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Home / Tips and Tricks / 6 hidden Android features that blow your mind and how to use them

6 hidden Android features that blow your mind and how to use them



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Your Android phone has a treasure trove of hidden features.


Angela Lang / CNET

For me, it's easy to feel that all Android phones have drastically different features and features, and in some ways it's true. Compare a Pixel phone with Samsung Galaxy S20 with TCL's 10 series phones will reveal major differences. But at the end of the day, all these phones are powered by Android and have basically the same features.

Some of them are hidden. Take shared apps as an example. Using two apps at the same time is not only something that iPhone users can only dream of but it is also completely useful and built into your Android phone – you just have to know where to look. One of my hidden favorite features is called Smart Lock, a tool that keeps my phone unlocked when I'm at home and then returns to requiring my fingerprint or PIN at the moment I leave. It is incredibly comfortable.

Remember that all features I discuss below may not look or work exactly the same on each phone, and this is because different Android device manufacturers like to use interfaces unique from their competitors. My advice? If you're struggling to find a feature, use the search bar at the top of the Settings app.

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Take control of alerts and notifications.


Screenshots by Jason Cipriani / CNET

Silent messages waiting

Tired of every single message that causes your phone to tip or boop ? Tell your Android phone when you want an app to silence alerts by long pressing the alert until you trigger a question if you want the message to be marked as a Alert or Silent .

Warning allows the app's messages to play sound and pop up on the lock screen, while Silence will turn off the alert, but still make it visible in the message box.

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Live Caption is huge from an accessibility standpoint.


Jason Cipriani / CNET

Add captions to any video or podcast

Live Caption is an impressive yet relatively new feature that slowly gets to more devices. When active, it adds real-time captions to any video, podcast or voice memo on your phone. It doesn't matter if the video you are watching is muted – Live Caption will still transcribe it for you.

Since last year was announced, Google has expanded its Live Caption feature in addition to the Pixel phone lineup to include Samsung's Galaxy S20 and OnePlus 8 series. There is no official list of supported devices, as far as I know, and your phone must run Android 10 for it to work.

To enable Live Caption (or check if your phone is supported), open the app Settings and search for Live Caption . The Live Caption Switch is available at another location on Pixel 4, Galaxy S20 and OnePlus 8 ($ 699 on OnePlus) .

After enabling Live Caption, when you start playing a video – even if you leave the volume off – a small black box will appear on the screen, including real-time dictation of what is being said. [19659006] It's really well done and a feature that every phone should have, not just Android. You can learn more about the feature, including how to limit bleeding and how to use it in our complete guide .

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Split Screen is easy to use on an Android phone.


Jason Cipriani / CNET

Use two apps at the same time

One of my favorite features of Android is having two apps on the screen at the same time. It is convenient when I look at a Google Doc and send an email, or when I look up a recipe and send the ingredient list in Messages . But it's not quite clear how to get apps in split screen mode.

Click the app switch button, or if you are using Android 10 gestures swipe up from the bottom of the screen to enter the multitasking view and touch the app icon at the top of an app's card or thumbnail followed by Split Screen . The first app slides to the top of the screen and the multitasking view takes up the lower section of the screen. Either select another app from the multitasking view or launch an app from your home screen or app drawer. Not every app supports shared screen mode, and the only way I can find out if an app lacks support is to simply try to open it in shared screen.

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Watch a video and browse Twitter at the same time? Go on, I'm listening.


Jason Cipriani / CNET

Watch a video and browse Twitter at the same time

Along the same idea of ​​split-screen apps, Android's Picture-in-Picture (PiP) feature is available. Using it can't be easier, you just have to know it's there.

I like to watch my favorite Twitch streamers while browsing Reddit or checking my emails. To trigger PiP, start watching a video and then go back to the home screen. It's really that simple. When you leave the app, if it supports PiP mode, the video will appear as a small window on the phone screen. You can drag it around, resize or close it.

To view a list of apps installed on your phone that support this feature, open the app Settings and go to Apps & Notifications > Special app access > Picture-in-picture . This is also where you can go to disable PiP for an app. For example, if you don't want Google Maps to continue showing you directions after leaving it, and rather the app will completely shut down.

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Jason Cipriani / CNET

Use Smart Lock to keep your phone unlocked while at home

One of my hidden favorite features may prevent you from having to enter your PIN or scan your fingerprint while at home or at work. You can set it so that your phone is unlocked when you are in a specific location. You can also set it to keep your phone unlocked when it detects that you are active, such as walking around while holding the phone to your face or talking over Bluetooth on wireless headphones.

Open Settings > Security > Smart Lock and enter your PIN when prompted. From there you can choose which aspect of Smart Unlock you want to use and when.

Just remember that if you have Smart Lock set up to keep your phone unlocked at home, it means everyone you live with will be able to access it.

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


Screenshots by Jason Cipriani / CNET

Sharing Your Wi-Fi Network Credit Quickly With Friends

Giving your Wi-Fi network password to a friend or family member can be a hassle, especially if it is a long and complex series of numbers and letters. Or you can hesitate to submit your credentials because it's a password you use elsewhere – I get it. Granted, having people over or visiting a friend's home is something most of us are avoiding right now, but when orders at home start to lift and things start to return to normal safe to be practical.

Thankfully with Android 10, you can display a QR code on the phone screen that allows anyone who scans it to connect to your Wi-Fi network.





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You can scan or create a QR code on your device by opening the Settings app and selecting Network > Wi-Fi . If you share your network information, click the network name, and then click Share . If you are connecting to a Wi-Fi network, touch the QR code icon next to Add Network .

This feature is also handy if you set up a new phone and do not want to go through the process of copying your password.

Now that you master Android's hidden features, make sure you are fully familiar with Android 10's features as new privacy settings and a dedicated dark state .


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