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Display recording, Sensible Lock and Android’s different finest hidden options

Your Android cellphone has a treasure trove of hidden options. 

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A part of the enchantment of utilizing an Android cellphone is the big variety of {hardware} and software program choices. For example, the expertise you get from a Google Pixel cellphone may be very totally different from what a Galaxy S21 presents, and you then add OnePlus into the combination and the expertise diverges much more. That stated, the core Android expertise stays practically the identical. All three producers use Android, sharing the identical options — a few of that are hidden. 

And now that Google has launched the first developer beta of Android 12 (which you’ll be able to set up for those who like dwelling on the sting), the staple Android options are solely getting higher, and there are certain to be extra hidden options. 

Take display recording for example. It is a function that you could be not even understand Google added with the rollout of Android 11, however it’s there, simply ready that will help you exhibit your gaming abilities. Additionally, the potential to make use of two apps on the identical time is just not solely one thing iPhone customers can solely dream about however it’s additionally downright helpful and constructed into your Android cellphone (this function is not new, a minimum of for Pixel telephones) — you simply need to know the place to look. One among my favourite hidden options is known as Sensible Lock, a device that retains my cellphone unlocked once I’m at residence, then reverts again to requiring my fingerprint or PIN code once I go away. It is handy and it permits me to maintain my cellphone safe once I’m not at residence. 

Take into accout, the options under could not look or work precisely the identical on each cellphone, and that is as a result of totally different Android machine producers like to make use of distinctive interfaces. My recommendation? Use the search bar on the high of the Settings app for those who’re struggling to discover a function. 


You possibly can lastly report your display with an official Google device. 

Jason Cipriani/CNET

1. Have Android 11? Use the built-in display recorder

As an alternative of taking a screenshot to indicate off your new all-time excessive rating or seize a notification or app challenge, use Android 11’s new built-in display recorder. Google launched Android 11 final September, however as is often the case with main Android updates, it is as much as the device-maker to roll out the replace.       

As soon as your cellphone is up to date to Android 11, you may discover a new Display Report button within the Fast Settings panel. Swipe down from the highest of your display to entry the panel; you’ll have to swipe to the left to view extra settings choices, or you’ll be able to faucet the edit button to maneuver Display Report to the entrance panel. 

When you activate Display Report, you may be requested if you wish to seize audio, both simply the sound made by the app you are utilizing or each the machine and audio captured by the microphone — useful for strolling somebody by means of troubleshooting or establishing an app. To cease recording, faucet the Display Report notification. The video will probably be saved to your cellphone’s gallery or digicam roll, the place you’ll be able to then edit and share it. 


Take management of alerts and notifications. 

Screenshots by Jason Cipriani/CNET

2. Quiet the notifications that may wait

Uninterested in each single notification inflicting your cellphone to bleep or boop? Inform your Android cellphone once you need an app to present silent alerts by long-pressing on the alert till you set off a immediate, asking if you’d like the notification to be marked as an Alert or Silent

Alert will enable the apps’ notifications to play sounds and present up on the lock display, whereas Silent mode will mute the alert, however nonetheless make it seen in your notification tray. 


Stay Caption is big from an accessibility standpoint. 

Jason Cipriani/CNET

3. Add captions to any video or podcast

Stay Caption is a formidable, but comparatively new function that is slowly making its strategy to extra units. When energetic, it provides real-time captions to any video, podcast or voice notice in your cellphone. It does not matter if the video you are watching is muted — Stay Caption will nonetheless transcribe it for you. 

Because it was first introduced final 12 months, Google has expanded its Stay Caption function past the Pixel cellphone lineup to included Samsung’s newest telephones, together with the Be aware 20 and the OnePlus 8 sequence. There is not an official record of supported units, so far as I can inform, and your cellphone must be operating Android 10 to ensure that it to work. 

To activate Stay Caption (or verify in case your cellphone is supported), open the Settings app and seek for Stay Caption. The Stay Caption toggle is in a special place on the Pixel 4 ($518 at Amazon), Galaxy S20 and OnePlus 8 ($639 at Amazon)

After turning on Stay Caption, anytime you start taking part in a video — even for those who go away the amount turned off — a small black field will present up in your display giving real-time captions of no matter’s being stated. 

Clearly, these aren’t captions ready by a human prematurely, to allow them to be much less correct at occasions, however it’s nonetheless rather well performed and a function that each cellphone ought to have, not simply Android. You possibly can study extra concerning the function and easy methods to use it in our full information (together with easy methods to restrict profanity). 


Break up Display is simple to make use of on an Android cellphone. 

Jason Cipriani/CNET

4. Use two apps on the identical time

One among my favourite options in Android is with the ability to have two apps on the display on the identical time. It is helpful once I’m taking a look at a Google Doc and sending an electronic mail, or once I’m trying up a recipe and sending the ingredient record in Messages. But when you have not performed it earlier than, it is not instantly clear easy methods to put apps in split-screen mode. 

Faucet the app switcher button, or for those who’re utilizing Android’s gesture navigation, swipe up from the underside of the display to enter the multitasking view and faucet on the app icon on the high of an app’s card or thumbnail adopted by Break up Display. The primary app will slide to the highest of the display, and the multitasking view will take up the underside part of your display. Both choose one other app from the multitasking view or launch an app from your property display or app drawer. Not each app will assist split-screen mode, and the one means I can work out to inform if an app will work on this mode is just to attempt opening it. 


Watch a video and browse Twitter on the identical time? Go on, I am listening. 

Jason Cipriani/CNET

5. Watch a video and use an app concurrently

Much like split-screen mode is Android’s Image-in-Image function: Utilizing it couldn’t be less complicated, you simply need to know it is there.

I like to look at my favourite Twitch streamers whereas I browse Reddit or verify my emails. To set off PiP, begin watching a video after which return to the house display. Actually, it is that simple. As soon as you allow the app, if it helps PiP mode, the video will present up as a small window in your cellphone’s display. You possibly can drag it round, resize or shut it. You may also use PiP with getting turn-by-turn instructions in Google Maps, which makes it simple to see which cease it’s essential to get off at whereas navigating the subway in a brand new metropolis. 

To view an inventory of apps put in in your cellphone that assist this function, open the Settings app, and go to Apps & Notifications > Particular app entry > Image-in-picture. That is additionally the place you’ll be able to go to disable PiP for an app. For instance, if you do not need Google Maps persevering with to indicate you turn-by-turn instructions after you’ve got left it, and would quite the app fully shut down, then disable this function for Google Maps. 


Activate Sensible Lock to maintain your cellphone unlocked at residence. 

Jason Cipriani/CNET

6. Use Sensible Lock to maintain your cellphone unlocked once you’re residence

One other one among my favourite hidden options can maintain you from having to enter your PIN or scan your fingerprint everytime you’re residence or at work. You possibly can set it to maintain your cellphone unlocked once you’re in a particular location. You may also set it to maintain the cellphone unlocked when it detects you are energetic, like once you’re strolling round whereas holding the cellphone pressed to your face or talking over Bluetooth on wi-fi headphones. 

Open Settings > Safety > Sensible Lock and enter your PIN code when prompted. From there, you’ll be able to choose which side of Sensible Unlock you wish to use and when. 

Simply understand that when you’ve got Sensible Lock set to maintain your cellphone unlocked at residence, which means anybody you reside with will be capable to get into it. 


Notification Log in your Android cellphone generally is a lifesaver. 

Jason Cipriani/CNET

7. Get well unintentionally cleared notifications 

Ever faucet the button to clear your notification tray, solely to note an provide you with a warning wanted to learn on the final second? I do know I’ve. Fortunately, there is a hidden Notification Log that can present you a operating tally of each alert and notification you’ve got acquired for the previous few days. The one strategy to entry it’s by means of a house display widget. 

Lengthy-press on any empty spot in your display, then choose Widgets from the menu. Discover the Settings choice, then choose Notification Log. The subsequent time you miss an alert, faucet the widget and you will see an inventory of your whole alerts. 

In case your cellphone does not have a Notification Log, give the Unnotification app a attempt. 


Android 10 makes it a breeze to share Wi-Fi networks with a QR code. 

Screenshots by Jason Cipriani/CNET

8. Rapidly share your Wi-Fi community creds with mates

Giving your Wi-Fi community password to a buddy or member of the family generally is a trouble, particularly if it is a lengthy, complicated sequence of numbers and letters. Or it’s possible you’ll be hesitant at hand over your credentials as a result of it is a password you employ some other place — I get it. Granted, having individuals over or visiting a buddy’s house is one thing most of us are avoiding proper now, however because the CDC points new steering for totally vaccinated individuals, and issues start to return to regular, it is certain to come in useful. 

Fortunately, beginning with Android 10 you’ll be able to show a QR code in your cellphone’s display that can enable anybody who scans it to connect with your Wi-Fi community. 

You possibly can scan or create a QR code in your machine by opening the Settings app and deciding on Community > Wi-Fi. When you’re sharing your community credentials, faucet on the community title after which Share. When you’re connecting to a Wi-Fi community, faucet on the QR Code icon subsequent to Add Community

This function additionally is useful for those who’re establishing a brand new cellphone and do not wish to undergo the method of copying your password. 

Now that you’ve got mastered Android’s hidden options, ensure you’re fully acquainted with extra of Android’s staple options, like privateness settings and a devoted darkish mode. When you’ve got Android 11, be sure to take a look at a few of the Android 11 options we completely love. And here is what to sit up for with Android 12

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