April 11, 2024

Android is, without doubt, a great mobile operating system for the modern cell phone, but it can be a little daunting and complex to the newcomer. Google’s attempt to leave everyone feeling at home by providing loads of option screens and hundreds of adjustable settings can leave people feeling a little lost.

Furthermore, there are widgets to worry about, the Home screen layout, and lots more hidden beneath Google’s popular software.

Therefore, to make things easier for Android newcomers and those seeking helpful advice, here are 17 really useful Android tips and tricks. These tips are mostly for Android 5.X, which is the most popular form of the OS out there at present – but much of this advice will work on newer and older versions.

1. Configure a secure lock screen

Most Android cell phones offer various forms of secure lock screens such as a pin, pattern, or password. Typically, cell phones will prompt you to set up a lock screen during setup, and you should. 

To control your lock screen, go to the system settings, and find the Security menu.

2. Disable/uninstall bloatware

Most phones come with pre-installed apps and software that you won’t want to keep on your cell phone. Luckily, they can be dealt with easily nowadays. Some pre-installed bloat can be uninstalled via the Play Store or by finding it in the app setting menu. 

However, if the software is part of the system image, it’s non-removable. What you can do to combat this is to disable it by opening the app menu from the main system settings, finding the app in your list, and clicking ‘Disable’ at the top of the page.

3. Add mobile data tracking

Data caps are common across cell phone carriers, and data rates just continue to get higher. Therefore, to make sure you don’t quickly spend your monthly allotment, visit the data menu in the system settings.

Here, you are able to reset data, create a warning threshold, and even have your data automatically stopped if you’re about to incur an overcharge.

4. Disable mobile data

If you don’t need to be connected to the internet, disabling your Mobile Data can help increase your cell phone’s battery life. 

To disable mobile data on any smartphone, go to Settings > Data Usage > Mobile Data. Then, tick to deactivate mobile data.

5. Disable app notifications

Are you getting annoyed by app notifications that just keep on coming? If you are and want to turn them off, here’s how:

Long press on the unwanted notification in question.
Tap App Info > Untick Show Notifications > OK.

Disable app notifications

 6. Check for Android system updates

To check for new updates:

  • Click on settings > About phone
  • Tap on System updates
  • Click Check now. 

7. Enable smart lock

Turning on a secure lock screen (as explained above) is important, but it can be annoying having to input a code every time you pick up your cell phone. Thankfully, this can be avoided with Smart Lock.

This feature can be found in the security menu on most devices. This feature enables you to keep your phone unlocked when you’re in a place you trust (like at home), when a device such as a smartwatch is connected, or when the face-fronting the camera can see your face.

8. Activate the Android Power Strip

The Power Strip is one of the most important features in Android. With this, you are able to quickly disconnect all of your phone’s battery-destroying features, like Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and GPS. 

To install, long-press (touch and hold) on the screen and install it via the widgets category.

9. Guest mode for shared devices 

If you want to let a friend borrow your phone and screen pinning is too restrictive, there is also the option of enabling Guest mode. 
To switch your phone to a guest account, tap the profile icon in the upper right corner of the notification shade and select guest profile. Now, all your data, accounts, and apps will be hidden from the guest account. 

10. Android call screening

If you are trying to avoid someone, Android can help you there. Open up the contact of the person you’re avoiding, then select Menu > Options. 

From here you are able to transfer all incoming calls from this person to your voicemail.

11. Swipe input on the keyboard

Keyboard swipe

Tapping with your thumbs is an okay method, but most cell phones have a swipe input built-in too. Therefore, when typing, instead of tapping each letter individually, you can drag your finger through the letters for each word.

The accuracy varies between devices, but you can download a different keyboard that suits you better.

12. Bypass Android slide unlock

You do not have to slide the screen to bring your phone out of standby mode. A quick double press of your cell phone’s Menu button will wake it up (as long as the manufacturer hasn’t removed this feature).

Sources: TechRadar and ba-bamail

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