Android Lollipop 5.0 was supposed to change everything. It was supposed to inspire a revolution, a better -- and betterlooking -- Android. Instead it was a little disappointing, starting with a slow rollout, and followed by a motley parade of bugs.
At least now there's Android 5.1, and it’s so much better -- at least, according to the lucky few users who have it on their devices. Google fixed a ton of bugs, and it also pushed through a few new helpful features that should have been bundled with Lollipop from the start. Here are five best new features of Lollipop 5.1.
Better WiFi and Bluetooth controls
When Lollipop first arrived on the scene, the Quick Settings in the Notifications shade were limited. You had to tap to navigate away to the Settings panel to get anything done, even if you simply wanted to switch Wi-Fi networks.
But with Android 5.1, you can now choose a wireless network or Bluetooth profile right from within the drop-down panel. All you have to do is tap an arrow to expand the listing.
Better Sound profiles
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve overslept because of Lollipop’s ridiculously limited sound profiles. Android 5.1 now lets you set your phone to silent -- or the "None" setting -- until your next alarm, so you don’t have to worry about missing a meeting the next morning. The only caveat is that the alarm has to be set for no more than 12 hours ahead of time, otherwise Lollipop won’t offer the option.
Better device protection
Phone theft is still a rampant issue, so Android 5.1 has a few new device protection features. The most powerful of the bunch prevents a thief from factory-resetting the phone without the password for the Google profile used previously on the device.
Note that this feature is available only on the Nexus 6, Nexus 9, and new Android 5.1 devices.
Notifications can be flicked away
Lollipop’s little drop-down Notifications are nice at times, but the options to dismiss them were limiting. You could either wait until it disappeared, tap on it to launch the app, or swipe it away and dismiss it entirely. Now you can flick it up to shoo the notification back to the Notification drawer without dismissing it entirely. It’s a minor touch, but it makes managing your notifications much easier.
No more crappy Wi-Fi connections
This is our favorite new feature of Android 5.1: if your device connects to a Wi-Fi network with poor or no Internet access, it'll remember that and never connect to it again. This is great if you’re traveling or you’re trying to leech off of free Wi-Fi connections.