Android 5.1 Lollipop: 15 new reasons to update

AndroidPIT Nexus 5 android 5 1 lollipop teaser
© NextPit

OK, so Android 5.1 Lollipop has brought dual-SIM support, HD voice for supported devices and Device Protection (but just for the Nexus 6 and Nexus 9), but what else are you likely to see? Considering the official changelog isn't exactly visual-heavy, you might be surprised at some of the more subtle changes in Android 5.1. Here are 15 reasons to upgrade to Android 5.1 Lollipop.

AndroidPIT Nexus 5 android 5 1 lollipop teaser
Android 5.1 knocking the Nexus 5's socks off. / © ANDROIDPIT

1. Notifications can be dismissed to the status bar

With Android 5.1, when a heads up notification comes in while you're looking at the screen, you can now swipe it up to dismiss it but still keep it in the status bar and notifications shade. This may seem like a little change, but it's a godsend for gamers. Unfortunately the notifications ticker is still in limbo though. However, there is a new icon for when no SIM card is inserted. Cos, you know, that happens a lot.

Link to Video

2. Memory leak seems to be gone

It's still early days yet, but attempts to test the notorious memory leak problem on the Nexus 5 on Android 5.0.1 seems to have been dealt with. We'll hold our breath a little bit longer for the confirmation, but for now, it looks like the memory leak has been patched.

AndroidPIT Nexus 5 Android 5 0 and 5 1 comparison lock screen
Android 5.1 on the left, Android 5.0 on the right: no more lock icon circle, and the bounce animation from the Android L developer preview. / © ANDROIDPIT

3. Lock screen changes

On Android 5.1 when you press on the lock screen without swiping, you'll get a little bounce action that reminds you it's a swipeable screen. This was preview in Android L but didn't seem to make it to Android 5.0.

4. Google Play Store animations

If you had the Play Store updated to the latest version (v5.3.5) before updating to Android 5.1, you will notice a bunch of nice little animations when switching between Play Store categories or entries. Basically anything you do in the Play Store will now look a lot nicer.

AndroidPIT Nexus 5 Android 5 0 and 5 1 comparison quick settings
You can see the little down arrows next to Wi-Fi and Bluetooth in Android 5.1 (left). / © ANDROIDPIT

5. Quick Settings sub-menus and toggles

You can now bring up a drop-down menu within Quick Settings for Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connections (rather than being taken to the relative Settings sub-menu). Also, if either of these settings is turned off, when you tap the down arrow for the mini-menu, it will be automatically turned on. Very simple, very nice. We like.

AndroidPIT Nexus 5 Android 5 1 lquick settings wifi bluetooth
Android 5.1 now has Quick Settings mini-menus for Wi-Fi and Bluetooth (Android 5.0 took you to the full settings menu). / © ANDROIDPIT

You can also remove Quick Settings toggles simply by long-pressing them (these toggles appear in Quick Settings once activated in the Settings menu, like color inversion and Wi-Fi hotspot). Again, small details, but small details add up to the nicest version of Android Lollipop yet.

6. LED works in all sound modes

The LED light now works in all sound modes, including ''silent'' mode. Sadly, the standard mute mode (accessed previously by hitting volume down all the way) has still not been resurrected in Android 5.1, but you can achieve the same effect by selecting ''None'' in your volume widget: no noises, no vibrations. Speaking of sound, NuPlayer replaces AwesomePlayer as the default streaming content player in Android 5.1.

AndroidPIT Nexus 5 Android 5 1 Lollipop sound widget icons
Android 5.1 (left) adds little icons in the volume widget. / © ANDROIDPIT

7. New sound widget icons

In Android 5.0 you had a simple volume slider with three entries beneath it: None, Priority and All. The Android Team apparently felt this was a little too vague so they've now added a couple of icons to help you along: a crossed circle for None, a star for Priority Interruptions only, and a ringing bell for all. Makes sense.

8. New clear all notifications animation

When you tap the ''clear all'' notifications button you'll now get a nice little animation as all those notifications are whisked away to never never land.

AndroidPIT Nexus 5 Android 5 1 clock animation until next alarm priority mode
Each section in the clock app has an animation, and you can now turn off all interruptions only until your next alarm. / © ANDROIDPIT

9. ''Until next alarm'' interruptions setting

In your Notifications settings (see screenshot above right), you now have the option to stay in ''no interruptions'' mode until your next alarm sounds. If you don't see this option immediately, it's because you need to have an alarm set to go off in the next day or so.

10. New Quick Settings and clock animations

Basically every action in the Quick Settings menu now has a new animation attached to it, including the screen auto-rotate animation that debuted in the Android L developer preview but got dropped in Android 5.0. Same goes for turning the flashlight or airplane mode on or off. The clock also has new animations: just tap or swipe between any of the four icons at the top to see some cute new animations to go along with each setting.

AndroidPIT Nexus 5 Android 5 1 quick settings toggle animations
Not so easy to show in pictures, but you can see the little animation on the auto-rotate toggle. / © ANDROIDPIT

11. Progress bars mirror app badge color

When an app is in the process of doing something, Android 5.1 now matches the progress bar color with the badge color of the app in question. A small detail, but nice nonetheless.

12. Change the dialer for the SIM card you use

If you've got a phone with dual-SIM you can now attach a color to each SIM. When you go to make a call you'll be asked which SIM you want o use, and you can set a particular color to the dialer for each SIM.

AndroidPIT Nexus 5 Android 5 0 and 5 1 comparison screen pinning
The screen pinning popup in Android 5.1 vs Android 5.0 (right). / © ANDROIDPIT

13. Screen pinning is clearer

Screen pinning lets you grab an app from the recent apps list and ''pin'' it to the home screeen. This means that you can't back out of that app – it stays on screen until you unpin it. Unpinning seemed to be a little complex for some though, so Android team has made it a little clearer in Android 5.1 Lollipop.

14. No more recurring ''cleared'' apps

You know that annoying bug where cleared apps kept rising from the dead and reappearing in your recent apps list? Yep? Well, it's gone in Android 5.1. Thanks Google.

androidpit recent apps teaser
Cleared apps will now stay cleared and not reappear in your recent apps list. / © ANDROIDPIT

15. One swipe to unlock from lock screen Quick Settings

Previously, if you were in the lock screen Quick Settings menu and swiped up, you would be returned to your lock screen, where you would then have to swipe again to unlock. With Android 5.1 you simply swipe up once and go straight to your home screen (assuming you don't have lock screen security set up).

Have you found anything else in Android 5.1? What are your thoughts so far?

Kris Carlon

Kris Carlon
Senior Editor

Kris is a former AndroidPIT Editor who came to the team via a lengthy period spent traveling and relying on technology to keep him in touch with the outside world. He can usually be found juggling three phones at once and poring over G+ posts, Reddit and RSS feeds.

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  • Nicole Carstairs Apr 13, 2016 Link to comment

    I have the s6 edge and just did the update. Before when one of my 'edge people' would text me and I pick up the phone, it vibrates so I know I have a message but then their colour would also pop up (with the screen off) and then you can drag the colour to open the message. It no longer does this... Anyone else having this issue??

  • Yogesh Dama Mar 3, 2016 Link to comment

    There are plenty of apps those allows recent apps access in notification, i prefer this one:

  • Dave Masterson Jan 7, 2016 Link to comment

    Just updated my a Note 4 to 5.1.1 and I'm not seeing any of the features you mention in this article. Everything looks the same as it did with 5.0.1

  • Danielle Wilson Dec 31, 2015 Link to comment

    I just got a new note 5 and in the settings options its a long list. I cant even go to more and do view as for the other feature. this sucks i wish i stayed on my old note as it had way better features than this android 5.1.1 .. just a sad day ..

  • Brittany Glover Dec 4, 2015 Link to comment

    I have the Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime and I like my lollipop upgrade and all, but since I've upgraded, my phone has been pretty glitchy. My screen blacks out and I can't always pull down my drop screen to check the status bar. I've only had this phone for about 5 months and it was perfect for me before I upgraded. Can these problems be fixed??? And if not, is it possible to downgrade???

    • Mistersome Dec 5, 2015 Link to comment

      Usually you can get that fixed, let's try two things,
      First try clearing cache. To do that follow link (just Google "how to clear cache on galaxy prime" apparently I can't post link as new user)
      If that does well- your good to go, please let me know,
      if not try factory reseting the phone, however that will delete all your apps and settings, so think how you can back up you settings / apps / info

  • Rizwan Khan Oct 18, 2015 Link to comment

    my home sreen button stops working on note 4 what the hell is this .... can anyone help me please?

  • Ahmed Paulo Uwk Oct 5, 2015 Link to comment


  • Anju Saha Sep 17, 2015 Link to comment

    I deeply regret moving out of Kitkat to Lollipop mainly because I lost what was really excellent in the meetings feature. I have a daily one and a half hour meeting where, in Kitkat, I had set options for all notifications to vibration only. With their “improved” lollipop 5.0 and downtime settings, it has been pre-decided that meetings can only last exactly one hour – or I can set it for two meetings i.e. for two hours – I seem to have lost the option of one and a half hours. Also now the phone does not vibrate when I get a call but beeps out loud when there is a message. Is there a solution in version 5.1?
    The second is that they removed group messaging so if there is a shift in the meeting timings I now cannot send a group message to the members – sending individually meant I sometimes missed a few. Any solution for this here please?
    Because of my bad experience in updating to Lollipop 5.0, I am extremely hesitant in going on to 5.1. Fancy animations are fine but will I lose some more basic and essential features? I use a moto g

  • Craig Crisp Sep 10, 2015 Link to comment

    Anyone know how I can disable the star that shows up in the notification area up top/left? I find it very annoying! I'd rather see the app specific icon pop up there so i know which apps have messages (etc mail, text msg)

    • Michael A. James Sep 12, 2015 Link to comment

      It's most likely associated with some program that runs in the background; go launcher does that for example - puts its icon in the notification area when it's running. Gotta find which program has a star icon, and uninstall/disable it, or go to application manager and disable notifications for that program.

  • Glenn Cameron Sep 9, 2015 Link to comment

    Got my update last night from 4.1 to 5.1.1
    I have the LG Transpyer . downloaded over WiFi .I have Verizon as my mobile carrier "no contract plan"and I live in Wilmington Nc. Everything working fine so far.
    Sept 9, 2015

  • john fox Aug 16, 2015 Link to comment

    My note 4 lost call forwarding and call waiting function on the device when I upgraded. Can't down grade or I void my warranty. Google I want my features back.

    • Michael A. James Sep 10, 2015 Link to comment

      You can downgrade and it won't void your warranty. It is rooting that will void it. I've downgraded my Note 4 from 5.0.1 to 4.4.4 after having battery issues, and my Knox counter was still 0x0 afterwards. As long as you're simply re-installing stock official OS (any version), and not actually rooting your device, you're fine.

      Just google "note 4 downgrade lollipop to kit kat"; the process is pretty straightforward. If you want to downgrade from 5.1 to 5.0, the process is exactly the same, just replace 4.4 firmware with 5.0, but the same guide still applies.

  • Renee H. Aug 14, 2015 Link to comment

    So...just got the upgrade on my Note 4 through Verizon. Hopefully it fixes the battery issue! We will see!

  • Marwan Sherin Aug 9, 2015 Link to comment

    Guys, just upgraded yesterday my Galaxy S6 Edge from 5.0.1 to 5.1.1 (OTA update)
    the auto rotation seems to be fixed now, it was working on the 5.0.1 for a while then stopped out of the blue, 3 days later I upgraded to 5.1.1 and it is working again :)

  • Yustinus Suhali Jul 30, 2015 Link to comment

    It happens to my Xperia z2 as well. No app locks work as in android 5.0. But I just tried an app from CM AppLock and it works well.

  • Afraz syed Jul 30, 2015 Link to comment

    Updated to android 5.1.1 on my sony xperia z2 , and app locker is not working :(
    No app lock app is working on android 5.1 on my device ,dont know about others

  • Kheem Vendiola Jul 30, 2015 Link to comment

    Ive almost installed every single app locker on google play. None of them works. PLEASE HELP ME FIX THIS!! )':

  • Jim Wolff Jul 26, 2015 Link to comment

    So disappointing Google! You'd figure instead of playing around with a bunch of useless crap that no one cares about, how about fixing the disconnecting and loss of WiFi every time I get in and out of my car. Or out of range with a wifi device I've already put in my password?

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