Google's Android smartphone operating system seems straightforward, but there are many ways to hack it for convenience and personalization. Check out our finest Android tips & tricks to find out how.
Android is a highly capable, innovative mobile operating system that frequently leapfrogs Apple’s iOS in new technology support. 5G, NFC payment, bespoke keyboards, and more. However, the OS is complicated due to its cutting-edge features. The design is basic enough for casual users who just want to text, call, and use their apps, but it hides power-user options and features. Just see where.
Our tips and shortcuts will help you master Google's mobile OS. These are merely some of the ways you can take advantage of the Google's OS—there’s such a comprehensive list of functions that you’ll no doubt find more. Check out our top Android apps and leave a comment below. We may add them to future revisions of this story!
Uninstall Unused Apps
Android phones usually have a lot of useful apps. Many will be enjoyed by most people (maps, email, a browser, and so on), while others may not be to your preference. If you don't like podcasts, don't download one. Most phone makers pre-install useless apps. To uninstall an app, press and hold its icon for a few seconds until the menu opens, then tap I.
Locked preloaded software cannot be removed. Even if you just use Mozilla Firefox or Microsoft Edge, you will still be unable to remove Google Chrome. You can "Disable" similar programs to remove them from the user interface and free up resources.
Digital Wellbeing Features
Texting and "doomscroll" late at night is unhealthy. Android 11's Digital Wellbeing includes Bedtime. The program mutes your phone at a set time and turns the display black and white if you need to use it at night. Pause from the menu to relax. If you're wanting for additional ideas on how to obtain a good night's rest, check out our article on the benefits and drawbacks of using technology before bed.
Wellbeing also has focus mode, which suppresses app notifications to avoid distractions. Putting your phone down with the screen down triggers Do Not Disturb mode on select models, such as the Pixel and Motorola phones from recent years. Work Profile hides all your work apps when you're done.
Windows Setup Your Phone App
I would imagine that the vast majority of Mac users also own an iPhone, given to the remarkable compatibility between the two systems. Windows 10 users can download the Your Phone desktop app to integrate their phone and computer even more. PCs simplify the initial setup. To get started, open the Settings app and navigate to the Phone section, where you can then pick Add a Phone. Your PC will work as a phone, text message, and photo viewer/editor concurrently.
With Link to Windows, the Your Phone software for newer Samsung smartphones and the Surface Duo phone can run numerous Android apps on the PC. Apple's mobile OS doesn't allow Windows users to receive Android SMS online. Android apps operate better on Windows 10's Your Phone than in Windows or macOS emulators.
Edit Quick Settings
I dislike that Android's Quick Settings require two swipes to display more than one row, and even after both swipes, there are still two pages of options. You can move your most-used settings to the first row you reach by swiping down. Simply by tapping the pencil sign, you will be able to add helpful features such as switches for the Focus mode and the Dark mode.
Install Apps From the Web
I think Android's advantage over iOS is this. A physical connection between your device and your hands is not necessary for app installation. With a web browser and an account tied to the same Google account as the phone, you may install apps and games directly to the device. When you go to install, you'll be able to browse a list of all of the Android devices associated with your account. This is pretty beneficial when you find a good program on your PC but don't feel like fiddling with your phone to install it.
Install Third-Party Apps
Android's open nature means you're not confined to a single app store like you are on iOS. The vast majority of customers may get all of their chosen apps through Google's Play store, which also offers significant security protections. If you need something not included, you can visit Amazon's app store, your phone manufacturer's app store, or download the software as an APK (Android Application Package file).
Third-party app stores are the main source of Android malware, so if you choose this route, be sure the program is safe. Prioritize fact-checking! After you've installed the app you want, it's a good idea to disable Install Unknown Apps from the source.
Install a Launcher App
Users of Apple's iPhone don't have access to this type of personalization. A Google Play launcher software lets you change your phone's home screen. Action Launcher, Apex, Lawn Chair, Lightning, Microsoft Launcher, Nova, Niagara, and Smart Launcher are some great launchers.
The iOS 14 launcher turns your Android device into an iPhone, with Siri shortcuts and an App Store icon instead of Play Store. Do you long for the good old Windows Phone days? There are even launchers available that aim to emulate the look of that OS.
Customize Message Alerts
Android 11 lets you prioritize messages and group conversations. Bubble notifications can now show over other open programs. It's as easy as activating them in Settings and marking the contact as a top priority. A notice has three Bubbles settings: All Conversations Can Bubble, Selected Conversations Can Bubble, and Nothing Can Bubble.
Add Widgets and Customize Home Screen
With iOS 14, widgets can now be added to the home screen. Android users have had this capability for a while, but not everyone knows. Long-press the home screen, select Widgets, and choose from the phone's apps' widgets. By holding down on the Home screen, you can access additional settings, such as the ability to disable screen rotation for the Home screen (which we would never do, because it's cool to see your home screen in landscape) or the removal of the Google feed page that appears to the left of the Home screen.
One of the most major benefits of Android over iPhones is the option to extend storage capacity using a microSD card, which is available on various Android phone models. This not only makes it possible for you to keep more media and programs on your phone, but it also gives a mechanism for moving vast amounts of file data between your phone and other devices. Certain Android phones can be connected to a USB storage device to access and explore their data. If your phone supports USB-C, you can use a Type-C USB flash drive.
Android is more open than iOS and more like Windows than macOS, making it more vulnerable to malware attacks. We advocate using an Android antivirus program despite Google's strong protections. Neil Rubenking, PCMag's security expert, recommends Bitdefender Total Security, Kaspersky Security Cloud, Norton 360 Deluxe, and McAfee AntiVirus Plus for the Editors' Choice award. Most protect desktops. They'll scan for viruses and watch for harmful software installations. Changing your phone's SIM card prevents thieves from accessing your account. Some have VPN.
Screen Pinning in Android
The following insightful tip comes to us courtesy of our colleagues at ExtremeTech.com (Opens in a new window): If you need to give someone your phone but don't want them to use other apps, pin the screen. If it's not on by default, activate it under Security. To prevent switching apps, press the app icon on any app in the multitasking interface and select "Pin." By needing your phone's PIN, you can safeguard the process of switching between apps. Tap on the app icon in app switching view to split the screen, stop notifications, and view app information.
If you choose, you can give someone more access than screen pinning allows. You can enable someone else to use your phone, but they will not be able to access your apps, data, or settings, nor will they be able to send or receive text messages until you activate Multiple Users in the Settings menu under System > Advanced. Turn on the Lock Screen slider for Adding Users. Swiping twice from the top of the screen opens your phone's Quick Settings menu. Select Add Guest from your user icon in the lower right corner. It takes a little bit for the phone to transition to the mode, which disables any personal accounts (like email) but enables services such as making phone calls, using maps, and browsing the web. Only Android factory-installed apps are displayed, so guests cannot post to Facebook or tweet using your account.
Android 11 added screen recording. The feature is now available on all Android 11 phones, not only Samsung, LG, and OnePlus. Use it easily: Simply pull down the top shade, pick Screen Record, and start recording. Touch locations and sound recording are optional. Press the huge red bar to finish recording. It worked perfectly and produced a typical MP4 file in the gallery while testing.
Ben Moore of PCMag alerted us. Open the Settings app, go to About Phone, scroll to the Build number, and touch it seven times to activate this feature. Select System > Advanced > Developer Options in your device's settings. From this page, you can reveal screen taps, alter Bluetooth device settings, and set USB connection preferences, among many other developer-specific setup options. This one is definitely for serious tinkerers, not technophobes.
Enable Find My Device
If your phone is lost or stolen, these mobile operating systems can help you find it on a map. These Find My services also let you quiet the phone, wipe its memory, and make a sound. Apple's iOS lets you show your phone number or other message on a lost smartphone, unlike Google's Android. We don't understand why Google hasn't incorporated this.
Battery Saver Mode
Android gives customers a lot more freedom over the possibilities for conserving battery life than the iPhone does. You can switch on Battery Saver mode and configure it to turn off when the phone is completely charged, or you can utilize the Adaptive Battery function, which extends battery life based on how you use your device. You also have the option of establishing a schedule for the Battery Saver mode, which allows you to have it automatically selected based on how you use your smartphone or when it reaches a predetermined percentage of battery life.
Control Your Smart Home With Your Android Phone
With the release of version 11, Android made it simpler to control devices found in smart homes. Holding the power button for a long time displays a screen with huge buttons for controlling lights and other electronics. In order for this to function, you will need to configure the devices using the Google Home app and, if wanted, create a room expressly for the devices to dwell in.
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