Android is one of the best mobile operating systems. You can find it in smartphones, tablets, smart watches, fitness trackers, and even in your car dashboard.
The success of Android is partially due to its flexibility and open source.
Android Guides includes all our latest how-to guides on using Android devices organized in following sections:
Android 101 section covers core features of Android. These guides are version-independent.
Android 101 is also an excellent start point for new Android users.
Android Lollipop Guides
Android Lollipop guides section covers new features in Android Lollipop 5.0 and 5.1.
Android Marshmallow Guides
Android Marshmallow guides section covers new features in Android Lollipop 6.
Android Nougat Guides
Android Nougat guides section covers new features in Android Nougat 7.0 and 7.1
List of recent Android guides
Android 10 is the first Android release without a desert name. But this does not prevent Google from adding many new features of Android 10.
This Android 10 guide explains the top 10 new features you can enjoy on your Android phones with Android 10 update. These new features include the dark mode, Live Caption, new navigation gestures, all sensors off, critical update from Google directly, focus mode, emergency button, privacy control, location access controls, and WiFi sharing.
Dark mode: the best Android 10 new feature
The dark mode is not new.
In Android Pie (Android 9), Google added the dark mode (dark theme). But it is only system-wide.
For example, the Settings page in Android Pie is still always white even you enable the dark mode on the phone.
As a new feature of Android 10, Dark mode is now system-wide, and Google leaves no stone unturned.
All system pages, including the Settings page, will use the dark theme once you enable the dark mode on Android 10.
You can enable/disable dark mode from Settings — Display — Display– Dark theme on Android 10.
By default, Google also added a quick setting button for the dark mode as shown below.
The Live Caption can automagically caption any videos, podcasts, and audio messages with one tap.
Internet connection is not needed. Everything will be done locally on the phone.
So, many users think the Live Caption is one of the most practical new features in Android 10.
But this feature is not available in Android 10 now. Google said it would be released later, very likely with the release of Pixel 4.
Pixel phones will first get this feature through a firmware update. Other Android phones will get this feature early next year through Google’s udpate.
New Navigation Gestures on Android 10
Android 10 now allows you to eliminate the navigation buttons.
In Android Pie, you still have the Home and Back buttons when using the navigation gestures as explained in detail in this guide.
In Android 10, Home, Back, and Recents (Overview) buttons are all gone if you choose to use the new navigation gestures.
Probably navigation gesture is one of the most controversial new features of Android 10.
Anyway, if you choose to use “full” navigation gestures on Android 10, you need to know these Android 10 navigation gestures:
- Swipe up from the bottom of the screen to Home screen.
As a new feature of Android Pie, the dark theme may be affected by the night mode settings in the developer options. But this very likely will be resolved in Android Q.
This Android Pie guide shows you how to enable and use the dark theme on Android Pie phones, how to enable dark theme (dark mode) for individual apps, and explains the relationship between dark theme (device theme) and the night mode in Android Pie developer options.
Why Android Pie dark mode (dark theme) matters?
The default white (light) theme in stock Android looks cool during presentations.
But the white theme can be troublesome for you when you want to check messages in the darkness.
The dark mode (dark theme) is one of the most requested Android features. And Google partially delivered it in Android Pie.
You can expect at least the following 2 benefits from the dark mode:
- Less eyestrain. Most (not all) users will feel more comfortable when using the dark mode.
- Longer battery life. For OLED screens (as in all Pixel phones), the battery saving can be substantial because “black” pixels in the OLED panel use extremely low power and the “white” pixels drinks the most battery juice. Even for an LCD screen, the reduced brightness in the dark mode saves battery noticeably in most scenarios.
Of course, some Android users may prefer the cleanness of the default white theme.
How to enable and use Android Pie dark mode (dark theme)?
You may follow these steps to enable Android Pie dark mode on your phone.
Step 1: Open Settings
You can open phone settings by tapping the Settings icon on the home screen (or the apps screen).
You can also tap the edit icon in quick settings to access phone settings.
Step 2: Navigate to Display Settings
As shown in the screenshot below, in the Settings page, tap Display.
In the Display page, as shown above, tap Advanced.
Step 3: Change the device theme to dark
In the expanded Display settings page, tap Device theme to change the device theme.
In the popout, as shown above, you can choose the device theme as:
- Automatic (based on wallpaper).
The default in most Android phones is Automatic. The phone will try to figure out whether it uses the light or dark theme based on the wallpaper used.… Read the rest
This Android Pie guide explains what overview selection in Android Pie is and steps of using this feature.
Please note, overview selection currently is only implemented in the Pixel launcher and works only on Pixel phones (all 3 generations).
What is overview selection in Android Pie?
Overview selection in Android Pie allows you to select text or images from the overview screen directly. You can then paste or share the selected text or images.
Some actions, for example, calling or messaging may also be provided in the overview screen.
For images, Google Lens can be fired to check the image details, in addition to sharing the picture.
The most interesting feature is that the overview selection is not constrained by apps.
For example, you cannot copy some texts like the navigation menu inside the app. Some apps may do not allow you to copy their contents in the browser of the app. But now, in the overview screen, you can copy ALL text as long as they appear on the overview screen.
Of course, as a security feature, some banking apps do not show any contents in the overview screen. In this case, you cannot copy.
The bottom line is that you can copy and share whatever you can see in the overview screen of the app.
In a nutshell, overview selection in Android Pie is an application of smart selection in the overview screen.
Steps of using overview selection in Android Pie
You may follow these steps to use overview selection in Android Pie.
Step 1: Enable overview selection
By default, overview selection is enabled in Android Pie on all Pixel phones.
In case you disabled it, you need to enable this feature before proceed.
As shown in the screenshot below, you can tap and hold (aka long tap) any blank area on the home screen, then tap Home settings.
In the Home screen settings, tap Suggestions as shown above.
Now, you can enable Overview selection as shown below.
Of course, you can also disable it if you want.
Please note. the switch on the right side (and in blue) means the feature is enabled.
Step 2: Navigate to the overview screen
You can tap the Recents button to navigate to the Recents screen as shown above.… Read the rest
This Android Pie guide explains where to find the screenshot shortcut in Android Pie and how to use it to take a screenshot in Android Pie.
Why you may need the screenshot shortcut?
In all Android phones, the default method of taking a screenshot is pressing and holding the power button and volume down button simultaneously.
Using this button combination to take screenshots works on all Android phones and tablets. regardless of the version of Android. Even on Amazon Fire tablets, you can take a screenshot with the power button and volume down button although Amazon tried very hard to de-Google in the Fire OS (which is based on Android).
The method is simple and easy if you “master” it.
The tricky part is that you need to press and hold the two buttons “simultaneously“. It means
- If you hold the power button too early, you get the power menu (power button options).
- If you hold the volume down button too early, you get the volume settings.
For many users who take screenshots only occasionally, it is hard to control the timing.
So, a shortcut for taking screenshots is one of the most popular features in some Android phones.
Now, Google finally introduced the screenshot shortcut to take a screenshot on Android Pie.
Both new users and experienced users will find it very useful. Even your grandma can easily take a screenshot with the screenshot shortcut.
Where is the screenshot shortcut in Android Pie?
After hearing about this new Android Pie feature, Some Android Pie users tried to find the screenshot shortcut in the quick settings.
Of course, they cannot find it.
The screenshot shortcut is in power menu (aka power button options).
You can hold the power button for about 2 seconds to get the power menu /power button options as shown below.
By default, the shortcut to screenshot is enabled in the power button options. Stock Android does not offer a standard method to hide/unhide it.
However, some Android manufactures may customize this feature and let you enable or disable the button.
How to use the screenshot shortcut to take a screenshot on Android Pie?
To take a screenshot, you just need to call out the power button options, then tap Screenshot as shown above to take a screenshot for the screen (without the power button options).… Read the rest
The post How to use the screenshot shortcut to take a screenshot on Android Pie? appeared first on Android Guides.
If you just switched to Android from iPhone, you will get used to these Android Pie navigation gestures very quickly. But if you prefer the three navigation buttons, you need some time to adjust.
This Android Pie guide explains how to enable Android Pie navigation gestures, how to disable them, how to use them, and answer some questions you may have on Android Pie gestures.
Background of Android Pie navigation gestures
In Android OS, the navigation buttons had been an essential part. Since Android Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS, Android 4.0), on-screen navigation buttons (software based navigation button) has been introduced to replace the hardware capacitive buttons.
Although Google wanted to kill the hardware buttons in Android (FYI, all Google released phones including Nexus and Pixel phones only use on-screen navigation buttons), Android manufacturers, especially Samsung, are slow to move in this direction. For example, Samsung only started to remove the hardware buttons in Galaxy S8 and S8+ in 2017.
For new smartphone users and old people, the navigation buttons (hardware or on-screen) are very useful and intuitive.
But for experienced users and younger generations, gestures can be more productive.
In Android 9, Google decided to add navigation gestures to partially replace the on-screen navigation buttons.
Of course, the Android Pie navigation gesture is not a complete replacement to the old navigation buttons because:
- Android Pie navigation gestures still need the home button. The back button will also appear automatically whenever necessary.
- Android manufacturers can always customize the gestures, or even disable them and use the old 3 navigation buttons.
In the future Android releases (e.g., Android Q), very likely, Google will strengthen and navigation gestures. In fact, in Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL, the old navigation buttons were disabled, and owners have to use the Android Pie navigation gestures.
What are the Android Pie navigation gestures?
Android Pie navigation gestures are all based on the home button. Here is the list of supported gestures:
- Swipe upwards from the home button to see recent apps. This is equivalent to tapping the Recent/overview button in the old 3-button system.
- Swipe right from the home button to switch to the previous app. In the old 3-button system, you need to get this in two steps: tap the Recent/Overview button, then tap the icon in the overview screen.
Android Pie guides cover major new features in Android Pie (Android 9.0). You can learn to use your Android Pie phones confidently with the help of these guides.
Why should you check these Android Pie Guides?
As explained in this post, there are many new features in Android Pie (Android 9). Even for a seasoned Android user, some of the new features are not straightforward.
So, we prepare these Android Pie guides to help both new and seasoned Android users master the new features in Android Pie (Android 9).
In other words, these Android Pie guides will help you use the Android Pie phone more effectively and productively.
All the guides in this section include detailed step-by-step instructions. So, they are easy to follow for all phone users.
We also highlight possible variations of customizations of some features in different phones in the guide to make sure that these guides work on most phones with Android Pie.
List of Android Pie Guides
Android Pie guides page is a live one: more guides will be added after we fully test them.
If you cannot find the guide you want, you can leave your request in the comment box below. We will try to speed up the release of the relevant guides.
If you have any questions on using an Android Pie phone, you can post your questions in the comment box as well. The community will help you get the answer quickly.
Here is the list of Android Pie guides released or to be released shortly.
This Android Pie guide explains the top 20 new features in Android Pie (Android 9): new navigational gestures, digital wellbeing, adaptive battery, dark mode, adaptive brightness, app actions, slices, app timers, wind down, screenshot shortcut, lockdown mode, overview selection, multitasking, multi-camera and external camera support, smart replies, notification management, text magnifier, volume controls, and accessibility menu.
Read on …
Android Pie introduced a set of new navigation gestures to replace the navigation buttons. Of course, there are many other new features in Android Pie.
This Android Pie guide explains how to enable Android Pie navigation gestures, how to disable them, how to use them, and answer some questions you may have on Android Pie gestures.
Read on …
Although Android manufacturers may customize or cripple some of the new features of Android Pie (9) in their devices, you will still enjoy a similar Android Pie experiences.
This Android Pie guide explains the top 20 new features of Android Pie (Android 9) most users will enjoy.
What is Android Pie (Android 9)?
Android Pie, aka Android P or Android 9, is the 9th major update of Android OS. It was officially released to the public on August 6, 2018.
As the successor of Android Oreo, many new features of Android Pie are expected in both of the user interface (UI) and the underhood.
Since the release of Android Icecream Sandwich (Android 4.0) in 2011, Google has released one major update of Android each year: Android Jelly Bean (Android 4.1) in 2012, Android KitKat (Android 4.4) in 2013, Android Lollipop (Android 5) in 2014, Android Marshmallow (Android 6) in 2015, Android Nougat (Android 7) in 2016 and Android Oreo (Android 8) in 2017.
On the release date, only Pixel, Pixel XL, Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL received the Android Pie (Android 9) update. Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL are the first phones shipped with Android Pie.
Most Android vendors started to roll out Android Pie update for their flagship phones from October 2018.
Why do you care about the new features of Android Pie (Android 9)
For most end-users, user interface (UI) is one of the most important features.
Android Pie will not disappoint you. There are tons of UI improvements. Of course, unless you are using a Google Pixel phone or an Android One phone, the manufacturers may tweak these new UI features a bit.
This page highlights the top 20 new features of Android Pie that most Android users will be happy to enjoy.
For app developers, there are also many new features of Android Pie. For example, Android Pie now supports the Wi-Fi Round-Trip-Time (RTT). So you can take advantage of indoor positioning in your apps.
Anyway, updating your phone to Android Pie will rejuvenate your Oreo phone, which may look boring and work slower day-by-day.
#1 of the top 20 new features of Android Pie: new navigational gestures
Navigation buttons (Home, Back and Recents/Overview) have been a standard feature in Android for a long time.… Read the rest
In Android Ore0 8.0 and 8.1, smart text selection was introduced by adding a dynamic (smart) option (based on text highlighted) to the text selection menu.
So, you can get one additional option (in addition to the normal text selection in previous versions of Android) to use the highlighted text directly without going through the copy and paste procedure.
This Android Oreo guide explains to you what smart text selection is, and how to use this feature with examples.
What is smart text selection?
Prior to Android Oreo, selection, copy, and paste are all independent of other operations.
For example, after you finish the text selection, Android simply put the contents in the clipboard and close the pop-out window. Later, you can paste the text in supported apps.
Smart text selection in Android Oreo gives you a suggested shortcut to specific apps, in addition to all other text selection options.
The suggested app shortcut is based on the contents highlighted.
For example, if you highlight a number, Android Oreo may think it is probably a phone number and therefore the phone app is suggested.
If you highlight an email address, smart text selection will think you may want to email this person, and therefore GMail app is suggested.
When you highlight an address, then Google Maps app will be suggested.
In Android Oreo, smart text selection can only suggest apps that can directly operate on the highlighted text.
How to use smart text selection?
Smart text selection is always enabled in Android Oreo.
There are no user-accessible settings for it. This means you even cannot disable it even if you do not like it.
Smart text selection in Android Oreo may suggest various apps such as Google Maps, GMail, Chrome and Phone.
Here are some examples of smart text selection for these apps.
Smart text selection for Google Maps
Android Oreo can detect addresses from highlighted phrases and suggest Google Maps as the following app to use the selected text.
When an address is highlighted, as shown below, Google Maps is placed before the cut/copy options in the copy/paste menu.
You have the option to use cut/copy/paste and other options normally as in text selection in Android Marshmallow/Nougat.
If you tap Google Maps as shown above, your phone will bring you directly to Google Maps and display the address highlighted, as shown below.… Read the rest
Since Android Gingerbread, Google always hides an Easter egg in each major version of Android.
The Easter egg in Android Nougat is even more interesting. The cat-catching game (Android Neko) is somewhat addictive for some users.
Android Oreo is not an exception. It also comes with an Easter egg.
What is Android Oreo Easter Egg?
Android Oreo’s Easter Egg features an octopus (because it is Android O).
It is a simple game: you can watch the octopus moving in the sea. Of course, you can drag it to move faster and change its path.
How to access the Android Oreo Easter egg game?
Google did not change the way to access Easter egg in Android Oreo.
If you are new to Android Easter egg, you may follow these steps to access the Android Oreo Easter egg game.
Step 1: Access phone settings
You can access phone settings via quick settings panel or settings app in the Home screen or Apps screen.
For example, as shown below, you can tap the settings icon (gear) in the quick settings panel to access phone settings.
Step 2: Access Android version
In settings, scroll all the way down until you find system (or about phone in some Android phones).
Then as shown below, tap on System.
In System page, tap on About phone.
In the About phone page, you can find the Android version.
For example, as shown below, this Pixel XL is running Android 8.1.0.
Please note, some Android vendors may arrange the Android version in other locations.
Step 3: unhide Android Oreo Easter egg
You can unhide the Android Oreo Easter egg by tapping rapidly on Android version for more than 5 times.
An Android Oreo icon should appear as shown below.
Step 4: Play Android Oreo Easter egg game
Tap on the Android Oreo icon rapidly a few times and hold it to launch the game.
There are also a few other ways to launch the game as well.
The Android Oreo Easter egg- an octopus, would appear.
You can drag the octopus by its head around the screen to move it.
To exit the game, simply press the back icon on the navigation bar.
Do you know how to unhide Android Oreo Easter egg?
Notification channels (notification categories) in Android Oreo give you granular control of notifications.
You can manage individual channels of notifications from all apps to meet your needs. You can use notification categories (channels) together with notification dots and notification snooze to get total control of notifications in your Android Oreo phones.
This Android Oreo guide explains what notification channels are, 3 ways to access notification categories and how to manage notification channels in Android Oreo phones.
What are notification channels?
When an app pushes notifications, you may want to only allow a certain type of notifications, for example, important notifications related to certain activities, to appear in the notification panel.
Prior to Android Oreo 8.0, you can enable or disable notifications for individual apps. You can also silence notification for individual apps.
But you cannot selectively disable or enable some notifications of an app.
In Android Ore0, developers can group notifications of their apps into different notification channels (aka notification categories). You, as a user, can disable or enable individual notification channel (notification category) based on your preferences. For example, you can allow notifications from a specific notification channel to bypass do not disturb.
In a nutshell, notification channels offer granular control of notifications of individual apps. You can manage the notifications of each channel as well as of individual app.
Notification channels are enabled by individual app developers for their apps. Apps developed for older versions of Android (API level less than 27) will not have notification channels even if your phone was updated to Android Oreo.
How to access notification channels in Android Oreo?
There are at least 3 ways to access the notification channels for individual apps:
- via Quick Settings panel;
- Settings app;
- in the notifications panel.
Accessing notification channel through the Quick Settings panel or settings app
Step 1: Access the Settings menu
You can tap the settings app icon in the Home screen or Apps screen to enter phone settings.
Alternatively, you can open the quick settings panel by pulling the status bar downwards (swiping down from the status bar).
Then in the quick settings panel, tap the settings icon as shown below to access phone settings.
Step 2: Check apps and their notification channels (notification categories)
In the Settings page, tap Apps & notifications as shown below.
In apps and notifications page, tap on notifications then tap on app notifications.
To see various notification channels for each app, tap on the app.… Read the rest
The post How to use and manage notification channels in Android Oreo? appeared first on Android Guides.