If you have updated your device to Android Lollipop from KitKat or previous versions, or if you have recently bought a new BQ M model, you will have noticed a lot of differences, in terms of how it looks as well as the features. In this article, we will try and recap some of the important changes that have been incorporated to the new Android operating system. Also, we would like to show you a couple of tricks to improve your experience with your device.
You can see the differences with Lollipop just by turning on the device, the first thing you can do is export all of your data from your previous device or operating system.
Restoring data and applications
When you turn on the device for the first time, you can restore backups saved on your Google account.
Before this option was available, but now they’ve added the feature enabling you to choose which device you wish to restore the backup from or what apps to install. You also have the option to reset the device and start from scratch.
Touch and Go
Another option to restore your data and apps from your Google account is “Touch and Go”. By holding two devices that both have NFC technology together, you can transfer the data and apps automatically from one device to another.
This option is only available for smartphones with NFC technology.
The colours and form of the notifications have been kept simple and minimalistic.
The first thing that might shock you when starting your device for the first time is the colour of the notifications bar. It’s gone from being completely opaque black to being transparent and adapting to the background colour of each app or menu.
If you have a MediaTek device, you might have noticed that the coverage icons are now completely white. Thanks to this, the Lollipop notifications bar has a chromatic feel to it and the battery icon only stands out when running low in order to alert the user.
Also as always, you can see the % of battery left by going to “Settings > Battery > Battery Percentage”.
Background of the Apps and Settings Menus
Lollipop’s colour trend is white and it has been chosen as the default for the background of the apps menu and the entire settings menu.
If you don’t like the feature, you can a download launcher (Nova Launcher for example).
Material Design applications and icons
Material Design uses colours, forms, animations, transitions, borders and shadows to give a feeling of greater depth and a cleaner design than Holo, the holographic interface of Android 4.0. Google Apps are now available with this design (incorporated in previous system versions, updated from Google Play Store) together with many other apps which are gradually being updated to this format.
Accessibility features and functions have been and with the aim of making them much more intuitive.
The Toggles or Quick Settings of the notifications bar have also been tweaked in order to adapt Lollipop.
First of all, the way to access the Toggles has changed. In addition to dragging the notifications bar down with two fingers, now you can also access the toggles by swiping twice downwards. This way, the notifications appear first, followed by the Toggles in the second swipe.
The most important change is that the Toggles are now divided by screens, which means that any that don´t fit on one screen will be moved onto another. To scroll through these screens, simply swipe to the sides.
To edit a Toggle or to change the settings you would need to press the “Pencil” button. If you wish to remove any, just drag it from “Active Toggles” to “Available Toggles”. If you wish to rearrange the Toggles in a different order, simply drag them to the position you would like, keep in mind that the Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are blocked.When holding the Wi-Fi or Bluetooth Toggle buttons, you can directly access the menu instead of activating it just by pressing it.
Keep in mind that there is no Toggle dropdown setting in Lollipop. But in some cases holding down some of the “Toggles” buttons, might unlock more options. This is the case of the “Network coverage” Toggle, that allows you to activate the data coverage and information on the data used.
Another important change made in Lollipop is the lock screen. Say goodbye to widgets in the lock screen and hello to being able to view and open your notifications directly from the lock screen.
In “Settings > Sound & notification > When device is locked” you can configure the lock screen to show your notifications. If you use a security PIN o Pattern, you can hide certain notifications to ensure your privacy.
Pressing on a notification will open it, if you slide it downwards bellow the notifications bar, sliding it downwards from above the notifications bar the entire notification will appear and you can view the rest of the pending notifications.
The unlocking method has also changed, as now the same start screen will always appear, with or without a security PIN or Pattern.
There are three ways to unlock the device:
- Access the telephone dial: swipe to the right
- Access the Photo camera: swipe to the left
- Normal unlock: swipe upwards
The padlock icon indicates if the security is active or not. If it appears locked, this indicates security is active and you will need to enter the security PIN or Pattern, If the padlock is open, this means that security is inactive.
Continuing on the subject of locking, to help unlock the screen more easily, Lollipop has created Smart Lock, which enables you to configure special security settings for different situations., To do this simply go to “Settings > Security > Smart Lock”. In this article, you can find out more about this new feature.
Heads Up (Floating Notifications)
The notifications have also changed quite a lot. They are no longer integrated into the notifications bar, they are now presented as “cards” which can be viewed from anywhere and dealt with right away. To discard the notification, swipe it fully to either side. Even though this option has been criticised, there are still ways of going back to the old graphic interface.
One of the most controversial changes of Lollipop are the sound profiles.If you have been using a MediaTek mobile, there will be a pretty clear difference, as the previous sound profiles can no longer be configured (General, Silence, Meeting or Exterior). The most important change of all is the loss of the “Silence” profile and the creation of two new profiles;
- “None” and “Priority”. None: Replaces the “Silence” profile even though in some cases more restrictive than before.
- Priority: Lets us manage the notifications that we want to receive, when we want to receive them and from who.
You can quickly access these profiles by pressing the volume buttons and the “None”, “Priority” and “All” profiles will appear under the volume bar. In this article, you can find more information on the new sound and notification profiles.
Multiuser and Guest Profiles
Another of the new features is the possibility of choosing various users for the same device or activating the guest profile, for example, if you want to lend someone your phone without them having access to your personal files or apps.
To activate this go to “Settings > Users”.
NOTE: This option is subject to availability. This function might not be available for your device, please check the BQ forum for more information.
Android Lollipop brings you an integrated battery saving tool, to extend the battery life when it’s about to run out.
You can activate this option going to “Settings > Battery > Settings button > Battery saver”. From this screen, you can activate the option by sliding the switch from “No” to “Yes”, below this you can set when you want this option to activate automatically (Never, at 5% or at 15% ). Also, you can see important information about how to save battery and how that will affect the performance of the device.
Estimated battery and charge time
Another important change has been made to the battery meter and charge function. It now shows information on approximate battery time remaining, which allows you to calculate how much time is left before you need to recharge your device. When the device is charging, the time remaining until it will be fully charged is displayed when the screen is locked. This way, you can roughly estimate how long it will take (due to the analysis and calculations needed for this process, the devices will need to charge for a little while first). Remember that these are approximated values for indicative purposes only.
If you wish to pin an app to your home screen indefinitely, go to “Settings > Security > Screen pinning”. To pin an app, simply launch it and press the pin that appears at the top of the screen and press “Recent apps”.
To exit the app, simply press and hold the “Back” and “Recent app” buttons. You can also set a security PIN or Pattern to exit.
A small but interesting change is the new “Open with…” option. Lollipop displays the most frequent app used as the first option for opening specific content.
Great new features include colour correction to assist colour blind users the option to invert colours to suit to your liking and the light conditions.
For colour blind users, Lollipop brings a solution to compensate for this condition and improve their experience with the device.
To activate it, go to “Settings > Accessibility > Colour correction” and move the tab to “On” and select the relevant correction mode.
It switches white to black and black to white and helps users with vision problems or under heavy lighting conditions.
To activate this, go to “Settings > Accessibility > Colour inversion”.
It’s more than likely that there are other small changes. You can discover them little by little as you use your device and, if you want, share them with us here.
Carlos Martin (known as Heminwein at bqyyo) is an Electronics Technician and currently teaches Italian. Smartphone MVP and active member of the BQ forum, he is the madman of technology and more specifically smartphones.