8 Hidden Android Features You Need to Know About

8 Hidden Android Features You Need to Know About

May 02, 2018

One of the biggest debates of our time is of course the Android versus Apple one. People defend their preference like some defend their favorite sports team up against a rival. Whichever one you prefer, there isn’t really much debate around the fact that Google’s phone software is just a bit more complex and intricate than others. If you use an Android phone, you most likely have not tried or even known about many of the hidden features your phone possesses.


An important thing to note about Android phones, is that they currently run a wider variety of versions, all named after desserts. That’s right. The version most users currently run on is called 7.0 Nougat, while 8.0 Oreo is slowly moving up. Sounds good, right? Now that dessert has your attention, let’s focus on some of the hidden tricks and features your phone is capable of.


1. Run Apps Side-By-Side

With the 7.0 Nougat update, users got the option to run their apps side-by-side or one above the other. This feature comes in handy when you are maybe reading an article or something on social media, while running music or showing a photo at the same time, making it easier for you to multi-task.

How? Well, this step is slightly different for phones depending on the make and model, but for this purpose, we’ll use a Samsung Galaxy. To begin, tap on the right touch button under the screen to open currently running apps. Once the apps are displayed, hold and drag an app’s title bar and drop it into the Split-Screen View area. Then, select another app to sit alongside or below it. You also have the option to drag the app in to Pop-Up View, leaving a smaller viewing screen running of the app.


Check it out: 10 Must-Have Browser Extensions to Increase Productivity


2. Make Text and Images Easier To See

Sometimes text and images appear much smaller on a phone display than they do on a desktop. Or if they are simply just not big enough as they are for you read clearly without squinting too much or pulling your phone right up to your face. This is a simple adjustment that will definitely change your life if this is a reoccurring issue.

How? Open up Android Setting and head to Display. Then, tap on the Screen zoom and font heading. From here, you can make the necessary adjustments to the size of the font on screen and the icon images. Bonus: you also have the ability to play with different font styles of you want a big of a change.


3. Cast Your Screen

Have something on your phone screen you’d like to show on the larger TV screen? No problem. With the updated Android devices, there is a cast option called Smart View that allows you to cast your phone screen onto any other screen that is connected in the same network.

How? Pull down the drop-down menu from the top of the screen all the way to display apps. Find the Smart View app and select which device you’d like to cast your phone screen on. Let the screen connect and you’re all set! No more huddling around your small phone screen.


4. Smart Lock

Safety is always a top priority when using mobile devices. One of Google’s most useful safety features is the Smart Lock. When you are out running errands, on a vacation, or somewhere else where you would use a PIN code to enter your phone to stay safe, you are also creating an obstacle that does not grant you direct access to your phone right away. The last place you want to have to enter a PIN code or even a fingerprint scan, is in the comforts and safety of your own home. The Smart Lock setting can be set to disable the lock screen when you’re home or any other location where you feel you can safely disable your phone.

How? Go to Settings, tap on Lock Screen and Security, then select Smart Lock. Adjust the settings according to your trusted locations and you don’t have to deal with a lock screen in any of those places!


5. Customize the Status bar

The status bar is the very top of the screen display. The bar typically shows notifications like your WiFi signal strength, battery percentage, and other icons. The System UI Tuner is used to select which icons you want to see on that part of your main screen.

How? Pull down the Quick Settings pane from the top of the screen, then find the settings gear icon in the top right and hold it down for a few seconds. Once you see a confirmation message for Settings UI, you can go to the System UI Tuner in the settings menu. Tap on this, then choose Status bar and manage the icons you want to appear in the status bar.


 Check it out: Android Usability Testing Tips (Infographic)


6. Lost Notifications

Ever moved too fast and accidentally swiped away a new notification that you realized you actually wanted to read it? You thought maybe you finally got an email from the person you were waiting for or maybe it was the latest article or blog from a favorite author. If you want to make sure without going to the apps to open them and search for what you’re hoping to find, the notification log is a big help.

How? Tap and hold down any empty part of the home screen you have available and once the screen edit mode pops up, select the Widgets option and find the Settings shortcut and add it to an empty space on your home screen. Choose notification log from the list and tap on the icon to display the Android notification history to view the ones you accidentally swiped through.


7. One-Handed Mode

It’s no secret that phones continue to get bigger each time a new model is introduced, but our hands remain the same size. This makes it continually tricky to use just one hand to do things. Having to use both hands to create a simple text, email, or even just scrolling can become troublesome. To combat this growing concern, Google’s custom keyboard on Android phones offers a simple solution. You can use the one-handed mode available on the Pixel and Nexus devices.

How? Open they keyboard, then tap and hold down the backslash key. The drag up to the right-hand icon to enable one-handed mode. The arrow display will allow you to move the keyboard from side to side, reposition it, or restore the default full size keyboard.


8. Easter Eggs

Sometimes it’s just fun to discover hidden gems on your phone that are simply for entertainment! Well, the people over at Google Android have a great sense of humor and it shows with this feature! If you’re ever bored, you can catch a secret cat on your phone! Yes, a cat!

How? Alright, now this one is little more complicated. First, go to Settings, then About phone. Find Android version and repeatedly tap on it until a new screen and logo appears. Once the new logo (“N” for nougat) appears, give it a couple really long taps. Eventually a small cat emoji will appear on the bottom of the screen. When you see the cat, pull down the notification menu and tap Edit. Find the cat icon labeled ???? and drag and drop it in the notification menu. The next time you pull down the menu, you’ll see an empty food bowl. Tap on the bowl and select a food option. Now, just sit back and wait for your phone to let you know you’ve caught a cat!


Check it out: Android Nougat Easter Egg (Video)