Android 6.0 vs Android 5.1 Lollipop: What’s New in Marshmallow

In October of 2015 Google officially released Android 6.0 Marshmallow. Most smartphones and tablets have since received the update, and now owners are waiting on 7.0 Nougat. That said, users will still want to know everything Android 6.0 has to offer. This is a comparison of Android 5.1 Lollipop vs Android 6.0 Marshmallow on the Nexus 5 and Nexus 6.

This Android 6.0 Marshmallow walkthrough will show off many of the features and changes Google implemented into Android M in comparison to Android 5.1 Lollipop from 2014. With Android 6.0 the focus was on polishing and improving performance or battery life, not changing everything. As a result it looks similar on the surface, but is vastly different.

Read: Nexus 6P Review: Google’s Finest Yet

Google released the Android 5.1 Lollipop update in May, which fixed many of the problems and bugs from the first launch of Lollipop. Then with Android 6.0 Marshmallow they added an array of new features, fingerprint support, better control over how our phones can be used, Google Now on Tap, battery saving tools or optimization and much more. There are a few new features in Android N, but Marshmallow still has plenty to offer.

Android6-marshmallow-LWhether you want to get familiar with Android 6.0 on a smartphone you’ll buy on Black Friday, or just see what it can do, this is a good place to start.

Just like with Android L in 2014, Google unveiled Android M in May, and released a developer preview for users to try on select Nexus smartphones and tablets. This was to test it before the final release date in October later that year. Google released three developer previews slowly fixing bugs or adding new features, then released the stable version for all its devices. Over the past year almost all Android devices have been updated to Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow.

Users will notice some visual changes to animations and effects, the lockscreen, homescreen, notification pulldown bar, volume controls, tons of new permission controls, a revamped application launcher and Google Now menu, to name a few. However, it’s behind the scenes where things really took off. Permission and security controls, fingerprint support, Doze for nearly 30% improvements to battery life, automatic app and data backups, and so many things we won’t be able to list them all.

Read: Android 5.0 vs Android 4.4 KitKat: What’s New in Lollipop

With Android 5.0 Lollipop Google completely changed how Android looked compared to KitKat. Above is a quick comparison showing users what changed in 2014-15, and below is a big slideshow detailing exactly what to expect from Android 6.0 Marshmallow. While you’re here, see what to expect from Android 7.0 Nougat in December or early 2017.

Android 6.0 Marshmallow is a free software update for all eligible Android smartphones and tablets, starting with Google’s own Nexus lineup. Many cover stock Android with their own interface, but most of the changes mentioned and compared below will still be included. Not to mention most manufacturers have pushed out Marshmallow already

To begin Android 6.0 Marshmallow rolled out to the Nexus 5, Nexus 6, 2013 Nexus 7, Nexus 9 and the Nexus Player. Then eventually others like Samsung, Motorola, LG, HTC and more. The video below is an early look at Android 6.0 M from May, and many things have changed since, but it still gives users an idea of what to expect once Android 6.0 updates arrive if it hasn’t yet.

Most of what was shown above has now been added to the final release, but things like the Dark Theme settings and more have actually been removed. Below is an extensive slideshow comparing Android 6.0 Marshmallow to Android 5.1 Lollipop, and showing owners what’s new, what to look for, and what to expect.

You can click on any of the images below to instantly jump to that image in the slideshow and see how that part of the OS compares to previous versions. The older Android 5.1 Lollipop is on the left (if applicable), while Android 6.0 Marshmallow is on the right. If you have a Nexus smartphone and tablet, you’re likely already running Android 7.0 Nougat. This shows Google’s slow and steady progression and improvements to their mobile operating system.

Android 5.1 vs Android 6.0: Lockscreen

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Android 5.1 vs Android 6.0: Lockscreen

Again, every slide will have Android 5.1 on the left (if available) and the newer Android 6.0 Marshmallow on the right.

Google changed the lockscreen in Android 5.0 to make things easier and more simple. It's very clean and plain, with some quick swipe icons to instantly launch voice controls, unlock the phone, or launch the camera. In Android 5.1 the far right was a quick launch to the phone app, but not Google wants us using Google Now voice commands instead. It's a small change, and one some might not like considering a swipe would unlock right into making a call, but not it's into Google Now and voice commands.

On the bottom of the lockscreen are three icons. The middle unlocks into the phone, the right side unlocks right to the camera for quick access to instantly take photos, and on the left we have a microphone. This doesn't unlock your phone, and instead fires up Google Now voice controls. This can be used to make a call, ask for directions, "go to" and any other voice command. Some of this won't be on devices from Samsung, LG, HTC and others.

You can still use this to make calls, just say, "Call Mom" rather than going into the dialer and finding her.

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