Android is a popular and flexible mobile operating system that boasts with a wide range of unique features. While every Android user knows certain features, almost no one knows everything that they can do with their phone. As Android is rich in cool functions, it takes a lot of time to discover all of them and know how to apply them. Some of the functions are hidden while others are right in front of your eyes.
One of the best features of Android is that it also lets you customize your device as you wish. You can turn even the simplest devices into tech-rich creative mobiles.
In this article, you will discover some of the coolest Android features and learn how you can practically use them. Know that in order to access certain features presented here, you may have to do a few steps differently as mentioned because the access to functions sometimes varies from device to device.
18 Secret Android Functions Most Users Don’t Know About
Continue with the reading and find out the top secret android functions. Is something important missing? Let us know and we will consider adding your suggestions to the list.
1. Quick Access to Notifications and Settings
One of the most used functions on Android devices is the quick notifications access and the settings menu access. You may require this function for various reasons and if you are using your phone a lot, using this function will save you quite a lot of time.
If you want to access notifications and settings real quick, make a downward swipe with your finger. To access the menu even faster, make a downward swipe with two of your fingers while you’re at the home screen.
2. Data Usage Restrictions
Most of the apps on our mobile devices perform in the back without us knowing that. Some of the apps work to fix the bugs, update the program, or install new features. This is all great, but you have to be careful on how these apps perform and where are they getting the data from. If you are connected to Wi-Fi at all times, then this shouldn’t be an issue. But surely, you don’t want massive apps being updated or photos being synced automatically via cellular data. This can result in huge bills.
Luckily, there is a feature hiding in the menu of app settings. Open the settings and scroll to ‘data usage’. There you should see the option ‘restrict app background data’. Enable this option in order to ensure that the app activities, such as updates and syncing, will be prohibited from occurring in the background while your device is connected to the cellular network.
3. Displaying Touch Points
You may want to display your touch points for numerous reasons, such as showing how something is done to your friend or making an instruction video. Android allows you to display white dots at the places that you touch.
To activate touch points, you will first have to access the developer options. To access the developer options, first head to settings and select ‘About phone’ at the bottom of the menu. Scroll down and click on the ‘Build number’ repeatedly 7 or 8 times. By doing so, you should receive a message saying that you are a developer. Return to the settings menu and go to the ‘Developer options’ which should appear right above the ‘About phone’. Once you access the ‘Developer options’, head under ‘Input’ and enable the ‘Show touches (Show visual feedback for touches)’ option.
4. View Open Tabs
When we browse the internet, we often close the app by pressing the home button once we are done searching. This action, however, will only close the main app while the tabs remain open. If you want to close the tabs, you have to do it manually.
If you want to see all of the tabs and close some or all of them, tap on the address bar of your browser and swipe down. You can also access the tabs list by clicking on the number next to the address bar. A list of all the open tabs will open and you can then close the chosen tabs by tapping on an ‘x’ button.
5. Using the Power Button to End Calls
If you are busy doing other things while talking over the phone, this function will be especially useful to you. When people talk over the phone, they normally look down on the phone and wait for a few seconds to end the call after talking. There is a way to end things sooner and more practically, without you having to look at the phone screen.
You can program your power button to end your phone calls with it. Simply go to ‘Settings’ and ‘Accessibility’. Then, enable the function called ‘Power button ends call’. Once you do that, you can start ending your phone calls by pressing on the power button.
6. Simple Cross-referencing
This function is great when you are dealing with multiple documents and open tabs in browser. In order to easily navigate between the sites and reference your links, you can long-press on your browser’s address bar then swipe left and right. By doing so, you will be able to smoothly glide between the open tabs.
7. Reducing Eye Strain
Interested in saving some battery and reducing eye strain? This function allows you to do both in one shot which is why it is one of our favorite secret Android functions. It is true that HD colors are great, but they are not always necessary. If you are not doing anything that requires colors, you are suggested to try out this function.
First, access the ‘Develop options’ as described in point 3. Then, tap on the ‘Simulate color space’ and select ‘Monochromacy’ function. This will make your display gray scale which will help you save the battery and reduce eye strain.
8. Saving Web Pages as PDF Files
Chrome is one of the most popular internet browsers that is full of interesting functions that not many know about. This function will be the right one for you if you often wish that you could save the content from website and check it out at anytime and anywhere.
In order to save a web page as PDF, open it on Chrome and click on ‘Share’. Continue by selecting ‘Print’, and then save the web page as PDF. You are then ready to open and read the document anytime, whether you are connected to the internet or not.
9. Screen Pinning
This nifty trick will allow you to hand over your phone to family members or friends without worrying that they will read through your private texts.
To enable this function, go to ‘Settings’ and tap on ‘Security’. Then, select ‘Screen pinning’ and drag the switch from left to right to enable it. Once the function is enabled, you can pin the screens or apps.
10. Safe Mode Boot
If you find yourself in a situation where your phone begins to act erratically, you may want to try and reboot your device in safe mode. This can happen due to many reasons, including app bugs, forced ads, etc. When you reboot your device in safe mode, all third party apps that you have installed on your device will be disabled. As you reboot your phone again, the apps will be restored and you can use them again.
To boot your phone when needed, tap on the power button and long-press the power off option.
11. Simple Zooming
We all know how to zoom in or zoom out of maps or pictures by pinching the screen. Nevertheless, there is an easier way to do that. You can zoom in or zoom out with a single swipe.
Double tap on the picture or maps then swipe up or down without lifting your finger. Such a cool trick, isn’t it?
12. Google Voice Access
Many of us use the microphone button in the Google search bar to search for something or add a reminder, alarm, etc. However, most of the users still don’t know that they can access all these features hands-free.
Go under ‘Settings’ and ‘Voice’, and then select the ‘OK Google detection’. You can now activate Google anytime by saying ‘OK Google’
13. Smart Lock
Smart Lock is definitely one of the best secret Android functions out there. You can use this feature to automatically unlock your device when you reach a predetermined ‘safe’ location of your choosing. This means that you won’t have to continuously unlock your device when you are at that location, may it be your home, office, school, or other. You can also program your device to stay unlocked while it is touching your body or when it is connected to trusted devices.
If you’re up for a thrill, you can also set voice recognition for your phone.
On Marshmallow devices, simply go to ‘Settings’ and tap on the ‘Lock screen and security’. Select ‘Secure lock settings’ and choose ‘Smart lock’ from the list.
On Lollipop devices, go to ‘Settings’ and ‘Security’, and then select ‘Trust agents’. Switch the ‘Smart Lock’ function to on in order to enable it. Go back and Smart Lock will appear under the advanced section of settings.
14. Owner Information
There has been a lot of important security updates in mobile industry in the last few years. Our phones have passwords, fingerprint detections, voice recognitions, and patterns that help us keep the device and sensitive data safe. But what happens if you lose a phone and a person that wants to help you get it back finds it?
Setting up owner information will help you display the name and alternative contact number on the locked screen of your phone. This way, even if your phone gets lost, there is a chance that the right person will find it and use this info to return it to you.
Go under ‘Settings’ and tap ‘Security’ or ‘Lock screen’. Proceed to choose ‘Owner information’ or ‘Users’ and ensure that the ‘Show owner info on lock screen’ option is turned on. Put in your details and click on the final OK button.
15. Wi-Fi Sleep Policy
Normally, when your phone screen turns off, the device switches from Wi-Fi to cellular data. This affects your device’s battery life and cellular data consumption. To avoid this, go under advanced Wi-Fi settings and select ‘Never’ from the list called ‘Keep Wi-Fi on during sleep’. This way, the transition will never occur even when the phone is not used.
16. Guest Mode
To prevent others from messing with your private life and allowing them to use your device at the same time can be a challenge. With guest mode function, this can be easily handled. Go under ‘Users’ and create a new ‘Guest’ user to which you will be able to switch to any time.
Guest mode will not only help you keep things private, but will also ensure that the guest uses a completely clean version of the device, free of your apps.
17. Retrieve Cleared Notifications
We all like to get rid of the junk and empty our logs from time to time. Nevertheless, sometimes we may delete an important notification that we shouldn’t. In order to retrieve deleted notifications, long-press on the home screen and tap on ‘Widgets’, then place ‘Settings’ on your home screen. As you open the settings, select ‘Notifications’ and you are good to go.
18. Remote Control
Remote control will allow you to access your device from a different one. Go to ‘Settings’ and ‘Security’, then ‘Device administrators’. Check the boxes next to ‘Allow remote lock and erase’ and ‘Remotely locate this device’. Now you will be able to locate and block your device even after you lose it without damaging the data on it.
These are only but a few of endless Android functions and tricks. Start applying the ones that will benefit you and don’t hesitate to explore and discover more secret Android functions!