Android 5.1, the first major revision to Lollipop, is available now on certain Android One devices and is set to begin rolling out to Nexus phones and tablets soon.
The update addresses several of the complaints from users of 5.0, as well as fixing a number of bugs.
Google hasn’t yet released a full changeling for the update, but there are a few new highlights that have already been identified. These include:
Close Quick Settings and unlock in one
A minor usability tweak, but one that we can get behind. We love the fact that you can access the Quick Settings panel from the lockscreen, but were never quite so keen on the extra swipes that this added when you wanted to launch your device.
In Android 5.1 swiping the Quick Settings panel closed from the lockscreen launches you straight into your home screen.
Remove Quick Settings tiles
If you played around with certain features on 5.0, such as the colour inversion accessibility option, then you’ll have no doubt noticed that this installed a tile in your Quick Settings panel, even if you didn’t plan to use it ever again.
That tile disappears automatically after a month if you don’t tap it. But now in 5.1 it is possible to hide the tile manually, making it easier to keep your QS panel tidy.
New Bluetooth and Wi-Fi Quick Settings options
Another enhancement to Quick Settings is a more powerful set of tools for Bluetooth and Wi-Fi.
Previously you could toggle these wireless features on or off with a single tap, but needed to go into the full settings screen to make new connections. This is no longer the case—you can connect to new networks via QS itself.
Screen pinning gets easier
Screen pinning, the ability to lock the device to a single app, was one of the great innovations in Lollipop.
But it was also quite obscure, well hidden and tricky to grasp. In fact, we felt the need to write a guide on how to use screen pinning.
In Android 5.1 screen pinning gets a whole lot easier thanks to a subtle tweak that brings a little more polish and easier instructions. That should now make the feature more accessible to the average user.
More on Android 5.1
There are no doubt more features to be uncovered in Android 5.1, along with a series of performance enhancements.
A previously leaked changelog talks of the return of a proper silent mode as well as improvement RAM management that should see fewer apps closing in the background (or even sometimes in the foreground) even when there is apparently plenty of free RAM being unused.
We’ll have more details on Android 5.1 when it begins rolling out to Nexus devices.