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17 Android 7.0 Nougat features you need to know

Let's take a look at some of the features Google included in the latest version of Android Nougat.

Jason Cipriani
Jason Cipriani
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A proper clear-all

It's a tad hidden, but Google now includes a clear-all button to close all open apps with a tap. Scroll to the top of the preview cards, where you'll find the new button.

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Data Saver will save your data plan

Data Saver is a handy feature you can use when running low on the monthly data allotment for your wireless plan. When enabled, Data Saver will prevent apps from using cellular data in the background. Meaning, Twitter and Facebook may not refresh in the background very often, if at all.

However, if there's an app or six you want to grant permission to keep using data when Data Saver is enabled, you can do just that.

Open the Settings app, tap on Data usage > Data Saver to enable the new feature and tailor which apps are allowed to ignore the setting.

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Reply to messages from anywhere

When you receive a new message in apps like Messages or Facebook Messenger, you will see a new reply option at the bottom of the alert. Tap on it, type your message, and go on about your business without ever leaving the current screen.

Better yet, your replies are added to the notification so you can keep the conversation going.

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Bundled notifications

Instead of presenting multiple notifications from the same app as individual alerts, Android Nougat now groups them on a single line.

You can swipe down on a single notification to view more details and interact with each individual alert.

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Manage notifications

With a long-press on a notification, you can opt to disable or silence alerts for the respective app. This is a far better method than having to dive into a random settings menu.

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A new Settings app

The Settings app received a facelift. The top of the page will offer suggestions and toggles for items you may want to setup or disable. You can now slide out a Settings menu from the left side of the display to jump between different categories with minimal effort.

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Quick app switching

Double-tap on the multitasking button to quickly switch between the last two apps you used. It's quick and painless.

I've found this most useful when copying information from one app to another when I want to see both apps at full size.

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Multiwindow

Android now supports viewing two apps at the same time; even on phones. A long-press on the multitasking button will shrink down the app you are currently using, and give you the option to pick from another app that's open in the background. Alternatively, press the home button to pick an app from the home screen or app drawer.

Adjust the size of each app by dragging the handle in the middle of the screen.

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9 of 17 Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET

Another multiwindow method

As most longtime Android users know, device makers often change how a stock Android feature works. This screenshot is from the Moto Z2, showing Motorola's approach to using two apps at the same time. 

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Quick Settings toggles

Slide down the notification shade and you will find six settings icons at the top of the screen. Tap on the icon to toggle the current status of the setting, or long-press on it for more options.

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Settings tiles

A second swipe down on the screen when notifications and quick settings are present will reveal a series of Quick Settings Tiles. These tiles act in a similar fashion to the smaller version from the previous slide, with a tap toggling the corresponding service or setting and a long-press providing more options.

Tap on the Pencil button near the top of the screen to rearrange, delete or add new tiles. Notice you can have multiple pages of tiles with swipe left or right.

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Display size

Not only can you adjust the font size used by your Android device, but Nougat adds a Display Size feature that adjusts everything on display.

Open Settings > Display > Display Size then use the slider.

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Everyone gets a GIF

Who doesn't like those animated images called GIFs?

As of Android Nougat 7.1.1, Google's keyboard app includes a GIF keyboard by default.

When composing a message in the Messages or Facebook Messenger app, tap on the emoji icon then the GIF button. Browse, search and pick the perfect image and send away.

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Easy on the eyes

Night Light mode on Android Nougat turns your display an amber color.

The jury is still out regarding whether or not the feature helps you fall asleep easier, but one thing is certain, it does cause less eye strain in dimly lit environments.

Open Settings > Display > Night Light to enable the feature.

Depending on customizations made by the manufacturer of your phone, you should have options ranging from manually enabling it to setting Night Light automatically turn on from sunset to sunrise using your location. Another name used by device makers is Night Mode.

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Finally! Set a lock screen wallpaper

Most Android manufacturers had this feature long ago, but Google has finally added the ability to set one image as a lock screen wallpaper, and another as your home screen wallpaper.

Long-press on your home screen, select Wallpaper, pick an image, and then set where you want it to be used.

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Google's Assistant to the rescue

Starting February 27, Google Assistant will start rolling out to all phones running Android Nougat.

Until now, Assistant was only available on the Pixel. Here's everything the Pixel can do.

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17 of 17 Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET

App shortcuts are awesome

Starting with Android 7.1, a long press on an app icon will reveal Android's App Shortcuts feature. These shortcuts range from features such as quickly composing an email in Gmail, to clearing up storage from the Photos app. 

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