One of the things users love the most about Android is its flexibility. It offers a wide range of customization options, allowing you to personalize your device according to your liking. When using an Android device, you’ll also find that there can be different ways to perform a task, so you can choose whichever is more convenient for you. There are also those cool Android features and functions you might not know about, which can help improve your experience even better.
In this article, we’ll share with you tips and tricks to help you get to know your device better. Don’t worry; we are confident you can do all of these, and they will not require downloading additional utility or app. We will focus on the features and applications that are on most Android phones right off the bat. Regardless of your device’s brand, you’ll undoubtedly be able to follow our guides or at least find an equivalent.
Activate Split Screen With Just One Button**
If you currently have an app open and would also like to see and use a recent app, you can have the two of them share the screen with Android’s Split Screen feature. By merely long-pressing the Recent Apps button, you can trigger the function.
- Press and hold the Recent Apps button, the square button beside the Home button.
- The open app will automatically be re-sized to fill the upper half part of the screen. Meanwhile, the most recent app will appear in the bottom half.
- Tap the recent app, so it fills the bottom half of the screen. You can now use two apps at the same time!
Quickly Switch Between Apps**
Keeping in line with the subject of multitasking, another feature that you may find pretty useful is the ability to switch from the currently open app to the last one that you were using. You’ll also need the Recent Apps button for this. Double-tap merely it to switch between two apps.
Swipe to Open Side Menu*
Are you familiar with the “hamburger menu”? It is the menu represented by three horizontal lines at the top-left corner of most apps. If you have a big device, it can be difficult to reach and open this menu when you’re using just one hand. Thankfully, there’s a more natural way to access it. Instead of stretching your thumb all the way to the top of your screen, you can swipe from the left edge of your screen to the center!
Lock an App to the Foreground*
Our phones are private properties. However, there are times when you can’t help but let someone else use it, such as when your kid asks to play a game on your phone or when you show an officemate photo from your weekend getaway. If someone wants to borrow your phone to do something in particular, but don’t want them wandering outside the app you initially permitted them to use, you can lock them to that app through the Screen Pinning feature.
Screen Pinning allows you to pin an app to the screen. The app can only be closed by entering your PIN or scanning your fingerprint. See, if your phone’s borrower attempts to switch to another app, you’ll know because they’ll have to ask that you enter your PIN or scan your fingerprint to do that. To pin an app to the screen, follow these steps:
- Go to your device’s Settings > Lock screen and security > Other security settings.
- Locate “Pin windows” under Advanced. Click the toggle switch to turn it on.
- Tap the toggle switch beside “Use screen lock type to unpin.” Choose which screen lock type you want to use. If you don’t have a PIN, password, or fingerprint lock set up yet, you’ll be asked to set it up now.
- In the next window, “Notifications on the lock screen,” choose how you want to show notifications while a screen is pinned.
- You can now try how Screen Pinning works. Open an app to pin.
- Press the Recent Apps button. You will now see a pin icon at the app window’s bottom-right corner. Tap it, then tap Start.
- To exit a pinned screen, press the Back and Recent Apps buttons together. You will be asked to enter your PIN or password or to scan your fingerprint.
Capitalize a Word’s First Letter*
Here’s a quick one. Let’s say you’re sending an email to an important client whose name is long and arduous to spell and you, unfortunately, forgot to capitalize the first letter. Of course, you can’t let that mistake ruin your relationship with that client. You know, some people are very particular with how you address them. This mistake can also leave an impression that you don’t pay attention to details.
First thought and solution you might come up with are to delete the entire name and type it again. Hold that thought because we’ve got an easier fix.
Click the word to highlight it, then tap the uppercase key on your keyboard. Then, see the magic unfold!
Another Way to Check Time and Date at a Glance**
It’s a no-brainer that you can see the current time at the top-right corner of your device’s display, but if you have not been paying attention to the Clock app itself, then do it now! You might chuckle a bit after finding out that the clock icon shows the actual time — yes, those hands move. The same goes for the Calendar app.
However, if you’re using a custom icon pack, you might not be able to use this feature. Some custom launchers also do not support it.
Show the Entire Quick Settings Pane in One Swipe*
We typically swipe down from the top of our device’s screen to manage quick settings, such as to turn Wi-Fi on and off or activate Do Not Disturb. However, the first level cannot show everything, so we have to either swipe down one more time or press More. But did you know that there’s a quicker, one-step way to see all the icons in Quick Settings?
By swiping down the status bar using two fingers, you can instantly access the entire Quick Settings pane.
Double Tap for Notifications*
If all you want is quickly check new notifications, instead of swiping down from the top of your screen, you can double-tap the status bar to reveal the notifications panel. From there, you can decide which one you’d like to act on.
Customize Quick Settings*
As mentioned earlier, one swipe from the top of your screen will not show all icons that you need to use or activate. Sure, we taught you how to reveal the entire pane, but you can’t always use two fingers to swipe, mainly if you’re bound to using your device with just one hand. The best thing to do is arrange Quick Settings so that your most used tools are on the front page. Follow the steps below to enter Quick Settings’ Edit Mode and rearrange tiles and add new ones:
Reveal the entire Quick Settings pane. You can follow tip number 7 to do this.
Tap the pencil icon or EDIT.
You’ll see that the window is divided into two sections. The upper part shows the currently active tiles. At the bottom, half are the inactive tiles and tools. You can swipe up to see more of these inactive tiles.
To move around tiles and add more to the active pane, tap, hold and drag them into position.
Long-Press a Quick Settings Tile to Customize Its Settings*
One tap on a Quick Settings tile will turn the feature on or off. But if you need to change a setting, say scan for a new Wi-Fi network, you’ll have to access its full settings menu. You can go the long route and open your device’s Settings, but we know a shortcut. Long-press that tile or tool and you’ll be taken straight to its dedicated page inside Settings.
Jump to the Clock App by Tapping Your Upcoming Alarm*
If you have an alarm that is set to go off at a later time, you’ll likely find it under Quick Settings. If you tap that alarm, you’ll be instantly taken to your Clock app, allowing you to change settings or set another alarm quickly.
Show Seconds in the Status Bar***
We’re used to seeing time at the top-right of the screen, but by default, it only shows the hour and minutes. If you do something that requires seeing seconds, too, you’re in luck. By activating the secret UI Tuner, you can take advantage of this neat trick. Follow these steps:
- First, you need to enable Developer Options. Go to Settings > About Phone.
- Next, swipe up until you see Build Number. Tap it seven times in quick successions. You’ll be notified that you’ve enabled Developer Options. On the main Settings page, you’ll see Developer Options added to the list of options.
- Now, launch the full Quick Settings panel (see tip number 7).
- Then, press and hold the gear icon for about 10 seconds. You’ll see the gear spin, keep holding it until the 10 seconds are up.
- When you let go, you’ll be notified that the System UI Tuner has already been unlocked.
- Go back to the main Settings page. You will now find System UI Tuner at the very bottom. Tap it.
- Tap Status Bar > Time. Then, select “Show hours, minutes, and seconds.”
Deactivate Lock Screen When You’re in a Safe Location****
Screen lock is your device’s first layer of protection against privacy breach. However, you might find it unnecessary to lock your phone when there’s no danger of it being stolen or seen and used by another person. If you find unlocking your phone over and over again inconvenient, there’s a feature that’s exactly for you.
If you live alone or you trust everyone in your household and wouldn’t mind them having easy access to your device, you can set your phone to remain unlocked when you’re at home or another place that you think is safe. This feature is called Smart Lock, and here’s how to activate it:
- Go to Settings > Lock screen and security > Secure lock settings > Smart Lock.
You’ll be asked to enter your lock screen PIN, pattern, or password, or scan your fingerprint.
- You’ll be given three options: On-body detection, Trusted places, and Trusted devices. For the sake of this tutorial, choose Trusted places.
- If you have set your home address on Google Maps, it will be automatically included in the list of trusted places. If you can’t find your address on the file or want to add another place, tap Add a trusted place.
- You’ll be taken to Google Maps. Check if the pin is correct. Tap “Select this location.” A pop-up will confirm if you want to use that location. Tap Select. If the location is inaccurate, tap CHANGE LOCATION. Set the pin again, then do the previous steps.
- You can rename the location if you want.
- It will now be added to the list of trusted places.
- Your device will now remain unlocked when it detects that it’s in any of your trusted places.
Quickly Disable Smart Lock**
When you suddenly changed your mind about leaving your phone unlocked under the Smart Lock’s features, you won’t have to go through the same route you took when you activated it.
For Android 7.0 Nougat and higher, tap the open lock icon at the bottom of the lock screen to disable Smart Lock. You’ll verify the action by inputting your lock screen method.
Switching Tabs in Chrome: Swipe Don’t Tap*
If you use Chrome as your primary browser, you’re probably used to accessing tabs and switching between them by tapping the square with a number beside the search bar. While that method’s simple enough, you can also try another way to do it. Swipe from the top of Chrome’s window to launch Chrome’s tab switcher. Now, you can switch from one tab to another and swipe away unused tabs.
Select a Sub-Menu Option Without Lifting a Finger*
In apps that have a sub-menu (three-dot icon at the top-right of the window), we commonly tap our way to our desired destination. Did you know that you can do that without lifting your finger? Press and hold the three-dot icon, then drag your finger down to the option you need. Once you lift your finger, the option will open.
Customize Do Not Disturb*
If you’ve been using Do Not Disturb on your device without knowing that you can customize the settings, you’re missing a lot! You can set Do Not Disturb to activate only at specific times and allow exceptions.
To start, open the Do Not Disturb menu by long pressing on Quick Settings or going to Settings > Sounds and notifications > Do not disturb. Switch the toggle on. To enable it at certain times, do the following:
- Tap the toggle beside “Enable as scheduled” to switch it on.
- Tap Days, check the days when you want to activate DND. When done, go back.
- Tap Start Time. Set it. Tap Done.
- Tap End Time. Set it. Tap Done.
To set exceptions, here are the steps:
- In the DND menu, tap Allow exceptions.
- Toggle the switch on.
- Tap the switch beside Alarms to ensure you still hear your alarms while DND is on.
- Tap the switch beside the Calls and SMS to get notifications still while DND is on.
- You have the option to receive calls and SMS notifications from everyone, favorite contacts, or contacts only.
- Tap the switch beside Events and reminders if you want to be reminded of important events and reminders.
To allow specific apps to notify you while DND is activated, follow these steps:
- In the DND menu, tap App notifications.
- Choose an app from the list. For example, if you want to be notified of new emails, tap Email or Gmail.
- Tap the switch beside Set as a priority. It will allow you to receive notifications from that app still while DND is enabled.
Owning an Android means being treated to features and tricks that can improve your experience further. To help make sure that you keep on enjoying these top Android features, we suggest you install Outbyte Android Care. This app takes care of junk files, extends battery life, and boosts RAM, helping ensure you can use your device more efficiently for a longer time.
*Works in Most Android versions
**Works in Android 7.0 Nougat and higher
***Works in Android 6.0 and higher
****Works in Android 5.0 Lollipop and higher