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Android Pie: 5 new features coming to your phone

When? That depends on who makes your phone.

Jason Cipriani/CNET

There are many new features in Android Pie you can expect to make their way to your Android phone, the timing of which depends on how often your phone's manufacturer updates its operating system. Google Pixel ($350 at Amazon) owners, however, can get these features right now.

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New navigation

Android Pie's new navigation flow.

Google

Right now, most Android devices have three digital buttons at the bottom of the screen for navigating the interface. With Android Pie, users have the option to use only one button by enabling new gesture navigation. The home button now acts as an area where you use gestures to view recently used apps, quickly switch between them and open the app drawer. 

Smarter settings

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Google/Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET

With Android Pie, your phone will learn more about how you adjust settings like display brightness, as well as when you typically use specific apps. It will tune the OS to increase battery life and overall performance.

For example, if you only open the Reddit app a couple times a week, Android Pie will essentially ignore any resource requests (fancy phrasing for refresh requests) from Reddit and instead dedicate power to, say, your favorite, always-open CNET app.

Smarter app suggestions

suggestedactionswithmusic
Google

Furthering your Android device's bid to learn more about you, over time Android Pie will learn which actions you commonly take with a specific app or contact and display shortcuts to quickly carry out said tasks.

For instance, if you normally call a relative around a specific time on a specific day, App Actions will provide a shortcut to dial the person from within the app drawer.

Wellbeing features

Google

Google is tackling smartphone addiction with a wellbeing program. The company wants to encourage you to spend less time on a phone and more time experiencing life without a screen. No, really.

Part of the wellbeing program on Android Pie is a new dashboard that breaks down your usage habits based on the app, the number of times your phone is unlocked in a given day and the number of received notifications.

Furthermore, more wellbeing features include an app timer to limit your time in an app and a new wind-down mode that turns your phone's interface into a black and white display at a set time each night. The lack of color is supposed to discourage you from spending too much time on the phone right before bed.

Shush, a feature related to Do Not Disturb, activates when you place a phone with the display down against a flat surface. The phone automatically enables Do Not Disturb mode, ignoring any potential interruptions during a meeting or family dinner.

While Digital Wellbeing didn't make the final release of Android Pie, Pixel users who have already updated to Android 9.0 Pie can sign up to help Google beta test the new feature. 

New screenshot tool!

Finally, Android Pie is adding better tools to do more with screenshots. After taking a screenshot, you'll have the option to annotate and share it directly from the screenshot interface instead of relying on a third-party app, as has been the case in the past.

Originally published May 8.
Update, Aug. 7: Added details on Android Pie.

9 reasons why you'll want Android Pie: Android 9.0 is looking tasty.

How to install Android Pie right now: Google Pixel owners, it's your lucky day.