Six clicks: Great tips and tricks for Android

Six clicks: Great tips and tricks for Android

Summary: Android is probably the most versatile mobile platform ever produced. It is so broad there are layers of features buried deep under the facade. These tips will help peel back those layers.

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  • 6 tips and tricks for Android

    Android is the mobile platform that lets you make what you want of it. It is customizable in almost every way and whatever you need to do there's probably an app to make it so.

    As the OS has matured its integrated features and functionality has grown, often quietly in the background. Unless you spend a lot of time fiddling with the Android settings you may miss some useful features.

    Now you don't have to spend the time, as we've done a deep dive in the settings to find six useful tips and tricks that will make your Android phone and/or tablet even better. Spin through them and you should find at least one or two that make you a happier Android user.

    Due to the many versions of Android out there, along with OEM customizations of them, the settings menus differ widely. The instructions for accessing these tips and tricks may not appear on your device exactly as stated, but should be similar enough you can find them with a little investigation.

  • Enable power saving mode when battery is dying

    Smartphones and tablets use a lot of power, and on those days you see your battery level plummet you probably scramble to stretch it until you reach a power outlet.

    There are lots of articles on the web with tips to cut your phone's battery consumption (See 26 ways to improve your iPhone's battery life) so we won't go into that here. It is easy to forget that Android has a power saving mode that is designed to eke as much time out of the dying battery as possible.

    Just turn it on and it will instantly throttle things down to use the least amount of power. This includes turning off haptic feedback, the vibration your phone does when things happen. It throttles the CPU of the device to be gentler on the battery. Lastly, it reduces the frame rate of the screen and lowers the brightness, since the display is the worst offender.

Topics: Mobility, Android, Smartphones, Tablets

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20 comments
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  • Will These Tips Work

    on Microsoft Androids as well?
    Mujibahr
    • Depends on Microsoft...

      But my guess would be "no".

      It is unlikely that Microsoft would allow use of the Google services, preferring to you using Microsoft services instead.
      jessepollard
    • LOLWUT? No such thing.

      Microsoft doesn't make android phones. Windows Phone OS is not based on android in any way.
      james.faction
    • Yes such thing!

      Have you ever heard of MS Mobile X phones (previously Nokia)?

      Even MS knows what works best, not that they would admit it... :)

      Some of the above tips may work, if they are included in AOSP (Android Open Source Project), which is what MS used on its X phones. Nothing from Google will work, unless it is sideloaded on the X phones.
      Yankee_Doodle
  • Personalized voice recognition: Not on my Galaxy S4 with OTA Android 4.4.2

    Mobile Carrier: EE UK

    Personalized voice recognition: Is not on my Galaxy S4 with OTA TouchWiz/Android 4.4.2 :-(

    Is it currently only available in the USA?
    bradavon
  • The screen is overwhelmingly the main battery drain

    and the most effective battery saver is to dim it every 15 or 30 seconds and minimize brightness. Obviously inconvenient when using the device, so I've installed KeepScreen for apps I want lit, as well as a screen brightness control and an "always on" toggle to prevent the lockscreen. These are tiny free apps.
    I2k4
  • Good tips - thank you

    The Chrome ones will help me live with 1 gb of data / month
    cnsouthwick
    • You know this how?

      I was amazed by the Press Release style lack of concrete numbers of the article. How did you take the dearth of numbers and squeeze exactly one gig of future potential savings? Is that one gig only for Google employees who swear they'll do these tips? What about us regular people who aren't on google's payroll like the author and you?
      trejz
    • He knows

      Trejz, you are giving off your (MS?) astroturfer status too easily.

      What concrete numbers are you talking about? It's about tips!

      By the way, cnsouthwick is talking about "living with" 1 gb of data / month, not about how much he would save.

      On my side, and from my experience as regular person, I can tell you that these compression algos (pioneered by Opera, which I use), can even bring down data consumption by 80%, depending on your surfing habits!

      On the other hand though, you will be revealing your navigation to a third party. But this is what the Internet has become. A worldwide monitoring scheme.
      Yankee_Doodle
  • For what version of Android are the above tips?

    I have a Galaxy S4 with android 4.4.2. The personal recognition option is not on the screen shown in this article. I could not find it any where. Perhaps it is something that Samsung changed - I don't know. Just was wondering if it was perhaps something that used to be there in an older verison that you were describing but is no longer configurable.
    lwvirden
  • Power saving mode...

    I could not find anything like this on my Motorola Razr phone. Am I missing something? This sounds like it would be a big help.
    docqualizer
  • Image 5 - Personalized recognition

    Again - this does not appear on Motorola Razr phones...
    docqualizer
  • Much of this is device/carrier specific

    A stock Nexus 5 with the latest stock Android KitKat build does not have either Power Saving Mode or Negative Colors (and I really wish it had the latter).

    I suspect many of these tips are specific to certain device, carrier, and Android version combinations. The article should note this.
    HildyJ
  • Reduce Data Usage

    Keep an eye on the "Reduce Data Usage" feature -- it does effectively speed up the throughput a bit and reasonably reduce the total amount of data being transferred, but once in a while it will break some website and you won't think about this option being the reason. If you've turned it on and a webpage isn't working right, try either turning this off for a bit, or keep a second browser installed and cut over to that when needed. I continually use Chrome Beta, so the non-beta version is a safe fallback since I don't enable these kinds of features in that.

    Good collection of tips. I will be taking advantage of the Power Saving Mode more often now that I've been reminded of it. I knew it was there, but that's the sort of thing you forget about pretty easily.
    qaelith.2112
  • 4 top android apps...

    Top 3 Security APP:
    -----------AppLock:
    https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.domobile.applock
    -----------aidroid:
    http://www.airdroid.com/
    -----------DroidWall - Android Firewall
    https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.googlecode.droidwall.free
    ----- and to manage your data connection: 3G Watchdog
    https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=net.rgruet.android.g3watchdog
    BrazilMan2014gv
  • and if you want to ROOT your phone...

    and if you want to ROOT your phone...the easy way: kingo:
    http://www.kingoapp.com/
    BrazilMan2014gv
  • and 1 more....

    if want to have more storage space on your phone using the external micro sd card:
    https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.buak.Link2SD
    ---- and this is the HOW TO:
    http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=2412319
    BrazilMan2014gv
  • Saving power by using black screens...

    only works on OLED screens, normal LED screens still use the same energy if the pixel is off or on.
    zweihund56
  • Android, iOS, and Windows RT/Phone are all equally versatile.

    The thing Android has going for it is it's low cost. The thing iOS has going for it is Apple's loyal customer base. The thing Microsoft has going to it is that, when it comes from behind, it is very hard to beat.

    What you are calling versatility is probably Androids greatest weakness. There are way too many flavors - each with their own ecosystem. How does the consumer choose between an 8GB "no name" Android tablet and a 32GB Samsung with a stylus, and a 64GB Surface 2, and a 128GB iPad with LTE?

    The price range among these goes from under $80 to over $800. Is there that much difference in capabilities?
    M Wagner
  • Nice article

    Although I could not find "voice recongnitio" on Galaxy S3, it was still a great article.
    mcondic@...