Android 5.1 is Coming and These are its Best New Features

By Darren Orf on at

For all you Lollipop-ers out there, Android just began pushing out its first major update to its Material Design-dressed OS, and unlike some updates that are usually just for "stability and performance," Android 5.1 actually comes with some stuff you're definitely going to want to know about.

Welcome back, Silent Mode

For all its wonderful additions and design upgrades, Google actually made Android more annoying in one specific case—they took away silent mode. This meant you could no longer just get LED notifications without your phone buzzing or making some audible sound. C'mon, Google. That's bush league. Luckily, they're righting the ship with 5.1 and bringing back the much-loved feature. Now you can ignore your friends and family in peace!

Death to Crappy Wifi!

There's a public wifi signal that permeates the walls of my apartment and makes connecting to the internet a nightmare. Every time friends come over they think they have a signal, only to realise that nope. Nada. Zilch. But! Android 5.1 fixes the problem. Now, when you connect to one of these ne'er- do-well networks, your phone will remember this bum connection like the terrible nightmare that it is and won't auto-connect to that network in the future. It's a little feature, but a great one—and one that I want in every single smart device I own.

Practice Safe Browsing

In addition to making sure you never get an unwanted wifi network, Google may also be working on a VPN service so you can browse networks more securely. This is still in rumour-y territory, but Pocketables discovered a new app tucked away in the All Apps folder called "Google Connection Services." After popping it open, the app greeted them with "To help protect you on open Wi-Fi networks, your data will be transmitted securely through a Google VPN." Considering this was discovered on a Nexus 6, supposedly the only device (at first) that will be compatible with Google's upcoming wireless service, it's possible that Google is waiting for service that to roll out first. Either way, super neat feature!

Practice Safe Smartphone-ing

Google is also upping its anti-theft game, at least for Nexus 6 and 9. According to Android Police, a new anti-theft feature would make it difficult for a would-be thief to a.) replace your account as a primary account b.) add any accounts of their own, and c.) access the phone if they wipe the phone and try to login with their own creds. However, right now the rollout seems pretty restricted. Hopefully, Google will grace more smartphones with this feature in the future. Or at the very least, legacy Nexus devices.

Notifications Are Now Even Smarter

Android 5.0 let you silence most, if not all, your notifications set for certain down times. Now, Google smartly implemented an "until next alarm" option, so now you'll be able to keep people from disturbing you once you sent an alarm and you wake up or do whatever. This is a good thing. This will help me keep friendships.