The Android OS has come a long way. In fact, when you compare it to the earlier versions, Android can do a lot more things with a lot more efficiency, while constantly evolving. Even though Android is very easy to use and you can get to almost any setting with just a few taps, it is always a good thing to know some shortcuts to make things a bit easier. In case you are wondering, here are some of the best Android shortcuts you should be aware of.
Related: 45 Best Root Apps For Android
Lesser Know Android Shortcuts
1. Enable Smart Locking in Android
Smart Lock is one of those useful features that most Android users don’t know or just ignore to use despite its usefulness. Strictly speaking, this is not a shortcut per say, but it makes your life easier by securing your device with pattern or pin lock depending on certain conditions. For instance, you can make your device automatically switch to pin or pattern lock when you are out of your home or workplace. This increases the security while still providing you with ample ease of use at home or workplace.
To enable Smart Lock, you first need to change your current screen lock to either pattern or pin. To do that, open the “Settings” app, navigate to “Security” and then tap on “Screen Lock.” Now, select either Pattern or Pin and follow the wizard to complete the setup process.
Once you’ve, you’ve done that you can proceed to set up Smart Lock. Again, open the “Settings” and navigate to “Security.” Here, tap on the option “Smart Lock.”
In the Smart Lock window, select the type of condition and proceed with the wizard to setup Smart Lock. In my case, I set up my home and workplace using the “Trusted Places” option. From now on, my device will only use pattern lock when I’m out of home or workplace
2. Quickly Take Screen Shots
If you’ve used a computer for any amount of time, you should know that you can take screenshots of the screen with just a key press. Just like in a computer, you can take screenshots of your Android screen with a simple shortcut. These screenshots are very helpful when you want to capture something like an error message or to show off your awesome Android home screen.
To take the screenshot, simply press “Volume Down” button and “Power” button at the same time. All the screenshots taken using this method will be stored in “Pictures > Screenshots” folder in the internal storage.
Alternatively, if you take a lot of screenshots and don’t want to damage your physical keys, then use Google now on tap. Simply go to the screen, whose screenshot you want to take, and then press and hold the Home Button, you’ll see menu swipe up from the bottom, tap on the share button. And this will take screenshots of the current screen and open the share options.
3. Launch Camera Directly from the Lock Screen
The camera moments won’t stay there as you fumble around to launch your camera app. So, to make things a bit snappier, you can launch the camera app by swiping away from the camera icon on the lock screen. If you are using a custom lock screen or if the phone manufacturer is using a custom skin then the shortcut might differ, or you might not find this option.
On some devices, you can also launch the camera app by double pressing the power button or by twisting the device a couple of times. For instance, my Moto phone can launch the camera app using both the shortcuts. I.e., by twisting the phone a couple of times and using the shortcut on the lock screen.
4. Find Your Favorite App Quickly
We install a ton of apps to meet our needs and curiosity. As we install the apps, it can get quite annoying to find our favorite app even when they are sorted alphabetically. However, you can search for an app to narrow down and open the app quickly.
If you are using the vanilla version of Android or the Google Now launcher then simply tap and hold on the App Drawer icon to focus on the app search bar. Here, enter the first few letters of the app to narrow down the app list.
Alternatively, you can do the same thing with the Google Now Search bar on the home screen. Just enter first few letters of the app, and you will see the app listed in the search suggestions.
If you are using Nova launcher, you can do the same thing. Just tap on the Home button to open the search bar. Here, enter the first few letters, and you should see your app listed.
5. Enable Do Not Disturb Mode with Volume Buttons
The Do Not Disturb mode in Android is pretty helpful when you don’t want to be bothered with phone calls, messages, notifications, etc. Though you can enable the Do Not Disturb mode directly from the Notification shade, there is an even quicker way. Just tap and hold the “Volume Down” button until you put your device into vibration mode. Now, press the “Volume Down” button again to enable the Do Not Disturb mode.
If you want to end the Do Not Disturb mode then tap and hold the “Volume Up” button and you are good to go.
6. Make Good Use of “OK Google.”
Just like the Smart Lock feature, Google Now is also ignored or underutilized. For instance, you can make Google Now take your notes in Google Keep, set reminders or alarms, get information about almost anything, convert currency, get sports update, text or call your contacts, listen to music, etc.
To make all this happen, you first need to enable the “OK Google detection” from any screen. To do that, open the “Google” app from the app menu. Now, open the menu, select “Settings” and then “Voice.” Here, select the option “OK Google Detection.”
Toggle the button next to “From any screen, ” and you are good to go. From this point forward, you can activate Google Now from any screen (including the lock screen) by simply saying “Ok Google.”
Related: New Google Now Voice Commands
7. Pull Down to Refresh a Page in Google Chrome
To refresh a web page in the Chrome browser, you don’t have to fiddle with the menu. Just drag the page down, and Chrome will refresh the web page. The good thing about this method is that it applies to almost all the modern apps in the Play store.
Hope that helps and do comment below to share your favorite Android shortcuts to discuss your thoughts and experiences about using the above shortcuts in your daily life.
8. View Notification History on Android
If you have Accidentally Dismissed Notification on Android, it’s pretty easy to get it back.
Long-tap on your Android home screen to bring up Widgets sections. The steps may be different for other devices, but basically, you have to go to Widget sections. Next, swipe to the bottom till you see Settings shortcut widget.
Long tap the setting widget and drag it to your home screen. A new menu will open, select Notification log. And that’s it. A Notification log shortcut will appear on your home screen. Just tap this, and you’ll have access to your notification history.
9. Use Nova launcher gestures
Nova launcher is our favorite launchers, and you might know not but it has a lot of tricks hidden shortcuts hidden in its sleeves. For instance – I’ve setup my Nova Launcher such that, when I swipe down the home screen it bring up notification tray, swipe up to open the app drawer and when I double tap on the home screen – it turns off the display.
You can also set up Icon Gestures in Nova launcher. For instance – when I tap the Google Chrome icon it opens the regular Chrome app, but if I swipe up the app icon, it launches Google now voice search. For better understanding watching this Nova Launcher Tips & Tricks video.
10. Google Keyboard Shortcuts
If you are using Google Keyboard, then you are in luck. It comes with lots of cool shortcut and swipe gestures, to make you type faster.
The one that, I like most is moving the cursor using your spacebar. Simply, hold down and swipe left/right on the Space key to move your cursor with Google Keyboard. This comes in handy while typing URL or if you misspell something.
11. Use Google now on Tap
Google now on tap bring all the useful shortcuts to the home screen. It’s one of the most underrated features of Android.
For instance — Say, you are found some property ads on a Facebook page, and you want to call on the number mention in that page. Now, since Facebook don’t allow you to copy text to the clipboard in its official app, you’ll have to manually write the number on a piece of paper and then call that guy. Right?
But with Google now on tap, all you have to do is, press the home button, and it’ll automatically detect the number and give you the option to call it directly using the phone app.
This is just tip of the iceberg, check out other cools things you can do with Google now on tap.
12. Use a Shortcut app
The built-in shortcuts in Android can help you to some extent. But with an app like FooView, you can bring all the shortcuts on your finger tip.
Foo view adds a magic floating button on your Android (not just the Home screen) And by tapping on that button, you can launch an app, open your fav website, take screenshots, record video and much more.
We always believe, if you use something all day long, make sure you use it effectively. It saves time in long run. And hopefully, these Android Shortcuts help you do the same.
Let us know if we miss something in the comments below.