Update: Google’s Android Nougat update is being used on 5% of active devices as of April, and the five-month-old software is in the offing for other handsets. Here’s the latest list.
There’s a good chance your phone – whether it’s a Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge, Huawei P9 or Honor 8 – already has the latest Android Nougat software update, or it’s coming in the next few weeks.
But it’s often extra confusing because the Android Nougat release date for some phones doesn’t always reflect what you see in your software update menu.
In the US, individual carriers like ATT, Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile have to sign off on each update, so it can take additional weeks (sometimes months) to get that coveted Android updated.
That’s why we’re break down the phones that have Android 7.0 Nougat, Android 7.1 and the brand new Android 7.1.2 update. Here’s everything we know.
Android Nougat is Google’s big refresh of its phone and tablet operating system – an OS that’s been so thoroughly refined that the company is now more than halfway through the alphabet with names, at letter 14 of 26.
It won’t stop at Android 7.0, either. Android 7.1 launched on Nexus devices in October and Android 7.1.1 came to Google phones and tablets on December 5.
Cut to the chase
- What is it? The next version of Google’s mobile OS
- When is it out? Right now, but you’ll need to wait for some devices
- When will I get it? It’s rolling out slowly, dependent on your phone and tablet maker
- What will it cost? Free
Check out our video walkthrough of Android Nougat
Android Nougat release date
Android Nougat is out right now, but when you’ll get the upgrade is going to depend on your device. The release date is rather staggered.
Good news, it’s pre-loaded on the new Google Pixel and Google Pixel XL and it’s available to download on Google-made devices like the Nexus 6P, Nexus 5X, Nexus 6, Nexus 9, Google Pixel C, and the Nexus Player. No waiting required.
You’re getting Android 7.1.2 Nougat on all of these devices, except for the Nexus 6. An error caused Google to roll it back from Android 7.1.1 to Android 7.0.
Sadly, if you have a , you’re going to miss out on the Android Nougat upgrade altogether. It misses Google’s two-year cut off by a year. But it’ll still get another year of Google’s all-important security patches.
Samsung, LG, HTC and other phone makers, meanwhile, have to rework their own version of the software and push it out to users, and that can take months.
This hasn’t stopped Google from moving on to the Google Daydream VR-ready Android 7.1 and even Android 7.1.1 and 7.1.2, which it started rolling out to the Nexus and Pixel devices on December 5.
Samsung phones with Android Nougat
Android Nougat is now available for the Samsung Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge, and we don’t mean that the phones are running that rinky-dink beta Samsung had launched last November. The real update is here in full.
Of course, if you’re have a Samsung Galaxy S7 locked to Verizon, you’re going to have to wait a little longer for them to sign-off of the update.
T-Mobile was the first US carrier to officially launch Android 7.0 Nougat on the S7 and S7 Edge, followed a bit later by ATT and Sprint.
For unlocked phones, Android 7.0 Nougat is now available for the Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge, and it’ll soon come to older phones and tablets, too.
All of these software updates prepare us for what Samsung really in store: the Samsung Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8 Plus release date at the end of April.
LG phones with Android Nougat
LG technically launched the first Android Nougat phone back in September with the . But that was a “world’s first” title only South Koreans benefited from initially. The dual-lens camera phone didn’t launch in the US until October 28, and it’s not even coming to the UK.
Thinking of upgrading to the LG G6? Well, everyone, right away, can get in on the Android Nougat action that way. It just launched with the Android 7.0, the AI helper Google Assistant and a killer 18:9 screen in a slim body.
LG G5 owners yearning for the same Android Nougat update need to check the Software Update menu right now. It’s available for all G5 phones.
It’s available in the UK on SIM-free LG G5 phones, and in the US on Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile. ATT’s better-late-than-never LG G5 Android Nougat update started rolling out in late February.
The LG V10 and LG G4 are now confirmed to receive Android Nougat, but it’s low-priority for these 2015 phones. They’re not expected to see the update until mid-to-late 2017.
Sony Xperia phones with Android Nougat
The can taste-test Android 7.1.1 right now, making it the first non-Google phone to get this particular update. It requires installing the Sony Concept app that’s being using to re-build Sony’s Android operating system.
But you won’t find it on the Xperia Z3. It’s an odd twist, for sure. While we were surprised to see Sony weigh into the Android Nougat developer with the Z3, it didn’t follow through with the full Nougat upgrade for this phone.
HTC phones with Android Nougat
If you’ve bought an HTC phone launched in the past year or two, you may have access to Android Nougat soon enough. If you just bought the HTC U Ultra, you have it right now on your massive 5.7-inch phone.
It’s already rolling out to unlocked HTC 10, and HTC One M9 handsets in the US and UK, and while the update was delayed in the rest of Europe, everyone there should have it now, too.
Motorola phones with Android Nougat
Motorola has now confirmed which phones it will upgrade to Android 7, and its list of phones is rather long.
Its X-series phones – like the Moto X Style, Moto X Play and Moto X Force – are due to get the update in May after a delay.
That’s software Google hasn’t even announced yet, and there’s no guarantee Android 8 will be named after the letter O. It is, however, a good first sign.
Huawei phones with Android Nougat
So far only the Huawei has gotten Android 7 software upgrade, while the newly launched Huawei Mate 10 comes it onboard straight away.
Huawei has announced it will be releasing Nougat updated for the and by the end of March 2017.
But you might not even have to wait that long, as Android Soul reports that Nougat has now arrived for both the P9 and Mate 8 in China. Of course, that won’t help most of you, but it suggests the update could be hitting the rest of the world soon.
There’s no word on whether the or will be getting the upgrade to EMUI 5.0 (which comes with Android 7 features). It looks like both of those phones are set to be left behind, despite being quite recent devices.
Honor phones with Android Nougat
The Honor 8 now has the Android Nougat update, making it the first (and so far only) Honor handset to get the operating system upgrade.
That’s really good news because we liked this unlocked Android phone, so it’s a win-win if you picked up the Honor 8 and want the latest and greatest software.
It also comes with the newly improved Emotion UI 5.0 overlay we have been able to experience on the Huawei Mate 9.
We’ll see a second Honor phone get the update soon: the newly launched Honor 6X runs Android Marshmallow, but Honor is already beta testing Android Nougat on the phone. We’ll keep you posted on further developments.
OnePlus 3 with Android Nougat
The new OnePlus 3T launched with Android Marshmallow, and now, it is also being fed the Nougat update.
Even better, both the OnePlus 3 and OnePlus 3T have access a to an all-new Android Nougat update. You can test out Nougat 7.1.1 on the phone now.
What about older OnePlus phones? We expect to see Android Nougat come to OnePlus 2, but it makes sense that OnePlus would prioritize its latest phones.
Just don’t wait around for a software upgrade to the old OnePlus One and OnePlus X. OnePlus One is more than two years old now and is likely beyond the company’s update threshold. OnePlus X uses an older Snapdragon 801 chip and also has a slim chance of seeing the update.
ZTE Axon 7 with Android Nougat
We liked the ZTE Axon 7 because it’s looks and plays like a high-end phone with a mid-range price. Now for the true test: how quickly will it get Android updates?
Best of all, Android 7.0 Nougat on ZTE Axon 7 gets owners of this unlocked phone a way to step into virtual reality with Daydream VR compatibility.
Axon 7 was the first Android Nougat phone to be “Daydream-ready,” and while phones like the Google Pixel and Moto Z launched with the VR software first, ZTE has made good on its promise.
The updates are going to keep on coming, too. Look for Android 7.1.1 to roll out to the ZTE Axon 7 with Daydream optimizations, T-Mobile Wi-Fi calling support and new emojis.
Few non-Google phones have this particular Android Nougat update, so this is a win for the unlocked ZTE Axon 7.
Nextbit Robin with Android Nougat
Android Nougat features list: VR
We’ve tested out a bunch of existing Android Nougat features below, but there’s one exciting new tool that isn’t part of the regular Android 7.0 update: Google Daydream.
A buried menu for VR helper services in the Android N Developer Preview 4, and an equally buried release note for “Android VR” in Unreal Engine 4.12 beta, hinted at a big push for a Google Cardboard successor – sure enough, Google confirmed its VR intentions during IO.
The Play Store, StreetView, Photos, YouTube and Play Movies will all support VR, allowing you to jump into games, locations and videos, all via Google’s Daydream VR platform. Google Daydream View is expected to launch in November, but will require even further updated Android Nougat software.
Google Daydream is part of the Android 7.1 maintenance update for Android Nougat, and it’s only compatible with the Google Pixel and Google Pixel XL, though other phones like ZTE Axon 7 (the first, non-Pixel Google Daydream phone) will eventually work with the headset and are available to buy right now.
True multitasking support has finally arrived as expected, and Split Screen is deservedly the highlight of Android Nougat on phones and tablets. You’re going to be able to open up two apps at once on your Nexus phone or tablet.
It’s a popular feature that Samsung and LG phones have incorporated into their Android skins years ago, so it’s nice (and about time) Google is including the same functionality in its own software. It’s easy to launch too – just long press on the recent (multi-tasking) button in the nav bar.
Multi-window support could increase enterprise interest in Android tablets and the Pixel C. It’s a bet that Apple recently made when it launched similar split-screen and picture-in-picture features for iOS 9.
Meanwhile Android TV gets picture-in-picture mode, allowing you to continue watching your show in a smaller screen while performing another task.
There’s also a Clear All button at the top of the multi-tasking menu on your phone to make it simple to close all your apps. Then there’s a new feature called Quick Switch, which lets you jump back to the previous application with a double tap of the recent (multi-tasking) button in the navigation bar.
Direct Reply Notifications
You won’t have to navigate away from your current window (or, now, windows) just to answer an incoming message. You can just reply within the notification that appears at the top of the screen.
It worked well enough for the iPhone and iPad when the same idea made its debut with iOS 8 under the name Quick Reply. But Apple’s approach to messages worked strictly with its iMessage app.
Google is opening up Direct Reply Notifications beyond Hangouts, and that could mean popular apps like WhatsApp could take advantage of this convenient inline messaging feature.
New quick settings menu
Google is adding a new quick settings menu to the notifications shade you pull down from the top. It’s a lot like the one Samsung, LG and every other Android manufacturer seems to use.
Sure, Google stock Android software has had switches for Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Airplane mode and so forth, but it required pulling the notifications bar down a second time to reveal the quick settings menu.
Now the quick settings toggles are here as soon as you gesture downward once to see notifications. The best news is that all of the buttons are small and unobstructive, leaving plenty of room for notifications.
Longtime Nexus users will also be happy to hear that the quick settings switches can be sorted to your liking, much like they can on other Android phones – you won’t need the System UI Tuner to meddle.
For example, we often use MiFi more than Airplane Mode, so Mobile Hotspot icon gets promoted to be one of the five icons along the top of the initial quick settings on our Nexus 6P.
That little airplane icon is still there for our takeoff and landing needs, but it got the bump to the second swipe menu. Sorting is finally up to you, which is really what Android is all about.
Google hasn’t done with the way Android N changes notifications. It also announced that notification cards will be grouped together if they’re from the same app.
All messages from a specific messaging app, for example, are bundled together in the notification shade. These grouped alerts can then be expanded into individual notifications using a two-finger gesture or tapping the all-new expansion button.
This is basically the opposite of what Apple did in the jump from iOS 8 to iOS 9, switching from grouping them by app to lining them up chronologically. We’ll see which method works best this autumn.
There’s more control over your notifications in Android Nougat too, as you can now long-press on a notification to either silence future notifications, or turn them off completely.
Doze Mode 2.0
One of the (literal) sleeper hits of Android Marshmallow has been Doze Mode, Google’s crafty way of saving battery life whenever your device is stationary. It’s basically a deep standby mode.
Android Nougat is going to step up the company’s energy-saving software efforts by expanding Doze Mode so that it thoroughly limits background tasks whenever the screen is turned off.
That’s ideal for throwing a phone in your pocket or your tablet in a backpack, and then retrieving it the next day or next week without having to recharge it right away. Your “I can’t even” face when you pick up your dead Nexus phone the next morning could be a thing of the past.
Android Nougat performance
Google says Android Nougat will deliver its biggest leap forward in graphics performance with the introduction of Vulkan, giving game developers much-needed control of the GPU.
That in turn will result in even better graphics and smoother, faster performance.
If you’ve downloaded apps from other sources that aren’t the Google Play Store, you’ll now be able to identify where the app came from by going into your Settings, App Info and then Package Installer.
There have also been a number of Android runtime improvements, including optimizations to the JIT compiler, which has seen task speeds increase between 30% and 600% compared to the previous version.
Updates are also more seamless, with security updates automatically downloaded, and a simple fresh boot-up of your device will see you run the latest offering. It’s also got rid of that annoying ‘Android is updating’ pop up when you restart after an update.
Google Assistant launched with Android 7 on the Pixel and Pixel XL phones. It’s a new voice activated Assistant which replaces Google Now.
Previously you couldn’t input information into Google Assistant without speaking to your phone, but a new APK breakdown has suggested Google will soon update the Pixel and Pixel XL so you can just write into Assistant directly.
It means you’ll be able to use all the useful features of Google Assistant without having to embarrassingly talk to your phone.
Google has confirmed the new ‘Launcher Shortcuts’ feature that debuted in the second beta for Android Nougat is ready for pressure-sensitive display technology.
This will make it easier for Android manufacturers to bring 3D Touch-like technology to Android handsets, as it’s baked directly into the operating system.
Then there are extra security features, such as file-based encryption and Direct boot, which help your device start up faster while running your apps securely.
Last, and by no means least, Android Nougat bring support for Unicode 9, which among other things, will bring with it the introduction of 72 new emoji.