6 Android Phone Features You Are Not Using. Android is stacked with so many tools and configuration options, we often overlook some of its most useful features. Sometimes they’re hiding in plain sight. Check out these 6 supercool features on you should start using on your Android phones.
Other times, they’re buried so deep, you’d never discover them without spelunking deep into sub menus, groping blindly in the dark.
But don’t let that one killer feature get away. Even if you consider yourself an Android power user, you’d do well to make sure you’re familiar with every single menu, toggle and utility on this list.
We’ve done our best to identify the precise locations of the features listed below, but you may have to hunt around menus a bit if your device manufacturer has excessive interface customizations.
6 Android Phone Features You Are Not Using
1. Use Android Device Manager for remote security
Use Android Device Manager for much greater
control over a lost phone.
The Google Play Services framework is used to
manage all sorts of back-end services, and
Google updates it frequently in the background.
Most of the functionality packed away in this
framework is of little user-facing consequence,
but there’s a lot including account sync, malware
and the Android Device Manager. This feature
allows you track, ring, lock, and wipe your device
if you lose track of it.
By default, you can only ring and locate a device
with Android Device Manager, so if you want the
full gamut of features, go into your main system
settings and scroll down to Security. Find the
Device Administrators option, and open it to see
what apps have been granted admin privileges on
your phone or tablet. Checking the box next to
Android Device Manager allows you to wipe and
lock the device in addition to the ring and locate
You can remotely access Android Device Manager
in a number of useful ways. If you only have one
Android device, you can use any web browser to
go to the Android Device Manager page and log
into your account. From there, you can see a map
of where your phone is located, and issue
commands to nuke it or just lock it.
Before resorting to extreme measures, you might
want to start with locating and making it ring to
ensure it didn’t just slip between the couch
cushions. Should you have access to more than
one Android device, you can use the Android
Device Manager app, which you can keep on all
your devices to locate and manage the others.
2. Screen Recording
Screenshots are for chumps. Show everyone else
what you’re up to with a screen recording. A
subset of Android users over the years have
resorted to rooting their devices to get more
advanced features. Android has slowly gained
features over time that make root less of a
As of Android 5.0 Lollipop, there’s less reason
than ever to root now that Android supports
screen recording. You just need an app to take
proper advantage of it.
A screen recording is simply an MP4 video file of
what’s happening on your screen for the duration
of the capture. There is no native tool to do this
on most Android devices for some reason, but
there are a ton of them in the Play Store. My
personal favorite is the aptly named Rec.
Whether you’re using Rec or another app with
support for Lollipop screen recording, all you
need to do is accept the screen capture request
when it pops up. An icon in the status bar will
appear to let you know the screen recording is
ongoing. Some apps have support for different
resolutions and bit rates for the recording as well,
but the default will be the native screen resolution
of your phone or tablet.
The way you end a recording varies by app, but
there’s usually a notification or you can simply
put the device to sleep. One of the reasons I
prefer the aforementioned Rec is that it has
support for both of those options as well as shake
to stop a recording.
3. Speed up your phone 10x faster
Why suffer even marginally slow animations when
your processor can handle faster speeds?
Android devices are faster than they used to be,
but you can make your experience feel even
zippier with one simple tweak. Android contains a
hidden developer options menu that you can
enable by going into your main system settings,
then navigating to About > Software Information >
More > Build number . Now tap on the build
number—literally, tap on it numerous times—until
a small message at the bottom of the screen
confirms that you’re a developer.
Now, don’t worry: This doesn’t make any
modifications to your system. It just turns on the
Developer Options menu back in the main settings
list—so head back there and open it up.
Developer Options has tons of interesting features
to play around with, but you can also mess things
up pretty badly, so it’s best not to change
anything you haven’t thoroughly researched as
this might affect your phone.
Inside Developer options, scroll down to Drawing
and find Window
animation scale , Transition animation scale , and
Animator duration scale . These are all set to 1x
by default. These animations are the eye candy
you see when apps open and close, menus drop
down, and more. They help cover up lag as the
system catches up, but you don’t really need slow
settings on a fast device. You can set all of these
to 0.5x for a more snappy interface experience.
4. Don’t just monitor data usage—control it
The trick is to receive a warning before you trip
your data limit. In a country like Nigeria where the
cost of data plans are highly expensive and
carrier fees are ever-increasing, you often need to
watch your mobile data consumption closely.
Android has a built-in tool that helps you do this,
but most users don’t use it to its full potential.
The Data Usage menu is usually near the top of
your system settings list (though it may be
buried under a “More” heading), and can also be
accessed via the network signal strength icon in
Quick Settings. You can use the sliders on the
usage chart to set your data limits for your
chosen billing cycle.
The default behavior is simply to warn you when
you reach your data limit. However, by the time
you get that warning, it’s often too late to adjust
your behavior and avoid overage charges or
automatic throttling. A better use of the data
tracking feature is to set your warning a
few hundred megabytes below your limit, then
enable a data limit with the check box right above
the chart. The red line on the chart lets you set a
point at which your mobile data will be shut off.
5. Use Wi-Fi Direct for quick file transfers
The SuperBeam app facillitates device-to-device
file transfers at warp speed—even 45 Mbps.
Transferring files between devices has always
been a little annoying, but features like Android
Beam made it easier: Just hold together two NFC-
enabled devices (Android 4.1 or later), and you
can transfer files across a Bluetooth link. It’s a
neat trick, but transfer speeds are capped by
Bluetooth bandwidth, and file type support is
Luckily, however, most Android devices also
support Wi-Fi Direct, even though Google’s stock
apps don’t make use of it. Wi-Fi Direct is exactly
what it sounds like: a protocol that can create a
direct connection between
two devices via Wi-Fi. You just need an app to
make use of it, and there are several in Google
Play. SuperBeam is probably the most powerful,
and it has a free version. To get a transfer going,
you just need to share the files to Super Beam (or
whatever app you’ve chosen to use) and tap
Wi-Fi Direct allows you to queue up multiple files
in a single operation and the transfer rate can
easily exceed 30 Mbps. It’s fabulous for sharing
large videos or images.
Restrict background data, app by app
Sometimes apps don’t need to be consuming so
much data in the background but Android allows
apps to wake up in the background and perform
activities and because of this there’s always the
possibility they’ll send and receive mobile data
without your knowledge.
When you’re on a low-capped data plan (or
you’re just coming up on the cap) this can be an
issue. Luckily, the Android Data Usage menu in
your phone offers information on what’s using
data in the background, and could save you from
Below the graph of overall data usage mentioned
above, you’ll find a list of all your apps organized
by how much data they’ve used, starting with the
most greedy offenders. Tap on any single app for
details on the split
between foreground and background data. If you
find an app using a lot of bytes in the background,
you can scroll down to the bottom of the details
page and check the option to restrict background
Note, however, that this option is only available
on devices that hook into mobile data plans. Also
keep in mind that some apps won’t work as
expected with this option enabled, so only use it
for apps and services that aren’t respectful of
your mobile data connection.
6. Use Owner Info to make it easier to reclaim a lost
Share your owner information in order to help
your lost phone finder return your phone.
Having a pattern or PIN lock on your phone or
tablet is always a good idea, but what happens if
you lose the device, and a good Samaritan finds it
and wants to return it? How is he or she
supposed to know who it belongs to?
Well, hidden inside the Owner Info menu, there’s
an easy way to provide your identity. The Owner
Info feature will be in the Security section of
the main system settings, or under Personal >
Lock screen and security on newer Samsung
phones. You can add any info here you want, but
an email and alternative phone number are safe
bets. Just check the option above the text field to
have the Owner Info displayed on the lock screen.
Be aware, OEMs that heavily customize the lock
screen like adding too much crazy widgets and
text sometimes do away with this feature.