Androids 8.0 Oreo is finally upon us. After a months-long beta program and a launch event timed with the solar eclipse, the newest version of Android is available for the Nexus 5X, Nexus 6P, Nexus Player, Pixel, Pixel XL, and Pixel C.
If you have finished reading our Android 8.0 Oreo review, read up on all the new features, and followed our installation guide. Now what? Android 8.0 Oreo might not look all that different than the previous version, but there’s a lot that’s changed under the hood. You can customize notifications, watch YouTube videos while in another app, and stream high-quality Bluetooth audio. That’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Some of these features can be tough to find if you don’t know where to look. Here’s a list of handy Android 8.0 Oreo tips and tricks to help get you started.
How to customize notifications using channels
Androidid 8.0 Oreo introduces Notification Channels, or custom app-defined categories for notifications. The YouTube app is a good example: It splits notifications into two groups, offline notifications and general notifications. The idea is to let you block unimportant notifications without messing with the ones you want to see. The Twitter app is another example: You can choose to get notifications for direct messages, but not for likes or new followers.
Switching off a channel is easy. Long press on one of the app’s most recent notification and tap the toggle to turn off notifications from the channel. Here, you can also tap All Categories to get a full list of the app’s channels, and tap the button next to the channel you want to disable. You won’t get notifications from that channel until you enable it again. To turn off notifications for an app entirely, slide the notification left or right until you see a gear icon. Tap the gear icon, and toggle the Notifications off.
Alternatively, you can head to the app’s notifications page in Android’s Settings menu. To get there, go to Settings > Apps & notifications > App info and choose the app you want to customize notifications. Here you’ll see a list of the app’s channels, along with settings toggles for each channel and indicators showing their priority. High priority will make a sound if your device’s notification volume is turned up; urgent priority will make a sound and pop on screen; medium priority will make no sound, and low priority will have no sound or visual interruption. The YouTube app treats general notifications as “high priority,” for example, and offline notifications “medium priority.”
How to snooze notifications
Sometimes you don’t want to deal with a notification right when you get it. That’s where Android Oreo’s notification snoozing comes in: You can schedule a notification to reappear after a predefined interval of time.
To reschedule a message, swipe to the right or left of a notification until you see the gear and clock icon. Notifications snooze for 1 hour by default, but tapping the drop down arrow will offer options to snooze for 15 minutes, 30 minutes, and 2 hours. Select one, and you’ll see the notification again when the time comes.
You can’t snooze every alert. Persistent notifications, otherwise known as ongoing notifications, can’t be dismissed or rescheduled.
How to enable Notification Dots
The notification shade isn’t the only way to keep track of alerts in Android Oreo. Notification dots add iOS-like indicators to homescreen app shortcuts. They double as powerful app shortcuts — tapping and holding on them lets you preview the most recent notification’s content, and in some cases take action on it.
To enable notification badges, head to the Settings menu and go to Apps & notifications. Then, tap Notifications and flip the Allow icon badges switch to “on.”
If you’d rather enable badges on an individual basis, head to Settings > Apps & Notifications > Notifications > Notifications. Tap the app you want to toggle, and then tap the button next to Allow notification dot.
How to save time with Smart Text Selector
Let’s face it: Copying and pasting text on your smartphone sucks. But Android Oreo’s Smart Text Selection makes it better by automatically recognizing text content. When you highlight an address, phone number, email address, or name, you’ll get contextually relevant shortcuts to the dialer, Google Maps, and other applications.
To use Smart Text Selection, press and hold on a block of text you were going to copy. You should automatically get an option to jump to a relevant app, alongside copy and share. For example, if you select an address, you should automatically get an option to jump into Google Maps — the address will already be inputted.
How to save your passwords and login info with Autofill
Android Oreo’s Autofill feature lets you store form data like usernames, passwords, addresses, and phone numbers, kind of like how most browsers ask if you want it to store account information. It’s helpful as you don’t have to remember your account details when you log in again.
When you sign into an app or fill out a form for the first time, Google will ask if you want it to store this information. All you need to do is tap Yes, and that’s it. While Google saves a bulk of your login data, if you allow it, but Autofill can also work with third-party apps like Enpass Password Manager and Dashlane.
Head to Settings > Languages & input > Autofill service. Select the autofill app you’d like to use, and try logging into an app, website, or service. Android will automatically supply any username and password data associated with your account.
How to enable Google Play Protect and remotely wipe your phone
Android, like any widely-used operating system, is a prime target for hackers. That’s why Google took the wraps off Google Play Protect, a suite of anti-virus and security tools for Android, earlier this year, and launched it with Android Oreo. Many of these features have been implemented before, but Google is now making it easier to see your device’s status.
To enable Play Protect, go to Settings > Google > Security > Google Play Protect and toggle on Scan device for security threats. You’ll see a list of recently scanned apps, and a green “Looks good” check mark if your phone’s in the clear. You can also access this setting by going to Settings > Security & Location > Google Play Protect.
There’s another component to Google Play Protect: Find My Device. Once it’s enabled, you can use it to see your phone’s last known location, lock your phone with a PIN, pattern, or password, or erase your phone’s internal memory. You can access these functions remotely via the Find My Device website.
How to watch videos with picture-in-picture mode
Android 8.0 Oreo’s new picture-in-picture mode lets you minimize videos so you can multitask. The list of supported apps isn’t huge right now — YouTube, Duo, VLC, and Google Play Movies are among those that currently support it. But it’ll no doubt grow as Android Oreo makes its way to more devices.
To use picture-in-picture mode, launch the app you want to minimize. Start a video, then tap the home button. You’ll get a small rectangular video player on your home screen. Tap the screen and you can close the video, go back to full-screen mode, or access playback controls. Tap and drag the floating window to move it around.
How to add a custom ringtone
Android may be one of the most advanced operating systems on the planet, but adding a custom ringtone used to be an absolute pain. You basically had two choices: Download a third-party ringtone app that added the ringtone for you, or manually copy the sound file to /sdcard/Notifications, /sdcard/Alarms, or /sdcard/Ringtones. It’s a lot easier now on Android Oreo.
Adding a custom ringtone is as easy as pulling up Settings > Sound and tapping Phone ringtone. The final step? Tap the Add ringtone button at the bottom to add any sound file to Android’s sound picker list.