Jelly Bean Tip: Disable Annoying App Notifications
Did you know it’s possible to disable those annoying app notifications from within the App Info page on Android 4.1? Well it is, and it’s a great feature. As more apps lean towards invading your notification bar, Android has taken action and made it possible for users to disable an app’s ability to show you notifications. It’s extremely easy to enable/disable this option and requires very few steps.
There are various ways to enter an app’s info page, but once in there, toggling on/off notifications for that particular app is as simple as checking/unchecking the box next to “show notifications.”
Here’s a few ways you can easily get to an app’s information page:
- Long press on an app and then drag it up to the App info icon
- When you get a notification, long press on it and then click the App info popup
- Go into your Settings > Apps > Choose App
Jelly Bean Tip: Set Speech Output to Hands-Free Only
If you’re lucky enough to be running the latest version of Android (Android 4.1 Jelly Bean) then you already know how awesome improvements such as Project Butter and Google Now are. Google also made great enhancements in its Voice Search, and while it’s kind of Star Trek-ish when your device is talking back to you, it can also be annoying. Thankfully, there’s a way to disable speech output when using Voice Search — you know… for those times when your voice is the only one you feel like hearing.
So you’ve decided you have no need for your device to dictate search answers to you and you’d much rather read them yourself. No problem. Just open up the Voice settings by clicking on the menu icon (3 vertical dots) from either the Google Now home page or the Voice Search home page. If you’re not sure what I’m talking about, here’s an image to help you out:
Once in settings, simply choose Voice > Speech output and check off “Hands-free only.” You won’t find an actual option to disable speech output but Google at least gives you the option to have it active in hands-free only mode (since going hands-free means you usually can’t look at your device, hence the convenience of speech output).
You can now stop being embarrassed when you ask your device for the weather and it actually tells you the weather (although you should be embarrassed for speaking to your device in the first place). I imagine having speech-output off will also save a bit on battery.
Android Tip: Prevent App Shortcuts From Automatically Appearing on Your Home Screen
Whether you’re a casual user or power user, one thing is for certain — you’re going to be downloading apps. You may have noticed that every new app you download receives a nice little shortcut icon on your home screen. That might not be a big deal for some of you, but for others (especially you app hoarders out there) having dozens of app icons automatically added to your home screen can be unnecessary and make for quite the cluttered home screen.
Since no one likes a cluttered home screen (well, mostly no one), you soon find yourself spending more time than you’d like removing and organizing this collage of automatically added icons. What if I told you there was a way to stop this madness? Well, there is!
It’s fairly easy to prevent app shortcuts from automatically appearing on your home screen and requires only a few simple steps.
- Open up the Play store on your Android device
- Click on the Menu icon (varies with device – most likely 3 lines or dots)
- Choose Settings
- Uncheck box next to “Auto-add widgets”
- That’s it!
Now when you download and install a new app, the icon will only be added to the App Drawer and not the home screen. Once the app shows up in your App Drawer, organizing and controlling it is a simple drag and drop away.
Andorid 4.0+ Tip: Quick Controls and Fullscreen Mode on Android Browser
This next tip is specific to Android 4.0+ and the stock Android browser (not Chrome for Android). There are plenty of advantages and disadvantages to using the stock Android browser versus Chrome for Android. One advantage, many would argue, is the ability to use Quick controls. Quick controls for the Android browser were introduced in Android 4.0 and are exactly what the name implies — quick… controls.
With Quick controls enabled, you can easily access browser features such as bookmarks, tabs, address bar, settings, and more. It removes the address bar and hides the controls for a larger, uncluttered view of webpages. To enable and access Quick controls, simply open up the Android browser, click on the menu icon (three vertical dots), choose Settings > Labs and then check off the box next to Quick controls.
All you have to do now, is slide your thumb from left or right on any web page, and watch the Quick controls magically appear. Take your finger off the screen and watch them disappear back into the nothingness from which they came. Getting used to them can be a little tricky, but once you do, you’ll wonder how you ever lived without them. While pretty basic in Ice Cream Sandwich, you’ll find many additional Quick control features in Jelly Bean.
For an even larger viewing area, enable Fullscreen mode and hide the status bar — leaving nothing but rich, fullscreen, web goodness.
It’s easy to activate and the setting is found in the same place as Quick Controls: Settings > Labs (within Android browser).
Unfortunately, these features have yet to be ported over to Chrome for Android, but hopefully we’ll seen them sometime in the near future. Until then, enjoy them on the stock browser.
Android 4.0 tip: How To Find and Disable Animations For a Snappier Experience
There’s a quick and easy way to make your Android device feel snappier without any major tinkering or root access. By simply disabling animations on your Android device you’ll see and feel an amazing boost in performance and screen transitions that will have you wondering why no one told you about this sooner. In earlier versions of Android, this option was found under the display settings, but in Android 4.0, it has been moved into the new “Developer options.”
Once in “Developer options,” scroll down to the “Window animation scale” and “Transition animation scale” options. Go into each of the animation settings and turn them off. Once turned off, transitioning between options, apps, pages, etc. will be almost instant, turning your phone into a speed demon.
What are you missing out on? Not much. The animations do nothing more than give you that fade-in effect when switching between tasks. If you want a better look at the animations, turn the settings to max (10x) and watch how slow the transition between tasks becomes.
Of course you’re welcome to set these animations to any scale you prefer, just remember: the lower the number the faster the transition.
Go Speed Racer, Go Speed Racer, Go Speed Racer, Go!
Android 4.0 tip: How to Browse the Web Incognito
Sometimes we just want to browse the web incognito. Doesn’t really matter what the reason, it’s something we should have the option of doing. In previous versions of Android, this was not possible. In Android 4.0, Google was kind enough to add an incognito mode option to the browser. In case you are unfamiliar with what incognito mode is, it’s an option that allows you to browse the web without leaving a trail (see above image).
The option is semi-hidden itself but I’ll tell you how to easily get to it and even show you in a short video at the end. To access incognito mode in Android 4.0, you’ll want to:
- Open the browser
- Tap on the tab icon (3 stacked tabs next to menu icon)
- Tap on menu icon (3 vertical dots)
- Tab on “New incognito tab”
- Start browsing the web like a secret agent
When you’re done with your nefarious activities, simply close out the incognito tab and you can get back to filling your browser history with mom-approved websites. Cheers!
Android 4.0 tip: Inverted Rendering
Inverted rendering is a posh way of saying it makes the pages black and turns the text white, so it looks like you're reading the internet from 1997. It also supposedly saves battery, plus is easier on the eyes if you're reading in the dark. It's under the browser's settings tab, within the accessibility area - and there's a contrast slider, too.
Android 4.0 tip: Take Photos While Recording Video
The Android 4.0 camera app that arrived with the Galaxy Nexus has one cool little extra feature - the ability to fire off still photos while recording video clips. Simply tapping the screen takes a shot at full resolution, which is saved to the phone's gallery while the video's still happily recording away.
Android 4.0 tip: Nick Wallpapers off the Internet
Found a lovely photograph of some stars, a pretty computer generated planet or even the mighty Professor Brian Cox himself? Long-pressing on any image in the web browsers lets you instantly set it as your wallpaper, without the hassle of saving it, finding it, and setting it the long way.
Android 4.0 tip: Taking Screenshots
You can easily take screenshots with your ICS device without installing an additional app. If an option to take a screenshot doesn’t appear in the menu which appears after you hold the power button, you can also take screenshots by simultaneously holding down either the power and home buttons, or power and volume down buttons. A frame will appear around your screen, letting you know it has taken the screenshot.
Android 4.0 tip: Multitask with ease
Multitasking in ICS has been improved quite a bit. In fact, on any screen, you can hold your Home button and a list of all running applications will appear. From here, you can easily tap on one to switch to it, or swipe it away to close to completely. This is also a good way of making sure that an app is really closed when you told it to.
Google Play Store Search Tip
If you have multiple search terms and you know the right order, you should surround them with quotes, like so:
If you know a few keywords but not necessarily the order, just include several intitle operators or use the allintitle operator, like so:
If you want to do a search for specific publisher the syntax is:
Google Maps Quick Zoom Shortcut
While using the Maps application, you can perform a fast zoom by using the following techniques:
- Double tap with one finger to fast zoom in.
- Tap once with two fingers to fast zoom out.
collected by arawn