The best hidden features in Android Nougat


It is just now that most major OEMs are rolling out the Android Nougat update for their devices. So here are the 5 best hidden features in the new version of Google’s mobile OS.

Enabling System UI Tuner

The System UI Tuner

The System UI Tuner has been around since Android Marshmallow  but with the Nougat update it has been through many improvements, making it a much more useful tool. To enable the system UI Tuner pull down the notifications shade and swipe down once more to open the full quick
settings panel. Now touch and hold the settings icon until it starts spinning. You will receive a message informing you that the tool has been successfully unlocked and the appropriate position will be added to the system settings. Keep in mind that the System UI Tuner can not work on some modified versions of Android, just like all the other tricks that you will find in the post. Also, the System UI Tuner is fully experimental so expect some bugs to pop up. In case you want to lock the tool, just repeat the unlocking procedure. To learn what you can do with the System UI Tuner, continue reading this post.

Mulititasking tricks

Split-screen mode

With the new update, Google has put a lot of effort to create a better multitasking experience. Let’s start off with the most obvious feature that you probably already know about – split-screen. To enter split-screen mode simply long press the multitasking button or, from the multitasking
view, long press on a window and drag it to the upper portion of the display. Now let’s move on to the less-known options. First of all, instead of switching between apps using the multitasking screen, you can simply double-tap the recents button to quickly jump between two apps. Second, you can enable a split-screen gesture. To do this, open the System UI Tuner that you learnt to unlock in the previous section, tap on Other and tap on Enable split-screen swipe-up gesture. You can now simply swipe up from the recents button to launch the split-screen mode. Last of all, you can force any app to be compatible with split-screen. Go to the system settings and tap on About phone. Tap on the build number 8 times and go back to the settings home page. You will now see Developer options near the end of the list. Open that and scroll to the very bottom. Enable Force activities to be resizable and now any app will let you use it in split screen mode. Remember that this might not work to well

Do not disturb tricks

You might not know that the Do not disturb feature in Android Nougat lets you add automatic rules in order to make life a little bit easier. To set this up, go to the system settings, tap on Sound and then Do not disturb. From here, go to Automatic rules. This tool lets you add automatic triggers for the silent mode or set up a custom rule which can, for example, disable the Do not disturb mode when your alarm goes off in the morning. Another great feature is hidden in the System UI Tuner. Open that and select Do not disturb. From here you can choose whether you want to be able to enable Do not disturb mode using the volume keys and whether you want to see a toggle for the option every time you change the volume.

Status bar, notifications and quick settings options

The quick settings edit mode

You guessed it, these tricks are hidden in the System UI Tuner once again. This time tap on Status bar. From here you can select whether you want to see the brightness slider in the quick settings panel and edit what icons you see in the status bar. Now lets finally exit the System UI Tuner and do some tweaking to the quick settings. Open the quick settings panel and tap on Edit. You can now add, remove and rearrange toggles in the quick settings panel. While we are in the notification and quick settings shade, here are a few cool features. First of all, you can easily jump right to the settings page connected to a specific toggle just by long-pressing on it. Moving on to the notifications, you can swipe just a bit to the side on one to get access to the notification settings. Long pressing on a message will let you select how to treat notifications from the specific app. Finally, you can quickly jump to the extended list of quick settings by simply swiping down with two fingers from the status bar.

Power notification controls

If you want to have more control over your notifications, there is a great option for you. Open the System UI Tuner (this is the last time, I promise) and select Other. Now tap on Power notification controls and enable the feature. Read the quick guide to see which level means what and go to the settings home page. Select Apps, click on an app you want to edit the notifications from and tap Notifications. You will now see a slider which will let you easily change the priority of notifications from the selected program.

Display filters and DPI settings

The display size settings

With the Nougat update, there are now much more display settings available. First of all, there is the LiveDisplay option which among other things automatically changes the colour temperature of your device’s screen to reduce eye strain. There is also Night Light, which you can enable at any time to significantly change the colour temperature and filter out blue light. Finally, Android Nougat lets you change the DPI or display size. To do this, look for a Display size option either under the Display or Accessibility applet in the settings. You can now change the size of elements on your screen.

Hidden mini-game

As always, the newest version of Android comes with a built-in hidden mini game. To enable it go to the settings and tap on About phone. Now rapidly tap on Android version three times and you will see the Nougat logo appear. Tap on it 5 times and then long press. You will see a toast message with a cat’s face at the bottom of the screen. You have unlocked the game. Now open the quick settings panel, tap on Edit and find the ???? Android Easter Egg toggle. Now add it to your quick settings. To play the game, just tap on the toggle to select a dish and after some time your phone will notify you that you have caught a cat. Have fun!

Patrick is a student and tech enthusiast, mostly interested in UI design, Android modding and custom ROMs.