Google releases a slightly improved version of Android every year, but this time around it's pulled out all the stops. Android Marshmallow is the latest version of Android, and includes brand-new features that make using your smartphone even better. Features such as the battery-saving Doze mode and the highly intelligent Google Now on Tap represent a step forward - and overall Marshmallow is the biggest update to Google's mobile OS in ages. Still not sure if you should upgrade? Here are 14 reasons we think Marshmallow is the best version of Android yet.
1. USB Type-C
USB Type-C represents the holy grail of connections. It’s silly-fast, can be used any way up – and it’s going to be the most commonly used connection in the next few years. What’s more, it also allow for much faster charging than conventional cables: it can fully charge a Nexus 6P in around two hours.
As you’d expect, Android Marshmallow is futureproofed with built-in USB Type-C support, so as long as your smartphone has the connection, Marshmallow can take advantage of it.
2. Now on Tap
One of the biggest changes to Android Marshmallow comes in the form of Google Now. Although it may look the same as before, Google Now is now pre-baked into every area of the OS, and it’s cleverer than ever. Google Now’s focus is now on “context”, and that means the digital assistant will be better at understanding where you are, and what you’ll need to know as a result.
3. Adopted Storage
Most Android phones allow you to insert some form of memory card, but previous versions of Android always treated it as a separate entity. While that’s great if you want to swap memory cards around – it can be annoying if you want to use the memory card as a permanent storage solution. That’s where Adopted Storage comes in. Rather than treating the memory card as a separate storage space, Marshmallow can treat it like the rest of the memory on your phone. The result? You can use your memory card space without any fuss.
4. Android Pay
Much like Apple Pay, Android Pay allows users to store credit and debit card information on their smartphones, and then wirelessly pay for goods and services quickly and securely. To make it more secure, Android Pay uses a virtual account number instead of your own, and also keeps a detailed history of purchases made using the app.
If you’re unlucky enough to lose your phone, Google has you covered. Android Device Manager makes it easy to remotely lock and wipe your Android device in the event of loss or theft.
The only catch? Android Pay has been in the US since late September, but we still don’t know when it’s coming to the UK.
5. System UI Tuner
Marshmallow fixes one of our biggest pet peeves with the Android operating system. Google’s mobile OS uses the status bar at the top of your screen for key information about reception, battery life and more – but it can get crowded and scruffy at times.
With the System UI Tuner, users can now add their battery percentage to the system tray, and choose which other things they want to be displayed there. The result? Your Android phone will only show the information you want to see.
6. Improved Copy and Pasting
Although it seems like a relatively simple task, previous versions of Android made cutting and pasting text a fiddly, frustrating affair. Before, Google’s OS forced you to go to the top of the screen to cut, copy and paste – but Marshmallow lets you hover just above the selected text. If that sounds familiar, that’s because it’s exactly what iOS already does – but we’ll forgive Google as it’s a vast improvement over its original solution.
7. Custom Google tabs
Google Chrome is one of the best mobile browsers around, and Marshmallow makes it easier for developers to integrate into their own, third-party apps. That means you don’t have to switch applications when you need to browse the web, and it also means that when you are let loose on Google's browsers, all of your passwords and logins are stored and ready to go. The result? The whole browsing experience is much more seamless.
8. Clear permissions system
Although not one of the most glitzy features, Marshmallow’s app permissions overhaul will have an immediate effect on how you use your phone. Previous versions of Android forced the user to configure app settings at the point of install, making downloading apps an overly complex, drawn-out process.
Instead, Marshmallow only asks for your permission when it needs to. So, rather than configuring something such as Snapchat when you first download it, Android will ask to use your phone’s camera once, and only the first time you use it.
If you want to go back on your original decisions, Marshmallow has you covered. The new OS presents things by permissions rather than apps, so you can quickly see what apps are using your camera, accessing your photos, location data and much more.