The latest release of Android is here and it comes with a heaping helping of artificial intelligence baked in to make your phone smarter, simpler and more tailored to you.
Google is officially introducing Android 9 Pie. The latest version of the Android OS aims to make your phone even smarter by learning from you and adapting to your usage patterns. That's why Android 9 comes with features like Adaptive Battery, which learns the apps you use most and prioritizes battery for them, and Adaptive Brightness, which learns how you like to set the brightness in different settings, and does it for you.
Android 9 also helps you get things done faster with App Actions, which predicts what you'll want to do next based on your context and displays that action right on your phone. Say it's Tuesday morning and you're preparing for your commute: you'll be suggested actions like navigating to work on Google Maps or resuming an audiobook with Google Play Books. And when you put in headphones after work, you may see options to call your mom or start your favorite Spotify playlist.
Later this fall, Google will also roll out Slices, which shows relevant information from your favorite apps when you need it. If you start typing "Lyft" into Google Search, you'll see a "slice" of the Lyft app, showing prices for your ride home and the ETA for a driver so you can take action more quickly and easily.
In Android 9, Google also introduced a new system navigation featuring a single home button.
This is helpful as phones grow taller and it's more difficult to get things done on your phone with one hand. With a single home button, you can swipe up to see a newly designed Overview, the spot where at a glance you have full-screen previews of your recently used apps.
Swipe up from anywhere to see full-screen previews of recently used apps and tap to jump back into one of them. If you find yourself constantly switching between apps on your Pixel, Smart Text Selection (which recognizes the meaning of the text you're selecting and suggests relevant actions) now works on the Overview of your recent apps, making it easier to perform the action you want. You can enable this new system navigation in Settings once you've received your update to Android 9.
Android P also brings a redesigned Quick Settings, a better way to take and edit screenshots (say goodbye to the vulcan grip that was required before), simplified volume controls, an easier way to manage notifications and more.
At Google I/O in May, Google previewed some digital wellbeing features for Android, including a new Dashboard that helps you understand how you're spending time on your device; an App Timer that lets you set time limits on apps and grays out the icon on your home screen when the time is up; the new Do Not Disturb, which silences all the visual interruptions that pop up on your screen; and Wind Down, which switches on Night Light and Do Not Disturb and fades the screen to grayscale before bedtime.
Digital Wellbeing will officially launch on Pixel phones this fall, with Android One and other devices coming later this year. But these features are available in beta now for Pixel phones running Android 9. To try them out:
Make sure you're running Android 9 Pie on your device.
Sign up for the beta with the email address you use with Google Play.
Accept your invitation to become a beta tester by clicking the link in your welcome email.
Once you've accepted your invitation, Digital Wellbeing will appear in your phone's Settings app. It may take up to 24 hours for Digital Wellbeing to appear on your device.
In addition to hardening the platform, and an improved security model for biometrics, Android 9 enables hardware security capabilities to allow protecting sensitive data like credit card information using a secure, dedicated chip. Android 9 also brings privacy improvements, such as TLS by default and DNS over TLS to help protect all web communications and keep them private.
Starting today, an over-the-air update to Android 9 will begin rolling out to Pixel phones. And devices that participated in the Beta program from Sony Mobile, Xiaomi, HMD Global, Oppo, Vivo, OnePlus and Essential, as well as all qualifying Android One devices, will receive this update by the end of this fall. Google is also working with a number of other partners to launch or upgrade devices to Android 9 this year.