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7 things you didn’t know your Android could do

Billions of people worldwide use their Androids every day, but they might not be making the most of their devices. To be exact, Statista says there are 1.6 billion people with Androids, so if you use one, you’re in good company. One huge draw is the array of apps you can’t get anywhere else.

Tap or click here for eight of the coolest Android exclusive apps. Many users argue that Android is superior to iPhone because of its functionality and freedom of choice. Others love Android because of the diverse, user-friendly features that can make life easier.

Some of these features are hidden away, though. That’s why we put together some of the best Android features you might not know. Check them out to see what you’re missing.

1. Use Google Assistant while you wait on hold

Few things are more frustrating than being put on hold. That obnoxious elevator music that loops for hours can grate at the senses. You might even give up after holding for a ridiculous amount of time.

Good news: Google Assistant can weather the storm for you. Hold For Me is a feature that waits on hold for you. You can put down the phone and go about your day.

Once you’re finally connected, Google Assistant notifies you that a support representative is ready to speak. Even better, you can share your audio and transcript after the call to help improve the feature. Here’s how you can turn the setting on:

  1. Open the Phone app.
  2. Tap More.
  3. Hit Settings.
  4. Tap Hold for Me to turn the setting on.

You can also turn it on during a call. Click here for step-by-step instructions.

2. Turn on Smart Lock

This is an essential security feature. To strengthen your phone’s defense system against hackers, set up Smart Lock. To use it, you first need to set up a screen lock. Then, go to Settings and select Smart Lock. Once you enter your password, PIN or pattern, it’s time to choose one of three options:

  • On-body detection: This keeps your Android unlocked while it’s in motion or in your pocket. When you set it down, it locks. This is best for folks who are constantly on the go and want their phone to be ready when it’s whipped out of their purse or backpack.
  • Trusted places: You need to turn on location permissions for this. Once you do, your phone is unlocked while you’re in specific spots, like your home.
  • Trusted devices: When your device is connected to certain devices, it stays unlocked.

Tap or click here to turn on your Android’s Smart Lock feature.

3. Find where annoying app notifications are coming from

Notifications can be valuable shortcuts that keep you up-to-date with your favorite content creators. They can also be incredibly annoying — especially if you’re not on silent. If tidal waves of notifications are constantly taking over your phone, don’t worry. Follow these steps to fight back against the rising tide.

If you’re still having trouble, here’s another tip. You can see your notification history to find out which apps are bombing your phone the most. To do this:

  1. Head to the Settings menu.
  2. Select Apps & Notifications.
  3. Tap Notification.
  4. Next, tap Notification History.
  5. You’ll see a toggle labeled Use Notification History. Turn it on.

In the beginning, it will be blank, but over time it will store a log of all the notifications you receive. This is also helpful in case you accidentally remove notifications. Head to this menu and you can see if you missed anything important.

4. Reduce data usage through Data Saver

This is a great way to reduce cellular data usage. Data Saver is a mode that keeps your data usage in check. It makes sure you aren’t going over your limit, which could cost you a hefty chunk of cash.

Data Saver reduces and restricts the amount of data your background apps are using. Of course, there’s a downside: You won’t get alerts from apps that use push notifications, like Gmail or Twitter. So if you’re expecting an important email or message, you’ll have to check one of those background apps manually.

Still, though, the benefits of Data Saver are not to be overlooked. Follow these steps:

  1. Tap Settings.
  2. Select Data Usage.
  3. Tap Data Saver.
  4. Toggle the setting to On.

SPEAKING OF DATAStudy finds Google collects 20x more data than Apple

5. Change animation speed

If you feel like your Android is slow, try this trick. Android shows you slick animations to make the transition smoother when you’re switching between apps, menus and windows. Although it’s visually pleasing, it takes up a little time. If your phone is low on battery, these fancy animations could even make your phone lag a bit.

Luckily, you can fix this by speeding up the animations. You’ll first need to enable Developer Options in Android. Here’s how to get the job done:

  1. Open the Settings menu.
  2. Scroll down to select About phone.
  3. Search for the section called Build number.
  4. Here’s where things get weird. Tap Build number until you get a pop-up message that says Developer mode has now been turned on.
  5. Now, the Settings menu will have a new section called Developer Options.

Once that’s done, follow these steps to adjust your animation speeds:

  1. Open the Settings menu.
  2. Head to the new Developer Options section.
  3. Scroll down and you will find three new features: Window Animation ScaleTransition Animation Scale, and Animator Duration Scale.
  4. Play with the different scales to find the speed that best works for you. Each scale ranges from Off to 10x.

6. Customize notifications from certain contacts

If your phone constantly buzzes with notifications, you might miss something important. Maybe you’re waiting for an important message from a friend. If you want to make sure you don’t miss it, you can assign them a unique sound.

This way, their notification stands out from the crowd. To customize a particular contact’s notification sound, follow these steps:

  1. First, open the Messages app.
  2. Select a conversation you had with the contact you want to create a custom notification tone for.
  3. Select the three dots in the top right corner of the screen.
  4. Tap Details.
  5. Select Notifications, then select Advanced.
  6. Select Sound.
  7. Pick the sound you like and tap OK.

QUICK TECH FIX: Stop annoying notifications for good

7. Wake the phone using your voice

You don’t need your hands to pick up your phone and get stuff done through Google Assistant. Thanks to Google’s Voice Match feature, you can say, “Hey Google.” First, you need to teach Google Assistant to recognize your voice:

  1. While you’re using your Android phone or tablet, say “Hey Google, open Assistant settings.”
  2. Scroll to Popular settings.
  3. Select Voice Match.
  4. Turn on Hey Google.
  5. Tap Voice model.
  6. Tap Retrain voice model.
  7. Follow the steps on your screen to record your voice.

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