Android, being the dominant mobile operating system today, has a large number of features and options. While there are many apps that take advantage of the sensors to provide some nifty features, there are some cool native Android features that many users overlook. Probably, only the developers and power users have actually taken advantage of these hidden features. In this article, learn about some hidden Android features you can take advantage of.
- Remote Device Tracking
Did you know that Google can track your device remotely and help you locate your phone if it is lost? Android Device Manager is a Google web app with which you can track your device’s location and easily retrieve it if it is lost. ADM can be set up under the security settings of Android. Turn on the options “Remotely locate this device” and “Allow remote factory reset.” You can easily track the location from ADM website and make the phone ring, set up an external password for it, or erase all its data.
- Smart Lock
This is a feature that may not be available on your device, depending on its OEM. But Nexus and Pixel, running the stock Android, do have the feature. Smart Lock allows you to unlock your device quickly when it is in specific locations (such as your home) without having to swipe the pattern or password. Also, it allows you to pair it with your Android Wear smart watch so that the phone can be unlocked without password. Smart Lock also allows unlocking with facial recognition when you are looking at the front-facing camera. In order to use these settings, you need to configure “Trusted Locations,” “Trusted Devices,” and “Trusted Face” from the Security->Smart Lock screen.
- Android Developer Options
Every Android phone comes with a set of secret options grouped under “Developer options.” To turn it on, go to Settings->General->About phone. Here, you’ll find the phone’s build number. Tap it 5-7 times and you will see the notification that the Developer options have been unlocked. There are many things you can do with Developer options, such as USB debugging, increasing gaming performance, installing apps via USB, tracking GPU and CPU usage, getting process statistics, setting up the desktop backup password, setting fake GPS data, creating bug reports, etc. These options are more suitable only for an Android power user though.
- Take Screenshots
In order to take a screenshot on most Android devices, you only need to press the volume down button and the power button at the same time. Keep them pressed for at least a second and the phone will take a screenshot and save it in your gallery.
- Battery Saver Mode
Android Marshmallow introduced the Battery Saver mode. This setting allows you to save your battery if it is almost running out. You can activate this from Settings->Battery. You can turn it on to ensure the system uses minimum resources possible and extends and optimizes your battery for a longer lifespan.
- Custom Rejection Messages
When you reject a call, Android gives you the option to send a text message. You don’t have to use one of the preinstalled text messages; instead, you can create your own. Go to Settings->Phone. Here you can set the “Reject with SMS” option; edit and customize the preset reject messages.
- Screen Pinning
Screen pinning is a feature with which you can put an app on your Android screen and disable navigation to any other app on the device. This feature debuted with the Lollipop version. Head over to Security under Settings and turn on the Screen Pinning option. Follow the on-screen instructions and then optionally select the option “Ask for unlock pattern before unpinning.” Once an app has been pinned, the user will have access only to that app, and no other feature of the phone will work. In order to unpin the app, long-press the recent apps and the back buttons. This feature is useful if your friends often take your Android phone from you and you don’t want them to navigate to anything unnecessary.
With so many sensors and actuators inside, Android is a very powerful OS that you can definitely take advantage of. There are also more than 2 million apps on the Google Play store that take advantage of the advanced sensors and actuators on your phone to provide several smart features.