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[Update: Rolling out in Canada] Motorola Moto Z3 Play Android Pie update is going live in the US

Update 4/9/19: While Motorola posted the release notes for the Android Pie when this article was first published, the update actually still hasn’t rolled out in the US. It is now rolling out in Canada, however.

The Motorola Moto Z3 Play was launched in June 2018, sporting a 6″, 2160 x 1080, 18:9 AMOLED display and a Qualcomm Snapdragon 636 SoC. What made the Moto Z3 Play special was that Motorola remained committed to the Moto Mods ecosystem, allowing users to enhance the useability of their device if they did not mind spending some more money. However, the choice of SoC at the prices that Motorola wanted really did not find much favor with consumers.

If you did purchase the Moto Z3 Play, here’s some good news for you: Motorola has begun rolling out the Android Pie update for the device. This is different from the closed beta of Android P DP3 that was spotted on the device in June 2018, as this release is a stable Android Pie release that will be widely available.

Moto Z3 Play XDA Forums

Motorola has published an extensive list of enhancements that the Android Pie update will bring to your device:

Moto Z3 Play Android Pie List of Enhancements:
Usability
  • New navigation gestures: one-button nav lets users conveniently navigate with just one button. This updated version is just as easy to use, but with helpful new gestures such as swiping up to access the recent app carousel.
  • Adaptive battery: go longer with a single charge. It prioritizes battery power on the apps you use the most and applies restrictions on the ones you use the least. Battery saver can now be activated from 70% or below.
  • Adaptive brightness: fewer manual adjustments to perform better. Machine learning takes notes of your habits and automatically adjusts to your activities.
  • Quick settings improvements: no shortcuts anymore (toggles are no longer expandable, but press and hold a toggle goes to the setting detail). The icons have been redesigned with a rounded concept and circular background.
  • Rotation key: Android Pie presents a temporary rotation even with the auto-rotate disabled. A rotation button is displayed whenever it detects that your phone has changed orientation.
  • Dual SIM settings: by pressing the SIM Card toggle in the Quick settings, a full screen activity is shown to select preferred SIM and manage data usage.
  • Redesigned Settings app: colorful icons for each selection with a circular background. It also warns if the phone is muted or in Do not disturb mode. Order, name and placement of the settings options have not changed.
  • Better screenshots: another handy Android 9.0 feature is the addition of the virtual screenshot button/shortcut to the power menu (the old power and volume down method (still works). You can also edit your screenshots immediately after taking them and a delete option is also available.
  • Improved audio controls: the volume slider is now vertical and close to the volume buttons. Users can switch between ring, mute and vibrate-only mode. Plus, media controls are now the default volume adjusted, and Do not disturb cannot be turned on/off via the volume keys anymore. Bluetooth device volumes are also accessed whenever connected. As usual, ‘Volume Up + Power’ changes the ring mode to vibrate.
  • Zoom in text: you can finally manage the annoying mistakes of selecting incorrect text. Now, when you press and hold a phrase or text, it will automatically magnify at the pointer. It also helps you read small text and select words precisely.
  • New and updated emoji: 157 new emojis, as well as a gender-neutral concept.
  • Settings icon while on PIP mode: tapping the new settings icon brings you to the app’s PiP settings, where you can enable or disable the feature.
  • Other UI changes: time is now on the left side and the search bar is now rounded. There is a new task manager/recents list that now shows a horizontal list instead of a vertical one and includes the split screen capabilities by pressing the app icon above the thumbnail. Dragging the split screen border will select the app you want in full screen.
Notifications
  • Notification UI changes: notifications now have rounded corners. It also supports inline images/stickers and distinguishes single/group conversations.
  • Dismissing notifications: Android Pie will now suggest a couple of actions to you for the type of notifications you usually dismiss. It will offer to turn off frequently dismissed notifications by asking you if you would like to stop seeing these notifications or keep showing them.
  • Notification bar: maximum of 4 visible notifications in the status bar before the list is truncated with a dot to indicate more unseen icons.
  • Manage notifications: a shortcut at the bottom of the cards in the notification shade that allows you to see a user-facing list of recent notification activity. If it’s something annoying, you can flip the toggle right there to disable unwanted notifications in the future.
Performance
  • Performance improvements: applications will launch faster and use less memory, gaining performance and efficiency improvements.
  • Power efficiency: refinements to Doze, App Standby and Background Limits to improve battery life.
  • Background App privacy: the system restricts access to the phone’s microphone, camera and other sensors (other than GPS). A persistent notification is shown if an app needs access while in the background.
  • Bluetooth enhancements: simultaneous connection of up to 5 Bluetooth audio devices. However, there is no option for simultaneous playback: users need to choose the device to be used. Android 9.0 also remembers the last volume level for paired devices.
  • Wi-Fi optimization: Wi-Fi hotspot goes OFF in case of no connection. It disables automatically, preventing others nearby from connecting to your network.
  • Stability improvements: includes changes that fix bugs and improve the stability of your phone.
Security
  • Security enhancements: an alert tone will be heard when a call is being recorded to all parties. The pattern unlock also hides the swipe trail, instead of simply leaving the trail visible until the phone has fully unlocked. Better for security.
  • Data encryption: Android Pie will now perform client-side data encryption and/or decryption on the user’s phone: authentication is required (password, PIN, pattern), plus Google backs up all information to the cloud and hacker attacks become much more difficult.
  • DNS over TLS support: it creates a secure connection to the DNS server before DNS queries and responses happen. For example, someone monitoring the connection will have a harder time seeing what you’re doing.
  • HTTPs by default: all applications built for Android Pie onwards will send and receive data via HTTPS by default, ensuring your data is better protected as you communicate with the app’s servers, especially public Wi-Fi.

The update has begun its rollout in the US, and should soon arrive to other regions as well.

While the Android Pie update does bring some competitive edge to the Moto Z3 Play, it may not be enough to convince more people to look past the other deficiencies and move over to this device.

Update 1: Available in Canada

Like with the Moto Z3 on Verizon, Motorola published the Android Pie release notes months before its actual release. Users on our forums report that the update has rolled out for them in Canada, but not in the U.S.

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