10 Hidden Android Tips, Tricks - InformationWeek

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8/13/2013
06:31 PM
Kelly Sheridan
Kelly Sheridan
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10 Hidden Android Tips, Tricks

Learn some new tricks for your Android smartphone with our tips on maps, storage, data plans and more.
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Throughout the past year, Android skyrocketed in popularity and currently holds 79% of the global smartphone market. When it comes to number of users, Google's operating system trumps even Apple's iOS. Together, Android and iOS make up 93.2% of the global market, but Android's share has been rising while Apple's share dropped.

Android's surge contributed to smartphones outselling feature phones globally for the first time in Q2, according to Gartner.

What gives Android the current edge? The smartphones are well-known for their customizable interface, which continues to attract new users. You can make the devices your own with apps, games and custom settings.

You can also optimize your Android's performance with personalized shortcuts, search boxes and widgets. Many people take personalization to a new level by adding custom words to the Android dictionary, adding contacts' images to the home screen or downloading animated backgrounds for a fun (though battery-draining) touch.

Android's many options and features are numerous enough to overwhelm even smartphone veterans. For every feature you know, there is another that can help you do something new with your smartphone.

Consider, for example, the Android's ability to run Google Maps offline. With Google Maps for Android, you can select and download a specific area on the map. The downloaded section can be used in places that have limited or unavailable Internet connection and on devices that don't have a data plan. If you don't have an unlimited data plan, using an offline map will save you the cost of accessing Google Maps on a mobile network.

To create an offline map, enter Google Maps for Android and display your desired map on the screen. As of July 11, 2013, there is a button that says "Make this map area available offline" to simplify the process. The estimated size of the area in your map will appear on the screen. If it is too large, you will be asked to choose a smaller area. You can store up to six maps on your device.

Click through our slideshow to see more things you can learn about your Android smartphone. If you have further suggestions to share with your fellow readers, please add them in the comments section.

Want even more Android app suggestions? Check out our round up of classics: 10 Epic Android Apps.

We welcome your comments on this topic on our social media channels, or [contact us directly] with questions about the site.
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mkelly953
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mkelly953,
User Rank: Apprentice
8/15/2013 | 5:31:09 PM
re: 10 Hidden Android Tips, Tricks
Screen captures on android may be trickier, but at least they are image files and not the iphone movie files. Why does a screen shot need to play as a short movie file?
Number 6
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Number 6,
User Rank: Moderator
8/15/2013 | 7:07:40 PM
re: 10 Hidden Android Tips, Tricks
Screen shot on the Galaxy S4 is power + home, not power + volume down.
Onavo Count and the newer Androids both allow the user to restrict an app to wifi-only. Very useful when using one of those limited AT&T or Verizon data plans.
Laurianne
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Laurianne,
User Rank: Author
8/16/2013 | 7:23:15 PM
re: 10 Hidden Android Tips, Tricks
How about some more battery tricks, readers? What's your juice-saving secret?
ANON1254835621789
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ANON1254835621789,
User Rank: Apprentice
8/19/2013 | 1:40:29 PM
re: 10 Hidden Android Tips, Tricks
turn your apps off when not using them
Cara Latham
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Cara Latham,
User Rank: Apprentice
8/20/2013 | 2:43:38 PM
re: 10 Hidden Android Tips, Tricks
I like the option of sending a text to the caller whose call you might have ignored. Sometimes you have to ignore for good reason (meeting, etc.), and you don't want someone to think you intentionally ignored them, especially if it is a client. This makes it easy, instant, and hassle-free.
Cara Latham
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Cara Latham,
User Rank: Apprentice
9/3/2013 | 12:38:27 PM
re: 10 Hidden Android Tips, Tricks
For storage, I use Dropbox. It is the easiest way for me to transfer and store files from your Android to your computer. Plus, with some Android devices, like the HTC One, you can choose an option that automatically backs your camera pics up to Dropbox without your having to manually do so.
Xennex
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Xennex,
User Rank: Apprentice
9/5/2013 | 12:38:12 AM
re: 10 Hidden Android Tips, Tricks
For my Galaxy S2 the Owner Info is under Settings > Lock screen > Owner Information
Becca L
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Becca L,
User Rank: Apprentice
9/9/2013 | 8:08:24 PM
re: 10 Hidden Android Tips, Tricks
I always wonder about the etiquette of this. When is it acceptable to "ignore with text?" For too often I want to add something more personal to the standard ignore texts, but typing it out (in the middle of a meeting, for example) is not exactly ideal. Better to ignore altogether, I say.
Cara Latham
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Cara Latham,
User Rank: Apprentice
9/10/2013 | 2:35:30 PM
re: 10 Hidden Android Tips, Tricks
I agree that you might want to add something more personal, but then again, I look at it as sort of an away message. If you set an away message on an IM system, you usually write, "Be right back," or "In a meeting." If you can somehow design the text to reflect that this is an automated message that just allows someone to know they weren't simply ignored, I think this can help. But you are right. If you ignore, and then call back and explain that you were in a meeting, usually there are no hard feelings.
umain30
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umain30,
User Rank: Apprentice
10/3/2013 | 2:55:16 AM
re: 10 Hidden Android Tips, Tricks
Gmail secure with two-factor authentication may be one of the important factor. This isn't an Android-exclusive tip, since Google authentication also works with iOS and BlackBerry devices. But since it comes from Google, we figure it's okay to include here.Two-factor authentication adds an extra layer of security for your Google account beyond just a password. With two-factor authentication enabled, bad guys would have to know your password and physically possess your phone to gain access to your mail and information. To set it up, download the "Google Authenticator" app, then enable Google's "two-step verification" for your account. You'll be prompted to pair your phone with your account using either a QR code or a manual entry. From that point on, when you're signing in to Google, you'll also have to enter a verification code that Google sends to the Authenticator app on your phone.
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