Android is the most popular mobile OS with 3 billion active users so here are our top tips and tricks so you can get the most out of your Android smartphone or tablet. See also: 34 best Android smartphones in UK: What’s the best Android phone you can buy in 2014?
There are all kinds of things which Android can do and you might not even know it, so that’s why we’ve put together our top tips and tricks. We’ll be adding to it so get it bookmarked and come back soon.
We’ve kept the tips pretty broad but please bear in mind that the look, layout and features will vary between devices. Older phones and tablets may not have the latest version or your manufacturer may use its own user interface, for example.
Top 5 Android tip and tricks
One of the most basic things you can do in Android to make your life easier is to group your app icons into folders. You can have them littering the homescreen panels but let’s face it, it looks horrible and if you want it like that you’re pretty much mirroring the iPhone.
To group your apps into folders simply long press on one and drop it on top of another. This will make a folder which you can name and on some device select a colour for. Drag and drop other icons to add them to the folder. This way you’ll have more space for widgets and you’ll see your wallpaper better
With the introduction of Android 4.1 Jelly Bean came Google Now and if you haven’t used it yet then you really need to check it out. It’s effectively an intelligent digital assistant which is part of the Google Search app and a quick way of seeing if you have it is to swipe up from the bottom of the screen. You may have it but not yet opted in for the service.
The idea is to provide the information you need before you’ve even searched for or requested it. The cards based interface (as well as notifications) provided all kinds of helpful information such as the weather, sports scores, travel information and much more.
Swipe gesture typing
This one will depend on your device and Android version but even if you don’t have it you can download the Google Keyboard for free from the Play store or a third-party alternative (SwiftKey is now free).
Swipe gesture typing might not be for everyone but it’s definitely worth trying out as it can be much faster and easier than pressing buttons. It works by simply swiping around the keyboard to each letter you need to make a word in order without losing contact with the screen. Based on the shape you make, the keyboard can work out what word you want – even if you don’t do it very accurately.
It doesn’t always work but keep forcing yourself to use it and you will, along with the keyboard itself, will get better over time. You can also swipe from the shift or symbols keys for quick caps and punctuation.
Manage data usage
Unless you pay enough for unlimited data, you’re phone contract will have some kind of limit. Whether it’s 500MB or 8GB, Android has a great way to track and manage your mobile data usage.
Simply head to setting and click on ‘Data Usage’ where you can see a helpful graph of your usage over a period of time. The idea is to match the dates with you contract. You can set a warning level and a cap so you don’t go over your limit. You can also see which apps use the most data, too.
You might be happy to simply unlock your Android device with a swipe or perhaps not even that, but it’s a good idea to use a higher level of security – especially if it’s a device which goes out and about with you.
In Android there are various different security options (the Galaxy S5 even has a fingerprint scanner), so head to security section of the settings menu to choose which you want to use under ‘screen lock’. You can opt for swipe, face unlock, pattern, PIN or password.