Android: Tips and Tricks for Your Smartphone

You recently bought your first Android phone and need some help getting started? In this tutorial we will try to point into some important areas you should be watching when customizing and adjusting your phone. If you have any additional tips you got from friends or anywhere else and we didn’t covered them in here, please let them in comment section below.

1. Customize Your Home Screen

Customize your Android smartphone background
Customize your Android smartphone background

For starters, the customization Android wallpapers is probably the most easiest thing to do which will make your phone look cooler and appeal your style. To change a wallpaper tap on Menu button and then tap on Wallpaper. Follow the instructions which gives you a choice to select images from your gallery, wallpaper gallery or live wallpapers. But this is only the beginning of a whole series of possibilities. Programmers have created dozens of widgets that can be integrated on your home screen. Tap an empty space in your home screen, a menu appears and allows you to add widgets, shortcuts or program files. These widgets can improve your productivity, give you all necessary information’s such as weather, time, latest news, your recent emails, etc…

2. Personalize Your Ring Tones and Notifications

[adsense]In the Sound menu which is located in your Settings section, you will find a long list of options to customize the various alerts on your phone. Set a ring tone may sound simple and obvious, but if you want to add mp3 files is more tricky. The easiest way to do this is to use the application Ringdroid which you can find on Google Play. This application reduces the size of your mp3 files to adapt them and add them to your list of ringtones. If you prefer to do this manually, add a folder called ”ringtones” on your SD card which will include your mp3 files. You can do the same for the alerts and notifications sounds by creating a separate folder called “alerts” or “notifications”.

3. Use Your Keyboard Shortcuts

G1 with Google running Android
G1 with Google running Android

For users with physical keyboard to android, endless possibilities are available. A list of built-in shortcuts allows you for example to open your mailbox by typing +E in the search bar or +B to launch your web browser. In addition, there is a list of shortcuts for the best known applications. You can also create your own shortcuts to one of your favorite games for example, by going to Settings -> Applications -> Quick Launch.

4. Take Full Advantage of the Menu Button

Samsung Galaxy S Menu button located at phones bottom left

Newcomers on the Android platform, including former iPhone users, would neglect the importance of the Menu button on the Android. Not only it provides access to application settings, but it also offers many options for using your essential applications. Different screens within an application can have different options available through the Menu button. That is why it is useful to check the options for each application. On the Google+ app for example, if you use the Menu button from the app homepage, you can access the application settings, but from another Google+ page, you have access to other options. The Menu button can also allow the phone to unlock the screen.

5. A Long Tap on Screen

Long tap on Android phone screen to bring more options
Long tap on Android phone screen to bring more options

As with the menu button, a lot of useful options lies behind a long tap on certain parts of the screen. This ”long tap” is not just to add widgets to your homepage. You can use the long press in your web browser to save images and open links in new tabs or windows, but also to cut/paste. Many applications, such as messages, emails and contacts use the long press to display the lists.

6. Better Manage and Browse Your Files

As smartphones become full-fledged computers, it is necessary to have an efficient file manager. As it stands, the Android operating system has a file manager by default, but you can and should find another one. Downloading a file manager from Google Play is an asset if you plan to frequently use your media files on your phone. Astro File Manager is what is does best. It lets you do almost everything with your files: from the search, rename, move, and even to install third-party application which you have downloaded.

7. Find and Install Third Party Applications

Not all applications are available on the Google Play (formally called Android Market). Some of them are only available if you live in certain countries. Others are only available for the developers themselves, while still in beta form. Finally, many applications are in the form of .apk format and are not available for download at Google Play. They are considered third-party applications. To install them you need to root your phone. Make sure you install applications that are legal and not pirated versions of paid applications.

8. Block Unwanted Contact

Block contacts in Android smartphone
Block contacts in Android smartphone

As for the iPhone, Android phones have its own applications to block calls from certain numbers, but most free versions are quite unconvincing. As for the paid versions, it is not necessary to pay almost 4 dollars just to block one or two numbers. Fortunately, Android can block calls from certain numbers accurate. All you have to do is add the corresponding side to your contacts, then open the profile, press Menu -> Add to reject list.

9. Test Paid Applications For Free For One Day

In the Google Play, many applications are interesting but not worth the shot to pay between 1 and 15 dollars. Fortunately, you can test an application you bought. If you uninstall within it 24h, you will be fully reimbursed for your purchase; attention, you have the right to do that only once per app. The next time you buy it, it remains permanent.

10. Protect Your Phone and Your Data

With so many services available on the Android phone, not to mention Facebook, email, mobile banking etc…, your phone has a lot of your personal data. It is essential to protect them. With Android, the first line of defense is formed by the password screen lock that can be configured in Settings -> Security -> Screen lock. The second line of defense comes in a way of applications such as WaveSecure (not free) available on the Google Play. WaveSecure allows you to remotely access your phone even if it is lost or stolen. Thus, it is possible to retrieve its GPS location, delete/copy your data and lock the device.

11. Install a Task Manager

Android phones can let you run several applications at once: the system resources are overstretched, slows down your phone and consumes more battery. Therefore it is essential to have a task manager that allows you to close unnecessary applications in the background. Google Play offers a large selection of these kind of tools, but the most popular is Advanced Task Manager (not free) and TasKiller (free). Also remember to add applications such as WaveSecure (which I previously suggested) in the “ignore” list so its not accidentally close.

12. Get All the Updates For Your Android

By updating your phone frequently, you get the latest patches, and the latest available evidence. Many networks update your phone automatically by OTA (Over-The-Air). To receive updates over OTA, you must make sure your phone is correctly configured in the Settings -> About phone -> Software Updates. For phones that do not have OTA updates, users can view new updates through sites such as Thus you will know when the next update is available and how to download it.

13. Root and Custom ROMs

Rooting Samsung Galaxy S3 smartphone

You’ve probably heard of the iPhone jailbreak. There is a similar process for Android, the “root” or “root”. This is a technical term for the takeover of the operating system, the “ROM”. Rooting unlocks many elements and applications, but adding a custom ROM allows another level of control. While the jailbreak iPhone is against the End User License Agreement (EULA) and Apple may be considered illegal, the root of an Android phone does not have this problem with its open platform. The rooting process and customizing ROMs varies from one phone to another and can be complicated. For many manufacturers, rooted phones are not under warranty, and errors generated during the process of root, may leave a damaged phone

about the author:

Boris Zegarac is the Founder and Chief Editor of DeviceMondo. He is also web designer/developer and professional blogger. On his free time he likes to play PC games and own noobs. If you would like to reach him prove you are smart enough and assemble this email (nycboris at yahoo dot com).