Sunday, April 11, 2021

10 handy hidden Android features you probably forget to use

Android Features

With every new Android version comes a flurry of fancy fresh features. Some of them immediately transform the way we work, while others just quietly fade away without making much noise.

And then there are the features that fall somewhere in between — features that seem useful, maybe even pique our interest when we first hear about ’em, but then get lost in the shuffle and forgotten as time wears on. Especially when said features are out of sight and not at all obvious, they’re all too easy to overlook and abandon.

Well, as we look ahead to the launch of yet another new Android version — Android 12, expected to be announced any moment now (and already leaking out like crazy) — consider this your friendly reminder: These hidden Android features, added into the operating system at various points over the past several years, are still there and still incredibly handy. Take a moment to rediscover ’em and remind yourself what you’ve been missing.

Hidden Android feature #1: Fast app-switching

One of the most useful features to come into Android in ages is also one of the least well-known and discoverable. I’m talkin’ about the Alt-Tab-like fast app-switching function that was first introduced way back in 2016’s Android 7 and remains one of my favorite Android shortcuts to this day (along with, of course, all those awesome Gboard shortcuts we talked about last week!).

You can be forgiven if you forgot about it — or maybe never even knew about it in the first place — because, honestly, there’s absolutely nothing that’d clue you into its existence. And it’s evolved a fair amount over the years, too, which makes the odds of losing track of it even greater.

So here’s how it works: First, if you’re using Android’s current gesture system — with no on-screen navigation buttons and just a thin little line at the bottom of your screen — flick your finger toward the right anywhere along that bottom-of-screen area. That’ll snap you back to your most recently used app faster than you can say “frugal Google bugle filled with tasty kugel” (which, to be fair, isn’t something you can say especially fast). From there, you can click flick again toward the right to go back another step in your app-using history or flick to the left to snap back in the other direction.

Copyright © 2021 IDG Communications, Inc.

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