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Smartphones & gadgets

Android already has these new iPhone features – here’s how to use them

Poor Android. It seems like Apple is always stealing the spotlight from its open-source competitor with new product roll-outs, updates and iOS releases.

That issue was pretty evident over the past couple of weeks. All you have to do is look at the buzz surrounding Apple’s annual launch event and its release of iOS 14 for proof. Part of the excitement stemmed from all of the new features that came with iOS 14, which include a new Translation app and Memojis.

What’s funny about that is many of the new features Apple rolled out have been available on Android for years. Still, if you’re an Android user, you may not know what these features are or how to use them. Let’s take a look at these essential features now.

1. App drawer

Need to find an app on your Android phone? You need to look in the Apps drawer, which is where all the apps you’ve installed on your phone are stored. Sure, you could use the launch icons on your home screen, but they aren’t all easily accessible that way.

The Apps drawer is where you need to go to find everything, and it’s only accessible from your home screen. Need to find a particular app? The apps in your App drawer are arranged alphabetically, which makes it easy to find what you’re looking for.

RELATED: 10 insanely useful Android tricks

There are two ways to access your Apps drawer:

  1. Swipe up on the home screen.
  2. Tap the drawer icon.

You can also find the app drawer on the dock of your phone, alongside your Messaging, Phone and Camera apps.

2. Widgets

You can think of widgets as mini-apps. Widgets provide you with quick access to information you want without any need for the apps that manage the information. Take, for example, the Calendar widget. Don’t want to open the Calendar app? You can use this widget to view events you have upcoming instead.

There are tons of different Widgets you can use to customize your home screen. These “mini-apps” will give you the information you need at a glance. They may even provide basic functionality from the app directly on your home screen. You can move them across panels and resize them to fit your needs. Easy, right?

To add a Widget to your Android home screen:

  • Toggle to your Home screen.
  • Tap and hold an empty space.
  • Tap Widgets.
  • Touch and hold a widget.
  • Slide the widget to where you want it and let go.

To resize a widget:

  • Toggle to your Home screen.
  • Touch and hold the widget you want to resize.
  • Lift your finger.
  • If the widget can be resized, you’ll see an outline with dots on the sides.
  • To resize the widget, drag the dots.
  • When you’re done, tap outside the widget.

3. Picture-in-picture

Have you ever wanted to watch a YouTube video while searching for a restaurant? Picture-in-picture lets you do just that, and it’s a feature you have on your Android phone. You’ll have to be running Android 8.0 Oreo or later to use it, but you should be doing that anyway.

You can jump from app to app without stopping your video, and it works with most online streaming services and video platforms. If you want to use PiP, you’ll have to start by enabling it.

To enable picture-in-picture in apps:

  • Open Settings.
  • Tap Apps & notifications.
  • Toggle to Advanced > Special app access.
  • Select Picture-in-picture.
  • Choose the app you want to use from the list.
  • Tap the toggle button to enable it.

Once PiP is enabled, you’ll need to launch the feature to use it.

To launch picture-in-picture:

  • Navigate to a website or app that contains a video you want to watch.
  • Tap the Full-screen option.
  • Tap Play.
  • When the video begins playing, press Home.
  • From there, you can move the video around your screen so it isn’t blocking your other app or window.

4. Google Translate

Have you been keeping up on those Spanish lessons you wanted to take? Probably not, and that’s OK. If you’re an Android user, you have the option to use Google Translate to help out.

You can use Google Translate to translate text, handwriting, photos and speech from your native language to over 100 languages. All you need is the Google Translate app to make it work.

You’ll need to download it first, though. Once your Google Translate app is set up, you can turn it on and off as necessary.

To use Tap to Translate:

  1. Open an app with text you can copy.
  2. Highlight the text you want to translate > Copy.
  3. On your current screen, tap Google Translate.
  4. Choose the language you want.

5. Choosing default email and browser

One of the best new features with iOS 14 is that it allows iPhone users to finally choose their own browsers and email apps. Those features have been available for Android users for a long time, though — and they’re pretty easy to set up.

To set your default email:

  1. Tap on the Android Mail icon.
  2. In the upper-right hand corner, tap More > Settings.
  3. Tap Set default account to select the email account you want as your default.
  4. Select the e-mail account you want to use.

To set your default browser:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Tap Apps & notifications > Advanced.
  3. Tap Default apps.
  4. Tap Browser App > Choose the browser you want to use.

Now that you know how to use these essential Android features you don’t have to live with Apple envy anymore. But you will want to increase security. Tap or click here for three crucial Android security settings.

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