10 Android Tips and Tricks That Make Life Easier
Looking to maximize the power of the Android mobile operating system? There are quite a few handy shortcuts within Android that can speed up simple (and even some not so simple) tasks. If you’re ready for a crash course in how to become an Android pro, keep reading. Quick note: A few of our tips are only for newer versions of Android, but we’ll let you know which as we move along. Ready? Here goes.
1. Double tap the power button to get to the camera (Marshmallow)
If you’re lucky enough to have Android 6.0 Marshmallow installed on your device, try tapping the power button twice quickly while it’s unlocked. Your device should open up the camera app.
2. Do-not-disturb shortcut (Marshmallow)
Another extremely helpful Marshmallow shortcut is using the volume buttons to activate and deactivate do-not-disturb mode. Pressing and holding volume down turns it on, while pressing and holding the volume up button turns it back off.
3. Smart lock
Annoyed by having to unlock your device for mundane tasks? You can tell your device when you’d like it to stay unlocked in certain situations and circumstances. You’ll find it under Settings > Security > Smart Lock. You can tell it to stay unlocked when you’re at home, or connected to your laptop or car stereo system.
4. Refresh pages in Chrome quickly
If you need to refresh a web page, pull the page down until you see a circular arrow. Let go, and the page will refresh.
5. Press and hold home button for “Now on Tap”
Pressing and holding the home key while information is on the screen brings up Google’s “Now on Tap” service, essentially a way to easily take advantage of Google services based on what’s on the screen. For example, pressing and holding the home button while restaurant information is on screen might bring up directions, a quick link to add a dinner date to your calendar, or access to the restaurant’s online reservations service.
6. Record your screen
Want to make a video of everything you’re doing on screen? Android versions 5.0 Lollipop and later have a feature that allows for just that. You’ll need some type of app to take advantage, though. One app you can use is aptly called Rec, but there are a few others out there, and it’s up to you which one you use.
7. Get application info quickly
Want to find out how much space an app is using up, or get quick access to its settings without going into the Apps pane of the settings menu? Open up the application tray, and drag the app’s icon to the “App Info” option. Android takes you directly to the settings for that particular app.
8. Set up Face Lock
Android has had facial recognition for a while now, but in Android 5.0 Lollipop and later, the feature is greatly improved. According to Computerworld, once it’s set up, when the screen is activated Face Lock will start trying automatically to start recognizing your face.
9. Disable animations for a speed boost
Really not impressed by the cool animations of the Android OS? Turn them off, Spinfold suggests. These extra features — with little benefit — actually cost you a bit in system resources. By turning them off, you might get a little bit of performance back, especially on older devices.
10. Change your default apps
Unlike iOS, Android gives you quite a bit of flexibility in choosing what native apps you want to keep and which you want to kick to the curb. If you want to use another browser or text messaging app, head over to Settings > Apps, then tap the cog icon, and then Default apps. You’ll be able to switch out any apps that you don’t like.
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