Get Android 6.0 Marshmallow Features Without Updating

Mihir Patkar 12-10-2015

Google has now launched the latest version of Android, 6.0 Marshmallow Peeple Has Vanished, Google Launches Marshmallow... [Tech News Digest] Peeple goes missing, Android 6.0 makes its debut, Reddit gets curated, Apple Watch enjoys new ads, and Pepsi Perfect is a taste of the future. Read More , for its Nexus phones. But Android updates don’t roll out to all phones at the same time, especially the non-Nexus ones, and they often take a long time. But you get can some of the Marshmallowy goodness right now — regardless of what phone you have!


Whether you’re on Lollipop, KitKat or older versions, you can get several of Android 6.0 Marshmallow’s best features on your phone right away. Not everything, mind you, but enough of the cool stuff.

It’s easier if you root your Android phone The Complete Guide to Rooting Your Android Phone or Tablet So, you want to root your Android device? Here's everything you need to know. Read More , but even if you haven’t, there are ways to get those features.

Get the Marshmallow Look Right Now

For the first time, Google has released the stock Android launcher for anyone who wants it. The new Google Now Launcher is exactly what Marshmallow ships with, and it supports some cool new features such as:

The Google Now Launcher is pretty impressive and lightweight enough to work fast on low-powered hardware too, so it’s definitely a contender for the best free Android launcher What Is the Best Free Android Launcher? Nova launcher, Apex launcher, and dodol launcher are all solid free launchers, but which is the best? We put them to the test. Read More .

Download: Google Now Launcher for Android [Broken URL Removed] (Free)


Backup App Data and Restore (No Root)

Marshmallow brings a much-wanted feature, the ability to backup an app with all its data and then restore it to a device, without rooting your phone. Well, you might be surprised to know you can already do that.

We already have a multi-layered plan to backup non-rooted Android devices Here's A Free, Multi-Layered Plan To Back Up A Non-Rooted Android Even with a non-rooted Android device, you can have a solid backup plan – and it doesn't have to cost you a dime! Read More , but Helium is a core part of that. The app, made by the famous Clockwork Mod team, lets you backup apps complete with their data.

All you need is the Helium app, the companion Carbon app for Windows, Mac, or Linux computers, and a USB cable. Start the app, connect the phone to your computer, and you’re ready to go.

Helium backs up most apps, and it will notify you of which ones it can’t. I suggest you also backup the APK, since it makes restoring easier for some apps that break compatibility with new versions.


When you’re ready to install all this to a new phone again, connect it to your PC, download the app, and restore all your apps. It’s seamless and just works.

Helium Premium will also let you backup to cloud devices and external storage, and it supports apps that the free one doesn’t. Cloud backup makes it easier to sync an Android phone or tablet over WiFi. It’s well worth $4.99, if you ask me, but try out the free app first.

Helium isn’t a perfect solution though. For a full and complete backup of Android, you’ll need a rooted device and Titanium Backup Pro.

Download: Helium for Android (Free)


How to Manage Individual App Permissions


Android Marshmallow finally, finally brings the ability to control app permissions on an individual basis. What this means is that if an app asks for permission to read your text messages and your GPS data, you can choose to grant access to location but not your messages.

Controlling individual app permissions helps avoid the seven deadly security risks from apps The Seven Deadly Android Permissions: How to Avoid the Sin of Slothful Preparedness Everyone with an Android device should know that your private information isn’t treated as private. For example, making an app purchase may expose personal contact information, including one’s name, physical address and email address, to... Read More . If you are using Android 5.x Lollipop or Android 4.3/4.4 KitKat, you can control individual app permissions with App Ops. On Android versions 4.2 and older, you’ll need to root your phone to control permissions.

App Ops is super simple and you’ll be able to toggle the permissions any app uses with a simple switch. That’s exactly how it works in Marshmallow too. So if you’re on Android 4.3 or higher, you’re in luck!


One thing to note: Uninstalling App Ops isn’t as easy as just deleting the app from your phone, you need to download a special App Ops Uninstaller.

Download: App Ops for Android (Free)

Better Cut, Copy, Paste for Android


Mimicking the iOS look, the new Android 6.0 makes it easier to cut, copy, and paste anything by giving you clear options when you select any text or image. However, there’s actually a better way than Marshmallow’s options.

Native Clipboard is probably the best way to improve copy-paste on Android How to Manage the Clipboard on Android Wondering how to copy and paste on Android? Here's how copy and paste works, along with the best apps to improve it. Read More . The app requires deep access to your Android device, but once you grant it those rights, it will copy anything in any text box, and paste any of your recent clipboard copied items to any other box. Double tap an empty box, and it just works.

Even after trying out Marshmallow, I found myself wanting to get this app back, so in this one case, the current systems actually outdo what you’ll get on Android 6.0.

Download: Native Clipboard for Android [Broken URL Removed] (Free)

Boost Your Battery Life With Two Apps


Marshmallow has two cool features to lengthen your battery life. First, it automatically puts unused apps to sleep. Second, it detects when you aren’t using your phone and stops using data at that time.

But what do you know? You already have a couple apps that will do the same things! You need to download Greenify and JuiceDefender.

Greenify’s auto-hibernation mode (available on Android 4.1 or newer phones) will stop updating apps you aren’t using and prevent them from slowing down your phone. JuiceDefender, on the other hand, is an all-in-one solution for almost any battery-saving tip on Android 10 Proven and Tested Tips to Extend Battery Life on Android Suffering from poor battery life on Android? Follow these tips to get more juice out of your Android device's battery. Read More .

You get a lot of options in the free app, so try it out. I think you’ll be compelled to fork out $4.99 for JuiceDefender Ultimate.

Download: Greenify for Android (Free)

Download: JuiceDefender for Android (Free)

Ditch Chrome Custom Tabs, Get Firefox 42


One of the cooler features in Android Marshmallow is Google Chrome’s new Custom Tabs. With this, apps can open an optimized browser tab with saved passwords and other Chrome data intact. Plus, the pages will preload in the background so they seem faster.

Even if you aren’t using Android 6.0, you can get all of this goodness with the new Google Chrome for Android, which includes this feature.

Now, Chrome is the fastest Android browser What's the Fastest Android Browser? 7 Top Apps Ranked With so many Android browsers available, which are the fastest? Here are the best browser apps on Android. Read More , so this is great news. But Chrome isn’t necessarily the best browser. Personally, I’d recommend going with the new Firefox 42 Beta for Android.

Firefox 42 has a new awesome “Tab Queuing” feature Firefox 42's Tab Queuing for Android is Awesome - Try it Out Now! Mozilla has released a new beta version of its popular Firefox web browser and it's got a fantastic feature for Android smartphones. Tab Queuing opens external links later in the background in Firefox. Read More , which is reason alone to get it. With this, when you are using any app, you can continue using it. When you see a link, tap it and it’s added to a queue, without moving you away from the app. Go to your notifications to find your Tab Queue, and with one tap, open them all in Firefox. It’s fantastic!

Download: Google Chrome for Android (Free)

Download: Firefox 42 Beta for Android (Free)

Which Marshmallow Feature Is Your Favorite?

Personally, I love the idea of a universal fingerprint scanner that is built into Android 6.0 Marshmallow, which is obviously not something you just can download an app to get.

What’s your favorite Android 6.0 feature, and is there any way to get something similar on older phones? Let us know in the comments!

Image Credit: Phone android M by taromanaiaivia Shutterstock

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  1. Kevin Lee Clark
    February 16, 2017 at 1:51 am

    The only feature in Android 6 that interests me is the external memory being treated just like the internal memory

  2. asp24248@gmail.xom
    September 9, 2016 at 5:19 pm

    Storage merges , both internal and external storages merge and that's what anyone wants

  3. Anonymous
    February 9, 2016 at 8:26 pm

    I'm really not meaning to be nitpicky. Marshmallow is something I'm looking forward to. But Marshmallow introduces the new feature of putting unused apps to sleep? Doesn't earlier versions do this? I distinctly remember reading that at least Lollipop does when I read an article on a renowned website (ahem!) where someone explained exactly why task killers are bad. Am I remembering incorrectly, or is this deja vu all over again?

    Between Greenify and Juice Defender I would definitely use Greenify (I used to) because it's not actually a task killer. It's hibernation process does make your phone s-l-i-g-h-t-l-y slower though.

  4. dan
    December 12, 2015 at 3:52 pm

    I never understood why articles like this aren't written for Android devices (not just phones), so I assume these tips are good for Tablets as well - correct?

    • Anonymous
      February 9, 2016 at 8:11 pm


  5. abmacwan
    November 25, 2015 at 4:23 am

    Google Now launcher is lightweight? :D

  6. Anonymous
    October 14, 2015 at 7:25 pm

    Why are you still pimping Juice Defender? It hasn't been updated since 2011 and there are a lot better choices out there. It's time to update your phone.

    • Mihir Patkar
      October 26, 2015 at 11:30 am

      Because it just works really well, even now.

      • Anonymous
        November 18, 2015 at 1:42 am

        Can't say that I agree. I used to use it, and it was great. Now it actually makes my phone use battery faster. Greenify is really all I need now to make my phone last.

  7. Anonymous
    October 14, 2015 at 2:14 am

    I have a new Moto G 2nd gen which apparently upgraded to 5.1 with Google Now. I hate it so far. I preferred the horizontal scrolling because I knew how many swipes to make for my apps. Don't like the extra home screen. Uninstalled Google Now and it trashed my home screens altogether and I had to reset all the apps.

    Wasn't asked, tried and didn't like, uninstalling trashed my settings. Thumbs down.

    • Mihir Patkar
      October 14, 2015 at 6:13 am

      Maybe try a different launcher? I use Microsoft's Arrow Launcher now //

    • Anonymous
      February 9, 2016 at 8:09 pm

      I figured I'd through in my favorite launcher...Apex Launcher Pro. I'm an info junkie, so I like that it lets me add additional lines and columns on my screens for icons and widgets. I won't go deeper than that here, but suffice to say that you can customize pretty much every single aspect of your phone's appearance.

      That said, if you want a lightweight, nimble and fun launcher that tightly integrates with apps similar to what's been outlined in this great article, check out CM Launcher by Cheetah Mobile.

      I think I'll go check out Arrow Launcher......I'm constantly changing things up if I see something better.

      • Anonymous
        February 9, 2016 at 8:10 pm

        That's throw, btw. Ugh.

  8. Anonymous
    October 14, 2015 at 12:23 am

    Today, I got my first hands-on Marshmallow experience on an Android One. I couldn't find many prominent changes, surface level or user level.

    I am already using Google Launcher, Greenify Premium, App Ops, and Helium on my S4 Mini Duos. But I didn't know these app features were in Marshmallow. My Bad!!!

    • Mihir Patkar
      October 14, 2015 at 6:12 am

      Marshmallow does those things better, the apps are add-ons that are emulating the same experience while Android 6 has them baked in and works at a core OS level.

  9. Anonymous
    October 13, 2015 at 1:04 pm

    Does not work on Samsung Galaxy A5 with android 5.0.2.
    Shows only
    1. install,it need root auth.
    2.Done! AppOpps will become active on reboot.

    Install (button)
    Reboot (button)

    • Mihir Patkar
      October 14, 2015 at 6:11 am

      App Ops works without root, Victor. That said, if you have a rooted phone, it's always going to be easier to manage permissions :)

      • Anonymous
        October 14, 2015 at 5:01 pm

        My phone is not rooted and it is said in the presentation:

        "If you are using Android 5.x Lollipop or Android 4.3/4.4 KitKat, you can control individual app permissions with App Ops. On Android versions 4.2 and older, you’ll need to root your phone to control permissions."

        And I say again mine is 5.0.2.
        So, why it does not work?
        How can I make it work?

    • Anonymous
      October 14, 2015 at 6:28 pm

      Exactly the same with my HTC One M7, android 5.0.2!!!

  10. Anonymous
    October 13, 2015 at 2:00 am

    The application in the above artical, App Ops does not work on 5.0.2. My phone if not rooted.

    • Mihir Patkar
      October 13, 2015 at 5:19 am

      Which phone is this, Jonny? I'm on 5.1 on the Moto G and it's working fine.

      • Anonymous
        October 13, 2015 at 8:50 am

        Moto g also. App Ops get stuck on the first screen when I run the application.

  11. Anonymous
    October 13, 2015 at 12:55 am

    Helium fails around 30 to 40 percent of the time. I have used it in different phones, and Titanium has proved itself better.

    • Mihir Patkar
      October 13, 2015 at 5:22 am

      Like I said, Titanium is better if you have a rooted phone, but so few phones are rooted. For non-rooted, Helium is the best.

  12. Anonymous
    October 12, 2015 at 10:10 pm

    Does anyone know if 1st Gen Moto G US Retail edition is getting the Lollipop release?

    • Mihir Patkar
      October 13, 2015 at 5:21 am

      Android 5 Lollipop should already be on the 1st Gen Moto G. But according to Motorola, it won't get Android 6 Marshmallow

      • Anonymous
        October 13, 2015 at 10:13 pm

        I'm not getting the notification to have the update yet. Could there be something wrong?