8 Great New Features of Android Lollipop

Google says, “Put Our Lollipop In Your Mouth.” Well, rumour has it that they said that anyway, as word on the street is that Google is ready to take you to the Candy Shop, and… well, you know how that one goes. Still, questionable marketing and lyrics aside, Google is really shaking things up with their latest release of Android. People are lining up to get their hands on it, and the downloads are coming in hard and fast according to reports – at least for those who have devices on the early adoption list.

If you’re looking at Android Lollipop and wanting to get your hands on it as well, we’ve got a list of the best features and new additions to the OS, which Android lovers are already raving about, as ARS Technica reports. So what’s there for you to get your hands on? Well, here are 8 features you’ll like on latest Android OS, and how to enable them. There is even a hidden Easter egg game, which we discuss at the end of this list.

1) Smart Lock (and Unlock): If you’ve got NFC or Bluetooth enabled, then you can use linked devices to unlock your Android Lollipop mobile. For example, you could use a smart watch, car stereo, or even NFC Sticker. All you need to do is be close to the linked trusted device, and it will unlock. To enable this:

  • Go to Settings.
  • Open Security.
  • Select Smart Lock.
  • Add your Bluetooth or NFC device.

2) Lock Screen Privacy: This one is a gem if you don’t want to get message and other app notifications. Examples might be if you’re in a business meeting and you get a personal message, or if you’re out on a date and get a message you’d rather not have your date seeing. Here’s how you turn these messages off:

  • Go to Settings.
  • Open Sound and Notifications.
  • Select When Device is locked.
  • Then select “Don’t show notifications at all”.

3) Ambient Display: While this isn’t supported on devices that don’t have the requisite hardware, it’s great for those that do. What it does is let your device partially wake up when you pick it up, showing you notifications (if you haven’t disabled them earlier). To set this up, take these steps:

  • Open Settings.
  • Go to Display.
  • Switch “Ambient Display” to on.

4) Screen Casting Feature: This will let you share your device screen to a nearby TV. While it’s mildly annoying that you need the Chrome Cast dongle to make this work, if you have the dongle, it works on any TV you can plug it into. Then you can watch YouTube or other things you’d like to see on the big screen (like Google’s version of Angry Birds). Following these steps can set up this one:

  • Plug in and set up your Chrome Cast Dongle.
  • Swipe down the Notifications screen on your Android device.
  • Tap on “Cast Screen”, and you’re ready to go.

5) Guest Accounts: This is something people have been asking for on Android and iOS forever. To date, no one has provided this functionality in a usable format – but now Google has. You can set up three separate account types. These are user accounts, which have full device access but are unique to each user, a guest account, which works like a Mac, where nothing is saved when the guest logs out, and the profile account, which lets the device owner restrict apps or set things up for other user accounts (great for parents). An added plus is that other users can’t see what you are doing on your account – so there is no worry about someone changing your own settings or looking through your email and such. Here is how to turn it on:

  • Go to Settings.
  • Set up new users.
  • Then select “Users” to set up what people can see.

6) Do Not Disturb: A great feature that some argue Google copied from iOS, this one lets you set up times when you won’t get calls, messages, or reminders. It’s great for when you want a little privacy, or just need to get some sleep. Turn it on or off with these steps:

  • Open Settings.
  • Select “Interruptions”.
  • Choose what you want to get notified of, and when you want it to get through or not.

7) Tap to Wake: This one is pretty straightforward. Instead of requiring you to press your power button to wake up the device, as in past versions of Android, you can now just double tap the lock screen. This action will cause the device to wake up, showing the lock screen and letting you quickly get into your device.

8) Google’s Version of Angry Birds: Our report of the OS and these cool new features would not be complete without the hidden Easter Egg game Google has tucked into the device. It’s their own in-house version of Angry Birds, but there is a trick to getting it to work. Here are the steps to follow so you can play it too:

  • Go to Settings.
  • Open About Tablet.
  • Tap “Android Version” repeatedly.
  • Eventually you’ll see a big lollipop on screen.
  • Press and hold the Google Lollipop to open the game.
  • Enjoy endless hours of mounting frustration trying to beat our score of 195.

There’s of course more, including some great screen features where users can set their own colours, but for now, we’ve reported on some of the top things people have been raving about. Of course, not everyone can access the OS yet, and not all devices support it, but as the Register reports, that hasn’t stopped people who can access it from updating their devices and letting everyone else know how great the new Android OS is.

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