Whether you’re a newbie or seasoned Android owner, there’s always something new to learn about your device. You may be familiar with a host of apps or navigation features, but what about the simple, often unnoticed settings that increase functionality?
Here are some easy tricks that will help you get the most out of your Android device and simplify your life:
1. Extend the battery life
The smarter the phone, it seems, the shorter the battery life. That’s because all those new apps and features are a huge drain on power, especially when they’re all running at once. Thankfully, there’s a solution: the Watchdog Task Manager app. It will stretch your battery life a bit longer by managing your apps instead of stopping or restarting them abruptly, so they won’t suck the life out of your phone.
2. Expedite texting
In our busy world, no one has time to type out full sentences using just their thumbs. That’s why Swype was invented. The feature allows you to swipe your finger across the keys forming the word you want, and it predicts what you’re trying to type. Swype comes pre-installed on Droid X phones, but any Android user can easily install it. Just open Settings, choose Language and Keyboard, change your Input Method to Swype, and you’re ready to go.
3. Share apps
As long as your phone is NFC (near field communication)-enabled, which can be confirmed in Settings, you can send or receive data from other devices without using email or Wi-Fi. All you have to do is tap the back of another NFC-enabled device, and you’ll be on your way to sharing photos, contacts, apps, music and more with your friends.
4. Create ringtones
Tired of choosing from the same annoying ringtones for incoming calls, emails, text messages or alarms? The Ringdroid app, which is an open-source ringtone editor, enables you to extract snippets from existing audio files and compile them to create your own ringtones.
5. Secure your device with your face
The four-digit pin or swipe pattern isn’t the only way to secure your smartphone. You can enable your Android’s facial recognition software by going to your Security preferences, choosing Smart Lock and then selecting Trusted Face. To complete the setup, you’ll need to take some selfies; be sure to get your various angles, take one with your glasses, one without, etc. Then the next time you look at your phone, it should recognize you almost instantly and unlock without you having to do a thing.
6. Keep tabs on your device
By installing the Prey Anti Theft app, you can keep tabs on up to three of your Android devices at once. In the event your phone or tablet is lost or stolen, you can remotely secure your device, locate it through geo-location, set a burglar alarm that can’t be silenced by the thief or display a personalized message on the screen.
7. Ask Google to do the work for you
Can’t afford to take your eyes off the road but desperately need to do a quick search, make a call or send a text? No problemo. Simply tap the microphone in the Google Search Bar, say “OK Google” and ask for what you want. Before you put this feature to work on the roadway, test it in the comfort of your home, because Google will give you detailed instructions to expedite the process when you’re crunched for time.
8. Limit data usage
If you frequently find yourself exceeding your monthly data allowance, you can turn off your data by going to Settings, Data Usage and unchecking Mobile Data when you’re in areas with free Wi-Fi. Another option: Use the chart found at the bottom of the screen to monitor your usage levels and check “Limit mobile data usage” so your connection will automatically be severed when you reach a certain limit.
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