How to get the best Android P features on any Android phone

Google’s upcoming Android release, Android P, brings a new look to the popular operating system — we particularly liked the colorful, rounded interface — as well as a cavalcade of new features. Although the latest developer preview for Android P is only available for select devices, some clever developers have made apps to replicate some of P’s most notable new features, ones that will work on phones that don’t have access to Android P as of yet.

These apps aren’t available through the Google Play store, however, so if you want to install these new features on your Android device, you’ll need to adjust your settings so that your phone supports apps from unknown sources. To do this, go to Settings, select Lock screen and security, and toggle the slider beside Unknown sources. Keep in mind that, if you’re using Android Oreo, you’ll need to enable specific apps to install APK (Android PacKage) files.

With that out of the way, let’s run through the various Android P features you can add to your older Android system.

Android P launcher

One of the biggest changes you can make to your Android system is to change the launcher. Download the Android P launcher APK, tap it within the notification shade, and install it. If using Oreo, tap to allow it to install from an unknown source.

Smart replies

One of P’s most nifty features is the ability to use “smart suggested replies.” When you get a text message, you can view it within the notification shade, and Android will automatically generate some appropriate responses that you can select with a simple tap, if you wish. Simply download the Smart Replay APK, and install it like before.

Note: Smart Reply also works with a host of popular messaging apps, such as Facebook Messenger and Hangouts.

Screenshot markup

A more substantial update found in Android P has to do with how screenshots function. In the latest iteration of Android, users can start marking up screenshots directly after taking them. The Markup app that enables this on older Android devices works a little differently, however. Once installed, you’ll need to share your screenshot with the Markup app, which will then allow you to make alterations.

Android P volume slider

Another popular change in Android P is the placement of the volume slider, which has moved from the top of the screen to the side. As before, download the APK from the appropriate source, and install it to enable the switch.

Lockdown mode

The final feature worth mentioning is Lockdown mode. Android P users can tap the power button, followed by Lockdown to disable the fingerprint sensor, which will prevent users from unlocking the phone via biometrics. As with the other features, download the Lockdown APK and install it to enable the feature.

David Cogen — a regular contributor here at Digital Trends — runs TheUnlockr, a popular tech blog that focuses on tech news, tips and tricks, and the latest tech. You can also find him on Twitter discussing the latest tech trends.

Editors’ Recommendations

  • Android P hands-on review
  • Android P beta 3: Everything you need to know
  • Switching from an iPhone to an Android device
  • How to get iMessages in Android
  • The best camera apps for Android