So you have Android 5.0 Lollipop on your Nexus. You might be feeling a little overwhelmed by all the changes and new features. We don’t blame you; the Lollipop changelog is longer than some short stories. If you’re a new Lollipop user we’ve got a few tips and tricks to help you get started with Google’s sweetest release.
A smartphone is full of personal information and sensitive content. This can make it difficult to let people use your phone without your supervision. “Screen Pinning” is a new feature that lets you lock your phone to one app.
The obvious example for this is when someone asks to use your phone to make a call. You can “pin” the Phone app so the user can’t do anything else. To enable this feature go to Settings > Security > Screen pinning. Then open the app you would like to pin, press the Overview (formerly multitasking) button, scroll up and tap the blue thumb tack icon in the bottom right corner of the most recent app. To unpin an app simply long-press the back and Overview buttons simultaneously.
Lollipop gives users control over notifications like never before. Every app installed on your device can be configured to send notifications only when you want to see them. There are three options for each app: block, priority, and sensitive.
Block – Never show notifications from the app. Priority – Show notifications at the top of the list and let them through when in Priority Mode. Sensitive – Content is not displayed in the lock screen notification
There are two ways to adjust these settings. You can long-press on any notification and select the (i) icon to go straight to the settings for that app. If you don’t want to wait around for a notification you can go to Settings > Sound & notification > App notifications.
Hide Sensitive Content
Like we mentioned above, you can hide sensitive notification content. With notifications now on the lock screen prying eyes can read them even if you have a password or pattern lock. You can mark apps individually as sensitive, like we talked about above, or you can let Android do it for you.
Go to Settings > Sound & notification > When device is locked. You’ll see three options that boil down to “show all, hide sensitive content, and show none.” Select the second option to hide sensitive content. Now when an app that you’ve marked as “Sensitive” displays a notification on the lock screen you’ll only see the app name and “contents hidden.”
Search for Settings
Android has a lot of settings. That’s a good thing for power users who love to tinker and customize everything. It can be a nightmare for average consumers to navigate. Google has done a lot to make the Settings experience easier, but the best thing they did was add the ability to search.
When you go to the Settings app you’ll see a new magnifying glass search icon in the top right. It appears on most pages within the Settings app. You can use it to find settings without digging in each page. The search results aren’t as robust as we’d like to see, but it does a fair job.
One of the best new features in Lollipop is battery saver mode. Battery saver can help you squeeze out extra time when you really need it. When enabled it reduces your device’s performance, turns off vibrations, and blocks most background data. Battery saver can be turned on manually or set to automatically kick in when your battery is at 15% or 5%. You’ll know it’s working when the status and nav bars turn orange-red. To set up battery saver go to Settings > Battery > tap the menu button.
It’s a good idea to have a layer of security on your device. The only problem with using a password or pattern lock is that it ends up slowing you down way more than anyone else. A new feature called “Smart Lock” lets you tell your phone when it’s safe. Right now there are three ways to make your phone trust you.
Trusted devices – Any Bluetooth or NFC device can be added here. When those devices are connected your lock screen security is disabled. Trusted face – This is Google’s much better implementation of “Face Unlock.” After you scan your face it will look for you every time you unlock your device. If it recognizes you the lock screen security will be disabled. Trusted places – In this option you’ll see any locations you’ve added to your Google account. You can toggle those on or add a new place manually. When you are in those locations the lock screen security will be disabled.
With these three options you can make it so you don’t have to constantly enter passwords or patterns, but if your device is stolen or left behind it will know to lock others out. These options can be accessed in Settings > Security > Smart Lock.
Choose Who Gets Priority
Earlier we talked about marking apps as “priority.” This puts notifications for those apps at the top of the list, but it also allows those apps to get through when you’re in Priority Mode. You can also choose certain people to get through Priority Mode.
Go to Settings > Sound & notification > Interruptions. Under the section titled “Priority Interruptions” you can choose who gets through Priority Mode. You can choose calls/messages from anyone, starred contacts, or only people in your contacts. This is perfect for those times you don’t want to be bothered, but still want to be reachable.
For those who are unfamiliar, Priority Mode is a way to allow only alarms and specific notifications to bother you. It can be enabled by pressing the volume buttons and choosing PRIORITY.