android tips and tricks
Photo: bloomua

When you stumble upon a word or topic you’re unfamiliar with on your Chrome browser, there’s no need to open a new tab to look it up. Once you’ve selected that word or phrase, a Google panel will appear at the bottom of the screen. Pull that up to see the Google search results for the phrase.
How to set up: Hit Menu > Settings in your Chrome app, then make sure that Touch to Search is selected.

We’ve all been there – a colleague asks to borrow your phone briefly, but you’re worried they’ll accidentally wander into something you’d rather keep private. You need a way to limit access, without taking so long that they feel insulted. Screen Pinning is a quick-and-dirty way to restrict your colleague to just the app she’s looking at.
How to set up: You need to do a one-time set-up by going to Settings > Security, and enable Screen Pinning. The next time someone asks to use your phone, open the requested app, tap on the square icon, and swipe up on the app. Tap on the pin icon, and your colleague will be confined to that one service.

Also read: 11 important safety tips you need to know when buying and using portable power banks

If you find yourself frequently going beyond your monthly data plan, your phone can warn you when you’re close to the limit. It can even cut off mobile data once you’ve hit the maximum.
How to set up: Go to Settings > Data Usage, and enable Set mobile data limit. Key in the dates of your monthly bill cycle, and a warning, and when it absolutely needs to cut off your mobile data.

Err on the side of caution and set up your Android Device Manager, pronto. It’s useful for all sorts of scenarios, from leaving your phone behind in a cab, or when you’re hunting around the house for your device.
Once it’s set up, you can remotely ring your phone from any computer, narrow down its approximate location on the map, lock it down, or even erase all data. Caveat: The missing phone must be connected to mobile data or Wi-Fi.
How to set up: Go to Settings > Google > Security, then look under the Android Device Manager sub-heading to turn on Remotely locate this device. Go back to Settings, then make sure Location is enabled. The next time you need to look for your phone, type Find my phone into Google search, and you’ll be presented with the various options.

The next time you want to call a restaurant to make a reservation, skip the browser and go straight to your Phone app. Just key in the name of the business (say, Sarnies), and the app will bring up the phone number. You can even hit the Directions icon, and it will launch Google Maps with instructions on getting there.
How to set up: As long as you’re on Android 5.0 and above, it’s there. Magic.

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Hands up if you’ve been late for appointments because you didn’t check directions and underestimated the amount of time you need for the journey. Leave it to the Google Now app to manage your appointment reminders for you. It’ll check your calendar for appointments, work out when you should start making your way out, buzz you with a reminder to leave and provide directions too. Now, if only it could physically drive us there!
How to set up: If you don’t already have it, install Google Now from the Play store. Fire up the app, hit Settings > Now cards, scroll to Get notified about and enable Commute and Time to Leave.

Your Android smartphone is built for multitasking, so harness that power with the free Flyx browser app. The difference between Flyx and apps like Chrome and Safari, is that you don’t need to leave the app you’re on to view a link. Just open the link with Flyx, and it’ll pop up as a little bubble while loading the article in the background; tap on it to read, and swipe down to close. Or you can tuck it in a corner and keep the bubble hovering over your app for quick reference.
How to set up: Download Flyx from the Play store.