Android is a remarkably powerful, modern cellular working machine that regularly leapfrogs Apple’s iOS in new era help. 5G, NFC charge, custom keyboards…the listing is going on. All of that present day functionality makes for a complex, sprawling OS, though. At the floor degree, the interface is straightforward enough for casual users—who just need to textual content, make calls, and use their apps—but hidden a layer ordeep inside the interface are all types of electricity-user settings and tools. You just need to know where to look.
We want you to be able to use Google’s mobile OS like a md, and our list of recommendations and shortcuts can help you do just that. These are only a few of the ways you may take advantage of the Google’s OS—there’s the sort of deep list of features which you’ll no doubt discover greater. Be positive to test out our listing of the quality Android apps, too, and feel unfastened to chime in on our comments segment at the bottom of the thing. We may add them to future updates of this tale!
1. Uninstall Apps You Don’t Need
Most Android telephones come with a healthful assisting of preinstalled apps. Many can be welcomed via almost all of us—maps, electronic mail, browser, and so forth—but there are absolutely some you don’t need or want. If you’re just now not a podcast person, you don’t need a podcast app. And telephone companies tend to encompass a group of their personal apps that you can in no way want to use. Simply lengthy-press an app’s icon after which pick out the i entry to get to its detail web page wherein you could uninstall it.
Unfortunately, there are some stock apps you cannot uninstall. For example, in case you best use Firefox or Edge as your net browser, you continue to cannot uninstall Google’s Chrome browser. For the ones apps, you can at least pick Disable, with a view to disguise them from the interface and unfastened up gadget resources.
2. Use Digital Wellbeing Features
It’s no longer the healthiest thing within the international to stay up all night texting and doomscrolling. Android eleven’s Bedtime mode is part of the Digital Wellbeing characteristic. Not only does it silence your cellphone at a fixed time, it also modifications the screen to black-and-white, in case you do must observe the display after hours. There’s a Pause choice inside the dropdown menu if you want extra time before retiring. If you are looking for extra sleep hints, you should read our feature on how tech can help (and hurt) your sleep.
Another recommended Wellbeing function is Focus mode, which silences noisy apps’ notifications. Some phones, such as current Pixels and Motorolas, switch on Do Not Disturb mode while you set them down with the display screen dealing with down—a short and smooth way to get remedy from disturbances. Finally, using Work Profile hides all the ones productivity apps whilst it’s time to relax.
3. Set Up the Your Phone App in Windows
I suspect that most folks who use Mac computer systems or laptops also are most in all likelihood the use of an iPhone, which offers awesome integration with macOS. But with the Your Phone desktop app for Windows 10, Android users can get simply as plenty continuity with their laptop pc—possibly even greater. It’s simplest to start setup out of your PC. Go to the Setting’s app’s Phone phase, select Add a Phone, and you’re off and running. You’ll be able to make calls, ship texts, and right away see and use pictures from the phone for your PC.
Recent Samsung gadgets and the Surface Duo smartphone get even more possibilities with the Link to Windows choice, together with going for walks more than one Android apps on the desktop inside the Your Phone app. If you’re now not running Windows, you can get Android messages at the internet—any other capability annoyingly not supplied by using Apple’s cell OS. You can also run Android apps in an emulator on both Windows or macOS, however that course is not as handy as Windows 10’s Your Phone.
four. Edit Quick Settings
One factor I’m no longer loopy approximately in Android is that the Quick Settings require two swipes to reveal multiple row—and even when you do that, you continue to havepages of them. You can make certain that the settings you want most customarily are there inside the first swipe-down row. Just hit the pencil icon, and you may upload beneficial tools like Focus mode or Dark mode switches.
5. Install Apps From the Web
For me, that is one of the coolest advantages of Android over iOS: You don’t ought to have your phone for your hand to put in an app on it. Just visit the Google Play save on your internet browser and you may remotely install any app or recreation, so long as you’re signed in to the same Google account the telephone makes use of. If you have got multiple Android devices below your account, you’ll see them indexed whilst you go to set up. It’s a terrific comfort for when you find out an app at your laptop and don’t need to fumble along with your telephone to get the app on it.
6. Install Apps From Other Sources
One of Android’s fantastically open features is that, not like on iOS, you’re no longer restricted to the usage of one company’s app store. Most users will discover each app they need on Google’s Play save—and there are worthwhile protections that come along with that. If, but, you need something that’s not in there, nothing is preventing you from heading to Amazon’s app shop, your phone maker’s app save, or maybe downloading the app and installing it as an APK (the extension for an Android Application Package record).
One vital notice: If you do go this direction, be actually certain which you’re getting the app from a dependable source, since third-celebration app shops are the quantity-one source of Android malware. Do some research first! Also be sure to turn off the Install Unknown Apps placing for the source after you set up the app you want, just in case.
One example of why you might need to sideload (this is, set up outside of the legit app keep) an app is the mega-popular sport Fortnite. Android customers can visit the sport maker’s web page to get the APK, even as iPhone users who want to install the game for the first time are genuinely out of luck. You can study about the process in PCMag’s article approximately a way to play Fortnite on Android.
7. Install a Launcher App
This is one customization type iPhone customers don’t get: You can change the primary begin screen on your telephone by way of installing a third-birthday party launcher app from the Play Store. A couple noteworthy launchers are Action Launcher, Apex, the cleverly named Lawn Chair, Lightning, the Microsoft Launcher, Nova, Niagara, and Smart Launcher.
You can even make your Android appear like an iPhone with the iOS 14 launcher, which incorporates Siri shortcuts and an App Store icon in vicinity of the Play icon. Want to head again to the times of Windows Phone? There are launchers that emulate that OS’s design, too.
8. Customize Message Notifications
Android eleven lets you pick out message notifications in order that some contacts are extra prominent, and conversations stay together. You can now set messages to seem on pinnacle of every other walking apps as bubbles. You truely flip them on in Settings and set the touch to Priority. Within a notification there is any other setting for Bubbles with three alternatives: All Conversations Can Bubble, Selected Conversations Can Bubble, and Nothing Can Bubble.
iOS just got the capacity to feature widgets to the house screen with version 14. Android customers have been capable of do this for ages, however now not anyone is aware of how. All you have to do is surely lengthy-press on the house display, pick Widgets, and then choose from the choice made to be had by means of any apps set up on their telephones. Long-urgent at the Home screen additionally offers you different customization options, along with getting rid of the Google feed page to the left of the Home display screen or to disabling display screen rotation for the Home display—which we’d by no means do, because it’s cool to peer your own home display in landscape.
10. Beef Up Storage
A predominant gain of Android over iPhones is that some telephone models permit you to boom garage with a microSD card. Not only does this allow you to shop greater media and apps in your cellphone, but it also offers a manner to transfer massive amounts of report statistics between your phone and other gadgets. Another advantage is that you can plug some Android phones into an outside USB garage force and read its documents. If your smartphone has a USB-C port, you can without a doubt plug in a USB flash reminiscence drive with a Type-C connection.
11. Install Antivirus
Since Android is a ways greater open than iOS—this is, more like Windows than macOS—it’s also more open to malware assaults. Google has constructed in numerous strong protections, however we propose you run an antivirus app on Android. PCMag security guru Neil Rubenking recommends 4 PCMag Editors’ Choice options: Bitdefender Total Security, Kaspersky Security Cloud, Norton 360 Deluxe, and McAfee AntiVirus Plus. Most of those also cover your desktop gadgets. They make certain you’re now not installing awful apps and run everyday malware scans. They also save you thieves from honestly swapping your phone’s SIM card to advantage get right of entry to. Some additionally consist of VPN protection.
Recommended by using Our Editors12. Double-Tap the Power Button to Open the Camera
Unlike the iPhone—which does, but, includes a camera icon on the lock display—maximum Android phones permit you to double tap the energy button to turn at the digital camera. Quick camera get right of entry to is important for capturing those fleeing moments. You also can use extent keys to consciousness and take the shot. Long-press on either to begin a video recording.
thirteen. Use Screen Pinning
This is a extraordinary tip from our friends at ExtremeTech.com: If you need to hand your phone to a person else and don’t want them snooping round in other apps, simply pin the display. If this isn’t enabled with the aid of default, you may flip it on inside the Security menu. Tap the app icon on any app within the multitasking interface and pick “Pin” to prevent them from switching apps. You can guard switching apps via requiring your cellphone PIN. Note that the app icon in app switching view also lets you split the display screen, pause the app’s notifications, and see its info.
14. Set Up Guest Access
If you need to give a person else a little more get admission to than display screen-pinning permits, you may. To let someone borrow your cellphone, but no longer get entry to your apps, statistics, or settings, or ship textual content messages, head to Settings > System > Advanced > Multiple Users and permit it. You can optionally permit the slider for Add Users from Lock Screen. You can now swipe down twice from the top of your telephone to get to Quick Settings. Tap for your consumer icon inside the decrease proper and choose Add Guest. The cellphone takes a touch while to interchange to the mode, which removes any private bills (inclusive of e mail) however permits such things as telephone calling, maps, and internet surfing. Only default Android apps appear, so you don’t ought to worry approximately your guest sending a Facebook put up or tweet on your account.
15. Record Screen Activity
With Android eleven, Google delivered built-in display-recording functionality right into the OS. Previously, Samsung, LG, and OnePlus proprietors had the functionality, however now any phone jogging Android eleven receives it. It’s simple to use: You simply pull down the pinnacle color and select Screen Record > Start Recording. You get picks for showing touch points and recording audio or not. To prevent recording, pull down the colour again and faucet the big pink bar. It labored like a appeal in our checking out, producing a widespread MP4 record in the photo gallery.
sixteen. Use Developer Options
This one comes through PCMag’s Ben Moore. To turn this on, head to the Settings app’s About Phone phase, move all the way down to the Build number and faucet on it seven times. Then head to Settings > System > Advanced > Developer Options. From here, you may show display screen taps, change Bluetooth tool options, and set USB connection possibilities, at the side of many other settings simplest of interest to developers. This one is actually most effective for the extreme tinkerer, and now not for the technophobe.
17. Turn on Find My Device
If you misplace your smartphone or it receives stolen, each cellular OSes have functions that assist you discover it on a map. Not handiest that, however those additionally Find My offerings assist you to disable the cellphone, wipe it, and play a valid on it. Apple’s cell working system goes a little similarly via letting you display your number or some other message on the screen of the lost tool, something we don’t see why Google hasn’t added.
18. Use Battery Saver Mode
Android gives lots extra control over battery saving alternatives than the iPhone does. Not most effective are you able to allow Battery Saver mode and feature it robotically turn off when the phone is charged, but you could additionally use the Adaptive Battery feature, which extends battery existence based in your usage patterns. You also can set a agenda for Battery Saver mode and feature that robotically chosen primarily based for your usage or whilst you hit a exact percentage of rate.
19. Control Your Smart Home With Your Android Phone
With version eleven, Android made controlling clever domestic gadgets less complicated. If you long-press the power button, a display with huge buttons for controlling your mild bulbs and different gadgets seems. For this to work, you need to set up the devices in the Google domestic app and—optionally—create a room for the devices.
20. Update Frequently
As we had been operating in this tale, our test Pixel’s protection settings web page knowledgeable us that there was a security replace to be had. By all approach, you need to put in those as quickly as feasible. Updating Android is quicker and simpler than ever, and also you in no way realize what new capabilities an replace may enable. Rest confident that, as we spot new hacks and shortcuts, we’ll upload them to destiny updates of this story.