Android’s Quick Settings panel received a welcome overhaul in Marshmallow, and with some major finessing in the latest version, it has turned into one of Nougat’s most useful features.
Quick Settings — the grid of “quick tiles” that you see when you swipe down the notification shade — is now fully dynamic and customizable. Many of the tiles are more functional than they were, you can reorder or remove them altogether, and you can even add new tiles from third-party developers.
We’ll step you through everything you need to know about the new Quick Settings, and stayed tuned until the end to learn about some of the best new Quick Settings apps out there.
Customize the Quick Settings Panel
Swiping down once from the top of your phone’s screen shows your notifications as well as a quick access bar containing the first five tiles in your Quick Settings panel.
Swiping down a second time opens the full panel. This is paginated, with nine tiles per page. You can also open this instantly by swiping down with two fingers.
When you’re customizing the panel, the trick is to get your most-used tiles on the first page. Tap the Edit button in the bottom right to get started.
Adding, removing, and reordering quick tiles is as simple as dragging and dropping them into place. Hold your finger down on the tile for a second, then drag it to wherever you want it.
The first five tiles make up your quick access bar. You should put the tiles you use most — like Wi-Fi, battery, or flashlight — here. The first nine tiles in the list will appear in the first page.
Tiles that are available but currently unused can be found in the bottom half of the screen, under the Drag to add tiles label. To add a tile, drag it up to the top half of the screen. To remove a tile, you drag it down into the bottom half of the screen.
Quick Settings Shortcuts
The functionality of the quick tiles has definitely been boosted in Nougat. Most of them now accept both a tap and a long-press.
Tapping a tile enables you to manage the feature directly within the Quick Settings panel, like toggling the flashlight on and off, or connecting to a Wi-Fi network. Long pressing the same tile jumps into the corresponding page within Android’s Settings for full control.
8 Essential Quick Settings Tiles Apps
Developers have already started building tiles that can be used with Nougat’s supercharged Quick Settings panel. Most of them are shortcuts or single-function utilities — this isn’t the place to be storing fully fledged apps — but there are many that are very useful indeed.
1. Weather Quick Settings Tile
Need to keep an eye on the weather forecast but don’t want a widget taking up space on your home screen? The Weather Quick Settings Tile is what you need. It’s a single, classy monochrome icon showing the weather conditions and temperature in your current location.
It updates every 30 minutes by default, or a single tap will get a new forecast manually. Double tapping the tile reveals a few handy configuration options.
2. Tile Extension for Nougat
Tile Extension puts a mini app launcher in your Quick Settings panel. The default options include a tile to launch the camera, one to launch the camera app in video mode, and one to turn data sync on and off. You can also set up three tiles for your own favorite apps.
Download — Tile Extension (Free) on the Play Store
If you’re using a third party launcher such as Nova, you might have taken the opportunity to remove the omnipresent Google search bar to free up some space on your home screen. If so, then you can use Searchly to replace the functionality in your Quick Settings panel.
The app also promises more advanced searches, like getting directions home, although we couldn’t get these working in what is an early beta. The basic Google search is already worth having, though.
Download — Searchly (Free) on the Play Store
Configuring your phone’s screen to turn off after 30 seconds is an important way of eking out a bit more battery. It’s really inconvenient, though, when you’re actually using your phone but just not touching the screen, like when you’re reading a long document, or following a recipe.
Caffeinate solves the problem by keeping your screen awake for five minutes after you tap it.
Download — Caffeinate (Free) on the Play Store
QuickTile is like a Quick Settings version of the Tasker app. It enables you to group together several functions and activate them all with the single tap of a tile. For example, you could launch a video player, and increase the volume and screen brightness all at the same time. Or you could launch your Twitter client straight into the Compose Tweet screen.
With some experimental root options in the works, this could become a very powerful app.
Download — QuickTile (Free) on the Play Store
6. Ringer Modes
If you only download one of these quick tile apps, Ringer Modes should be it. It could not be more simple or more effective.
It switches your phone’s ringer between Normal, Silent, and Vibrate. Why this wasn’t a part of Nougat to begin with, we’ll never know.
Download — Ringer Modes (Free) on the Play Store
Quidgets allows you to put widgets into your Quick Settings panel. Not the full widget, of course, but a tile that, when tapped, pops open the widget on top of your current app.
Some widgets work better than others, so you need to experiment. It seems best suited to full screen widgets — for a quick check of the news headlines or your Twitter timeline it works like a charm.
Download — Quidgets (Free) on the Play Store [No longer available]
The only fully paid app in this list is also the most polished and impressive. Tiles collects together many of the features of the individual apps we’ve looked at and more into a single tool. There are 16 feature categories in total, and you can activate or deactivate each one so they don’t clutter up your Quick Settings edit screen.
With Tiles, you can launch individual apps or view an app launcher, make calls, compose emails, set a timer, or see the weather. You can also control many of your phone’s settings, like adjusting the brightness, controlling the volume, or locking the screen.
There’s so much here to play with — this is already one of Nougat’s best apps.
Download — Tiles ($1.49) on the Play Store
Your Favorite Apps?
As more devices start to get Nougat, we can expect to see a growing number of Quick Settings apps, and in some cases, we might even see support being integrated into existing apps. It’s a really powerful feature with a lot of potential.
Have you found any good quick tile apps? And what features would you most like to see added to the Quick Settings panel? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.