Google’s operating system gets important functionality updates each year, but there are many Android shortcuts, older or newer, you never knew existed.
Since the first Android versions, this OS seemed very polished, and allowed you to use the phone at a great variety of activities.
Now it got even better, provided that you consider a few details, enable needed functions, and try to learn some of the particularities detailed below.
Chances are very high you already know some of these shortcuts on Android, but not all. It is also possible to have forgotten some of these in the meantime. Ideally, you should read this material occasionally and try to use the shortcuts a few times, until you remember them.
Double click on the power button turns on the camera
It is impossible not to have a situation where you missed the perfect shot, while you struggled to take your phone out of your pocket, unlock it, and try to get that shot. In the future, simply press the power button twice on the side of the Android smartphone or tablet, and problem solved!
It’s surprising how simple it is, provided your device is running a recent version of Android, preferably 6.0 Marshmallow. On most Samsung Galaxy phones, when the phone is in standby, you get the same effect by double-clicking on “Home”. On some Motorola models, you have to flip the cell phone twice.
In some cases it may still vary, but once you’ve found it, you will never miss a shot of a spectacular moment.
Android shortcuts to quickly find an app
It is not difficult to wake up with a lot of apps, more or less useful, on your phone.
The major problem is to find what you need, through pages and pages of names and icons.
The most efficient solution in this context comes directly from Google. The detailed system below runs natively on any Nexus device. If you have a different kind of Android, you must install Google Now Launcher, which is completely free from Google Play.
From then on, instead of pressing the button for the entire list of applications from the main screen, hold on a little longer, pressing on it. The window with all the applications will be opened shortly, but on top, you’ll see a search box through which you can filter results. Make a single tap in the search bar, before you start typing.
Android like any other operating system for smartphones, starting with version 4.0 – Ice Cream Sandwich, helps, although it is not very obvious how to hang up to a person who calls you, and to send a predefined message the same time.
The only gesture that we must remember, is a swipe from the bottom up when someone calls you. Immediately you will encounter a window like the one above.
The list of predefined options is very inspired, provided they speak English. Sort of speaking, you can completely ignore it, by replacing those messages, with some set by you.
Mostly, how you will customize those messages, may vary from one manufacturer to another, but the starting point is almost always the same – the call window. In the Android 6.0 Marshmallow standard version, click to enter the Dialer menu, and press the three dots on the upper right.
Click on Settings, then go to the Quick Responses, touch any of the predefined replies to replace them. Lollipop users (Android 5.0+) have an extra step. From Dialer, you should go first in Settings, then General, and only afterwards, to finally opt for Quick Responses at the base of the new window.
Some themes or launchers hide that menu in pretty strange locations, but with a little patience, it shouldn’t be very hard to locate.
On latest Samsung phones, for example, go to the ”More” from the dial menu, then into Settings – Call Blocking, followed by a tap on Call > Reject messages. Yes, not really the most intuitive method, but you do not interact with it often, so this would really matter.
Eventually, try to keep in mind that the setting will not always hide behind the name of Quick Response.
Unlock your phone in an easy but safe way, with Smart Lock
Smart Lock is one of the smartest features included in Android, first by the nature of the way it is implemented, also by the clear and simple way that you can customize it. In a few words, Smart Lock lets you define the circumstances in which your phone to be unlocked.
Scenarios where you will take advantage of these settings are multiple, and if conditions are not met, then it will automatically activate the phone’s security code. Basically, you can opt for when you are at home, or at work, the phone to be unlocked without a PIN or unlock pattern. Also, when you are connected to the Bluetooth, in the car, or to your Smart Watch, the phone can also stay unlocked.
To enable this very useful security system, go to Settings > Security section, and choose “Smart Lock”. From this moment, you are provided with a number of options. Trusted Places allows you to set a number of Bluetooth devices to which you connect with your phone, and it will remain unlocked.
Trusted Face and Trusted Voice, facilitate the unblock of a Android device by using your voice or face. Personally, I am delighted of On-body Detection, which keeps your phone unlocked as long as it is in your pocket. You should choose one feature that is suitable for your lifestyle.
Attach widgets to contacts for speed dial
The people you interact often with, can be found on your phone’s home screen. Thus, at one touch away, you can opt to initiate a voice call or sending a text message.
This process is carried out through Direct Contact widgets, some 1 x 1 size icons – that you can associate with any contact.
To create such a widget, on the phone main screen, hold your finger anywhere on the screen and click on Widgets. Scroll through the list that appears on the screen, and go to Contacts.
Two options will pop up, Direct dial 1 x 1 or Direct message 1 x 1.
Press and hold the one you want (Direct dial / Direct message), and bring it on the screen.
From now on, you only have to select the contact you want to assign to the widget, and you have completed the setup process.
Ok Google – use voice commands to be faster
It may be strange at first to naturally speak with the phone, but the system is surprising useful, and has become increasingly powerful in recent years. The secret is to have the latest version of Google Play and optionally, also have the Google Now Launcher.
The list of things you can do with voice commands on Android is pretty big, and it works equally well in English, French and many other languages, provided that the phone menu is in that language. It is crucial however to start a sentence with “Ok Google”, followed by your desired command.
The first step involves activating the OK Google detection from any menu. To make this gesture, start Google Now, enter its menu with a swipe from the left edge and go to Settings.
Here, you are interested in the “Voice” section, precisely, activating OK Google detection from any screen – “From any screen”. From the moment you followed these steps, you can start asking questions & speak with the phone.
Hopefully this tutorial has enlightened you as to a few secrets of the Android operating system that can make your smartphone life more enjoyable !