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Everyday essential shortcuts for your Android

Psst! Need the Apple version of this tip? Click here for essential tricks for your iPhone >>

So you feel like you know all you need to know about your smartphone. You can adeptly make calls, send text messages, check emails, change settings, download apps and everything in between.

Sure, having the right know-how to get things done on your smartphone makes you feel like a bonafide expert. But of course, there might still be hidden tricks here and there that can make your everyday use even better. (While you’re at it, click here for one little trick that can help you save battery power.)

To elevate your Android mastery, here are a few essential tricks you should be using daily:

1. Take a screenshot

There used to be multiple ways of taking a screenshot in Android, depending on your smartphone brand and Android version. Fortunately, starting with Ice Cream Sandwich (Android 4.0), Google made the screenshot buttons standardized across devices.

To take a screenshot, simply hold the power and volume down buttons at the same time. You’ll know you did it correctly when you see a preview of your image and hear a notification sound with it. The image is automatically saved to your default photos app, ready for viewing, editing and sharing.

2. Turn off autocorrect

Autocorrect is a fine tool for spotting mistakes as you type but sometimes it just gets in the way. Although it can be funny at times, there’s nothing as embarrassing than sending a text message that was autocorrected to mean something else entirely.

To turn off autocorrect for the built-in Google keyboard, go to Settings >> Languages and input >> Spell Checker then toggle it off.

*Note: Depending on your phone, and the keyboard app you use, you may need to select Virtual Keyboard after Languages and Input. This extra step should direct you to a menu where you can choose your keyboard app.

Tip within a tip: If you’re only using your Android device as a phone or tablet, you’re missing out. Click here and learn how to use your Android as a desktop PC.

3. Turn off notifications

Notifications can be handy for keeping you up-to-date but they can sometimes be distracting. They are also known to drain your phone’s battery life faster.

Again, it depends on your Android version but the quickest and most common way to do this is to long press on a notification (notifications can be viewed by swiping down from the top status bar). You can then select either “Show notifications silently,” “Block all notifications” or “Don’t silence or block” to control the notification settings of that particular app.

4. Disable automatic app updates

App developers do updates and sometimes permissions and features change. Also, bugs can creep through that can break apps. If you want to check what reviews say before updating apps, you can disable automatic app updates.

To do this, head on to the Play Store app, tap on the three horizontal lines on the upper-left of the app and tap “Settings.” Tap on “Auto-update apps” then tick off “Do not auto-update apps.”

5. Organize Home screen apps with folders

If your Home screen gets too cluttered with app shortcuts, you can organize them into convenient folders.

To do this, just long press on the app shortcut icon then drag it on top of another app shortcut icon. Android will automatically create a folder indicated by a circle. To open the enclosed apps, just tap on the folder. This will give you an option to rename it. To add more app shortcuts to the folder, just drag them into the desired folder.

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