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Hidden features in Android 10 you're sure to love

Hidden features in Android 10 you're sure to love
© Vladislav Astanin | Dreamstime.com

Android 10, Android’s latest OS, is here, and it has many new and exciting features to enjoy once you make the upgrade — but not every new feature is super obvious. Luckily, we’re here to tell you about the best of them so you don’t miss out.

Initially, you’ll probably be busy getting used to the new gestures that work the OS and trying dark theme on different apps, but once you're comfortable with the basics, we recommend trying out these cool new features. You may find something you’ll start using daily!

Don't forget to update your Android OS to start using them today.

Live Captioning

Most streaming services offer captions for their videos, but what if you could read captions on your own videos or those from your friends ? Even better, particularly for people with hearing difficulties, what if you could get captions on live calls?

With Android 10 Live Caption, you can get subtitles on anything you play on your phone. That includes podcasts, phone calls, video calls, recordings—and yes, apps like YouTube and Netflix, where captions already exist.

The app allows your phone to generate text based on what it picks up through a built-in speech analyzer. There might be a slight delay in your captions, or they might not be perfect, but this is still an astonishing accessibility feature and super handy if you’re a better reader than listener. It's also ideal when you want to watch a video but need to keep your phone silent.

Live Caption will be coming first to Pixel phones, as it needs a high level of computing power to work, but Android hopes to extend the feature to all Androids soon. This amazing feature hasn't dropped yet but keep an eye out once Google and Android release their next phones!

New tracking privacy permissions

It’s a pretty common for apps to access your phone’s GPS tracking to perform certain functions, including mining for location data. This has allowed some apps to access very private data like home addresses.

For users who want to keep their phone activity and data private, Android 10 is rolling out some new tracking privacy permissions to help cut down on app access. When you install a new app, it will ask if you want it to access your location at all times or only when you're using it.

You’ll be able to activate this feature in apps when you first open them. For older apps, go into your Settings, and tap Privacy to control the location usage for different apps. Just go into the subheading Location, and you’ll be able to make your selection there.

Family Link

For families who have children with smartphones, Android 10 provides a way for parents and guardians to keep track of their kids' phone activity without downloading a third-party app.

Family Link can be found within the Digital Wellbeing app, which comes with Android 10 and can be used to link kids' accounts to their parents'. It tells parents what apps their kids are looking at and for how long.

Parents also have control over what apps kids are allowed to see or download. Guardians can hide certain apps from a child's device and all installs and in-app purchases can be controlled remotely as well.

For those who can't decide which apps are really kid-friendly, Family Link recommends apps approved of by teachers and include what educational purpose they serve. Family Link can also help open conversations about phone usage and screen time at crucial ages, so kids can develop good digital habits as they grow up.

This is a handy feature for parents who want to play an active role in how their kids use digital spaces, particularly when they’re very young. A bonus is the app can be adjusted according to the kids' age.

Parents can also customize the options as their children grow up. They can turn off the app approvals once they feel their child is responsible or old enough to choose which apps they'd like for themselves, but parents can continue managing in-app purchases at the same time.

Smart Reply

Maybe you’ve seen quick response options in texting apps or on your phone, where you can quickly send “On my way!” or “Can’t talk now” when you receive a message. Smart Reply on Android 10 offers this function for all of your messaging apps — but with a twist. Your phone will learn what responses you commonly send, or send in particular situations, and will provide those as quick options.

Smart Reply is a function that’s still in development, but once it arrives it may seriously speed up your texting. By sending any messages at all, on any platform, you’ll help your phone learn how you communicate with others. From there, your favorite emojis and phrases will be available to you as soon as you get a message notification.

You’ll be able to tap on a response, which can really help if you don’t have time to type a whole reply, and you’ll be able to find the Smart Reply options even if you miss the initial notification by simply pulling down the notification center from the top of the screen.

The data won’t be available to Android or anyone else — it’s just local data to help customize your phone according to your needs. So don't worry about privacy — Android's got you covered and you’ll be able to message people faster. It’s similar to the new Gmail smart reply feature, but for your whole phone! How handy is that?

Focus Mode

The biggest enemy to hunkering down and finishing a project can sometimes be our smartphones and the endless time-sucking features they put at our fingertips. Sometimes it’d be best to just lock your phone away for a while or turn it off, but if you can’t do that — what if there's an emergency?

Thankfully, Android 10 has a way of internally locking your phone so it can’t be such a distraction to you.

Focus Mode is a new part of the Digital Wellbeing section on Android 10. Focus Mode allows you to select apps you use often, or that you know are huge distractions for you, and make them inaccessible to Focus Mode is turned off.

This also pauses notifications from these apps (though Focus Mode can allow really important messages to come through), so these apps can’t suddenly pull you out of your work. And if you tap on the apps you’ve labeled as distracting, you’ll get a notice that you’re in Focus Mode, so you might actually be able to put your phone down and get back to being productive.

These features sound good to you? Upgrade your OS to Android 10 now, and start playing with most of them today. Want to hear more tips from us here at Komando about your Android phone? We dig up the best Android tips and deliver them to you free of charge.

Tap or click here to sign up for Kim's weekly Android Updates newlsetter for news, tips and tricks and the coolest new apps.

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