- Voice search with the screen off
Not everyone knows this and certainly not everyone’s phone has the ability to do this. However, some Android smartphones let you perform a search with your voice—voice search—with the “OK Google” phrase, even when the screen is off. Many phones have the ability to search from any screen when the screen is on, but only a few phones with a dedicated listening core can search even when the display is inactive (or off). To know if your phone can do this, simply go to your settings > Search and Now > Voice > OK Google Detection > Always on and flip the switch. Remember you’ll need to train Google to recognize your voice first (the options are on the same screen). Not that unsupported phones will say From any screen rather than Always on.
2. Remote lock or wipe your lost phone
There are only a few things in this life that can be worse than losing your personal assistant, in this case, your smartphone. Apart from the apparent financial burden of having to get a replacement, having someone else have access to your data, images and text are downright dangerous. Did you know that Google has an awesome feature called Android Device Manager (ADM) that lets you track and take control of your phone if you ever lose it? ADM goes beyond just tracking your phone though: you can use it to ring your phone, remotely lock it or even factory reset it. Just enable Android Device Manager in Settings > Security > Device Administrators and access the site on your computer if you ever lose your phone.
3. If found, return to:
This is another great tip for anyone with a tendency to misplace their things or for those with the bad habit of leaving your phone on the restaurant table while they dash off to the bathroom. If your phone gets lost and you suspect it has been picked up by someone, you can put a message on the lock screen telling the finder of your phone how to get in contact with you.
You can achieve the same thing with Android Device Manager if you’ve already lost your phone, but the option can be done in advance as a safety measure. Go to Settings > Security > Lock screen message to add your phone number, email or return instructions. Offering a reward for your phone’s safe return isn’t a bad idea either.
4. Scan barcodes
Back to the camera on your smartphone: You can turn it into a usable barcode scanner with ease and an app such as the aptly named Barcode Scanner. The app works with QR codes as well as barcodes and there are plenty of third-party apps on the Google Play Store that does the same job. Why would you want to scan a barcode? It largely depends on the app you’re using, but shopping is the main reason: If you see something in a store you can check the online price, for example, or you can use it to order something you’re about to run out of.
5. Cast your phone screen to your favourite TV
All you need to share what’s on your phone’s screen with your television is a Chromecast or a television that’s set up to work with Android devices and you can mirror what’s on your screen there. This comes in handy if you want to share pictures or videos on your phone to someone else, watch YouTube without having to use an external app, or even play your favourite mobile games on a larger screen. Go to the Quick Settings menu and choose Cast. Your device will pop up the Chromecast that’s set up, or the television of your choice (if it’s a smart TV) and you can start casting. It’s very simple, and quick to set up.