On 29th September 2015 Google held a press conference in San Francisco where it unveiled two new Nexus smartphones and a Pixel C tablet. During the same press event, the representatives of the company also talked about the Android 6.0 Marshmallow update for Nexus 5, Nexus 6, and Nexus 9 availability. As usual, the members of the Nexus family will be the first to receive the new software update and, according to Google, the roll out will begin sometime next week. Nexus 7 2013 will also get Marshmallow support.

As of last year, Google changed the way they are releasing new software updates. Pre-Lollipop, major updates were released to times a year: one early summer and the other one mid-fall. Now, Marshmallow had the same release schedule as Lollipop. The new incremental was announced at I/O 2015 in May, it was tested for several months, then the final code was made available yesterday, with Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P being world’s first smartphones to run Marshmallow out of the box.

When the Android 6.0 Marshmallow update for Nexus 5, Nexus 6, and Nexus 9 roll out begins, the factory image files will be uploaded to Google’s repository here. You will be able to use them to flash the update to your device and they are particularly useful if you are coming from a custom ROM or if you just want a clean installation.

If you have a history of installing factory images on your Nexus device, then flashing Marshmallow shouldn’t give you any headaches. Here’s the procedure in brief. After you download the factory image file compatible with your device make sure that you have the latest Android SDK version installed on your PC and that the Google USB drivers are working fine. Extract the .tgz archive in the ‘platform tools’ folder, put your Nexus terminal in Bootloader Mode, connect it to the PC using the USB cable, then run the ‘flash-all.bat’ script. Keep in mind that all the data on your device will be wiped during the instllation.

The Android 6.0 Marshmallow update for Nexus 5, Nexus 6, and Nexus 9 will also be offered to users as an over-the-air download. However, the roll out will be made in phases, so it could take a while until the update spreads to everyone. I remind you that when the update is ready for your device a message should appear in the notifications panel. Tap on it, choose ‘Download now’, wait until the download is completed, then hit ‘Install now.’ Your device should now automatically reboot and install the update. You can also check for the update manually under Settings > About device > System updates > Check for update.

It’s also worth mentioning that when the Android 6.0 roll out begins, the OTA ZIP files will go live and you will be able to use them to manually update your device. Unlike the factory image method, using the OTA ZIP won’t wipe the data on your device. You know the drill: after you obtained the OTA ZIP, boot your phone into Bootloader Mode, connect it to the PC via USB cable, then flash the update using the ‘adb sideload’ command in terminal.

Note that the Android 6.0 Marshmallow update for Nexus 5, Nexus 6, and Nexus 9 will only be rolled out over-the-air to the terminals running an official Android build. If you are running a custom ROM or if you have altered the OS in any way, you will have to update your device using the factory image method.

The Marshmallow update might not be as major as the jump from KitKat to Lollipop, but it brings a plethora of new features and changes. One of the biggest improvements brought by the new software update is the granular app permissions system. In Android 5.1 and lower, apps ask the users to accept all permissions at installation. Starting with Android 6.0 apps ask for permissions only when they need to access them. For example, if you are in a Hangouts chat and you want to send a photo, the app will ask to access your camera and it will remember your choice.

The new update promises improved battery life courtesy of the new Doze mode. When unused, apps enter a much deeper sleep state with limited sync and network access, so the number of wakelocks are reduced. You will still receive notifications when “high priority Google Cloud Messaging tickle” is received. When Android M was announced, Google said that a Nexus 9 with Marshmalow has two times bigger stand by time compared to a Nexus 9 on Lollipop.

One of the most interesting new features brought by Android 6.0 Marshmallow is Google Now On Tap. On Tap aims to give you contextual information about what’s currently on the screen. How does it work? I’m glad you’ve asked. Imagine you are having a Hangouts conversation with one of your friends and he proposes to book a room at a specific restaurant. If you long-pres the Home button while still in the conversation, Google Now On Tap will scan the contents of the screen and give you information about that restaurant such as directions, working hours, reservation number, reviews, and more.

The Android 6.0 Marshmallow update for Nexus 5, Nexus 6, and Nexus 9 introduces Deep Linking and native fingerprint reader support. While Deep Linking allows your device which apps to use when it comes to opening specific links, the native fingerprint reader support can be used for sign-ins within apps, aside mobile payments and lock screen security.

The new update also debuts automatic app data backup. Courtesy of this feature your game saves or app settings will be backed up to Google Drive once every 24 hours with a limit of 25 MB per app. Of course, if you want, you can opt out of automatic app data. Even though the first two Developer Preview builds had a Dark System UI mode mode, this feature didn’t make it to the final release.

In Marshmallow you will also be able to customize the Quick Settings section. You will be able to drag tiles around to change their position, to remove tiles, or add new ones. There’s also a System UI tuner from where you can hide icons in the status bar.

Android 6.0 comes with the ability to use SD cards as default storage. This feature is especially useful to the lower-end smartphones which have less than 8 GB of native storage. The update also brings an upgraded Storage Manager which gives you more sorting options for files and folders and the ability to delete them. The RAM manager also got improved now showing how much RAM each apps eats on average or the maximum amount it used.

If you aren’t a fan of the heads-up notifications system that was introduced in Lollipop, you would be glad to hear that in Marshmallow you can disable heads-up notifications on a per-app basis or system-wide. The Phone Dialer interface got tweaked now showing more icons and being easier to use, while the Contacts app allows you to select multiple contacts and share them, merge them, or delete them.

Android 6.0 Marshmallow replaces Priority / None with Do Not Disturb Mode. It also brings more features such as custom rules and the ability to choose which events or notifications get through when you are in Priority or None mode. There are also improvements to the Share Menu interface and Direct Share.

What are your expectations for the Android 6.0 Marshmallow update for Nexus 5, Nexus 6, and Nexus 9? Do you have any favorite features already? Have you tested any of the Developer Preview builds? The comments section below is all yours.

Source: Android Geeks