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A look at the new Android 5.0 Lollipop quick-settings panel

A fast and easy way to change your most often used settings

The idea of easy shortcuts to settings you use often isn't new. HTC had them in early versions of Sense, and Samsung and LG have mastered them in the most recent versions of their Android interface. They are definitely handy, and something most of us probably appreciate and use. Whether you want to turn off Bluetooth or stop your screen from rotating to portrait — or much more — you'll be glad there's a better way to do it than digging through the device settings.

Google has included quick settings in Lollipop, and a double swipe-down gesture (or a two-finger drag) of the notification shade brings up the new panel. While much of this settings window looks familiar, it's worth a closer look.

The new Lollipop quick-settings panel

The quick settings panel in Lollipop

The Lollipop quick-settings panel brings an easy way to get to your most often-used settings, with actionable icons that can toggle radios, open more settings, or even turn on the camera flash when you need a torch.

There's nothing here that should be too difficult to understand. You have a set of individual icons, that when tapped can open another dialog window, act as a toggle, or turn settings on or off. By default, you'll have the following settings in the panel on the Nexus 6:

  • A brightness slider for your display.
  • A switch to toggle Wifi on and off.
  • A switch to toggle Bluetooth on and off.
  • Your network signal indicator. A tap here opens a quick shortcut to your data usage settings.
  • The Airplane mode switch.
  • Rotation settings. You can choose from portrait lock — where the phone can't rotate into landscape — or auto-rotate when the phones sensors detect you've turned the phone sideways.
  • The flashlight. This turns on the camera flash so you can use it as a torch.
  • The location icon, which toggles Google's location services on and off.
  • An icon to cast your screen contents to a device set-up to receive them — like a Chromecast or Android TV.

The coolest thing here is the Hotspot icon. By default, it's not there. But the first time you turn on the device hotspot — Wifi, Bluetooth, or USB tethering — it adds the icon to the quick-settings panel. We hope this is open to third party developers so that they can add to the quick-settings panel.

Plenty of options are missing, like anything to help manage volume or notifications, for example. We're not sure if Google is done here, or we will see other settings drop a shortcut for quick access in the panel in future builds of Android.

Of course, the folks who make phones and tablets, like Samsung or LG, can and will alter the way this works. We expect to see more features added when manufacturers update their Android interface to make better use of Lollipop's new base.

Jerry Hildenbrand
Jerry Hildenbrand

Jerry is an amateur woodworker and struggling shade tree mechanic. There's nothing he can't take apart, but many things he can't reassemble. You'll find him writing and speaking his loud opinion on Android Central and occasionally on Twitter.

  • Torch. My inner American is outraged. /s "I'm da Blur boys!" - Me with 1200 ping. Yes. My Internet got worse.
  • Give him a cheeseburger, he'll be fine. ;p Wubba lubba dub dub!
  • Nope. It's only a torch if you light it on fire.
  • Is torch a British thing? I thought it was just a fancy/pretentious thing since I first started seeing the word while frequenting flashlight enthusiast boards like candlepowered (yes this is a thing).
  • It's an outside the U.S thing, since my entire family uses it, and my friends think I'm weird af for saying it. "I'm da Blur boys!" - Me with 1200 ping. Yes. My Internet got worse.
  • No mention that the items contained change??? Posted via the Android Central App
  • You forgot to mention that for the WiFi and Bluetooth toggles, if you tap the word (below the dividing line) it will take you to the appropriate settings instead of toggling.
  • That's a top fucking tip son, nice one. I was wondering where the old long press functionality went. :-)
  • I was just wondering the same thing as long-pressing the icons did nothing.
  • Same boat, couldn't figure out how to do it without a long press.
  • Awesome, thanks Posted via the Android Central App
  • Thanks. That was exactly what I was looking for. Posted via the Android Central App
  • That's what I came here to say, I only found out by accident. Maybe Google need to make one of there irritating and slightly condescending tutorial popups. Wubba lubba dub dub!
  • Thanks!! Was wondering what happened to that...
  • You the man, I was just coming to look for this exact information. Miss long press.
  • Good looking out Posted via the Android Central App
  • Finally, I got this figured out!!! Was not happy that the long-press was eliminated from Kit Kay, but this will do! Thanks!
  • Thanks for that tip. I was just saying how disappointed I was that they did not incorporate the press and hold option to open the settings but this works just as well, just needed to know it existed...
  • Wow! Thanks! Why haven't people upvoted you more?
  • Came here to say this. I only just noticed that the other day, and hadn't seen mention of it anywhere else. I actually prefer this to the long press, because I could never remember whether it was long or short press that was the toggle.
  • I'll agree with that. I had a tablet running CM and a Nexus 5 stock. Long press action was opposite on them and I could never remember which way and I'd end up toggling instead of entering settings for a radio. That was annoying. This is also faster since its just a tap in the right place. I just wish tapping below cell signal would toggle cell radio for consistency.
  • Good tip. I didn't know about that before I accidentally tapped the name once. I'm sure many people haven't figured it out yet. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Can't believe everyone didn't know that! And k didn't mean that is a condescending way. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Nice tip. I didn't know that. Thank you! Posted via the Android Central App
  • Yep. I actually found this out by accident via a mistap on my part when toggling the bluetooth the other day on my Nexus 7. Valuable tip indeed. Posted via AC App from my S4 mini WITH an LED CrackLight ;-)
  • The hotspot icon was added on my Nexus 5, but didn't show up on my Nexus 6.... Weird.
  • You have to run the hotspot once to make the shortcut appear.
  • I have, and it still doesn't show up.
  • Same carrier?
  • You are not alone, no Hotspot love on my Nexus 6. I still have no 5.0.1 update either; I am beginning to wonder where the advantage to this purchase is.
  • There is one missing icon. 'Roll back to KitKat' -icon Posted via the Android Central App
  • that's in the ID-10-t release.
  • +1 Nexusberry
  • Word.. Lol Posted via Android Central App on The Nexus 5
  • I like lollipop better Posted via the Android Central App
  • I do as well but the first version was certainly not ready for prime time. Maybe 5.0.4 will. Posted by my soon to be retired Note 3
  • U can also add a color inversion shortcut to the menu .. Goto accessibility in settings then color inversion...once u flip the switch it will be in shortcut . Iphony Killa N5
  • Yeah that's the icon I use most. I think everyone should give it a bash, I think it could well have uses even for people with healthy vision. Wubba lubba dub dub!
  • Like what? What do you use it for? I switched it on to check it out, and it makes things look pretty cool, but I don't know what it is meant to help with. Just curious.
  • I too would like to know what good is this feature for.
  • See below. :) Wubba lubba dub dub!
  • Well, I use it pretty much every time I enter settings and quite often when I have more than two or three notifications, as well as occasionally while using chrome for web browsing. But I am severely visually impaired and reading black on white is very troublesome. The reason I say it could be useful for people with normal sight is that reading white text on a black background helps to prevent eye strain. Using black on white is just a huge example of skeuomorphism, I think if we switched it would take a huge chunk out of office workers migraines! Wubba lubba dub dub!
  • Agree 100%. For me, having impaired vision, it is of great help .
    But I cannot find a way to set this shortcut. It is not present in the edit funktion for Quick Settings.
    I do have Color inversion ON in Accessibility. (Android 5.0.2) *** Is there someone who can tell me how to ADD this shortcut to Quick settings ? Without the shortcut I have to
    1. open Settings
    2. open Accessibility
    3. scroll down to Color inversion
    4.close settings
    5. go back to the page I want to read
    and to close Color inversion same procedure again........
    Because you cannot use Color inversion for Home screens etc. since it inverts all pictures, icons as well.
    Of course it should work only with text ! The NYTimes page was an exellent example - they applied to text only, left the picures as they are.
    Lets hope that Google will perfect it.
  • Color inversion also can make a display easier to read in bright sunlight, especially those older AMOLED screens that were terrible in the sun.
  • I use color inversion to hopefully reduce the AMOLED screen burn in of the triangle, circle, square, and black separation with apps and notification bar. In combination, I have a rotating background screen that tends to have bright colors. I had the Galaxy Nexus and the burn in drove me crazy.
  • time travel is required to remove an icon once voluntarily or involuntarily added. dumb. one a side note - why does Lollipop allow a phone thief to easily factory wipe my locked phone from Recovery? dumb.
  • What do you mean by easily? Is it just sat there as an option rather than having to press power+volume up? I've not used the stock lollipop recovery. Wubba lubba dub dub!
  • not only that but Lollipop allows a thief to turn off mobile data from a locked phone.
  • Yeah, but to be honest I think a thief that was savvy enough to do that would have powered it off and pulled the sim. Wubba lubba dub dub!
  • I hope they are not done.. Google, please let me customize this area.. Posted via the Android Central App
  • I love my customizable quick setting on my oneplus one. I hope cm 12 keeps this Posted via Android Central App on 1+1
  • I want to be able to disable this when my phone is locked... Randomers shouldn't be able to put my phone on airplane mode. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Guest mode! Iphony Killa N5
  • Is it just me or is the icon for the brightness slider and the gear icon for the settings menu look to much alike?
  • Mine worked exactly opposite for the Hotspot. When I sideloaded the 5.0.1 OTA I had the Hotspot toggle (I had not seen it previously despite using my hotspot), then for some reason it went away. I have not been able to get it back.
  • same. my toggle is just gone. hotspot works fine, just no toggle to be seen
  • just use power toggles
  • Too bad I can't use hotspot on my Nexus 6 without rooting. Thanks Google! :-P Currently on Cricket.
  • I have a pay as you go prepaid plan where data costs 5c/MB. I normally keep my mobile data off, but enable it once in a while. Is there a quick setting to turn mobile data on or off?
  • If you tap the icon that shows your network connection, a box comes up that has the toggle at the top. Are you looking for something else?
  • Thanks! Did not know about it. Requires two clicks but that's OK.
  • I prefer to use 'Settings Extended' from the Play Store.. Much easier and more compact. I miss the Kit Kat notifications shade. I don't like my notifications front & center on my lockscreen but I still want them hiding in the shade area.. Lollipop only gives u 2 options though: On or Off. Posted via Android Central App on The Nexus 5
  • Yeah I agree, I've turned lock screen notifications off, which means no lock screen media controls >:( They had the lock screen close to perfect with lock screen widgets and dashclock installed. Then scrapped it and replaced it with this useless abortion! Wubba lubba dub dub!
  • I'd like the option to switch the brightness slider for a volume slider. Then again, I suppose the brightness slider is more useful since they destroyed auto-brightness! Wubba lubba dub dub!
  • Also, I don't see auto-rotate in my quick settings.. Posted via Android Central App on The Nexus 5
  • Would be great if all of the buttons would disappear if you don't use them. I will never use Cast, location or auto rotate. Brightness slider is also wasted space.
  • Can't understand why Google wouldn't build in the ability to add/remove/rearrange these. I could do that 3 years ago on my Droid Incredible!
  • They will eventually have it, but it takes google years to act like they thought of it. People flame the OEM skins but they are way ahead of stock on things like this. Nexus did not have quick settings for years until after the OEM's. The customizability of my OPO compared with stock is pretty amazing. Posted via my Nexus 6!
  • Agreed. One of the first things I looked for was a way to adjust the settings. I guess we will have to wait until Xposed Framework becomes ART-compatible. That said, Lollipop is the first stock Android version that doesn't feel like it needs several Xposed modules to fix little quirks. The lock screen with notifications is much nicer to use and doesn't cause issues and battery drain like AcDisplay or other lockscreen replacements.
  • Samsung. If I'm not going to see Mono Audio in my quick settings...
    Third party devs. You too... Posted via the Android Central App
  • Thanks, Cowboy! This is definitely a great feature, and something that can be expanded.
  • I really would love to see a Google Play Music play button icon. I have the widget on my home screen, so it's not a big deal. But if I'm driving, it's much better to hit the lock button, swipe down, and hit play. That's what I really want for a shortcut!
  • I think its just about perfect now that torch and auto rotate are there. I always added them in previous Roms. The cast screen one is very nice as well. Especially since I have two Chromecasts in the house. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Something's missing..... Hmmmmm. Maybe volume settings??? They took them out of the power button, makes sense, right? Posted via the Android Central App
  • It wouldn't have killed them to make it black instead of that weird greenish grey...
    Well, hopefully Sony will see to that and alter it to keep the current look of theirs (which, I think, it's superior to what Google did in theirs).
  • Snap...5.0.1 OTA just landed on N5 Iphony Killa N5
  • I really wish google would allow users to edit these dropdown settings. It would be easy to do and I really can't think of any negatives to allowing customized notification toggles.
  • 5.0.1 ota just hit Scotland n5 Posted via Android Central App
  • Simplistic and ugly... 5.0 should use no resources and have no bugs or flaws! Buggiest os ever and themed like what you would expect a 1990 note pad os to look like. Really putting our 2k screens to the test. What a waste!
    I just don't see the bragging about or thinking the new 5.0 scheme is so cool.
  • +1
  • This could be much improved. I think specifically when there's no notifications one swipe should automatically bring down the toggles Posted via Android Central App using galaxy s4
  • One swipe does bring down toggles. You just do it with two fingers instead of one. Posted via the Android Central App
  • There should be an Account Sync toggle. I need an easier way to turn it on and off, as I don't like having the sync on all day in an effort to preserve some battery life. I feel like one of my older android devices had it back in the day. HTC Sensation or my Epic 4G Touch.
  • They need to add an option to toggle sound modes. I have the moto x and even though it was in night mode the thing was going off whenever I got an email. Plus there was no easy way to mute it.
  • Im in Canads on Koodo. My nexus 5 still hasnt got the 5.0 update. Any idea why not? Posted via the Android Central App
  • I really wish there was a vibrate/sound toggle in the quick setting panel.
  • I miss the button for mobile data.
  • I just managed to get data switch back to quick settings. THANK YOU ASUS
  • Quick settings are utterly useless to me as I have a much tidier app (Power Toggles) for it. I hate a lot of things about this update, but this is on of the big ones. I have Power Toggles for this stuff and it's much better for it to be on my homepage. It's more aesthetically pleasing too. Is there any way to completely disable it WITHOUT rooting? As far as I know I can't even unlock my bootloader because Moto X + Verizon. I've researched this a lot and all I've found is how to delete individual toggles, but only ones not there by default. I don't even like the way quick settings are implemented on the Galaxy and it even looks like it's stationary with the notifications. Better but still ugly to me. Honestly I just want KitKat back and i feel like it shouldn't be so much damn trouble to rollback. Or at least a skin or theme or something to make lollipop look exactly like KitKat. Ughhh.