Android 6.0 Marshmallow preview: What to expect from your next version of Android
Familiar material design
Do not disturb
One of the places where Lollipop went a little haywire was with the volume and controlling those new notifications. These new fangled volume controls sent ripples across Android devices on Lollipop with manufacturer skins that followed, and have been tweaked by all and sundry ever since.
On Android 6.0 Marshmallow, they have changed. Hooray!
Hitting volume down or up will open the volume controller and a drop-down arrow will let you change the ringer volume, alarm volume and media volume independently. That means you can ensure that game you’re about to start up in bed doesn’t blare out music as soon as it opens. This makes it much easier to change all the important volumes without digging around into menus. Additionally, you can turn the volume down past vibrate to silent, which we always like. When you do so, however, you change the notification situation too, as the previous none-priority-all system gets a makeover. Run the volume all the way down and you automatically enter the new Alarms only setting. That means that if you kill the volume when you go to bed, your alarms will still wake you in the morning.
Unless you don’t want them, of course. Swipe down the Quick Settings and you’ll find a Do not Disturb/notification settings button. Tap this and you can open a new control panel. Here you’ll find the new options of Total silence, Alarms only and Priority only. For each option you can select the time frame, or until you turn it off. This means you can set 8 hours of silence, for example, while you sleep.
There’s also a handy link to a menu option for more options. Here you can set auto rules – like weekend, night or event behaviour. You can add custom rules too, based around time or events, if there’s some behaviour pattern in particular that you want. You can also access the settings for Priority only here, if you want notifications, events, messages and calls from particular contacts, and whether you let repeat callers through.
Granular app controls
When it comes to app control and permissions, Android Marshmallow goes into overdrive. There’s potentially more control than many people will need, but you can really go to town on governing what apps can do. For those wondering about notifications, yes, you can still define the notification priority of each individual app. If you have security set on your device (and we’re expecting that to expand to fingerprints on the new Nexus devices) you also get the option to hide sensitive information from lock screen notifications.
You can block all notifications, you can set as priority only and there’s a new option to govern peeking for all apps as well. Peeking is where you get a notification at the top of the display – a toast notification or a pop-up over the top of something else you are doing. If you don’t want them for whatever reason (irritation, privacy concerns) you can turn them off for each app at a system level.