10 hidden features of Android that you should know

Mod The new version of Android is packed with cool new features. Some of them instantly change the way we do business and others disappear silently without loud rumors.

And while it looks useful in the meantime and can be intriguing when first heard, there are also features that will be forgotten over time. In particular, when these functions are invisible and unclear, they are too easily overlooked and given up.

There is something to think about as the new Android version, Android 12, will be released soon. Hidden Android features added to the operating system at various points over the past few years still exist and are surprisingly convenient. Take some time to rediscover these and recall what you were missing.

ⓒ Redquasar/Google/JR Raphael


Fast app switching

The most useful features added to Android a long time ago are also the least known and hard to find features. This feature was first introduced in Android 7 in 2016 and is still a fast app switching feature like Alt-Tab, my favorite Android shortcut.

It doesn’t matter if you forgot or even didn’t know it at all. Because honestly, there is no clue to notice its existence. And since it has evolved considerably over the years, it is more likely that you missed this.

Let’s see how it works. First of all, if you’re using Android’s latest gesture system, slide your finger to the right along the bottom area of ​​the screen with no image navigation buttons and only a thin line at the bottom of the screen. That way, you can quickly return to the most recently used app. From there, you can swipe right again to go back to a different level in your app history, or swipe left to move in a different direction.

Also, if you want to better check the apps in the list before switching, you can move your finger slightly upward when you swipe left or right at the bottom of the screen.

ⓒ JR

The longer you slide, the higher you move, and more apps appear in the order they were last used.

ⓒ JR

If you’re still using Android’s old three-dot navigation system, don’t worry, there’s a way to do it. You can quickly switch between the two most recently used processes by pressing the overview key (the square icon next to Back and Home) twice.

Go to the app

There’s been talk about app-related shortcuts, but Android has a surprisingly convenient feature called app shortcuts. It’s completely hidden, so it’s very easy to overlook.

But it’s a really useful feature. An app shortcut can be viewed as a direct link to a specific function within a smartphone app. In general, open the app, navigate through the menu, press multiple commands, and skip the process of moving to the desired location, and access individual actions or areas within the app. That’s how it can be done.

To explore the app shortcut options, press and hold your finger down for about a second on an app’s icon on the home screen or in the app drawer. The options vary from app to app, but you’ll find a great treasure. E.g,

  • Long-pressing the icon in Google’s Messages app takes you directly to the various message threads you’ve used recently.
  • With Google Docs, you can create a new document right away or go to the service’s search function without having to open the app and get lost.
  • In Google Drive, you can get direct links to search, upload new files, and scan physical documents using your phone’s camera.
  • And in Google Calendar, you can create new events, to-dos, or new Assistant link notifications from a hidden long-press menu.

There are many other things, so let’s take a look at what the app you’re using offers. And remember this additional hidden trick when you find a shortcut that seems useful to you. Any shortcut from the app’s long-press menu can be brought directly to the home screen for easier one-stop access. Just press and hold the shortcut you want, then drag it to an empty space on the home screen.
ⓒ JR


Real-time subtitles

Google’s Android 10 release introduced an unexpected treasure to the operating system that could be far more useful than expected at first sight. These are real-time subtitles and are basically an accessibility feature for people with hearing problems.

The benefits are obvious in this scenario, but real-time subtitles are useful to anyone, even in everyday use. This is because basically you can watch videos or podcasts without activating sound on your device. I use this function conveniently when I want to’watch’ multimedia when I don’t have headphones or it is not suitable to play sound through the smartphone’s speaker.

In this case, when media is playing, tap the small box that appears below the volume control to appear.

ⓒ JR

Magically, every word in a video or audio clip is displayed on the screen, so the actual sound can be read with a completely reduced sound.

And do you know? Let’s take this hidden concept a step further. Because there are two additional possibilities within this system that are easy to miss. When real-time subtitles are enabled and you are viewing subtitles on the screen, you can double-click the subtitle box to increase its size, or long press the box to move it anywhere on the screen.

If you’re using an Android 10 or higher smartphone and you don’t see the real-time subtitles option in the volume control, go to your system settings and look for real-time subtitles there. Find the relevant section and move the toggle to the on position to activate the function. And depending on the device (Samsung users!), the real-time subtitle option can actually be displayed on the volume panel only when the second toggle of the area is activated.

On Samsung smartphones, you’ll need to expand the volume panel (by tapping the small down arrow inside) to find the real-time subtitles option, which is displayed as a toggle instead of the simple box icon discussed here.

But no matter what kind of smartphone you’re using, there are some things to remember. The real-time subtitle option is displayed only when a sound is playing.

Pin the sharing menu

This hidden feature was first added to Android during the Nougat days in 2016, but it disappeared for a while and then revived in last year’s Android 11 release.

This feature customizes the order of apps in the smartphone’s system-level sharing menu, keeping the most frequently used sharing targets at the top of the list for easy access.

Unfortunately, this feature is complex, so many apps, including Google’s own utilities, use custom sharing interfaces instead of relying on current system standards. But it works with common sense, and apps that use the standard Android share menu can do this. As long as your smartphone is running Android 11, you can pin it to the top by pressing and holding your finger on any item in the shared list. Then, when using the standard system menu, it will remain in that location for all future sharing.

To try it yourself, select some text in Gmail’s email and choose Share from the menu that appears. Then, tap and hold your finger on the app that appears in the list of sharing options.

ⓒ JR


You can see that the command is fixed. If you wish, you can pin up to 4 sharing targets, all of which appear in alphabetical order in a special column at the top of the menu.


Source: ITWorld Korea by www.itworld.co.kr.

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