What’s New in Android Marshmallow 6.0.1

While the vast majority of the world is still waiting for Android Marshmallow to hit their devices for the first time, that doesn’t mean that Google themselves have stopped pushing the mobile platform forward.  This week the company released the 6.0.1 update and many Nexus 5, 5X, 6, 6P, 7 and 9 owners are already seeing the update hit their devices.  The numbering convention somewhat gives it away that this update is a minor update but it is more than then monthly security updates that Google sends out for Android.  There are several new features along with a smattering of improvements and updates to Android itself.

The first and likely most visible change to most users is the new set of unicode 8 emoji that come in Android Marshmallow 6.0.1.  This brings Android on par with iOS when it comes to emoji, something that generally Google has lagged on in the past.  The new emoji include updates to virtually all of the ones in Android as well as brings a pile of new ones including country flags (to be fair, they were there before but you couldn’t access them) You can get the complete list of all emoji on all platforms over at the unicode.org site although the team over at Ars Technica have put together a specific list for Android that is pretty handy.

Android Marshmallow 6.0.1 Adds Double-Tap Power Camera Action

Another new feature in 6.0.1 is quick access to your phone’s camera.  Now instead of having to power the screen on and swipe the camera icon on the lock screen, you can simply double-tap the

Android Marshmallow Double-Power Tap Camera Setting
Android Marshmallow Double-Power Tap Camera Setting

power button to access your camera app.  It is a simple feature but one that should make capture that spur of the moment photo easier and with far fewer swipes and taps.  If you are a Nexus 5X or Nexus 6P owner, you are thinking no big deal because you have had this feature all along.  Now older Nexus devices have it too.  The question will be if it makes it to non-Nexus devices.  There is no indication it won’t… and no indication it will.  So time will tell.

By default this feature is enabled but you can turn it on or off by going to Settings>Display and find the “press power button twice for camera” option.  If you turn it off then your device will behave just like it did in 6.0.

Do Not Disturb Returns An Android Lollipop Feature

In Android Lollipop there was a great Do Not Disturb feature that would allow you to suspend any notifications until your next alarm. For some reason this feature disappeared in Android Marshmallow 6.0.  It was actually a very handy feature that for some reason was removed by Google.  It seems that they have corrected the errors of their ways and returned it in 6.0.1.  Now if you have an alarm configured, you can go into DND until that alarm goes off.  It is all part of a pretty powerful Do Not Disturb function found in Marshmallow and I have written a How To on it if you want to learn how to configure it on your devices.

T-Mobile Band 12 Support Added

For Project Fi users and T-Mobile users, the support for LTE Band 12 has long been awaited.  It is here in Android Marshmallow 6.0.1.  Band 12 is for getting good throughput in building and other places where you have a lot material between you and the tower.  My Nexus 6 now can see Band 12 and use it here in Denver.

Improved Do Not Disturb in Android Marshmallow
Improved Do Not Disturb in Android Marshmallow

The biggest question that is always asked when a new version of Android is released is “When will I get it on my phone?”.  The answer to that is dependent on many factors and almost impossible to predict with any amount of accuracy.  Just because your manufacture has indicated they will have 6.0 out for your phone doesn’t really give any indicator as to when 6.0.1 will be released.  If you are an unlocked Nexus device owner (you didn’t buy it from a carrier) then the answer is a bit more clear.  The update is propagating fast to Nexus owners so you should see it over the course of the next few days but it could take as long as a week or two.  Patience is the name of the game.