The Android operating system is a treasure trove of well-kept secrets. Whether these features were supposed to be hard to find or if they’ve simply been overshadowed by other innovations is kind of a mystery.
Either way, Android users don’t always know what their device is capable of.
It doesn’t matter if you’ve been using Android for years or you’ve only just jumped on the bandwagon – chances are you’re yet to stumble on some of your device’s cleverest configurations. Don’t worry, though. We can tell you which hidden Android features you need to know about (keep in mind that the availability of these features may depend on what model you have).
1. dual audio (on the Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus)
Samsung’s flashy new phone model might be famous for its edge-to-edge screen and artificial intelligence software Bixby, but there’s a lot more to this mobile than its flagship features. If you love nothing better than playing your favourite tunes, the S8’s dual audio feature lets you play music on 2 Bluetooth devices simultaneously. This means you and another person can listen to the same music through separate speakers or headphones at the same time. Pretty nifty, right?
To set up the dual audio feature, you’ll need to turn on Bluetooth in Settings. Once you’ve activated Bluetooth, simply tap on the three dot menu button and select “Dual Audio”. That’s all there is to it!
2. quick Google access (multiple Android devices)
Who would have thought that devices designed by Google would offer quick access to Google’s homepage? Sarcasm aside, this feature is actually pretty handy if you need to Google something on the go. Now that we rely so heavily on search engines, having immediate access to the largest one in the world can make life a lot easier.
To launch Google search on your Android device, simply press the menu key and hold it down for a couple of seconds.
Burning through your data allowance is all too easy these days. From Instagram to YouTube, those apps you love so much use data like it’s going out of style. If you’re sick of blowing out your mobile plan every month, Android’s built-in data usage tool can help you reign in your data addiction.
The data usage menu can usually be found near the top of your system settings list (on some Android devices it’s buried under a “More” heading). You may also be able to access it via the network signal strength icon in Quick Settings.
Once you’ve tracked down the Data Usage menu, you can adjust the sliders on the usage chart to set a custom data limit. Most Android devices have a default data usage setting that’s supposed to warn you when you reach (or get close to reaching) your data limit. But by the time you get that warning, it’s often too late. Customising the amount of data you can use before receiving this limit means you won’t have to worry about passing out from shock the next time your phone bill arrives.
To avoid going over your plan and getting landed with a large bill, check out our mobile plans – with inclusions to suit the occasional users to the dataholics, you’ll be spoilt for choice
4. guest mode
Have you ever experienced the anxiety of handing your phone to a friend only to have them start casually scrolling through your camera roll? (But seriously, why do people do this? Even if there’s nothing embarrassing lurking in your photo albums, it’s terrible phone etiquette).
Or maybe you’ve asked your mum to navigate using Google maps while you drive before realising she might spot that tell-tale Tinder icon on your home screen? The horror.
To help you avoid any possible disasters, Android offers a feature called Guest Mode. To activate Guest Mode, swipe down from the top of your phone and touch the user icon in the upper right hand corner. The “add guest” icon will appear, allowing you to choose which actions the person handling your Android will be allowed to take.