Advertising
Advertising

10 Universal Android Tips and Tricks That You Should Know

10 Universal Android Tips and Tricks That You Should Know

I’ll admit that my relationship with Android got off to a rocky start. My first smartphone was a Samsung Galaxy S Continuum, and it was so horrible that I bought an iPhone the instant my contract was up. Though my initial experience with Android was terrible, there’s no question that it’s improved by leaps and bounds over the years. I’ve experienced the awesome side of Google’s mobile OS firsthand in the form of the 2012 Nexus 7 tablet, which I received as a gift soon after its release. Since then, I’ve used it as an e-reader, gaming device, web browser, and more. In the process I’ve discovered a few useful Android related tips and tricks, some of which I’ve listed below!

1. Maintain it like a PC to improve performance.

1.1

    While Android can do much more than iOS, it requires more horsepower and user finagling to run smoothly. You can’t do much about upgrading your smartphone or tablet’s processor (barring a new purchase), but you can take the time to optimize what you have. Much like a PC, Android devices need to be tuned up now and again. There are several apps that can assist you in this, like All-In-One Toolbox. Even without that app though, you can do stuff like deleting old, unused apps, removing widgets you don’t use, and ending unnecessary processes on your own. To do that last one (the concept of which is much like ending processes through control + alt + delete on a PC), go to settings, apps, running, and manually end anything taking up too much RAM memory.

    2. Take advantage Android’s customization potential.

    2.1

      I can’t tell you how many times I’ve used someone’s Android phone, only to see that they’ve configured it so that their homescreen is full of app icons, much like an iPhone. That’s great and all, but if you want streamlined and simple, Apple’s products do it better. You might as well go crazy if you have an Android device! This means using your homescreen for cool widgets, search bars, etc. To find all the widgets you have, go to your apps page, then select widgets at the top. You might be surprised by how many interesting options are available to you…

      Advertising

      3. Ensure your device gets back to you if you lose it.

      3.1.1

        There’s no surefire way to guarantee you’ll ever see your phone or tablet again if you leave it out in public by accident. That being said, you can improve the chances of it being returned to you by editing your security settings. Go to settings, then security, then owner info. There you’ll see a little box where you can type in contact information that will show up on your lockscreen. This will make it easier for a good Samaritan to return a lost device to its rightful owner.

        4. Carry around multiple batteries.

        4.1

          OK, so this tip isn’t quite as universal as it used to be since many Android manufacturers like HTC are taking a page out of Apple’s book and disallowing you from swapping batteries. Still, this will work if you own a Samsung device, which most Android users have. It’s pretty simple: if you buy multiple batteries, charge them up, and store them in your backpack or briefcase, you can ensure that your phone will never run out of power. All you’ll have to do is take out your battery when it’s dead and swap in a new one. This way, you won’t have to rely on wall sockets, which is useful if you travel a lot.

          5. Make your phone harder to break into than Fort Knox.

          Advertising

          5.1

            Reader warning: don’t do this one unless you’re really afraid of your phone’s information being stolen. To permanently encrypt your Android device, go to settings, security, encryption, and tap “Encrypt phone.” You’ll then be required to create a pin, which you’ll enter every time you turn your phone on (in order to decrypt it). This is like the unlock code on an iPhone, except way more drastic. Usually it will take about an hour for your device to encrypt itself, and it can only be undone through a factory reset. Only do this if you have sensitive information, or want your phone to be as secure as humanly possible. Be aware that encrypting your information will slow down how fast you can access it.

            6. Test out different launchers.

            6.1

              If you have an Android phone, you can use these things called “launchers,” which are essentially apps that allow you to make drastic edits to your device’s homescreen. The most popular one is probably Nova Launcher, which will allow you to change just about everything you can think of. There are several other launchers out there too, and you can play around with them until you find one you like. Often, they can make your phone perform faster than they would with the clunky interfaces that companies like Samsung and HTC give them.

              7. Say “Ok, Google” to start a search from any screen.

              7.1.1

                It’s the 21st century and we’re all busy 24/7. Cut down on the time it takes to manually search for things by doing it with your voice. To activate vocal control over Google searches, go to your apps page and find the Google app. Tap it (it should take you to Google Now), and scroll down until you see the settings icon on the bottom right. Hit that and select “Voice.” Then, tap on “Ok Google Detection” and activate the “From any screen” setting. Now you’ll be able to start a Google search from any screen on your phone simply by speaking the phrase, “Ok, Google.”

                Advertising

                8. Access the hidden developer options.

                8.1

                  To really get a sense of how customizable Android is, activate the “secret” developer mode. Go to settings, about phone, and click on “build number” seven times. Your device should tell you something like “you’re now a developer!” It’s all very Easter Egg-esque. Once that’s done, return to system settings, and with luck you’ll now see something entitled “developer options.” One of the cool things you can do here is reduce the time it takes for animations to execute, thereby making your phone feel snappier. Do this by going to the “animation scale” options and turning them off (you can make them take longer too, but I don’t see why you would want that). There are plenty of other sweet customizations you can do on this page, but don’t go too crazy unless you know what you’re doing.

                  9. See useful information on your lock screen.

                  9.1

                    You probably know by now that you can put widgets on your homescreen, but did you know you can do the same for your lockscreen? This means that you won’t have to unlock your phone anymore if all you want is to see some basic information. To do this, go to settings, security, and tap “enable widgets.” Then, go to the lockscreen and swipe left. You should see a big “+” sign. Hit that and you’ll be taken to a screen where you can select widgets to place on your lockscreen. Put anything from your e-mail to Google Now there in order to see stuff like weather, new messages, etc.

                    10. You aren’t tied to the Google Play store.

                    Advertising

                    10.1

                      OK, well, you sort of are, but you can download other app stores like Amazon’s if you want to. Indeed, I highly suggest you do so because they are always offering insane deals to try and rip you away from Google’s warm embrace. One of these is their “App of the Day,” in which Amazon offers up a free app to entice you to spend more time in their store. If you’re lucky, you’ll be able to save lots of money using these promotions, as at times they’ll put up apps for free that cost several dollars on Google Play.

                      Do you know any Android tips and tricks? Of course you do! Comment below with some of the cooler ones you know!

                      Featured photo credit: _DSC6203.jpg/MorgueFile via mrg.bz

                      More by this author

                      5 Life Lessons I Learned From Dean Winchester 10 Best Online Shopping Sites I Wish I Knew Earlier 10 Reasons Why Dogs Are Man’s Best Friend 30 Incredible Things Your iPhone Can Do 10 Things Only Detail-Oriented People Do

                      Trending in Technology

                      1 11 Meeting Scheduler Apps to Boost Your Productivity 2 To Automate or not to Automate Your Personal Productivity System 3 7 Best Project Management Apps to Boost Productivity 4 10 Smartest Productivity Software to Improve Your Work Performance 5 16 Less Known Gmail Hacks That Will Super Boost Your Productivity

                      Read Next

                      Advertising
                      Advertising
                      Advertising

                      Last Updated on October 16, 2019

                      11 Meeting Scheduler Apps to Boost Your Productivity

                      11 Meeting Scheduler Apps to Boost Your Productivity

                      Automations are key to improving efficiency. Set the system up right from the beginning and you’ll reduce the amount of no-shows and cancellations.

                      Whatever your business is, with automations, meeting scheduler apps do more than just streamline appointment setting. They prime your workflow for maximum results.

                      Meeting scheduler apps are awesome if you use them right. Use them wrong and you can look like an arrogant elitist.

                      In this article, I will share with you 11 great meeting scheduler apps you can start using today to boost your productivity.

                      1. ScheduleOnce

                        ScheduleOnce is an industry leader and robust solution. Whether you work alone or have a large team, ScheduleOnce can support you.

                        ScheduleOnce allows you to create multiple users and multiple calendars. I use one calendar for booking podcast guests with automations set up to prep my guests for our interview. I use another calendar for strategy sessions and coaching calls.

                        ScheduleOnce also has embeddable widgets so you can keep the scheduler inside your own website.

                        Starting at $7 a month and a 14 day free trial, ScheduleOnce can fit a variety of needs in business.

                        Available on Web

                        2. Calendly

                          Calendly stands out for its clean, easy to use interface. If you like clean design, Calendly might be your choice. It too has robust automations and integrations for individuals and teams alike.

                          You can try Calendly free for 14 days. Their basic plan is free while their most robust plan is only $12 a month.

                          Advertising

                          Available on Web | Google Chrome Extension

                          3. Assistant.to

                            For those who use gmail, Assistant.to is a super simple solution.

                            From inside an email, you click on the Assistant.to icon and pick times your free. Assistant.to embeds the times directly into the email so the recipient can quickly pick a time that works for them.

                            While it doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of apps like Calendly or ScheduleOnce, Assistant.to is completely free.

                            Available on Web

                            4. Acuityscheduling

                              Acuity is a robust meeting scheduler very similar to ScheduleOnce. It integrates with CRMs, Email Marketing platforms, Analytics tools and accounting software.

                              It comes with a 14 day free trial. They have a free solo account but if you want the benefit of the integrations, you’ll start as low as $15 a month and can cost up to $50 a month.

                              Available on Web | iOS | Android

                              5. Pick

                                Built for simplicity, Pick is direct and easy to use. You can create your own url extension like pick.co/yournamehere and it integrates with Google calendar and Office 365.

                                At $3 a month, this is a great tool for quick scheduling.

                                Advertising

                                Available on Web

                                6. X.ai

                                  For those who are early adopters of AI, this may be the solution for you. X.ai created two AI assistants they call Amy and Andrew Ingram. After setting up your account you simply CC them on your emails with the person you’re wanting to schedule and the AI assistants will email your guests from there until your appointment is set.

                                  This type of scheduler feels more personal because of the dialogue. There are stories on their site of people thinking Amy and Andrew are real people. X.ai integrates with Google, Office 365 and Outlook.

                                  Starting at $29 a month for an Individual account and $39 a month per user for a Team account, Amy and Andrew are ready to schedule meetings for you. Want to try it out first? They do have a free trial.

                                  Available on Web

                                  7. YouCanBook.me

                                    is another competitive solution for scheduling meetings online. You can manage the calendars of your entire team, configure booking forms, and integrate with your calendar.

                                    They have a free account branded with their company name or you can have some control over your branding and appearance at $10 a month for all their features. Either way, this company is worth a look.

                                    Available on Web

                                    8. Doodle

                                      Doodle is unique in the space of meeting schedulers because it helps groups of people find a time to meet that works for everyone.

                                      It integrates with your calendar and allows you to send a poll to all invited. Once people vote on the poll you can see which time works best for everyone.

                                      Advertising

                                      You can also run polls for food preferences if you’re scheduling a lunch meeting or a section of town if people are coming from all over.

                                      While there is a free account, you’ll unlock it’s potential starting at $39 per year.

                                      Available on Web | iOS | Android

                                      9. WhenAvailable

                                        WhenAvailable is another scheduler that works for groups of people. You can use it to schedule a pickup game of basketball, decide on your next book club or book your family reunion.

                                        Their free account allows up to 20 guests, unlimited events and one contact group. For $15 a year you unlock all the goodies including reminders and chat messages.

                                        Available on Web

                                        10. Rally

                                          Like Doodle and WhenAvailable, Rallly is helpful for scheduling meetings and events with multiple people involved. You create a poll and everyone votes. It’s quick and easy.

                                          Unlike Doodle, it doesn’t have as many features, but it’s entirely free.

                                          Available on Web

                                          11. NeedtoMeet

                                            Finishing strong, NeedtoMeet is our last app that allows you to schedule meetings or events for multiple people. It has mobile apps, custom urls, easy polling, notifications and commenting.

                                            Advertising

                                            NeedtoMeet also allows 1:1 Meetings for things like performance reviews for your whole team. You send out the your calendar slots to your team and they can only pick 1 slot, minimizing the amount of emails and scheduling you have to coordinate.

                                            While they have a free account, you can unlock all features for only $19 a year.

                                            Available on Web

                                            Bonus: Don’t Make These Common Mistakes When Using Meeting Schedulers

                                            In the excitement of streamlining your scheduling process, it can be easy to forget the feelings of those you’re inviting to meet. I know. I’ve done this.

                                            To say “Hey, schedule time on my calendar” feels colder than “Hey, here’s my calendar. To avoid all the back and forth, pick a time that works best for you.”

                                            Always make sure to frame your invite with your scheduler app with the benefit to them and why we’re doing it this way rather than the old fashioned, personal way.

                                            A little finesse goes a long way. Without it, you risk seeming transactional and cold.

                                            Some meeting scheduler widgets you can embed in your site can take a couple seconds to load. If you go this route, make sure there’s text just above the widget that lets your guest know the calendar will appear below and to wait for it to load.

                                            If you use an online meeting tool like Zoom, it’s also important to explicitly let them know the meeting will take place on Zoom and include the Zoom link in the email reminder. Many make the mistake of not clarifying where the meeting will actually take place which can create last minute chaos at the time of the meeting.

                                            Should you require special settings, like ethernet, external mics or lighting, let your guests know that on your thank you page and reminder emails so they are prepared for the meeting and you end up with the best meeting possible.

                                            With clear communication in your automation, your meeting scheduler tools can almost perform like a virtual assistant for a fraction of the cost, or free, depending on the app you choose.

                                            The Bottom Line

                                            Meeting scheduler apps are diverse in features and unique in design. Before committing to one and realizing it’s not a fit, I recommend exploring which 3 might best fit you and then doing a trial with each of them at the same time so that you can see how they feel as you use them side by side.

                                            Scheduling meetings the old fashioned way can be tedious. Conversely, finding a scheduling app that works seamlessly in the background is heavenly.

                                            Like cell phones, meeting scheduler apps are moving from a nice-to-have luxury to must-have necessity in the lives of productive people. As you explore your options, stay true to your brand and the tools that have worked well for you to this point and simply find a meeting scheduler app that plays well with what you have created.

                                            Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

                                            Read Next