Android Nougat release date: when you'll get it and everything you need to know

Google's Android 7.0 Nougat is out now, and so is the 7.1 update

Update: Android Nougat is here and has recently rolled out on the Moto Z, Moto Z Force and some versions of the HTC 10, LG G5, Sony Xperia XZ and Xperia X Performance. Plus there's even a beta for the OnePlus 3 and Huawei has announced what phones will get the new software.

Android Nougat is Google's big refresh of its phone and tablet operating system – an OS that's been so thoroughly refined that the company is now more than halfway through the alphabet with names, at letter 14 of 26.

It won't stop at Android 7.0, either. Android 7.1 beta  launched on Nexus devices in October and possible Android O ideas are being discovered ahead of 2017.

To prepare you for the Nougat updates, here's everything we know about the new Android 7.0 and Android 7.1 Nougat release date and features. 

Cut to the chase

  • What is it? The next version of Google's mobile OS
  • When is it out? Right now, but you'll need to wait for some devices
  • When will I get it? It's rolling out slowly, dependent on your phone and tablet maker
  • What will it cost? Free

Check out our video walkthrough of the Android Nougat Beta

Android Nougat release date

Android Nougat is out right now, but when you'll get the upgrade is going to depend on your device. The release date is rather staggered.

The good news is that it's already available on the Nexus 6P, Nexus 5X, Nexus 6, Nexus 9, Google Pixel C, and the Nexus Player.

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Sadly, if you have a Nexus 5, you're going to miss out on Android Nougat upgrade altogether.

Samsung, LG, HTC and other phone makers, meanwhile, have to rework their own version of the software and push it out to users, and that can take months. 

This hasn't stopped Google from moving on to the Google Daydream VR-ready Android 7.1 Developer Preview. It launched the beta at the end of October on Nexus phones and the final, stable version is due by early December.

Samsung phones with Android Nougat

Samsung brought a Android Nougat beta to the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge on November 9, before it plans to launch a final version of the operating system.

It requires downloading the Galaxy Beta Program app and it's another way for the company to guilt you into signing up for a Samsung account.

In the US, you need to have a phone from Verizon, Sprint or T-Mobile. In the UK, your phone needs to be unlocked. 

Sadly, the special Galaxy S7 Edge Olympic Edition and Batman Injustice Edition phones can't get into the beta. And, no, that Samsung Galaxy Note 7 a few risk takers are clinging onto won't get the update.

Samsung's Android Nougat early access program runs until mid-December, so even if you aren't picked for this beta program, you won't have to wait long for the final version. It's expected to launch soon after the beta wraps up.

LG phones with Android Nougat

LG technically launched the first Android Nougat phone in early September with the announcement of the LG V20. But that was a "world's first" title from which only South Korea benefitted at first. The dual-lens camera phone didn't launch in the US until October 28, and it's not even coming to the UK.

LG G5 owners yearning for the update won't have long to wait. LG's flagship smartphone is getting the OS upgrade on T-Mobile in the US right now, and other markets and carriers can expect to download it "in the weeks to come."

We don't know the exact Android Nougat release date for the LG V10 and LG G4. Both phones are less than two years old, so we'll keep a watch out and update this page when the official news happens.

Sony Xperia phones with Android Nougat

The Sony Xperia X Performance and Xperia XZ have both started to get Android Nougat, with the update currently live for the unlocked US model and global dual-SIM variant according to XperiaBlog. Expect to see other regions and versions get Nougat soon.

Google and Sony surprised us when Sony announced that the Sony Xperia Z3 would receive the developer edition of the Android Nougat software, but oddly the phone won't be getting the full Nougat upgrade.

Android Nougat

Shocker: The Sony Xperia Z3 was included in the beta

There's good news: many, many of the other Sony phones will get it, including the Xperia Z3+, Xperia Z4 Tablet, Xperia Z5, Xperia Z5 Compact, Xperia Z5 Premium, Xperia X, Xperia XA and Xperia XA Ultra. Phew. No specific time frame has been announced, but stay tuned.

HTC phones with Android Nougat

If you've bought an HTC phone launched in the past year or two, you may have access to Android Nougat soon enough.

In fact, it's already rolling out to unlocked HTC 10 handsets in the US, while European models are likely to get it soon.

HTC has confirmed it will be bring the Google update to the HTC 10, One A9 and One M9 by the end of the 2016. It has a little more than a month to make good on that promise.

If you have a HTC One M8, however, you're out of luck. HTC told TechRadar that it will not get the latest upgrade. You're going to have to buy a new phone for this update.

Motorola phones with Android Nougat

Motorola has now confirmed which phones it will upgrade to Android 7, and its list of phones is rather long.

Android Nougat is already available for the Moto Z and Moto Z Force,  while X-series phones like the Moto X Style, Moto X Play and Moto X Force should be getting it soon.

Motorola's most recently mid-range G entries line are also getting the update, Moto G4, Moto G4 Play and Moto G4 Plus, and so are its Droid phones, including Droid Turbo 2 and Droid Maxx 2.

Oddly enough, when Motorola confirmed that the Moto G4 Plus was getting Android 7 software in the future, it also acknowledged that the phone will  update to Android O well. 

That's software Google hasn't even announced yet, and there's no guarantee Android 8 will be named after the letter O. It is, however, a good first sign.

Huawei phones with Android Nougat

So far only the Huawei Mate 9 has Android 7 software onboard. Huawei has announced it will be releasing updated software for the Huawei Mate 8 and Huawei P9 by the end of March 2017.

The manufacturer will also update the Huawei P9 Plus, P9 Lite, Huawei Nova and the Huawei Nova Plus later in the year. 

There's no word on whether the Huawei P8 or Mate S will be getting the upgrade to EMUI 5.0 (which comes with Android 7 features). It looks like both of those phones are set to be left behind, despite being quite recent devices.

OnePlus 3 with Android Nougat

Android Nougat is coming to OnePlus 3. When? Well, the beta is out now but it's unclear when the official version of the software will launch.

While this particular video doesn't spell it out, we also expect to see Android Nougat come to OnePlus 2.

The new OnePlus 3T launched with Android Marshmallow, but it too is promised to update to Android Nougat by the end of the year. That launch window is quietly closing.

Just don't wait around for a software upgrade to the old OnePlus One and OnePlus X. OnePlus One is  more than two years old now and beyond the company's update threshold. OnePlus X uses an older Snapdragon 801 chip and has a slim chance of seeing the update.

ZTE Axon 7 with Android Nougat

We liked the ZTE Axon 7 because it's looks and plays like a high-end phone with a mid-range price. Now for the true test: how quickly will it get Android updates.

Android Nougat is coming to the Chinese phone, according to an obvious tease from an official ZTE news announcement

There are no Android Nougat release date details attached to this blog post tease, but the team at ZTE promised Axon 7 to be a Daydream VR-ready device.

That means the ZTE Axon 7 jump from Android Marshmallow to Android Nougat may happen soon after the VR-focused Android 7.1 update is ready in December.

Other phones with Android Nougat

Even the little-known Nextbit Robin is confirmed to be getting the Android Nougat update. 

Stay tuned, as we're going to continue prodding each manufacturer for information until they fess up to their Android Nougat plans.

Android Nougat VR

We've tested out a bunch of existing Android Nougat features below, but there's one exciting new tool that isn't part of the regular Android 7.0 update: Google Daydream.

Android Nougat

A buried menu for VR helper services in the Android N Developer Preview 4, and an equally buried release note for "Android VR" in Unreal Engine 4.12 beta, hinted at a big push for a Google Cardboard successor – sure enough, Google confirmed its VR intentions during IO.

The Play Store, StreetView, Photos, YouTube and Play Movies will all support VR, allowing you to jump into games, locations and videos, all via Google's Daydream VR platform. Google Daydream View is expected to launch in November, but will require even further updated Android Nougat software.

Google Daydream is part of the Android 7.1 maintenance update for Android Nougat, and it's only compatible with the Google Pixel and Google Pixel XL, though other phones like ZTE Axon 7 (the first, non-Pixel Google Daydream phone) will eventually work with the headset and are available to buy right now.

Multi-window support

True multitasking support has finally arrived as expected, and Split Screen is deservedly the highlight of Android Nougat on phones and tablets. You're going to be able to open up two apps at once on your Nexus phone or tablet.

Android Nougat

It's a popular feature that Samsung and LG phones have incorporated into their Android skins years ago, so it's nice (and about time) Google is including the same functionality in its own software. It's easy to launch too – just long press on the recent (multi-tasking) button in the nav bar.

Multi-window support could increase enterprise interest in Android tablets and the Pixel C. It's a bet that Apple recently made when it launched similar split-screen and picture-in-picture features for iOS 9.

Meanwhile Android TV gets picture-in-picture mode, allowing you to continue watching your show in a smaller screen while performing another task.

There's also a Clear All button at the top of the multi-tasking menu on your phone to make it simple to close all your apps. Then there's a new feature called Quick Switch, which lets you jump back to the previous application with a double tap of the recent (multi-tasking) button in the navigation bar.

Direct Reply Notifications

You won't have to navigate away from your current window (or, now, windows) just to answer an incoming message. You can just reply within the notification that appears at the top of the screen.

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It worked well enough for the iPhone and iPad when the same idea made its debut with iOS 8 under the name Quick Reply. But Apple's approach to messages worked strictly with its iMessage app.

Google is opening up Direct Reply Notifications beyond Hangouts, and that could mean popular apps like WhatsApp could take advantage of this convenient inline messaging feature.

New quick settings menu

Google is adding a new quick settings menu to the notifications shade you pull down from the top. It's a lot like the one Samsung, LG and every other Android manufacturer seems to use.

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Sure, Google stock Android software has had switches for Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Airplane mode and so forth, but it required pulling the notifications bar down a second time to reveal the quick settings menu.

Now the quick settings toggles are here as soon as you gesture downward once to see notifications. The best news is that all of the buttons are small and unobstructive, leaving plenty of room for notifications.

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Longtime Nexus users will also be happy to hear that the quick settings switches can be sorted to your liking, much like they can on other Android phones – you won't need the System UI Tuner to meddle.

For example, we often use MiFi more than Airplane Mode, so Mobile Hotspot icon gets promoted to be one of the five icons along the top of the initial quick settings on our Nexus 6P.

That little airplane icon is still there for our takeoff and landing needs, but it got the bump to the second swipe menu. Sorting is finally up to you, which is really what Android is all about.

Bundled notifications

Google hasn't done with the way Android N changes notifications. It also announced that notification cards will be grouped together if they're from the same app.

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All messages from a specific messaging app, for example, are bundled together in the notification shade. These grouped alerts can then be expanded into individual notifications using a two-finger gesture or tapping the all-new expansion button.

This is basically the opposite of what Apple did in the jump from iOS 8 to iOS 9, switching from grouping them by app to lining them up chronologically. We'll see which method works best this autumn.

There's more control over your notifications in Android Nougat too, as  you can now long-press on a notification to either silence future notifications, or turn them off completely.

Doze Mode 2.0

One of the (literal) sleeper hits of Android Marshmallow has been Doze Mode, Google's crafty way of saving battery life whenever your device is stationary. It's basically a deep standby mode.

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Android Nougat is going to step up the company's energy-saving software efforts by expanding Doze Mode so that it thoroughly limits background tasks whenever the screen is turned off.

That's ideal for throwing a phone in your pocket or your tablet in a backpack, and then retrieving it the next day or next week without having to recharge it right away. Your "I can't even" face when you pick up your dead Nexus phone the next morning could be a thing of the past.

Android Nougat performance

Google says Android Nougat will deliver its biggest leap forward in graphics performance with the introduction of Vulkan, giving game developers much-needed control of the GPU.

That in turn will result in even better graphics and smoother, faster performance.

If you've downloaded apps from other sources that aren't the Google Play Store, you'll now be able to identify where the app came from by going into your Settings, App Info and then Package Installer.

There have also been a number of Android runtime improvements, including optimizations to the JIT compiler, which has seen task speeds increase between 30% and 600% compared to the previous version.

Updates are also more seamless, with security updates automatically downloaded, and a simple fresh boot-up of your device will see you run the latest offering. It's also got rid of that annoying 'Android is updating' pop up when you restart after an update.

Other features

Google has confirmed the new 'Launcher Shortcuts' feature that debuted in the second beta for Android Nougat is ready for pressure-sensitive display technology.

This will make it easier for Android manufacturers to bring 3D Touch-like technology to Android handsets, as it's baked directly into the operating system.

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Then there are extra security features, such as file-based encryption and Direct boot, which help your device start up faster while running your apps securely.

Last, and by no means least, Android Nougat bring support for Unicode 9, which among other things, will bring with it the introduction of 72 new emoji.

  • Android Nougat challenger? How about Apple's iOS 10 update on iPhone 7

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Matt Swider is TechRadar's gadget-savvy, globe-trotting mobile editor in Los Angeles. As an expert in iOS and Android, he owns over 120 phones that someone keeps setting the alarms on – simultaneously. He received his journalism degree from Penn State University and is never seen without his TechRadar headphones.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

James is Phones, Wearables and Tablets writer for TechRadar and covers all the big announcements from the best manufacturers making gadgets for your palms, wrists and face. Based in London, James is often testing out the latest and greatest phones, smartwatches, VR headsets and - when he can be motivated to go outside - fitness bands. Be sure to follow him on Twitter for all the latest from the mobile world.