Android Lollipop

Android Gets Sweeter

Google rolled out then newest version of the Android OS recently, Android 5.0 aka Android Lollipop. Lollipop looks much, much better than KitKat ever did. With Lollipop, Google has gone for a new streamlined, nuanced look – a look that goes well with the vibrant screens that most smartphones come equipped with these days. The home screen has gotten a face-lift – it looks clean and fresh – and regular app icons have been given a makeover.

The Lollipop OS isn’t all about the looks, though. It has also been stuffed to the brim with some pretty useful and fun features, some of which we think have been a long time in coming.

Here’s our definitive list of 10 cool things you can do with Android Lollipop.

OK Google

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Image Credit: Himanshu Shrivastava Via Flickr

Google has put in a vastly improved version of its voice recognition software in Lollipop. You now can give voice commands to your phone anytime – even when your phone’s display is off and even through the password protection system, if you have enabled it. You can now give commands to your phone when your hands are otherwise engaged or if your phone is far away from you.

To enable voice recognition, go to System settings > Language & input > Voice Input > Enhanced Google Services.

Here, enable “OK Google Detection” and set the mode to “Always On” and “When Locked”.

You can also train your phone to recognize your voice better, a feature that was also present in KitKat. Once you’ve enabled Google Detection, you can give your phone basic commands, like searching for something or calling a friend, by starting the command with “OK, Google”.

Better Face Lock

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Lollipop has a much better Face Lock security system. It’s much faster than it was before, so you could even replace your regular pattern lock with the Face Lock. Your phone will now recognize your face almost instantaneously, as soon as the screen lights up.

Face Locking can be enabled in Security > Smart Lock > Trusted Face. Just follow the prompts, and you’ll be ready to go.

Lock Screen Notifications

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Image Credit: Oll Raqwe via Flickr

With Lollipop, you can get customized notifications to appear on your lock screen itself. That’s not all – you don’t have to go through the trouble of actually logging into your phone. You can interact and dismiss notifications from the lock screen itself.

To reject a notification, swipe to the right; and to interact with a notification, you can double tap it or swipe downwards to expand it. To enable lock screen notifications, go to Settings > Sound & Notifications and select the “When device is locked” option.

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Tap & Go

The next time you upgrade your smartphone or get a new Android tablet, you don’t have to spend hours toiling away at personalizing your new device.

Lollipop has a new Tap & Go feature that will automatically transfer your old settings – like your wallpapers, Google Account details and even apps and widgets – automatically. The feature uses NFC for the transfer. You will see the Tap & Go option the first time you upgrade to Lollipop.

Flashlight

It took Google years to introduce a flashlight feature, but it’s better late than never right? You can now use your phone’s flash as a flashlight, which is great for emergencies.

Of course, you had access to this feature before, but you can access it now without having to download annoying third-party apps. The flashlight option is found in the notification drawer.

App Priority

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Image Credit: TechStage via Flickr

Have you ever wanted to allow a single app access through the blanket “Do Not Disturb” mode you put on your phone? In Lollipop, you finally can, thanks to the cool new app priority feature.

To allow a single app, or a bunch of apps, greater authority than others, go to Settings > Sound & Notification and select the “App notifications” option. You can enable priority mode for a set time period, like an hour or two, or indefinitely.

Battery Life Prediction

The battery meter has probably caused you a lot of misery in the past, as it never truly tells you when exactly your phones will give out. Google has very generously introduced a battery life prediction feature in Lollipop to put you out of your misery.

The battery life prediction feature, found in the notifications window, will tell you how many hours (or minutes) your phone has left, or how many minutes it needs to charge when you connect it to a power source.

The Battery Saver

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Image Credit: Himanshu Shrivastava via Flickr

Lollipop also has a new battery saver mode which will prolong your device’s battery by a fair bit. The mode stops some non-essential features of your phone, like background processes, to conserve the battery.

You can enable the mode manually or get it to kick in automatically when your battery reaches a certain level, like 10%. You will find the Battery Saver mode in Settings > Battery.

Guest Mode

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Image Credit: Oll Raqwe via Flickr

If you regularly share your phone or tablet with your family members, the new guest mode will prove very useful. With the guest mode, you can set up an account, with individual personalized settings, for your family or friends.

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The Process Pin Lock

And, finally, do you have a lot of sensitive or private data on your phone? Or perhaps you don’t want you kid to mess up your phone’s settings when he plays with it? You can now a pin a single process, like a music app or a game, to the home screen and limit access to the rest of your phone.

Pinning will lock the view to that process and ask for a password (if enabled) when you exit. To enable pinning, go to Settings > Security and tap “Screen Pinning”.  A pin icon will now appear in the multitasking window, against your apps.

Finally

With Lollipop, Google has built on an already great OS, Android Kitkat, and made it even better. Lollipop has many other features, minor and major, which we’re sure you will come across after a little exploration. If you haven’t upgraded to Lollipop already, what are you waiting for?