Tricks only techies know about Android phones

May 31, 2013 at 4:19 a.m. ET

Perhaps you purchased your new Android phone because you’re really into the latest wireless technology, or perhaps you purchased it because you’ve been admiring new phone covers on Etsy (totally adorbs, btw). Either way, we hope our top 10 Android tricks help you uncover new functionality in your smartphone.

Happy woman using a smartphone


Access a hidden menu

We’re not sure why you’d need a hidden menu, but if you enjoy living your life in the shadows and the dark of the night, read up on how to create and access a hidden menu from your home screen. You’ll be able to keep both spies and perhaps your children out of your secret ploys.


Easy Phone Sync

If you think of Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android system as mortal enemies, consider the Easy Phone Sync a skilled mediator between the two. If your desktop has iTunes and you want those songs on your Android phone, download the Easy Phone Sync so the systems can talk to one another and share data.


Near Field Communication

If your Android has Near Field Communication (NFC) functionality, you can use your phone to swipe a “tag” you create on an electronic device. Swiping the tag will tell the device to do whatever it is that you have pre-programmed it to do, like turn on the lights in your house or fire up your Jacuzzi.


Swype keyboard

If you have a strange index finger twitch, or perhaps bulky fingers that are constantly causing your keyboard to autocorrect improperly, the Swype app will allow you to text or search without ever having to pick your finger up from the keyboard. Utilizing Swype will reduce your autocorrect embarrassment and risks of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, all in one easy download.



We love widgets. Mostly, we love saying the word “widgets.” But widgets are actually pretty cool, too. They allow users to check out lots of important information in one spot on the home screen, like news, weather and traffic. Here is Techland’s list of the best Android widgets for 2013.


Control phone from computer

The AirDroid app is amazing. It allows you to send text messages through your phone from your desktop computer. It also allows you to locate your phone from your desktop, and move all your data to and from your phone.


Talk to text

Please don’t be the person that drives and texts at the same time. Really, there is no need to do something so dangerous. Just hit the microphone button when your keyboard is open for texting or searching, and Android’s powerful voice technology will do a pretty bang-up job of understanding you.


Utilize Dropbox

Consider the Dropbox app as a Cloud system for all your devices. Although you can always back up your files on your Google Drive account, Dropbox adds a layer of functionality to the process. If you use Dropbox on your Android phone, all of your uploaded files become available on all of your devices, and many users find the interface easier to navigate than Google Drive.


Get organized

As of April 2013, the Android operating system boasted over 800,000 apps in its app marketplace, Google Play. Even if you’re not app-happy, it’s probably a smart idea to organize the apps you use by type so that you can easily find what you need on your phone. The Android operating system allows users to create folders for their apps. Check out this tutorial for information about how to create folders.


Use Maps offline

Isolated map

Nothing is as irritating as looking up directions on Google Maps and then running into difficulties with internet connection once you’re already en route. Next time you look up directions, click on the button “Make Available Offline” so you can use your map regardless of connectivity.

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