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6 min read 54 comments

Lollipop fails: the 5 worst things about Android 5.0

Android 5.0 Lollipop is here and we really, really like it. It improves upon its predecessor in a number of key areas, and the overall experience is a lot more fluid. But it's not perfect. There are a few aspects and features of Lollipop that are just a little sticky; they aren't exactly gelling with us. Actually, they're driving us crazy. Here are the 5 worst things about Android 5.0 Lollipop. 

android bugdroids angry teaser
As good as Android 5.0 is, some features have us running scared. / © ANDROIDPIT

The recent apps card stack

Android 5.0 Lollipop displays the most recently opened apps in the form of a card stack. We understand that this design can be practical, and it feels kind of nice to swipe through the stack. However, there are reports that users have experienced a system slow-down if too many cards are open, even if its working fine for us.

Sure, you can still swipe them away manually, but Google has clearly designed it so that the cards will remain: they aren't even deleted after you restart the device. What this means is that, in a worst case scenario, this view will display as many cards as you have apps installed on your phone - potentially hundreds of cards occupying system memory. It not only makes navigating through the page laborious, but it could also reduce performance.

The other added side-effect is that it's sometimes just quicker to find a recently used app on the home screen or in the app drawer, because in the deck it is hidden amongst dozens of others. In the end, the recent apps stack can make life more difficult, rather than easier.

androidpit android 5 0 lollipop card stack
The numerous cards which can be shown in Android Lollipop's recent apps section make finding the one you want difficult. / © ANDROIDPIT

Chrome tabs in the card stack

This one is pretty great, as far as failures go. It relates to the Chrome Browser and Lollipop's use of cards. By default, tabs in Chrome will appear alongside recent apps in the card stack. It can still be used in the traditional manner, with tabs being managed by the button in the upper right corner of the browser itself, but this is an optional setting (go to your Chrome browser settings and switch "merge tabs and apps" off if you want to use it like this).

Google makes it clear when starting the browser for the first time that it wants you to manage your tabs in the recent apps deck in the future. But why? When I'm in the browser, I want to see my tabs at a glance, I don't want to see them jumbled in with recent apps and whatever else I've been looking at on my device (because Chrome tabs are not clustered together in the recent apps list). This idea just seems ridiculous and makes navigating to recent tabs unnecessarily time-consuming.

androidpit lollipop chrome tabs comparison
On the left we see Polygon, Rock, Paper, Shotgun and Gamasutra mixed between other apps like Play Books and Phone. Why couldn't we just have tabs like in the older version? (Right) / © ANDROIDPIT

Putting Lollipop on silent mode

Have you ever tried to turn your phone on silent mode just by pressing the volume down key? It was quick and easy and wonderful, right? So why the hell can't we do it anymore! Now we have an admittedly personalized, but undoubtedly more convoluted system, involving going through several screens into your notification settings to silence your device.

The classic silent mode is gone, and while the device can still be made completely silent, this also removes the functionality of the notification LED! What's worse, the notifications aren't even displayed once you unlock the phone. In our tests, we had to go to open the relevant apps to find recent notifications (please correct us if we are wrong here) and it's totally impractical. 

androidpit lollipop volume settings comparison
On the left you can see that the volume only goes down to "vibrate" when using the volume down button on Lollipop, whereas previously it would go to silent (right). / © ANDROIDPIT

The quick-settings drop down menu

In Lollipop you can now pull down the quick-settings menu from within the notification menu. Cool right? Nope. Whereas you were once required to slide the menu down, then tap on the quick-settings icon, now you can swipe the menu down, then swipe it down again, to do exactly the same thing. This is not merely a solution to a non-existent problem, it brings its own annoyances too.

Google actually teases you, yes, teases you with the prospect of a completely accessible quick-settings menu in a one finger gesture! Watch as you drag down the notifications menu how the quick-settings will come partially in view, but always just out of reach.

Of course, we can still access the Quick Settings using a less intuitive two-finger swipe, but would it have been technically unfeasible for the system to recognize whether notifications are there or not? So if there's no notifications present, a one-finger swipe would take your straight to the quick-settings? 

androidpit lollipop notifications settings
You can see that Google teases you, like a slot machine about to drop. You can almost pull the notifications shade down in one move but just not quite. / © ANDROIDPIT

The power button menu

Google has removed the airplane mode from the menu that appears when you hold down the power button. As it can still be accessed in the quick settings, it's not such a big deal, but we find it unfortunate that Google has not taken the opportunity to expand the possibilities of the power button.

Some manufacturers of custom ROMs (like Cyanogen Inc, for example) give the option to reboot, adjust volume settings, even take a screenshot from there. We aren't entirely sure why Google has gone in the opposite direction and this seems like a step backwards. I mean, I know it's called a power button, but did Google have to take it so literally? 

androidpit lollipop power button settings
On the left we see the rather slim power button options for Android 5.0 Lollipop, and on the right, CyanogenMod 11. / © ANDROIDPIT

We do recognize how incredibly ''entitled'' these complaints make us look; so take them for what they are. We're here to cast a critical eye on smartphone technology, Google is a big boy, and we're sure it can handle our complaints, they are only small ones after all. But they are still legitimate for what is meant to be an evolution.

These are just the things that have bothered us after our first look at Lollipop, but, just to be clear, overall we are huge fans of it. Still, we would be very interested to know what your thoughts are on the subject, so let us know in the comments below. 

Based on an original article by Stephan Serowy for androidpit.de.

54 comments

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  • i also used to assign different ringtones to my different groups ....HOW T.H. CAN I DO THIS NOW ??????


  • Anyone notice the default option when asked what app to open in immediately becomes the DEFAULT app association. Meaning it will always open in that app... i liked the OPTION of always asking me u n less I hit make default ... using note 5


  • I have 5.0.1 on a Note 4 and everything in this article is wrong or easily, really easily (so easily that it's.not worth mentioning) tweakable via the normal, simple definitions your grandmother could deal with!


  • Volume decrease when playing audio

    I listen to comedy podcasts, and most of those are released for download at a low-volume signal.

    So, to listen, I need to hold the "up" button down, often for 60 seconds at a time, while the code attempts to save my hearing even though maximum volume is not putting me in danger of anything damaging other than possible laughter.

    Google cannot conceive of the intellectual reality that the volume buttons may not have any bearing on the DB level.. eg. that the "13" position is not the same on a John Hodgman podcast as on a Disturbed track. They simply assume that everyone listens to music.. and that every headphone/podcast recording combination functions the same.

    The needed update is a checkbox allowing the user to opt out of the volume decrease.


  • I think what i hate the most about this update is that it does not support the air browse on internet anymore. With the previous version air browse worked with internet.


  • I have to say the most annoying part of the update is the drop down menu. It's driving me crazy because it's harder to read and the font is so small. I wish there was a way to go change this! I also don't see a delete all function anymore when you double tap home to see which app's are still running. My phone is run smoother, so that's at least a positive.


  • If you have the new volume options, this is for you : I created a small widget that stays in the notification bar that lets you adjust the volume of the phone quickly.

    Go to the play store and check out "Volume Button for Lollipop"

    Feel free to check it out and give me a review if you liked it :)


  • I honestly don't have a problem with the chrome tabs in the multitasker. I think it's natural and makes sense. However, I do have to issues with how they are in there. One, Chrome tabs seem to be placed closer to each other than actual apps are, and that makes it difficult to choose the right tab. Secondly, in the old tabs in the actual app, when you dismissed Chrome from your multitasker, you could go back in there and all your tabs would still be there. They would have to refresh, but it would still be on the webpages you were on. In the new version, when you dismiss the tabs from the multitasker (I have grown into a habit of dismissing everything when I exit out of it), it closes the tab, meaning when I go back into Chrome, I have to type in the website again and redirect to the site. I wish they could make it where there was a chrome app and the tabs as separate things in the multitasker. Dismissing chrome would close the app and remove the tabs from the multitasker, but when you reopened Chrome, all your tabs would reappear. Dismissing the tab from the multitasker would be closing the tab. I know there's a good chance of error there, but maybe they could incorporate the Undo toast to give you a chance to bring it back, like it does when the tabs are in Chrome.

    Long story short, blend the two Google.


  • Android 5.0....do not want. Yuck.


  • Thanks for the article Scott,
    As most of these seem to me as non-issues, small nitpicks (That are still entirely valid), I guess that means that overall, Android 5.0 is a pretty good system. Considering it is a new major release then like every predecessor it will no doubt go through numerous revisions. things are certainly looking bright for Lollipop.

    As for the change of context when there are no notifications, that would actually in my opinion cause more issues. It's important in UI design to be consistent, changing what was once intuitive behaviour depending on the time of day or your notifications is neither intuitive or good design. It would be worse when a user is unable to tell the difference between a background running service (Notifications that cannot be swiped away), and notifications in general.

    For example, a download or update running in the background is considered a service, not a notification, but it shows it's status in the notification pane anyway. Swiping down at this time would present the quick settings instead of the download status as expected.

    Deactivated Account


  • @Joseph Ezell: Well, you can manually delete each card. This is what I do to keep the stack managable. But no, so far I haven't found a way to clear it in one go, and when you turn the device off, then on, it comes back the way you left it.

    Deactivated Account


  •   3
    Deactivated Account Nov 26, 2014 Link to comment

    Concerning the card stack…

    QUOTE: “Sure, you can still swipe them away manually, but Google has clearly designed it so that the cards will remain: they aren't even deleted after you restart the device. What this means is that, in a worst-case scenario, this view will display as many cards as you have apps installed on your phone - potentially hundreds of cards occupying system memory. It not only makes navigating through the page laborious, but it could also reduce performance.”

    I’m running 4.4.4 on a Note 4. It offers the card stack feature, but I can simply clean the list by pressing the bottom right button. Are you saying 5.0 does NOT allow the list to be cleared? Or, am I clearing the list and not really stopping the apps from running in the background?

    In addition, if the list doesn’t clear on reboot (insane in my estimation,) then it must take forever to cycle up again. It has to restart every single app I’ve ever run. That’s crazy!


    • My1 Nov 27, 2014 Link to comment

      wait the Note 4 is defferent, as it runs on Samsung customizations, which (at least from 4.0 onwards, aka as far as I can remeber using a Samsung device) had always a clear option that the Nexuses and the other devices that are basing too much on the Nexus experience (like Moto X and alike) dont have.

      Deactivated Account


    • Of course it does. He must have written the article at 2am just after he bought the phone after a long day at work


  • I don't have OS 5.0 on my 1at Gen Motorola Moto X
    It is not available (not yet)
    I am in no hurry for Lollipop on my android device
    I can wait for a 5.2 version (if I have to)
    I want a smooth OS without the BS ;-)


  • Glad to read this article, thought I was the only one disappointed... There is also the silly phone app page which seems a mandatory start, instead of the home view or, simply, the last app used... Is there a way to disable / change that?

    And thanks for the tip o how getting back the tabs in Chrome!


  • ChrisR Nov 26, 2014 Link to comment

    This is a bit rich coming from a website where pressing the right arrow key takes you the next article. It's bloody stupid and annoying.


    • My1 Nov 26, 2014 Link to comment

      especially when you have a 4-way scrolling wheel which for some reason can trigger this as well...
      (Logitech G500)


  • Has anyone else noticed on Nexus tablets how with this 'upgrade' WiFi is now as flaky as Samsung's version of KitKat i.e. crap. I'm sat next to the router and it shows 3 bars whereas a repeater 40 feet away is showing 4 ... What gives?


  • Kikloo Nov 26, 2014 Link to comment

    Seems something is in the air with bad updates coming first from Apple and now Google. Few days back Android users were moaning about Apple giving bad update now same thing happened with Android.


  • Tip: Regarding the blind, you don't need to double swipe. Use two fingers to pull down the blind to get the setting menu.

    Deactivated Account


  • Erik N Nov 24, 2014 Link to comment

    Finally, some honest look on the downsides of Lollipop! I want to add to the quick settings down side, with lollipop you can no longer customize the quick settings, you are stuck to the lollipop dynamic settings. And cellular data is no longer a "one-click" turn of quick settings, next to the double swipe to access the quick settings, you have to click cellular data, click more settings, and then finally you can turn off cellular data.


    • So sad to hear about that. If its the worst, why there's five of them. Thankfully you know where to find the settings in android system. How often do you really switch off data and etcetera these days when you can have unlimited subscription for very cheap. Its time to move to IOS I guess. That's where you'll find nothing to complain, and nothing really!


    • Peter Dec 17, 2014 Link to comment

      I've reported it to google that this is no longer supportd by the one-click widgets as Issue 81891 on code.google.com it would be great if we could get as many votes as possible to raise google developers attention (you can vote for this issue by clicking on the star in the upper left corner)


  • thanks for your observations. a lot of us really are not aware of this as mostly geeks and wannabes are concerned of this. having a smartphone doesn't guarantee user to be smart. by the way I like your hairstyle.


  • There's no need to apologize for noting the current failings of Lollipop. The notification window, volume, app stack, and airplane mode changes, whether temporary or not, are huge annoyances. Also, as I just discovered, the flashlight button, which seemed to make sense, is really easy to mistakenly press at 3am and wake up the person next to you.


  • ThE recents apps card stack caused me another problemas. If I selected an app (I think it was ES file explorar) that haz downloaded a file from internet it downloads it again. This didn' t happen with KitKat.


  • Thank you! This article convinced me not to upgrade to Lollipop until I absolutely have to. Google takes some of the most used functions away and complicates other easy tasks. For absolutely no reason.


  • Hahahaha that line! epic 😂😂😂

    "This one is pretty great, as far as failure go!"

    Deactivated Account


  • "What's worse, the notifications aren't even displayed once you unlock the phone." Not true. When I am in "No interruptions" mode I get the notifications on the lock screen when I unlock the phone.


    • @Czacha234 - We were skeptical about this because it seemed to be a completely insane decision by Google. I have another couple of devices I can test this out on, so I will do this soon and update the article to reflect my findings. Thanks for letting us know!


  • Yanwyn Nov 17, 2014 Link to comment

    I am not the least bit surprised, after all the razzle dazzle hype about Google's Lollipop that it's got problems. As much as I am not at all fond of KitKat, it gave my Moto G 4G Lte a lot of grief at first, I think I'll just wait and stick with the devil I know, then risk more frustrations with Lollipop. Hopefully Google will fix it and fix it soon.


  • I read that apps like SkipLock are not going to work due to a new way of locking/unlocking the phone. :(


  • I already know I'll be going custom Loli as soon as it's available for my phone or the next one. I'm too used to Cyanogenmod and all the freedom and options I have with it, to go backwards now.


    • My1 Nov 18, 2014 Link to comment

      I wonder how Samsung and the others will make lollipop. also maybe we get a mod to return the old recents.


  • it would be so wonderfully smart of Google to give the user options, settings where all of these types of changes can turned on or off (like the power button, or the volume button, as mentioned in your article). Giving more user options is the key to Android strength over Apple.!!
    Btw is the SD card accessible now? That is very important to me, and a reason tto jump ship if not.


    • I couldn't agree more, forcing petty fad styles isn't a step forward, it's retrograde, options provide the best user experience, when are all companies going to stop treating us like sheep and give us the experience we like and want - remember the users, isn't making them happy the aim of the game ?


      • My1 Nov 18, 2014 Link to comment

        also I'd be seriously happy if you can do something against that flat style I dont like it, why must everything look like Windows 8 now?


  • parth Nov 17, 2014 Link to comment

    heyy scott i have nexus 5 build no.KTU84Q(india)
    approximately i purchase dis at 3rd nov. 2k14
    now i want to kw dat when my cell upgraded to 5.0 is der specific batch time for india...tell me ....


  • I want to now when android one micromax get update its directly from google but still now NO y


  • You know you can turn off viewing chrome tabs in recents through chrome settings right?


    • Yup, that's why I said it's an optional setting ;). But thanks for the tip - I think everybody should do this actually so I'll put a note in the article for how to do it :D

      Deactivated Account


      • parth Nov 17, 2014 Link to comment

        ur vdos on youtube its very help full bro...keep doin it


      • But why did they have to make the default settings all backwards from how it all was? I shouldn't have to spend hours, days, weeks, months, trying to figure out how to make my phone silent or how to get the phone to not vibrate on start up/power down (I still don't know how to do the latter). Please help

        ~lollipop hater for life!


    • Or you could like not use chrome at all.