April 2, 2013

Notes for noob Android users!

I've had a slew of new Android smartphone users around me, including my mom! So imma share a few things I end up repeating and have experienced with all of 'em on the qwerks of Android.

The keyboard is switchable!

Long-press a blank text box to access Input Methods and see what options you have. I highly recommend getting Swype. On most new phones it's available in Input Options, you just have to enable it. It will take you a few minutes to get used to it, trust me. You'll spend much less time typing, and correcting what you type. If it's not on your phone, get it off Swype.com as it doesn't appear on Google Play (at least for me).

When adding contacts, choose to store them in your Gmail account:

This way, it auto-syncs (provided you turn on the phone-wide sync once in awhile, if you leave it switched off). You don't need to use backup apps included by the phone manufacturer this way. If you're using a Nexus phone this would be the default, this one's more for the rest of us. Also, it is easier to sort your contacts, as you can open up Gmail on your computer and sort it there, and it would sync to your phone. If you're importing contacts from another phone, if you can figure out a way to get it into Gmail, then you've got it on your phone too!

Same goes for Calendaring, I prefer to use Google Calendar, or an app that runs on top of Google Calendar. This way, you only need a browser on your computer to access it. You get the drift, use the services provided by Google, it's easier on the phone, while syncing and backups become a non-issue.

There is more than one button! 

This is mostly for the Apple people. In addition to the Home button, there is a Menu button, usually a hardware or (more elusive) touch button, which will reveal much when pressed! Many apps have no indication that there is a menu with awesome options hidden away inside it. So remember, you have a Menu Button!

Most phones will have you signed in to Google Talk, and you won't know this. People will message you, and you might not know this also! So do remember to check, or sign out of it.

Tips for saving battery: 

- Explore apps on your phone and see what else you're signed into or which apps you don't use are running in the background. Turn them off or remove them altogether.

- Turn off sync: You can switch it off for your entire phone, or selectively turn off certain apps under Settings, if you really need your email but want to avoid things like Facebook, for example.

- Adjust your screen's brightness settings. Large screens can drain batteries real fast.

- 3G/4G connections will use up the most amount of battery. Switch to Wi-fi or 2G for a longer battery life. Or turn off all data connections for a way longer battery life and some notification-free silence!

- Get an app like Juice Defender which will help you conserve battery.


Lookout is one of my favourite apps. It keeps bugs out of your phone, and in the event of a lost phone it can help you out. And if you've synced everything to Google you'll never have to worry about losing much with a dead/lost phone.

I know I haven't gone in to detail on the how-to's, but now that you know what to do, you can refer to your manual or look it up!