Should you install N preview on your main device? Here are some of the known issues with it.

by: Bogdan PetrovanMarch 9, 2016

Android N notifications

Android N (N standing for “nut telling,” according to Hiroshi Lockheimer) is here and we’re all super excited to see it in action. But is it safe to install the Android N factory images on your main phone or tablet?

We’re flashing Android N on several devices right now, and we’ll be able to give you an idea of how stable Android N preview is pretty soon. Meanwhile, Google has helpfully compiled a list of known issues with Android N that you may want to consult before taking the plunge and flashing the new version.

First off, Google is crystal clear about one thing: N Developer Preview 1 (the initial version, released today and featuring the build numbers NPC56P and NPC56R) is not intended for daily use, especially for non-developers.

With this necessary warning out of the way, Google talks about general issues like degraded performance, battery life regressions, and compatibility issues with some apps. In fact, apps like Android Pay, that require the device to have passed Google’s own Compatibility Test Suite, won’t work at all on N Developer Preview 1.

Among the specific issues listed by Google are:

  • Voicemail playback does not work.
  • Settings controls and toggles may be slow or appear to be unresponsive.
  • In the Gmail app, direct archiving of emails included in a notification bundle does not work properly.
  • Bluetooth pairing between keyboards and Android devices may be unstable.
  • Video playback may lag and show interruptions.
  • NFC doesn’t function until first unlock.
  • Under some circumstances, the default ringtone may not sound for phone calls and messages.
  • Apps may experience crashes and unexpected UI behavior when put into split-screen mode. These are app issues that must be fixed by the app developer.
  • When an app targets a version of the Android platform earlier than N, the App may not work with split-screen toast may appear multiple times.
  • Apps may flicker while resizing.

These are some of the biggest consumer-facing issues that Google mentions, but the list is much bigger. There are a couple of specific issues mentioned for the Nexus Player (“Video playback, app compatibility and stability issues are expected on Nexus Player in this release of the Preview”) and the Pixel C (“Multi-window resizing may cause crashing”).

The full list of known issues with Android N is available here.

Made up your mind? We have the factory image download links here, and info on the upcoming Android Beta Program here.

Will you install N preview on your device?

  • Glad to see that the app drawer is still there.

    • Deeco

      Why are poeple going on about App drawer? Surely it’s not a system level thing and just Google Now Launcher?

      • Exare

        I’m not sure myself but I can say that I haven’t used a traditional app drawer in a long time, I just use Smart Launcher Pro. It hides all my apps and lets me put all my most used ones my home screen behind gestures. If I need more I can add a little dot that I can press to reveal a select few others I frequently use.

        It’s very customizable, incredibly light-weight, and supports icon packs.

      • Alexander Rockwell

        Pretty sure it is just a launcher thing since many 3rd party ones have allowed you to hide the drawer for quite some time. I prefer having the drawer, one of the big reasons I like Android over iOS, but I’m not worried about losing it since I use Nova and I’m sure will always be able to “turn it back on” if it disappears from stock.

      • Android Authority had numerous stories on how the app drawer was going to disappear in Android N. I don’t know who their sources are, but they were apparently wrong.

  • Don_Alduck

    Notification panel (in its current state, as seen above) and night mode is much needed, and would love to see them in the final build.

    • Wouter

      Oeh, that would be a big plus for people having amoled displays (Nexus 6P) :)

  • denNorske

    Well, I’m running Android N on my 5x as I type this – and to be an Alpha (or preview release) it seems rather stable. A set of downloaded apps may crash or so, but after all I’m able to use the split screen functionality fairly easily, and the settings re-work is absolutely lovely.
    This looks like one of the biggest reworks of android since 4.0 – and I seriously can’t wait to see what the next builds will bring.
    Battery life is not so good yet, as they stated – but for my use this is stable enough to call, send sms’s and use the most used apps.

  • Mtsimmer

    Nexus 5 is not supported on the first builds :(

  • Michael Allen

    I just got the preview on my Nexus 6, and although it seems small I noticed that OK Google only works when the screen is on, and no longer gives you the always on option.

  • Amit

    Can Android be Download To Motorola G Turbo ?

  • Umesh Rajput

    Apps are not updating or downloading from play store

  • Addie

    Does Visual Voicemail work in the recent build of Android N?