Looking for cool new things to do with your Android device in October 2018? Regardless of which version of Android you have, here are some of the coolest features added to Android over the past year.
You Can Insert GIFs Into Pretty Much Any App Using the Gboard Keyboard
The Gboard keyboard now supports GIF usage by default. Want to communicate with your friends without relying on words? GIFs are a great solution. You know what they say: the right GIF is worth a thousand words.
Be aware that the Gboard GIF feature isn’t supported in all apps yet. However, GIF support is growing, and it’s easier than ever to access GIFs in any app that has a keyboard. Here’s how to access the Gboard GIFs feature:
Step 1) Download Gboard
Step 2) Change your default keyboard by going to Settings > Language & input
Step 3) Tap Current keyboard
Step 4) Select English (US) Gboard
Whenever you want to insert GIFs into the conversation, just do this:
Step 1) Open a supporting app
Step 2) Start composing a message
Step 3) Press the emoji button
Step 4) Press the GIF button
Step 5) Type a search term to find the perfect GIF (like “surprised” to find surprised gifs); or, browse different categories
Step 6) Tap the right GIF you want to use, then click send
Pin Apps to Prevent Snooping
If you frequently give your phone to a co-worker, your child, or a parent, then you probably don’t want them to snoop into your other apps – whether it’s accidental or on-purpose.
Fortunately, Android has a built-in function that discourages snoops from browsing through different parts of your phone.
It’s called Screen Pinning. Screen Pinning lets you lock a certain app to your screen. You can lock an app to your screen, give someone your phone, and relax knowing they can’t navigate to other apps.
Screen pinning has been a feature in Android since last year Today, however, many Android users don’t even have screen pinning enabled. Here’s how to enable it:
Step 1) Go to Settings > Security
Step 2) Find Screen pinning or Screen pin
Step 3) Enable it and make sure the Screen Lock option is also turned on
Then, anytime you need to use it, just follow these steps:
Step 1) Open the app you want to pin before giving your phone to someone else
Step 2) Open the recent apps screen, then scroll up until you see the pin icon
Step 3) Tap the pin icon, then hand your phone away
In order to unpin the app, you typically just long-press the back button. Sometimes, you long-press the back button while simultaneously pressing the recent apps button. Your phone will explain the process when you setup screen pinning for the first time.
Create Custom Quick Tiles
Android has another under-utilized feature called Quick Settings Tiles. If you open the notification shade (by scrolling down from the top of the screen), then you’ll see the icons for Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, screen orientation, etc. by default.
First, many Android users are unaware they can move these icons around. Just long-press on any icon to re-arrange it within the menu.
Alternatively, you can add your own custom quick tiles to the notification shade. You can add a weather icon, for example, to easily get at-a-glance information about the weather.
You’ll need to download third party apps to add icons to your notification shade. Some of the more popular apps include:
Weather Quick Settings Tile: Displays basic weather information in a minimalistic way
Quick Settings: Lets you add a web search from within the notifications menu and perform other functions
Caffeinate: Tap a button to keep your scree awake for 5 minutes, say if you’re doing something important on another device while needing your phone to stay on
Tiles: Create your own tiles
After downloading these apps, you can add a quick tile at any time by following these steps:
Step 1) Pull down the quick settings bar / notification shade by swiping from the top of your screen
Step 2) Tap the edit button (the pencil icon on certain devices)
Step 3) Find the tile and drag it to the quick settings bar / notification shade
Step 4) That’s it!
Whether you have a rooted Android device or a non-rooted device, the tips above can help you get the most out of your Android smartphone and tablet in October 2018 and beyond.