8 Cool Things You Didn't Know Your Android Could Do, Because We All Know Someone We'd Like To Send Automatically To Voicemail
By now, you've probably realized that technology is a magical world full of wonders you never thought possible — and your Android phone is a passport into that mystical realm. And, well, are you sitting down? 'Cause, dear one, there are still things you didn't know your Android could do. Don't feel bad; up until about an hour ago, I had no idea my phone held such extraordinary secrets either. I mean, sure, we've all got our favorite tips and tricks, like tapping phones to exchange apps or adding "dillhole" to the phone's dictionary so it doesn't try to force you to type "dill pickle" when you're ranting about some random, er, dillhole to your bestie. But the technological sorcery that is Android gets even better.
Thanks to its open source operating system, Android makes all kinds of cool customization possible. And since, historically, Android has been the first to support major hardware innovations like WiFi Direct and multiple user accounts, you kind of know your phone is always going to be cutting-edge. Should you need a reminder of how incredibly smart your phone is, I've got you covered — with eight reminders, to be precise, in the form of stuff you can file under "my mind is blown" and "why didn't anyone alert me to this stuff sooner?"
1. Set Vibrations Patterns for Different Contacts
Sometimes it's simply not an option to have your sound on, yet you still need to be on alert for incoming calls. Like, for instance, in the movie theater — nobody wants to be that person. So, here's a fun trick that not only allows you to keep your phone silent, but it also clues you into precisely who is calling. Go to Contacts > tap a contact's name > click the edit icon > scroll down and tap "add another field" > select "vibration pattern" from the list > choose from the options or create your own. For example, I created one to mimic the tune of the song "Sweetpea" by Amos Lee for my little sis.
2. Lock Access Using Facial and Fingerprint Recognition
If you want to feel like a Bond girl, give this trick a try. Go to Settings > Security > Screen Lock (or Settings > Lock Screen > Screen Lock for Galaxy users), and choose either Face Unlock or Fingerprint. You may not have both options, depending on your device. When prompted, either take a picture for Face Unlock or scan your fingerprint. Now, any mastermind trying to gain entry into your phone will be foiled.
3. Invert Colors
In all seriousness, this function really does make it easier to read text in some scenarios (particularly at night or in other low light situations). But, mostly, I like it because it has a decidedly Tarantino-ish feel about it. To score the trippy style, go to Settings > Accessibility > Vision > and check Negative Colors from the list. In case you're curious, this will remain in effect on my phone throughout the month of October, because Halloween.
4. Stay Bright, for Pete's Sake
Up until I discovered this minor tweak, my screen constantly going dim was the bane of my existence. OK, perhaps that's a bit hyperbolic. It was a big pet peeve, though. Thanks to this Smart Stay feature (which may be specific to Samsung), my phone will no longer go dim as long as my eyes are on the screen. I find this both incredibly useful and slightly creepy in a 1984-the-establishment-is-always-watching kind of way. But, I digress. To get it, just go to Settings > Display > and check the box for Smart Stay.
5. Display Contact Info On the Screen
I have a certain family member who has lost her phone no less than 13 times. It is never found, or perhaps it is simply never returned because no one can figure out her passcode to determine who the phone belongs to. The next time I see her, I'm grabbing her phone and heading to Settings > Security > Show Owner Info On Lock Screen or Settings > Lock Screen > Lock Screen widgets > Show Information > Owner Information to save her email address to her lock screen in the inevitable event she misplaces her Android again.
6. Turn Your Phone Into a Remote Control
Listen, I have small children. This means I have no remote controls, or they have been rendered useless by missing batteries. One day, my phone prompted me to download an app called Peel Smart Remote. Obviously, the tiny gnome living inside my phone sensed my irritation at having to manually change the channels.
Y'all, it is amazing. It even controls my DVR. Apparently, this works by way of something called infrared blasters that some kind person built into our Androids. If your particular smartphone didn't come equipped with these sensors, don't fret — you can achieve the same effect by downloading various Google Play apps. But the bonus with the infrared blasters is that they let you control anything with an infrared signal (think garage gates, thermostats, etc.).
7. Send Someone Straight to Voicemail
You'll get no side-eye here for doing this. Every grownass woman has the right to send someone straight to VM should she need a hot minute to collect her thoughts every.single.time that person calls. So, instead of screening, this function lets your phone do your dirty bidding. Just go to Contacts > find the offender > click the Additional Info Icon (ellipsis) > click Add to Auto Reject List to bypass your ringer. Harsh, I know — but totally worth it.
8. Check Your Heart Rate... And More
Confession: S Health may be my most favorite feature on my phone. It came equipped when I got mine (the Samsung Galaxy Note 4), but you can download it separately via Google Play. So, with this nifty feature, your phone will actually scan your heart rate, count your steps, record your stress level, check the ambient temperature, gauge UV rays, and more. Did I mention it was amazing? 'Cause it so is.