With the release of Android 7.0 Nougat seemingly approaching, Google took time to share some of the security-related improvements that the OS is set to bring to the Android ecosystem.
These features should be ready for use by the time Google Nexus 2016 handsets are here since the devices will be powered by Android 7.0 Nougat out of the box. Here’s a quick look at what Google had to share.
Direct boot and enhanced encryption
If you encrypt your Android 7.0 Nougat phone, there won’t be any need to provide a security code when you reboot the device and then go on to wait for some time before the core apps are ready. According to Google, the core Android Nougat apps, including alarm and phone apps, will work on an encrypted phone even after rebooting the device. However, in order to use data with these core apps, you will be forced to provide a passcode.
Google also says that all new Android Nougat phones will have their encryption keys associated with the hardware, meaning stealing and reusing of devices will get even harder.
Google has stepped the Marshmallow security feature where the new Android 7.0 Nougat will scan the device for malware during the boot process and unlike the former which still proceeds with the boot process even if it finds a corrupt file, the latter will not boot the device completely. Alternatively, users can still get access to apps and services the OS deems as “safe” once the phone starts.
Better app security and prevention of abuse
With previous versions of Android, apps can easily share permissions granted to them by users with other apps. However, Google notes that Android 7.0 Nougat will put an end to this. Furthermore, apps with admin-granted permissions will not be able to restrict users from removing them from the phone or even prevent users from changing codes, PINs or passwords for locking them out of the device.
Seamless software updates
Google pushes monthly software updates to take care of security issues and bring minor improvements to newer Android-powered devices. Downloading these updates and installing them usually requires users to cease using the phone in any capacity. However, Android 7.0 Nougat is going to change this. Users will be able to download and install these updates on a separate partition on the phone such that there is no need for stopping other processes just to download and install a security update.
When the phone is rebooted, later on, the downloaded updates will easily auto-install on the device at a much faster rate than before. Apparently, this feature will only work with phones that are specifically optimized for Android Nougat. Furthermore, Google says it has also gotten rid of the app optimization process that rendered Android devices unusable for about 10 minutes following a major software update. All these time, the apps are getting ready by applying the new changes.
Android 7.0 Nougat comes with a feature known as Work mode. This is a simple briefcase-like icon that appears in the drop-down menu, which can be used to enable or disable all work-related apps installed on your phone after hours or probably when it is not their time to work. However, this feature is only available on Android Nougat for Work.