Interesting Android features you are not using but should be.

Android is stacked with numerous tools and configuration options, we frequently overlook a number of its most useful features. Sometimes they’re hiding in plain sight. Other times, they’re buried so deep, you’d never discover them without spelunking deep into submenus, groping blindly within the dark.

But don’t let that one killer feature escape . albeit you think about yourself an Android computer user , you’d had best to form sure you’re conversant in every single menu, toggle and utility on this list. We’ve done our greatest to spot the precise locations of the features listed below, but you'll need to hunt around menus a touch if your device manufacturer has excessive interface customizations.

Did we skip that one killer, secret feature that everybody should know about? allow us to know by officially submitting a tip to Greenbot. We’ll offer you direct credit if we use your submission.

Use Android Device Manager for remote security
Use Android Device Manager for much greater control over a lost phone.

The Google Play Services framework is employed to manage all kinds of back-end services, and Google updates it frequently within the background. Most of the functionality packed away during this framework is of little user-facing consequence, but there’s tons including account sync, malware scanning, and therefore the Android Device Manager. This feature allows you track, ring, lock, and wipe your device if you lose track of it.

By default, you'll only ring and locate a tool with Android Device Manager, so if you would like the complete gamut of features, enter your main system settings and scroll right down to Security. Find the Device Administrators option, and open it to ascertain what apps are granted admin privileges on your phone or tablet. Checking the box next to Android Device Manager allows you to wipe and lock the device additionally to the ring and locate features.

You can remotely access Android Device Manager during a number of useful ways. If you simply have one Android device, you'll use any browser to travel to the Android Device Manager Page and log into your account. From there, you'll see a map of where your phone is found , and issue commands to nuke it or simply lock it.

Before resorting to extreme measures, you would possibly want to start out with locating and making it ring to make sure it didn’t just slip between the couch cushions. do you have to have access to quite one Android device, you'll use the Android Device Manager app, which you'll keep it up all of your devices to locate and manage the others.

Screen Recording

Screenshots are for chumps. Show everyone else what you’re up to with a screen recording.

A subset of Android users over the years have resorted to rooting their devices to urge more advanced features. Android has slowly gained features over time that make root less of a necessity. As of Android 5.0 Lollipop, there’s less reason than ever to root now that Android supports screen recording. you only need an app to require proper advantage of it.

A screen recording is just an MP4 video file of what’s happening on your screen for the duration of the capture. there's no native tool to try to to this on most Android devices for a few reason, but there are plenty of them within the Play Store. My personal favorite is that the aptly named Rec.

Whether you’re using Rec or another app with support for Lollipop screen recording, all you would like to try to to is accept the screen capture request when it pops up. An icon within the status bar will appear to allow you to know the screen recording is ongoing. Some apps have support for various resolutions and bitrates for the recording also , but the default are going to be the native screen resolution of your phone or tablet.

The way you finish a recording varies by app, but there’s usually a notification otherwise you can simply put the device to sleep. one among the explanations I prefer the aforementioned Rec is that it's support for both of these options also as shake to prevent a recording.

Set your system animations to warp speed

Why suffer even marginally slow animations when your processor can handle faster speeds?

Android devices are faster than they wont to be, but you'll make your experience feel even zippier with one simple tweak. Android contains a hidden developer options menu that you simply can enable by going into your main system settings, then navigating to About > Software Information > More > Build number. Now tap on the build number—literally, tap thereon numerous times—until alittle message at rock bottom of the screen confirms that you’re a developer.

Now, don’t worry: This doesn’t make any modifications to your system. It just activates the Developer Options menu back within the main settings list—so head back there and open it up. Developer Options features a ton of interesting features to fiddle with, but you'll also mess things up pretty badly, so it’s best to not change anything you haven’t thoroughly researched. You’ve been warned!

Now back to animations. 

Inside Developer options, scroll right down to Drawing and find Window animation scale, Transition animation scale, and Animator duration scale. These are ready to 1x by default. These animations are the attention candy you see when apps open and shut , menus sink , and more. they assist cover lag because the system catches up, but you don’t actually need slow settings on a quick device. you'll set all of those to 0.5x for a more snappy interface experience.

Get into your phone faster with Smart Lock
Security doesn’t need to be a hassle.

Keeping your phone secure is vital , but if you’re the one holding it, there’s no reason you've got to affect a robust lock screen every single time you drag it from your pocket. Luckily, Android 5.0 devices now have support for Smart Lock. This feature can display the straightforward swipe lock screen when it’s safe to try to to so. How does it know? Well, there are a spread of options, some safer than others.

Smart Lock

Smart Lock is delivered to devices via Play Services, a bit like Android Device Manager. The locking options will vary by device, but Nexus phones and tablets have the foremost . There’s Trusted Face, Trusted Location, Trusted Devices, and on-body detection. At the bare minimum, all devices should have Trusted Devices and Trusted Location.

So for instance , you'll have your phone set to swipe unlock reception , but take a stroll down the block or hop within the car and it'll start posing for the pattern, PIN, or password lock again. an equivalent goes for Trusted Devices—if you’re connected to a Bluetooth or NFC device you've got previously marked as “trusted,” (like your car or Android Wear watch) you’ll see no secure lock screen. With Trusted Face, the device will switch seamlessly transition to swipe unlock mode if it spots you with the front camera. On-body detection may be a little weird—this option keeps your phone set to swipe unlock as long because it detects it's still in your hand or pocket. Set it down, and it locks again.

Keep in mind, some OEMs really bury the Smart Lock menu a couple of levels deep in advanced security or privacy settings. you'll also got to enable Google Play Services as a “trust agent” within the settings of some device to access Smart Lock.

Don’t just monitor data usage—control it
The trick is to receive a warning before you trip your data limit.

In our age of draconian tiered data plans and ever-increasing carrier fees, you regularly got to watch your mobile data consumption closely. Android features a built-in tool that helps you are doing this, but most users don’t use it to its full potential. the info Usage menu is typically near the highest of your system settings list (though it's going to be buried under a “More” heading), and may even be accessed via the network signal strength icon in Quick Settings. you'll use the sliders on the usage chart to line your data limits for your chosen billing cycle.

The default behavior is just to warn you once you reach your data limit. However, by the time you get that warning, it’s often too late to regulate your behavior and avoid overage charges or automatic throttling. a far better use of the info tracking feature is to line your warning a couple of hundred megabytes below your limit, then enable a knowledge limit with the checkbox right above the chart. The line on the chart allows you to set some extent at which your mobile data are going to be shut off.

Use Wi-Fi Direct for quick file transfers.

The SuperBeam app facillitates device-to-device file transfers at warp speed—even 45 Mbps. Ah, the wonders of Wi-Fi.

Transferring files between devices has always been a touch annoying, but features like Android Beam made it easier: Just hold together two NFC-enabled devices (Android 4.1 or later), and you'll transfer files across a Bluetooth link. It’s a neat trick, but transfer speeds are capped by Bluetooth bandwidth, and file type support is restricted . Luckily, however, most Android devices also support Wi-Fi Direct, albeit Google’s stock apps don’t make use of it.

Wi-Fi Direct is strictly what it sounds like: a protocol which will create an immediate connection between two devices via Wi-Fi. you only need an app to form use of it, and there are several in Google Play. SuperBeam is perhaps the foremost powerful, and it's a free version. to urge a transfer going, you only share files to Super Beam (or whatever app you’ve chosen to use) and tap phones. Wi-Fi Direct allows you to line up multiple files during a single operation and therefore the transfer rate can easily exceed 30 Mbps. It’s fabulous for sharing large videos or images.

Restrict background data

App by app Sometimes apps don’t got to be gobbling up such a lot data within the background.

Because Android allows apps to awaken within the background and perform activities, there’s always the likelihood they’ll send and receive mobile data without your knowledge. When you’re on a low-capped data plan (or you’re just arising on the cap) this will be a problem . Luckily, the Android Data Usage menu in your phone offers information on what’s using data within the background, and will prevent from extra charges.

Below the graph of overall data usage mentioned above, you’ll find an inventory of all of your apps organized by what proportion data they’ve used, starting with the foremost greedy offenders. Tap on any single app for details on the split between foreground and background data. If you discover an app employing a lot of bytes within the background, you'll scroll right down to rock bottom of the small print page and check the choice to limit background data. Note, however, that this feature is merely available on devices that hook into mobile data plans.

Also confine mind that some apps won’t work needless to say with this feature enabled, so only use it for apps and services that aren’t respectful of your mobile data connection.

Use Owner Info to form it easier to reclaim a lost device

Having a pattern or PIN lock on your phone or tablet is usually an honest idea, but what happens if you lose the device, and an honest Samaritan finds it and needs to return it? How is he or she alleged to know who it belongs to? Well, hidden inside the Owner Info menu, there’s a simple thanks to provide your identity.

The Owner Info feature are going to be within the Security section of the most system settings, or under Personal > Lock screen and security on newer Samsung phones. you'll add any info here you would like , but an email and alternative telephone number are safe bets. Just check the choice above the text field to possess the Owner Info displayed on the lock screen. Be aware, OEMs that heavily customize the lock screen (cough, cough—HTC) sometimes do away with this feature.

Start recognizing tethered phones as hotspots
It’s time your phone start treating tethered handsets with the respect they deserve.

Android devices have long included native tethering support, and most carriers have finally gotten comfortable enough with tethering to permit users on capped data plans to use the feature without paying extra. That said, an Android device connected to a tethered hotspot doesn’t know it’s using mobile data. All it sees may be a Wi-Fi access point, which can pose problems.

If you’ve set your apps to auto-update or have files automatically protected over Wi-Fi, you'll accidentally blow through most of the hotspot’s data plan during a jiffy . To avoid this, you ought to be teaching your devices which Wi-Fi networks are literally mobile hotspots. this may apply system-wide settings for mobile data albeit , for all intents and purposes, your phone thinks it’s connected to Wi-Fi.

In the Data Usage menu, use the overflow menu button to pick Network restrictions. The screen that comes up will list all the Wi-Fi networks synced together with your account data. Simply flip the toggle next to those that are hotspots, and your device won’t abuse the info . This feature dovetails nicely with the background data restriction mentioned above.

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