7 Hidden Android Features to Get the Most out of your smartphone

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Love it or hate it, the Android OS still scores over iOS in terms of customizability. Over the years, Android phones have gotten a lot smarter. Whether you are using a budget OnePlus Nord N30 SE, or a high-end Samsung S24 Ultra, it is now possible to use your Android for several different purposes.

Whether you have an older Android phone or the recently launched Android 14, these devices have several hidden features that you may never know. These range from simple hacks to more complex tools for developers. So everyone can use them.

Hidden Android Features

Let’s dive into some hidden Android features that can make you get the maximum out of your smartphone.

1. Access Google Maps Without an Internet Connection

Did you know that you can use Google Maps offline? Here’s how:

  • On your phone, open the Google Maps app. At this time, you should have an internet connection.
  • Go to the location whose map you want to access offline.
  • Choose an option from the three-dots button on the app.
  • Now, choose ‘Your Places.’
  • Choose ‘Select a new offline map.’
  • Give the map a name and save it.
  • The map of your selected area will be downloaded.
  • To access this saved map offline, open the Google Maps app.
  • Swipe the option to the left.
  • Tap ‘Your Place,’ scroll down, and tap ‘View All.’
  • Now, choose ‘Manage.’ Here, you can see your saved map.

2. Turn On The Developer Options In Your Android Phone

If you are a tech-savvy person who wants to control your phone, enabling the Android Developer Options will be a great idea. Developer options provide access to various types of useful tools and tweaks.

To enable it, just go to the ‘Settings’ of your phone. From there, navigate to ‘About phone’ and tap ‘Build number’ seven times. Now, input your passcode and go to the ‘Settings’ menu. Tap ‘System settings’ followed by ‘Developer options.’

Enabling Developer options on your Android phone is quite similar to doing so on streaming devices like the Amazon Firestick, which also runs on the Android operating system. This is done to jailbreak the device and access third-party apps. Indeed, there are many things to do with a jailbroken Firestick, such as downloading popular apps unavailable on the Amazon App Store and modifying privacy settings. Disabling the invasive settings related to privacy helps them remain anonymous and secure while streaming content.

Similarly, enabling Developer options on an Android phone lets you root your phone and install more advanced apps. You can also speed up device animations This, in turn, can significantly speed up your daily tasks. You can also fake the GPS location of your phone and boost the speed of high-end games.

3. Use Split Screen on Your Android Phone

Are you a multitasker? Well, you may not be able to afford two Android phones. But you can carry out your work effortlessly. Use the split screen settings for this purpose.

  1. Open Recent Apps. You can find it by swiping up from the screen’s bottom.
  2. Tap the icon of the first app you want to open.
  3. Now, touch the Split Screen option.
  4. Now, touch the other app.
  5. You can now work on both of them via the split screen mode.

4. Lock People Out of Specific Apps

We have all faced this familiar situation. You hand your phone to another person to show them a specific photo, game, or anything else. But you soon find them accessing other things like your gallery or messages. It is an uncomfortable spot to be in. Luckily, there’s a fix for it. Use the app pinning to lock people out of specific apps.

  1. Go to the Settings app on your phone.
  2. Touch Security & Privacy.
  3. Touch More Security Settings.
  4. Choose App Pinning.
  5. Now, toggle App Pinning so it turns on.
  6. Open the app you wish to pin. Touch the icon above it and choose Pin.

5. Assign Custom Notification Icons to Your Favorite Contacts

This is a useful feature for those with a huge contact list. You can assign custom notification icons to specific or important people in your contact list. That way, when they message, you can view their picture at the top of your phone’s screen.

This feature is only available for Android phones running version 11 or higher. To activate it, press your finger on the messaging notification of a contact. Now, hit ‘Priority’ on the panel that appears. Tap ‘Done’ on that panel to save your changes.

That’s all there is to it. Pretty simple, isn’t it?

6. Generate Real-Time Audio Captions From Any Media in Your Phone

This feature is particularly useful for those who need to transcribe conversations. Additionally, it is also useful for those with hearing problems.

  1. Open the Settings app on your device.
  2. Touch Accessibility followed by Live Transcribe.
  3. Now, touch Open Live Transcribe.
  4. Tap OK to accept permissions.
  5. Ensure that your phone is linked to the internet.

7. Discover Lost Notifications

Android phones are like the second home for most people. It is a single centralized place for all their online activities. They receive texts, emails, and other notifications on the device. But in the midst of all these notifications, some are bound to disappear. You may accidentally swipe them away without reading.

If the notification happens to be an important one, you can face unpleasant consequences. Thankfully, you can restore all notifications through a hidden feature. Here’s how to access old notifications.

  • Long-press an empty space on your phone’s home screen.
  • Keep holding it till the screen-adjusting mode appears.
  • Now, hit ‘Widgets’ on the screen’s bottom.
  • Locate the ‘Settings’ shortcut widget.
  • Drag this widget to the phone’s home screen.
  • Select the ‘Notification Log’ option in the popup menu.
  • Use this shortcut to see your notification log right on the home screen of your phone.

Wrapping up

Your Android phone can do a lot of secret things. It’s only a matter of learning about them. The seven hidden features mentioned in this article will enhance your overall user experience. Different Android phones come with unique features. But the ones mentioned here apply to most of the phones. Start using them if you haven’t already and upgrade your tech experience.

Avatar of Anna Makama

By Anna Makama

Gen Z gadget lover making my way through life one day at a time.

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