In-Depth Android Marshmallow Guide

Did you finally get the update to Android Marshmallow? Do you want to know what Android “M” is all about?  You are just in the right place.

If you don’t know me yet (and this is my first blog post you are reading), all you need to know is that I am an Android geek and writing in-depth articles about Android is my specialty.

Today’s article (or rather an extensive Android Marshmallow guide) will be the longest piece of writing from the Android “M” series. Here you will learn absolutely everything you need to know about Android “M”, its features and how you can make the most of this version of Android in the everyday use of your phone.

The guide is divided into five main chapters, each handling a bit different aspect of Android “M” or its features.

If  you have any questions, problems or comments, feel free to post me them in the comment box below.  Let’s start!

Android Marshmallow Basic Information

Android Marshmallow (or Android 6.0 or simply Android “M”) is currently the newest version of Android OS available.

There are already rumors and leaks about Android “N”, the next version, but it’s Android “M” which everyone is talking about now.

Android  Marshmallow is the best and the most advanced version of Android. It  introduces a number of improvements and new features, such as, longer battery life, new app permissions or Now on Tap.  Android 6.0 is a far cry from the first versions, such as, Android Donut (1.6) or Éclair (2.0)  that were present back in 2007 or 2008.

If you want to learn more about the previous versions of Android, take a look at Android version history page, where you will read basic information about each version and see its graphical presentation (you know that the name of each version of Android is the name of a dessert and they are all in an alphabetical order).

Android Marshmallow Update

Android Marshmallow isn’t still present on the majority of devices (about 12% as of March 2016) but it seems to be finally changing as more and more devices get the update almost every day.

I was impatiently waiting for the update which I received on my Sony Xperia Z5 Compact just two weeks ago.

Check If Your Device Already Has The Update

When the update is available, your device will notify you about it in the following way (it may differ a bit depending on the model and manufacturer of your phone).

I am not sure how often the device automatically checks for updates, but it won’t hurt if you manually check if Android “M” is already available for you.  All you need to do is:

  1. Go to Settings >About Phone > Software update and  refresh. This may differ depending on the model of your phone.

Download & Install The Update

If the update is available, your phone will ask if you want to download and install it. All you need to do is follow the instructions on the screen.

Make sure not to interrupt the download (e.g. by disconnecting from Wi-Fi) because it will have to be started over (it doesn’t matter if you already downloaded 88% of the file).

The installation will last about 30-50 minutes and your phone will restart a couple of times during this process.

Android Marshmallow Devices

Almost all of the flagship models of all phone manufacturers have already got the update to Android “M”.

Here is the list of Android devices with confirmed update to Android 6.0. As far as I can see, the list is updated so you can come back to it to check if your device has already got the update.

Android Marshmallow Changes

Even though update to Android Marshmallow is not such a big revolution as it was in the case of the update from KitKat (4.4)  to Lollipop (5.0), Android “M” introduces a number of very interesting and useful features and improvements.

Android “M” proves that we have entered the “mobile age” where users of mobile devices (of all sorts including smart watches) are as important (if not more important) than users of desktop computers.

So what are the main and new features of Android Marshmallow?

New App Permissions

Android “M” introduces a brand-new system of app permissions. You don’t have to accept all of the app permissions before installing the app (and not be able to install the app without accepting all of the required permissions).

The app will ask you for granting a certain permission only when it needs it (e.g. when you want to send a photo with the SMS app, it will ask you for access to media). You can either accept or decline the permission and still use the app (if you don’t  grant a given permission, this specific feature will simply not work in this app).

Improved Battery

Improved battery life is probably the most prominent feature of Android Marshmallow which introduces two kinds of battery optimization: Doze and App Standby.

Thanks to Doze and App Standby, your phone conserves battery much more efficiently (especially if the phone is not in use). Everyone who updated their device to 6.0 reports improved battery life and optimization.

Now On Tap

With feature Now On Tap, our Android devices have become more clever than ever. Now On Tap is an intelligent type of assistance available within your phone. It will display suggestions or extra information about what you are currently doing. All you need to do is tap and hold the home button.

For example, if you tap and hold the home button when in Gmail, you will see the extra information regarding the most recent e-mail contact and some information from the travel tab (if you use it).

The results Now On Tap displays aren’t always the most relevant but they can be really helpful.

If you want to learn about all of the changes that Android “M” introduces (from a more technical side), I suggest reading the page about Android 6.0 changes on Google Android Developer website.

Other New & Interesting Android Marshmallow Features

The three features (and changes) described above are without doubt the most prominent. However, these three aren’t everything that Android Marshmallow has to offer.

Below is the list of several smaller (but equally interesting) features of Android 6.0.

Google Settings

In Android 6.0 Google gets its own tab in settings. You don’t have to look for your Google settings anywhere in the Google Play app (this is where it was located in most cases) because it is now where it should have always been.

Under Google Settings you can now easily adjust all the settings relating to your account and services.

Encryption

Google now pays attention to the security of our data more than ever. That’s why now every new Android Marshmallow device is by default encrypted. If you upgraded to Android 6.0 (and didn’t have your phone encrypted), you will have to manually enable that feature.

To check if you device is encrypted (and to encrypt it, go to Settings > and Encrypt phone.

If it’s been encrypted, it will say Encrypted like you can see in the screenshot above.

Better Text Selection

I guess many of you will admit that selecting text in devices running older versions of Android was sometimes a nightmare.

In Android 6.0 it’s extremely easy. All you need to do is tap and hold the text you want to highlight. A popup menu will appear and let you select all, copy or share the highlighted fragment. You can also easily adjust the number of words you want to select.  If you click on the three dots you will also be able to either translate or do a web search of the words highlighted.

Improved backups

In Android 6.0 you can not only back up the apps you want to associate with your Google account but also their data (e.g. passwords and settings) which you can later restore.

Every user gets 25 MB for storing their app data and settings.

Improved  Do Not Disturb Mode

Android “M” also comes with the improved Do Not Disturb mode which lets you adjust a variety of settings just to your liking.

To access the mode, swipe down from the top of the screen to access quick settings and tap on Do not disturb. Click on MORE SETTINGS to adjust the mode to your needs.

You can choose Total silenceAlarms only or Priority only (where you define what kind of notification or from which contact is priority).

Overall Better Performance Of Device

As Android Marshmallow introduces new features and improvements, it affects the overall performance of the phone.

My Sony Xperia Z5 became a bit faster after I performed the update.


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