05 tips to enhance your Google-powered device.
Are you satisfied from your Android?
The Android versus iPhone debate
continues to rumble on. But one thing is certain: Google’s phone software is
more versatile and customizable than Apple’s offering. Go into the settings and
tweaks available for your Android phone and you’ll find a host of clever
features and useful tools. We have collected 05 of them right here.
A quick note before we begin: Android has a wide variety of
makes, models, and versions, which makes it more difficult to find features
that will be consistent across all devices. We only verified the following tips
on stock Android 7.0 Nougat—they should also work on related systems, but some
of the menus and procedures may vary slightly.
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1. Cast your Android screen
Recent versions of Android come with Chromecast
mirroring built in.
For a number of years, you’ve been able to broadcast your
Android phone or tablet’s display to the larger screen of a television using a
Chromecast. In addition to beaming video from all the usual movie and TV
apps, this streaming device can mirror your phone. Take advantage of
a mirroring shortcut in the Quick Settings pane, which you access by dragging
down from the top of the screen with two fingers. You should find a Cast option
in this menu.
If it doesn’t show up, there’s another way to set up
mirroring. First, check to make sure you’ve installed the Google Home app for Android. You probably already used
this program to set up your Chromecast. Open the app, tap Cast screen/audio
from its menu, and then choose your Chromecast. Your device’s display should
appear on the big screen.
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2. Run apps side-by-side
Need two apps side-by-side? Android can help.
One of the new features added in Android 7.0 Nougat is the
option to run apps side-by-side or one above the other. This view comes in
handy when you want to display photos, optimize your social networking, or
multitask, although it’s a bit too laggy for gaming.
To set it up, tap the Overview button (the square icon below
the screen) button, and choose which of your recently used apps you want to
see. Then, hold and drag that app’s title bar to the top or left of the
display. Finally, choose another open app to appear alongside or under it.
Meanwhile, here’s another related tip: Double-tap rather
than single-tap the Overview button to quickly switch between the two apps
you’ve been using most recently.
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3. Make text and images more visible
Change the size of on-screen objects.
If you’re struggling to see what’s on the screen—or,
alternatively, if you want to cram as much content as possible onto the display
and don’t mind doing a bit of squinting along the way—you can zoom in or out on
text and objects. Not all the apps will respond to these adjustments, but most
of them will.
To change size settings, open the Android Settings app and
go to the Display heading. From the Display menu, tap the Font size link to
change the default font size in Android. Select the Display size link to make
on-screen objects larger or smaller.
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4. Change volume settings independently
Android lets you adjust multiple different
Your device plays several different types of audio—including
ring tones, notifications, alarms, phone calls, and media. If you’ve ever gone
to the Settings menu, opened Sounds, and tapped Volume, you’ll have seen that
you can use individual sliders to adjust these audio types individually.
However, Android gives you a quick-and-easy shortcut. Tap
the physical volume buttons on the side of your device to make whatever’s
currently playing softer or louder (if no media is playing, this action will
adjust your ringtone volume). When you do, a small box will pop up on the
screen, showing which volume setting is changing and how. On the side of that
box, you should see a small arrow. Tap it, and the box will expand to show multiple
volume sliders at once. This can save you a trip to Settings.
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5. Lock phone borrowers inside one app
Screen pinning locks the phone user into one
What happens when you want to lend a friend or young family
member your phone—but don’t want them rooting through your
private information or posting to your social media accounts? Screen pinning
lets you be generous without giving up your privacy. Pinning one app to the
screen means that your phone will only run that app until someone enters the
lock screen code again. Essentially, the user won’t be able to access any other
parts of your phone without your code.
Screen pinning is easy to set up. Open Settings, go to the
Security menu, and enable screen pinning. Once you’ve turned on the feature,
launch the app your friend needs to use. Then open Overview by tapping the
square navigation button below the phone screen. On the window for the most
recently opened app, you should see a pin icon (it looks like a little
thumbtack) in the lower right-hand corner. Tap the pin button to pin that app
to the screen.