There so many cool things you can do with Android that you probably
don’t even know. From custom ROMs to gorgeous launchers, apps, LED
notifications, gesture controls, icon packs and tweaks, there is
plenty to keep you happy for a while. Here are nine things every Android
owner should try.
You must try these things on Android. / © ANDROIDPIT
1. Supercharge your Wi-Fi
Did you know you can tell Chrome to
save time and money by reducing data usage? Most people don’t. By using
this setting, I’ve cut my data usage by 30 percent in the past month.
How’s that for easy savings? Go to Chrome > Settings > Data Saver and turn it on.
Everyone should tell Chrome to compress webpages before downloading them. / © ANDROIDPIT
Likewise, did you know you can tell your phone to keep Wi-Fi on during sleep? Just go to Settings > Wi-Fi > Advanced > Keep Wi-Fi on during sleep and select Always.
this means that not only will you download things while your phone’s
display is off, but you will also save battery life, because your phone
won’t have to reconnect to Wi-Fi every time you wake it up.
The Advanced Wi-Fi Settings is a great place to save time, money and battery life. / © ANDROIDPIT
2. Enable Google Now on Tap
Google Now on Tap was
introduced with Android 6.0 Marshmallow. It provides contextual
information for whatever is on your screen, allowing you to find
information without having to search for it manually.
You’ll need Android Marshmallow to run it.
To enable Google Now on Tap, head over to Settings > Google > Search & now > Voice and
switch it on or off. Once it’s on, you’ll then be able to enjoy fast,
contextual information on tap. To disable Now on Tap, hold on the home
button and a menu will appear. Tap the three-dotted icon and then Settings, where you’ll be able to disable it.
You really must try Google Now on Tap. / © ANDROIDPIT
3. The battery optimizations
No matter which Android
device you have, there are ways to improve the battery life from the
get-go. Firstly, you must turn off ‘ambient display’ or ‘adaptive
brightness’. This setting changes the display brightness based on the
current lighting conditions, but it’s not perfect.
used to determine the light levels is not as accurate as the human
eye, you can set a more appropriate display brightness for the current
circumstances, and as the display is a key area where battery life is
lost, make sure you keep this at the lowest level possible.
Make sure you disable ambient display, and use a battery saving function when necessary. / © ANDROIDPIT
Additionally, all of the major Android UIs come with some
form of battery saving mode. While the strengths of each vary, they are
worth digging into to see how they can be best applied for your
For example, Sony’s Stamina mode alters very
little in terms of performance and it’s one of those you can (and
probably should) have enabled at all times.
The stock Android
battery saving function affects performance and app functionality quite
heavily, so it might worth considering using this only when it’s
HTC’s Power Saver, on the other hand, has several
options that you can enable or disable within it, making it a little
less rigid than the others.
Investigate the battery functions on
your device by going into the settings and looking for battery, power or
HTC’s Power saver mode (left) and Sony’s Stamina mode. / © ANDROIDPIT
4. Grant app permissions individually
Have you got
Android Marshmallow yet? It has a cool feature you should try: granular
app permissions. This feature allows you to give apps permission to
access hardware or data on your phone on a need basis. So if an app
needs to access the microphone, it’ll ask you for permission to do so
when you launch the app and the app needs to use this piece of hardware.
Marshmallow, you’d grant that permission before downloading the app in
the Play Store. We assumed that denying some app permissions within
third-party apps could break them. But now you can manage
these permissions individually. Give it a try.
You can view and toggle permissions for an individual app. / © ANDROIDPIT
5. Use Google Now, enable always listening
Now acts as a virtual personal assistant, which you can use to retrieve
information quickly and easily. But it’s also so much more than
that: Google Now can interact with your apps, take notes, set reminders
along with a whole bunch of other clever tricks.
The more you use
Google Now the more you realize what an excellent service it is. To give
a simple example, say you wish to take an afternoon nap, but are
already in that sleepy state and about to nod off. You don’t need to
reach for your phone and open your clock app, calculate the time you
want to wake and set an alarm for then. Just say “Okay Google, wake me
up in two hours.”
Tap OK Google detection and select ‘Always on’. / © ANDROIDPIT
You can even set it to work from any screen by going into Google Settings > Search and Now > Voice > OK Google detection > and selecting Always on.
We’ve listed more than 100 Google Now voice commands for you to use – give them a try.
6. Set up Android Device Manager
How Android Device Manager
is not pre-enabled on every single Android phone I simply don’t know.
Android Device Manager is a great tool that lets you track a lost or
stolen phone, remotely lock it, ring it, or delete its contents and even
display a lock screen message for anyone that finds it. It may not be
the sexiest thing you do with your Android phone, but it should be the
first thing you do.
Give Android Device Manager the power to lock or erase your data in case of loss or theft. / © ANDROIDPIT
You’ll find the permissions for Android Device Manager in the Google Setting app under Security.
You can enable Android Device Manager to remotely locate your phone as
well as lock or erase its contents. But you’ll also need to activate
Android Device Manager as a device administrator. Go to Settings > Security > Device Administrators and check the box next to Android Device Manager.
Make sure Android Device Manager is enabled as a device administrator. / © ANDROIDPIT
Android Device Manager
7. Try Pushbullet
There aren’t many apps that I think
absolutely everyone should use, because everyone has different tastes,
needs and habits. But Pushbullet is different. Everyone – and I mean everyone – should be using it.
Pushbullet connects all your devices for sharing links, calls, SMS and even files. / © Pushbullet
You can push links on your phone to your tablet, from your
PC to your phone or from your phone to all of your other devices.
Copying and pasting URLs is so 1999. Pushbullet also notifies you of SMS
or calls on your PC and you can transfer files between all of your
devices with Pushbullet too.
Pushbullet connects your phone, tablet, PC, Chrome browser and more. / © ANDROIDPIT
Pushbullet – SMS from PC
8. Save time with NFC
Many people don’t even realize
what NFC is, how it works or what it can do for you. But NFC is
brilliant. A single tap can pair your Bluetooth headphones to your
phone, transfer all of the contents of your old phone to a new one, or
even send a default message to a contact when you walk in the door at
See that NFC logo on those headphones? One tap and you’re paired. / © ANDROIDPIT
Some guy even implanted an NFC chip in his hand so he’d
never have to unlock his phone again. You don’t have to go that far, but
an NFC-equipped device and a pack of NFC tags will change your life and
save you tons of time. NFC is one of the coolest and underrated things
to do with your Android.
9. Setup lock screen security
your adventurous nature stops a little short of implanting an NFC chip
in your person, the next best thing to do is set up your lock screen
security. I am always surprised by how many of my friends don’t have
lock screen security set up.
Whether you prefer a PIN or a pattern, do make sure you have a security method set up. / © ANDROIDPIT
If you lose your phone or have it stolen do you really want
that thief to have access to all the intimate corners of your
smartphone? No? Then set up a pattern or PIN lock right now. Just go to Settings > Security > Screen lock or, on some devices, Settings > Lock Screen to set up your preferred type of lock screen security. Seriously, do it right now.
What else should everyone do with their Android? Share your tips in the comments.