Android 9 Pie is finally here for everyone who own Pixel devices. Then all other eligible Android devices will get the update. I have been running Pie on my Pixel 2 XL for over a week now and here are some of the new features Android 9 Pie bring to your device.

1. Adaptive Battery

Google has been working hard at maximizing battery usage for Android for some time now. The latest step in maximizing your battery is Adaptive battery. Android will learn over time which apps are most important to you and prioritize battery usage for them. This means apps you rarely use will not hog as much battery as they used to in previous versions of Android. With this feature on, low priority apps will see a delay in notifications to your phone. And yes, Battery Saver is still a part of Android, which helps squeeze out as much battery life as possible when your already low on battery power.

2. Adaptive Brightness

Android has always had an auto brightness control, but it only used the phone's light sensor to make adjustments.  Adaptive Brightness is another smart/learning feature for Android 9. Over time, the feature will use ambient light levels, you brightness adjustments, and the apps you use to help build better brightness profiles tailored to your phone use.

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Image - Google

3. App Actions

Android will start creating customized shortcuts, for you, in the app drawer. The customized shortcuts are based on how you use your home. For example, over time Android 9 will learn that Tuesday morning around 8 am you typical use navigation and listen to an audio book during your morning commute. This will in turn prompt Android to start providing app shortcuts in your app drawer for for those two options. Android will also provide a shortcut to a favorite artist on Spotify, or favorite music application, when you connect headphones to your phone.

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Image - Google

4. Slices

Coming later this fall Android 9 will start including app shortcuts in search results whenever you start a search on your phone. Let's use Lfty as an example. If you search for Lyft you will see app quick links for ordering a ride to work or home, depending on the day and your location. You will also see estimated costs in the shortcuts too.

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Image - Google

5. Screenshots With One Hand

For most people, taking screenshots on Android phones involves press the Volume Down and the Power button at the same time. This feature has always worked well for most. Android 9 Pie has introduced a new way to take screenshots. You can now just long press the Power button to bring up the power options. Included in those options is an option to take a screenshot. With this feature, you can now take screenshots with one hand.

6. Gesture Navigation

Android 9 Pie introduces some additional gesture controls for users. The newest is the ability to swipe up on the Home screen to see recently used apps, versus using the square overview button. If you swipe up a second time the app drawer will appear. In practice this makes navigation a little bit more intuitive with one hand. Depending on your phone you can adjust this from Settings > System > Gestures menu.

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Image - Google

7. Rotate Screen Confirmation

Prior to Pie, users had two options for screen rotation: Auto and Fixed. Those options are still present, but if you have the option set to fixed, Android 9 Pie will prompt you  with a rotation button. This button's location is where the square overview button used to be. This rotation button will appear anytime the system notices the phone's rotation has changed from portrait and landscape.

8. Per Bluetooth Device Volume Memory

One thing I personally struggle with is managing the volume of my media when switching between the Bluetooth headphones I wear at the gym and the Bluetooth audio connection in my car. With Android 9 Pie the device will remember the volume settings last used for each Bluetooth device. It's a simple feature but a powerful one.

9. Smarter Notifications

Over time Android 9 will start to learn which notifications you tend to dismiss relative to the number of notifications you get from an app. If the system determines a certain app is spamming you with a lot of notifications, and you are just dismissing them, then Android 9 will ask if you want to mute said notification. Now you will not see that particular notification anymore. Additionally, under Settings > App > Name of the App > Notifications, you will be able to see a notification count and options to change app notification preferences to mute or on.

10. Improved Do Not Disturb

In addition to silencing incoming alerts, Do Not Disturb mode will now silence all visual alerts as well. This means your phone's display will not light up anymore either. But fear not, any starred contact will still ring your phone, making sure you miss nothing important. Check out Settings > Sounds > Do Not Disturb for all the additional options.

11. Digital Wellbeing

Digital Wellbeing is Google's commitment to Android helping to improve your life and not distract from it. These tools are still in the beta phase, but Pixel owners can try them out now. One of the best benefits is being able to see how you spend time on your phone. You can see which apps you spend the most time with and you can setup limits on usage. Obviously, these limits are easy to disable. But, this is a step in the right direction to help curb phone use and focus on you.

12. Wind Down

An extension to the Digital Wellbeing section is a feature called Wind Down. Many people tend to be on their phones late into the night. Phones screens have a nasty affect on your sleeping habits. With Wind Down you can setup a bedtime schedule. As your bedtime approaches your phone will begin to fade your phone's screen to grey scale, reduce the color temperature (make the screen less blue), and enable Do Not Disturb. This helps prepare you for sleep. When you wake up in the morning, those settings will revert for you.

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Image - Google

Getting through the day without using a web browser is not a thing. We rely on them for everything. When your browser is acting up, the impact to your productivity, or sanity, or Netflix binge can be serious. Below are several of the more common problems users might experience with their web browser, and what you can do to fix those problems.

Troubleshooting issues with your web browser is not entirely difficult. Most of today's web browsers have built-in tools that will take care of numerous issues or at least help you get back to running smoothly in no time.

1. Poor Performance or Slow Page Loading

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First things first, check the speed of your internet. Speedtest.net, Fast.com, or TestMy.net are good tools for this. Now that you know your connection speed is fine, poor browser performance and page loading can be the result of several different issues.

Most modern day web browsers will keep themselves up to date, but just in case, check to make sure you're running the latest version of your browser. Below are the most common browsers and how to check for updates:

  • Google Chrome
    • Browser Menu > Help > About Google Chrome
  • Firefox
    • Browser Menu > Help > About Firefox
  • Edge
    • Windows Settings Menu > Update & Security > Windows Update > Check for Updates
  • Safari
    • Mac App Store > Updates

Sometimes your browser performance is linked to extensions you might be using. Disabling them all and then enabling them one by one, seeing the impact to performance can help determine which extensions are causing your problems. Below are the most common browsers and how to disable/enable their extensions:

  • Google Chrome
    • Browser Menu > More Tools > Extensions
  • Firefox
    • Browser Menu > Add-Ons
  • Edge
    • Browser Menu > Extensions
  • Safari
    • Browser Menu > Preferences > Extensions

If you find that there are no extensions causing performance issues, then the browsers cache might have issues impacting performance. Clearing that data is like changing the oil for your browser. But, once you do this, you will most likely be logged out of all your favorite websites, so be ready to log back into them.  Below are the most common browsers and how to clear their website cache:

  • Google Chrome
    • Browser Menu > Settings  > Advanced > Clear Browsing Data
  • Firefox
    • Browser Menu > Options > Privacy & Security > Clear Data
  • Edge
    • Browser Menu > Settings > Choose what to Clear
  • Safari
    • Browser Menu > Preferences > Privacy > Manage Website Data

Your last option, if you are still experiencing problems, is to uninstall and then reinstall your browser. This is what many call a clean reinstall. While uninstalling the browser, if given the option, to tell the uninstall to remove all data, related to your browser, from your computer. This will ensure the uninstall will remove settings, extensions, cookies, cache, and anything else. Now reinstall the browser. If you are still seeing performance issues, then malware could be to blame. Which we will discuss about in a little bit.

2. Unwanted URL suggestions

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As time browsing the web goes by, your web browser will start to suggest URLs based on what you type into the address bar. This is a handy feature at times when you are trying to browse and do not feel like typing out a full website address. The problem is you will undoubtedly start seeing suggestions for stuff you do not want or want other people to see. The most successful way to stop this is to delete  your browsing history, which I explained above. But that's a pretty extreme option.

Removing a single URL is a less extreme option and very easy to do. In any browser, start typing in the address bar until you see the URL suggestion you want to remove. Once it appears, use the arrow keys to select that suggestion and then hit the following keys to delete the URL from suggestions:

  • Google Chrome
    • Shift + Delete
  • Firefox
    • Delete ( or Backspace)
  • Safari
    • Shift + Fn + Delete

For Edge, you will have to clear your browsing history, as listed above, to remove URL suggestions.

3. Web Page Appears Incorrectly

When a web page starts looking odd compared to what to you normally expect, it can become frustrating. The first few things you can do is try refreshing the page, visit the page in another browser or another computer. If the web page looks odd on all browsers or devices, the issue is due to your internet or something was changed by the website. Double check to make sure the website address is correct and that you have not been redirected to fake version of the website. That can happen due to scammers.

If the page does not look odd on other browsers, then a safe assumption would be that there is a problem with your browser. A few steps you can take to fix the issue are 1, clear your browser history, or 2, disable browser extensions to see if they are causing issues, or 3, uninstalling and reinstalling your browser. All of these options I explained how to do earlier in this article.

4. Auto-Fill Data is Not Working

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Auto-Fill is super handy when filling out information during the checkout process or a sign up form. But from time to time it'll not always work how you expect it to. Other times, the data will just not show up.

The first step you want to take to is ensure auto-fill is actually turned on. Below are the most common browsers and how to check autofill settings:

  • Google Chrome
    • Browser Menu > Settings  > Advanced > Auto-Fill
  • Firefox
    • Browser Menu > Options > Privacy & Security > Forms & Passwords
  • Edge
    • Browser Menu > Settings > View Advanced Settings > Auto-fill
  • Safari
    • Browser Menu > Preferences > Auto-fill

Once you have verified auto-fill is enabled, then we come back to the usual suspects, bad data in the browser cache or browser extensions. Follow the steps from earlier about clearing your browser's cache and the steps to disabled and enable extensions. If you do find out that an extension is to blame, double check to see if an update is available for that extension. Otherwise, you might want to consider removing that extension or disabling it.

5. Browser Keeps Crashing Randomly

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Solving this problem is the same as the steps we outlined for the browser performance section. If you've followed those steps and the browser is still randomly crashing it's time to move onto other factors involving your device.

Sometimes new hardware, like a printer or webcam, can cause issues with your browser. If you just installed a new device, try uninstalling it and seeing if that fixes the issue. Unfortunately, trying to figure out if hardware on your computer is causing your browser to crash is difficult. Basically troubleshooting boils down to uninstalling and reinstalling hardware devices and software. This is tedious to do and sometimes may not help you find the problem.

The best advice we can recommend is to ensure all of your device drivers, software, and operating system are up to date. Most software has a "Check for Updates" under an About menu. And most drivers will be updated by the operating system or have an update feature. Make sure to go through all of those updates on a regular basis.

6. Way Too Many Pop-Up Windows

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Pop-ups are a pain to deal with in the web world. Thankfully they are not as bad as they used to be. But, every once and awhile you might notice a large number of websites will start showing pop-ups. When that happens, malware or adware could be on your computer and causing these headaches.

The adware or malware might be running as an extension on your browser or as a separate program on your computer. It could even be hiding it’s activity from you. One of the first steps you should take is run a full system scan with whatever antivirus software you have installed on your computer. Another step after that could be doing a secondary scan with Microsoft Safety Scanner or ClamWin Portable.

For your browser, run the the steps in section one to find what could be causing the issues with pop-ups. Also, take a moment to install an ad-blocker, which are especially helpful on pop-up heavy sites. Just remember to white-list your favorite websites.

7. Unstable Internet Connection

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Having internet problems can be a real bummer, but they probably extend beyond just browser. The first thing to check is if the issue is with all of your devices or just one device.

If the issue is isolated to one device, you will want to see what is using your bandwidth. You can do this by searching for Task Manager on your Windows task bar or, if you have an Apple device, searching for Activity Monitor in the macOS Spotlight. These tools will show you applications running on your device and how they are using system resources, such as CPU power, hard drives and your network.

You might find that a weird application is using bandwidth. If you do not recognize the application, try running some system scans, as detailed in section six of this article. If you notice bandwidth is being used by a browser, it's time to dig into what's wrong with the browser.

When trouble shooting internet connection issues with a browser, you will want to go through several of the items already cover in this article. This includes, disabling add-ons, clearing the browser cache, checking for updates, and so on and so forth.

If you find that the issue occurring on all devices, the issue may be outside of your control. Check for updates on your router and try rebooting your modem. Otherwise, you may have to call your service provider for help.

8. Broken Videos and/or Images

When a web page is not displaying images or videos, it could be an issue with the website's hosting provider. Other times it might be due to your internet connection, so run through the steps in the previous issue. Websites might not work properly when you have certain settings set on your browser.

For example, older websites might need Flash to work, which is bad considering flash has many security issues. Another example is YouTube, which will be useless if you have JavaScript disabled.

By default Javascript is enabled on all browsers, so is Flash. But Flash is being phased out on browsers. To double check these default settings, check out the browsers online help guides:

If, after checking your browser's settings, you are still seeing issues, then it's time to run through all the troubleshooting steps we have gone over earlier. Third-party extensions can cause issues with images and videos, especially ad blockers.

9. Homepage Randomly Changes Often

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The homepage for your browser can change at times. Installing other browsers might do this, sometimes installing an application, like anti-virus, will update your browsers homepage. That is kind of normal if you do not pay attention when installing new software.

The issue is when your homepage changes, without your permission, and keeps changing after you have attempted to change it back. When this happens, it's a sure sign that either an extension or malware is causing your homepage woes. These extensions or malware could be attempting to further infect your computer or get you to visit websites with affiliate links, in an attempt to earn some money.

We hate to sound like a broken record, but now is the time to run through steps outlined in section one. Disabling extensions, updating your homepage, and restarting the browser to see if the homepage does not change will be a quick red flag you have a bad extension. Running a security scan is also a good safety measure as well. See section six  of this article for more information.

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