Android Tips & Tricks

You love your smartphone but sometimes you’re unsure how smart it really is. Shouldn’t it be easier to do things like install updates or increase the size of the text or even change the color of the text bubbles? It would be nice if doing these things and others was a bit more intuitive or user-friendly, but, as they’re not, we’re here to help.

How to charge your battery faster

Isn’t it always at the most inconvenient times that you discover you’re just about out of battery? Well you can charge it faster if you first put it in Airplane Mode. Because Airplane Mode turns off lots of features of your phone – like cellular and Wi-Fi – there’s much less for the battery to do so it charges more quickly. When you’re all charged up, just turn Airplane Mode off.

Open Settings, then click on “Network & Internet.” Tap the button next to “Airplane Mode.”

How to increase the font size

If you’re still enjoying nice, young eyes, you may not think this tip is one you’ll need. But trust us, making text messages a little easier to read goes a long way to avoiding “text misunderstandings.” And no one likes those!

Under Settings, choose “Accessibility.” At the next screen, tap “Font Size.” Here, you’ll see a slider. Drag it as far to the right as you like. The farther it goes to the right, the larger your font size will be. Then, click “Done” to save your changes.

How to install updates on your phone

In order to keep your phone running its best, it needs to update itself on occasion. To make sure this happens, open Settings, and then click on “About Phone/Tablet.” On the next screen turn on “Automatic Update.” An updated phone is a happy phone.

How to turn your phone into a hot spot

A hot spot enables you to work on your laptop when you’re away from home or in a place where there’s no public Wi-Fi. Using your phone in this manner allows you to remain productive and connected to family, friends, and yes, sorry, even work!

Open Settings, then “Connections,” then “Mobile Hotspot and Tethering.”

Once the hotspot is on, return to your laptop or other device and go into your Wi-Fi menu. Your phone should be there as an option. Select it and provide the password your phone gave you.

How to change the color of text bubbles

Sometimes text bubbles are tough to read. Maybe they’re too light, or maybe they’re too dark. Or maybe you’d just prefer them in a different color! Whatever the case, do this and make reading your text messages easier (and more fun!).

Open Settings and select “Accessibility.” Under “Display,” select “Text and Display.” (It’s possible this could also be called “Color and Motion.”) From the list of options, select “Color Correction.” Toggle “Color Correction” on and then change how the colors display on your phone by using the “Color Correct Mode” options.

How to use your phone as a scanner

This is a terrific function if you’re one of those people who’ve had enough of piles of paper. By using your phone as a scanner, you can cut down on the amount of paper stored in your desk (and, if you’re like lots of people, the “catch all” drawer in the kitchen). Scan the stuff and then email it to yourself to save on your hard drive. Here’s how.

Position the document you want to scan in front of you. Next, open the Camera app and position your phone as if you’re taking a photo. A yellow border will appear and the words Tap to Scan will pop up. Tap that button and you’ll see the image you’ve captured. If the scanned area isn’t exactly as it should be, drag the corners to adjust it. If you’re satisfied, tap Save. If not, tap Retake.

How to use your phone as a pedometer

We know you’re shooting for 10,000 steps a day because we are, too! It’s a worthy goal – good for your health and, if you walk outside, great for getting an appropriate dose of Vitamin D every day. If you want to track how you’re doing steps-wise, see if your phone has the Google Fit app. If so, open it and tap the Steps button. This will start tracking your movement and you can tap Day, Week, or Month to see your data and progress. If you have a Samsung phone, you can do the same thing via the Samsung Health app.

How to get more from your battery

Over time, the battery in your phone won’t last as long as it once did. But there are things you can do to extend its life.

If you have animated or live wallpaper on your phone, delete it. It’s fun and it looks nice, but it drains the battery.

Certain apps, like Uber and Grubhub, track your location. If they’re tracking it all the time, it will drain your battery. On your Android phone, go to Settings, click on “Location” then “Mode,” and on the next screen tap “Battery Saving Option” to turn it on. Set this way, your phone will only know its location when it’s connected to a network.

If your screen is very bright, which you might have needed it to be prior to enlarging your font size, it will drain your battery. To dim it, under Settings click on “Display & Brightness,” then use the slider to adjust the brightness down a notch. These directions apply to iPhones and Androids alike.

Turn Bluetooth off

Using Bluetooth to transmit data requires an enormous amount of battery power. Enable it when necessary, and shut it off when you don’t need it.

Go to Settings and click on “Bluetooth.”  Move the slider to the “off” position.

Adjust email retrieval

If you get your email on your phone, it’s important to note that the more frequently your device looks for new data, the more it drains your battery. To adjust the frequency, open Settings and click on “Accounts.” On the “Accounts” screen, tap on the three dots icon in the right hand corner. This will bring up “Auto Sync Data.” Click on “Ok” to disable auto syncing.

With both iPhones and Androids, even though you adjust the frequency with which they check for email, you can still check your email manually by opening up Gmail, etc.

How to know when it’s time for a new phone

Most people upgrade every one to two years, but you really can go three years or more. If you’re considering getting a new phone, here are a few reasons to take the plunge:

  • To get the latest updates. If your current phone has reached the point where it simply can’t support them, it’s time for an upgrade.
  • If despite all your best efforts and trying all the suggestions provided above for saving your phone’s battery your phone holds a charge for only a half day or less, it’s time for a new phone.
  • And if, even though you made the font size larger and maybe even bolder you’re still having trouble reading what’s on the screen, it’s time for a bigger screen. One that’s attached to a new phone.

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Posted 4 weeks ago