With so many features in today’s smartphones, it’s understandable that most users don’t master each one. But with each new update, novel features add to the offerings on Android phones. Honestly, it’s time you stop missing out on all the productivity and aesthetic perks.
Whether you’re a convert from iOS or need some help navigating an upgraded Android device, these tips and tricks will help you get the most out of your smartphone.
Looking to get a hold of Android 10? Here’s how you can download and install Android 10. If you’re waiting on an update from your manufacturer, you can keep an eye on our Android 10 update tracker, and read through our Android 10 review while you wait.
How to turn on the Dark Mode, and change Android’s overall theme
A system-wide Dark Mode was one of the headline additions to Android 10, so it makes sense it’s easy to switch on. Just head to Settings > Display > Dark Theme and toggle it on. It’s perfect for use at night, as it reduces the chances you’ll be dazzled by a bright screen. You can find more about this in our Android 10 Dark Mode guide.
Did you know you can also change the icon styles, fonts, and color schemes in Android 10? There are a number of different themes available, and you’ll find these in Settings > Display > Styles and wallpapers. You can pick from the four preset themes, or create your own by choosing from the available fonts and icon styles.
How to use Focus Mode
Focus Mode is Android 10’s way of stopping you from being distracted by various notifications and apps that bleep and bloop. Flick it on, and distracting apps you nominate will be locked out while the mode is active, leaving you free to concentrate.
You’ll find this useful mode in Digital Wellbeing. You can either find Digital Wellbeing through your Settings menu — through Settings > Digital Wellbeing & parental controls > Focus mode — or by tapping the Digital Wellbeing app in your app list. You can find out how to add Digital Wellbeing to your app list in our Focus Mode guide.
Once you’ve opened up Focus Mode, you can add or remove apps from the blacklist, and to turn it on, just tap the Turn on now button. You can also add Focus Mode to your Quick Settings under your notification shade.
How to turn on gesture navigation
Android 9.0 Pie introduced a gesture navigation system, but Google clearly wasn’t happy with it, as it debuted another new one in Android 10. To try out the new (or old) gesture navigation system, head to your Settings app, then tap System > Gestures > System navigation. You’ll be able to select between the three different options available to Android 10 users. It’s worth testing them all out, as it’s a heavily personal choice. To get more details on how each navigation system works, check out our Android 10 gesture navigation guide.
How to use Live Captions
It’s only available on certain Pixel phones right now, but if you’re one of the lucky few with access to Live Captions, then it’s something you should know about. Live Captions uses machine learning to add captions to any video or audio content, and this feature doesn’t need an internet connection to work. It’s easy to turn on; just pull up the media you need subtitled, press either volume key, and then tap the Live Caption box that appears beneath the volume bar. If you can’t see it, go to Settings > Accessibility > Live Caption and make sure Live Caption in volume control is toggled on.
How to use the improved Smart Reply
Smart Reply has received some upgrades in Android 10. The feature, which offers contextual auto-responses in message notifications, now offers additional functionality. Now, if someone messages you a link to YouTube or Google Maps, you’ll be able to open the link directly from your notifications. It works in SMS messages, but also works in other messaging apps like Facebook Messenger.
How to change app permissions
One of the biggest changes to Android 10 wasn’t a new feature, but a tightening of Android’s permissions system. Android 10 includes a dedicated area where you can see which apps have access to which permissions and make changes easily. You can find this in Settings > Privacy > Permission manager.
Location data is one of the most personal permissions you can lend to an app, and Google provided a new permission level just for location data. Head to Settings > Privacy > Permission manager > Location, to find an app and set it to Allow only while using the app to stop it from accessing your location in the background.
How to share Wi-Fi details with a QR code
Sharing Wi-Fi passwords can be a pain, especially if you’ve managed to mislay your documentation. Thankfully, as long as you’re connected to a Wi-Fi network, you can easily share your Wi-Fi connection with a friend. Android 10 contains a tool that turns a Wi-Fi connection into a QR code, which can be scanned by a friend’s phone. Simply scan the code and they’ll be able to connect to your Wi-Fi. You’ll find this handy tool under Settings > Network and Internet > Wi-Fi, where you can select the Wi-Fi connection you want to share. Then tap the Share button, confirm with your fingerprint, face scan, or password, and your unique QR code will pop up.
How to change screen rotation settings
You don’t always want an automatically rotating screen. For instance, if you’re browsing Facebook while lying on your side, you don’t want the screen to suddenly flip to landscape. Thankfully, you can turn off auto-rotate by going to Settings > Display > Advanced and then turning off the auto-rotate option. You can also find the option to turn it off in your Quick Settings, which are accessed by pulling down on the notification shade.
Android 10 also has additional features for auto-rotate haters which means you can leave it off forever. With auto-rotate off, you can manually rotate the display by turning the phone to the desired orientation, and then tapping the rotate button that appears in the bottom-right corner.
How to trigger Google Assistant
You can call up the Google Assistant with the “OK, Google” or “Hey, Google” hot words, but you may also be wondering how to trigger the Assistant non-verbally. You used to be able to long-press the home button to call up the A.I. assistant, but Android 10’s new navigation system does away with that button entirely — so, how do you do it?
It’s a little less than intuitive, but it is there. Simply drag your finger diagonally from a bottom corner of your screen to trigger the Assistant. If you’ve done it right, you’ll see Google’s colors rush from both bottom corners, meeting in the middle. After a brief pause, the Google Assistant will pop up and you’ll be able to use all your favorite commands.
How to delete apps
Here’s a tip that’s pretty vital and always worth a refresher. Deleting apps hasn’t undergone a huge renovation since the last version of Android, but there are some tricks you should be aware of. You can still uninstall apps by heading into your app settings and deleting from there. To do that, head to your Settings app, then hit Apps and notifications > See all [number] apps. Then select your app from the list and tap the Uninstall button to remove it from your device.
But there’s another way to delete apps from your phone, and it’s a lot quicker. Simply open your app drawer, long-press the app you want to delete, and then drag it across the screen. Your app list will close, and your home page will pop up. While still pressing on your screen, drag the app icon to the Uninstall icon in the top-right corner and release. The app will then be deleted.