In May 2017, Google announced that there are now over 2 billion monthly active devices on Android, making it the biggest mobile operating system in the world. If you’re one of these loyal users then you already know that your device is equipped with the latest and greatest in smartphone technology. Sometimes, however, you just want a little more…
These Tips And Tricks Will Improve Your Android Experience
ELIJAH NOUVELAGE/AFP/Getty Images
From simple ways to keep your battery going all day to easy encryption that will make your phone extra secure, we’ve gathered our favorite tips and tricks to upgrade your Android experience. If you’re not already using one-handed mode, it will change your life!
Keep Your Battery Alive Longer
As our phones get bigger, better, and smarter, they also seem to die faster, which is rather ironic don’t you think? This is mainly due to apps that are running in the background. Some apps drain more battery than others and often times the biggest battery-drainers have no purpose to be running at all. Thankfully, there is a way to help salvage your Android battery so you don’t need to worry about charging mid-way through your day.
Watchdog Task Manager is an app that stretches your battery by managing your apps running in the background. So instead of draining your Android with unused apps, Watchdog Task Manager will handle all that for you. Thank you, Watchdog!
Take Multi-tasking To The Next Level
One feature that Android can claim as its own is the ability to split the screen down the middle to view multiple windows simultaneously. Pretty convenient, right? Android didn’t get this feature until 7.0 Nougat was released but once it came out, many were unaware of the helpful addition and didn’t even know how to use it.
Simply double tapping a button on your phone (depending on which device you have) will split the screen down the middle, allowing you to take multi-tasking to the next level.Browse the web while you surf through your Twitter feed, scroll Instagram while shopping on Amazon—the multi-tasking possibilities are endless.
Stop Wandering Eyes With Screen Pinning
Do you have that one younger relative who always wants to use your phone to play a game? Android boasts a slew of fun games to keep the youngins preoccupied but making sure they don’t snoop through your phone can be daunting. Lucky for you, your Android allows you to pin your screen. When you pin an app, your Android will only run that app until you enter your unlock code. Never worry again about what others are looking at when you let them use your phone! Now they can keep their little eyes and attention on whichever screen you let them use last.
If you’re a heavy sleeper, this next little-known Android app is a game changer.
Finetune Your Volume Preferences
Although Android’s volume control has gotten significantly more intuitive, adding a third-party app like App Volume Control can help you finetune your volume preferences. App Volume Control conveniently allows you to adjust the volume levels of several different apps, even when they’re not even in use. Before this came around, you were limited to controlling the volume of one app at a time (like your ringer volume) or whichever app was currently in use. Now, you can expand your horizons.
Let’s say you want to keep your text messages quite while streaming your favorite songs through Spotify. Or perhaps you want to silence Snapchat while you watch YouTube videos. With App Volume Control, you can.
See If You’re In A Trusted Area
Ordinarily, when you want to keep your phone safe from outsiders, you use your fingerprint or a code to gain access to your device. But did you know that you can program this feature to automatically disable when you’re in “trusted” areas?
With the Smart Lock feature, you can choose when and where your password is needed based on geolocation and devices your Android is connected to. This way, when you’re at your house alone, for example, you don’t have to waste time putting in your code. Get ready to learn how to handle one of the most annoying Android features ever.
Say Goodbye To Apps You Don’t Need
Smartphones always come with preloaded apps, as if we aren’t going to download a ton more. While this isn’t always a bad thing, we only have so much memory to store these apps and a few of the stock apps can take up a lot of space. The kicker is, you can’t even delete the stock apps (like Facebook)—or can you?
Luckily, deleting stock apps is simple. Simply go into your settings panel and go to the application tab. Once you are in the application tab, you can choose to force stop or disable certain apps. Force stopping is merely temporary but disabling removes the app from your tray entirely. Happy disabling!
Customize Your Status Bar
For all Androids, the status bar (circled above) usually contains helpful information like cell signal strength, battery life, the time, and other notifications. But what if you don’t want all of that clutter in your personal status bar? You’re in luck because now you can change what is and isn’t in your status bar.
There’s a somewhat-hidden settings menu called System UI Turner which allows you to select just what you want to be seen in the bar. The only down part is, this is only available for newer Androids so older ones won’t be able to access this feature.
Don’t Like Your Default? You Can Change That
Unlike the iOS, with Android, you are able to choose which apps are your primary ones for usage. For instance, if you have Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox but your default internet browser is Chrome, you can change it to Firefox if you like. Android users have been able to take advantage of this feature since 2011, but lots of users are unaware of this little trick.
Once you have two of the same type of apps downloaded and you try to open something that requires one of them, your phone will prompt you to choose which you prefer and then you can choose the default.
Oh No! Bring Back Lost Notifications
Sometimes, you get so many notifications in your tab you don’t take the time to thoroughly look through them and you just get to swiping away! But if you swipe something of importance, trying to find it can be a hassle. Luckily, there’s a fix for this.
“Tap and hold on an empty part of the home screen, and a screen-adjusting mode will pop up,” David Nield wrote for Popular Science. “Choose Widgets, and find the Settings shortcut. Drag this icon to an empty space on one of your home screens and drop it in place, and a list will automatically pop up. Choose Notification log from the list and tap the icon to open up Android’s notification history.”
One-Handed Mode Takes Multitasking To The Next Level
Have you seen how huge some of these smartphones have gotten over the years? Some are so big, they almost encroach on tablet territory. This has made it harder to use them with just one hand like they are intended to be used. Thankfully, Android has one-handed mode.
Once you open your keyboard, tap and hold the backslash key. You should see the right-hand icon. Click on that and one-handed mode should be enabled. It’s important to note that you must have the Google keyboard installed on your phone for one-handed mode work.
Cast Your Phone On Other Devices
The iPhone isn’t the only device that can accomplish this sweet trick. Androids are capable of displaying their screens on the big screen as well with the help of Chromecast. Not only are you able to beam your music and video to a screen, but you can have your device mirrored on the screen too. All you have to do is pull down your status bar and there should be an option that says “Cast.” Whatever is nearby and available to cast to, your device will appear on it. Playing music from Spotify or a video from YouTube has never been easier.
This next Android hack is sure to bring out the nerd in you.
Beam Me Up, Scotty!
This Android hack is straight out of a sci-fi movie and all it takes two phones giving each other a light tap. It is called, The Android Beam. Typically, when we share content, it’s through normal mediums like emails, texts, Facebook, and the like—but with the beam, you can share content (plus apps, contacts, music, photos, videos and basically anything you can think of) just by tapping your phone against another Android user’s.
Once you enable this feature on your Android, tapping with another enabled device brings forth the ultimate sharing experience. While not all Androids have this feature yet, if yours does, get to sharing!
Palm Motion Lets You Take Screenshots Easily
If you have a Samsung devices, then you can take advantage of one of the more impressive hacks on this list. You are able to take a screenshot by simply swiping the side of your hand across the screen! You can also silence a noisy phone by putting your palm over the screen. Just so long as palm motion is enabled, you are good to go. This is perfect if you’re in a situation (say, on a date or in a meeting) where you want to silence your phone quickly and continue on with whatever you’re doing.
Open Tabs From Other Devices
This is a pretty amazing Android hack that many may not be aware of. Say you are browsing on your Android device but then choose to get on your desktop. You can pick up right where you left off with the click of a button. When you click on the history tab on your desktop, you should see the name of your device (circled in red above) and continue what you were doing.
All you have to do is log into same Gmail account on each device or this option won’t be available for you. This hack comes in handy more often than you would think!
You Can’t Be Too Careful
In this day and age, losing your phone is an absolute nightmare. Between going through your insurance or paying up to receive a new phone can be bothersome. Well, with Android, you can add your contact information on your lock screen! If a kind soul happens to find your phone, he or she can make that call to have your phone returned. You can set this feature up by getting to Settings, then Security, followed by “Show Owner Info On Lock Screen”. You can also make it display your email or anything other information you want.
Gotta Catch Em’ All!
This hack is particularly cool for the youngsters but there are some adults who might be interested in this too. As you can see above in the image, someone is playing a classic Pokémon game on their Android device. How is this possible you ask? It’s quite simple, actually.
All you have to do is download an app called GBA.emu and boom, you’re good to go. That app carries not just Pokémon but it has pretty much every Gameboy game you can think of. So if you’re ever in the mood for a real battle and not a Pokémon GO battle. Get to downloading.
Open Your Garage With Your Phone
Seem to have misplaced your garage opener? Don’t fret. Your Android can help with that. There is an app that many don’t know about called OpenSesame. It allows you to open your garage with your handset device which is beyond cool, obviously. You now have two remotes essentially and don’t have to worry about losing the original when you have this app.
It has a pin to verify that it is indeed the user opening the garage so you don’t have to worry about security either. And it also only opens within a radius of one block.
Android Can Do It Too
If you thought the iOS was the only one that could do this, think again. Android has a spectacular alternative to locating your phone if you happen to misplace it or if it gets stolen. This app is called the Android Device Manager and it is easily one of the most helpful hacks on this list.
Not only does this let you find your lost phone but it allows you to change your pin as well for even extra protection. And if worse comes to worse, you are allowed to wipe everything you have on your phone with the click of a button.
Encrypt Your Android Phone
Encrypting your data has lots of benefits—mainly protecting your identity, passwords, and personal information. Put simply, encryption scrambles your data with a cryptographic key. This way, someone can’t just bypass your lock screen code by plugging it into a computer.
To encrypt your Android, all you have to do is go to Settings > Security> choose a PIN > Encrypt phone >Encrypt SD Card and you’re done! This set up may take a while, so make sure your phone is charged or plugged into a power source.