16 Things You Can Do In Android Lollipop That You Couldn't Do In KitKat

16 Things You Can Do In Android Lollipop That You Couldn't Do In KitKat

After what feels like a long time since we saw the L Preview first appear, Google is now rolling out the final version of Android 5.0 Lollipop to its existing Nexus devices, and it also appears on the brand new Nexus 6 and Nexus 9 gadgets. Get to know the best version of Android yet by working through this selection of tips and tricks, covering all of the new features, major and minor, that are built into the operating system.

1. Tap and go

16 Things You Can Do In Android Lollipop That You Couldn't Do In KitKat

When you're setting up your new Lollipop device for the first time, you'll be presented with the option to "tap and go." This NFC-and-Bluetooth-powered data transfer lets you move all of your Google Account details, configuration settings, data and apps over to a new device just by placing your old phone or tablet against it. Widgets and wallpaper are swapped over as well.

2. Use the flashlight

Flashlight apps have always been popular on Android, so Google has decided to roll one into Lollipop to save you the trouble of having download a third-party one. Pull down the notification drawer then tap the top bar to reveal the flashlight app alongside other options like aeroplane mode. The app will only appear if your device has an LED flash alongside its camera.

3. Prioritise your apps

16 Things You Can Do In Android Lollipop That You Couldn't Do In KitKat

Android 5.0 Lollipop lets you set up a list of important apps that are allowed to disturb you even when most aren't. Head to Settings -> Sound & notification -> App notifications and you can choose to block each app or mark it as a priority one. Tap the volume slider on your device to activate priority mode indefinitely or for one hour (a star will appear in the status bar).

4. Deal with notifications from the lock screen

In Lollipop all of your app notifications appear on the lock screen ready for viewing. Not only that, but you can interact with them as well. Swipe to dismiss, tap to reply and so on, depending on the app in question. A double-tap gets you into the relevant app. Head to Settings -> Sound & notification -> When device is locked if you want to hide sensitive alerts.

5. Pin apps

16 Things You Can Do In Android Lollipop That You Couldn't Do In KitKat

If you want to hand over your device to one of your kids or a friend, you can "pin" them inside one single app. First, activate the feature via Settings -> Security -> Screen pinning. Then, when you activate the multitasking screen via the square Overview button, you'll see a pin icon appear in the lower right-hand corner of the bottom app (drag it up if you can't see it).

Holding down the Back and Overview buttons is enough to exit the pinned mode and get back to other apps. When you activate the pin, you'll be asked if you want to use a code or pattern to unlock it. This is tied to the same protection applied to your device, so if your lock screen isn't protected by a code or pattern then the option won't appear when you're pinning apps.

6. Jump to app settings

The lock screen really has been given a major overhaul with the Android 5.0 Lollipop update, and the improvements include the ability to jump straight to an app's settings or information panel right from the lock screen. Long-press on any notification and (depending on the app) you'll see a cog icon (the app settings shortcut) and an info icon (the app notification settings shortcut).

7. Predict battery life

16 Things You Can Do In Android Lollipop That You Couldn't Do In KitKat

New to Android 5.0 Lollipop is the ability to see how much time is left before the battery runs out of juice, or how long you need to wait before your device is fully charged up. Tap on the battery icon in the notification drawer to see either reading (the time-until-charged information also appears on the lock screen a few minutes after you've connected your device to a power source).

8. Search settings and networks

Google's search bar is getting more ubiquitous with each passing version of Android, and in Lollipop it's made it into the Settings app. Tap the magnifying glass icon to use it. It can be a quick way of finding a particular option you're looking for, especially if you don't already know what menu or heading it's under. You can use the same feature to bring up saved Wi-Fi networks too.

9. Enter Guest Mode

16 Things You Can Do In Android Lollipop That You Couldn't Do In KitKat

Sharing devices with other people (friends, colleagues, family members, distracted children) can be a real pain, but Lollipop's new Guest Mode eases it somewhat. You can access Guest Mode by dragging down the notification drawer, tapping on your user account avatar, and then selecting Add guest from the menu (or just Guest if you've been through the process before).

10. Improve text legibility

If you were wondering if the Accessibility menu within Settings would get overlooked in the Android 5.0 upgrade, there's a new experimental feature here called High contrast text. Essentially, it gives white or difficult-to-read text a black outline when it's being viewed on a light background. It's applied to the "OK Google" text inside the home screen search bar, for example.

11. Chromecast more quickly

16 Things You Can Do In Android Lollipop That You Couldn't Do In KitKat

There's an official Chromecast app from Google that lets you screencast from any device running Android 4.4.2 or higher, but the functionality is built right into Android 5.0, which is great news for anyone with one of the compact streaming dongles to hand. It's right in the notification drawer — tap on the Cast screen icon to locate your Chromecast and begin screencasting.

12. Add trusted devices

A trusted device is a specified Bluetooth or NFC-enabled gadget that will automatically disable the security code or pattern on your your Android phone or tablet when it's in range. This means you don't have to fiddle around unlocking the Lollipop device when you're at home or in the car, for example. Head to Settings -> Security -> Smart Lock to set up the feature.

13. Hang a 'do not disturb' sign

16 Things You Can Do In Android Lollipop That You Couldn't Do In KitKat

This works a little bit like the priority app notifications we mentioned earlier, but it's based around times and days more than apps. Go to Settings -> Sound & notification -> Interruptions to set it up — it's perhaps best used overnight when you don't want to be disturbed, but there is the option to let certain contacts through as well as messages and alarms, if necessary.

14. Get back to your apps after a reboot

If you reboot your device in any version of Android before 5.0, all of your recently opened apps will disappear. In Lollipop, they're still present on the Overview screen, so you can quickly get back to a previous conversation or website if you need to (not all apps will remember exactly where you were in the app). To remove a card from the list, swipe it away to the left or right.

15. Play Google's Flappy Bird clone

16 Things You Can Do In Android Lollipop That You Couldn't Do In KitKat

Like earlier versions of Android, Lollipop has an Easter egg to unlock. Go to Settings -> About phone then tap quickly four times on the Android version entry. Once the Lollipop graphic appears, tap quickly on it several times then finish with a long press to launch a clone of Flappy Bird with an Android robot in place of the bird. It's just as frustrating to play as the original too.

16. Save the battery

Android 5.0 Lollipop includes a built-in battery saver mode that you can get to kick in at 15 per cent battery, 5 per cent battery or never (you can also switch it on and off manually). It cuts off some background syncing and vibrations and makes various other tweaks as well. If you select Battery from the Settings app you'll find the battery saver on the menu behind the three vertical dots.



    Please elaborate how being able to access apps on the lock screen is any
    different from having no lock screen at all, and hence no security?
    I ask this sincerely, as I cannot think of any possible way around this issue.

      You still need to login to access the app, it just changes the number of steps to get there.

      Also, worth noting that you can change the notification level for the lock screen. You can set it to show all of the information in the notification, or to hide the sensitive information. The latter option only shows the app name.

    Can Flappy Bird clone be uninstalled?
    I definitely don't want to be sucked into that!

      You just don't go into settings/about phone and repeatedly tap the Android version. I really enjoyed the bean flicking(tee hee) in 4.1,now I'm sure I'll get a kick out of this one

    8:15pm...Still nothing. It's like Google's going HA HA...Nelson style

      FYI, Spamming check updates does nothing. Your phone checks once a day with googles servers for an update, once it chekcs and google say no, not today, Nothing can change that.

      There was a post on reddit that went into detail about this process which was sourced from someone working for google.

        I know this is true... But I still can't help myself. Damn Nexus 5.

        Last edited 18/11/14 9:45 pm

    I can't see myself using any of those features. I don't need to place my phone into guest mode because I trust the people I hand my phone to and I never ever lock my phone because, well, it's just a big wank unless your the type of person who leaves their phone lying around unattended all the time. My torch is on the home screen, the battery charges when it charges, Chromecast is shit, flappy birds is shit and my phone is on 24/7 and I want to be notified whenever a notification comes through. Search settings and networks is pointless and tap and go had been around for ages and has never worked properly.
    Now if lollypop came blank and I had to put on the apps that I wanted instead of the ones that came with the phone, that would be something I would like. Most of the time I get rid of all the apps on the phone and get better ones from the play store.

      I like to sleep personally.

        Still get sleep but occasionally get notifications so I wake up, deal with the notification and go back to sleep. I'm a light sleeper but I find it easy to go back to sleep as well. When in deep sleep the notifications don't wake me.

      Having tried them:
      1. App pinning will be useful when giving my tab to my daughter (not because I don't trust her, but because I don't want her to accidentally leave the app)
      2. Phone locking: I always do this just in case my phone gets stolen. With Lollipop, I can disable it when it is in bluetooth range of my Pebble watch.
      3. Tap and go actually seems to work pretty well now

    Of course this doesn't help the 68% of Android phones still on Jelly Bean or less. Pretty pathetic really (and no, I am not an Apple fanboi, I actually own a Samsung Galaxy SIII).

      I don't think the average punter out there really cares if their phone has X, Y or Z version of OS on it so long as they can do the stuff they want it to do they're happy.

        I agree, but the vulnerabilities that linger in old versions of Android are a problem when they don't get updated.

    Upgraded my Nexus 4 this morning and I have to say, what a piece of shit that is...

    First of all they got rid off the Gallery app and introduced a Photos app. Unfortunately I can't look at the photos I have on my phone unless I sign up with Google+. Way to go Google.

    I'd love to meet the person who designed the new version of Chrome so I can give him a good smack. What kind of a stupid idea was it to remove the Refresh button? Also, why the hell would you mix all the tabs you have open with the apps you have running?

    My favourite it the new Calendar app though. I must have missed when we got rid off Saturday and Sunday because the weekly view doesn't show those days anymore. On top of that you can't zoom in or out anymore which may be alright if you're using a tablet but now on a phone where space is limited.

    Just one more thing, is it me or does everything feel slower on a Nexus 4?

      i also got it this morning and minus the lil lag i like it. it is annoying how you lost some options when u press and hold power

      Yes the removeal of gallery was a poor move. Your chrome tabs being mixed with apps is an option in chrome. It can be changed back to how it was. And I can agree that the new calendar app is horrible. I was using it to plan out my work days but now I can't stand it.

      This Lollipop is high time annoying, I want to rollback to KitKat again :(

    I got the System update notification on my Nexus 5 this morning (not rooted). Wont be updating for at least 2 weeks until I hear of other peoples update experience. With Tap and Go, Im quite sure I remember seeing it as a part of v4.4.2 but it doesnt seem to be there in v.4.4.4.


        Nope. Bought the phone directly from Google Play store (32GB black) and using a TPG sim in it. Looks like some people who have updated to the official Lollipop release from Google are experiencing Wifi issues, some lag, and others battery drain issues. Not good.

        Last edited 19/11/14 10:43 am

    Also for the people on kit kat or earlier the new Gmail app dropped. Now I can use just one app for all my emails properly. ICloud and live. Cos emails are in, although I apparently do not have a push option for them. Well it's still a step forward

    Are they ever going to stop android auto starting apps in the background that you dont want to be started. Its such a pain

      God I cant wait for Android to allow us to permanently stop apps from running in the background. Some Google apps I have disabled, but non Google apps just bloody restart. Its annoyed me enough to uninstall some of them which is really a shame.

      Go to settings, apps, all apps and hit force stop on the app that you want stopped. It won't restart again until you hit the app again to use it.

    I upgraded to Lollipop last evening and the phone definitely seems slower! The keypad seems a little rigid too. Did not like the white default background that appears in the menu (what were they thinking?!) Looks like they've just decided to screw up the sleek look that Kit Kat had. White keypad with no borders, keypad definitely seems a little more rigid to type, gallery has vanished.

    Also, for some reason, when my phone screen is on, Calls appear only as a box on the top section, not in full screen which is massively annoying. This inspite of checking Interruptions settings. Can anyone help?

    I am not able to see gallery on my nexus 5 after I updated it to lollipop. Help required :(

      It was removed. You have to use the "Photos" app or a file browser app.

    Downloaded android lollipop. Now my nesux 7 wont work properly. . Want to know how to uninstall all of this crap.. some one please help if you know.

    how do i disable the ripple effect when touching anything in lollipop 5.0.1

    Flappy Android

    It took me about 30 tries to get thru just one gate. It's nearly impossible. Google is usually pretty good on the Easter eggs but this one just sucks! I can't seem to create short enough touches, my droid jumps at a minimum half the screen. Maybe it's just my crappy Moto E...

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