13 Best Android 9.0 Pie Features You Need to Try

Ben Stegner Updated 05-12-2019

The newest version of Android is here! Named Android Pie, and version 9.0 of the operating system, it introduces some cool new tricks that will change the way you use Android. These are welcome additions after the last few versions of Android brought mostly small tweaks.


Due to Android’s fragmentation, Pie will slowly roll out to devices in the coming months and won’t look exactly the same on every one.

Whether you’ve downloaded already or are looking forward to it, here are the best new features in Android 9.0 Pie you must know about.

1. New Gesture Navigation

Android has used a standard three-button navigation bar at the bottom of the screen for ages. In Pie, you can drop the standard Back, Home, and Recent buttons in favor of a new gesture-based navigation system.

Future devices will ship with this enabled, but you’ll still see the old buttons after updating. To try it, head to Settings > System > Gestures > Swipe up on Home button. Your navigation bar will change right away.


Here’s how to navigate with the new setup:

  • Tap the new pill-shaped Home button to go home.
  • If your current view can use the Back button, you’ll see it appear where it always has.
  • Swipe up on the Home button to open the Recents view. Here, move left and right to check out the list, and swipe up to clear a recent app. Press and hold an app’s icon to see the Split screen option. You can even interact with apps in this view to select and copy text.
  • Swipe up on the Home button twice and you’ll open your app drawer.
  • Swipe right and hold on Home to slowly scroll between apps and release to open the one in the middle.
  • Swipe right quickly and release to switch to the previous app.
  • Press and hold the Home button to open Google Assistant as before.

This may take a bit to get used to, but it offers smoother methods of navigation compared to the old style.

For other navigation gestures as well as cool tools, take a look at these Android ABD apps for powerful features without root 6 Android ADB Apps for Powerful Features Without Root Want to get more control over your Android device? Try these apps that let you use ADB functionality without rooting. Read More . and these multitasking tips and apps for Android Start Multitasking on Android With These 8 Powerful Tips and Apps These powerful multitasking apps for Android let you switch apps instantly, run two apps side-by-side, and much more. Read More .

2. Adaptive Battery and Brightness

Android has plenty of automated features 7 Automated Android Settings You Should Be Using to Save Time Want your Android device to handle itself efficiently? Here are several automated Android features you should start using to save time every day. Read More , and a few important ones are getting a lot smarter in Pie.


Adaptive Battery is an expansion of the Doze feature introduced in Android 6 Marshmallow. Doze put apps that you weren’t using into a “deep sleep” to prevent them from wasting battery. Now, Adaptive Battery goes further by learning about the apps and services you use most often, then adjusting what you don’t use as much to use less battery.

This is enabled by default, but you can toggle it at Settings > Battery > Adaptive Battery. Note that apps you don’t use often may have delayed notifications due to this.

Android’s automatic brightness also gets an upgrade in Pie. Now, your phone will learn the brightness level you prefer in certain apps and environments and adjust it automatically. You can help train it by opening the Quick Settings panel (pull down on the notification bar twice) and adjusting the brightness as needed.


3. App Actions

Google’s launcher already predicts the apps you’re most likely to use based on the time of day. Now, App Actions let you quickly start tasks by predicting what you want to do.

For example, you might see a shortcut to start Google Maps navigation to work in the morning. At work, you might see an App Action to chat with your coworker on Hangouts. And when you plug in headphones, you’ll see an App Action for your most recent playlist.

Android Pie App Actions


These are similar to the app shortcuts available by long-pressing icons, which in turn were inspired by 3D Touch on the iPhone. The smarter prediction means that you’ll hopefully use them more often.

4. Slices

Similar to App Actions, Slices let you jump right to certain actions in apps. For instance, Google says that if you search for Lyft on your phone, you’ll see a shortcut to hail a ride to work, complete with price and ETA.

Android Pie Slices

5. Improved Security Features

Many of Android Pie’s security upgrades are under-the-hood and not particularly interesting. But you should know about two of them.

The first is that this version of Android “restricts access to mic, camera, and all SensorManager sensors from apps that are idle” according to Google. This means that even if you’ve granted permission for an app 5 Smartphone App Permissions You Need to Check Today Android and iOS permissions can be abused in various ways. Don't let your phone leak data to advertisers. Here's how to take control of app permissions. Read More to access your microphone, it can’t do so unless you’re actively using it.

Second, a new lockdown mode fortifies your phone in emergency situations. After enabling this at Settings > Security & location > Lock screen preferences > Show lockdown option, you can tap Lockdown on the Power menu. This instantly locks your phone, disables fingerprint unlocking and Smart Lock, and hides notifications on your lock screen. You’ll have to use your PIN, password, or pattern Password vs. PIN vs. Fingerprint: The Best Way to Lock Your Android Phone You can secure your Android phone's lock screen with a password, PIN code, fingerprint, and more. But which lock method should you use? Read More to unlock it.

This will prove useful if you feel that an authority or thief may force you to try to unlock your phone with biometric methods. Keep it around for emergencies.

6. Digital Wellbeing

Though it’s not part of Android yet, the Digital Wellbeing part of Android will be one of its most interesting. This is a suite of features Google has designed to help you see how often you use your phone Cut Back on Smartphone Usage With These 7 Apps Sick of constantly wasting your time on your phone? There are ways to fix that. Read More , and what apps you spend the most time in.

The dashboard shows you how many notifications apps send you, how much time you spend in apps, and how often you check your phone. You can also set daily time limits to keep yourself from wasting hours in time-sinking apps.

Meanwhile, a revamped Do Not Disturb feature turns off not just audio notifications, but visual ones too. This helps you block all distractions. And the Wind Down feature fades your phone to grayscale when it’s time for bed. This is a mental trick that makes your phone less interesting to use.

You can sign up for the Digital Wellbeing beta if you’re interested. It will come to Android Pie in the future.

7. New Accessibility Menu

Android has plenty of accessibility features Accessibility on Android: Make Your Device Easier to Use Android includes features to make sure that everyone can enjoy their phone. Even if you aren't disabled, the Accessibility menu holds some neat tricks to look into. Read More , but they aren’t always easy to access. A new menu in Android Pie makes it simple to access common functions for users who need assistance.

Enable this menu at Settings > Accessibility > Accessibility Menu. Turn on the Use service slider and confirm the prompt, and you’ll see a new icon to the right of the navigation bar. Tap this anytime to bring up a large menu with shortcuts to Volume, Recent apps, Quick Settings, and more.

This should make navigation easier for users who have difficulty using Android’s gestures.

8. New Screenshot Shortcut

The default Power + Volume Down button combination for screenshots is a little awkward. Thus, in Android Pie, you can take a shortcut from the Power menu anytime.

What’s more, you can also tap the Edit command in the notification that appears to make adjustments to your shot right away.

If that’s not convenient enough, also check out more ways to capture the screen of your Android The 5 Best Ways to Take a Screenshot on Any Android Phone We show you how to take a screenshot on Android. Choose between default shortcuts and apps to capture your Android phone. Read More .

9. Easier Screen Rotation

Android Pie Rotation Button

Android automatically switches your screen orientation based on how it’s situated. You can lock the orientation to portrait or landscape, but this turns into a pain if you need to switch often.

In Pie, if you have Auto-Rotate turned off, you’ll see a new icon on the right side of the navigation bar when you rotate your device to landscape. Tap it to lock in landscape orientation, and it will stay even if you turn back to portrait. Just tap the icon again to rotate back to portrait.

10. Volume and Sound Improvements

When you press a Volume button, you’ll notice the slider now appears on the right side instead of the top. What’s more, pressing volume buttons now changes the Media volume instead of the Ringer volume like before. This simple volume tweak makes it easier to avoid opening a YouTube video and accidentally playing it at full blast.

Tap the Note icon to mute or unmute media audio. You can tap the icon above this to toggle your Calls volume between Ring, Vibrate, and Mute. You’ll need to select the Gear icon to open the Sound menu and make detailed adjustments.

Android Pie also gives you more Bluetooth options. You can have up to five Bluetooth connections simultaneously, up from just two in Oreo. Calls will go to all Bluetooth devices capable of handling them.

In a welcome change, your phone now remembers the volume for indivudal Bluetooth devices. This means you won’t blow your ears out with your earbuds after using your Bluetooth speaker at max volume.

11. Selectable Dark Mode

Android Oreo included a dark mode, but the system automatically decided whether to enable it based on your wallpaper. Now you can choose for yourself at Settings > System > Display > Advanced > Device theme.

12. Easier Text Selection

Android Pie Select Text

If you copy and paste a lot, you’ll love a small change in Pie. Now when you long-press to select text and grab the handles, a little magnifier lets you see exactly what you’re selecting.

13. More Notification Information

If you want to see which apps are sending distracting notifications How to Reduce Distracting Notifications on Android Notifications can really get in the way of life -- here's how to sort out the necessary from the annoying. Read More , head to Settings > Apps & notifications > Notifications. In the Recently sent section, you can see which apps have pinged you recently. Tap See all from last 7 days to view more info.

Changing Most recent to Most frequent lets you find the worst offenders. Android will also suggest that you disable notifications from apps you swipe away frequently. Don’t forget about the notification channels introduced in Oreo All the New Ways to Use Notifications in Android 8.0 Oreo Android 8.0 Oreo's notification channels are a powerful new way to make sure that your phone only alerts you of priority information. Here's everything on the way notifications have changed in Oreo. Read More , either.

What Do You Think of Android 9.0 Pie?

There’s a lot to love about Android 9 Pie. Even more than the above, this release includes a more colorful Settings menu, refreshed fonts, and rounded corners across the OS. Moreover, Android 9 Pie supports smartphone notches. You’re bound to find some additional improvements as you get acquainted.

Even if you don’t have Pie yet (check out the Essential Phone to get it now), you can take advantage of apps that change the way you use Android. And here are the Android 10 features 13 Must-See New Features in Android 10 Android 10 is here and it's full of new features to check out. Here are the coolest improvements and tweaks you must try. Read More you can look forward to when you upgrade from Android Pie.

Related topics: Android, Android Pie.

Affiliate Disclosure: By buying the products we recommend, you help keep the site alive. Read more.

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  1. Nwoha Goodness
    June 5, 2020 at 1:06 pm

    My new gesture navigation and the adaptive battery is not visible in my phone that has android 9 pie

  2. Aditi Kumari
    November 11, 2019 at 5:53 pm

    I only like night mode which is more important night users.

  3. Roger Bost
    August 24, 2019 at 5:59 pm

    Don't like the nav bar settings at top right where you could turn off wireless, select wireless, select Bluetooth, etc. Old you could select. New? No. Why? Less is more? Great "advancments".

  4. grumpy
    July 18, 2019 at 4:45 pm

    Pie update seem okay so far. Not happy it changed my display from dark to light background. If I wanted a crappy looking white display I'd have an old Iphone . Stop assuming you know what consumers want . you don't.

  5. Bob
    July 8, 2019 at 8:08 am

    I changed phones recently, moved from Android 6 to 9.
    V9 PR bangs on about Digital Wellbeing and restricting your (over)use of tech. In my opinion one glaring commission from the latest build is the inbuilt ability to schedule a power off and power on of your mobile phone which I found invaluable for completely detaching from the phone at night. Play store apps don't seem to have filled the gap for this necessity.

    • v1adimir
      July 13, 2019 at 4:52 pm

      Right, imagine how much resources, time and money they've been throwing away at this "feature", which is entirely unnecessary. It's a straight-hustle, just check out how much effort they're putting towards it, there are pages-upon-pages of "explanations" and a "chance" for us to "learn" and "discover why a healthy relationship with technology is so important [..]"

      ... I mean, do people really fall for these things?! Yes, OF COURSE that most of which they're saying is true, but if you remember that sticker at the bottom of keyboards - how prolonged use can cause problems - that (warning) had been quite enough, we're not idiots, meh. ;)

      So, OBVIOUSLY, this entire system is part of /another layer of their Telemetry (monitoring and reporting). Gathering usage stats, to sell on, about this-and-that. The GOOD THING is while it's not fully-integrated and remains a plugin-on, or a separate Application: we're able to Disable it and /or remove it, as it's uninstallable via adb, thankfully!..

      P.S. "At night", it takes but a second to stick the device into Airplane mode, or to Mute all sound; Do not disturb is also on the Notifications menu and it has a "Exceptions" section, to allow for calls from Starred contacts and repeat callers (which is pretty neat, even if the time period is non-configurable. :))

  6. CK
    June 11, 2019 at 11:50 pm

    Just got the Pie update last night and it didn't exactly get off to the best start with me. I have an unlocked S8 with Straight Talk on the AT&T network, and the update blew out all the settings for the APN. Even once those were reset, my internet settings had also been altered, and I spent about 45 minutes with customer service trying to get the configurations fixed.
    In addition, I don't like the fact that when I check the open apps with the tile button, I now have to scroll horizontally rather than vertically, and there's no quick close button so I can just close individual programs. Tapping on the tile just opens the program. My only option is the Close All at the bottom of the tiles.
    Anyone have a way around this?

    • v1adimir
      July 13, 2019 at 5:47 pm

      Just btw., the recommendation (like, a "best practice") is to ALWAYS factory-reset any device prior to a -major- update and immediately following, also; which of course requires a back-up, for anyone keeping their data. :)

      As far as your Samsung S8, my advice is to not get hustled and ripped-off in the first place, when making a purchase (basically, they had charged you 400 euros for a 200 euro phone). There are EXCELLENT Android One (stock Android, or Vanilla) devices, such as Xiaomi Mi A2 ("jasmine", Global ROM, M1804D2SG - it's the ROM ending in "PDIMIXM") which costs "about 190 EUR", half the price of Nokia 7 plus at launch (they had to lower the price by 100 euros, once the Xiaomi model come out, LOL) and it's the same SDM660 SoC.

      Also, for example, for anyone prepared to deal with Xiaomi's MIUI interface, Xiaomi Redmi K20 Pro can be purchased for "about 350 EUR" and it carries the SDM855 Snapdragon SoC - making it equal -in some things a bit better, some a bit worse- to Apple's, Samsung's and other brands' 1000+ euro devices (which also have their, respective, messed-up launchers. ;))

      Anyway, SORRY that I wasn't much help (hehe), had to put that out there... With the exuberant prices most of these other brands are wanting for their products - you'd expect things to be perfect, except they're not, meh.

  7. Rima Sen
    June 7, 2019 at 5:55 pm

    +91 89278 78193 missed call twice for get link to pie android update yor sony samsung and motorolla. Its really worked.???

    • v1adimir
      July 13, 2019 at 5:57 pm

      Um, no?!?? There isn't a single company, in the world, which would deliver a update via a call, or a MMS.

      (I imagine that call would be something to trick people out of their money, by keeping them connected, or downloading huge files (through MMS, somehow?!) and /or some kind of a virus-delivery system, no idea. :))

      Updates are typically delivered as over-the-air (OTA) updates, check it out @
      source[DOT]android[DOT]com /devices /tech /ota/

      ... And MakeUseOf has a /tag for: "Which Smartphone Manufacturers Are Best for Android Updates?" which -perhaps- may be something to consider, for future purchases.

  8. Rima Sen
    June 7, 2019 at 5:54 pm

    To android pie update, missed call twice this no. to get the links for sony samsung Motorola

    +91 89278 78193
    Its really worked thanks a lot.???

  9. Cheryl
    June 5, 2019 at 10:27 pm

    So sorry I did this update! My wallpaper photo of my Lilies used to be crisp and clear, and now are fuzzy! The icon's look like they belong on a toddler's toy! The functionality of the contacts and messages were dumbed down and operates like it was programmed by a junior high student for his baby brother! I've had to re-set several things including the clock and it's been a royal pain! I HATE THIS UPDATE!

    • v1adimir
      July 13, 2019 at 6:12 pm

      Yup!..:) Android Pie is, definitely, a love-hate affair (for almost everyone, I think), because it's so much different than all previous versions; visually, as well as technically.

      Perhaps the WORST part of it all, is what had been introduced -already- in Android "Oreo" - and now cemented with their release of Pie, Google's anti-rollback protection.

      Basically, if you were to download a previous ROM for your device and try to flash it - in order to downgrade from Android 9.x to Android 8.x - there's a high probability that it would brick your phone. Just a regular ROM, supplied by your manufacturer, factory.

      ^^ Just posting this as a heads-up, for anybody thinking about taking their phone to a shop - you have to be VERY careful that they would know *exactly* what they're doing. Sometimes it's possible to downgrade, there are a LOT of factors involved... Also, Google's reasons for doing this isn't all negative: for example, among other reasons, there were cases of 3rd-party vendors actually (!) pre-packing people's phones with MALWARE, if you can imagine, meh.

  10. CB
    June 5, 2019 at 10:21 pm

    So Sorry I did this update! The wallpaper photo of my Lilies used to be crisp and clear, now they're fuzzy. The icons look like they belong on a toddler's toy! The changes in accessing my contacts and messages looks juvenile - like a junior high student programmed it for his baby brother to use. It's an insult to my intelligence! I've had to re-set almost everything I had set originally! What a pain in the rump!

  11. Ami
    June 5, 2019 at 11:52 am

    Please add font style settings too.....

  12. Walt
    April 1, 2019 at 5:30 pm

    Just updated to Pie on my Motorola g6 play and then found that the OS was saying that my SD card was corrupted and needed reformatting. Had to copy all my files onto my PC, reformat th SD card and then copy them back. That was a problem too until I discovered that one has to set the USB connection to 'data transfer' as it was somehow set to 'no data' during the update. Not the easiest upgrade I've ever done....

    • v1adimir
      July 13, 2019 at 6:22 pm

      Ehh, again, a "best practice" is to factory-reset the device prior to an update and also (immediately) following one (doesn't matter if you're flashing, or using OTA :)). Also, OF COURSE, you would remove the SIM card(s) and any SD card(s) which are present, too.

      P.S. Don't forget to back everything up, first. xD

      ^^ This means that if your SD card is formatted for Internal Storage (and not as portable storage), you'd need a PC to move any data.

  13. Foobar
    March 13, 2019 at 4:29 am

    Android is the reason I refuse to get a smart phone...well, I had one, for just long enough to know it's the reason I'll never have another (I used that one for less than a month and dropped it in the garbage).

    *GOOGLE*! Every damn thing on it is GOOGLE this, GOOGLE that and wants to keep running whether you tell it to or not! The battery will NOT last *because* of google and all the damn apps forced on us.

    Why is it so hard to just give us a phone and let the owsner of the phone choose and install the apps they want? Because then GOOGLE wouldn't be able to spy on us, force our battery to go down as fast and thus need to buy a new one more often than otherwise, etc.

    They can call the Android software any cutesy name they want, it's still spyware, adware, crapware, unwantedware no matter what way you look at it.

    • NLVXXI
      March 25, 2019 at 3:21 am

      Relax Grampa, no one's spying on you.

    • v1adimir
      July 13, 2019 at 6:38 pm

      It's crazy, not only can we not access Google Play Store (without a Google account, ofc.), but ALSO software cannot be installed on a device, until some updates are fetched - this is the insane part. For example, we CANNOT just download (a .apk for) a store like F-Droid and get Apps from there, without first turning on the Apple, or Google Collection Machine...

      Anyway, Siri, Alexa and Google Assistant (Apple, Amazon and Google) ARE "spying" on everyone using their applications and devices (like those hardware home-assistants); for anyone that doesn't know (like "NLVXXI" commenting on your post), you should really search the Internet for this information (because it's true, blah).

      Information is sent without user interaction and without notification. They are using all sorts of crafty tricks to bypass the law (or to absolve them of any liability lawsuits), such as -Google- stating that they don't listen to their customers' recordings - by outsourcing this work to 3rd parties (it's sick). :/

      If you look a bit further, you'll be able to find that hardware, such as your camera and microphone, can be powered-on even when all of the settings are set to off, or you've removed those Permissions. Meaning, you don't even have to have one of those "assistant" software installed. I'm not joking, or making any of this up... This information is available online, for those that look for it (and it is NOT any sort of a "conspiracy theory", simply reality, believe it or not).

      ^^ Just look for it, don't believe what I'm telling you, the information is readily available, meh.

    February 16, 2019 at 1:12 pm


    • v1adimir
      July 13, 2019 at 6:50 pm

      Their answer at the end of Knowledge Base articles is to: "Please contact customer service if the problem persists". I take it you've solved this since your post here in February?..:)

      In case you haven't, you may be left with a brick..;) There's a thread on their forum, "issues-after-pie-update" and users post that Nokia is telling them that: "we cannot roll back to android oreo 8.1". Quite possible because of Android's anti-rollback feature.

      Soo... Basically, the only (?!) solution may be to use a different launcher - and perhaps the issue gets addressed in a future OTA update. Your Nokia 5.1 Plus should (hopefully, right) be a Android One device, so most probably this has already happened.


  15. Sue de Nym
    February 5, 2019 at 12:53 am

    Hoped Pie would bring back webpage 'save to homescreen' option, which appears in Oreo but no longer works since the upgrade from Nougat.

    • v1adimir
      July 13, 2019 at 7:01 pm

      ... Don't think it had been anything with Android 9.x Pie (?), but with your web browser (sounds like Chrome, idk. :)), or your launcher UI - perhaps it may be somewhere in options; maybe somewhat similar to Google Play Settings: "Add icon to Home screen (For new Apps)", right? o.0

  16. Gouns
    January 25, 2019 at 9:15 am

    "The default Power + Volume Down button combination for shortcuts is a little awkward. Thus, in Android Pie, you can take a shortcut from the Power menu anytime."

    I think you wanted to say "screenshot" not "shortcut"

    • Ben Stegner
      January 25, 2019 at 3:11 pm

      Thanks, fixed!

  17. Unite the Clans
    November 12, 2018 at 8:50 pm

    I'm still running Android 7.0 on my Moto G5+

    I've read the 8.0,8.1,9.0 o/s features that phones have, yet I'm just not seeing any life altering features that are going to make a difference in my day to day use.

    My phone is eligible to upgrade to 8.1 - but Motorola is having a nightmare trying to fix the multitude of problems people are currently experiencing after updating their phones and reporting on the Lenovo-Moto forum and elsewhere.

    • v1adimir
      July 13, 2019 at 7:02 pm

      (Just imagine if we were given the options to install security updates -only- and pass on new "features" and "quality updates" and major versions. Not in this lifetime, right. :))

  18. TJ
    October 31, 2018 at 7:21 am

    I activated the new gesture navigation and I've been enjoying till the recent Security Patch update.
    I updated my phone as usual and it reverted to the old navigation buttons.
    Unfortunately, there's no option to switch back to the new gesture navigation. ??
    Any workarounds?

    I will be grateful

    • v1adimir
      July 13, 2019 at 7:06 pm

      On Pie (Vanilla Android), this is in: System, Gestures, Swipe up on Home button.

  19. RM
    October 27, 2018 at 5:14 am

    good useful summary of new features

  20. TJ
    October 25, 2018 at 9:37 pm

    Just updated to Android Pie few days ago and my phone feel brand new.
    I've opened this article for almost a week but taking time to read it today unveiled more features I hadn't come across.

    Thanks for this!

  21. Dhaval Tandel
    September 26, 2018 at 5:32 pm

    I've updated to android pie, related oxygen os on OnePlus 6, but Man, your page has helped me a lot, thanks a ton, I'll share this page with all my friends, thanks again for writing such a helpful page ?

  22. nobitakun
    August 18, 2018 at 10:44 pm

    Best of the day: "This will prove useful if you feel that an authority or thief may force you to try to unlock your phone with biometric methods." With this, Android will be the 1st reason of death in the world. When thiefs want you to unlock your phone while pointing at you with a gun or a knife the only thing you want is to lock it even more, why nooooot? lol...

    Best feature ever.

  23. nobitakun
    August 18, 2018 at 10:44 pm

    Best of the day: "This will prove useful if you feel that an authority or thief may force you to try to unlock your phone with biometric methods." With this, Android will be the 1st reason of death in the world. When thiefs want you to unlock your phone while pointing at you with a gun or a knife the only thing you want is to lock it even more, why nooooot? lol...

    Best feature ever.

  24. Gazoo
    August 14, 2018 at 10:31 pm

    I've owned few cheaper Android devices where the screenshot button was available in the notification dropdown area. I thought this was standard for Android until I noted that "premium" devices used the awkward button method. It's about time Google dealt with this officially.

    The easier 'text selection' is another positive here.

    It's a shame that I may not see this and previous updates to the OS since planned obsolescence is built into the ecosystem: New improved Android OS? Buy a new phone!

    Honestly looking at ChromeOS as an android replacement: if for nothing else... OS updates! More seriously looking at Purism's work in the long-term.