Android 4.4

Take a screenshot

To take a screen shot, hold down the Volume Down and Power Buttons together (i.e. exactly the same time).

This will save the current screen to your phone's memory card. They will be stored in the folder /Device Storage/Pictures/Screenshots. You can get to this folder by going to your My Files App.

Double tap to highlight a word

When entering text into Apps such as your Messaging App, Facebook App and so on, you can tap on the words to start selecting text. Normally, you would then drag the left and right sliders to select the word, or words you want to highlight.

If you double tap on a word however, it will quickly select that word. Very handy for quickly copying and one words, name or place.

Remove large applications

If you are running low on phone memory, you can look for your largest applications to uninstall.

Go to Settings - More - Application manager. Then swipe from right to left and select Running.

From here you can see which applications are taking up the most memory and close them.

Allow swear words in voice recognition

By default, your phone will recognise swear words, but insert x's instead of the word. To change this, go to Settings - My Device - Language and input - Voice Search - Then untick Block offensive words.

Setup a new email account

If you want to setup new email accounts, like Yahoo or Hotmail, go to your list of Apps.

Find the Email icon and press on it. A setup wizard will then be launched.

Enter you email address and password into the fields. You can also change the settings after this step.

Once you're happy with the settings, give your account a Name and you're done.

Zoom when using the camera

While in the Camera App, there are two ways to zoom in or out.

First, you can use Volume Up and Down keys.

Secondly, you can pinch your fingers on the screen to zoom in and out.

Take photos while recording video

With the recent versions of Android you can now take photos while recording video by simply pressing the screen.

This will save that particular frame to the gallery while continuing to record video.

Check phone status, battery usage, signal strength etc

To find out information about Signal Strength, Network Information, Remaining Battery Time and Battery Usage (by Application), go to your Homescreen - Menu Key - Settings - More - About Device - Status.

Display Owner Info on Lock Screen

Android now has a way to display your name, phone or email on your lock screen. Perfect if you have lost or misplaced your device.

To enable this go to Settings - My device - Lock screen - Lock screen widgets. Then at the bottom press Owner information. Here you can enter any information you want, such as your name or email address.

Quickly search for a contact

There are a couple of ways to bring up one of your contacts.

First, while in your Contacts App, simply start typing in the search bar at the top of the screen.

Or else a quicker method is to use the Google Search widget (installed by long pressing on a vacant part of your homescreen and installing the widget) and start typing the name of the contact you want to dial. This will quickly filter the correct contact.

Check your data usage

Smartphones that are always connected to the internet are great, but if you have a data plan that is capped each month, then you will want to keep an eye on how much data you are downloading. Fortunately there is a built in feature to monitor this.

Go to Settings - Connections - Data usage. From here you can set a limit and set the usage cycle (e.g. a from and to date).

If you press the Menu button on this screen you will also see a number of features such as restrict background data usage (although this will prevent some Apps from working).

Add photos to contacts

First open your Contacts App and select a contact. Then press the phone's Menu button and select Edit.

Then you should see a silhouette of a person. Press this, or a little + sign next to it and you will be given a number of options to create a photo or image for that contact.

Swipe to clear individual notifications

A handy feature of Android is to quickly clear your notifications.

Simply pull down your notifications bar by swiping your finger from the top of your phone downwards.

Then when you see each individual notification, swipe your finger left or right to clear each one. You can do this with your Apps too - press and hold the home button. Then swipe left or right to close Apps.

How to import Contacts from your old phone

If you already have an Android phone, then simply ensure each of your old Contacts are stored on Google (rather than the Phone memory). This means your contacts are stored on Google's servers under your Google/Gmail login. Then once you get the new phone, log in with your Gmail account and your Contacts will be automatically synced.

If you do not have an Android device, you need to find a way to Export your old contacts to a CSV (Comma Separated Values) file and save this to a PC. You may need to install the correct software for your phone first in order to do the export.

Then, if you don't have a Gmail account, sign up for one.

Once that's done, open Gmail. Go to Contacts, then press More - Import. Then import the CSV to your Gmail contacts.

Then on your phone, open the Contacts App. Press Menu and then Sync Contacts. This will pull the contacts from Gmail to your phone.

Stop Apps automatically appearing on homescreen

Depending on how your device is setup, sometimes when Apps are installed, a shortcut icon is automatically placed on your homescreens.

This can be annoying for users who want to keep their homescreens clutter-free.

To stop then, go to the Play Store and press the menu icon in the top right. Then choose Settings and untick Add icon to Home Screen

View HTML source code of web pages

If you are browsing a website and want to see the HTML source code behind the page, then Android doesn't offer you the ability to do this by default.

There is however a handy App called View Web Source which can be installed. Whenever you want to view the HTML of a web page, you just press the Menu - Share - View Web Source.

You can then browse the code or copy the content into the clipboard.

Remove homescreen widgets

To delete or remove homescreen widgets, simply press and hold. Then drag the widget to the top-right corner of the screen and into the Trash icon.

Swipe left to text contact

While viewing your list of Contacts you can swipe from Right to Left to send a text message to the selected contact.

This might not work on all models.

Have more control over your notification light

If you are not happy with your notification light, then you can change and tweak it. Go to the Play Store and download an App called Lightflow.

You might need to enable the notification light before the App works. Go to Settings - My device - LED Indicator and tick Notifications.

Silence the phone when ringing

To silence the phone when ringing there are two methods:

Either press the Volume Down (or Up) button or if the phone is on a surface facing up, simply flip it over so it is facing down.

Save battery in GPS mode

Having GPS on your device is great, but it does slowly chew through your battery life.

Fortunately there is a way to improve this in recent version of Android. Pull down your notifications screen from the top of the phone. Then press and hold on GPS. Then select Mode - Power Saving.

Use your device as a pedometer to track movements

There is a great app called Moves by a company called Protogeo that makes use of your devices accelerometer to record your movements, whether by walking, cycling or running.

Go to the Play Store and search for Moves.

Disable the screen lock

If you don't want to have to unlock your screen every time you take your device out of standby then go to Settings - My device - Lock screen - Screen lock and change the settings there.

Using Google Maps for offline viewing while abroad and data avoid roaming charges

If you are abroad and don't want to pay high data roaming charges, then you can save Google Maps for offline viewing later. Here are two ways to do this:

The first method will depend whether your phone supports it. First, open Google Maps and navigate to a section of the map that you want available offline. Then press on the search bar and scroll right to the bottom and select Make this map area available offline. You may need to repeat this with multiple areas.

Alternatively, open Google Maps and zoom down to street level. Then scroll around area you'll be travelling too. If you're visiting a city for example, do this at street level and cover as much area as you think you've be visiting. If you're travelling outside a city, then street level view might be too detailed, so zoom out and just cover the main roads, towns etc.

This will load all the segments into your phone's cache. Then when have arrived at your destination and you have data turned off, you will see the areas you've stored on the phone's memory.

Note: this won't give you your GPS location because that normally needs a data connection to pinpoint your position.

Enter Accents and special characters

If you want to type non-English letters (e.g. those with an accent), long-press on the relevant letter. A list of options will appear for you to select. For example, to insert an acute รก, then press and hold the a key, then drag your finger to the accented character.

Bookmark a web page on your homescreen

If you regularly visit a website you can add a shortcut to your homescreen which can be quite useful, rather than entering the web address each time you want to visit the site.

You can either do this to an existing Bookmark, or simply a page you're visiting:

1) Open your Browser App. Enter the website you want to bookmark. You may need to wait for the whole page to load first. Then press the phone's menu button (bottom left of the phone) and select Add shortcut to home.

2) Open your Browser App. Find an existing Bookmark by pressing the symbol in the top the right of the screen. Choose the Bookmark. Then press and hold and select Add shortcut to home.

Set voicemail number / password

To set your voicemail number which allows your phone to automatically input your voicemail password, then open your Dialler App.

Then press the Menu key and choose Call settings. Then scroll down to Voicemail settings and set a Voicemail number (you might need to check with your carrier for the correct number).

Depending on your carrier you may have to enter the series of steps required to go through the voicemail menu, for example: *86,,yourpassword# (a comma inserts a pause).

How to disable Lock Screen widgets

Sometimes those Lock Screen widgets are great, sometimes they are a pain.

To disable them completely, go to Settings - More - Security

Enable Face Unlock

To enable Face Unlock, go into Settings - My device - Lock screen - Screen lock.

Then select Face unlock. From here you will be required to look at the phone via the front facing camera. It is usually better to do this during the day when the lighting is better, although the phone will guide you through the process.

Android Easter egg

There is a hidden Easter egg on the phone. If you go to your Homescreen, then press Menu - Settings - About device, then tap on the Android version option 5 times you will be surprised.

Once you see something on the screen, you can then rub the screen with your finger to produce another surprise.

By the way don't expect to see an actual Easter Egg. That is just the name given to things hidden inside software or operating systems.

Create folders in your Quick Launch bar

If you have used up all of your Quick Launch spaces, then there is a trick.

Once it is full, press and drag an App from the homescreen and move it over the top of an App in the Quick Launch area. Then release your finger. This will create a folder containing the original App plus the new one. This is a great way to have access to regularly used Apps.

How to fix homescreen lag / slowness

Depending on how your phone is set up, sometimes you will see lag when swiping between homescreens. There are a number of things you can try to fix this, as follows:

First, try restarting your phone. This will fix many problems.

If that doesn't work, then remove any Widgets that pull data to the phone, such as Twitter, Weather widgets etc

If you have Live wallpapers turned on, then try turning them off by going to Settings - Display - Wallpaper, then changing to a different Wallpaper.

Go to Settings - More - Developer options - Window Animation Scale and Transition Animation Scale. Try changing these to 0.5x (or even 0).

Sometimes the problem can be with the phone or operators skin or launcher, so try going to the Play Store and downloading a third party launcher such as Nova launcher or Go LauncherEx. Note: you will need to re-create your homescreen shortcuts, but they are both great launchers.

Another tip is to always press the Back key instead of the Home key when leaving Apps. The Back key will often close the App properly, while the Home key will leave it running in the background.

Turn off camera shutter sound

If you don't want to hear the shutter sound when you take photos, then there are a few things you can try.

Firstly, some countries have laws to force the phone to play these sounds. Assuming you're not in one of these countries, then the first thing you can try is to go to the Camera App - Settings - Shutter Sound - Off.

If that doesn't work, then you can try turning the volume of the phone down or put it in silent mode when taking photos.

The last option is to Root your phone. If you don't know what that means, then it's best not to attempt it unless you have thoroughly read about the process. Once Rooted, go to this folder on your phone: /system/media/audio/ui and rename the camerashutter and/or cameraclick OGG files to something else.

Alternatively, on a rooted phone you can use a Root Browser, to edit /system/csc/feature.xml and set the option to TRUE. Then you should be able to go to Camera App - Settings - Shutter Sound - Off.

Remove numbers from the call log

To remove numbers from the call log that you don't want anyone seeing, then open your Call Log.

This will normally be found on your Apps list or you can also go to your Dialler and find Logs or Call Logs.

Then press and hold on the contact you want to remove. When the Menu appears, press Delete.

Use sound equaliser in your Music App

Android now comes with a sound Equaliser so you can adjust your bass and treble.

Simply open a music file using the Music Player App. Then go to Settings - SoundAlive and select Custom.

Then simply drag the sliders up and down to adjust the bass and treble.

Stop Photos or Music files being indexed

To stop the Photo App or the Music player from indexing your files, place a blank text file called .nomedia in the folder containing your photos or music.

The best way to do this is to connect your device to a PC and then navigate to the relevant folder via your PC.

Fix blurry images in phone browser / carrier compression

When browsing on your phone you may notice images are quite blurry. This is because your telecom provider is compressing the images before they are downloaded on to your phone.

There is no way to prevent this, but if you have a WiFi connection nearby, then you can turn that on. This will mean that all browser downloads come through the WiFi connection, rather than the carrier, and your images will appear normally.

Manually close an application

Android manages your applications so if the phone is running low on memory, it will close the oldest running App.

If you do need to manually close an application go to Settings - More - Application manager. Then swipe the screen from right to left until you are on the Running screen.

Then choose the application you want to stop and select Force Stop.

Add widget to the homescreen

To add a widget, simply long press on a blank part of one of your homescreens. Then select Widget. Scroll through the list of available widgets and choose one. It will be placed on your homescreen and you can move it around as you desire.

How to stop screen going bright or dim when in browser

The brightness of the browser is set separately to the phone's main brightness. If you find the screen dims or brightens when you go into your browser, then you can change this by opening the browser, pressing the Menu key and scrolling down until you see Brightness. You can adjust it from here.

To adjust the phone's main brightness, go to the Settings - My device - Display - Brightness.

An alternative is to use a third party browser like Dolphin, Firefox, Opera and so on. These all use the phone's main brightness setting.

Lastly, sometimes Power Saving Mode affects the screen brightness. Go to Settings - My device - Power Saving Mode and change the Background Colour Only mode in there. Power Saving Mode can also be found by in the Notifications bar by swiping down from the top of the screen.

Hide on-screen keyboard

To quickly hide the on-screen keyboard, press the Back button

Bookmark a contact on your homescreen

If you call someone regularly this can be useful as you will have a shortcut to them handily placed on your homescreen.

To bookmark a Contact on your Home Screen, then first go into your Contacts App.

Find the Contact you want to add to the Home Screen. Then press and hold on the name. Select Add shortcut to home from the options.

Then go to your Home Screens, find the Contact. You can press, hold and drag to another position.

Quickly open settings

If you want to go to settings, then normally you would go to your home screen, then press the Menu key and select Settings.

There is however a quicker way. Simply position your finger right at the of the screen and drag it down. Your notification bar will appear and you can then press the small Gear icon at the top of the screen to go to the Settings.

Make volume / music louder

WARNING: Making your volume or music louder can damage your hearing.

Most phones have their volumes limited by local laws to protect your hearing. There is a way to boost your volume however.

Go to the Play Store and download an App called Volume Booster or Volume+ FREE.

You may need to root your phone for this App to work, but read the instructions in the App's description.

Improve Face Unlock speed and accuracy

Face Unlock allows you to unlock your phone by holding it up to your face. It is highly recommended to use the Improve Face Unlock feature to make the recognition faster and more accurate.

First, ensure you have Face Unlock enabled by going to Settings - My device - Lock screen - Screen lock and chose Face Unlock.

Once that is done go to Settings - My device - Lock screen - Improve facial recognition. You might have to do this a few times to improve the speed of recognition. It is also a good idea to position the phone at different angles to your head to improve the accuracy.

Change Google Navigation voice

If you prefer a different voice when listening to the Google Maps voice navigation, you can select another language or accent.

From the Homescreen press Menu - Settings - My Device - Language and input - Text-to-speech options. Then under the Preferred TTS engine, press the gear icon.

From there, select Language and you will be able to choose from different languages or language variations.

Add Apps into Folders

If you like your Apps neatly sorted into folders, then there is a simple way to accomplish this.

First find the first App you would like in a folder. Then choose a second App. Press and hold on the second App and drag it over the top of the first App. They will both combine into a folder.

You can repeat this process to add more.

Quickly access notifications from lock screen

To see notifications on your Lock screen, the best option is to download an App called NoLed from the Play Store. This will show notifications such as text messages, emails and missed calls as bright icons on your homescreen.

You can choose between very small squares or small icons and these can assigned by coloured.

Delete all contacts

There are a number of ways, as below. The first two of these may be disabled on some networks/carriers or Android versions however.

1) Go to Settings - More - Application Manager. Then swipe from right to left until you are on the All screen (at the top). Then scroll down to Contacts Storage - Clear Data.

2) Go to Contacts. Then press Menu - Delete. Then press Select all (at the top) and then Delete again.

3) Go to Settings - Accounts and sync. Then untick Background data and Auto-sync. Then go to Gmail (or an account that your phone syncs with) and delete all of your Contacts from there. Then re-sync your phone.

4) Download an App called 'Delete All Contacts' and use that as a last resort.

The methods above will delete contacts from the phone only, not the SIM card.

Resize homescreen widgets

If you want to resize your homescreen widgets, then press and hold on a widget for 2 seconds. If the widget is resizable, then an outline will appear around the widget. Simply drag the sides to resize the widget.

If the outline doesn't appear or you can't drag the lines, then the widget is a fixed sized widget.

Check available RAM

If you want to check how much RAM you have available, go to Settings - More - Application Manager. Then swipe from right to left so you see the Running Apps. At the bottom it should say how much is used and how much is free.

Reject certain calls

If you find yourself being stalked or receiving unwanted calls nuisance calls from people or companies then you should use the Call rejection mode.

Simply go to Settings - My device - Call - Call rejection. From here you can manage your rejection list of numbers.

Auto focus the camera

When taking photos or videos, tap the screen where you want to focus on. The phone will automatically adjust the settings to improve the image or video

How to add more Homescreens

There are a couple of ways to add new home screens to your device.

The simples is to go to one of your existing Homescreens and simply pinch the screen. This will show all of your Homescreens in thumbnail view. Then just press the Plus symbol to add another. You can also press and hold, then drag a Homescreen to a different position. Or press the little Home icon to make one of them your default Homescreen.

Another option is to download a Launcher App. These are third-party user interfaces that allow you to customize your phone in many ways. Most of them allow multiple homescreens. A very popular launcher which supports multiple homescreens is GoLauncher EX. Simply go the Play Store and search for GoLauncher EX or another launcher.

Quickly switch between App screens

This tip is relatively obvious, but some users overlook it.

Once you go into your Apps screen you should see a row of 5 dots. This indicates which of the 5 App screens you are on. Rather than flick between each screen, you can simply press one of the dots and you will jump to that homescreen.

Or alternatively, slide your finger across the dots to move between screens.

Store number from email

To store a phone number that you have received in an email, hold down on the number and you will be given the option to call, send an SMS or add the number to your contacts

Hard reset / factory reset

Warning: This will remove ALL data on the phone (but not the MicroSD card).

To perform a hard reset, or factory reset, then there are a number of methods to try:

1) Go to Settings - Accounts - Backup and reset - Factory data reset - Reset phone. It may ask for a password. Then select Erase everything.

If the phone is totally unresponsive, even after a reboot, then try the following methods.

2) While the phone is turned off, press and hold the Volume Up and Volume Down buttons together. Then, while holding these, press and release the Power button (keep holding the volume buttons). The phone should turn on and a menu will appear. Press the Volume down button to navigate to the Recovery option. Press the Volume Up to select (if that doesn't work, use the Power button to select). A yellow triangle and an Android logo will appear. Press the Volume Down and Volume Up button together and a recovery menu should appear. Use the Volume buttons to move to the Wipe data/Factory reset option and then press Power to select. Again, use the Volume Down key to choose Yes and press the Power button again to select.

3) While the phone is turned off, press and hold the Volume Down button. Then, while holding, press and release the Power button. A menu should appear. Use the Volume down key to go to Clear Storage. Use the Power button to select the option. Then when asked to confirm, press Volume Up for Yes.

4) While the phone is off, press and hold down Volume Up + Home + Power buttons at the same time. Then release the buttons when you see the Logo. Use the Volume Down button to go down and the Home or Power key to select. Choose the Wipe data/Factory reset option. Then Select Yes to delete all user data. Then choose to reboot the phone.

5) A final method is to enter the code into your phone's dialler: *2767*3855# This method will not give you an option to reverse the process, so be careful! This method will only work if you can boot into your phone.

Remove Google Search bar

If you want to remove the Google Search bar, then go to Settings - More - Application manager.

Then swipe from right to left so you are on the All screen. Scroll to Google search and press Disable.

Change keyboards

To change keyboards (if you have additional keyboards installed), you can switch between them by pressing the small keyboard symbol in the top left of your screen. You will need to be in keyboard input mode (i.e. typing something) for this to work.

Note: you need to have more than one keyboard installed for this to work.

Use Talkback accessibility feature

Android has an interesting new feature called Talkback which is designed for blind and low vision users.

The feature is an interesting way to navigate your phone however.

Simply go to Settings - My devices - Accessibility - Talkback to activate it.

Then your phone will give you an ongoing narration of its various functions.

Keep screen on when USB plugged in

Sometimes you may need your screen to stay on when plugged in via USB.

To do this, go to your Home Screen and press the menu key (bottom right). Select Settings - More - Developer Options. Then check Stay Awake.

Browse websites in privacy / incognito mode

Android now has privacy or incognito mode built into the stock browser.

Simply open your Browser App, press the menu key and select Incognito mode.

Another option is to use the popular Dolphin browser whenever you want to browse privately. Then each time you exit, Dolphin asks you whether you want to delete your Cache or History. If you select yes, then your activity will be untraceable.

Help, I have forgotten my unlock pattern

If you have forgotten your custom unlock pattern, then don't panic.

After 5 unsuccessful tries a button should appear saying 'Forgot pattern'. Press this and you will be asked to enter your Gmail username/password.

The phone will then ask for a new unlock pattern. If you don't have a Gmail account, then you might have to either call your carrier or factory reset your phone.

Avoid task killers

It is best to avoid task killers such as Advanced Task Killer. Android is designed to automatically pre-load certain applications, even if you don't load them yourself. If it starts to run low on memory, it will smartly unload the oldest running apps automatically.

Manually killing tasks will only mean they get loaded in memory again. Task killers can make the phone slow, laggy, or drain battery life more quickly.

Create home screen shortcut to a file or folder

Normally you don't have the ability to create shortcuts to files or folders on your home screen.

There is a workaround however. Go to the Play Store and download an App called Linda File Manager.

Once installed, browse to a file or folder. Then press and hold on the file and select Create shortcut.

The shortcut will be created on your homescreen where you can hold and drag it elsewhere if you want.

How to find your IMEI address / number

There are a number of ways to get your IMEI number.

First, you can go to Settings - More - About device - Status. Scroll down and you should see IMEI listed on the screen.

Secondly, often the box that your device came in will have the IMEI printed on the label of the box or on the invoice.

Thirdly, if your device has a removable battery then open the cover and remove the battery. Your IMEI should be on a serial number plate and your IMEI number should be shown there.

Lastly, from the Dialler, enter *#06# and it should be displayed on the screen. This won't work on all phones and all networks however.

Useful widget to close all running Apps

Your phone comes with a handy widget which lets you kill all running tasks. This is great if you want to quickly free up some memory.

To use the widget, press and hold for 2 seconds on a blank part of any homescreen. Then find the Active Apps Manager widget and install it.

Once that is done, press the widget and it will show you all currently running Apps. Press End all to close all running Apps.

Double tap for a full stop (period)

While typing emails or notes, you can simply tap the space key twice and the phone will insert a full stop / period

Enable / disable notification light

To enable / disable your notification light, go to Settings - My device - LED indicator.

From here you can choose various options.

This may not be available on all models. An alternative however is to download NoLED from the Play Store, which has many options for incoming notifications.

Enable Power Saving mode

If you tend to run out of battery power quickly, then you can turn on Power saving mode.

Pull down the notification screen by swiping your finger from the top of the phone. Then select Power Saving. You may need to scroll along the available icons.

To change the settings, then pull down the notification screen again, press the Gear icon at the top. Then My device - Power saving mode to change the options.

Use dual shot mode

A great new feature is dual shot which lets you take a picture of someone else with the rear camera, while simultaneously taking a picture of yourself with the front facing camera. The problem is this feature isn't obvious to find as it isn't included in the list of camera Modes.

To find it open your Camera App and you will see three icons in the top right corner. Dual shot is the middle icon of these. Press that and you both cameras will activate allowing you to shoot away.

Copy photos to your PC

To copy photos to your computer, plug the device in via a USB cable. (you might have to install your device's software or drivers first).

Then locate the new drive on your PC. Go to the /DCIM/Camera/ folder Your photos will be stored there.

This may vary slightly between devices, however once you have opened the device's drive, you can do a quick search for .jpg files which will show you where your photos are located.

Show content in immersive mode

Recent Android versions use a special mode that hides all Android related visuals. The mode is called immersive mode and it essentially means certain Apps have the whole screen available.

Sometimes this can be annoying however and you want to see the time, signal strength or batter indicator.

To temporarily leave immersive mode, simply drag down your notifications screen and the phone will exit immersive mode so you can see other features.

Encrypt your phone

If you're worried about your sensitive data falling into the wrong hands then Android has a great new encryption feature that scrambles every pieces of content on your device.

Go to Settings - More - Security - Encrypt device or Encrypt external SD card.

Increase security with a custom unlock pattern

Instead of the simple swipe gesture to unlock your phone, you can set a custom one which can be extremely difficult for a thief to guess.

From your homescreen, go to Settings - My device - Lock screen - Screen lock and choose Pattern.

It is also a good idea to untick Use visible pattern. Then if someone is watching over your shoulder while you entering your pattern, it will be harder for them to remember the pattern.

If you have forgotten your unlock pattern, then after 5 unsuccessful tries a button will appear saying 'Forgot pattern'. Press this and you will be asked to enter your Gmail username/password. The phone will then ask for a new unlock pattern. If you don't have a Gmail account, then you will have to either call your carrier or factory reset your phone.

How to close Apps

Android manages Apps very well and some Apps do not have the option to close them specifically. Normally the App will stay running in the background and only close when many other Apps have been opened.

If you do want to close or terminate an App, then press and hold the Home key on your phone. Then you can swipe the Apps off the screen to close them.

Copying iTunes songs to Android

If you have decided to ditch your iPhone in favour of Android, then there is a simple way to take your iTunes music, playlists and album art with you.

Simply go the Android Marketplace and download a Free App called Easy Phone Tunes. You will also need the computer version of the software, so go to and download it from there.

Then, when that is done, turn your phone into a USB storage device (this will vary from device to device, but instructions are on the website).

Once your device is connected to your computer, open the computer version of the software and select your device from the Easy Phone Tunes list. Then follow the instructions to Sync your media.

Change quick response texts

The phone has the ability to send quick response text messages if your phone is ringing but you can't answer it.

To change these, go to your Dialler App and press the menu button. Then select Call Settings - Set up call reject messages. You can then add or edit your reject messages.

How to turn off predictive text

If you would prefer to correct your own mistakes, then go to Settings - My device - Language and input.

Then select the keyboard you are using and press the Settings icon again.

You should be able to find a predictive text option on this screen.

Use blocking mode when asleep

If you find yourself woken up by notifications, text messages or incoming calls, then there is a handy feature called Blocking mode.

To enable this go to Settings - My device - Blocking mode.

From here you can set a From and To time in which to block these notifications.

You can also allow notifications through from certain contacts that you don't mind bothering you.

Separate your notifications from your ringtone

If you want to receive calls during the night, but don't want to be woken up by notifications like text messages, then you can turn notifications to silent.

Go to Settings - Sounds. Then change notifications to silent.

Another great option is to download an App called Profile Valet. This will help you switch profiles automatically based on the time of day or location. Perfect for when you have a regular work routine and don't want to have to worry about switching profiles several times a day.

Show browser history

To show the Browser History, open your Android stock browser (the default browser). Then press the Menu key and select History.

To clear history, press the Menu key again and select Clear History.

Stop YouTube videos from being blurry

If you are browsing YouTube videos on your phone and they appear blurry, then this is usually because of your connection speed.

If you are using 3G / 4G and you're in an area of low signal strength, then YouTube will sometimes automatically reduce the quality of the video. Unfortunately this can make the video very pixelated and of poor quality.

If you are using the standard Android browser, then when the video is in full screen, press the back button. Then press HQ and start playing it again.

If you are using another browser, then press the Settings icon on the bottom right of the YouTube video. Then change the quality.

This may improve the quality, but it may also lead to buffering issues.

Another solution is to use a WiFi connection, if one is available.

Reformat a column while browsing

If you are browsing and have zoomed in or out and the column you're reading doesn't fit the screen properly, you can pinch to zoom in. Then double tap on the column. The column will then be reformatted to fit the screen width.

Open web pages in a new tab

To open a web page in a new tab, find a link on a web page. Then press on it and then choose to open the site in a new tab.

List of Google Now commands

The following is a list of commands that can be used for the Google Now service. This can be accessed by using the Google Search widget on your homescreen. Simply press the little microphone icon and say the commands below:

Search for
Who invented
Show me the stocks for
Author of
How old is
How tall is

Time & Date
What time is it in
When is the in
When is the sunset in
What is the time zone of
Time at home

Show me the weather
Is it going to rain tomorrow?
Do I need an umbrella?
Do I need a jacket
What is the weather in
How is the weather on going to be?

Maps / Location
Map of
Show me the nearby on map
Where is situated?
Navigate to in car
I am hungry (shows all nearby food points on map)
How far is from

Calculations / Conversions
How much is times
What is percent of
Square root of
... equals
What is the numerical value of Pi
Convert into
Temperature of the sun

points table
Who won the last match between and
Schedule of games

Go to
Show me
Browse to

Listen to
When was the first episode of
Who acted in
Who is the producer of
When was released
Runtime of

Notes / Reminders
Remind me to at
Wake me up in
Self note to
Set alarm for

Contacts / Communication
Send to via text
(shows the contact card)
Call in
Send a text to
Email to , B C C , Subject , message

Flight Status of
Has landed/departed
When will land

Do a barrel roll

Change the backlight screen timeout

To change the backlight screen timeout, go to your Home Screen and press the menu key (bottom right). Choose Settings - My Device - Display - Screen timeout. Then choose the screen time out duration.

You can also tell the phone screen to always stay lit when it is plugged in via USB. Go to Settings - More - Developer Options. Then check Stay Awake.

Note: Developer Options is not always enabled by default. To enable, go to Settings - More - About Device. Then tap on Build number 7 times.

Share / upload videos to media services like Facebook or YouTube

To share or upload a video to services like Facebook or YouTube, simply go to your Video App and long press on a video.

Then select Share via. From here you will be given options to share the video with various services.

Customise your favourites tray

At the bottom of each homescreen is your favourites tray, which consists of 5 icons. You can customise it by adding icons to the tray. If it's full however, you will first need to remove some.

To remove an icon, simply press and hold an icon. Then drag it to your desktop.

Then to add a new one, simply drag an icon from your homescreen to the favourites tray.

Turn off WiFi while the phone is sleeping

If you want to conserve battery life, you can turn off the WiFi while the phone is asleep.

Go to Settings - WiFi. Then press the Menu key and Advanced.

Then untick Keep WiFi on during sleep.

Change your default font

To change your default font, go to Settings - My Device - Display - Font style. You can also change the font size here also.

Another option is to install the popular Go Launcher EX App. Then once this is installed, download their GoLauncher Fonts App.

Use PIN instead of Face Unlock

If you use the Face Unlock feature but you're in a dark room or wearing a hat and scarf, you can bypass the unlock just once.

Simply press the Lock icon on your screen and you can then enter your PIN instead.

Use Offline Speech to Text Dictation

The Speech to Text feature is a great tool for dictating speech on to your phone, but has normally only been possible when your phone is connected to the internet.

Now this is possible in Offline mode too. Simply go to Settings - My device - Language & input - Voice Search. Then choose Download offline speech recognition.

You can now use this feature without needing an internet connection.

Add email or phone number from text

To add an email or phone number to your contacts from a text message, you can long-press on the email / phone number. Then select Add to contacts

Pinch and zoom in emails

While in your email App, a handy trick is to pinch and zoom out to see a 'day view' of your emails. This is handy if you have a lot of emails and want to quickly sort them by recency.

Blink for face unlock

Jelly Bean has improved the facial unlock feature by creating a setting whereby you must blink when unlocking your phone. This prevents fraudsters using a photo of yourself and holding it up to the phone.

To activate this feature go to Settings - Lock screen - Screen lock - Face unlock. Then setup your facial unlocking.

Then once that is done, go to Face unlock again and tick Presence check.

Enable sideload of Apps

If you want to install Apps outside of the Play Store (called sideloading), then go to Settings - More - Security and select Unknown sources.

This setting will allow you to download Apps onto your device that would normally be blocked in the Play store.

Note: use at your own risk.

Find / Enable Developer Options

If you want to access certain features of your device that are only available to developers, then you want the Developer options setting.

Go to your Settings - More - Developer options and you will see the available features.

On some devices, the developer options have been hidden. To enable these, go to Settings - More - About device.

Then go to the bottom and you should see Build Number. This needs to be pressed a total of seven times. You should get a message at the fourth press. On the seventh, you'll get another message saying that Developer Options are unlocked.

Clear browser cache, history and cookies

If you have been browsing websites that you would prefer other people to not know about, then it's relatively simply to clear your browsing history.

Open the browser and press the Menu button. Then Settings - Privacy - Delete personal data.

From here you can select whether to clear the cache, cookies, passwords and more.

Pair with Bluetooth speakers or headset

Sometimes you will want to pair your device with another Bluetooth device.

First you will need to turn Bluetooth on. To do this, drag your finger from the top of the screen down, to show your notifications menu. Then press Bluetooth so the icon is green.

Then press the Scan button and your device will start to scan for pairable devices.

Choose the desired device and press Accept. You may be asked to enter a PIN or Password.

Turn off App update notifications

If you would prefer not to be told every time an Application has been updated, open the Play Store and press the Menu icon in the top right.

Then select Settings and untick the Notifications option.

How to change to a better keyboard

While the stock standard keyboard is fine, there are much better keyboards available. First, you need to go to the Play Store and download one. Try searching for the word 'keyboard' and you will see a number of options.

One of the best keyboards is a keyboard called Swiftkey, which is a top-rate App. This will literally change the way you feel about your phone as the standard keyboard can be quite a frustrating experience.

Download your chosen keyboard and go through any install steps that you are presented with.

If you see a warning saying the keyboard will collect all information (including credit cards) just ignore this. This is just a security feature that Android shows for every third-party keyboard that you install.

Then, go to the App you want to type in. You should now see a little Keyboard icon on the row at the bottom of your screen, towards the bottom-right corner. Press that icon and you can switch between all of the keyboards you have installed.

Remove a whole text message conversation

If you want to remove an entire text message thread, go into Messages and look for the thread. Then long press on it and select Delete thread

Setting up and Access Point Name (APN) for browsing with 3G

Normally you can simply insert a SIM card and you will be able to browse the internet using 3G. Sometimes, this must be setup manually however. Before you start, you will need to ask your carrier or Telco for your APN settings.

Once you have those, go to Settings - Connections - More networks - Mobile networks - Access Point Names.

From here press the Plus sign at the top right and select New APN. Then fill in the details your carrier gave you. Then press the menu button and press Save.

Turn on / off text message preview on homescreen

If you would to see a preview of text messages appear on your homescreen or lock screen as they come in, then open your Messaging App.

Then press the menu button and select Settings. Then scroll right to the button and under Notification settings, untick Preview message

Set / change wallpaper

To change the homescreen or lock screen wallpaper, press on a blank part of the homescreen. Next, choose Set wallpapers. Then choose either Lock Screen or Home Screen. Then choose Live (animated / moving wallpapers) or standard wallpapers (images) and choose whether you want the wallpaper on the homescreen or the lock screen. Then crop the wallpaper and press Ok in the top-right corner.

You can also use images Gallery images taken with the phone's camera for your wallpaper.

Speed up your browser

You can speed up the page load speed on your browser by disabling JavaScript.

To do this, open your Browser, then Menu - Settings - Content Settings. Scroll down and untick Enable JavaScript

Please note that this may affect the functionality of some sites.

Lock screen while watching videos

To lock your screen while you are watching videos, simply press the power button.

This will disable the touchscreen buttons while the video is playing, but it won't turn the screen off like the lock key normally does.

Note, this will only work on video files that you are playing that are stored on your phone. It won't work for videos played within websites, such as YouTube videos.

Fix this player does not support this type of audio file error

There are a number of solutions to this error. Go through the following steps:

Go to Settings - More - Application manager. Then swipe right to left to go to All (along the top). Then find the App called Media Storage. Click on that and select Force Close. Then select Clear Data. (warning: this will delete the cache for your media player so you may lose things such as recently played, most played etc. But you will not lose your music).

Next, go back to list of Apps and find Music Player. Again, press Force Close and then Clear Data.

Once that's done, go to the Play Store and download an App called Re Scan Media and run it. Wait 5 minutes for the device to re-scan your media.

If you still cannot play your music, then try turning your phone off and removing your SDCard / memory card (if you have one). Then turn the phone on without the card. Then turn it off again and reinsert the card. Finally turn it on again with the card back in.

If you still can't play music, then some users have said that there may be a conflict with the Twitter App. Try uninstalling this and see if the error persists.

Quickly switch between Month and Year view in the Calendar App

When using your Calendar App, you will normally be in Month view. To quickly switch to Year view, you can pinch the screen to zoom out.

This is useful if you want to quickly jump backwards or forwards through a few months at a time.

To go from Year to Month, you can do a reverse pinch.

Change your Contact list order

In Contacts press Menu - Settings - Sort list by. Then choose Given name or Family name.

Display Battery Percentage

It can be very useful to see your battery life in percentage terms instead of just the icon.

To enable this, go to Settings - My device - Display and tick Display battery percentage.

Lock screen with power key

An almost essential setting is the ability to lock your screen by pressing the power key once. It will save plenty of time in the long run.

If this isn't enabled, then go to Settings - My Device - Lock Screen. Then select Lock instantly with power key.

Move widgets between homescreens

If you want to move a widget from one homescreen to another, simply press and hold on the widget. Then drag it to the edge of the screen. The next homescreen will appear. Then, just drag the item to where you would like.

Save a word to the dictionary

Type a word that is not in the dictionary. The word will show up in the suggestion box to the left. Long press on the word and it will save to the dictionary.

Soft reset

To soft reset your phone press and hold the Power/Lock button for around 8 to 10 seconds. The phone will restart automatically.

If that doesn't work, then remove the battery (if it has one). Wait 30 seconds and put the battery back in. Then press the Power/Lock button to turn the phone on.

Access the scientific calculator

To access the scientific calculator, rotate the phone to landscape mode.

The calculator will change to a scientific one.

Change keyboard vibration intensity

If you find the vibration of your phone a little too much, this can easily be reduced.

From the homescreen press Menu - Settings - My Device - Language and input. Then under Keyboards and input methods, press the little Gear icon.

You can also turn off Haptic feedback if you really don't want any feedback.

Quickly close Apps

To quickly close Apps, press the Home key

This will display your currently running Apps. From here you can simply swipe the Apps off the screen by dragging your finger left or right. This is a very quick way to free up some memory.

Check the firmware version

To see which firmware version of Android you are using, use the pull-down menu by dragging your finger from the top of the phone. Select Settings - More - About Device.

This should list your Android version, Build number and Model Number.

Turn on / off vibrate for text messages

To enable or disable the vibrate function when you receive text messages go to the standard Messaging App.

Press the devices menu button and then select Settings. Then scroll down to Notification settings and select Vibrate.

Swipe right to dial contact

From the Contact list or the Messaging list, swipe from Left to Right to call a Contact.

This might not work on all models.

Use Swype for quick text entry

Most Android devices come with an alternative way of entering text called Swype. Many prefer this method and believe it is quicker.
When any text entry box appears, press and hold the box. Then select Input method: SWYPE. Once enabled, you simply drag your finger around the keyboard moving over the letters in the correct order to spell a word.

Save images in browser, email or text

To save an image in an email or in the browser, long press on the image and a menu will appear allowing you to save it.

For images inside text messages, you might have to press and hold on the message itself, rather than the image.

Change the screen brightness

To adjust your screen brightness, there are two options:

1) Simply drag your finger from the top of the phone down to pull down your quick settings screen. Then at the top there will be a brightness bar. Drag this left or right or press Auto.

2) From the Homescreen press Menu - Settings - My Device - Display - Brightness. Then choose the desired brightness setting. You can also select Automatic brightness to let the phone decide for you.

Enable / disable vibrate / haptic feedback when you type

From the Homescreen press Menu - Settings - My Device - Language and input. Then under Keyboards and input methods, press the little Gear icon.

From here you have various options including Haptic feedback, Vibration intensity and so on.

You can also adjust notifications for various functions.

Make your phone run faster

Here are the top 5 tips to make your phone run faster:

1) Use only essential widgets on your homescreen - each widget consumes memory and processing power which can slow your down your phone.

2) Uninstall apps that you don't use - after awhile your phone can get cluttered as some Apps are designed to always run in the background. If you rarely use an App, then uninstall it to free up memory and CPU resource.

3) Install Apps to your phone memory - if you have an SDCard, always install Apps to the phone memory, which can be accessed faster. If you have Apps on the SDCard, then move them back to the phone memory with an App called Move2SD available from the Play Market.

4) Use Static rather than Live wallpapers - Live wallpapers consume processing power and memory. Unless you really must have them, uninstall them.

5) Kill tasks occasionally - Some Apps will run in the background indefinitely unless you kill them. Most of them won't cause a problem, but it pays to check your running tasks from time to time. Hold down your Home key and check the Task Manager.

One last thing: Don't use Task Killers. Android manages tasks very well and Task Killers just make your phone unstable and can slow it down further.

Hide folders or files

Sometimes you will want to prevent your device fro, displaying or indexing folders on your Phone storage or USB storage.

To do this, simply rename the folder and place a . (full top / period) before the file or folder name.

This can be done through the Files App or by plugging your device in to your computer and renaming it there.

End a phone call by pressing the Power button

Rather than having to locate the hang up icon on the screen after each call, you can quickly end a call by pressing the Power button.

To enable this feature, go to Settings - My device - Accessibility - Answering/ending calls. Then tick The power button ends calls.

Speed up your phone

To speed up your phone, you can turn off screen animations. Go to Settings - Developer options.

Then scroll down to Window animation scale and select that. From here you can choose to turn Animations Off. This will make screen transitions faster.

Note: Developer Options is not enabled by default. To enable, go to Settings - About Device. Then tap on Build number 7 times.

How to find your MAC address

If you want to find your phone's WiFi MAC address (for improved WiFi security), then go to Settings - More - About device - Status.

Then scroll down until you see WiFi MAC Address. The address should be a series of Hex numbers and letters.

Enable auto App updates

Android has a feature allowing you to update Applications automatically. This is turned off by default, but you can turn it on.

Open the Play Store App and press the Menu icon in the top left of the App. Then select Settings and Auto-update apps.

From here you can chose to do this over WiFi only or using your Data connection.

Copy files between your phone and PC over WiFi

To copy files between your phone and PC, go to the Android Play Market and download an app called Air Droid.

This is an extremely useful App that connects your phone to your PC wirelessly, allowing you to move files and many, many other things.

How to restrict Apps in the Play store

The Play store contains thousands of great Apps, but there are time that you want to restrict access to these Apps for whatever reasons. This can easily be done.

First, open the Play Store App and press the Menu icon in the top left of the App. Then select Settings and Content Filtering.

From here you can chose settings for Low/Medium/High maturity levels. Great for preventing access for young people.

Install new keyboard to improve accuracy

There is no need to be stuck with the standard Android keyboard, which isn't great for typing quickly.

Go to the Play Store and search for 'Keyboard' to see some great alternatives, many of which are more accurate and make typing much easier.

One of the very best is Swiftkey. They provide a free trial, but once the trial is over it is well worth the small amount of money they charge. It can increase your typing rates massively.

Another good one is GoKeyboard.

If you see a warning saying the keyboard will collect all information (including credit cards) just ignore this. This is just a security feature that Android shows for every third-party keyboard that you install.

Use phone as a WiFi hotspot / USB / Bluetooth tethering

To use your phone as a WiFi hotspot, tether it via USB or via Bluetooth, then go to Settings - Connections - More networks - Tethering And Portable Hotspot.

You can then choose from three options:

1) USB - connect your phone via a USB cable. The phone should automatically configure the correct settings.

2) WiFi Hotspot - To turn your phone into a WiFi hotspot, press Configure WiFi hotspot. You will then be asked to enter a Network SSID (this is your own name for the WiFi hotspot). Then choose Security and lastly, choose a password (this is password for your WiFi hotspot which you will enter on your computer).

3) Bluetooth - With this option, you will need to pair a Bluetooth device with your phone. On the other device, ensure you search for Bluetooth devices and your phone should show up.

How to remove Picasa albums from phone Gallery

Android cleverly uses Picasa to sync photos between your account and your phone. Sometimes however, this means that you will get duplicates appearing in your Gallery when they're not actually on your phone.

To stop this from happening, and so you only see photos on the Phone or SD card, then follow these steps:

Drag down your notification menu from the top and click on the Gear icon to bring up your Settings. Then select Accounts and Google. Then select your Gmail account.

You should see a list of options that are ticked. Scroll down to the one that refers to Picasa and untick that.

Now that's done we want to remove the thumbnails from your Gallery, so we need to refresh the Gallery. To do that, swipe down and go to Settings again. Then select More - Application Manager. Swipe across to show ALL Apps. Then find the Gallery App and press Clear Data.

This will erase the thumbnails in your Gallery, so don't panic that your photos have disappeared. Just wait for the Gallery to re-build its index which could take awhile.

But the good news is that your Picasa Albums shouldn't be there anymore.

How to unmount SD card

If you would like to unmount your SD card for whatever reason, then drag down your notificatons menu from the top of the screen and press the Settings icon.

Then go to the More tab - Storage - SD card - Unmount SD card