Google’s all-new operating system Android Pie is now available offering perhaps the company’s boldest update for your smartphone yet.
With smartphone/social media addiction now one of the biggest talking points of the year, Android Pie offers a whole suite of new tools designed to help you use your phone less.
In addition, new features such as Adaptive Battery and Adaptive Brightness will increase your battery life while reducing the amount of time you have to fiddle with the settings in your phone.
HTC, Sony and OnePlus are all expecting to update their phones very soon while owners of the Samsung Galaxy S9, Note9 and earlier might have to wait a while before the company finally moves over to the new OS.
For now though, if you’ve got Android Pie, here’s what you should do first:
1. Turn on Gestures
If you’re tired of looking on enviously at the way your friends can just swipe up on their iPhone X’s to switch between apps, then this is the feature for you.
It transforms the way you can multi-task by letting you just swipe up to see a carousel of the apps you’re using as well as the apps you use the most at the bottom.
To turn it on simply open Settings and then type in Gestures. Tap on the first thing that pops up and then tap on Swipe up on Home Button.
You’ll then see a little animation explaining how it works and a toggle which you can then turn on.
2. Turn on Adaptive Battery
Two permanently annoying features on smartphones are the fact that they can never seem to last the day without dying and that the brightness of your screen is always wrong.
Adaptive Battery hopes to fix the first of these problems by learning the apps you use the least and then appropriately limiting the amount of power that they can use.
Simply go to Settings and in the search bar at the top type Adaptive Battery, tap on the first thing that pops up and you’ll be taken straight to it.
From there you’ll see a brief animation and explanation showing how the feature works and a toggle allowing you to turn it on.
Note: You might find that you’ll get slightly delayed notifications for the apps you use the least. They won’t disappear.
3. Turn on Adaptive Brightness
This second feature aims to solve a small but actually quite annoying problem with our smartphones: the brightness is always wrong – whether it’s because we’re outside, or we turn the brightness up to use certain apps, such as Netflix or Instagram.
Adaptive Brightness learns how you use your phone and intelligently adjusts the brightness according to the apps you have running and even the time of day.
Go to Settings and type in Adaptive Brightness in the search bar. Tap the first thing that pops up and you’ll be taken to the menu.
Note: This feature learns first, so keep changing the brightness as you normally would to begin with. You’ll find you need to do it less and less as your phone learns your habits.
4. Turn on Do Not Disturb
Google has massively increased the functionality of Do Not Disturb so that now, not only will it mute notifications but you can actually add ‘Rules’ which determine how and when it gets turned on.
For example you can now set Do Not Disturb to be automatically turned on whenever you attend certain meetings within your calendar.
Finally, it goes one step further than last time by muting notifications everywhere on the phone so you won’t see anything on the lock screen or even in the notification drawer. Perfect if you’re looking to truly turn off from the world around you.
Head to Settings and type in Do Not Disturb and then tap on the first thing that pops up, you’ll then be taken straight to the menu.
5. Download Digital Wellbeing
Perhaps the most important feature yet is Google’s new Digital Wellbeing tool. It’s currently only available for Pixel and Pixel 2 users but it won’t be long before it’s rolled out to everyone, probably around October when Google unveils a new Pixel phone.
Within it is a Dashboard that shows you how much you use your phone, what types of apps you use the most and how long for.
Tapping on the pie chart brings up a full list of the apps and how long you use them for. From there you can then tap on them and set an App Timer for the apps you’re worried you use too much.
Finally there’s Wind Down, a new feature that helps you get ready for bed by turning your screen to Greyscale and activating Do Not Disturb. It then turns off again in the morning ready for you to start the day again.