Americans collectively check their phones 8 billion times a day, so it’s safe to say that our phones feel like an extension of ourselves. If we’re going to be interacting with them as much as we are, instead of having our devices dictate our lives, we should be making them work better for us.
Here are 14 tips to turn your Android smartphone into a tool that can boost your productivity rather than be a hindrance to it.
You can simply group different types of apps on your home screen together by dragging one shortcut and hovering it over another to create a new folder. You can also make sure you have access to your work anywhere by utilizing Google Drive to move your files from one device to another.
Change your perspective.
If you find yourself using your phone on the way to work and you’re stuck reading some fine print, go to Settings, Accessibility and then Magnification gestures. From there you’ll be able to tap on the screen to magnify and adjust the size of what you’re looking at.
Do not disturb.
You can use your phone’s setting to keep distractions away by swiping from the top of the phone’s screen then clicking on the Do Not Disturb icon. From there you can choose to put your phone completely on silent, set alarms or decide what things can break through.
Speed things up.
If you’re interested in getting rid of the apps that are sapping your phone’s memory and slowing things down, go to “Settings,” “About Phone” and then “Build Number.” Once there, click on Build Number several times until it says that you are a developer. Go back to Settings, click Developer Options and then Process Stats (or Running Services). Then you will see a list of the apps that are draining the device’s energy.
Protect your data.
If you want to make sure your phone is protected from hackers, you can opt to encrypt it. You can do this by going to Settings, selecting Security, then Encrypt Device. Depending on what model of phone you have, you may have to take some additional steps, by going to Storage and then Storage encryption or Storage, Lock screen and security and then other security settings to get to the “Encrypt” feature.
Find your lost phone.
To find a lost phone, you need to have done a couple of things first in order for the process to work. The device has to be turned on, location turned on, signed in to a Google Account, be connected to mobile data or Wi-Fi, be visible on Google Play and have “find my device” switched on. The Google account is helpful in this instance because if you don’t immediately have access to another phone, you can find or call it by searching for find my phone at Google.com.
If you want to give your phone a new look, tap and hold down on your Home screen anywhere that doesn’t have an app or shortcut on it. A list of options will pop up. If you choose “Wallpapers,” for example, you can then get more wallpapers to choose from online. You can also make one of your photos in the background.
Save battery life.
If you’re always using your phone on the go, you don’t want your battery to get drained too quickly. Go the phone’s settings, click on or search for battery, then select power saving mode. You can also set it up to work automatically either at 15 percent or 5 percent battery life.
If you’re shipping things to clients, you can have the extra layer of security by having your phone also track the parcels. Since Google reads tracking information from your Gmail account, if you go into the Google app, click the “Now card” and then switch on “Show cards,” you can follow the directions that pop up on the screen to set up tracking so you know where they are.
At a glance.
If you want to save time, you can put things you need on your Home screen by tapping and holding an empty space on it and clicking on the widgets option. Then you can touch and hold the widget, whether it’s your favorite news source, calendar or weather alerts into the position you want on the screen. Then tap outside of the widget when you’re happy with the placement and size.
If you want your phone to help you search for something or add a meeting to your calendar without tapping the device, open the Google App, go to the menu, “Settings,” “Voice,” “Voice match” and then enable “‘Ok Google’ detection.” Be sure that “From the Google app” and “Always on” are turned on.
Don’t get stuck in traffic.
You can access automatic traffic and transit updates by going to the Google app, clicking on the “Now card,” turning the “Show cards” feature on then following the steps provided on the screen.
Remember big ideas.
By using the Google Keep app, you can click on the prompt to “Take a note” and a fresh Keep page will open up for you to write in. You also have the options to make and share lists by clicking on the list icon, make audio recordings by clicking on the microphone icon and drawings by clicking on the pen icon within the app.
Loop people in.
Go into the “My Calendars” tab, tap “Create a new calendar,” customize it with a name, description and time zone and then share it to keep track of meetings and projects.