If you own an Android, then you probably love your phone. Of course there’s plenty of things you’ll fall in love with from Google’s awesome operating system, but much of it is because Android’s operating system is open. Due to this, third-party developers have access to nearly all of the tools and features, opening a new avenue for developing apps and adding all sorts of great functionality to the Android phone.
However, to enjoy the full limits of your Android device, you don’t always need to add third party apps. In fact, there are tons of exciting hidden features that you probably didn’t know already existed in your Android device.
Your Android smartphone is basically a computer in your pocket with a bunch of features that make your life a lot easier. Android phones are perhaps the most popular phones in the world, followed closely by the iPhone. While the iPhone might take credit for having a variety of cool features, it’s no match for your Android device.
Did you know there is tons of stuff you could do with your Android device you probably didn’t know? Well, here are 20 cool things you had no idea your Android phone could do.
20. Become Your TV Remote
You probably didn’t know this, but some Android devices come fitted with infrared blasters; phones such as the HTC One and Samsung Galaxy S4. Lost your remote? You don’t need to worry; you can use your android device as a TV remote thanks to apps on Google Play. If your phone is equipped with an infrared blaster, you could control just about anything that works with infrared signals, such as garage gates and set-top boxes. This could come in handy when your TV remote gets lost somewhere in the couch. It could also be an awesome feature if you are looking to play tricks on your friends when you visit them.
19. Check humidity and temperature
Well, if you thought being able to turn on your TV with your phone is cool, then you probably didn’t expect your phone to be able to check ambient temperature and humidity. This functionality, however, isn’t available for all Android devices, but the Samsung Galaxy and a few others. This app would be great for those with asthma, chronic respiratory diseases, and newborn babies. In case you would like to access this amazing feature on your Samsung phone, go to the S Health app and see Comfort Level. Google Play also has a variety of humidity and temperature apps that could work on any Android device.
18. Scan QR and Barcodes
Ever thought you could shop with your Android device? Well, it’s possible, and it’s not trading in our phone for a six pack of beer either! Scan QR and Barcodes with an app on your Android device, do shopping for consumers and exchange contact information with business people in a snap. Turn your Android device into a usable barcode scanner with ease with an app conveniently called Barcode Scanner. This particular app works with QR codes as well as barcodes. You could also get a variety of the same apps on Google Play to do the same job.
17. Play PC & Nintendo Games
Have that favorite game you love playing on your PC or Nintendo? Well, did you know that your Android device can emulate these games? There are several guides that could help you play PC games on your Android phone, and use your portable hardware to its full potential to continue playing your favorite games as you’re heading to work on the train without having to use your console. These apps don’t come installed on your Android device, but they can be found in Google Play store. You will need to add these third party apps to be able to emulate your Nintendo or PC games on your Android device.
16. Facial recognition
This is perhaps one of the greatest features on your Android device. While it adds some sophistication to the normal operation of your phone, this feature also doubles as a security function. To activate this feature go to Setting->Security->Screen Lock-> Face Unlock. There is also an optional presence check for blinking enabled that lets you take a picture of yourself and unlock your device with your face. Your presence check will make you blink just to make sure someone is not using your picture to unlock your device. Having this feature on your phone does not only add sophistication but also helps add extra security to your phone to avoid losing your data whenever you misplace it.
15. Compass and Barometer
If you love camping, then your Android device has a feature that you will find useful. You probably didn’t know about all the different sensors that your phone has been equipped with. Well, not only does your Android device know which way is up or down, but it’s also able to tell north from south. You can download apps from Google Play such as Smart Compass or AndroidiTS Compass Free to use your phone to navigate your way around. With an app like Smart Distance from the Google Play store, you are able to measure distances between two objects while the SpeedGun app will measure the speed of a moving object.
14. Access Chrome tabs from other devices
As long as you are signed into Google Chrome, any Android device will be able to access all other open tabs on your device that you are signed into. Want to know how to do this? Well, all you need to do is hit “Other Devices” from Menu or New Tab Page or click that bottom right-hand corner icon of folders with arrows, that’s it! If you are a workaholic, you could continue working on your phone as you ride home on the subway or taxi, since your office Chrome tabs will still be accessible on your Android device when you log in.
13. Says Cheese before taking a picture
This is quite a simple and exciting feature, all you need to do is launch the Camera app-> Tap on Gear icon-> Enable Voice Control-> have your Android take pictures of you, triggering the action when you say “Cheese.” It’s an exciting feature for those who love taking photos. The “say cheese” can be customized to count down or say “shoot”, and with third party applications available on Google Play, you can customize it to say anything you want. You can also get tons of other third party camera apps to enhance your shooting experience in Google Play.
12. Screen Stays Bright for as long as you’re looking at it
This is quite an awesome feature, and as thrilling as it is, it helps save your battery power by 30 percent. The logic behind it is only to keep your screen on as long as you are looking at it, which will save and back your power for much longer. While this feature is specific to Samsung Android devices, a variety of other brands has it too. You can access this feature by going to Settings->Display->Smart Stay. You don’t need to get worried if you don’t have a Samsung phone, you can likely find third party matches in Google Play that use your front facing camera to determine when you’re looking at the screen.
11. Encrypt your data
While this might sound nerdy or complicated, it’s a better way of taking your phone’s security a step further by encrypting your data. To be able to perform this function on your Android device, all you need to do is go to Settings->Security->Encrypt Device. Your phone will prompt you to create a PIN then proceeds to encrypt your data. This will protect all your data and password on your phone. Encrypting your phone is very important and especially for businessmen, lawyers and bankers. If you are using your phone to store clients’ important information, or even if it’s your own, it’s better to make use of this amazing security feature. Better safe than sorry!
10. Cloud connection Google Drive
You might not have noticed this yet, but all Android devices have a Google Drive app. You can use this app to scan your documents to PDF and save them safely on your virtual drive! We all understand that you can never have enough storage on your phone, not when you are taking 4K resolution photos and videos. Well, Google Drive could be the best storage for your documents and pictures as well. It’s also important to have valuable information such as a document stored on your Google Drive in case your phone gets lost. You can also backup all your phone data in Google Drive.
9. Custom vibration for different contacts
It’s bad when you miss that important phone call from your boss or your better half. You are probably in a meeting, movie theater, church, or any other place where it would be rude for your phone to ring, yet you still need to be on the alert for incoming calls. Well, your Android device is not only able to keep your phone silent, but also clues you into precisely who is calling. You can do this by going to Contacts, trying in your contact’s name, clicking edit, scrolling down and adding another field, the selecting a vibration pattern. You can choose from options or create your own.
8. Share just about anything on your phone with Android
You have probably heard about the Android Beam; this specific function on your Android device lets users share just about anything (contacts, videos, apps, locations and even songs saved in third party apps like Shazam). To be able to use this function, Android users only need to tap their phones together to send. Your Android device needs to be NFC enabled to perform this function. You could also use the Android beam to perform this function. This feature can be used to share anything from eBooks to music, contacts and notes, practically anything you have on your phone. Besides sharing stuff, it’s also just cool to use the Android Beam feature, pretty exciting!
7. Text on PC with your android device
You already know that you can log into your favorite websites using your Chrome app on any device with your Android, but I doubt you knew you could sync up with a computer and text without your phone! How exciting is that? To do this, you will need to download a third-party app (Mighty Text), this app is a game changer, and especially if you forgot your phone at home. You will be able to send and receive text and media messages that are linked to your phone number, from your web browser or tablet. With this feature you can continue typing on your computer or working on your project without necessarily being in the same room as your PC.
6. Voice Search
Your Android device has been built to help the user, and current enhancements enable it to receive voice commands. You might have heard about Apple’s Siri, well did you know Android has its own version of it? To enable this function, you need to look for the microphone icon once you have logged into Google search. In case you want to send an email or text, just say “Text Michael” or you could simply ask research questions you’d have otherwise typed into your search bar. There are plenty of other cool things you could do with your Android phone voice search, such as emailing reminders, writing notes, scheduling appointments, and this function is especially helpful when you only have one hand to spare.
5. Swipe and gesture Typing
This is one of the better hidden features Android devices have that very few people using an Android phone know about. It sometimes gets tiring typing, especially if you are having a snack. Your Android device’s swipe and gesture typing enables users to compose messages on their phone by swiping their fingers from one character on the keyboard to the next. This is very helpful especially if the user only has one hand to spare. You can access this awesome feature on Google keyboard in the Google Play Store. Samsung phones also have an extra gliding feature. In case your phone doesn’t have this feature you don’t need to worry, there are a bunch of third-party apps of the same kind you can download for free from the Google Play Store.
4. Silence phone with palm
If you want to show off your Android phone to your iPhone friends, this would be the best app to get them crossing over. While this might be one of the most sophisticated features on any device, you need to understand that your palm needs to be big enough for this to work! On Samsung Devices, you can take a screenshot by using hand gestures, how awesome is that? All you need to do is ensure that your palm motion feature is enabled. Go to Settings->My Device->Motions and Gestures->Palm Motions. In case your phone doesn’t come with this app factory installed, you can get a third party app from the Google Play Store.
3. Fitness tracker
Are you concerned about your health? A lot of us are today. Well, your Android device has just the app for you. To get the best out of this feature, you might need to have a smart wristband. With this feature, you can track your running, walking and other daily activities through your phone. Other Android devices such as Sony and HTC don’t necessarily need a smart wristband to perform this function. You are also able to measure your heart rate while you sleep using this app. In case you don’t have this app, you could download the Google Fit app for free and try it out!
2. Know the inner workings of your battery
This is yet another nerdy feature. While it’s not important to know how your battery works, it might just be another way to satisfy your curiosity. You are able to check your battery’s status; maybe you want to know why it doesn’t last as long as it once did, or maybe you’re just checking for fun. But in case you are curious about the inner workings of your battery, you can get Voltage, ADC, and RSSI readings by dialing *#0228#. You don’t need a third party application for this, it’s pretty simple, try it out now and see!
1. Hidden game
Think you know all the games on your phone? I bet not! You probably don’t know this, but your Android device has a hidden game, and it’s fun and exciting. To access it, you will need to access your phone’s settings, then hit the about phone tab, until your phone’s current operating system logo animation shows up. In Marshmallow or Lollipop Android versions you can press down on the lollipop or marshmallow to launch the game. Navigate your little Android through the obstacles. If you have a different version, the game will be typically the same, but it’ll probably have a different obstacle course.
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