Late last week, Google released the second preview of Android M, which we immediately got our hands on to test out. The first preview was… an experience. Our first taste of Android M gave us a great idea of what to expect, but it also made some curious changes, the app drawer being the most notable. How does this second update of Google’s OS hold up? Let’s find out.
The most obvious change is the app drawer is slightly less wonky in this new update. While it’s no longer broken up by letters, it’s still in a vertical list; there’s also a fast scroll bar, allowing users to quickly navigate through their apps. Folks used to the usual horizontal method still might find this change annoying. Let’s hope Google goes back to the old way, or at least gives users the option to pick.
The second major change is the ability to disable icons in the status bar. If you don’t like clutter, this is a hugely welcome feature. Just head over to the System UI tuner, and uncheck the items you no longer want showing up. Say you only want battery, clock and alarm to show up, just choose those icons and you’re good to go. Speaking of battery, the newest preview also allows users to display the remaining percentage right inside the battery bar, which is super handy.
Unfortunately, the dark mode feature that was introduced in the first preview is no longer here. The feature allowed users to toggle to a black background in the settings, giving Android a more stealthy appearance. However, it doesn’t look like Google is ready to make dark mode a more prominent part of the Android experience, which could be why it’s no longer available.
There are other tweaks and updates in the newest preview; the dedicated Memory section in Settings has been changed, while taking screenshots is a little different now. To see what else has changed in Google’s latest update, check out the video above. Things seem to be coming along nicely so far, though we wish Google would decide on a final app drawer design—and hopefully dark mode makes a triumphant comeback.
Some of the features in Android M include more granular app permissions, native support for fingerprint recognition, new power management options and more. The update should be available for free this fall.