7 Reasons You’ll Want to Upgrade to Android Nougat

Christian Cawley 11-10-2016

Android’s latest update is upon us, but while you might be interested in Android 7.0 Nougat Everything You Need to Know About Android N Want to install Android N or just learn about the next Android version? We've got your back. Read More , there’s a good chance that you’re pretty happy with Android 6.0 Marshmallow. So why would you want to upgrade?


Well, mainly there are interface tweaks that keep Android looking fresh (some of which can be installed on Marshmallow Android Nougat Navbar & More: Try These RRO Layers Themes Want the new Android Nougat navigation bar? Or maybe you just want to theme your Android Marshmallow device? Either way, RRO Layers is the way to go. Read More ). And then there’s everything else — a list of improvements so long you’d be here all day reading about them.

If you’re familiar with Android already, one of the things you’ll notice about Android Nougat’s new features is that many of them aren’t all that new. In fact, most can be traced back to Samsung and Sony phones from the past few years.

To make it easier on your eyes, and to celebrate Android 7.0’s release, we’ve grouped the new features into seven categories, each giving you a strong reason to upgrade.

1. Improved Notification Area

Notifications are all-important, but for many users they can be a pain. Android Nougat does a good job of fixing this by introducing some revisions to the notification area.

Android N Reasons -- Notifications


The ability to quick reply to message notifications is probably the most notable change. This is such a simple idea that it’s a surprise stock Android hasn’t introduced it sooner. All you need to do is tap the Reply link and send your message directly from whatever screen you’re on, rather than going into the app.

Notifications also have individual quick settings, which you can access by long-tapping or swiping slightly to reveal the gear icon. Here, you can specify priorities for your apps, which will prove useful for determining what sort of notifications appear and whether or not they appear on the lock screen.

2. Quick Switch Multi-tasking

One of the most important aspects of Nougat is the ability to quickly switch between apps. So, say you’re using the Twitter app and want to quickly switch back to the Gmail app. If that was the last app you used, double tapping the Recents button (the square) would bring Gmail back up.

And yes, it is a new feature in Android 7.0 Nougat. It has been possible before, though, for those running custom ROMs 6 Best Android 6.0 Marshmallow Custom ROMs If you want to upgrade your phone to Android 6.0 Marshmallow, don't wait! These custom ROMs make it easy. Read More or those with certain manufacturer-specific software skins Android Skins Explained: How Do Hardware Makers Change Stock Android? Hardware makers like to take Android and morph it into something that is entirely their own, but is this a good or a bad thing? Take a look and compare these different Android skins. Read More .


3. Multi-Window Mode for Productivity

Another aspect borrowed from custom ROMs is the new multi-window feature, which allows you to run two apps at the same time. In fact, Samsung introduced its own multi-window feature Get Samsung's Multi Window Feature On Any Android Device All new Samsung Galaxy devices come with Multi Window, an awesome feature that allows you to run multiple apps at the same time. But how do you get this on a non-Samsung device? Read More way back in 2011.

Android N Reasons -- Multitasking

In Android Nougat, a long tap of Recents will split the display in half — your current app on the left and the app switcher on the right (in landscape mode). All you need to do is cycle through those recent apps, choose the one you want, and you get split-screen multitasking. It looks a bit like Windows 8’s snap feature Facebook For Windows 8.1 Update Gets Snap View, Photo Downloads Facebook for Windows 8.1 is already getting new features. Among the notable additions are the ability to use the Snap View feature for multi-tasking and the option to download photos. Read More . Sadly, it doesn’t work well across the board yet, as developers need to make some changes to their apps and games to support it.

What is particularly impressive about this feature, however, is the ability to drag and drop images and text between panes. While this only works initially in some apps, it is expected to be widely adopted.


Other productivity features in Android 7.0 Nougat include the support for multiple locales and the setting of primary and secondary languages.

4. Improved Performance

Faster gaming graphics arrive with Android 7.0 Nougat thanks to the Vulkan Graphics API, which should result in a smoother and better-rendered gaming experience.

Android Nougat also tweaks the Android Runtime compiler Does Switching To ART Speed Up Your Android KitKat Device? Is ART best left alone until Google decides to roll it out as a working replacement for Dalvik? Read More , introducing Just in Time compilation in order for devices to boot up quickly. This is all about avoiding the slow boot issues of Lollipop and Marshmallow, and it seems to be a good solution.

5. Security and Updates

Security is a growing issue for Android, so it’s good to see some new ideas being introduced to help users manage their devices more effectively.


One idea that seems ridiculously obvious is displaying where an app was installed from 10 Best Android Apps Not in the Play Store The Play Store isn't the end-all-be-all of Android apps. If you've never ventured outside of it, you're really missing out. Read More . This can be found in Settings > Apps and will prove useful to anyone trying to trace malware Has Your Android Phone Been Infected with Malware? How does malware get on an Android device? After all, most users only install apps through the Play Store, and Google keeps a tight watch over that to make sure malware doesn't squeeze through, right?... Read More .

Meanwhile, updating has been streamlined with the new seamless updates feature. All future phones will have support for this, which essentially downloads the Android OS update to a secondary partition. This will happen in the background, and when you restart your phone, Android switches partitions, and you’ll be painlessly introduced to the new update. Though this won’t solve all of Android’s slow update issues Why Hasn't My Android Phone Updated Yet? The Android update process is long and complicated; let's examine it to find out exactly why your Android phone takes so long to update. Read More .

Along with file-based encryption, which enables you to protect your files and folders from hackers, Android 7.0 Nougat introduces granular controls over what directories your installed apps can access.

Rather than granting permission to everything as before, this means you can prevent a particular app from accessing your files. Whether the app is suspicious, or you simply have privacy concerns, this is an important addition.

6. Interface Tweaks

As ever, various tweaks have been made to the visuals of the user interface in Android Nougat. Most of this is largely information-based. For instance, it displays which Wi-Fi network you’re connected to in the main Settings screen.

Android N Reasons -- Settings Interface

Staying with Settings, there is also the introduction of the hamburger menu in the upper left, which should be familiar since it’s used in most Android apps. It seems likely that this will eventually permeate every app on future Android versions, so get used to it!

Meanwhile, notifications now take up the full width of the screen, giving them a cleaner, more modern look.

7. Improved Doze Mode

A big feature of Android 6.0 Marshmallow was Doze mode, which saved battery if your phone remained untouched for quite a while (such as when you sleep). With Android 7.0 Nougat, this has been enhanced, with Doze now kicking in any time the screen is off. Whereas before the phone had to be laid flat, now it can be in any orientation — ideal for saving battery power while your phone is in your pocket.

Essentially, Doze now works on two levels. A phone in your pocket, screen-off, will periodically sync data. But it will only disable other battery-draining aspects such as wakelocks 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  when it remains stationary for a while.

Remember, however, that this kind of sleep mode could delay important notifications (though you can set priorities for this in Settings).

Where Is Your Android 7.0 Nougat Update?

If you want to get a taste of Android 7.0, you’re probably either going to have to wait for an update to download, or go out and buy a new phone. Thinking about the latter option? Then try the Google Pixel phone. You might even like the Google Pixel C tablet Google Pixel C Review Google has released the Pixel C tablet to paint the Android tablet experience in a whole new light -- but is the whole idea just academic in a world with affordable Windows 10 tablets and... Read More , which was one of the first tablets to be given an Android 7.0 Nougat update.

Android N Reasons -- Lock Screen

Meanwhile, recent phones in the Nexus range also have Nougat updates available or coming soon, if you prefer to download. For other manufacturers, check the relevant support page for your device.

There is another option for updates, though. If you have a custom recovery (such as TWRP or ClockworkMod What Is a Custom Android Recovery? Getting Started With TWRP What is a custom recovery on Android? What can you do with it? We explain Android recoveries and show you how to get TWRP. Read More ) installed on your device, then you’ll probably find that there is an unofficial Android 7.0 ROM available. For instance, if you use the 2013 Nexus 5 phone, there is an AOSP version of Android 7.0. To find out, head to and search for your device.

What Are Your Favorite New Features?

As with any list of new features, there are always going to be some that get left out. But it would be wrong to overlook the new ability to force apps to run from your microSD card, whether they support that function or not.

Meanwhile Night Mode appeared in preview releases, a blue-light filter that saves your eyes in low-light What Is a Blue Light Filter and Which App Works Best? These blue light filter apps for Android will help you get a better night's sleep, even when using your device at night. Read More , but it apparently isn’t on every Android 7.0 Nougat device. Meanwhile, Daydream has been co-opted — it’s no longer a screensaver for docked mode but the name for Google’s foray into virtual reality.

But to underline the spread of Android from smartphones and tablets into other types of devices, there’s another new feature. This one is specifically for Android TV, and it brings picture-in-picture functionality to Android TV boxes. Oh, and there’s DVR support too.

Will you be upgrading to Android 7.0 Nougat? Have you already upgraded via the developer previews, or do you own a compatible Nexus handset? What features would you have liked to see? Tell us in the comments.

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  1. Doc
    October 14, 2016 at 11:35 pm

    Great. Tell me where to download the ROM and I'll upgrade (stuck with a HTC Desire 612, Android 4.4.3).
    Don't have the money to shell out for a $500+ phone right now.

  2. Aamir
    October 11, 2016 at 7:47 pm

    I like the improved notification area it will make it look a little different than before.
    I'm a big fan of stock android, I really can't wait to use it on my Moto g4plus...

    • Christian Cawley
      October 12, 2016 at 6:50 pm

      It really does make the email notifications more useful.

    • Kelsey Tidwell
      October 25, 2016 at 2:07 am

      I've been using this in 5.1 on my ZTE Maven for quite a while. Verrrrry handy.