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Best new features in Android Marshmallow

So, what’s changed between Android 5.0 (known as Android Lollipop) and Android 6.0 (a.k.a. Android Marshmallow)? Here’s our pick of the best new Android Marshmallow features, from better battery life to the smart now ‘Now on Tap’ feature.

Read next: When will my Android phone get Android M?

Now on Tap

Now on Tap is basically a smarter, more helpful reworking of Google Now. In Android M, hold down the home button at any time and you’ll be provided with relevant information based on what you’re doing at that moment, instead of the generic Google Now cards. For instance, if you’re in the music app you’ll see a bio of the artist who’s playing, with links to their work on Google Play and so on.

Better battery life

Mobile battery life hasn’t improved at all in recent times, as phones pack bigger, brighter screens that suck power at a ridiculous rate. Here’s hoping that Android Marshmallow’s fresh new focus on energy efficiency will help to stretch battery life that little bit further.

Android M’s new Doze feature helps to truly put your phone to sleep when it’s not being used, preventing apps from running in the background and draining precious energy without your knowledge. Meanwhile, App Standby drops an app’s network privileges if it hasn’t been used in a while. Google reckons these changes will extend the Nexus 5 and Nexus 6’s battery life by roughly 30%, something we’ll be fully testing out when the update lands.

Improved privacy settings

One of our favourite features in Cyanogen 12 is the ability to choose exactly what features each app has access to on your phone. And finally, with Marshmallow, you can do the same in bog-standard Android. So for instance, if you want Facebook to access your location but not your photos – or vice versa – you can toggle the app’s precise permissions in Android M’s settings.

Easier to upgrade your phone

If you swap to a new Android phone, you’ll be able to quickly and easily install all of your old apps automatically. Apps should remember how you had them set up too, for minimal disruption.

Integrated fingerprint sensor support

Some Android phones of course already rock fingerprint sensors, including the Samsung Galaxy S6 and Sony’s new Xperia Z5. However, Android now comes with built-in sensor support, so expect to see this improved security device on more phones going forwards.

Built-in ‘visual’ voicemail

Android also now has proper voicemail – or at least, if you’re an EE or O2 customer here in the UK. We’re still waiting on confirmation from the likes of Three and Vodafone as to whether they’ll support Android M’s voicemail service.

Read next: Apple iPhone 6s vs the best of Android, who’s winning?


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