T-Mobile has rolled out Marshmallow 6.0.1 for last year’s devices, including the Note 5 and S6. The effect depends on just what you want out of it. If you are a consumer who is comfortable with the stock, out of the box configuration, then you won’t hit any more of the issues that arise from any other insufficiently-tested release than anyone else, but we’ll come to that soon. On the other hand, if you like to tweak your unit for optimum performance, stop bloatware and protect your privacy to any real extent, then Marshmallow is a minefield in the midst of a flowering meadow.
First, however, the consumer has a right to know that there are some changes that T-Mobile in particular implements to help pay for their expansion and to keep their costs in line. If you didn’t have WiFi calling turned on before, you will now. You’ll have to disable it again manually. Also, be aware that the T-Mobile application will not stay dead. If you use an app killer, it can’t be set to kill fast enough to keep all the apps that want to know what your’re doing down for more than a very few seconds. The good news is that with the new level of permissions control available, you can reduce the risk and damage by restricting these apps to the greatest extent possible. Therein lies the deceptively beautiful meadow. We’ll cover that last.
Of interest to all users, a number of significant issues have been reported on a sufficiently widespread basis to justify calling them bugs. These include high battery consumption, WiFi connection problems and Bluetooth connectivity challenges. It’s important to note that these challenges show up mostly when re-establishing existing connections and crop up with less frequency with creating new connections. Battery issues are more common with T-Mobile and other carriers that load you down with their auto-start apps that report your every site and movement back to their home servers. The usual process of incremental releases will start to iron out the worst impacts of these soon enough. In the meantime, try rebooting your phone regularly and use Safe Mode to do basic troubleshooting. Don’t be afraid to involve your carrier, but only by going to one of the stores. It’s a lot harder for them to blame it on you when you’re right in front of them demonstrating that it isn’t.
Now … into the minefield. While this release offers unprecedented control over permissions for non-rooted users, this newfound opportunity to control what the apps are allowed to do has one very serious potential drawback. You must now exactly what you are doing or you can inadvertently cause serious complications, especially if you want to alter the behaviors of the core system applications. Be very, very careful. The tiniest-seeming change can cause interrelated apps to malfunction or not work at all. Research and understand the downstream impacts of your changes. The Law of Unintended Consequences is in full effect. Ensure that you take precautions such as backing up your unit completely and know how to reset permissions. Should you encounter issues, fall back to the original settings prior to engaging vendor support.
Overall, this is one of the least buggy major releases, but more care should have been taken. An additional couple of additional Sprints in development could have saved T-Mobile a lot of support calls.
As always, please provide your own comments and constructive feedback is most welcome.