Tips and Trick

iPhone, Android Tips and Tricks​

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6 Android tips you might not know

Note that several companies make Android smartphones, unlike Apple iPhones. You might find differences among Google Pixel, Motorola, OnePlus, Samsung Galaxy, TCL and other models.

1. Enable flash notifications. Whether you’re hard of hearing or simply want to minimize loud noises emanating from your phone, Android users can enable flash notifications to alert you to important messages. The phone’s screen or built-in camera flash will blink to let you know of a call, text, app alert or other alert.

Go to Settings ⚙️ | Accessibility | perhaps Advanced Settings | Flash notification. If you don’t see it, search for “flash notification” on your phone. You’ll get two options: Camera flash notification and Screen flash notification. Toggle one or both to enable this handy feature.

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screenshots of how to splitscreen in youtube

Android devices allow you to run two apps at one time.

AARP

2. Run two apps at once. Why not browse the web and check email at the same time? Or stream a cooking show while jotting down a shopping list?

If you’re an Android user, you can perform these dual tasks on the same device simultaneously. Swipe up from the bottom of your Android screen and you’ll see recently opened apps in a carousel.

Press and hold the small circle at the top of an app you want to open and select Open in split screen view. Now select another app near the bottom of your phone to access both at the same time.

If swiping up from the bottom of your Android phone doesn’t show you recently opened apps, tap the overlapping squares or three vertical lines ||| at the bottom to show thumbnails of recently opened apps.

Some Androids may give you what they call a pop-up view instead. You can have two pop-ups open and arrange the boxes to stack on top of one another when holding the phone vertically. Close the apps to end the pop-up mode.

3. Access your phone on your PC. Windows 10 and 11 users can link their Android — and iPhone — devices to their computer. This way you can make calls, send texts, access the phone’s photos from your PC and more.

It’s easiest to set it up on your PC. To link a phone, type phone in the search bar at the bottom of your computer screen and tap Phone Link. Follow the prompts for both Android and iPhone.

4. Find your parked vehicle. After you’ve parked at a busy shopping mall, you might find it difficult to remember where your vehicle is hours later. To mark your spot, open Google Maps once you’re in park and tap the blue dot that shows your location. Tap Save parking.

If you have trouble locating your vehicle later, launch Google Maps, tap the search bar | Parking location | Directions.

5. Use one-handed mode. The bigger smartphones become, the more difficult it may be to operate them with one hand. Google’s custom keyboard has a one-handed mode you can easily activate that lets you hold your Android phone and type with the same hand.

Press and hold the comma key and select the right-hand icon for one-handed mode. Your keyboard will appear smaller and off to one side. To reposition from left- to right-handed mode, use the arrow icon beside the keyboard. Tap the four little arrows to restore the keyboard to full size.

If this tip doesn’t work for you, you might not be using the official/default Google keyboard, also known as a Gboard. You can download it free from the Google Play store.

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android screengrab showing widgets on the home screen

Android smartphones’ widgets allow you to see the weather or other information from your favorite apps on your home screen.

AARP

6. Spice up your widgets. While Apple didn’t introduce widgets until 2020, for years Android users have enjoyed adding and customizing widgets on their home screens.

Widgets show you current information from your favorite apps at a glance, including the day’s headlines, weather, calendar events, a world clock, battery level, sports scores or stock quotes. Android has redesigned how widgets look and function.

To enable, tap and hold any empty space on your phone’s home screen and tap Widgets. Now scroll through your apps until you find one you’d like to designate with a widget.

Select and hold the widget you want, drag it to the desired spot on your home screen and let go. Customize its appearance or features with the pencil symbol.

This story, originally published May 19, 2022, was updated to reflect new instructions and additional smartphone features.

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