Android has definitely evolved a lot over the past decade and with over a billion active devices and millions of devices being activated every day, it is not going anywhere anytime soon.
While the latest version of Android, the Android Pie 9.0 is filled with a ton of useful and advanced features, I couldn’t help but notice that a lot of traditional Android features that were present in the previous versions of Android have either been removed or replaced with something else in the latest version of Android.
This is not just the case with Android Pie, Google has removed several features as its mobile-based OS has progressed over the years and while a lot of changes are welcome by the majority of Android users like multi-window mode and do not disturb schedule for app notifications, a lot of users seem to be disappointed that Google has removed some of the beloved Android features in the newer versions of the OS.
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Here are some of the features that the Android users seem to have loved in the past but apparently are no longer available in the newer versions of Android as they were removed or replaced with something different or better for many reasons. A discussion at an Android Subreddit in Reddit proves that a lot of users are pretty upset that some of these features are not present in the newer versions of Android.
10 Useful Android features removed from newer versions
Lock screen widgets
If you have been a loyal user of Android from its earlier days, you might remember that Lock screen widgets were a mainstream Android feature back in the Jellybean and KitKat days in 2013. Basically, Android users were able to add both system and some third party widgets to their lock screens which can be accessed by swiping right from the lock screen.
These lock screen widgets were a way to have a quick and an easy glance of your weather or your appointments or whatever it is you want without having to unlock your device. But these are removed from the subsequent versions of Android presumably due to security and privacy concerns as anyone could view important details from the widgets without needing to unlock your Android phone.
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Clear Cached Data
A cache is basically a form of data stored on your device like profile pictures of your Whatsapp friends or a bunch of Instagram posts so that they can be accessed faster every time you use the app. Older versions of Android up until Android 7.0 Nougat had an option to Clear Cached data as a whole for all the apps and games installed on your device
However, this feature was removed starting from Android 8.0 Oreo and now you have to open the individual app settings page and can only clear Cache on one app at a time if you are not using any third party app to do that.
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While this Clear Cached data was a helpful feature to quickly reclaim a bunch of your storage space it might also consume a lot of your data and slow down the processing of your apps as they have to create all the cleared data again when you open the app.
Now on Tap
Now on Tap is probably one of the most unique and interesting features that have been introduced by Google and I used to use it a lot for taking screenshots, copying the text on screen, searching for meaning of words by clicking on them, scanning the text on your screen and displaying relevant Google search results and so on, it was unfortunately removed after the arrival of the much advanced and sophisticated Google Assistant.
Even though the Google Assistant does a lot of things better and smarter than the Now on Tap, some people including me preferred the Now on Tap mainly for its quick response time and the ability to easily share screenshots without having to struggle with the physical buttons on your device.
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Media seeking from the Lock screen
Let’s face it, some of us like only parts of some songs and would not want to listen to the beginning and just skip to our favorite part. While older versions of Android had the option to seek your media right from your lock screen, if you are using newer versions like Android 8 Oreo or Android 9 Pie, you, unfortunately, have to unlock your Android phone and open the app to fast forward the parts you hate.
Mass storage mode for all devices
A lot of modern cars have Bluetooth audio systems now and with Android Auto, in the rise, you can just wireless play any song you want from your phone to your car stereo with the help of Bluetooth. However, back in the days when Bluetooth stereo systems in cars weren’t mainstream, you could just use your USB cable to connect your phone to your car and use it browse and play any song you want.
While having this feature might not make sense now, it would still be nice to have it as an option to use it when, for instance your device is running low on battery and you do not want to use Bluetooth or mobile data to stream songs and just want to play songs stored on your local storage instead.
Swipe left for Google Now
Even though only phones that had the stock version of Android or the stock launcher installed had this feature, swiping left on your home screen to open the Google Now feed was an extremely useful feature and was a quick way to have a glance on your appointments, reminders, the weather, and the local news.
While you can still open the Google app and view all this information, the option to just swipe and have a glance at what you want was much better and not to mention, the new Google now feed is filled with articles from the web and has drowned all the important stuff that you actually care about.
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The pop-up notifications in the newer versions of Android can be intrusive and even annoying sometimes just blocking the top part of your screen for a few seconds and with phone screens getting larger every year it is getting harder to just dismiss them. I sure miss the Notification tickers in Android 4.4 KitKat, where notifications just appeared as text on your status bar instead of large obtrusive popups blocking your screen.
Quick settings menu
For some reason, Google has removed the drop menu from the Quick settings panels in Android Pie and now when you have to change your location accuracy or disconnect a Bluetooth device, you have to long press the quick settings tile, which will take you to the main settings page from where you can do what you want. Instead of the more convenient way of doing these from a drop-down menu in the quick settings panel. I mean why did they even remove this feature?
On screen buttons
A lot of things may have changed over the years in the Android OS, but the on-screen buttons, the big old home, back and recent buttons are the one things that remained constant. Alas, they too have been removed and have been replaced with on-screen gestures instead in the latest version of Android Pie 9.0.
While this might make sense as phone manufacturers are trying to make use of all available screen space on your Android phone, most users are going to have a tough time switching to a new form of navigation all of a sudden. Thankfully, you still have the option to choose between buttons and gestures, well at least as of now.
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Volume button gestures for changing songs
This was definitely one of my favorite features and it might not have been popular in the stock versions of Android, but it sure was a useful feature in custom skins of older versions of Android. Especially when you are in bed or traveling and just want to change the song by long pressing the volume button, without even having to look at your phone. Just a casual press of the button.