The app is compatible with devices running Android 6.0 Marshmallow and up.
The UI of the app has remained mostly the same with a slightly altered color palette. It is still divided into three columns or tabs- Favorites, History and Contacts and all the tabs haven’t received any visual uplift.
However, you will notice the main difference when you place a call or receive a call. The call screen has been updated with a lot of tweaks to the UI, but no new substantial feature has been added.
The call screens for both outgoing and incoming calls now feature a translucent blue background (Google really loves the really blue color). The home screen wallpaper can be seen partially through the blue screen.
When you get an incoming call, the answer/receive button is now a bubble of the caller’s photo which can be swiped up or down to accept and reject respectively, instead of swiping left or right. The button also bounces up and down in sync with the device’s vibration when its ringing.
The app needs to be set to default in order to function properly. You can do this by going to Settings-> Apps-> Select Google Phone and then tap on the ‘set as default’ option.
The Google Phone 5.1 app is available for all Nexus devices running on Android Marshmallow and Nougat while another patched version will work on any other phone running Marshmallow and Nougat.
You don’t need to root your phone to install and use the app. Download the APK for Nexus devices from here and non-Nexus devices from here, allow installation of apps from unknown sources from security settings and you are good to go.
However, it should be noted that there are a few bugs in this version of the app. The Caller ID doesn’t work and individual calls cannot be deleted from the call history. The app has also been reported to freeze for some users when the settings app is open.