8 Android Settings You Should Change Right Now
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Android comes with a lot of features, but not all of them are enabled out of the box. With the ever-growing feature set, it’s easy to miss those deeply buried Android settings that can enhance your experience.

Whether you are looking to fine-tune your privacy and security or boost performance, here are some changes you should make in the Android settings menu.

1. Hide Sensitive Content From Lock Screen

Since Android 5.0 Lollipop, you can interact with the notifications directly from the lock screen. While this is convenient, it also means that anybody can go through your notifications — even when your phone is locked.

android settings you should change

Fortunately, there’s an option to hide sensitive notifications on the lock screen.

First, you need to secure your Android phone 8 Great Android Apps That Protect Your Privacy and Security 8 Great Android Apps That Protect Your Privacy and Security If you want to keep your Android device safe and secure, we recommend these apps. Read More with a password, pattern, or a PIN. Once you do, here’s how to hide sensitive notification content.

  • Open Settings > Notifications.
  • Tap the cog icon on the upper-right of the screen.
  • Tap On the lock screen.
  • Select Hide sensitive notification content.

Sensitive notifications will show “content hidden” instead of displaying the actual message. You’ll need to unlock your device to view the message.

If you would like to hide sensitive notifications on a per-app basis, select Show all notification content. Hit back and you should find a list of installed apps. Tap on the app you’d like to hide sensitive notifications from, then tap On the lock screen > Hide sensitive notification content.

2. Opt Out of Personalized Ads

There’s a shocking number of things that Google knows about you How Much Does Google Really Know About You? How Much Does Google Really Know About You? Google is no champion of user privacy, but you might be surprised just how much they know. Read More . Its huge tracking system is the reason why you see such precisely tailored ads. For instance, if you search on your desktop about noise-canceling earphones The 8 Best Noise-Canceling Headphones for Audiophiles The 8 Best Noise-Canceling Headphones for Audiophiles Looking for the best noise-canceling headphones? If you're an audiophile, these high-quality options are your best bets. Read More , you might quickly start seeing ads for them around the web.

If you’re paranoid about your privacy The Complete Guide to Improving Your Online Security and Defending Your Privacy The Complete Guide to Improving Your Online Security and Defending Your Privacy Everyone wants your data, reputable companies and criminals alike. If you want to build up your defenses and protect yourself online, let us guide you through how to improve your security and safeguard your privacy. Read More , there’s an easy way to turn it off.

android settings you should change

  • Open Settings.
  • Navigate to Google > Ads.
  • Enable Opt out of Ads Personalization.

Note that while you’ll still see ads in ad-supported Android apps, they’ll not be based on your interests.

3. Enable Auto-Lock and Power Button Instant Lock

By default, your Android phone’s screen turns off automatically after a set period of inactivity to save battery 10 Proven and Tested Tips to Extend Battery Life on Android 10 Proven and Tested Tips to Extend Battery Life on Android Suffering from poor battery life on Android? Follow these tips to get more juice out of your Android device's battery. Read More . But the lock screen only kicks-in a few seconds later. Mischievous people can potentially access your unlocked device if you leave it unattended during this period.

It’s recommended to lower your screen timeout. To do so, head over to Settings > Display > Sleep. Select the lowest acceptable number of seconds after which your screen would turn off.

android settings you should change

Once you’ve lowered the screen timeout, it’s time to force the lock screen to kick in as soon as the screen is turned off.

  • To do so, navigate to Settings > Security > Automatically lock.
  • Select Immediately.
  • On the same page, enable Power button instantly locks.

Note that this setting might be located elsewhere depending on your Android manufacturer How Android Differs Depending on the Hardware Manufacturer How Android Differs Depending on the Hardware Manufacturer Not all Android devices are created equal. See how yours stands out from the crowd with our comprehensive guide. Read More . An easy way to find the appropriate setting on any custom Android skin is using the search option in the settings.

4. Disable Doze Mode for Specific Apps

Introduced in Marshmallow, Doze is a nifty feature that helps you save battery on your Android device. The basic idea is that your apps “sleep” while your phone is off, preventing them from running amok in your absence.

android settings you should change

While this works great for most apps, you might get delayed notifications from your favorite messaging apps 5 Best Free Messaging Apps for Android 5 Best Free Messaging Apps for Android Need a free way to send messages to friends and family with your phone for free? Check out these apps. Read More . Also, you might experience issues with VPN apps as they need to run constantly in the background. In such cases, Doze mode can do more harm than good When Android's Battery Optimization Does More Harm Than Good When Android's Battery Optimization Does More Harm Than Good Android's battery optimization mode, Doze, is excellent for improving your battery life. But it can also cause some apps, like VPNs, to stop running randomly. Here's how to disable Doze for select apps. Read More . Fortunately, Android lets you disable Doze mode on a per-app basis.

  • To do so, open Settings > Battery.
  • Tap the three-dot overflow menu button.
  • Select Doze and app hibernation.
  • Tap the app you would like to exclude and select Don’t optimize.

Note that you should create exceptions only for the apps that really need it, otherwise they can cause a major battery drain Android Battery Killers: 10 Worst Apps That Drain Phone Battery Android Battery Killers: 10 Worst Apps That Drain Phone Battery Get rid of these apps if you want to have decent battery life. Read More .

5. Enable Persistent Number Row in Gboard

If your job involves dealing with numbers, it can be cumbersome to toggle your keyboard between the number and the alphabet mode.

If you use Gboard, which I guess most of you do, you can enable a persistent number row at the top of your keyboard. It’s a great way to utilize the growing screen real estate on mobile devices.

android settings you should change

  • To do so, open Gboard.
  • Hold the emoji/cog icon and tap on Gboard keyboard settings.
  • Tap Preferences.
  • Enable Number row.

You should see a persistent number row at the top of your keyboard. This can help you substantially increase your typing speed 9 Tips for Typing Faster on Your Android Phone 9 Tips for Typing Faster on Your Android Phone If you want to improve your typing speed on Android, these tips and tricks will help you out. Read More .

6. Enable Instant Apps

Instant Apps Android Instant Apps: What They Are and How to Start Using Them Android Instant Apps: What They Are and How to Start Using Them Android's Instant Apps let you use an app's best features without installing it. Here's how they work and how to try them now. Read More are a pretty innovative idea: you can check out Android apps without having to install them, thus saving time and data. It started out as an Android Oreo-exclusive feature All the New Ways to Use Notifications in Android 8.0 Oreo All the New Ways to Use Notifications in Android 8.0 Oreo Android 8.0 Oreo's notification channels are a powerful new way to make sure that your phone only alerts you of priority information. Here's everything on the way notifications have changed in Oreo. Read More , but Google started rolling it out to devices running Lollipop or later a couple of months ago.

Instant Apps are disabled by default, but enabling them is just a flip away.

  • Open Settings > Google.
  • Enable Instant Apps.
  • Tap Yes, I’m in to confirm.

android settings you should change

Once you enable it, simply search for the app on the Play Store. The Play Store listing supports just 5 apps for now: BuzzFeed, NYTimes, RedBull TV, OneFottball, and ShareTheMeal. To try an Instant App, tap Try Now besides the Install button.

To search for other Instant Apps, search for the apps from your mobile browser.

7. Move Chrome’s Address Bar to the Bottom

Reaching the top of the screen, especially with just one hand, can be quite a pain. Chrome’s address bar is placed at the upper-half of the screen, making it harder to reach on larger-sized phones.

Thankfully, there’s a quick way to move Chrome’s address bar to the bottom for easier access.

android settings you should change

  • Type chrome://flags in Chrome’s address bar and hit Enter.
  • Find Chrome Home and enable it.
  • Tap Relaunch Chrome.
  • Tap the Recent button to open up the multitasking screen. Swipe away Chrome to force close it.
  • Re-open Chrome.

You may need to restart Chrome a couple of times to make it work. It’s kind of weird, but this is how it works for now.

That’s it! The address bar should be moved to the bottom, thus making it more accessible than ever.

8. Tweak Developer Options

Apart from the regular settings, Android Developer options feature some advanced settings you can tinker around with.

The Developer options might be intended for developers, but it’s a goldmine of settings that even casual users can utilize.

android settings you should change

For instance, you can tweak animation scales to make your phone feel snappier, set a mock location and fake your GPS location, or enable USB debugging What Is USB Debugging Mode on Android and How Do I Enable It? What Is USB Debugging Mode on Android and How Do I Enable It? USB debugging allows you to send commands from your computer to your phone with ease. Here's how it works, and why you should consider using it. Read More to send commands from your computer to your Android device.

We’ve extensively covered some of the Android developer options that you should change Every Android User Should Tweak These 10 Developer Options Every Android User Should Tweak These 10 Developer Options Android's Developer Options menu houses a lot of tools for those writing apps, but you can get something out of it, too. Here are the most useful settings hiding in the Developer Options. Read More , so do check it out.

Make the Most of Your Android Phone

Tweaking these settings will help you get the most of your Android device, without dramatically changing the way you use your favorite operating system. Whether you’re looking to protect your privacy or enhance your everyday Android experience, a few tweaks are all you need.

Which of the above settings have you changed on your Android phone? Do you know of any other settings that can help you level up your Android experience? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.

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  1. sam
    February 1, 2018 at 4:30 pm

    I love these "advice" articles. Opting out of "personalized" ads is not removing ads completely, instead, you'll be shown a thousand ads of crap you didn't want in the first place as opposed to those ads about stuff you've been searching for regularly. Granted, if you're looking for chickens dressed in leather, you may not want this popping up in your browser at a later time, but, doesn't mean you won't see ads.

    • Abhishek Kurve
      February 1, 2018 at 8:29 pm

      Hi,
      The article clearly mentions that you will still see ads, but they won't be personalized. While it means that you might be shown unrelated ads, at least it makes sense from a privacy perspective.

  2. cashley
    January 18, 2018 at 4:45 pm

    I must be one of the idiots the others are talking about because I found this article quite useful. And to all the non idiots: not all of us are software developers and our limited knowledge of all things techy does not make us stupid. It means we have lives.

  3. Mourya
    January 9, 2018 at 11:26 am

    Boss boss. How to upload quality images in wordpresss..when i iupload a photo to wordpresss the image is getting blur .how can i get out of hit

  4. FRAMOB
    January 9, 2018 at 3:26 am

    Should be called idiots guide should have explained why change from Dalvik to ART and now Google don't post to open source Android is very secure now since Marshmallow and Chrome built in security with 2 step ......SMH

  5. FRAMOB
    January 9, 2018 at 3:23 am

    Wow you must honestly think we are all idiots ,I'm surprised you never said hit 7 times for developer mode . Anyone using any device running anything below KitKat are hackable so you'd have been better calling this Android for idiots !
    You should be telling people not to buy devices running anything below Marshmallow ,I'm currently running Noughat 7.1 and Oreo 8.1 on tablet so you'd have been better explaining the change from dalvik to ART and why Google doesn't post to open source now instead of baby steps for idiots !!!

  6. Dominic
    January 9, 2018 at 2:23 am

    Note that leaving USB debug on is insecure. Someone can take your phone and use adb to change your lock screen to a simple swipe to unlock. (or at least this was the case in Gingerbread)