Top 10 Hidden Features of Android

I guess even if you have an iPhone you might still find it kind of interesting. I’m going to go over a list of 10 differen tnot so well known tips, tricks, and features in Android. Most of these should work with version 6 and later, but I’ll tell you if that’s not the case. 


So anyway, without further adue, let’s jump right in. 


First up is the hidden “developer options”menu, which isn’t too much of a secret, but I definitely can’t leave it out. And this menu has all sorts of cool advancedsettings not usually accessible, which we can get to in a bit. To access the menu, go to Settings, then goto “About Phone”, then scroll down to where it shows “Build Number”. Then just keep tapping on the “Build Number”and it will start counting down until it says “You Are Now a Developer”. After that, now when you go to the Settings app, there will be a new menu under System called Developer Options. In here you’ll find all sorts of settings,some of which are absolutely useless to the average user, and others that aren’t. 


So, number two is specifically one of the useful settings in here, the animation scale. If you scroll down in the developer options,you’ll see, well really three options control “Animation Scale”, which controls how fast or slow the animations of the operating system are played. What this means for example, is when opening an app, closing an app, transitioning through menus, all of that will be played faster or slower. I personally have mine set to 0.5x, which means that each animation takes half as long, or twice as fast. This makes the phone feel much more snappy,since everything appears to respond faster. You can also turn off animations altogether,so there’s no delay. However sometimes with animations off, certain apps can start to misbehave, so just be aware of that. If for some reason you wanted, you could make animations slower, but be careful when setting it to 10x, because it will take forever to disable it again, since you have to wait really long. 


Number three, this one is REALLY useful, I think at least, and it is the Notification Log Widgets. Let me ask you, have you ever had a notification pop up on your phone, and you either swiped it away without thinking, or maybe it disappeared before you saw it, and you think, “oh no what did that say?” Well, this will solve that. What you do is create a new widget by long pressing on the home screen, go to “Widgets”, (and this might look different on your phone by the way) , then find the “Settings Shortcut” and drag and drop that onto the home screen. Once you do, it will show you a selection of different settings you can choose for that shortcut. There are other useful ones you can look at later, but right now you want to choose “Notification Log”. In it, you can scroll through all your recent notifications, and it will show you a bunch of technical data for each one, including what the notification said, which is labelled as “android.text”. This is also useful if the text of the notification is cut off, and it won’t show you what the whole thing says. This is definitely one I find really useful. 


Next, number four, Offline Google Maps. What this lets you do is select a large area in Google Maps that will be downloaded and stored on your phone. The most obvious use of this is to download an area a few miles around where you live, which you’d presumably have to access frequently. This way, instead of having to download the map as you go while driving and using up data, you can just download a whole region at once while you’re on WiFi. This has two benefits, one, it will save you cellular data, and two, it will makes Google Maps faster, since you don’t have to wait for it to download anything every time, it’s already all there. Also, it will automatically update the offline map on WiFi, so you’re covered there. It doesn’t take up too much space either. The largest area you can download seems to be around 2 Gigabytes worth, but that will cover a huge part of your state, or even country maybe. 


Ok number 5, this one is kinda fun, the AndroidEaster Egg game. Each version of Android seems to have a different one, but you access them usually about the same way. You go to Settings, About Phone, and then where it says Android Version, just tap on that a bunch of times. In Android 7 which I’m using, it will bring up the Android 7 Nugat logo, and then from here you tap on the logo many times quickly,and then long press it. If it shows a no sign, you didn’t tap it enough times. If you did, it will show a cat emoji, which means you’ve activated the cat game. Now if you go to the quick settings and hitedit, there will be a new shortcut option for “Android Easter Egg”, which you drag into the shortcut bar. The game is pretty simply, you click the dishand leave out food, and then every once in a while different cats will show up, and you just collect them. And that’s it, kinda funny. 


Number 6, another pretty useful one, is the hidden built in file explorer. Most people think that you need a third part yapp to browse through the phone’s file system, but there’s actually a basic one already included. To get to it, just go to Settings, Storage,and at the bottom click “Explore”, and there you are. You can search for files, create new folders,copy and move files, delete them, all that. You’d probably still need a third party app to do anything advanced, but this should cover all the basics. 


Moving on, number 7, the System UI Tuner. This is another secret menu not enabled by default, with some useful settings. Though not all manufacturer versions might have it. To enable it, just pull down the quick options,you might have to do it twice, and look for the wrench and gear at the top. Just press and hold on that until it animatesor vibrates, and that’s it. Now when you go to Settings, there will bea new menu called “System UI Tuner”, with all sorts of options. One for example is to always show battery percentage in the status bar, which I’d consider essential. There are also “power notification controls”which lets you control what notifications different apps can show. Like if there’s an app that is really annoying,you can limit it’s notifications, or block them altogether. Other options include enabling or disabling icons in the status bar, and making the clock also show seconds, not just hours and minutes. 


Next up, number 8, is to force apps to allow multi window mode. In Android 7 you now have the option to show multiple apps at once, but some apps don’t allow it. However, you can force them to by going back to the Developer Options we enabled before, and enabling “force activities to be resize able”. Now any apps that wouldn’t allow multi-window before should, but keep in mind they might act weird, because they don’t technically support the feature. 


Almost near the end, number 9, is Data Saver mode. This isn’t really hidden, but it’s disabledby default, and I think this one might only be available in Android 7. To get to it, go to Settings, Data Usage,then click Data Saver. This basically limits when apps can use data,unless you specifically grant it unrestricted data access. So enabling it seems to turn on data saver mode for ALL apps, then you go in and individually disable it for some. Alternatively though, there is a way to enable data saving just for Google Chrome, because it’s actually built in to that. If you go to Chrome, then settings, you’ll see an option for Data Saver, which compresses websites before loading them. This actually seems to be a different thing altogether though, specifically for Chrome. The Android data saver limits when apps can use data, but the Chrome one compresses sites to reduce usage. 


Alright now finally number 10, is quick battery access. You probably already know that if you go in tosettings, you can look at battery stats, like use age over time, how much time is left, all that. But there’s actually a quicker way to see that info. If you simply swipe down the notifications bar, you can tap on the battery icon, and it will show you mostly the same thing. Obviously you can see the percentage, but also how much estimated time left, the battery usage graph, and a toggle for battery saver mode. This could save you a few clicks, and from having to search through the settings, so it’s pretty convenient.


So, that is it, those are 10 of the featuresI thought you guys would like to know about. I you’ve probably heard of some of them, but hopefully you at least learned SOMEthing new. If you guys have any suggestions though for features I missed, definitely let us all know down in the comments. Maybe there’s a super secret setting that no one’s ever heard about before, I don’t know. Or perhaps you’re really smart and already knew about all these. 


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