Did You Know Your Smartphone Could Do This?
Do you have an Android smartphone? Most users are barely scratching the surface of Android’s many built-in features. Here are some tips to help you be more productive, and to make using your phone more pleasant. Read on…
Nifty Android Tips
If you have a smartphone, the odds are its operating system is Android. There’s only one phone made by Apple (the iPhone), but there are hundreds of Android phones on the market. That may be why Android is on 85% of all smartphones, according to Strategy Analytics.
Most of these tips will work on any make/model of phone and on multiple versions of Android, but the specific steps required to implement them may vary depending on your phone’s version of Android.
Have your phone unlock itself - Locking your phone is a basic security precaution; you don’t want strangers to poke around in it if it’s lost or stolen. But it’s a pain to enter a pin, press a fingerprint sensor, or draw a pattern every single time you want to use the phone. That’s why Android includes Smart Lock.
Smart Lock can automatically unlock your phone when you are in a specified location, such as your home, where it’s reasonably safe to do so. It can also unlock the phone when you are carrying it, and other other convenient circumstances.
To enable Smart Lock and set when it should unlock automatically, tap the Settings icon, then Device Security, then Smart Lock. Enter your PIN to access Smart Lock’s options. Here are all the options available in Android 7 (Nougat), the latest version:
On-body detection: Android use the accelerometer in your phone to sense when the phone is being carried. Over time, it will learn your walking gait and refuse to unlock for unrecognized gaits.
Trusted Places are physical locations where your phone will remain unlocked. Your home and workplace are two possibilities. You can type in addresses or set your current location as a Trusted Place with one click.
Trusted Devices are Bluetooth devices whose presence suggest it’s safe to unlock the phone. Your car’s entertainment system is one example. Headphone would be another possibility; if you’re listening to anything, a sudden cutoff of sound may mean the phone has gone AWOL.
A Trusted Face should be yours alone. With this option, Android uses facial recognition to determine it’s you holding the phone. Trusted Voice is another biometric security token. Android learns to recognize your voice and unlock automatically.
Offline Maps come in handy for navigating when you are out of signal range. You must be connected to a WiFi network to save maps for offline use. Unfortunately, even the latest version of Android does not let you save turn-by-turn directions from Point A to Point B.
To use Offline Maps, open the Maps app and enter a destination in the search box. Now tap the three lines in the upper left corner of the screen and select “Offline maps” at the bottom of the next screen. Choose “Select Your Own Map.” On the next page, you can drag the highlight box around to display exactly the area you want, then save and name that map. Each saved map consume about 50 MB of storage space.
Split-Screen mode is real multitasking; two apps can run simultaneously in separate screen windows. This would be handy if you want to listen to music or video while doing something else, for example. Split-screen is new in Nougat, the latest version of Android. To use split-screen mode, launch an app and then press and hold the Recent Apps button (usually found to the left or right of the Home button). Your open app will snap to the top half of the screen, and you can open another app in the bottom half.
Voice Control is arguably the greatest convenience of Android, as it eliminates many keystrokes. To enable the “OK, Google” personal assistant, tap on the Google app, then tap the three lines icon in the upper left corner of the screen. Under Settings, tap Voice and then enable “OK, Google” detection from any screen. I'm always amazed at how accurately my phone can convert my spoken words into text, even when I'm in a noisy environment.
These are just some of Android’s more useful, but perhaps lesser-known features. Do you have a favorite?
This article was posted by Bob Rankin on 24 Jul 2017
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Article information: AskBobRankin -- Did You Know Your Smartphone Could Do This? (Posted: 24 Jul 2017)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved