Do you use only a couple of apps or basic functions on your Android? Would you like to know what it is really capable of? If the answer is yes, then you are in the right place. Today, we are going to talk about some tips that will help you use your Android to the fullest. There are many features that our smartphones offer that we are not even aware of. So, let us change that.
But before we start, you should make sure that your phone has all the newest updates installed. You can check that by going to Settings, and then find the option by the name of ‘About tablet’ or ‘About phone’. Tap that, and inside, you will find System updates. Choose to Update your phone, since some of the tips we are about to talk about require the latest updates. Now that this is out of the way, let us start.
1. Load links in the background
If you are using Flynx, which is a free app for browsing the web, then you know how practical it can be. By simply tapping on the link, a new page will load in its own bubble on the side of your screen. And, when it is done loading, you can simply flick it down in order to close it. It is a great way for loading as many pages as you want, and not moving from the original page.
If you need an alternative, you can go for Link Bubble Browser, which is also free. It is not as popular as Flynx, but it is a decent replacement.
2. Make your phone unlock automatically when home
The newest versions of Android actually offer a new feature by the name of Smart Unlock. You can now set a PIN or password on your phone in order to protect it, but with a new twist – you can add safe places as well. When your phone detects your current location as a place that you trust, like your home, or work, it will unlock automatically.
You can set this by going to Settings, and then to Security. Once you are there, go for the Smart lock, and finally to Trusted places. Here, you can add the locations that you trust, and from now on, your phone will trust them too.
3. Plug your mouse into the phone
There are no extra steps for this tip, simply connect your phone and your mouse, and enjoy using your mouse on your phone.
4. Plug your keyboard into the phone
Yes, the keyboards work as well. You can connect them to your tablet or phone if you have to type something longer. It definitely beats the small on-screen keyboard of your tablet/smartphone.
5. Extend the life of your battery
If your battery lasts way too short, there are several things that you can do about it. You won’t extend it for days, but you should get some 12-18 hours if you don’t use your phone constantly.
The first thing that you can do is to turn off your Bluetooth. At least, if you are not using it at the moment. It will eat away your battery, and it is also a short-range security threat. Turn off your phone’s GPS as well, by going to Settings, and then to Locations, and then switch it off.
Next, go to Settings, and to Accounts. Here, you can turn off the apps that are constantly trying to sync (Facebook, Google, and alike).
While you are in the Settings, go to the Running section as well, and see what apps are currently running. Close them all.
You can also turn down your brightness, vibration, and sounds of your keyboard. Each of these things is a useful little feature, but they all drain the power from your battery in order to do their thing. And, when they all gang up like that, your battery has no chance, and it might get drained in a matter of a few hours.
There are even new gadgets like wallets that can charge your phone that you can buy for some $80. It is like having a spare battery that you won’t forget.
6. Zoom in on pretty much anything
If you wish to get the ability to zoom on literally anything on your phone, you can achieve that as well. Start by going to Settings, and then to Accessibility. There, enable the Magnification gestures. That’s pretty much all it takes to enable this. You can now tap three times on any surface that you would lie to magnify, and then adjust the zoom level and drag your screen around with two fingers.
7. Find your phone after you lose it
You really should not skip this one. No matter if your phone is stolen, or if you simply lost it somewhere, you will need this. There is an app by the name of Prey. It has both a free and a premium version, and it will keep track of your Android through the use of GPS or WiFi.
It can detect the changes in your SIM card, and it can even access the front camera and take a picture of the thief.
Also, you can use Android Device Manager. This will help you by allowing you to lock, ring, or erase your phone remotely.
8. Use custom icon sets
You can find a lot of custom icon sets in your Google Play Store. Simply download the set that you like, and install it through Nova, Apex, or some other app launcher.
9. Only enable texts and calls for important people
This is a relatively new feature that only came out with Android 5.0 Lollipop. They call it Priority mode, and it will only allow interruptions from several contacts, handpicked by you. You can turn it on by pressing a volume button on your phone and customize it further by tapping the settings gear.
10. Allow access to your WiFi without dealing the passwords
You can go to http://blog.qr4.nl/QR-Code-WiFi.aspx and use it to create a special QR code. When your friends scan it, they will get instant access to your WiFi. To make it work, you will have to enter your network’s name, password, as well as the type of network.
After the code is done, simply print it and let it hang on your wall. All of your friends can use their QR readers to activate WiFi automatically.
11. Use app launcher
App launchers are extremely useful features that will make managing apps much easier and better. We can recommend using Nova Launcher, which is free. It will allow you customize shortcuts to your apps so that you don’t have to search for them through home screens. Now, by typing or swiping, you can do different things, which is much more practical, once you get used to it.
Good alternatives for Nova Launcher are Apex Launcher and Action Launcher.
12. Unlock Chrome’s ‘Reader mode’
This is basically a button in your Android’s Chrome that will make it much easier to read articles on such a small screen. You can enable it by typing “Chrome://flags” in your URL bar. After doing so, go to its main Menu, and click on ‘Find in page’. Now, type ‘Reader Mode Toolbar icon’. When you find it, enable it, and then force-stop your Chrome.
You can achieve this by going to Settings, and then to Apps, and then select Chrome. After that, relaunch your Chrome app, and you will notice the A icon that will start showing up on some websites. By tapping on it, you will enable Reader mode.
13. Increase your phone’s speed
This is something that you can achieve in two steps. First, you have to enable the Developer Options. Do this by going to your Settings, and then find an option that says About Phone. Inside, find Build number. If you tap on this option several times, you will see a prompt whenever you turn it on.
The second step includes you going to Settings once more, and then to Developer Options. Proceed to Process Stats, and in there, you will see a ranking of apps that are using the most of your Android’s memory.
14. The difference in how you swipe
If you swipe down by using only one finger, you will open notifications. However, if you use two fingers, then you will get quick settings instead.
15. Block people
If there is someone bothering you via your Android, there is still a block option for you to exploit. Find that person in you Contacts, and select Edit. Now, in the newest version of Android, you will go to the three-dot menu, and pick ‘All calls to voicemail’.
16. Find out what song is playing
Have you ever hear a song that you really liked, but you did not know its name, or how to find it? Well, you can now easily do it by opening Google Search and tapping the microphone. Ask ‘What is this song?’, and your Android will start analyzing it. With a quick search, you will soon get all the information about the song, as well as the artist.
17. Encrypt your phone
Phone encryption is a great way to protect your files. That way, nobody will get to them if they steal your phone, or if you lose it. Do this by going to Settings, and then to Security. After that, choose your password or a PIN, and go to Encrypt phone. You can also encrypt your SD card. The entire process will last a while, probably more than an hour, but it is well worth it.
Only note that the only way to undo this is to reset your phone to the factory settings. Also, upon encryption, it will probably be a bit slower than you remember. We are not trying to talk you out of it, though. It is a good decision, and we support it. Only be aware of what you are getting yourself into.
Follow the instructions, and do not use your phone once the process starts. When everything is done, your phone will be safe, as well as your private data.
18. Reduce the blue light that your screen emits, and sleep better
Your screen emits a special blue light that will affect your sight, as well as your sleep. However, you can help it by using an app by the name of Twilight. It is free, and it will affect your phone’s brightness, as well as its color settings. It will change them according to the solar cycle, and it will help your brain fall asleep more easily at night.
19. Get notifications from your Android to your computer
If you are the only one who uses both of these devices, then you might want to sync them. You would get instant notifications on your computer about anything that is happening to your phone, which is very useful. You can send files, or links, and see texts and phone calls, all on your computer. Do this by downloading and installing a free app called Pushbullet.
There are so many Android users that are walking around with the phone in their pocket or a tablet in their bag, but they do not use these devices to their full extent. There are many useful features that can help make their use safer, more interesting, and even healthier.
By following these tips, you can improve your experience, protect your data, protect your eyes, and even sleep easier. Not to mention the pure convenience of doing it all. So, if one of these tips seems interesting, try it out. Maybe give a few others a chance, and see what happens.