So during the last few months we saw the developer preview release for the upcoming Nougat update. Though this new version came pre-installed on the Pixel devices, it didn’t make it to the other Google devices until lately. A few days ago, Google made the official announcement for Android 7.1.1 Nougat, at the Google Developers Blog.
Lets take a second and give a hand to Google for bringing quick updates to the Nexus devices.
Apart from the increment in version number, from 7.0 – 7.1, the update brings in several new features that are focused on polishing your Nougat experience. The majority of features are listed below, so that you shall have a complete overlook at what’s being thrown at your device with this update.
What New Should You Expect In Android 7.1.1?
App shortcuts, or the dreaded Launcher Shortcuts are now back! This was indeed one hell of a feature and something similar to 3D Touch on iPhone, of which we had a glimpse in Developer Preview 3 of Android 7.0. Unfortunately, it didn’t make its way to the final release of 7.0. But Google has brought it back and you are going to love it. When it comes to your Android, it will add one more shortcut in your life that will ease up several tasks.
App shortcuts allows you to perform actions by simply long-pressing the app icon, either on the homescreen, dock, or even app drawer. The perform-able actions may vary, depending on the app and the actions it could perform. You may also pin those shortcuts to your homescreen for convenience.
For example: If you long-press the Google Messenger app icon, you shall be able to create a new conversation or just open the last three conversations for quick access. The same goes for other apps too. You might not see app shortcut for all the apps that you have on your device. But slowly and steadily, the app developers will implement the necessary API to their apps.
This feature will only work on some specific launchers for now, including Google Launcher, Pixel Launcher, and Nova Launcher. You might have to be a little more patient for your favourite launcher to support App Shortcuts.
Restart From Power Menu
The next small, yet very notable feature is the all-new Restart option in the stock power menu.
Since the very beginning, the Nexus/AOSP users have desperately waited for this little function. So now, you wouldn’t have to go through the complete cycle to switch off your device and again switch it on for a simple reboot. This will make things a lot easier for you, as it did for me.
Google Support In Settings
Settings menu has already seen a overhaul with 7.0 and has now been given another addition, and this time it is the new “SUPPORT” tab. As the name suggests, it’s the Google Support Service, right in your device settings.
This brings all the answers to Android related questions, tips, and tricks under one roof. The support menu will also enable you to directly get in touch with the Android support over a call. Just make sure that you have selected your country and tap on the phone number provided. You will just be a call away from appropriate assistance.
In-built File Manager & Smart Storage
We (Majorly Nexus users) have always been in a dire need of a pre-installed file manager with basic functions. And Google has brought such thing to us with Android 7.1.1.
To start off, you can go to Settings > Storage > Explore. There would be your in-built file manager, and shall allow you to delete/copy/move/rename files and create new folders. Over to the second major addition, you can free up your device’s storage space, either manually by deleting files or by leaving the task to “Smart Storage” (Settings > Storage > Manage storage). Smart Storage will automatically delete photos and vidoes from the device memory. Don’t worry, you won’t loose them. It will only trash those files that are already backed up to Google Photos.
Gesture Controls Have A New Home
A new menu has appeared in the Settings, known as “Moves”. These are basically gesture and button controlled actions, like double-tapping the power button to access camera from any screen. Other options include twisting-twice within the camera app to switch between primary and rear camera, and lifting the phone to check the current notifications.
It is a nice idea to gather the identical functions together. Hopefully we might see this menu filling up with new controls and upcoming updates.
A Better Stock Camera
The Google Camera app, which is also the stock camera application in the Nexus and Pixel devices, has finally brought some highly-usable features that every user looks forward to.
These new features include auto-focus lock, viewfinder grid modes, manual exposure control, and a set of balance presets, which is definitely a first when it comes to stock camera app. These features have already raised the bar for the stock camera experience for Nexus users.
What About Pixel Features?
While the above were device-wide features that could be experienced on both Nexus and Pixel devices, there are a few others that are specific to the new Pixel line-up and those that we might not see on a Nexus device officially.
To start off, lets take Google Assistant (The infamous AI bot), which is solely tied to the Pixel hardware. Just press the Home button and it will be right at your service. Another fun thing that we might miss is the all new Google Pixel Launcher. Yes, we dearly hoped it to be integrated with the Android 7.1.1 update, but the luck was just not on our side with this one too.
However, there are still unofficial ways to enable and use these features on a Nexus, or any other device running Nougat. Click the links below to know more.
While there is a great deal of features here with the Android 7.1.1 update, we can only hope for Google to bring the Pixel-specific features to their old, yet strong Nexus line-up.
How To Install
Android 7.1.1 Nougat has been released and is available for installation on Pixel, Pixel XL, Pixel C, Nexus 6P, Nexus 5X, Nexus Player, and Nexus 9.
The most convenient way to install is through over-the-air update. Go to Settings > About phone > System updates. The OTA rollout happens over stages and may take its time to reach your device. If you are even more eager to try the new update, like us, then you can just flash the complete factory image or system OTA manually.
For instructions, refer to the links below. If you have somehow grabbed your hands on the incremental update zip, you can read our tutorial on how to sideload it.
As someone rightfully said:
Little Things Could Make A Big Difference
Instead of just focusing on major additions, Google has parted its attentions towards the minor fixes and features that could make your Android experience even more smoother.
Do you think Android 7.1.1 is a worthy update for your Nexus? Which feature do you like the most? Just drop a comment below.