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5 new Android M features that power users are going to love

Published Jun 2nd, 2015 12:29PM EDT
Android M Best New Features App Manager App Standby

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It’s been less than a week since Google unveiled its Android M platform but in that time Android fans have gone over the Android M developer build with a fine-toothed comb searching for hidden gems that Google never mentioned. We’ve scoured the web and have cobbled together five of the best unheralded Android M features that we think will really improve the quality of the platform and give Android fans something to cheer, even if they’re not aware that these features exist.

MORE ANDROID: These 5 apps will give your Android phone a huge battery boost

A much more powerful App Manager: This is one that was fleshed out earlier this week by Droid Life and it looks like Google has not only simplified how its App Manager tool works, but it’s made it more powerful as well. As expected, the Manager will let you control individual app permissions so you can deny apps access to certain parts of your phone without uninstalling the app all together.

Google has also made it easier to implement mass changes across all apps at once thanks to new advanced options. So for instance, if you open up advanced options on the default Calendar app, you’ll see every app that has access to it and you can deny their permissions one by one. Read more about this feature by clicking here.

App Standby: Google talked at Google I/O about its Doze feature that will put your phone into a deep sleep when you’re not using it to save on battery power. Android Police has flagged another feature called App Standby that will force individual apps into hibernation if you’re not using them, which should once again cut down on your phone’s background activity and thus improve its battery life. Interestingly, all background apps will automatically wake up from hibernation once you plug your phone into a charger so you won’t have to worry about missing any notifications when your phone is plugged in.

A Do Not Disturb quick setting: This is a terrific feature for anyone who is tired of being interrupted by their smartphone. Per GSMArena, the new Do Not Disturb button in Android M’s quick settings will shut off all sounds and vibrations “including from alarms, music, video and games.” Don’t worry, though — you’ll still be able to make phone calls while this feature is turned on. You also have the option to allow noises for priority alerts only or for alarms only.

 Vastly improved SD card support: This feature was flagged by Ars Technica and it seems that Google is working to make using SD cards for extra storage much less clunky on Android M.

” If your devices use what Google software engineer Jeff Sharkey calls ‘storage devices in long-term stable locations’ like internal SD cards, Android M can ‘adopt’ that storage device, encrypt it, and then use it in exactly the same way that Android treats internal storage currently,” Ars explains. “This means you can move any installed app and its data out to the SD card.”

Much better volume controls: Volume controls were something that worked fine until Google changed them with Lollipop. As Droid Life explains, it’s now once again possible to use your phone’s volume button to set your phone to vibrate only, which is how it used to be on KitKat and earlier versions. Also, going into silent mode now still leaves no sounds but your alarms enabled, which was again how it used to be. See a quick demo video of the new volume controls below.

Brad Reed
Brad Reed Staff Writer

Brad Reed has written about technology for over eight years at and Network World. Prior to that, he wrote freelance stories for political publications such as AlterNet and the American Prospect. He has a Master's Degree in Business and Economics Journalism from Boston University.