A big reason people buy Android phones is the flexibility the operating system offers. You’d be surprised how much you can improve your user experience by changing a few settings.
Let’s check out 11 lesser-known tips and features you should try on your Android device.
1. Make Fingerprint Unlock More Reliable
You can make fingerprint unlock more reliable on your phone by registering the same finger twice. That way, when the phone is scanning your finger, it’s more likely to recognize and match your fingerprint with at least one of the saved fingerprints—minimizing failed attempts.
This is especially helpful for people with calluses on their fingers, as well as those with phones that don’t have very reliable fingerprint scanners.
2. Improve Call Quality
Before you make a phone call, a quick way to improve network consistency on your device is to turn on your airplane mode, wait for a few seconds, and turn it off again. This allows your phone to reconnect to the nearest cell tower for the strongest and most stable connection, ensuring you won’t lose signal in the middle of your call.
3. Schedule Messages on Google Messages
Unknown to many, you can schedule your messages on Google Messages to send at a particular date and time just like how you schedule your emails on Gmail. This is easier than creating a draft and waiting to send your message when the appropriate time arrives.
To do this, go to your desired conversation in Google Messages, write your message, and then long-press the Send button. You’ll see a pop-up window where you can set a schedule. Once done, tap the Send button.
4. Say “Cheese” to Take a Photo
If you’re trying to take a group selfie but your phone needs to be kept out of reach, you might choose to set a timer. But that’s not ideal since it can sometimes take longer than expected for everyone to strike a pose or adjust their hair, for example.
To make this easier, Samsung phones allow you to take pictures by saying voice commands like “Cheese,” or “Smile.” Your phone will recognize your voice and snap a shot. To activate this, open the Camera app, go to Settings > Shooting methods and toggle on Voice commands.
5. Use the Floating Shutter Button
Another awesome camera feature on Samsung devices is the Floating Shutter button which adds an extra shutter button that you can freely move anywhere on your screen. This makes capturing shots a bit more comfortable since you don’t have to wiggle your hand and can instead place the shutter button wherever your thumb naturally rests on the screen.
To enable this, open the camera app, go to Settings > Shooting methods, and toggle on Floating Shutter button. Once done, go back to the camera and drag the shutter button to reveal a second one, and place it wherever you like on the screen.
Some Android phones, including Samsung and Pixel devices, also let you use the volume keys as a shutter button, which can also prove easier in a lot of cases.
6. Use App Shortcuts
You know about apps, and you know about widgets, but app shortcuts are often left unused. App shortcuts do exactly what their name suggests: allow a shortcut to specific features of an app, so you don’t have to go around finding them.
If you haven’t tried the feature yet, check out Google’s Home screen shortcuts to get a sense of how app shortcuts work. For example, you can set a shortcut to call someone, create a text note, view screenshots, scan QR codes, and more—all with a single tap.
To find app shortcuts, long-press on the icon for your desired app to open a small menu of shortcuts. Long-press a shortcut you like, drag it to an empty spot on your Home screen, and drop it.
7. Buy Anti-Dust Plugs to Seal the Ports
Back in the day, many dumb phones used to come with a built-in anti-dust plug that would help seal the charging port of your device so that dust, lint, and water couldn’t enter it.
Modern smart gadgets don’t have that so the charging port, headphone jack, and speakers remain exposed at all times. Your phone might have an IP68 rating, but dust and lint can still get accumulated in the ports over time which can affect charging and audio.
So, to avoid that and maintain your Android phone for longer, it might be a good idea to buy anti-dust plugs. They are pretty cheap and can be easily found on Amazon—check out PortPlugs, for example—and some phone cases come with plugs built-in so you can check them out too.
8. Hide Private Albums from the Gallery
One of the best features of the Samsung Gallery app is that it allows you to hide certain albums from the main page that may contain sensitive photos or videos. You can always un-hide them later when you wish to view them.
If you want extra protection, you can move an album (or individual photos and videos) to the Secure Folder app; viewing the content in it requires a password or biometric unlock. If you don’t have a Samsung phone, you can use the Locked Folder in Google Photos instead.
To hide your albums, open the Gallery app on your Galaxy device, tap the three-dots menu, and select Hide albums. Next, select the albums you want to hide from the list. To move your albums to Secure Folder, go back to the main page, long-press an album, tap More, and select Move to Secure Folder.
9. Add Words to Your Gboard Dictionary
If you’re bilingual or multilingual, you’re well aware of the frustration that comes when your keyboard wrongly autocorrects something you wrote because it doesn’t recognize words from your native language.
Luckily, you can improve your typing on Gboard by adding custom words to your personal dictionary. That way, the keyword will actually recognize the word and not autocorrect it to something else you didn’t mean to type.
To do this, open the Gboard app and go to Dictionary > Personal dictionary and select your preferred language. Next, tap the + icon and type the word you want to add.
10. Automate Your Phone With Routines
Perhaps the most underrated feature on Samsung One UI is Modes and Routines (formerly Bixby Routines); it’s an automation tool that lets you perform various actions on your device at once without needing your input. You can use Modes and Routines to set routines for the morning, your daily commute, workouts, bedtime, and a lot more.
If you don’t have a Samsung phone, you can also use the built-in Routines feature in Google Assistant. But frankly, Google Assistant Routines can’t compare to Modes and Routines.
11. Use the Hidden SOS Flashlight
Not that most people would need it, but if you ever find yourself stranded at a remote location with no signal and in need of help, you can draw the attention of potential rescuers by using the hidden SOS flashlight on Samsung phones. It’s one of those features that’s reassuring to have but you hope you never have to use.
Small Android Tips That Make a Big Difference
Most people tend to just use their phones as they came out of the box, on the default settings. But as any techie would tell you, it only takes a couple of minutes of tweaking your phone settings to greatly improve your experience on it.
This is true for all Android devices, but especially for Samsung users since One UI comes with more features than most other Android skins. It gives you more room to personalize your device and make it work best according to your lifestyle and usage patterns.