Intelligence, simplicity and digital wellbeing are the three pillars of the new Android 9.0 Pie operating system, for which the official update is now available for Google Pixel phones and the Essential PH-1, the first non-Pixel phone to get the update. 

Android Pie builds in hundreds of improvements, with highlights including:

Intelligence

  • Adaptive Battery: Uses machine learning to work out which apps you use and when, waking them only when they are likely to be required and in an energy-efficient manner
  • Adaptive Brightness: Takes into account personal preferences give the ambient lighting, then manages those adjustments for you in the background
  • App Actions: Builds on the App Predictions feature by also recommending the actions you are likely to take next

Android P App Actions

  • Slices: Allows part of the app UI to be brought right into the Google search results, allowing you to, for example, order a Lyft without opening the app (early access begins in June)

Android P Slices

Simplicity

  • New navigation system: A single clean home button, that you swipe up to see predicted apps, and up again to see all apps. Slide to the side to see open apps. Works in any app (see how)

Android P Navigation

  • Smart text selection in Overview (see how)
  • Simplified volume controls
  • Rotation Button: Appears on naviation bar as you turn the device

Digital Wellbeing

  • Android Dashboard: Aims to help you understand your habits and promote meaningful engagement. Shows you, for example, how many times you unlocked your phone, how many notifications you received, and how many apps you used. Also gives you controls for how and when you spend time on your phone

Android P Android Dashboard

  • App Timer: Lets you specify how long you should spend using an app, and nudges you when that time draws near
  • Slush Gesture: Turn over your phone to automatically enter Do Not Disturb mode
  • Wind Down Mode: Tell Google Assistant when you want to go to bed, and when that time draws near it will turn on Do Not Disturb and switch the screen to greyscale mode

Android OS naming history

Since the early days of Android updates have been named after sweet treats and in alphabetical order. So far we’ve seen:

  • Android Donut (v1.6)
  • Android Eclair (v2.0)
  • Android Froyo (v2.2)
  • Android Gingerbread (v2.3)
  • Android Honeycomb (v3.0)
  • Android Ice Cream Sandwich (v4.0)
  • Android Jelly Bean (v4.1)
  • Android KitKat (v4.4)
  • Android Lollipop (v5.0)
  • Android Marshmallow (v6.0)
  • Android Nougat (v7.0)
  • Android Oreo (v8.0)

In 2018 we now have Android Pie. As in a delicious sweet American pecan pie, not a chicken and mushroom mains. Sorry England.

When will I get Android Pie?

Android Pie was released to Pixel phones on 6 August 2018, and the Essential PH-1 shortly after. Other phones involved in the beta or running Android One will get the update in Q3 2018, while flagship phones from other brands are looking at a timescale between Q4 2018 and Q2 2019. Click here for advice on when your phone will get the update.

Android updates are rolled out by phone manufacturers and network operators rather than Google itself, because any Android updates must first be tweaked to work with any customisations they have made. 

There’s also no guarantee that your device will be updated to Android 9.0 (see how to update Android). Device fragmentation is still a problem for the OS, and at a recent count (by Android Developers) on 23 July there were still devices running version 2.3.3 Gingerbread.

Version Codename Distribution
2.3.3-2.3.7 Gingerbread 0.2%
4.0.3-4.0.4 Ice Cream Sandwich 0.3%
4.1.x Jelly Bean 1.2%
4.2.x Jelly Bean 1.9%
4.3 Jelly Bean 0.5%
4.4 KitKat 9.1%
5.0 Lollipop 4.2%
5.1 Lollipop 16.2%
6.0 Marshmallow 23.5%
7.0 Nougat 21.2%
7.1 Nougat 9.6%
8.0 Oreo 10.1%
8.1 Oreo 2.0%

Read next: Best Android phones available right now

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