Android is stacked with a number of useful tools, configuration options, and the most powerful features. Its full-level customization has made it favorite among developers and customers alike. The operating system has almost reached the top of smartphone market segment and day by day its user base is growing strong. With every major Android update, you will get some really cool and useful features to use. But, are you really using all of the features that Android offers? Are you using your Android Smartphone to its full potential? Well, it’s time to reveal a wealth of secret Android features that will improve your mobile experience.
Please note that the different versions of Android support different set of cool features so try them all and see which will work on your device.
Without any further ado, here are some of the most useful and secret Android features you may not be familiar with. Let’s have a look.
Secret Android Features
Activate Guest Mode
The first feature among our list of secret Android features is how to activate the guest mode. If you want to share your device with someone, you can enable Android’s native guest account. The guest profile can do most of the things as the device’s owner does, but the apps on the device won’t be connected to your account, keeping files and messages safe from prying eyes.
To switch to a guest account, just head over to the Users section within your device settings and create a guest account. You can also find the mode by swiping down from the top of the screen with two fingers to reveal the Quick Settings menu, tap on the user profile icon and then, tap on Add guest. You can also create new profiles and each can have its own files and settings.
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Screen Pinning has originally introduced with Android 5.0 Lollipop as a way to lock your device’s screen to a certain app. The feature has the ability to pin a specific app on your phone, which means a user can only use that particular app and will not be able to open any other app.
In order to enable Screen Pinning, you can navigate to Settings > Security > Screen Pinning and enable it. From there, you can open the app you want to pin, tap on the Recent button and find a pin icon in the bottom-right corner for the app. You can then tap on the pin icon and the app will be pinned.
To unpin the app, you can long press the back button. Well, you can also enable the option Lock device when unpinning in the Screen Pinning settings for more security.
The next feature among our list of secret Android features is the use of multi-window support. Split screen or multi-window view is one of the best features of Android 7.0 Nougat. This mode enables you to run two apps side by side. To access this feature, all you need to do is just long-press the square soft key when you’re using an app. This will make the screen split in half; with one half displaying the active app and the other will show your recently used apps. You can tap on one and it should load on the second half of the screen. You can drag the dividing line to resize as per your convenience. Please note that all of your apps does not support split screen view.
Manage Your Notifications
Android notifications are an integral part of a smartphone and Google has kept improving this core OS functionality. However, some notifications are more important than others. While text messages or emails may convey something urgent, you wouldn’t want your workflow to be interrupted by tweets or Facebook friend suggestions. One simple way to go is to manage your notifications one by one. When an undesired notification pops up, just long press it and then select the information icon. You’ll be able to disable any future notifications from the specific app and tweak other related settings.
Recent Android versions allow you to prioritize your notifications so that you will only get the ones you want. There is a dedicated panel for managing notifications. Just navigate to Settings > Notifications. You can turn off all notifications or selectively allow only certain apps that you use often to be able to notify you. No doubt, this is one of the best features among our list of secret Android features.
Backup Your Photos and Videos Free of Charge
The next feature among our list of secret Android features is how to backup your photos and videos free of charge. Google allows you to save an unlimited amount of your photos and videos in high quality, which uses some compression up to 16MP resolution for photos and 1080p for videos. All you need to have is the Google Photos app on your Android device and enable the Backup & Sync option from the app settings. It’s worth mentioning that Google Photos is also available for desktop operating systems, so you can backup all your photos at one place.
Smart Lock is a great security feature on your Android device that automatically unlocks your phone when it is around some trusted agent like your Android smartwatch. If you happen to lock your phone with PIN or Pattern then this feature can be really useful. So, let’s see how to enable it. You’ll need Android 5.0 or above for this.
Just navigate to Settings > Security > Trusted Agents and enable Smart Lock. Here, you’ll find the options to set up different trusted agents as per your convenience. This is also one of the best features among our list of secret Android features.
Installing Other App Stores
Generally, it is safe to download apps only from the official Google Play Store. However, it’s possible to install third-party app stores in Android device and one that should be safe to browse is Amazon’s Appstore, which offers a number of paid apps for free. The only thing your Android device needs to do is to enable the Unknown Sources setting. You can follow the on-screen prompt or head over to your device’s Settings menu and then look for an entry labeled as either Security or Lock screen and security.
Install New Apps From Your PC’s Browser
If we’re talking about App Stores, you can still use your PC for many varied tasks including installing new apps on your smartphone. One of the great things about Android is how well integrated it is with Google services and that includes the Play Store. You must be logged in with the same Google account on your computer and phone. Once done, you can browse the Play Store, manage, and install new apps from your PC’s browser. Your phone will receive the instruction to download and install the app.
Manage Default Apps
One of the great things about Android is how customizable it is, though initial setup can be a little annoying as the OS keeps asking which program you want to open a file or link with.
With Android Marshmallow and Nougat, it’s pretty straightforward to manage the default apps at any time. To do this, just head over to the Apps menu under Settings and touch the cog wheel at the top of your device’s screen. You’ll get a section labeled Default inside the Configure apps screen from where you can reassign the default apps for home, phone, browser, and SMS as well as the default apps for specific file types or links. In addition, there is also one more way to access this functionality, you need to head over to the information page for an app and you’ll get an option to view and clear the default apps.
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Clear All Recent Apps
Android automatically manages memory usage so that apps open in the background aren’t slowing down your phone or draining the battery. Still, there’s something deeply cathartic about closing all your apps. Instead of swiping each screen on the carousel one by one, you can scroll to the top of your device and tap on the Clear All button to flush everything at once.
Format SD Card as Internal Storage
If your device is running low internal storage then you can format your SD card as internal storage for more storage space. It simply means that your SD card will become a part of the internal storage and you’ll be able to install apps on it. This can come in very handy if you have a device with low internal storage. Well, let’s see how you can do it.
First, you need to have a high-speed SD Card with good Read/Write speeds. Well, if you don’t have one, we’ll recommend you to not enable this feature, as your device might slow down considerably. But, if you have a high-speed SD Card, you can navigate to Settings > Storage and USB > Portable Storage and tap on Format as Internal. Your SD card will be erased and formatted as internal storage.
If you want to format your SD card back as Portable Storage, just go back to the SD Card settings and you’ll get the option Format as Portable. Please note that formatting an SD card as internal storage will encrypt the card so you will not be able to remove it.
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Find My Device (Formerly Android Device Manager)
Find My Device allows you to track, ring, lock, and wipe your phone if you lose track of it. By default, you can only ring and locate a device with Find My Device, but if you want the full gamut of features, navigate to Security menu inside your system settings, find the Administrators option, and grant Find My Device admin privileges.
You can remotely access Find My Device in a number of useful ways. If you only have one Android device, you can use any web browser to go to the Android Device Manager page and log into your account. From there, you can see a map of where your phone is located and issue commands to nuke it or just lock it. This is one of the most useful features among our list of secret Android features.
Use WiFi Direct for Quick File Transfers
When it comes to transferring files from one device to another, many Android users turn to Bluetooth or NFC. These work pretty well with small files like JPEGs or MP3s, but when you need to transfer some heavy file from your friend’s phone to yours, the transfer speeds may be too slow to bear.
Thankfully, most Android devices support WiFi Direct, a protocol that allows you to create a direct WiFi connection between two phones or tablets. You won’t find the service anywhere on the menus, but there are several Google Play apps you can use to make use of it. SuperBeam is probably the most powerful app and it has a free version.
Sometimes, Android devices freeze on few occasions. In case your Android device is frozen, you can reboot it instead of trying out other things and getting irritated by doing so.
All you need to do is just press Power Button + Home Key + Volume up button at the same time.
Do Not Disturb Mode
Do Not Disturb Mode is one of the best Android features so far. You can enable the Do Not Disturb Mode from the notifications panel. Just tap on on it and you’ll get the options to set the time frame till you want it to be active or you can just set it to indefinite time until you manually disable it. If you have some important contacts whom you can’t ignore, you should choose the Priority only mode. You can also select the Alarms only mode if you don’t want to miss out any alarms.
You can also set Automatic Rules that will enable the Do Not Disturb Mode automatically. You can set the Start Time and the End Time along with the actual day.
So, these were some of the most useful and secret Android features to help you more familiar with your device.