13 Android Tips & Tricks You Probably Didn’t Know About

Dan Price 08-02-2016

Android is a great little operating system. It’s absolutely packed with great features Get Android 6.0 Marshmallow Features Without Updating Android 6.0 Marshmallow is on its way, but while you wait, you can actually get a lot of its best features right now on any device. Read More awesome hacks 4 Tips & Tricks Every Android User Needs to Know Using Android can be intimidating, but don't be afraid! If you're an Android beginner, up your knowledge with these tips. Read More , and time-saving tricks.


But how much do you really know about your phone or tablet?

Sure, you can make phone calls and send texts, but we bet there is something in this article that you weren’t aware of.

Read on to find out!

1) Enable Developer Mode

Ok, this is one of the more widely known tricks, but it’s important nonetheless, so we are going to include it.



Navigate to Settings > About phone and tap on your phone’s build number seven times. You’ll get an onscreen countdown, eventually followed by a message saying “Congratulations, you are now a developer”.

2) Change the Animation Scales

For the most part, the latest Android phones already feel very snappy. However, after the latest Nexus 5X only shipped with 2GB of RAM, some users were left feeling a bit underwhelmed by Google’s hugely popular product line.

There are also lots of popular entry-level phones 5 Ways Cheap Android Smartphones Beat the Flagships Who says you need the latest and greatest (and most expensive) smartphone out there? The cheaper alternatives are actually really good. Let us show you. Read More  that come with slower processors and only 1GB or 2GB of RAM.



One solution is to change your phone’s “Window animation scale”, “Transition animation scale” and “Animator duration scale” from 1x to 0.5x. Granted, it won’t actually make your phone faster, but it will make it feel faster.

Go to Settings > Developer options and scroll about two thirds of the way down the list to find the necessary options (you’ll need to have first enabled Developer Mode).

3) Clear App Defaults

It’s annoying when a link opens in a certain app rather than in the browser. It could be a YouTube link, a tweet, or a Facebook page — you’ll end up waiting around while your phone shuts down Chrome (or your browser of choice) and fires up something else.

It’s easily fixed.


Go to Settings > Apps and find the app that keeps opening. Once there, scroll down to Open by default, press it, and then select Clear Defaults.

If that doesn’t work, try doing the same with your browser app as well.

4) Quickly Change Your WiFi Network

Oddly, how to quickly switch between WiFi networks Improve Your Android Wi-Fi Experience With These Handy Android Apps Public wireless networks are becoming more and more prevalent within towns and cities, providing an excellent alternative to running up a large data usage bill on 3G or 4G. Often public Wi-Fi is "free", perhaps... Read More is not very obvious. Sure, you can go to Settings > Wi-Fi and change it there, but there has to be a faster way, right?

Well, there is!



Swipe down twice from the top of your screen to open the Quick Settings menu, and instead of pressing on the WiFi icon (which disables it), instead press on the network’s name. You’ll immediately be given a list of all the networks in your vicinity.

That is, if your version of Android Android Skins Explained: How Do Hardware Makers Change Stock Android? Hardware makers like to take Android and morph it into something that is entirely their own, but is this a good or a bad thing? Take a look and compare these different Android skins. Read More supports this.

5) Quickly Access the Quick Settings Menu

Speaking of the Quick Settings menu, did you know you don’t actually need to double swipe in order to  access it?

Instead, a simultaneous two-finger swipe will have the same effect.

6) Cast Your Screen

Are you a Chromecast owner 4 Chromecast Mistakes That Could Be Embarrassing or Worse The great thing about Chromecast is that it's simple, fast and easy to use. However, as you'll see, this is also its achilles heel when it comes to privacy... Read More ?

If so, you can easily mirror your Android’s screen (and individual apps) by using the cast function.

Just open the Quick Settings menu and hit Cast. Your device will find your Chromecast (assuming it’s on the same local network), and you’re good to go.

It’s great for playing games on a larger screen, showing off photos to family and friends, or playing your music through a louder set of speakers. Though many apps, like YouTube, have a dedicated cast button within the app.

7) Locate Annoying Notifications

Do you keep getting an annoying app notification, but you’re not sure which app is causing it?

There is an easy solution — just long-press on the notification in question, and your device will tell you.

8) Manage App Notifications

Moving on one step further from the previous tip, after you’ve long-pressed the app you’ll see an information icon. Press it, and you’ll be presented with the notification settings for the app in question.


You can do things like block all its notifications, allow it to override priority mode, and make it hide private information.

9) Priority Mode

Priority mode How to Set Up Android's Priority Mode (and Get Back Silent Mode) Volume controls changed a lot in Lollipop, so we're here to help you make sense of all of it. Read More is probably one of the most underrated and underused features on the entire operating system.

In short, it allows you to put your phone into quiet mode, but still allow some “noises” to get through. This could be calls, texts, or WhatsApps from specific contacts, notifications from certain apps, or important alerts such as alarms.

To set it up, go to Settings > Sound & Notification > Do not disturb, then select the options that you require.

It can be quickly toggled on and off from the Quick Settings menu.

10) Map Zoom

Ever need to use Google Maps one-handed? (No, not while you’re driving!)

Just double tap the screen and swipe up and down to zoom in and out — it’s a lot less fiddly than trying to pinch your fingers and hold your phone at the same time!

11) Smart Lock

Smart lock is super useful Smart Lock on Android Makes Locking Your Phone Way Easier It's annoying to always have to unlock your phone, but it's unsafe to never lock it. Thankfully, there's a nice middle ground: Smart Lock. Read More . It removes the need to use a keypad lock when you’re at home or in another “trusted” environment.


It can use GPS, certain networks, your face, or even your voice to prevent your phone from locking itself, making for a much faster and hassle-free experience.

Head to Settings > Security > Smart lock to set it up.

12) Screen Pinning

If you have kids using your phone regularly, this is a great way to make sure they don’t accident run up huge bills or set their eyes on content that is age-inappropriate.

Firstly, you’ll need to enable the feature (oddly, it is turned off by default). Do that by going to Settings > Security and scrolling down to Screen pinning.

To pin a screen, open the app, press the Overview button (the square) and then the pin icon.

You can choose to PIN-protect the pinned screen, if you so wish.

13) Secret Game

Another well-known Android Easter egg 10 Fun & Surprising Operating System Easter Eggs Find hidden hilarity and otherwise odd stuff, built right into the operating system you're using. They're hiding in plain site, in software you use every day, and when you find them you'll be delighted –... Read More among old-timers, the secret game might not be so obvious to newcomers.

Lollipop and Marshmallow’s game is based on Flappy Bird The Short Story Of Flappy Bird [Weird & Wonderful Web] Few mobile games enter into the collective consciousness of the mainstream in the way Flappy Bird has done. It passes into Internet folklore, but these videos will help to preserve its virality. Read More ; it has the same gameplay principle but has had an Android-themed makeover graphics-wise.


Head to Settings > About phone and tap the device’s version number several times. Eventually you’ll be presented with an on-screen lollipop or marshmallow depending on your operating system. Continue to rapidly tap the center of it and the game will launch.

Your Tips?

What tips and tricks can you pass on to your fellow Android users?

Let us know your best ones in the comments section below!

Related topics: Android Customization, Android Marshmallow.

Affiliate Disclosure: By buying the products we recommend, you help keep the site alive. Read more.

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  1. thecorinthian
    November 23, 2017 at 2:58 pm

    Nice article.
    On my Nokia 6 there was no Developer mode and no game. HOWEVER, went to settings, About Phone, multi-tap Build number and it unlocks Developer mode!
    Hope this helps some people!

  2. Chetan V
    July 14, 2017 at 5:47 pm

    1.You can take a screen shot by just holding volume down + power button and release when the screen is captured.

  3. Samson
    January 17, 2017 at 12:41 pm

    I love this.... Nice post and guess i ca write something like this on my blog.

  4. Leopardmask
    October 5, 2016 at 7:31 pm

    Oh my god the Lollipop game is worse than Flappy Bird. You get so much vertical height compared to horizontal movement that it's almost impossible to get through any of the gaps because your jump distance and height are both larger than the gap.

    • Ha
      September 2, 2017 at 3:35 am

      Ya but its free and you don't need WiFi and I found it really easy so I guess your just really bad at it

  5. Anonymous
    June 28, 2016 at 6:24 pm

    Something else to do while in Developer Options is to "Disable HW (Hardware) Overlays" to improve performance. Caution: change the settings in Developer Options at your own risk and discretion! Research any setting before changing anything as it can damage your data and system files, or even your device!

    I've known about all of these for years or noticed the new features as they came out, such as Smart Lock and identifying the offending app that is providing the notifications. It would be best to note the Android version you are posting this information about and that not all features/functions may be available or are labeled or placed in a different area due to the manufacturer of the device (HTC does not allow one to access the easter egg game as most other devices would allow).

    • Tony
      September 5, 2019 at 6:08 am

      Hey, sounds funny but wish I knew you like a nabor /friend as I could learn lots from you. Also this link or person writing the article was very good (first time finding) and will start reading it regularly. Take care from Tony in Vegas

  6. Anonymous
    February 15, 2016 at 12:05 am

    Thanks for your wonderful article

  7. sonic
    February 13, 2016 at 4:02 pm

    I love android. Using cyanogenmod on xperia z3
    The smart lock however. is not always that great. I had some problem with my phone unlocking it self in my pocket. and i tryed to set a lock screen.. But the smart lock made it inpossible, even after i checked all the smart lock things off..

  8. Barrie
    February 9, 2016 at 7:11 pm

    My Galaxie has none of the features you discuss in this article. There is no "double downswipe" feature, no Developer mode, and the easteregg yields me a KitKat image that reads, "Android." It doesn't do anything.

    • Dan Price
      February 9, 2016 at 8:33 pm

      Hi Barrie. I'm afraid that's because Galaxy phones do not use stock Android, Samsung edit lots of features with their own interface and some features get lost.

      Also, if you're on KitKat (it sounds like you are), you'll need to upgrade to get some of these features.

      • Barrie
        February 10, 2016 at 12:40 am

        Thanks for the reply. It clarifies the situation, but I would still like to get at least some of the features.
        Can you tell me how to get a later version than KitKat? I think there have been at least two or three newer levels.


        p.s. I did get a game of sorts from the version number, but without some instructions I can't figure out what the object is or how scoring is accomplished. ;)

  9. SH
    February 9, 2016 at 6:29 pm

    Yay! Thanks for that hidden game gem. I had to long press for the second step!

    • Anonymous
      February 9, 2016 at 7:44 pm

      Agreed...I had to rapidly tap the lollipop, and then abruptly stop in a long press for it to work. That's on 5.1.

  10. Don
    February 9, 2016 at 2:52 pm

    I have Android 5 on a Verizon Motorola Turbo and there's no 'Do Not Disturb' menu under Sound & notification. Instead, it's called 'Interruptions'. There's also no access to it from the Quick Settings menu.

  11. Bob Martin
    February 9, 2016 at 2:19 pm