Android Marshmallow is spreading to more devices by the week. As some of its improvements may go unnoticed, we’ve put together a few Android Marshmallow tips and tricks to help you get the most from the new software. There’s even a guide to enabling multi-window mode, which was left out of the final build, and how to get Marshmallow features on old devices.
Uninstall apps from your home screen or app drawer
In Android Marshmallow, you can now uninstall an app on your home screen or in your app drawer simply by long-pressing it. At the top of the screen you’ll now see options for Remove or Uninstall on the home screen, or App Info andUninstall in the app drawer. Simply drag the app icon to the one you want.
This is a neat way to save a few seconds over uninstalling apps in older versions of Android.
Activate Developer options
Developer options are nothing new, but there are a few new ones in Android Marshmallow. To access Developer options, go to Settings > About Phone and tap Build Number seven times until a toast pop-up notifies you that you are now a developer.
Back up a step and you’ll see Developer options listed right above About Phone. This is where you can enable USB Debugging, OEM unlocking or Show touches, tweak animations or access some of the other tips below.
Grant app permissions individually
Granular app permissions was the holy grail of the Android Marshmallow release. We all hoped it would pan out but no one really believed it would. We had always been told that denying specific app permissions within a third-party app could break it.
Now, however, Android lets you manage app permissions individually, without developers having had to do anything, and everything seems to work swimmingly.
To access app permissions, go to Settings > Apps and tap an individual app to see its permissions. Then simply flip the switch for the permissions you do or don’t want to grant it.
You can also view a list of permissions to see which have been granted to which apps. Just go to Settings > Apps, then tap the overflow menu in the top right corner and go to Advanced > App Permissions.
Customize Quick Settings using System UI Tuner
To enable the System UI Tuner, bring down your Quick Settings menu (swipe down from the top of your phone with two fingers) and tap and hold the settings button (cog wheel) for five seconds. When you let go you will be asked if you would like to enable System UI Tuner. Select yes and you’ll see System UI Tuner at the bottom of your Settings list.
In System UI Tuner, tap Quick Settings and you’ll see a mockup of your Quick Settings shade. You can add tiles (press the + at the bottom), move the toggles around (tap and drag) or delete toggles (tap and drag to the bottom). Your changes will be reflected in the Quick Settings menu.
Get to know RAM Manager
Android Marshmallow is all about giving us even more power over our beloved Androids, and RAM is a huge part of that. Go to Settings > Memory > Memory used by apps, to see a list of all your memory-hogging apps.
Tapping an entry will show you detailed info and give you the option to force stop the app if necessary. Take some time to familiarize yourself with this part of your Android – it’s a great tool to help you understand what RAM usage is normal and what’s out of the ordinary.
Find your Downloaded, Running, All and Disabled app tabs
The RAM Manager is also effectively the new home for the ‘Running’ tab that was in previous versions of the Settings > Apps section. Unlike previous Android versions, Android Marshmallow doesn’t break your apps list down into tabs for ‘Downloaded’, ‘Running’, ‘All’ and ‘Disabled’.
The ‘Running’ tab now appears as RAM Manager; ‘All’ and ‘Disabled’ are now options in a drop-down menu, accessible once you’ve disabled at least one app. The default view in Settings > Apps is the ‘All’ apps tab. We’ll have to wait and see how devices with SD cards display the information that was previously found in the ‘SD Card’ tab.
Automatically associate links
Android Marshmallow allows you to automatically associate specific apps with specific types of links. So if someone emails you a Twitter link, for example, you can set Twitter as the default app for opening such links, rather than picking from a list every time.
Although you could set certain apps as default apps before, the system didn’t work all that well. Now you can associate specific domain URLs with an app of your choice. For example, all facebook.com links can be set to open either in Facebook, Tinfoil or another third-party Facebook app automatically.
To do this, go to Settings > Apps, then tap the overflow menu at the top right and go to Advanced > App Links, then flip the switch for the apps that you want to set to automatically intercept links from specific domains.
Ignore battery optimizations
Doze is pretty cool: it activates when your phone is left idle for a period of time, while unplugged and with the screen off. It will stop some CPU and network activity operating in the background for some Android apps, thus saving battery.
You might not like it in every scenario though. Doze mode can interrupt the background activity of your apps in order to make these battery savings. So if you don’t want this to happen to certain apps, you can disable Doze mode to keep these apps running. Follow the steps below to switch off the battery saving functionality of Doze.
How to disable doze in Android 6.0 Marshmallow
1. Head over to your phone’s Settings.
2. Select Battery from the device list and select Battery optimization from the menu icon at the top-right of the screen.
3. Select All apps from the drop-down menu in the center of the display. Now you’ll see all the apps that are Doze-enabled.
4. You can now select any apps for which you’d like to disable Doze mode.
5. Select Don’t optimize and then Done. Now you’re set up.
Now the apps you’ve selected won’t have Doze optimizations, just as you’d prefer. Let us know in the comments section if you see changes to battery life or app activity as a result of Doze, and if you think Doze is a good addition to Marshmallow.
Activate Google Now from the lock screen
You might have missed this one, but the lock screen shortcut to the dialer has been replaced by Google Now. This is a welcome change; you can use Google Now to call someone just by speaking (along with plenty of other things), so you haven’t lost out on functionality by losing the dialer shortcut.
Simply swipe from the bottom left-hand corner of the lock screen to get Google Now ready to receive your voice command.
Enjoy Google Now on Tap
Google Now on Tap is easily my favorite feature in Android Marshmallow. It brings Google Now functionality to every part of your phone or tablet.
There’s no need to switch apps or copy and paste phrases anymore – once it’s enabled, you can bring up Google Now on Tap from any app, simply by selecting text and long-pressing the Home button.
Disable notification peeking
Heads-up notifications, or ‘peeking’ as it is now referred to, is the feature that allows notifications to pop up over the top of your display. It was introduced in Android Lollipop, but since app developers now tend to enable peeking by default, Android Marshmallow gives you the power to decide if you want to allow it or not.
If these types of notifications bother you, you can go into Settings > Sound & Notifications > App Notifications, then select the app they’re coming from, and switch off Allow peeking.
Check out the Android Marshmallow Easter Egg
The Android Easter Egg is one of the most pointless but fun parts of any new Android version. You simply go to Settings > About Phone and repeatedly tap the Version Number to find it. In Lollipop you’d see a giant lollipop, and if you long-pressed it, you’d be taken to a Flappy Bird clone.
In Marshmallow, tapping the version number, reveals a graphic of the letter M. When you tap it again, you get a marshmallow with android antenna.
Access the Marshmallow file manager
Did you know Android Marshmallow comes with its own built-in file explorer? Well it does. Go to Settings > Storage & USB > Explore to… er, explore it.
Marshmallow’s solution might not be as in-depth and feature packed as something like ES File Explorer, but it’s also less intrusive. Check it out for a clean, minimal interface for browsing files.
Navigate better with Bluetooth
GPS isn’t a perfect system and it can’t always pinpoint your location. On Android Marshmallow, however, you can give your GPS a hand by using Bluetooth.
Go to Settings > Location and tap the hamburger (3 dots) icon. Next tap Scanning and on the following page enableBluetooth scanning (and Wi-Fi scanning for even greater accuracy).
Once you’ve done that, tap the return or back button and tap Mode, then select either High-accuracy or Battery saving mode to make use of the new setting.
Switch on multi-window mode
This final tip will need you to get your hands dirty with rooting and flashing, but we wanted to include it anyway. Multi-window mode lets you open a separate app in a new ‘pop out’ window, so you can run two at once.
This feature can already be seen on the Galaxy Note 4 and Note 5, but now you can get it on stock Android.
- A rooted phone running Android 6.0 Marshmallow
- A root file manager with text editor (like ES File Explorer) or Build Prop Editor
How to enable multi-window mode on Android 6.0 Marshmallow
1. Open Build Prop Editor and scroll down to ro.build.type. Tap it and change the Property Value from user to userdebug.
2. Tap Save and then Yes to reboot your phone (this is necessary to apply the changes).
3. Once you’ve rebooted, go to Settings > Developer options > Multi-window mode and flip the switch. (If you don’t already have Developer options enabled, go to Settings > About phone and tap Build number seven times until you see the notification.)
Using multi-window mode on Android 6.0 Marshmallow
In your multi-tasking view (or recent apps list), you’ll now see a square bracket in the upper right of each app card. Tap the target to choose the split-screen view you want: upper half, lower half or full screen. Note that top and bottom switch to left and right in landscape mode.
Once you’ve chosen your split-screen preference, the app will always appear in that view. So, for example, if you’ve chosen YouTube in top-half view then tapping YouTube in the multi-tasking list will always bring it up in the top half. If you want to go full screen you’ll have to select that by tapping the square bracket in the top right of the app card again.
Multi-window mode on Marshmallow works surprisingly well for a feature that was left out. It’s a bit clunky and occasionally you get weird overlaps, like as shown the upper left of the image above, but generally speaking, it works fine.
Unfortunately, you can’t re-size the split-screen windows, but that’s what you get from an unfinished developer feature. It’s not perfect, but it is there and it is working – and that’s half the battle.