Android Marshmallow tips and tricks: 14 you need to try

Android Marshmallow is here and is spreading to more devices by the week. As some of its improvements may go unnoticed, we’ve put together a few Android Marshmallow tips and tricks to help you get the most from the new software. In our latest update, we show you how to discover Android’s in-built file explorer and how to improve location accuracy using Bluetooth. Head to the bottom of the list for those.

  • Android Marshmallow: everything you need to know
  • Android Marshmallow update: when will I get it?

1. Uninstall apps from your home screen or app drawer

In Android Marshmallow you can now uninstall an app on your home screen or in your app drawer simply by long-pressing it. At the top of the screen you’ll now see options for Remove or Uninstallon the home screen, or App Info and Uninstall in the app drawer. Simply drag the app icon to the one you want.

AndroidPIT Android M preview uninstall app direct
You can now instantly uninstall apps from the home screen or app drawer. 

2. Activate Developer Options

Developer Options are nothing new, but there are a few new developer one in Android Marshmallow. To access Developer options, go to Settings > About Phone and tap Build Numberseven times until a toast pop-up notifies you that you are now a developer.

Back up a step and you’ll see Developer Options listed right above About Phone. This is where you can enable USB Debugging, OEM Unlocking or Show Touches, tweak animations, or access some of the other tips below.

  • Install Android Marshmallow on your smartphone
AndroidPIT Android M preview developer options enabled
Enabling Developer Options is always one of the first things we do.

3. Grant app permissions individually

Granular app permissions was the holy grail of the Android Marshmallow release. We all hoped it would pan out but no one really believed it would. We had always been told that denying specific app permissions within a third-party app could break it. Now, however, Android lets you manage app permissions individually, without developers having had to do anything, and everything seems to work swimmingly.

AndroidPIT Android M preview AnTuTu permissions
You can view and toggle permissions for an individual app. 

To access app permissions, go to Settings > Apps and tap an individual app to see its permissions. Then simply flip the switch for the permissions you do or don’t want to grant it. You can also view a list of permissions to see which have been granted to which apps. Just go toSettings > Apps, then tap the overflow menu in the top right corner and go to Advanced > App Permissions.

AndroidPIT Android M preview app permissions location
You can also view app permissions by permission type. 

4. Customize Quick Settings using System UI Tuner

To enable the System UI Tuner, bring down your Quick Settings menu (swipe down from the top of your phone with two fingers) and tap and hold the settings button (cog wheel) for five seconds. When you let go you will be asked if you would like to enable System UI Tuner. Select yes and you’ll see System UI Tuner at the bottom of your Settings list.

In System UI Tuner, tap Quick Settings and you’ll see a mockup of your Quick Settings shade. You can add tiles (press the + at the bottom), move the toggles around (tap and drag) or delete toggles (tap and drag to the bottom). Your changes will be reflected in the Quick Settings menu.

AndroidPIT Android M preview system ui tuner
The UI Tuner lets you rearrange your Quick Settings menu. 

5. Get to know RAM Manager

Android Marshmallow is all about giving us even more power over our beloved Androids, and RAM is a huge part of that. Go to Settings > Memory > Memory used by apps, to see a list of all your memory-hogging apps.

Tapping an entry will show you detailed info and give you the option to force stop the app if necessary. Take some time to familiarize yourself with this part of your Android – it’s a great tool to help you understand what RAM usage is normal and what’s out of the ordinary.

androidpit ram manager android marshmallow
The new Memory section in the advanced app settings gives you a clear picture of RAM usage.  

6. Find your Downloaded, Running, All and Disabled app tabs

The RAM Manager is also effectively the new home for the ‘Running’ tab that was in previous versions of the Settings > Apps section. Unlike previous Android versions, Android Marshmallow doesn’t break your apps list down into tabs for ‘Downloaded’, ‘Running’, ‘All’ and ‘Disabled’.

The ‘Running’ tab now appears as RAM Manager; ‘All’ and ‘Disabled’ are now options in a drop-down menu, accessible once you’ve disabled at least one app. The default view in Settings > Appsis the ‘All’ apps tab. We’ll have to wait and see how devices with SD cards display the information that was previously found in the ‘SD Card’ tab.

AndroidPIT Android M preview all apps tab disabled enabled
On the right, we now have a drop-down menu for disabled and enabled apps. 

7. Automatically associate links

Android Marshmallow allows you to automatically associate specific apps with specific types of links. So if someone emails you a Twitter link, for example, you can set Twitter as the default app for opening such links, rather than picking from a list every time.

Although you could set certain apps as default apps before, the system didn’t work all that well. Now you can associate specific domain URLs with an app of your choice. For example, links can be set to open either in Facebook, Tinfoil or another third-party Facebook app automatically.

To do this, go to Settings > Apps, then tap the overflow menu at the top right and go to Advanced > App Links, then flip the switch for the apps that you want to set to automatically intercept links from specific domains.

AndroidPIT Android M preview app links open by default facebook
Android Marshmallow gives you complete control over which apps handle certain domains.

8. Ignore battery optimizations

Android Marshmallow delivers a great new feature called Doze. When your phone or tablet has been inactive for a while, Android Marshmallow will automatically hibernate it (although alarms and priority notifications can still come through).

You can also still use the Battery Saving Mode, just like in Lollipop. Now, however, you can exclude up to three apps from the battery optimizations imposed by Battery Saver or Doze, so they can run at full strength while everything else takes a rest.

Go to Settings > Battery and tap the overflow menu in the top right, choose Ignore Optimizations and select the apps you want this to apply to. You can access the same menu from Settings > Apps > overflow menu > Advanced > Ignore Optimizations.

AndroidPIT Android M preview ignore battery optimizations
Android Marshmallow lets you exclude certain apps from battery optimization measures. 

9. Activate Google Now from the lock screen

You might have missed this one, but the lock screen shortcut to the dialer has been replaced by Google Now. This is a welcome change; you can use Google Now to call someone just by speaking (along with plenty of other things), so you haven’t lost out on functionality by losing the dialer shortcut.

Simply swipe from the bottom left-hand corner of the lock screen to get Google Now ready to receive your voice command.

10. Enjoy Google Now on Tap

Google Now on Tap is easily my favorite feature in Android Marshmallow. It brings Google Now functionality to every part of your phone or tablet. There’s no need to switch apps or copy and paste phrases anymore – once it’s enabled, you can bring up Google Now on Tap from any app, simply by selecting text and long-pressing the Home button.

AndroidPIT Google I O 2015 Google Now Now on Tap
Google Now on Tap can provide relevant content without even leaving the app you’re in. 

11. Disable notification peeking

Heads-up notifications, or ‘peeking’ as it is now referred to, is the feature that allows notifications to pop up over the top of your display. It was introduced in Android Lollipop, but since app developers now tend to enable peeking by default, Android Marshmallow gives you the power to decide if you want to allow it or not.

If these types of notifications bother you, you can go into Settings > Sound & Notifications > App Notifications, then select the app they’re coming from, and switch off ‘allow peeking’.

androidpit app notifications marshmallow peek
If notification peeking in a particular app is bothering you, you can disable it for that app. 

12. Check out the Android Marshmallow Easter Egg

The Android Easter Egg is one of the most pointless but fun parts of any new Android version. You simply go to Settings > About Phone and repeatedly tap the Version Number to find it. In Lollipop you’d see a giant lollipop, and if you long-pressed it, you’d be taken to a Flappy Bird clone.

In Marshmallow, tapping the version number, reveals a graphic of the letter M. When you tap it again, you get a marshmallow with android antenna.

android marshmallow easter egg
Tap once for M, twice for an antenna’ed marshmallow 

13. Access the Marshmallow file manager

Did you know Android Marshmallow comes with its own built-in file explorer? Well it does. Go tosettings > storage & USB > explore to… er, explore it.

Marshmallow’s solution might not be as in-depth and feature packed as something like ES File Explorer, but it’s also less intrusive. Check it out for a clean, minimal interface for browsing files.

android marshmallow file explorer
It might not look fancy, but this is a useful file explorer. 

14. Navigate better with Bluetooth

GPS isn’t a perfect system and it can’t always pinpoint your location. On Android Marshmallow, however, you can give your GPS a hand by using Bluetooth.

Go to settings > location > and tap the hamburger (3 dots) icon. Next tap scanning  and on the following page enable Bluetooth scanning (and Wi-Fi scanning for even greater accuracy).

Once you’ve done that, tap the return or back button and tap mode, then select high-accuracy orbattery saving mode to make use of the new setting.

androidpit location bluetooth
Use Bluetooth to boost your GPS accuracy. 

Bonus Marshmallow tip: Switch on multi-window mode

This final tip will need you to get your hands dirty with rooting and flashing, but we wanted to include it anyway. Multi-window mode lets you open a separate app in a new ‘pop out’ window, so you can run two at once. This feature can already be seen on the Galaxy Note 4 and Note 5, but now you can get it on stock Android. Read the full tutorial over at the XDA Developers forums if you’re interested.


Related Posts

About The Author