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Android N Beta (not for the feint of heart)

Discussion in 'Android Devices' started by Outatime, Mar 15, 2016.

  1. Outatime

    Outatime Android Expert
    Thread Starter

    Hello Nexus 6 users...

    PLEASE NOTE: This is a BETA version of N. If you cannot tolerate bugs, crashes and unexpected nasties, DO NOT install this software. I would also say if you're not confident in how to undo this procedure, DO NOT DO IT.

    If you want to have a go at Android N beta, Google has made it pretty easy.

    Visit this website:


    Log in. Opt in. Click your device. A few moments later you'll have a system update notification on your device.

    Edit: Yes, I know I misspelled "faint." LOL

    #1 Outatime, Mar 15, 2016
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2016
  2. Outatime

    Outatime Android Expert
    Thread Starter

    I'll try to give you guys some observations on this as I go.

    The download is pretty hefty at 850 MB. I DL'd it on my WiFi at home and it still took nearly 20 minutes so I'm guessing their server was getting pinged pretty good.

    Now, as expected, I did lose root which is not the end of the world for me. My bootloader remained unlocked. I also lost my TWRP custom recovery. Again, not exactly unexpected but just be aware what will happen should you choose to do this.

    Now, please keep in mind I'm usually a minimalist when it comes to apps. The Google suite of stuff is normally 90% of what I use. With that said, in the hour or so I've been playing with this, I've not had one hiccup. It's perfectly smooth and solid. The new notification in the drop down is slick and very clean. You can reply to a text right there and never open the app. I have not taken a phone call yet.

    You can also customize the drop down menu. That is pretty cool too but if you're used to custom ROMs this will be nothing new. Just baked in from the factory now.

    It's also communicating with my Moto 360 MKII just fine.

    I've not used it long enough to have an opinion on battery just yet.

    I'm definitely not going to rush to reflash MM. If my experience doesn't deteriorate I'll be sticking around.

    If I have any new developments I'll let you know...
    Jfalls63 and electricpete like this.
  3. Outatime

    Outatime Android Expert
    Thread Starter

    Ok, closing in on 24 hours and I'm still pretty happy with the performance. I did have one crashy lag-fest though... when I was playing with the split screen. It worked fine, but after I disabled it the phone seemed to have a problem going back to "normal" mode. Like pop up windows appear as a "strip" where you can't push any buttons. Everything was lagging, to the point I thought it was going to crash. But a reboot solved that. While that is neat I don't see myself using it all that often.

    I do have one major complaint. It STILL locks "Do not disturb" mode with your smart watch like MM did. I really cannot fathom how the folks at Google/Android thought that it would be a good idea to have a phone mute and your watch mute locked together. So, I cannot have my watch notify me of texts and emails with the phone being silent. They're either both on or both off. I got spoiled using a custom ROM and forgot this was still a thing.

    I know it's still early to make a call on battery life. I will say that just my sense impression so far is that it's not horrible, but not great either. Let's just say "room for improvement." The release notes did say that was something they were looking to improve upon in future releases.
    kct1975 and electricpete like this.
  4. jj14x

    jj14x Android Expert

    Thanks for the review! Just a couple of things that I'd like to add

    • The reason the OTA download is so large is because it is really a factory image, packaged up as an OTA. In other words, it is not just the incremental updates (like OTA usually is), but actually has all the partition images (except userdata image, so data should not get wiped).
    • Supposedly, root is working - http://forum.xda-developers.com/apps/supersu/wip-android-n-preview-t3335726 - I haven't tried it yet, so can't confirm.
    • If users install this N Preview, and want to go back to stable Marshmallow release, they can un-enroll their devices at the same link, and Google will send an OTA to restore back to latest Marshmallow release for that device - but this OTA will wipe all user data.
    kct1975, Outatime and electricpete like this.
  5. Outatime

    Outatime Android Expert
    Thread Starter

    Thanks for the info JJ!

    I don't have much new to report. I did find out that mobile hotspot does not work. There is a fix on XDA but I'll just wait for an update. I can still turn the hotspsot on my tablet on so it's not a big deal.

    Google Messenger really lagged this morning the first time I used it. Maybe it was coming out of doze mode? It did clear up though and is fine now.

    I fiddled with the night mode and the on/off seems buggy. I had to switch it on/off/on to get it to turn on and off/on/off to get it to turn back off. Again, neat, but I don't know if I'd use it all that much.

    Last night I installed Nova Launcher Pro which seems to work just fine. I haven't had any problems with it at all. I also added Verizon Messenger which so far is working without any problems.

    My battery life isn't bad. Over the course of the day I'm getting ~4 hours of screen on time which is totally acceptable.
    Oh, this isn't so much an N observation but an Android Wear thing. I had forgotten that there's a setting in Wear to silence the phone notifications if the watch is connected. This is an acceptable work around to get my watch to still notify me during work hours and keeping my phone quiet. It's better than the "use a silent WAV" thing I was doing before.

    If anything new comes up I'll let you know.
    kct1975 and electricpete like this.
  6. Outatime

    Outatime Android Expert
    Thread Starter

    The first thing in the morning lag thing happened again this morning. I wonder if it's the new doze thing, then it wakes up and is refreshing everything. It clears up in 20 or 30 seconds though.

    I've noticed a lot of people on XDA having like, cataclysmic problems with N that I'm not having. It has to be apps they're using that I'm not. From my perspective there is no reason this can't be a daily driver. I like it.

    My added apps include:

    Android Wear
    Moto Connect
    ES File Explorer Pro
    LIFX (my light controller)
    Verizon Message+
    Google Rewards
    Street View
    Watchmaker Pro
    WeatherBug (the old paid no-ad version)
    Warcraft Armory

    The only error message I get is on Warcraft Armory but once the message goes away the program works fine.
    jj14x likes this.
  7. jj14x

    jj14x Android Expert

    Thank you for your updates :) I assume you've already reported these issues to Google?
    I haven't installed N yet - will wait for it to be a little more stable/mature. Need my N6 to be reliable (daily driver) :)
    Outatime likes this.
  8. Jfalls63

    Jfalls63 Android Expert

    I did a factory reset after install and only issues I've had is System UI tuner won't open and Yahoo mail app can't connect. Everything else seems fine.
  9. johnlgalt

    johnlgalt Antidisestablishmentarian

    I have a few apps that will not open at all, but on the flip side, using SuperSU RC 2.70, I got rid of the encryption, and this phone is blazingly fast.

    Features like the Night Mode with automatic enabling, the system side loading panel, even the dark them accessible via night mode (excluding the so dear, unfortunately) make this a keeper already. Can't edit to see what happens next.
    #9 johnlgalt, Mar 19, 2016
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2016
    electricpete likes this.
  10. Outatime

    Outatime Android Expert
    Thread Starter

    Did you root after taking the OTA? I was thinking about re-rooting but wasn't sure of the best way. Although Wug's might be updated by now.

    Actually the thing I miss the most is TWRP.
  11. johnlgalt

    johnlgalt Antidisestablishmentarian

    I initially took the OTA, but encryption was enabled, so I flashed the full system package using a utility developed by a friend and hosted at DroidRZR called House of Nexus to flash the full package, which went flawlessly. I then live booted TWRP through fastboot in order to flash the SuperSU package, rebooted, booted back to fastboot, wiped user-data, rebooted, then live booted TWRP again to re flash SuperSU, as wiping user-data got rid of it.

    With Systemless root, /system doesn't get modified. But, on wiping user-data, you lose root.
    electricpete and Outatime like this.
  12. johnlgalt

    johnlgalt Antidisestablishmentarian

    I have been told that you are not supposed to be losing root when formatting user-data, so I am testing to see if that is a flaw in the current RC or if it was just a fluke on my device.
  13. johnlgalt

    johnlgalt Antidisestablishmentarian

    OK, verified. The patching of the kernel to allow removal of encryption is intentional. And formatting userdata does remove root, but the kernel tensions patched.
    Crashdamage and electricpete like this.
  14. Outatime

    Outatime Android Expert
    Thread Starter

    Well I got the idea that I was going to try and root. I plugged it in. Connected to Wug's. Everything worked perfectly... but when it's done and it tells you to open Superuser and update the binaries, SU says root failed, the binaries are missing and to redo the procedure. I redid it. Same result. So I gave up.

    The odd thing is you know how it temporarily boots into TWRP to push the root? It does that. But when it's done and I manually reboot into recovery, TWRP is gone.

    electricpete likes this.
  15. electricpete

    electricpete Android Expert

    I'm tempted to join you guys in flashing N for fun/curiosity. But I don't think I want to give up all the customizations I've done (double tap to wake, xposed, gravity box). So I guess I'll live vicariously through you guys until summertime. Thanks for your posts.... N sounds pretty good.

    You mentioned night mode... if I activate that mode will I have a dark theme in google chrome? (I spend a lot of time browsing in google chrome and it uses a lot less battery if I invert the screen colors.... which turns most websites black with white text but messes up things like photos embedded on the page).
    Outatime likes this.
  16. johnlgalt

    johnlgalt Antidisestablishmentarian

    TWRP is not installed, it is live booted for that one session.

    I rooted manually by using TWRP live boot to flash the N preview systemless root from Chainfire. Requires an unlocked bootloader, but if you saw TWRP, then you are good in that respect. But if Wug's is letting TWRP install the built in SuperSU, that may be why it did not work.

    Grab the systemless root .ZIP and manually flash it.

    Yeah, it us a Beta OS, so you need to be ready for bugs, bugs, and more bugs.

    As for dark chrome, not yet, only the shop drawer goes dark, but the entire system is pretty good, with color calibration strings that are already banned in. For a first attempt, it really is a shining spot in the N Preview.
    Outatime and electricpete like this.
  17. Outatime

    Outatime Android Expert
    Thread Starter

    I'm still running it. I still haven't had anything earth shattering in the way of bugs. Occasional Chrome lags when it first loads. It happens pretty rarely. Once every couple of days. The biggest thing I think I miss is the notification light from being rooted. LOL. I've got the feeling there will be an update to it too.
    electricpete likes this.
  18. electricpete

    electricpete Android Expert

    This thread made me feel a little behind the times. Then I read this....us guys on Android M marshmallow are still among the first 5%.

    You guys running Android N must be among the first 0.001%
    #18 electricpete, Apr 8, 2016
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2016
    johnlgalt, shalemail and Outatime like this.
  19. Outatime

    Outatime Android Expert
    Thread Starter

    There was a new patch released for N today and I got it OTA. Nothing earth shattering, feature wise but it is noticeably faster. Not that it was a slug before... but the initial access to web pages comes right up instead of a one second stutter. The OS seems a bit more fluid, which would make sense with the updated graphics stuff this has. I know this is VERY early to make a battery call (I've only had it for about three hours) but I've used it pretty heavily and the battery seems to not be going down that much. Please take that observation with a grain of salt.

    If you were on the fence before maybe check around and see if anyone else is having any issues... but I'm saying this is getting more like a ready for prime time OS.
    electricpete and Jfalls63 like this.
  20. Outatime

    Outatime Android Expert
    Thread Starter

    My first impressions on battery life were wrong. It's been pretty bad over the last week I've been using it. Other than that I don't have many complaints.
    jj14x and electricpete like this.
  21. jwbeeler

    jwbeeler Android Enthusiast

    Has anybody else braved the beta?
  22. Outatime

    Outatime Android Expert
    Thread Starter

    It really seems to be subjective depending upon what apps you use. I luck out and don't seem to use any of the ones that are known issues. The only errors I get are when I use Message+ to take a picture with the camera, it comes out all lines. When I launch the World of Warcraft Armory program I get a library error but it runs fine after that. Now, my SoT has been 3-4 hours which isn't really all that bad but I'm spoiled, I'm used to 6+.
    electricpete likes this.
  23. jj14x

    jj14x Android Expert

    I installed the preview 3 today - so far, so good. I did notice that the phone is a little warmer than normal (when in use). One issue is that WiFi calling (on T-Mo) doesn't seem to be working.

    Other than that, everything seems to be good! Apps are working as usual. I do like the new layout of the settings section.
    electricpete and Outatime like this.
  24. jj14x

    jj14x Android Expert

    Update: less than 24 hours (and a cache partition wipe) later, and WiFi calling is working now. Skype is the only app that's giving me grief, but looks like that's a known issue. Happy so far
    electricpete likes this.
  25. jwbeeler

    jwbeeler Android Enthusiast

    If I opt into the program, can I still unlock the bootloader and reflash on my own back to the factory image (Marshmallow)? I don't mind losing user data as I've got everything backed up to Google anyway.

    OK...I'm in the process of downloading. Any Easter eggs?
    #25 jwbeeler, May 23, 2016
    Last edited: May 23, 2016

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The Nexus 6 release date was November 2014. Features and Specs include a 5.96" inch screen, 13MP camera, 3GB RAM, Snapdragon 805 processor, and 3220mAh battery.

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