15 life hacks for Android OS

Life hacks for Android In this article, we will analyze 15 life hacks for owners of Android smartphones. Information for those who use their smartphone as a “dialer” and do not know about various little things / tricks that can significantly improve your experience of using gadgets on the Android operating system.

In this article, you will learn about screenshots, camera quick launch, virtual assistant, notifications, various modes, home screen customization, multitasking mode, Google Photos, and more. All chips were tested on Google Pixel 2XL, Samsung Galaxy S8 + and OnePlus 5T.

How to take a screenshot

If you find some interesting thing on the Internet (recipe, funny picture, article) and want to save it on your smartphone with the possibility of quick access to it in the future, you can take a screenshot (a photo of the image on the screen), which you can send to your friends through various instant messengers.

So, in order to take a screenshot on Android – a smartphone, you need to hold down the power button and the lower volume swing (for older versions Android – make a swipe with three fingers from top to bottom), and after a second the system will take a photo of the current image. The screen can be edited and then sent via a convenient method to other people. You will also receive a notification about the screenshot taken, by clicking on which you will open a new photo, and you can find it in the future in your gallery.

This feature works the same on all devices, except for Samsung devices with a physical Home button. On such devices, to take a screenshot, you need to hold down the Home button and the power button. Starting with Galaxy S8, the procedure for taking a screenshot is carried out in the usual way.


You can also take a screenshot using the Google Assistant by submitting a request.

Screenshot via Google Assistant

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Long press on the screen

A long press is a fairly versatile thing that is responsible for a large number of functions. When you make a long tap on one of the screen elements, you get advanced functionality that is associated with various parts of the system (applications, settings, widgets, etc.). This function is similar to clicking on the right mouse button in Windows.

If you make a long press on the home screen, several options will appear in front of you, with which you can modify your screen: change the wallpaper, add / remove widgets or go to the home screen settings menu.

Long press on the screen

Long press on the application shortcut will bring up an additional menu with the main features of the application. For example, if you make a long tap on the icon Twitter, you will see a menu where you can write a new tweet, send a message, etc. Note that long press works differently on different versions of Android. So this information is relevant for Android 7.1 and up. You can also move the app to a different location.

Long press on the icon Twitter

A long tap on the icons on the quick access panel opens the corresponding section in the “Settings” menu, and the same action on the “home” key activates the Google Assistant.

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How to quickly turn on the camera

All you have to do is double-tap the power button. This works no matter where you are at the moment: an application, a lock screen, or just a locked phone. There are also ways to activate the camera by voice or gesture, but our method is much more convenient and faster. If on your smartphone double tap on the power button does not work, try to find the corresponding item in the camera settings of your smartphone or go to the gesture control settings.

Quickly turn on the camera on your phone

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Always On Display function

This function allows you to display all the necessary information on the screen: time, date and notifications, while the smartphone itself is in lock mode. This feature has been added to all modern flagships with the exception of the OnePlus 5T. If your phone supports this feature, but you do not use it, or before reading this article, you did not even know about its existence, activate it. To do this, you need to go to the screen settings, tap on “Advanced settings” and then on “Screen” (“Ambient Display”). Now move the “Always on” slider to the On position. If you have a Samsung phone, the settings may be slightly different.

Information on the smartphone display

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Double tap to unlock the screen

Speaking of the lock screen, we cannot fail to mention the double tap to unlock it. A very useful feature that is supported by most modern smartphones. It comes in very handy when the power button is too far from your index finger and when you cannot find the button in the dark. On Samsung smartphones, double tap works a little differently: at the bottom of the screen there is a soft button that you need to tap twice to unlock the screen.

Unlock screen double tap

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Google Assistant

At the moment, Google Assistant is available on almost all devices running Android OS, and you can activate it with just one voice, say: “Hey Google” or “Okay Google” to launch the Assistant. If you have one of the Google Pixel smartphones, hold down the Home button or squeeze the phone on both sides.

For those who are not in the know. Google Assistant is your virtual assistant. It can set you reminders, control your smart devices in the house, show the weather after turning off the morning alarm. You can also launch applications using a voice command without having to look for the desired shortcut and many other small, but very useful things. You can at any time find out about the weather for tomorrow or about the results of the past game of your favorite sports team by submitting a request.

Also, Google Assistant has several basic commands in advance: “What are the things to do for today?”, “Temperature for today”, “Open my email”, etc.

Google Assistant functions

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Check for updates and security Android

You may have heard from the owners of Android devices talking about constantly coming updates or about the next security patch update. In order to check your phone for updates or the date of the last security patch, you need to go to the “Settings” menu. Then find the item “System updates” at the very bottom and tap on it. A new window will open in front of you, in which you can check for new updates and their current version. And in order to find out the latest date of the Security Patch update, you need to open the “About phone” section. In the menu that appears, you can find all the information about your device: version Android, amount of RAM, shell version, etc. Find the item Security patch Android and you will see the date of the last update.

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Notification panel (extended and repeated notifications, interaction with applications)

This is probably one of the key and most used elements of the Android system, which Google is constantly working on, rolling out a large number of updates. To open the notification panel, you need to swipe down from the top of the screen.

If in earlier versions Android one could only see some information on the notification panel, now it has wide functionality. For example, you can reply to a message without opening the messenger itself, or check who wrote to you in the mail.

To do this, you need to open the curtain of the received notification, and to do this – swipe down on the notification or click on the small arrow. If you want to remove the received notification, swipe right.

Android notification bar

If you have Android 8 Oreo, you can make a “half-swipe” to the left, and you will see a settings button and a notification button, clicking on which, you will receive a repeated notification after some time (15m, 30m, 2h).

Setting up notifications on Android 8 Oreo

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Multitasking mode

Most recent smartphones support this mode. If you want to open, for example, the Chrome browser and Twitter overnight, you need to first open one of the applications, and then hold down the switch between applications, which is located to the right of the Home key. And voila! Now you can view news in browser and tweets in Twitter at the same time.

If you want to go back to full screen mode, swipe up or down, depending on which app you want to close.

Multitasking mode on Android

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Backing up photos to Google Photos

Google Photos is a proprietary application of the company of the same name, which is designed for storing, editing and transferring photo and video files. And one of the reasons why you should use it instead of other similar apps is free and unlimited cloud storage.

The service has wide functionality: file transfer, photo and video editing. You can also make a small video from photos or sections of other videos and create your own photo album.

Usually Google Photos comes preinstalled on most Android devices. But, in connection with the recent decision of the European Commission on the terms of the licensing of applications, Google will no longer require the pre-installation of its services. Therefore, you may not have this application. In this case, you need to download it from the Google Play store. In order to add your photos / videos to the cloud storage, you need to go to the Google Photos settings and go to the corresponding section. Then select the quality of the uploaded photos: high or original. Files with high quality can be downloaded in unlimited quantities, but for storing files with the original you will have to buy additional gigabytes.

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Night mode

It is very difficult to find a smartphone on the modern market without this mode. Perhaps the main reason why you should use it is to reduce eye strain when using your phone at night while lying in bed.

To turn on night mode, open the quick access panel with a swipe from top to bottom and click on the corresponding button. The screen then immediately takes on an amber hue, which greatly reduces the strain on your eyes. You can also activate the automatic activation of this mode in the appropriate section in the settings. Depending on the time of day, it will turn on and off automatically. You can also adjust the strength of this effect if the amber hue gets in the way.

Night mode on Android

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Do not disturb mode

Another extremely useful feature that we recommend to use for all owners of smartphones on Android. In most smartphones, this mode is activated through the “Settings” in the “Sound and vibration” section. Find the line “Do not disturb” and move the slider to On. If you have an important meeting, you can set the inclusion of this mode at a specified time automatically.


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Home screen customization

We can talk for a very long time about the possibilities of customization Android OS. In comparison with the same one iPhone, on the screen of which there are whole rows of all sorts of different icons and folders, in Android devices almost all shortcuts are stored in a special application menu. On the main screen, you can transfer a very limited number of icons, but the available space is quite enough for placing the shortcuts of the most frequently used applications.

Why everyone loves Android so much is the great possibilities for editing the appearance of the system shell: you can download any theme, launcher, etc. When you make a long press on an empty space on the screen, several options for customizing the screen will appear.

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If you don't like the proprietary skin of your smartphone, you can always download one of the many launchers available in the Play Store. For example, Nova Launcher is one of the most popular launchers on the market, Microsoft Launcher, Apex Launcher and others. The downloaded launcher is activated in the Settings menu, in the Default Applications section.

Installing the launcher on Android

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Fingerprint scanner

Almost all smartphones released today have a fingerprint scanner. This is a very useful feature that significantly increases the security of your device, so that even if your phone is lost, no one can unlock it.

To access the scanner settings, you need to go to the smartphone settings, namely the “Lock screen and security” section. Then go to the subsection “Fingerprint Scanner”, where you can add your fingerprint to unlock your smartphone.

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Smart Lock function

Another locking method that significantly increases the security of your phone is the Smart Lock function. You can enable the function by going to the “Lock screen and security” section by selecting the subsection corresponding to the name of the function. The smartphone is not locked if one of the following conditions is met:

  • Installed places – you can select one or several places where the device will not be blocked: at home, at work, etc.
  • Physical contact – the gadget is not blocked if you hold it in your hands or in your bag.
  • Trusted devices – the phone will remain unlocked if it is near devices connected to it: TV, speaker, smart watch, etc.
  • Voice Recognition – To unlock you need to record an example of your voice.

Smart Lock function on Android

Otherwise, the gadget remains locked.

This is the end of our list of 15 life hacks for using Android smartphones that work on most modern gadgets. Most likely, there are much more of these life hacks than we have included in our article. Nevertheless, if you have something to add – write in the comments below.

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