Tech

Five Android features you (maybe) never heard of

Google’s operating system offers some well-hidden features that would benefit from being known.

Whether it’s sharing your Wi-Fi code through a line of QR code or automating the locking and unlocking of a mobile, Android, Google’s operating system, has several features that are little known to the general public. Here are five worth checking out.

1. Using Google Map Offline

This feature is very useful abroad. Indeed, the absence of cell service while traveling is often a problem with the consequences of the inability to obtain navigation directions on Google Map.

This can be remedied by downloading the desired map data for offline use. Just open Google Map, click the profile icon at the top right, then press the “Offline Map” button. Google Map then offers the user the option to download the map of the desired city.

Google Map screenshot
Google Map screenshot © Louis Mbembe

Once the operation is completed, you must return to the “Offline Map” tab to view the recovered map. Since a phone’s GPS service is not directly connected to an operator, it is then possible to locate in the city while data is being stored.

Google Map screenshot
Screenshot Google Map © Google

2. Split screen to use two apps at the same time

In this case, the first application fills the top half of the screen, the second the bottom half. This is a useful option for, for example, watching a video on YouTube while chatting with a friend in a messaging app.

To do this, you need to open an application and then open the multi-window view by pressing the special button in the navigation bar. The different applications that are open on the smartphone are then displayed in a carousel with the corresponding icon.

Google Map screenshot
Screenshot Google Map © Google Map

A long press on the application icon will bring up a drop-down menu with various functionalities. By clicking “Open in split view”, the selected application will be displayed in the top half of the smartphone screen. All you need to do now is choose the other application to open in the lower section.

Google Map screenshot
Screenshot Google Map © Google

3. “Smart Lock” to unlock the phone in a trusted place

“Smart Lock” provides the ability to automate the locking and unlocking of a mobile phone when it is within Bluetooth range of a device deemed safe or in places where no security measures are required. So this feature avoids having to constantly enter a PIN or scan a fingerprint to perform these two operations.

To configure it, you need to open the “Settings” menu and then go to “Security” and “Smart Lock”. There, the phone will ask to enter the user’s PIN. After the operation is done, it is then possible to add a trust place and disable the security device near a Bluetooth device that is considered safe, for example a connected watch.

Screenshot
Screenshot © Screenshot

4. Hide an app

Some smartphone users don’t always want to have some of their applications in view of others. However, it is possible to hide them without deleting them or save them in a folder that is itself hidden in another folder. To do this, go to the “Search” bar in the application drawer and click on the three small dots on the right.

Screenshot
Screenshot © LM

You then need to go to “Settings” and in the menu that appears, click on the “Hide applications” tab. These are displayed and the user only needs to select the ones they want to hide. The applications then become invisible, but are still installed.

Screenshot
Screenshot © LM

5. Share your Wi-Fi network credentials with QR code

It is not easy to remember an extended Wi-Fi network ID to share it with a loved one. However, it is possible to display a QR code on the screen of a phone that allows anyone who scans it to connect to this Wi-Fi network. For this you have to keep pressing the “Wi-Fi” in the control center and click on the cogwheel of the respective network.

Screenshot
Screenshot © LM
Screenshot
Screenshot © LM

Here, at the very bottom, the QR code option will appear. The person asking for the password just needs to scan the said QR code and their phone will connect to Wi-Fi immediately.