4 Shortcuts for Your Android Phone

June 29, 2011

The New York Times recently featured a series of articles unlocking tricks and tips that will make your Android smartphone even smarter.

Unlike Apple’s iPhone, mobile phones that run Google’s Android operating system come in a large variety and features can vary somewhat. But there are some commonalities. Here are a few time-saving tricks you may be unaware that your Android can do:

‘Long press’ to access shortcuts: The New York Times considers the “long press” an important key to unlocking many time-saving secrets with Android phones. The long press is when instead of tapping a button or icon on the screen, you press and hold your finger on it for two seconds. This will then usually bring up a menu of options specific to the type of item and you may unlock quite a few features.

For example, long press the home key on your phone’s case, you’ll bring up a menu of your eight most recently used apps. Long press the search key (it appears as a magnifying glass) and a microphone icon will appear that says “Speak Now.” You can then use voice commands to tell your phone what to do, e.g. “Send text to John Smith, will be at the showing by 5” or “Navigate to the nearest gas station.”

Quickly access phone, text, and e-mail: While in your address book, tap the photo of the person instead of the person’s name. You’ll get a menu of icons to call, e-mail, text, or even send messages through Facebook or Twitter.

Type faster: When texting or e-mailing a message, press the spacebar twice and the Android automatically will insert one period and one space at the end of your sentence so you don’t have to fumble around for the period key.

Send to voicemail: Maybe you have a few callers you want to avoid or you’re going to a showing and don’t want to be disturbed. Make sure the caller is in your address book and then click on “Additional info” option there. At the bottom of these extra options, you’ll find “Send straight to voice mail?”

Learn more about some of your Android’s hidden features.

Source: “Four More Tips for Android Users,” The New York Times (June 27, 2011) and“Accelerate Android With Tips and Tricks,”The New York Times (June 22, 2011)