The twisted paths of Mt Android, leading from the swollen gutters of Noob Town to the lofty heights of Android Guru-dom (or some such designation) are a battlefield littered with the corpses of those that gave up along the way, those that switched to iPhone and those stuck in a bootloop with no idea how to get out.
That’s why we thought we’d share ten simple Android features that not many people use, but that are hard to ignore once you know about them.
Android bucket list- 10 features you need to try today
1. Unlock hidden options
Enabling Developer Options may sounds scary but they’re a gateway to lots of cool stuff on your Android: USB Debugging, giving your phone a sense of speed by disabling animations, improving GPU performance in games, and plenty more.
Just go to Settings > About Phone and tap Build number seven times. You’ll now have access to Developer Options in Settings.
2. Record what happens on-screen
We’ve been able to screen record for ages in Android, but surprisingly few people, outside YouTubers and Android tutorial makers, actually use the feature. Screen recording with the help of any number of apps in the Play Store is great for showing off your awesome gaming skills to friends, sharing a particularly troublesome Android bug or simply capturing something fleeting on your phone.
3. Simplify your security
Smart Lock is an Android Lollipop feature that allows you to unlock your phone, or keep it unlocked, through a few very simple – and automatic – settings:
Go to Settings > Security > Trust Agents and turn the feature on for Smart Lock. Once enabled, you’ll see Smart Lock as a sub-heading in Security. You can choose from Trusted Devices (like smartwatches or Bluetooth speakers), Trusted Places (like your home or office), Trusted Face, Trusted Voice or On-Body Detection.
4. Find out which apps slow your phone down
Process Stats is one of the many great features in Developer Options. It provides a whole host of geeky stats about running processes on your Android device. You’ll see a list of all currently running processes. Tapping on any of them will bring up RAM usage, run time and running processes list. You can Force Stop any process here.
5. Use Android’s magnifying glass
This is a simple but ultra-useful feature found in Android’s Accessibility settings. Once enabled a triple-tap of the screen will allow you to zoom in on any part of the Android system. Great for getting up close and personal in photo sharing apps or for reading fine print you can’t zoom into.
Triple-tap and hold for a temporary zoom or triple-tap to enter magnification mode and triple-tap again to exit. You’ll need two-finger swipes to navigate in magnification mode though. Just go to Settings > Accessibility > Vision > Touch Zoom (or Settings > Accessibility > Magnification Gestures).
6. Search without touching your phone
OK Google is great: voice activated search and more. OK Google Everywhere is even better, making your phone respond to your voice from any screen, even when the screen is turned off. Once you start using OK Google Everywhere you’ll never stop.
Go to Google Settings > Search and Now > Voice > OK Google Detection and enable From Any Screen. While screen-off voice detection only works while your phone is charging, if you have a Qi wireless charging dock you’re golden.
7. Get your phone to read to you
Text-to-Speech is another little known tool that makes hands-free interaction a lot simpler. I save tons of articles to pocket for offline reading but I’m so busy I don’t always have the time to sit down and actually read them. This is why I use Android’s text-to-Speech feature to narrate those articles to me while I’m preparing dinner or doing things around the house.
Go to Settings > Accessibility > Text-to-Speech Output and make sure you have a language pack installed. You can also hit the settings for your Text-to-Speech engine and enable it to auto-update new voice data.
8. Borrow someone else’s data
I’m always surprised by how many people fail to use the hotspot functionality on their Android phones. Even if you’re not in the habit of sharing your precious data with your cheap-skate friends, whenever you’re running low you should know how to enable a Wi-Fi hotspot so you can steal your friends’ data instead.
Go to Settings > More > Tethering and Portable Hotspot and flip the switch. You can set up a password so every Tom, Dick and harry isn’t chewing through your data allowance, but you can also use Bluetooth to share your data connection with others.
9. Switch phones painlessly
Tap & Go is an indispensable tool for those of us that switch between Android phones more frequently than clean underwear. Tap & Go is an NFC-based data migration tool in the Android system: simply place two NFC-equipped phones back to back during setup (usually your old phone and your new one) and Tap & Go will automatically add everything from your old phone to your new one. Just like magic.
OEMs have even come up with their own versions, so many new devices on Lollipop have two options during setup. Which ever one you use it doesn’t really matter, just don’t install all your apps manually ever again.
10. Save on data consumption
This was one of our Chrome browser tips and tricks recently and we were a little surprised by how many people weren’t aware of Chrome’s compression feature. It used to be called Reduce Data Consumption but now its simply called Data Saver.
Just open Chrome browser, tap the overflow button in the top right, choose Settings and tap Data Saver. Flip the switch and watch your data savings grow. Data Saver works by compressing web pages before it loads them. This can make some sites slightly slower to load, but the data savings are often around one-third – you decide what’s more important to you.