Android Nougat, the latest iteration of the world’s most popular mobile operating system, was released last August with a lot of new exciting features that promise to enhance the way you interact with your smartphone.
However, if you don’t have a modern Nexus device, it’s hard to say when you would receive the upgrade if at all, but that doesn’t mean you cannot get some of Nougat’s best features on your device running Marshmallow or earlier.
There’s no super hack that can port all of the new features to your older Android device. Nonetheless, we will uncover a few ways to imitate the most interesting Android 7 features on your device for both rooted and and non-rooted devices.
Use a custom launcher to get native look and feel
Installing a custom launcher is one of the easiest ways to get the Nougat look and feel on your smartphone, especially if you have an older device sporting Jelly Bean or Kitkat.
In that case, Nougat Launcher, based on the official 7.0 launcher, is the one you should try. It offers a clean, fluid experience that can be customised to your tastes using themes, icon packs and gestures.
Another option to try is Pixel Launcher that was released with the new Google Pixel devices announced on October 4, 2016.
If you’re running stock Lollipop or Marshmallow, there are not too many UI changes in Nougat that represent an overhaul in look and feel on both releases, so you may not notice too much of a difference. Still, feel free to try either launcher to see how they compare to the default Google Now launcher.
While you are at it, grab the official Android 7 wallpaper for your homescreen.
Nougat Style Theme
If you don’t want to install a whole new launcher, you can simply apply Nougat Style theme to your current launcher. This app does not require root. Instead, it requires Cyanogenmod, as it is a CM theme. When installed, everything down to the design, notification system, and even the boot animation looks like Android Nougat.
Nougat Style Theme’s strength is that it takes full advantage of the freedom that Cyanongenmod’s theme engine provides. As a result, apps can add features that are found in Android 7.0. For example, with this simple theme users will be able to enjoy the new Nougat notifications, quick reply and notification bar. Those without Nougat, but who are able to install Cyanogenmod, should jump on this immediately.
Get Nougat’s redesigned notifications and status bar using Android N-ify [Root Only]
If you have a rooted device, you can get a host of Android 7.0 tweaks using this Xposed module which provides the following features and improvements:
- Double-tap the multitasking button to switch to last app
- Redesigned Notifications
- Settings dashboard summaries
- Many other tweaks
To use Android N-ify, you need to be running Android 5.0 or later and have a custom recovery, such as TWRP, installed on your device.
I do not guarantee that this will work on your device, so try it at your own risk.
Before you can install N-ify, you need to install the Xposed framework first. It is not available on Google Play, so you’ll need to head over to this XDA Thread to grab the files needed.
Before you begin, find out the architecture of your device’s processor, which could be “ARMv7,” “ARM64” or “x86.” You can install CPU Z for free to uncover this information.
1. Follow this link to download the zip file. Sdk21 is for Android 5.0 (Lollipop), Sdk22 is for Android 5.1 (also Lollipop), while Sdk23 is for Android 6.0 (Marshmallow), so choose the appropriate version for your device.
2. Next, you need to choose the correct processor architecture. My device, an HTC One M8, runs Android Marshmallow and sports an “ARMv7” processor, so I chose “sdk23” and “arm.”
3. Download the last version of the framework which, at the time of writing, is “xposed-v86-sdk23-arm.zip.”
4. Boot into your custom recovery, flash the zip file and reboot once it’s done.
5. Finally, grab the XposedInstaller_3.1.apk from the XDA thread and install normally. You may have to reboot your device to activate the framework.
Install Android N-ify
1. Launch the Xposed installer from your app drawer and navigate to the “Download” section.
2. Search for “Android N-ify,” tap on it, switch to the versions tab and tap the “Install” button.
3. Once installed, go back to the Xposed home screen and tap on “Modules” to activate it.
4. Reboot your device.
Once your device restarts, it’ll receive new Android N features for you to play around with. You can then launch the Android N-ify app in your app drawer to customise the settings.
Android Nougat offers a native night mode functionality which helps to reduce eye strain at night by adjusting the screen’s temperature to one suited for dark or low-light conditions. Here are a few third-party apps that can help you imitate this feature on your device right away without waiting for the upgrade:
N Dialer+Calci is an app that packs in a new Android 7.0 inspired dialer and calculator. It borrows from the style and design of Google “Nexus dialer” for the phone dialing app part, and the Android material design calculator for the calculator part. N Dialer+Calci is one singular application with two different functions. This might be tedious for some.
However, if what you want is to make your older version of Android look and act more like Nougat, N Dialer+Calci is a great app to use. Check it out, and install it from the Google Play Store.
Without too much effort, you can start enjoying some of Nougat’s features on your device while you’re still waiting for the upgrade. If your phone is definitely not getting the upgrade, you might want to consider flashing a custom ROM onto your device to enjoy all the Android 7.0 goodies.
Let us know your favourite Nougat features and tweaks to port to older devices in the comments section below.