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Phones

Android Pie: 3 settings to change right away

Make your phone work for you, not the other way around.

Jason Cipriani/CNET

From developer tools to accommodating an iPhone X-like notch, to smart notification replies and a new method to navigate Android, Google's latest mobile operating system has a lot to offer.

With the release of Android Pie to Google Pixel devices, it's time to take a look at three settings you should change after updating to Android 9.0. 

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Gestures

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Screenshots by Jason Cipriani/CNET

Starting with Android Pie, users have the option to ditch the traditional three-button navigation method and rely on gestures instead.

After installing Android Pie, you may be disappointed to find the feature isn't enabled upon first boot. Instead, you have to go into settings yourself and turn it on.

Open the Settings app, then go to System > Gestures > Swipe up on Home button. On the following screen, enable Swipe up on Home button.

Going forward, you can swipe up on the home button to view your recently used apps, quickly swipe to the right to fast-switch between two apps, or slowly move the home button to scroll through all of your recent apps. To get back to the home screen instead of viewing recent apps, tap on the home button.

Action suggestions

android-p-app-action-suggestions

Screenshots by Jason Cipriani/CNET

Android Pie is getting smarter and will start suggesting apps and actions for you to take throughout the interface. For example, when you swipe up on the new home button (with gestures enabled, of course) a row of five apps will be revealed at the bottom of the screen. These apps are suggestions based on your recent usage.

You will also notice actionable buttons in the app drawer for common tasks, such as opening an app to a specific section or starting a text message to your partner. If you find the new features a bit creepy, you can disable one or all of them.

Long-press on your wallpaper, then tap Home Settings. On the Home Settings page, select Suggestions. Move the appropriate button to the 'Off' position for Apps, Actions, and the ability to select text in app previews in the recent view.

Do Not Disturb

Part of Google's well-being program to help minimize the distractions that may suck users back into using a phone is to enhance the Do Not Disturb feature on Android Pie.

Using Do Not Disturb on Android Pie will not only block calls and notifications when the phone is sitting idle, but it will now block the display from turning on at all. Google is referring to the new feature as "visual disturbances."

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Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET

To tailor how the new DND settings work, go to Settings > Apps & Notifications > Notifications > Do Not Disturb. At the top of the screen is a section titled "Behavior" with two options: Sound & vibration and Notifications. Select Sound & vibration and you'll find a short list of device sounds that you can have on or off when DND is enabled. 

android-p-dnd-settings-custom

Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET

Notifications, however, provides more in-depth options for things like app badges, and indicator lights. Select Custom from the list, and then tick the boxes of alert types you want disabled when your screen is off, and when it is on.

Originally published May 9.
Update, Aug. 7: Added details on Android Pie.

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

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