Samsung Galaxy S7 before and after the Android Nougat update: here's what's changed

By now, some of the Galaxy S7/S7 edge users out there have probably got hold of the latest Nougat-infused firmware that Samsung started rolling out more than a week ago. Alas, those sporting a carrier-branded version of either the Galaxy S7 or S7 edge will have to wait a bit longer for their respective carrier of choice to release that coveted Nougat update. 

Of course, one can always sideload the official Nougat firmware on their device pretty easily, but we usually advise inexperienced users with little to no knowledge in "firmwares", "flashing", and "Download mode" to stay away from such arduous practices. It's better to wait than to mix something up and be left with a non-working phone, right?

Anyway, we got Nougat on our Galaxy S7, so we thought we should highlight what the major changes and new features are. And believe us, there are plenty of new changes to talk about!

Quick settings and notifications

There's no second opinion, the notification shade is one of the areas that have been overhauled the most, all for the good reasons. The height of the notification panel has been greatly reduced, while the size and the styling of the Quick Toggle icons have also been revised in order to achieve a more streamlined and clean look of the panel in question. The traditionally large date and clock that used to grace the left portion of the notification shade have also had their overall size reduced, which further saves lots of space. The overall design is similar to the one that made a debut on the Galaxy Note 7. Check out how it looks now and what it used to look like before.

Bundled notifications are one of the key features of Android Nougat and we are thankful that Samsung has adopted without any major changes. Now anytime you receive a bunch of notifications from one and the same app, they will get bundled together in an unobtrusive way. Unlike the way notifications were handled on the Note 7, the Nougat-flavored firmware on the Galaxy S7 displays these in a way more sleeker way, which is always nice in our book!

App switcher & split-screen multitasking

The Nougat update tweaks the appearance of the carousel app drawer slightly. The headers of the app cards are now slightly smaller and less obtrusive. You can still have up to 4 apps' cards displayed at the same time, though. The redesign of the "Close All" button is also a small, but welcome change that makes the interface appear more mature.

Multi-tasking is now a standard and integral part of Android, but Samsung has had a split-screen functionality of the same type for years. This doesn't mean that an old horse can't learn new tricks, as Samsung has once again applied a streamlining brush to the way multitasking interface. You still launch multitasking the same way you did before, but now you can only swap or close the two windows on the screen. The option to open one of those in pop-up windows is still here, though. In contrast, you previously could do all this as well as expand and windows and minimize them to chat heads, as well as copy-paste text between those.


Back in the day, Samsung's main settings menu were overwhelmingly complicated, with numerous features hidden here and there and hierarchy that often made little sense. For the past year or so, however, Sammy did not only streamline this vital part of its software but also did away with numerous intricate features and functionalities that hardly anyone misses anymore. The S7 does not stray away from this trend. We're glad to see the sleek design of the Note 7's Settings menu make a comeback on the Galaxy S7. With a slightly updated iconography, it's now a joy to look at and is arguably way more intuitive than the Marshmallow one. The shortcuts at the top of that one have been ditched (good riddance!) making the whole settings-changing experience a more pleasing one. 

Here's how it looks now and how it used to look before.

And now, to put things in perspective, we thought it will be cool to visualize the massive overhaul of the Settings menu hierarchy. We made two long screenshots of the full menus of the Nougat firmware on the Galaxy S7 and its way longer Marshmallow predecessor. Check them out right below.

Iconography, home screen, app drawer, and folders

Albeit the changes are mostly rather subtle ones, a careful inspection reveals that Samsung has once again decided to touch-up the stock icons. The new squircle ones sport a more consistent flat look that not only makes them less obtrusive and more appealing. 

As far as the home screen changes are concerned, we spotted only one - Samsung has bundled up the wallpapers and themes menus together in the screen configuration menu, which is accessible by long-pressing an empty space on your screen.

The app drawer has been changed a lot, though. There is now a search bar at the top, which allows you to find that one app by keying its name or searching for it with your voice. The Sort and Edit menus of the old interface have been both tucked away in an unobtrusive three-dot menu. This further streamlines the interface and we like that very much. The background is now blurred, too, which gives the whole thing a trendier appearance.

As far as folders go, these now sport a transparent slightly blurred background that's arguably more appealing than the previous execution. Folders used to have white more opaque backgrounds; thankfully, users can still change the background of the folder icon. A picture is worth a thousand words - you can check out the differences we discussed right below.

Stock apps

The overhaul of the interface spans all the way to the suite of stock apps that you will likely use the most - Phone, Messaging, Email, S Planner, and the stock Samsung browser. All of these have scored flatter, more streamlined interfaces, with slightly revised button layouts and text style. 


A regular Joe will likely find the changes in the camera interface the most striking among the bunch. In case you have seen what the Note 7's camera interface looks like, then you already know what the Galaxy S7/S7 edge will be treating you to with Nougat. Aside from the slight text style change, Samsung has directly transplanted the Note 7's interface to the Galaxy S7.

The interface is now mostly gesture-oriented: you swipe up or down to change cameras, left for camera modes, and right for filters. You will only have to meddle with old-school buttons when you want to change enable/disable HDR, the flash, or access the settings menu of the camera. All in all, the camera app is now a joy to use and looks way sexier than before (if stock apps can look sexy, that is).

Nougat on the Galaxy S7 brings a bunch of features that weren't previously available. Chief among these is a feature that you would probably want to change immediately after you update your device. We are talking about none other than the brand new screen resolution feature, which basically lets you choose between 720 x 1280 HD mode, 1080 x 1920 Full HD mode, and the native 1440 x 2560 Quad HD mode. This option defaults to Full HD once you update your device, though you'll probably hardly notice that unless you inspect your display settings menu carefully. You'd probably want to switch that to the native Quad HD if you want to make full use of your screen prowess.

There is also a bunch of new "High performance" mode that sets your display to Quad HD and increases the maximum brightness of the phone by 10%. Needless to say, doing that will shorten your battery life. The are also Game mode, which sets the resolution to Full HD, also increases the brightness, and enables Game Tools and Game Launcher, as well as Entertainment mode, which sets the display resolution to Quad HD and enables Video enhancer and UHQ Upscaler. Those two are a pair of features that aim to improve the quality of the video and audio you're about to consume.

Oh, and there's a new screenshot-grabbing interface, which allows you to draw on your screenshots. Fortunately, the Crop and scrolling screenshot modes are still on board.



1. PhoneCritic

Posts: 1354; Member since: Oct 05, 2011

Nice. Samsung is really improving its UI overlay for the better making it less heavy than before with each new release of Android. I hope to see the Note 8 with an even lighter overlay

9. bobby84

Posts: 595; Member since: May 13, 2016

Nice, looks like my note 7 which I'm using now

12. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

You and me both! You still getting 100% charge too? If not I can explain to you how to fix.

15. Feanor

Posts: 1389; Member since: Jun 20, 2012

Congratulations to both for clinging onto a dangerous, obsolete device that will never see any updates or support. Wanna get your IQs tested?

23. bobby84

Posts: 595; Member since: May 13, 2016

It amazes me how many people without a note77 always waste their time trying to persuade or convenience people with a note 7 to get rid of it, lol. You might as well talk to a wall you will more likely get a response talking to it.

22. bobby84

Posts: 595; Member since: May 13, 2016

Yes sir 100% on Verizon

2. FlySheikh

Posts: 444; Member since: Oct 02, 2015

A lot of improvements.

16. Mxyzptlk unregistered

Unfortunately with TouchWiz, it's going to be a lot of slowdown problems in the long run.

25. dazed1

Posts: 805; Member since: Jul 28, 2015

Unfortunately you have been delusions for many years.

3. M.O.A.B

Posts: 322; Member since: Feb 13, 2015

i really hate the new pull down notification menu, why do i have to pull twice to adjust screen brightness ? i hope this isnt coming to note 5 otherwise everything is looking good... but what about the power off / restart menu ? did it change ?

4. Podrick

Posts: 1285; Member since: Aug 19, 2015

There's an option to show screen brightness control on top or not.

8. M.O.A.B

Posts: 322; Member since: Feb 13, 2015

thanks for the info, i was checking comparison videos between the two android versions and this guy had this option enabled .. my major concern about this update is gone, i hope this is coming to the note 5 :P

5. taz_chaz

Posts: 135; Member since: Aug 29, 2014

meantime my s7 edge unlocked in uk still no nougat and on november s security s patch..hmm

6. goulav

Posts: 6; Member since: Jan 03, 2012

Night mode? Or whatever it was called on Note 7.

10. bobby84

Posts: 595; Member since: May 13, 2016

Blue light filter

21. Tabby_Tiger

Posts: 305; Member since: Jan 23, 2017

I wish Samsung enabled night mode and blue light filter in Marshmallow !!!

24. AmashAziz

Posts: 2934; Member since: Jun 30, 2014

Which samsung marshmallow device are you using?

27. Tabby_Tiger

Posts: 305; Member since: Jan 23, 2017

Note Edge

7. irossdrummer

Posts: 369; Member since: Jan 17, 2015

S7 Sprint still on Marshmallow...

11. twens

Posts: 1180; Member since: Feb 25, 2012

Everyone is talking about looks. The update improves performance a lot. Operating the phone feels much stable and smoother.

13. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

Verizon will likely be the one who doesn't adopt this change. Because on their Note 7, they didn't adopt the new cleaner UI, which is the main reason I took it back. That and they didn't support Samsung Cloud. If you aren't going to support everything, then try to charge me more money for the device vs another carriers, I will leave. I left VZW and hoping never to return. Though I always keep a device on the account open for just in case. They have great cellular service, but suck at many other things.

14. Tipus

Posts: 894; Member since: Sep 30, 2016

Can't wait for t-mobile to release. Miss my Note7 anyway

17. salami1980

Posts: 80; Member since: Dec 27, 2016

I feel it does look better in Marshmallow

18. R3DgRu

Posts: 55; Member since: Jun 10, 2015

So this is goodbye to material design. Wonder when google will also follow to these transparent/blurry things...

19. UserNameUnknown

Posts: 3; Member since: Oct 24, 2016

Using the nougat version for a few days and I love it. They really made the phone look better and even perform better, kudos to Samsung.

20. sabretigger

Posts: 83; Member since: Sep 15, 2012

Is secure folder in the list of features?

28. mohsin845

Posts: 46; Member since: Apr 05, 2014

Uglyest TouchWiz Ever...Previous TouchWiz was the best.

29. omar98

Posts: 71; Member since: Aug 28, 2011

I really hope those features land on the s6 update

30. notfair

Posts: 755; Member since: Jan 30, 2017

It would be great if you could compare the battery life also. thank you.

31. Vinaynaik09

Posts: 1; Member since: Feb 05, 2017

New update has lost of bugs No option to move or copy from file manager No option to safely remove OTG drive 20 to 25 into listing system reduce music volume n it goes to mute

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