What's new in Android 6 Marshmallow

Our six favourite new features.
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What's new in Android 6 Marshmallow

Android 6 Marshmallow is here, and it brings some really useful improvements to Google’s mobile software. Take a look at the best new Android Marshmallow features below.

Google Now on Tap

We’re big fans of Google Now. The voice control features are nice, but what really makes it stand out is its ability to know what information we want before we’ve asked for it. With Android Marshmallow, Google Now on Tap will take that contextual help to a new level.

You’ll be able to press and hold your home button to launch Google Now, at which point it’ll look at whatever’s on your screen and show you relevant information. So, for example, you could be reading a text from a friend who wants to go see a movie – launching Google Now on Tap would instantly bring up cards with local screening times for the film as well as IMDB reviews and cast lists.

Built-in fingerprint support

Android Marshmallow fingerprint scanner

Fingerprint scanners are nothing new anymore, but the software that runs them has always been added by the likes of Sony and Samsung – it wasn’t baked into Android. With fingerprint support coming as part of the Marshmallow software you should be able to do more with the scanners, like approve Android Pay payments. It’ll also encourage app makers to build in fingerprint support as more phones will come with scanners.

Control of app permissions

Android Marshmallow app permissions

If you’ve got an Android phone and have downloaded apps, you’ll have come across that ‘App permissions’ pop-up box – the one that asks you to agree to hand over loads of random information before you can install an app. With Android Marshmallow, you’ll be able to decline certain permissions if you think the app doesn’t need them to work properly.

For example, if you download a new camera app and it asks to have access to your contact list, you can say no while giving it permission to take control of your camera.

You should also get pop-ups when an app’s trying to access parts of your phone. So if you want to send a video message over Facebook Messenger, a pop-up will warn you that the app wants to access your camera and microphone. That should stop dodgy apps sneakily doing things they have no business doing.

In-app voice commands

With the new software update, app developers can build conversational support into their apps to help you do things in a more natural way. For example, if you say "play some music on TuneIn," Google Now will respond with a more human-like "which genre?", as oppose to taking a stab in the dark.

Doze

Android Marshmallow Doze

Doze is a new deep-sleep mode in Android Marshmallow. Normally, when your screen’s off you can have loads of things running quietly in the background, eating through your battery. With Doze, your phone would detect when it’s really not being used and limit the running of apps without affecting calls, texts and the likes. Of course, you’ll have the ability to set exemptions so apps you want running in the background will keep going.

USB Type-C support

USB Type-C is as exciting as a cable can get (which admittedly isn’t very, but it’s still important). If you know nothing about it, check out our article. Anyway, Android Marshmallow is bringing full support for the new USB standard, which should mean next year’s Android phones will charge and transfer data through cabled connections faster. It’ll also mean we won’t have the frustration of trying to force a Micro USB cable into our phones the wrong way up.

Automatic backup and restore

Google has simplified backups for Android Marshmallow and now you’ll be able to schedule them to happen automatically. These backups will send apps and their settings to Google Drive, so when you get a new phone you can easily restore everything just as it was on your old phone.

The great thing is that these backups won’t count against your Google Drive storage space and are, of course, fully encrypted.

These are our favourite features of Android 6 Marshmallow. If there’s something else that you’re excited to see in the new software, tell us about it in the comments below.

What are your thoughts? Join the conversation here…

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