It's easy for me to feel that everyhas drastically different features and capabilities, and in some ways that's true. Comparing a with with will reveal significant differences. But in the end, all these phones are powered by Android and have the same functions at its core.
Some are hidden. Take split-screen apps as an example. Using two apps at the same time is not onlybut it's downright useful and built into your Android phone – you just need to know where to look. One of my favorite hidden features is Smart Lock, a tool that keeps my phone unlocked when I get home, then goes back to requiring my fingerprint or PIN as soon as I leave. It is incredibly useful.
Keep in mind that all the features I discuss below may not look or work exactly the same on every phone, and that's because different Android device manufacturers like to use interfaces unique to their rivals. My advice? Use the search bar at the top of the Settings app if you're having trouble finding a feature.
Silent Notifications That Can Wait
Tired of every notification making your phone beep beeps or boop ? Tell your Android phone when you want an app to give silent alerts by long-pressing the alert until you trigger a prompt asking if you want the notification to be marked as a alert or Quiet .
Alert allows the notifications from the apps to play sounds and appear on the lock screen, while Silent mutes the notification, but still makes it visible in your notification box.
Adding Captions to a Video or Podcast
is an impressive but relatively new feature that is slowly making its way to more devices. When active, it adds real-time captions to any video, podcast or voice note on your phone. It doesn't matter if the video you are watching is muted – Live Caption will still transcribe it for you.
Since it was first announced last year, Google has extended the Live Caption featureto Samsung's Galaxy S20 and the series. There is no official list of supported devices as far as I know and your phone must be running Android 10 in order to work.
To enable Live Caption (or check if your phone is supported), open the Settings app and search for Live Caption . The Live Caption switch is in a different location on the Pixel 4, Galaxy S20, and OnePlus 8 ($ 699 at OnePlus) .
After you enable Live Caption, whenever you start playing a video – even when you turn the volume down – a small black box will appear on your screen, including real-time dictation of whatever is said.  It's really well done and a feature every phone should have, not just Android. You can learn more about the feature, including how to mitigate blasphemy, and how to use it in our complete guide .
Use two apps at the same time
One of my favorite features in Android is that I can have two apps on the screen at the same time. It is useful when I look at aand send an email, or when I look up a recipe and send the ingredients list in . But it's not entirely clear how to get apps in split screen mode.
Tap the app toggle button, or if you are usingswipe up from the bottom of the screen to open the multitasking view and tap the app icon at the top of a map or thumbnail of the app, followed by Split screen . The first app slides to the top of the screen, and the multitasking view occupies the bottom part of your screen. Select another app in the multitasking view or launch an app from your home screen or app drawer. Not every app supports split screen mode, and the only way to find out if an app doesn't have support is to just open it in a split screen.
Watch a video and browse Twitter at the same time
In addition to the same idea of split screen apps is Android's Picture-in-Picture (PiP) feature. Using it couldn't be easier, you just need to know it's there.
I enjoy watching my favorite Twitch streamers while browsing Reddit or checking my emails. To activate PiP, start by watching a video and go back to the home screen. It is as simple as that. Once you exit the app and support PiP mode, the video will be displayed as a small window on your phone's screen. You can drag, resize or close it.
To see a list of apps installed on your phone that support this feature, open the app Settings and go to Apps & Notifications > Special app access ]> Picture-in-picture . You can also go here to disable PiP for an app. For example, if you don't want Google Maps to keep showing you step-by-step directions after you leave it, and would rather close the app completely.
Use Smart Lock to keep your phone unlocked when you are at home
One of my favorite hidden features can prevent you from having to enter your PIN or scan your fingerprint when you are at home or at work are. You can set your phone to remain unlocked when you are in a specific location. You can also set it to keep the phone unlocked when it detects you are active, such as walking around holding the phone to your face or speaking via Bluetooth on wireless headphones.
Open Settings > Security > Smart Lock and enter your PIN when prompted. From there you can choose which aspect of Smart Unlock to use and when.
Note that if you have set up Smart Lock to keep your phone unlocked at home, this means that anyone you live with can access it.
Quickly Share Your Wi-Fi Network Information With Friends
It can be difficult to give your Wi-Fi network password to a friend or family member, especially if it is a long, complex string of numbers and letters. Or you may be hesitant to transfer your credentials because it's a password you use elsewhere – I get it. Admittedly, having people over or visiting a friend's house is something most of us avoid right now, but asbegin to lift, and it will certainly come in handy.
Fortunately,on your phone screen so that anyone who scans it can connect to your Wi-Fi network.
You can scan or create a QR code on your device by opening the Settings app and selecting Network > Wi-Fi . If you are sharing your network credentials, tap the network name and then Share . When connecting to a Wi-Fi network, tap the QR code icon next to Add network .
This feature is also useful if you are setting up a new phone and don't want to go through the process of copying your password.
Now that you have mastered the hidden features of Android, you should be fullysuch as and .