Android 9.0 Pie: Everything you need to know

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(Online Tech Desk)

Here’s everything that’s new in Android 9.0 Pie, and you can read more in our Android 9.0 Pie hands on. You can also take a look at our guide on downloading Android 9.0 Pie to taste it for yourself, and follow our Android update schedule guide to see when your smartphone will get the new version.

Google’s Pixel and Pixel 2 devices will receive the new version first, with Android One smartphones following towards the end of the year, as well as any other device that was eligible to partake in the Android Open Beta. After that it’s all based on when the manufacturer and carrier want to issue to update. Essential has already rolled out the 9.0 update for its only phone.

Powered by artificial intelligence:   Google believes strongly that your phone should be intimately yours, and should adapt to your life, rather than the other way around. Android 9.0 Pie is bringing several features powered by artificial intelligence (AI).

These additions are general quality of life improvements, so don’t expect them to drastically change the way you use your phone. App Actions is a new feature built into the App Drawer, suggesting actions based on your typical smartphone habits. So if you call your mom at the same time every day, expect a button to appear in the App Drawer that will directly start a call with her. If you plug in your headphones, App Actions may offer up a quick link to the playlist you were listening to earlier, saving you a few clicks.

Slices is another of these improvements that allows developers to deliver useful actions for their app. For example, if you search for Lyft in your phone, an option could appear showing you how far the nearest car is, and allowing you to book a car without opening the app. Slices isn’t available just yet, but you can expect it to show up later this fall.

Other additions are even more background-focused, but just as handy. Adaptive Brightness takes automatic brightness to the next level, learning how you like your brightness in different surroundings, and automatically changing them to suit your personal preferences. Adaptive Battery is similar, learning which apps and services you really care about and making sure to supply maximum power to them, while limiting power usage of apps you don’t use as often.

The lock screen in Android is getting increasingly powerful. In Android 9.0 Pie, the lock screen will now show more than just the time, at least on Pixel phones. Now, it’ll also show things like the weather and upcoming calendar events you may have, meaning you can get that information with a simple glance.

New ways to navigate your phone: One of the biggest changes facing you immediately in Android 9.0 Pie is the new system navigation. The traditional Android navigation buttons have been replaced with a small pill-shaped icon at the bottom of the screen.

Swipe up from the bottom to see your Recent apps, and a full swipe up will open up the app drawer. Swipe the pill-shaped home button to the right and you can quickly swap back to the last app you were using. The back button still remains, but only when you’re in another app. You can tap the pill-shaped button to go home, and pressing and holding it will open Google Assistant.

Android 9.0 Pie also brings a few new gestures, including holding the Power and Volume Up buttons to prevent ringing, and the option to silence your phone by turning it over.

Digital wellbeing: One of Google’s major spotlights is Digital Wellbeing in Android 9.0 Pie, ensuring your phone works for you, and not the other way around. To that end, Google is implementing a bunch of handy features that let users limit the time they spend on their phones, see where they’ve spent the most time, and wind down before bed.

One of these new features is the Android Dashboard — a feature that helps track the amount of time you spend on your device. With Dashboard, you can see how long you’re using your phone to send messages, stream content, surf the internet, or even make calls. You’ll also be able to set up screen time limits for specific apps, like YouTube, and even receive recommendations to take a screen break. Also new is Wind Down Mode. With Wind Down Mode, you can tell Google Assistant when you would like to go to bed, and it will automatically put your phone on Do Not Disturb mode and switch your screen to gray-scale over a period of time. This is meant to encourage you to put the phone down before bed.

These Digital Wellbeing features aren’t available just yet, though those on Google Pixel devices can sign up for the beta through this link. It will officially roll out later this fall, with support for Android One devices as well.

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