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Feature: 18 ways to get the most out of Android 5.0

Por JR Raphael - InfoWorld (USA)

17/02/2015 às 14h08

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Got Lollipop? Google's Android 5.0 operating system is  slowly but surely making its way to devices around the world -- and like any  major OS upgrade, it brings with it a whole new set of options, features, and  shortcuts to master.

 

Some of Lollipop's new elements are obvious, like the striking new Material Design motif or the revamped Overview (aka Recent Apps) interface. Others,  however, take a little learning and exploration to discover.

 

Strap on your explorer hat and stretch out your phalanges: It's time to get  into the nooks and crannies of Lollipop's many possibilities.

 

(Note that this story focuses on Google's core Android 5.0 software. Some  hardware manufacturers modify the OS, however, so the placement and presence of  items described here may vary depending on your device.)

 

Tip No. 1: Bump and beam data to another device One of Android's least-known but most useful features picks up even more power  with Lollipop: With Android 5.0, Android Beam gains the ability to wirelessly  transmit practically any type of content from one device to another -- and it's  easier than ever to use.

 

Simply tap the share icon in any app -- like while viewing a photo in the  Photos app, a contact entry in the Contacts app, or a document in your favorite  Android office suite -- and select Android Beam from the  list of options that appears. Then tap the back of your device to the back of  another Android device, and the info will be zapped over in an instant.

 

The receiving device doesn't even have to have Lollipop; it only needs to  support NFC (near-field communication) -- which most reasonably recent midrange  to high-end Android devices do -- and to be powered on and unlocked.

 

Tip No. 2: Quick swipe for settings Need to change a device-level setting fast? You can swipe down twice from the  top of your device's screen to access the new Lollipop-level Quick Settings  panel, which allows you to quickly adjust elements like display brightness,  Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connections, airplane mode, and flashlight status. You can  also get to the Quick Settings panel by swiping down once from the top of your  screen while using two fingers.

 

Tip No. 3: Tap text for extra shortcuts You wouldn't know it by looking, but two of the settings in Lollipop's Quick  Settings panel have hidden secondary functions: With both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth,  you can tap the icon to toggle the function on or off and tap the text --  either your Wi-Fi network name or the word "Bluetooth" -- to jump directly to  the respective section of the full system settings.

 

Tip No. 4: Bone up on your battery use See the battery-level indicator at the top of Lollipop's Quick Settings panel?  Tap it to jump to Android's power consumption tool, which gives you a detailed  breakdown of exactly what apps and processes are draining your device's  battery. While you're there, tap the overflow menu icon (the three vertical  dots) at the top right of the screen to set up Lollipop's new battery-saver  mode, which automatically revs down your system's engines when the battery gets  low in order to keep things running as long as possible.

 

Tip No. 5: Keep tabs on your alarms The next time you set an alarm on your Android device, take a quick peek in the  Quick Settings panel: Lollipop shows the date and time of your next alarm  there, and you can tap on it to jump directly to the Clock app if you need to  make any changes.

 

Tip No. 6: Tune Android to respond to the sound of your voice Android 5.0 has a powerful new always-listening voice command system that's  available on many devices, but you have to activate it before it'll work -- and  the option to do so is surprisingly out of sight and buried.

 

Ready to dig it up? In your system settings, tap "Language & input," then  "Voice input." Tap the gear icon next to "Enhanced Google services," then tap  "'Ok Google Detection" and look for the option labeled "From any screen." (If  it isn't there, your device probably doesn't support the feature. Sorry!)

 

Now follow the prompts to train the system to recognize your voice and your  voice alone. When you're finished, you'll be able to say, "Ok, Google," to wake  your device anytime -- even when its screen is off -- and give it all sorts of commands without ever  touching it.

 

Tip No. 7: Bypass the lock screen at home Nothing against pass codes, but unlocking your phone every time you want to  check a sports score -- er, work email while waiting for pasta water to boil  can be a real nuisance. Trouble is, that one time you turn off the lock at home  and forget to turn it back on before catching the bus could come back to haunt  you.

 

Enter Lollipop's newly introduced Trusted Places, which allows you to keep your  phone or tablet always unlocked at a set geographical location -- like your  house or office. To give Lollipop the go-ahead, head to your system settings,  tap on Security, then Smart Lock. There you will find Trusted Places, where you  can set specific trusted locations.

 

Tip No. 8: Bypass the lock screen on the go Similarly, Lollipop can keep your phone or tablet unlocked whenever it's  connected to a specific Bluetooth device you trust, such as your smartwatch or  car audio system. While you're in the Smart Lock menu (see Tip No. 7), tap the  option labeled Trusted Devices and follow the prompts to add a device onto the  list. Once you're finished, your phone or tablet won't prompt you for your PIN,  pattern, or password anytime the trusted device is present and paired.

 

Tip No. 9: Override Smart Lock Don't fret: You can still secure your device when Smart Lock is enabled. Think  of it as a manual override option: Anytime Smart Lock is activated, tap and  hold the padlock icon at the bottom of your phone or tablet's lock screen.  After about a second, you'll see an alert informing you that the device has  been locked and will require your security code for the next entry.

 

Tip No. 10: Cut down the notification noise Notifications can help you stay on top of everything that's important to you,  but with nearly every app nagging for attention, keeping on top of which  notifications you want to receive can be a chore.

 

If you're getting pestered by a notification you'd rather not receive, tap the  notification and hold your finger down for about a second. Android will show  you exactly what app created the notification and give you a link to the app's  information page, where you can blacklist it from creating additional alerts.

 

Tip No. 11: Prioritize notifications Another way to see only important notifications and keep the rest away is to  make use of Lollipop's new Priority notification mode. To activate it, press  your device's volume-up or volume-down button and tap Priority on the box that  appears. You can then select to leave Priority mode enabled indefinitely or to  specify a limited amount of time for which it'll remain active.

 

While you're there, tap the gear icon next to the words "Priority notifications  only" to make sure you're set up the way you like. You'll be able to control  exactly what types of notifications are considered "priority" -- events and  reminders, any calls and messages, or only calls and messages from specific  approved contacts. You can also set regular recurring times for Priority mode  to be activated -- if, for instance, you always want it to turn on during the  overnight hours to prevent less-pressing alerts from sounding.

 

Tip No. 12: Keep notifications discreet Lollipop puts your pending notifications right on the lock screen, which can be  handy -- but can raise pesky privacy issues, particularly for  security-sensitive business users. Take control of the situation by going into  the Sound & Notification section of your device's system settings and tapping  the option labeled "When device is locked." There, you can choose whether the  lock screen shows all notifications, no notifications, or only notifications  that aren't considered sensitive.

 

To mark an app's notifications as sensitive, tap App Notifications in that same  Sound & Notification section and select the app from the list. From here you  can set its notifications to "sensitive" and block it from showing any  notifications or whitelist it to always show its alerts when you're in Priority  mode (see Tip No. 11).

 

Tip No. 13: Share your device with guest mode Want to let someone use your phone or tablet without gaining access to all your  stuff? Try Lollipop's new guest mode. Swipe down twice (or swipe down once with  two fingers) from the top of your screen to access the Quick Settings panel,  then tap the user icon in the upper-right corner of the screen. Select "Add  guest" from the menu that appears, and voilà: Your device will switch to a new  profile in which all basic functions are available but none of your apps, data,  or settings is accessible.

 

To exit guest mode, mosey back into the Quick Settings panel, tap the user  icon, and tap "Remove guest." Enter your security code, and you'll be back at  home in your own regular profile.

 

Tip No. 14: Keep guests from making calls If you want to create a more limited guest mode for your phone in which someone  could get online but not make calls, head into the Users section of your system  settings and tap the gear icon next to Guest. Tap the toggle next to "Allow  phone calls," and the function will be disabled. (Guest mode already prohibits  a user from accessing any phone-based text messaging, so there's no need to  worry about that.)

 

Tip No. 15: Screen-pin to share access to a single app For an even more limited way to let someone else use your phone or tablet, take  Android 5.0's new screen-pinning feature out for a spin. First, go into the  Security section of your system settings and select the option labeled Screen  Pinning to activate it. Once it's active, tap your device's Overview button  (the rectangular icon at the bottom of the screen, next to the Home key) and  scroll upward with your finger.

 

Tap the green pushpin icon on the bottommost card and confirm that you want to  start screen pinning. Be sure to select the "Ask for unlock pattern before  unpinning" option.

 

That'll lock your device to your most recently used app or process so that  someone can access it and nothing else -- if, say, you wanted to let a friend  make a call or look something up in Chrome but didn't want them to be able to  open anything else. In order to exit screen-pinning mode, you'll need to touch  and hold the Overview button and enter your security code to continue.

 

Tip No. 16: Cut down on Overview clutter Speaking of the Overview function, Lollipop allows you to have every individual  browser tab appear as a card in the Overview list instead of as a traditional  tab within Chrome itself -- but you don't have to use it that way. If you'd  rather have your tabs be managed within Chrome, open up the Chrome app on your  Android 5.0 phone or tablet, tap the overflow menu icon, and select Settings.  Select "Merge tabs and apps" from the list that appears, then simply tap the  toggle to turn it off.

 

Tip No. 17: Bring back silent mode A traditional silent mode is mysteriously missing in Android 5.0 -- so what to do when you  need your phone to stay quiet? You have two main options, neither of which is  exactly intuitive: First, you can press your volume-up or volume-down key and  select None from the box that appears on screen. That'll keep all sounds from  coming out of your device -- but it'll put the kibosh even on alarms, which  typically still sound in a traditional silent setting.

 

The other option, if you don't want to silence your alarms as well, is to use  the Priority mode described in Tip No. 10 and configure it so that no  notifications are allowed through. Alarms are an exception that are always  permitted in that mode, so if you disable everything else, you'll be good to go.

 

Tip No. 18: Hang up in style Save yourself a few steps the next time you're ready to end a call: Open up  your phone's system settings and select Accessibility. Tap and activate the  option labeled "Power button ends call." Now, when you want to hang up on  someone, all you have to do is press your phone's power button -- no futzing  with the screen or searching for the right icon.

 

Saying so long has never been so easy. 

 

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