Android: 6 essential functions you need to use on your mobile | Operational systems

Android has many features but some are essential for users. These basic functions are related to how to interact with the main system tools, such as notifications, icon appearance and navigation between screens. Therefore, understanding how to make some simple adjustments in these aspects can greatly contribute to the usability of Google’s operating system, making the overall experience more pleasant and practical. Check out, below, six functions that every Android owner should know how to use on their cell phone.

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Discover six essential Android features that are very useful for users’ daily lives — Photo: Marcela Franco/TechTudo

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1. Customize notifications

One of the first things to do on a new Android is to customize notifications so that they arrive in a way that works for you. As this is one of the most used features in the operating system, adapting it to your needs and preferences makes using your smartphone on a daily basis much easier.

Google’s system has several options for customizing notifications, but availability varies depending on your cell phone model and version used. One of the simplest and most present in almost any Android is to change the sound of the alert. This helps not to confuse your cell phone notification with another nearby device, for example.

To change the ringtone, go to “Settings”, go to “Apps & Notifications” and select “Notifications”. It is possible to choose between the sounds in the list or add a custom audio, whether it is in the smartphone gallery or in the cloud.

Customizing Android notifications improves system usability — Photo: Reproduction/Raquel Freire

Another important tweak is hiding (or showing) the content of notifications on the lock screen. To do this, just go to “Lock screen notifications”, within the “Notifications” menu, and choose whether to hide notifications, show only alerts or show all.

Android 11 owners can still enable notification balloons for messages. The function allows you to respond to conversations in messenger apps, such as WhatsApp and Telegram, without having to leave other apps. See how to activate the feature here.

2. Add widgets and customize the home screen

Customizing the home screen with shortcuts is a useful measure to speed up browsing and performing tasks on your phone. To do this, press on an empty area on the system home screen and select “Widgets”. After choosing the item, keep your finger on it and drag it to position it as you like.

Also, it is possible to make customizations to the Widget itself, such as changing the size and defining the shortcuts that it displays. When you want one of them to no longer be shown, just drag it up to the “Remove” section, just like you do with an app. It is worth remembering that the shortcuts available will vary according to the applications you have on your phone.

Inclusion of a widget on the Android home screen — Photo: Reproduction/Raquel Freire

3. Explore other launchers on the Play Store

You launchers are programs capable of changing icons, wallpapers, shortcuts, widgets and many other aspects of Android. With them, the user can completely transform the interface of the operating system, leaving it really his way.

There are several launchers available on the Google Play Store, including one that makes the Google OS look like the iPhone. After downloading one, grant all the required permissions and open the “Make Default Launcher” tab to make it the default Android launcher. From there, the appearance of the OS changes automatically, but it is still possible to make further customizations on the home screen.

Launcher iOS 16 lets you make Android look like an iPhone — Photo: Reproduction/Clara Fabro

4. Enable auto-update in apps

Android allows you to update apps manually and automatically. The advantage of the second method is that you don’t have to remember to upgrade your operating system – an important process for fixing application flaws and vulnerabilities.

To enable auto-update, enter the Play Store, tap your profile picture and go to “Settings”. Then select “Network Preferences” and tap on the “Update apps automatically” option. To save mobile data, it is recommended to choose “Only over Wi-Fi”.

Activation of automatic updating of apps by the Google Play Store — Photo: Reproduction/Raquel Freire

Google’s system also has several useful features regarding the screen. One of the main ones is the one that allows you to split the display to use two apps at the same time, in order to make switching between them easier. With an app open, tap the square navigation button and then the app icon. So just select “Split screen” and then open the second app.

Split screen feature to use two apps at the same time on Android — Photo: Reproduction/Raquel Freire

Google’s system also allows you to pin apps to the display. The function is especially useful when you lend your phone to someone, but you don’t want the person to open another app. To do this, you first need to enable the “Pin screen” feature in the “Security” menu. Once this is done, the “Pin” option will be displayed in the same split-screen menu.

Screen pin function to prevent other apps from opening on Android — Photo: Reproduction/Raquel Freire

Android 11 also introduced screen recording as a native feature, previously only present in customizations from some manufacturers, such as Samsung and Xiaomi. In the latest version of the system, it is necessary to swipe twice from top to bottom on the home screen in order to expand the notifications menu. There, tap “Screen recording”, select what you want to record and then press “Start”.

6. Create guest mode

Android has a “Guest Mode”, which creates a profile with default apps, without photos, videos or other user content. The function gives more privacy when lending the smartphone to third parties, in addition to serving as a kind of incognito mode.

Access to the feature varies by Android version. As of Android 9, it is necessary to enter “Configure” > “System” and expand the “Advanced” menu. There, tap on “Multiple Users” and then select “Guest”.

Guest mode increases privacy on Android — Photo: Reproduction/Raquel Freire

with information from Google

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