Samsung’s Galaxy Tab S2 9.7 is now getting the update to Android 6, but only 7.5% of Android users are currently running the latest software.
Android Marshmallow is here (for some). There are battery life improvements, greater app permission controls, standardized support for fingerprint scanners, more granular volume controls, USB-C support and new Google Now features, all part of a mix that makes this an exciting upgrade for users. But is your phone actually going to get it?
The release process for Android updates is more complicated than Apple’s iOS updates, and just because an update has been launched that doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll have access to it.
In fact, you probably won’t. It’s down to device manufacturers, and in some countries the carriers too, who spend quite a bit of time with the new software before releasing it to their devices.
If you own a Nexus device you’re in luck, as not surprisingly Google’s new software has landed on those first – and manufacturers like Motorola are generally better at getting updates out quickly. But other manufacturers are a little less predictable.
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While most phones are still waiting on Marshmallow, we are already seeing the gentle roll out of the Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow update, with new emojis and a few little bug fixes bundled in for good measure.
To make the latest Android update less of a mystery, here’s our constantly updated information on when it’s likely to land on your phone.
- Android N release date, news and features
Disclaimer: This article includes information for the rollout of Android Marshmallow software, but depending on region, mobile operator and carrier it can take longer than expected.
Google and Nexus
Google has updated its Nexus range of products to Android Marshmallow. It includes theNexus 5, Nexus 6, Nexus 7 (2013), Nexus 9, Nexus Player, Pixel C and the whole range of Android One devices. The Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P both launched with Android 6 on board.
The developers preview for Android 7 N is already out and you can download it on all the previously mentioned devices – apart from the Nexus 5.
- How to download Android N right now
Samsung did a pretty good job of getting Android Lollipop on to its phones rapidly, but it has slowed things down considerably for the Marshmallow launch.
The Samsung Galaxy S6, Galaxy S6 Edge, Galaxy S5 and Galaxy Note 4 are in the process of getting the update, while the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge launched with Marshmallow pre-installed.
The latest phone to start getting the update is the Samsung Galaxy Note 5. The phone didn’t launch in the UK and the update is just for those on T-Mobile in the US right now. The Galaxy Tab S2 9.7 tablet is also receiving the update to Android Marshmallow now.
The Galaxy S6 Edge+ is getting the update in some markets now as well, but there’s no guarantee it’ll be on your version yet. There’s still no word from Samsung whether the Galaxy S4, Samsung Galaxy Alpha and Galaxy Note 3 will get the update.
As for tablets, we expect the Galaxy Tab S2, Galaxy Tab S and Galaxy Note Pro 12.2 will get the Marshmallow software, but there’s no official word yet.
The update is in the process of rolling out for those who have the HTC One M9 and HTC One M8.
HTC has confirmed the One A9, Desire Eye and One E9 will also get the Android Marshmallow update but there’s no word on timing yet.
HTC also confirmed back in September 2015 that it will be updating the HTC One M9+, HTC One E9, HTC One ME, HTC One E8, HTC One M8 EYE, HTC Butterfly 3, HTC Desire 826, HTC Desire 820 and HTC Desire 816. It has taken a long time so far and HTC hasn’t commented on when it’ll be coming either.
Sony is faring much better, with the Xperia Z5, Xperia Z5 Compact, Xperia Z5 Premium,Xperia Z4 Tablet, Xperia Z3+, Xperia Z3, Xperia Z3 Compact, Xperia Z2 Tablet, Xperia Z2 all seeing the Android 6 Marshmallow update rolling out.
Sony has confirmed it is still working on bringing the update to the Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact, Xperia M5, Xperia C5 Ultra, Xperia M4 Aqua and Xperia C4.
Both the Xperia Z1 and Xperia Z1 Compact will be missing out this time though.
LG hasn’t shared any official details for the rollout yet, but the LG G4 is already getting the update and the LG G5 launched with Android 6 software already installed. LG has also started rolling out the update for the LG V10 on T-Mobile, Verizon and AT&T.
Other phones that may get the Android 6 Marshmallow upgrade included the LG G3, LG G Flex 2 and LG G4c – but there’s no official word yet.
Motorola is updating the Moto X Style, Moto X Play, Moto X Force, Moto G 2015, Moto G 2014, Moto E (2nd gen), Moto X 2014 and Moto X Pure Edition (2015).
It’ll also come to the 2014 version of the Moto X Pure Edition, the 2014 Moto G and Moto G with 4G LTE, the Moto MAXX, Moto Turbo, Droid Turbo and the Nexus 6.
The company has confirmed that in China the Huawei P8, Huawei P8 Max, Mate S, Ascend Mate 7, P8 Youth Edition, G7, G7 Plus, X2, 4X and Play 4C will be getting Android 6.0 at some point, though it’s uncertain whether they’ll all get updated to it elsewhere in the world. Huawei also hasn’t stated exactly when the Android 6 Marshmallow updates will arrive.
The OnePlus One is currently receiving its own version of Android 6 Marshmallow in the form of Cyanogen OS 13.
The OnePlus 2 is currently getting the Android M public beta and OnePlus is busy implementing the feedback ready for the over the air update, which is expected soon. TheOnePlus X will also be receiving the Android 6 update, but there’s no word from the company on when it’ll be ready to go.
The BlackBerry Priv was the first phone from the Canadian manufacturer to feature Android software, and it’s now been treated to the sweet taste of Android Marshmallow.
Version 6.0 is rolling out to BlackBerry’s first ever Android phone, bringing with it a host of additional security controls, improved battery life and an enhanced keyboard.
Asus is another company which often isn’t particularly speedy with its updates. Asus has confirmed to techradar the PadFone S, ZenFone 2, ZenFone 2 Deluxe, ZenFone 2 Deluxe Special Edition, ZenFone 2 Laser, ZenFone Selfie, ZenFone Max and ZenFone Zoom are all set to get the update to Android 6.
As for timing, it won’t be until Q2 2016 so expect it somewhere in between April and the end of June this year.
Honor has revealed its update schedule for Marshmallow and it’s not going to be long now. The Honor 7 is already getting the update while Honor has released a teaser suggesting theHonor 5X will be up next.
It’s expected the Honor 6, Honor 6 Plus and Honor 4X will get the update in April, but right now it’s not certain.
ZTE doesn’t always bother to update its phones, so if you have one you may have to make do without Android Marshmallow. The ZTE Axon Pro is getting the Marshmallow update, but that seems to be it.
The Nvidia Shield Tablet ATV is already receiving the Android 6 Marshmallow update. It will then come to the Shield Tablet K1 and the original Shield tablet, but so far it’s unclear when.
Nextbit currently has one phone, the Nextbit Robin, and it will soon see the update to Android 6 Marshmallow. The Robin was released at the end of February running Android Lollipop, but Nextbit has now confirmed it will start rolling out the update in the second half of April.
While you’re waiting to get Android 6.0 Marshmallow, you’d probably like to know more about the new features it incorporates. We’ve been playing around with the new OS, and here are some of our favorite features.
It’s not a big design-based update like Lollipop was. Material Design is still intact here, and most of the focus is on new features and bug fixes.
Technically you can use Android Pay without the Marshmallow software, but having the latest OS is certainly a big help.
The update to Marshmallow brings with it fingerprint sensor functionality for the first time, so you don’t even need to open up an app – you can just unlock your phone with your finger and place it on the contactless payment terminal.
Third-party apps are also supported within Marshmallow, making it much easier to buy stuff directly in your Android phone.
However, Android Pay is only available in the US right now, and there are no clear plans for when it’ll be rolling out around the world.
Android Marshmallow fingerprint support
We’ve seen some smartphone manufacturers already include fingerprint scanners in their devices, but with Android Marshmallow Google is standardizing support across the platform.
You can use a fingerprint scanner to unlock your device and pay for media from the Google Play Store, and the fingerprint scanning tech is also open to developers. That means devs can build it into their own applications, enabling you to sign into them without a password and pay for goods using Android Pay.
Android Marshmallow voice controls
Android 6.0 opens the way for improved voice control features thanks to the new Voice Interaction API, which will enable app developers to build voice control directly into their apps.
This means owners of Android Marshmallow devices will soon be able to speak to their apps – and the apps will even talk back.
One of the examples Google has detailed is the TuneIn app. A user can say “OK Google, listen to music on TuneIn”, and the TuneIn app will not only load, but will then ask “What genre of music would you like to listen to?”.
The user can then reply with their favourite genre. This natural way of speaking to our smartphone and the apps installed on it could revolutionise the way we interact with our devices.
Google has released a video to demonstrate the potential of Voice Interaction API, which you can view below.
Android Marshmallow battery life
Google has done a lot of work in the areas of battery life and power in Android Marshmallow, which will be music to many users’ ears.
First up Google has developed the Doze feature. Your device will use motion sensors to detect when it hasn’t been moved for an extended period of time, and will switch to a deeper sleep mode that consumes much less power.
Your device won’t be completely useless in this mode, however, as Doze still allows for alarms to go off and key notifications to come through.
Google says it took two Nexus 9 tablets, one running Lollipop and the other Android Marshmallow, loaded the same apps and settings on both, and then tested the standby power drain on the two.
Apparently, the Nexus 9 running Android Marshmallow lasted up to two times longer than its Lollipop counterpart. It sounds impressive, and we’re hoping it translates to noticeably better battery life for our devices.
Android Marshmallow Now on Tap
With Android Marshmallow comes an intelligent new assistant feature called Now on Tap. An enhancement to Google Now, Now on Tap enables users to access information anywhere on their Android Marshmallow device, no matter what they’re doing.
Users can simply tap and hold the home button to pull up a query without leaving the app or website they’re in. If a friend emails you about seeing a movie, for example, Now on Tap could pull up info such as ratings or the trailer, or even enable you to buy tickets.
You can also look at other apps on your phone, like Yelp or OpenTable, to book a dinner reservation or read reviews about a restaurant a friend has suggested.
And Now on Tap isn’t just for basic info – you can also use voice searches for more specific queries, such as finding out who sings a particular song.
Android Marshmallow permissions
App permissions are more intuitive in Marshmallow, giving users the option to allow or deny specific permissions within an app, rather than having to accept all permissions at once.
Currently you have to accept permissions when you download an app, but with Android Marshmallow you won’t be asked to grant access to features until you come to use them for the first time in the app.
That means, for example, that you can give WhatsApp access to your camera, but not to your microphone if you wish. You can even revoke access for a particular permission by diving into the settings if you’ve accidentally allowed it.
More new features on Android 6.0 Marshmallow
Google has simplified volume controls once again with the Android Marshmallow update, with more granular control over the various audio settings on your device, from ringtones and alarms to music playback and voice calls.
Word selection has been made easier too, with Android Marshmallow highlighting text more intuitively, and a floating menu offers controls such as cut, copy and paste at your fingertips, rather than in the toolbar at the top of the display.
Fire up the Chrome web browser on Android Marshmallow and you’ll benefit from Chrome Custom Tabs, which enables websites to customize the toolbar and menu of the Chrome tab to provide dedicated buttons and options.
An example shown on stage at Google IO was Pinterest, which was able to add a ‘Pin’ button to the toolbar on certain pages.
App linking has been vastly improved in Android Marshmallow, with Google’s software now more adept at working out whether a link should be opened in a browser or a compatible app. That means fewer ‘Open with’ pop up boxes flashing up on screen and generally getting in the way.
Now it’s just a case of sitting back and waiting for your device to get the Android Marshmallow update.