new system, developers have to specifically target API level 23 (read: Android 6.0, for the layman). So any developer that hasn’t updated their apps won’t use the backup. Moreover, devs can choose to opt out of the backup system if it’s not working for them. While the backup system is great, don’t expect it to work in the short term. Then again, it will take a while for most people to get Marshmallow anyway, so you might see it the next time your phone gets an upgrade.
You Can Manually Add or Re-arrange Quick Settings Tiles
In Android Lollipop, Google revamped the quick settings shade so that now, rather than including a bunch of options you don’t need, the shade will intelligently show you the settings you use most often. That’s a nice feature, but it also leaves you scrambling to find things every now and then. In Android Marshmallow, you can finally customize which tiles appear in quick settings.
This is one handy feature of the new hidden System UI Tuner. In order to access it, you’ll need to pull down your settings shade, then long-press the small gear icon next to your profile picture. You’ll then see a toast notification saying that System UI Tuner has been added to your Settings app. Open it up and you’ll seen option called Quick Settings. Use this to reorganize your quick settings shade.
Show Your Battery Percentage and Hide Icons In the Status Bar
Yet another cool feature of the System UI Tuner, you can now add a numeric battery percentage to your indicator in the status bar. Open up the Tuner in your Settings app and enable the “Show embedded battery percentage” toggle option.
You can also use the System UI Tuner to hide icons in the system bar. You can hide several icons including cellular data, Wi-Fi, airplane mode, alarm, Bluetooth, Do Not Disturb, and Hotspot. Some of these may be more useful than others, but if you’re running out of space, you can clear out some of the junk.
Swipe Left on the Lock Screen to Open Voice Search Instead of the Dialer
In Android Lollipop, Google added the ability to swipe left on the home screen to access the dialer, reminding everyone that phones exist. Apparently no one really cared about phones, though, as Google has changed this behavior. Now, when you swipe left, you can perform a voice search. This is probably a lot handier than opening the phone app, and will result in fewer butt dials. Butt searches, however, will see a marked increase.
Your SD Card Will (Finally!) Be Treated As Internal Storage
This is particularly important since Google has been making it a bit harder for developers to use SD card storage recently. Now, you can let Android “adopt” your SD card and it will be treated to the same rules that apply to your internal storage, which should give your apps a lot more flexibility in how they use your extra space. In other words, having an SD card shouldn’t come with any weird penalties anymore.