After which there are the options that fall someplace in between — options that appear helpful, perhaps even pique our curiosity once we first hear about ’em, however then get misplaced within the shuffle and forgotten as time wears on. Particularly when mentioned options are out of sight and under no circumstances apparent, they’re all too straightforward to miss and abandon.
Nicely, as we look forward to the launch of one more new Android model — Android 12, anticipated to be introduced any second now (and already leaking out like loopy) — contemplate this your pleasant reminder: These hidden Android options, added into the working system at numerous factors over the previous a number of years, are nonetheless there and nonetheless extremely useful. Take a second to rediscover ’em and remind your self what you have been lacking.
Hidden Android characteristic #1: Quick app-switching
Some of the helpful options to return into Android in ages can be one of many least well-known and discoverable. I am talkin’ concerning the Alt-Tab-like quick app-switching perform that was first launched approach again in 2016’s Android 7 and stays one in every of my favourite Android shortcuts to today (together with, after all, all these superior Gboard shortcuts we talked about final week!).
You could be forgiven in the event you forgot about it — or perhaps by no means even knew about it within the first place — as a result of, actually, there’s completely nothing that’d clue you into its existence. And it is advanced a good quantity over time, too, which makes the percentages of shedding monitor of it even better.
So this is the way it works: First, in the event you’re utilizing Android’s present gesture system — with no on-screen navigation buttons and only a skinny little line on the backside of your display screen — flick your finger towards the proper anyplace alongside that bottom-of-screen space. That’ll snap you again to your most lately used app sooner than you’ll be able to say “frugal Google bugle crammed with tasty kugel” (which, to be honest, is not one thing you’ll be able to say particularly quick). From there, you’ll be able to click on flick once more towards the proper to return one other step in your app-using historical past or flick to the left to snap again within the different path.
You too can do much less of a flick and extra of an arching swipe — shifting your finger upward, ever so barely, as you slide towards the left or the proper on the underside of the display screen — if you wish to get a greater have a look at the apps within the listing earlier than making the change.
The farther you swipe and the upper you go, the extra apps you will see — all within the order of if you final used ’em.
In case you’re nonetheless utilizing Android’s older three-button navigation system, concern not, for you are able to do this, too — a part of it, anyway: Simply double-tap the Overview key (the square-shaped icon subsequent to Again and Dwelling) anytime to shortly zap between your two most lately used processes.
Hidden Android characteristic #2: App shortcuts
Talking of app-related shortcuts, Android has an extremely useful system referred to as — moderately fittingly — App Shortcuts. They’re utterly hidden out of sight, although, and so they’re consequently all too straightforward to disregard on accident.
However Goog almighty, can they ever be helpful. You may consider App Shortcuts as direct hyperlinks to particular capabilities inside apps in your cellphone — methods you may get to particular person actions or areas inside an app with out having to undergo the everyday means of opening it up, looking round by means of its menus, and tapping a number of instructions to get the place you need to go.
To look by means of your App Shortcut choices, press and maintain your finger down on any app’s icon — both on your property display screen or in your app drawer — for a couple of second. The choices range from one app to the following, however you are certain to seek out some implausible treasures. As an illustration:
- With Google’s Messages app, long-pressing the app’s icon helps you to bounce immediately into a wide range of lately used message threads.
- With Google Docs, you’ll be able to hop straight into a brand new doc or to the service’s search perform with out having to first open the app and poke round.
- With Google Drive, you may get direct hyperlinks for looking, importing a brand new file, and even scanning a bodily doc together with your cellphone’s digicam.
- And with Google Calendar, you’ll be able to create a brand new occasion, a brand new activity, or a brand new Assistant-linked reminder proper from that hidden long-press menu.
The listing goes on from there, so take the time to faucet round and discover what the apps you employ have to supply. And if you discover a shortcut that appears particularly helpful for the way in which you’re employed, keep in mind this additional invisible trick: You may pull any shortcut out of an app’s long-press menu and put it immediately on your property display screen for even simpler one-tap entry. Simply press and maintain the shortcut you need after which drag it into any open area on your property display screen.
Hidden Android characteristic #3: Reside Caption
Google’s Android 10 launch launched an surprising gem into the working system — one thing that has the potential to be far more helpful than you’d count on at first look. It is referred to as Reside Caption, and it is technically an accessibility characteristic for people who’ve a tough time listening to.
The profit in that situation is apparent, however Reside Caption may turn out to be useful for virtually anybody on a day-to-day foundation — as a result of what it successfully does is let you see what a video or podcast is saying with out having to have any audible sound taking part in out of your system. I will typically flip it on briefly after I need to “pay attention in” to some method of multimedia whereas I haven’t got headphones useful and am in a scenario the place blaring sound out from my cellphone’s audio system would not precisely be optimum.
In such moments, all I’ve gotta do is faucet a bit of field that exhibits up beneath the amount controls at any time when any sort of media is taking part in on my system — and holy moly, wouldya have a look at that?
Identical to magic, each phrase being uttered within the video or audio clip exhibits up on my display screen so I can learn it while having the precise sound turned all the way in which down.
And you realize what? Let’s take this hidden-feature idea a step additional, ‘trigger there are literally two extra easy-to-miss potentialities inside this technique. As soon as you have obtained Reside Caption activated and also you’re seeing captions in your display screen, you’ll be able to double-tap the caption field to make it larger — or press and maintain your finger onto the field to maneuver it round anyplace in your display screen. Whee!
In case you’re utilizing a cellphone with Android 10 or greater and you are not seeing that Reside Caption choice as a part of your quantity controls, head into your system settings and seek for Reside Caption there. You will most likely want to seek out the related part and flip a toggle into the on place inside it to activate the characteristic — and, relying in your system (hello, Samsung folks!), you may also should activate a second toggle in that very same space to ensure the Reside Caption choice really exhibits up as a part of your quantity panel.
On Samsung telephones, you will additionally should increase your quantity panel (by tapping the little down-facing arrow inside it) to seek out the Reside Caption choice — and the choice will present up as a toggle as a substitute of the less complicated field icon that we have been speaking about right here.
It doesn’t matter what sort of cellphone you are utilizing, although, keep in mind: The Reside Caption choice will solely present up and work when some method of sound is being performed.
Hidden Android characteristic #4: Share menu pinning
This subsequent tucked-away deal with was first added into Android approach again within the 2016 Nougat period however then taken away for some time and solely introduced again with final yr’s Android 11 launch. (Goodness gracious, Google, you are making me dizzy.)
It is the flexibility to customise the order of apps in your cellphone’s system-level Share menu — which suggests can then preserve your individual most ceaselessly used sharing locations on the prime of the listing for simple ongoing entry. Yippee!
The characteristic is sadly sophisticated by the truth that numerous apps, together with lots of Google’s personal utilities, now use customized share interfaces as a substitute of counting on the system customary (grumble, grumble, grumble). However for any app that is really doing issues in a wise approach and utilizing the usual Android share menu, take word: As long as your cellphone is working Android 11, you’ll be able to press and maintain your finger to any merchandise in that sharing listing to pin it to the highest. And it will then keep in that place for all future sharing, anytime the usual system menu is used.
To see for your self, go spotlight some textual content inside an electronic mail in Gmail and choose “Share” from the menu that comes up. Then press and maintain that excellent little fingie of yours down onto any app you see within the listing of sharing choices — and, ta-da:
You will see the command to pin it. You may pin as much as 4 totally different sharing targets, if you would like, and so they’ll all seem in alphabetical order in a particular row on the prime of that menu.
Hidden Android characteristic #5: App pinning
An oft-overlooked characteristic launched all the way in which again in 2014’s Android 5 launch (mmm, Lollipop…) is a bit of somethin’ referred to as app pinning. It helps you to lock one particular app or course of to your display screen after which requires you to unlock your system earlier than the rest could be accessed.
The thought is definitely fairly smart: Say you are passing your cellphone off to a pal, a co-worker, or some method of rabid jungle hen — perhaps to allow them to see a doc, have a look at one thing on a web site, or peck out a fast name whereas their very own tiny bird-phone is not useful. Take two seconds to pin no matter app is related to that objective to your display screen, and you may relaxation straightforward understanding the remainder of your stuff will stay safe and inaccessible till the cellphone’s again in your palms.
To make use of the characteristic, first search your system settings for App pinning — or, in the event you’re utilizing a Samsung cellphone (the place issues are all the time arbitrarily renamed for no obvious purpose), search as a substitute for the far much less logical Pin home windows time period.
Nevertheless you get there, when you’re on the proper settings display screen, ensure the principle toggle for the characteristic is activated — and ensure the toggle subsequent to “Ask for unlock sample earlier than unpinning” (or “Use lock display screen sort to unpin,” with Samsung) can be within the on place.
Then simply open up any app you need — and in the event you’re utilizing Android’s gesture system, swipe up from the underside of your display screen to get to Android’s Overview interface. Faucet the icon on the prime of the cardboard in your present app, and lookie what we’ve got there: a snazzy new Pin choice!
Faucet that dangerous boy, and faucet it good. That app will then be locked in place, and to get to the rest, you will first should swipe your finger up from the underside of the display screen and maintain it in place for a couple of seconds — after which present no matter method of unlocking authentication (PIN, sample, password, appendage, 14 drops of blood out of your pinky toe, and many others) is suitable to proceed.
In case you’re nonetheless utilizing Android’s previous three-button nav system, you will as a substitute press the square-shaped Overview button to get to the Overview interface, and you may press and maintain the Again and Overview buttons collectively if you’re able to unpin.
Hidden Android characteristic #6: Visitor Mode
In case you actually need to preserve your system protected against meddling whereas it is in another person’s palms and/or claws, take a minute to reacquaint your self with Android’s intelligent and sensible Visitor Mode. It is principally like an incognito mode in your complete cellphone: You simply flip a change, say “Wowser bowser, hubba bubba” for good measure, after which watch your cellphone shift itself right into a blank-slate state — the place your individual private apps, accounts, and information are all securely tucked away and also you get an out-of-the-box-like expertise, with solely the fundamental preinstalled system apps out there.
Nobody can get to any of your stuff with out first signing again in as you (and placing in your most popular methodology of authentication), and nothing completed in that setting ever has any impression in your customary smartphone setup. It is a fairly highly effective type of privateness safety, would not ya say?
It is not, sadly, out there for the Samsung house owners amongst us, as Samsung has for no obvious purpose opted to take away this customary working system ingredient from its software program — however for everybody else, comply with these three fast steps:
- Open up the System part of your cellphone’s settings.
- Faucet “Superior” adopted by “A number of customers.”
- On the display screen that comes up, ensure the toggle on the prime is about into the on place.
After which, everytime you need to faucet into your shiny new Visitor Mode choice, swipe down twice from the highest of your display screen to open your Fast Settings, faucet your person profile image (which might be only a generic particular person icon within the lower-right nook of the panel), after which faucet the “Add visitor” choice on the display screen that comes up.
Once you’re able to exit out of Visitor Mode and get again to regular, simply open up the Fast Settings panel once more, faucet that person profile image once more, and choose “Take away visitor” from the menu that comes up. That’ll erase and reset every little thing that was completed in that short-term profile and take you again to your individual customary setting (as soon as you have put in your PIN, sample, or passcode or used your most popular appendage to show that you simply’re really you).
Hidden Android characteristic #7: Do Not Disturb guidelines
You are not nonetheless manually silencing your cellphone at night time or if you’re in conferences, are you? Android’s obtained a local approach to do this for you mechanically — if you realize the place it’s and keep in mind to set it up.
Dig round within the Sound part of your system settings (or the Notifications part, on Samsung gadgets). See the road that claims “Do Not Disturb”? Faucet it — the precise line that claims “Do Not Disturb” and never the toggle subsequent to it, if there may be one — after which search for the “Schedules” choice (or for “Activate as scheduled,” with Samsung).
There, you’ll be able to activate and create all types of customized computerized guidelines for a way your cellphone ought to behave throughout totally different instances and circumstances. Make sure to search for the plus signal or the “Add extra” choice to discover the varied potentialities. With Pixel telephones, as an illustration, along with the fundamental time-based guidelines, you’ll be able to create guidelines that flip Do Not Disturb on mechanically if you’re driving and even when particular kinds of calendar occasions are lively.
Set ’em up, activate ’em as wanted, after which relaxation straightforward understanding your pleasant cellular companion’s all the time obtained your again.
Hidden Android characteristic #8: App pausing
Possibly you do not need to silence your complete cellphone however simply want a break from a particular app’s interruptions — a sure messaging service, maybe, or perhaps even your electronic mail. Nicely, Android has a little-known system that may allow you to pause any particular app on demand and silence it and solely it till additional discover.
This one’s solely out there in Google’s personal model of Android, so in the event you’ve obtained a Pixel cellphone or Android One system, press and maintain your finger onto any app’s icon on your property display screen or in your app drawer and search for the hourglass icon and/or the “Pause app” choice.
Faucet that factor — faucet it with abandon, garsh dern it! — and you may see the app’s icon change right into a grayed-out, monochrome colour. The app will then keep utterly quiet till you faucet it once more to unpause it.
Ahh…the sound of silence.
Hidden Android characteristic #9: Focus Mode
You may take the app pausing idea even additional with Android’s built-in Focus Mode — one thing that is out there on most gadgets working fairly present Android variations, no matter who made ’em or how a lot meddling mentioned firm did with the software program.
To test it out, search for a Digital Wellbeing part in your cellphone’s system settings, then search for a “Focus Mode” choice inside that space. The precise implementation will range from one device-maker to the following, however in a technique or one other, you can create a listing of apps that you simply sometimes need to silence — after which optionally set a recurring schedule for when these apps, particularly, will likely be compelled to close their digital yaps and cease notifying you.
You too can simply choose to activate Focus Mode on demand if you need it — which basically turns it right into a universally out there multi-app model of the App Pausing idea.
To activate Focus Mode manually, search for the Focus Mode tile inside your Fast Settings panel — and in the event you do not see it there, faucet the pencil-shaped icon within the lower-left nook (or the three-dot icon within the upper-right nook after which choose “Button order,” with Samsung) to edit the panel and add it into the combination.
Hidden Android characteristic #10: Notification snoozing
Man, I really like snoozing. And never simply the under-the-desk siesta selection, both (although a hearty kudos in the event you’re really in a position to handle that).
Nope — I am an enormous fan of Android’s built-in skill to snooze your notifications and have ’em come again to demand your consideration later within the day, identical to you’ll be able to with emails in Gmail. The system is not as totally featured and versatile as I would like, however it’s nonetheless fairly helpful.
So the following time you see a notification that you do not need to take care of instantly but additionally do not need to go away lingering in your notification panel to be forgotten, do that: Swipe the notification ever so barely to the left or to the proper — not far sufficient to dismiss it however simply sufficient to disclose a few fastidiously tucked away icons at its edges.
See ’em? Faucet the snooze icon — an alarm clock with a “Z” inside it in Google’s personal model of Android or a bell in Samsung’s model of the software program — and you can ship the notification away and have it return anew in quarter-hour, half an hour, one hour, or two hours.
In Google’s model of Android, all notification snoozing will get set to at least one hour by default. However you’ll be able to faucet the little down-facing arrow within the snoozing affirmation to see the complete set of choices and alter it to no matter period of time you need.
As an added bonus, you’ll be able to then inform everybody you realize that snoozing is a crucial a part of your productiveness technique. And in the event that they have a look at you such as you’re loopy, properly, by golly, you’ll be able to simply cackle knowingly as you gallop away with glee.
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