Android is the most common mobile operating system across all smartphones and tablets. They are a number of important hidden android features in addition to an array of features embedded by the original equipment manufacturers such as Samsung, Tecno, Infinix and so on.
These hidden android features are actually not hidden, but are either not common or are not meant for the average phone user. Some features that may be common to others may actually be alien to other users depending on their level of phone/computer literacy.
What constitutes important hidden android features also depends on the range of functions the user of the device expects from the device.
Based on the varied definition of hidden android features, some features the author may categorize as common may actually be hidden by some users and vice versa.
After reading through this article, it is expected that your level of awareness about the hidden android features will be increased with an attendant increase in the use of these uncommon but important Android features.
The numbering of the important but hidden android phone features discussed in this article is not based on their level of importance, rather it is arbitrary. Also as implied earlier what constitutes an important android feature largely depends on the user.
Hidden Android Features
1. Split Screen Android feature
This important but hidden Android feature allows you to perform more than one task on your device at the same time.
Android supports the opening and use of two different apps simultaneously on most android devices, such as typing a text message while looking through your social media, or watching a video while checking something up on Google.
What you do with this feature depends on your needs at the moment, the good thing about this feature is that it encourages efficient time use for individuals that can effectively multitask.
How to enable split-screen mode in android devices
To enable the split-screen android feature please follow the steps below;
- Open the first app of interest.
- Enter the recent apps screen by tapping on the recent apps button, if you are using 3-buttons [… or ııı, on the base of your screen mostly on the left] or just swipe up from the home bar if your smartphone is running on Android 10 and you have enabled gestures navigation.
- On the recent apps screen tap on the icon above the app of interest and then select split screen.
- Now open the second app from the home screen and this app will open in a split-screen view.
This process may vary on different phones and tablets depending on the make of your device.
2. Pin Apps Android Feature
We often find ourselves in a situation where a friend or a family member requests to use our device. We may have personal or sensitive data on our devices and as such may not be willing to grant the request.
The pin app feature of android comes in handy, as this will limit access to only the app you want the individual to use, which is the app you opened and pinned to the screen of your device.
The individual will need your passcode, pattern or biometrics before he or she can access any other app on your device.
How to enable screen pinning on Andriod devices
To enable this beautiful yet hidden Android feature kindly follow the steps below;
- Navigate to your device Settings
- Tap on Security and On Screen Pinning. For Samsung, users tap on the extra security setting then On Pin Windows.
- After turning it On, open the app, your friend/ acquaintance requested.
- Open the recent apps screen with the … or ııı button below the phone screen. On the recent apps, screen tap the icon on top of the app and select pin screen.
- Alternatively, especially with Samsung phones, you can use the above steps to select the app with your sensitive data and then instead of selecting the pin screen option you can choose the lock app option. This will lock the apps with sensitive content.
- The app remains pinned to the screen until you authorize otherwise with your passcode.
Alternatively, third-party apps can also be used to lock certain apps such as App locker, this app can lock the app of interest with a passcode, pattern or biometrics authentication method.
3. Smart Lock Android Feature
This interesting but hidden android feature is designed to balance the security of your device and your convenience.
It prevents the stress of the recurrent need to type in your passcode, pattern or use biometric authentication any time you want to use your device.
This hidden Android feature allows your phone to automatically open when in certain locations considered secure by the user and lock when in other unknown locations.
This feature gives you a variety of options which includes the following;
- On-body detection; this feature keeps your device unlocked while you are in motion, for instance, while walking.
- Trusted places; this feature will keep your device unlocked after you unlock it as long as you are in a trusted place. This feature uses your phone map and location to identify places designated as trusted.
- Trusted devices; after you unlock your device it will stay unlocked provided it stays connected to a trusted device such as a blue tooth system or other systems.
- Trusted Face; your device will remain unlocked after you have unlocked it, provided it identifies your face via the front camera.
How to activate the Android smart lock feature
This process might vary depending on your device. Navigate to your device setting, tap on the lock screen option and then select Smart Lock. After selecting Smart Lock read the option to choose which Smart Lock option you want to activate.
4. Wi-Fi direct Andriod Feature
This feature functions in a similar way to Bluetooth. However, it has some advantages over Bluetooth in that it can transfer large files faster than Bluetooth.
To use Wi-Fi direct the sending and receiving device must have Wi-Fi direct and it should be turned On on both devices.
How to transfer files with Wi-Fi direct on Android devices
To transfer files with Wi-Fi direct navigate to your device setting tap on Connections, then On Wi-Fi tap on the more icon [ three vertical dots at the top] and select Wi-Fi direct.
Once the connection is established with the second device you can share files rapidly by clicking on the share button.
5. App shortcuts
This is a hidden android feature that facilitates the use of mobile apps. The function embedded in this feature is app dependent.
To check out your device’s App Shortcut options, press and hold your finger down on any app’s icon either on your home screen or in your app drawer for about a second. You will see an array of options depending on the mobile app such as:
- With the camera app, you will see an option to take photos or record a video immediately.
- With google drive, you will see options that will allow you to upload, scan or search for a document.
6. Do Not Disturb Android feature
This hidden android feature is designed to allow the user to decide how the device automatically behaves on certain days or times.
To use this hidden android feature effectively you need to On Do Not Disturb and set up schedules, with specific time intervals on when you do not want to be disturbed.
How to activate Do Not Disturb On an Android device
To activate this feature navigate to your phone setting, tap on the Sound option or Notification, then look for the schedule option and set it as desired.
7. Find My Device Android feature
This hidden android feature comes in handy when your device is misplaced or stolen. This feature allows you to track the location of your device.
Once the device is located the user can make the phone ring out and can also remotely lock or delete the contents of the phone.
To effectively use this feature navigate to your device setting, tap on security and On Find My Device.
Once you have activated Find My Device anytime you misplace your phone you can track via Google on a computer or another device.
For more details check out Ways to locate a lost phone or Tablet
8. Turn on Wi-Fi automatically
Wi-Fi generally is not a hidden Android feature for many users. However, some features of Wi-Fi such as turning the Wi-Fi automatically can be considered a hidden android feature to many users.
Your device can automatically On the Wi-Fi in the presence of a familiar strong Wi-Fi signal. To activate this hidden android feature Navigate to your device setting, Tap on Network and Internet or Connections and then tap on Wi-Fi, then Wi-Fi preferences and finally Turn On Wi-Fi automatically. For Samsung devices After tapping on Wi-Fi, tap on the more option, select Advanced then turn On Wi-Fi automatically.
9. Guest mode Android feature
This hidden android feature comes in handy when you inevitably need to leave your device for another person to use.
It becomes distressing if you have personal or sensitive information on the device. This feature works in a similar way to the guest mode on personal computers.
It simply gives the guest a completely clean phone while keeping your sensitive information or content completely safe.
The author has tried to discuss some important hidden Android features. The activation and How-to procedures described may not be the same for all Andriod devices.
However, this article will serve as a useful guide for easy activation and use of some of these hidden Android features.