If you've got an Android phone, be it a Nexus 5 or a Galaxy Note 4, there are all kinds of cool things you can do with it: from custom ROMs, alternative launchers, apps of all shapes and sizes, LED notifications, gesture controls, icon packs and tweaks, hacks and secrets from here until the cows home. But there are only seven things that every single Android owner simply must do. Here they are.
No matter which Android device you have, there are ways to improve the battery life from the get-go. Firstly, you must turn off 'ambient display' or 'adaptive brightness'. This is a setting which changes the display brightness based on the current lighting conditions, but it's not perfect.
The sensor used to determine the light levels is not as accurate as the human eye, you can set a better display brightness for the current circumstances, and as the display is a key area where battery life is lost, make sure you keep this at the lowest level possible.
Go to your display settings and make sure it's switched off.
Additionally, all of the major Android UIs come with some form of battery saving mode. While the strengths of each vary, they are worth digging into to see how they can be best applied for your particular needs.
For example, Sony's 'Stamina mode' alters very little in terms of performance and it's one of those you can (and probably should) have enabled always.
The stock Android approach is a battery saving function which quite heavily effects performance and app functionality, so it might worth considering using this only when it's necessary.
HTC's 'Power Saver', on the other hand, has several options you can enable or disable within it, making it a little less rigid than the others.
Investigate the battery functions on your device by going into the settings and looking for battery, power or something similar.
2. Enable always listening, and start using Google Now
Google Now acts as a virtual personal assistant which you can use to retrieve information quickly and easily. But it's also so much more than that: Google Now can interact with your apps, take notes, set reminders along with a whole bunch of other clever tricks.
The more you use Google Now the more you realize what an excellent service it is. To give a simple example, say you wish to take an afternoon nap, but are already in that sleepy state about to nod off. You don't need to reach for your phone and open your clock app, calculate the time two hours in the future, and set it. Just say "Okay Google, wake me up in two hours."
You can even set it to work from any screen by going into your Google Settings > Search & Now > Voice > OK Google detection > and enable from any screen.
How Android Device Manager is not pre-enabled on every single Android phone I simply don't know. Android Device Manager is a great tool that lets you track a lost or stolen phone, remotely lock it, ring it, or delete its contents and even display a lock screen message for anyone that finds it. It may not be the sexiest thing you do with your Android phone, but it should be the first thing you do.
You'll find the permissions for Android Device Manager in the Google Setting app under Security. You can enable Android Device Manager to remotely locate your phone as well as lock or erase its contents. But you'll also need to activate Android Device Manager as a device administrator. Go to Settings > Security > Device Administrators and check the box next to Android Device Manager.
Did you know in Google Chrome's settings you can tell your favorite browser to save you time and money by reducing your data usage? No? Most people don't. By using this setting, I've cut my data usage by 30 percent in the last month. How's that for easy savings? Go to Chrome > Settings > Data Saver and turn it on.
Likewise, did you know you can tell your phone to keep Wi-Fi on during sleep? Just go to Settings > Wi-Fi > Advanced and hit Keep Wi-Fi on during sleep.
Setting this to Always means not only will you download things while your phones display is off, but you will also save battery life, because your phone won't have to constantly reconnect to Wi-Fi every time you wake it up.
There aren't too many apps that I think absolutely everyone should use, because everyone has different tastes, needs and habits. But Pushbullet is different. Everyone, and I mean everyone, should be using it.
You can push links on your phone to your tablet, links from your PC to your phone or links from your phone to all of your devices. Copying and pasting URLs is like, so 1999. Pushbullet also notifies you of SMS or calls on your PC and you can transfer files between all of your devices with Pushbullet too.
Unless you're already an NFC fan, most people don't even realize what NFC is, how it works or what it can do for you. But NFC is brilliant. A single tap can pair your Bluetooth headphones to your phone, transfer all of the contents of your old phone to a new one, or even send a default message to a contact when you walk in the door at home.
Heck, some guy even implanted an NFC chip in his hand so he'd never have to unlock his phone again. You don't have to go that far, but some NFC-equipped devices and a pack of NFC tags will change your life and save you precious time. NFC is one of the coolest and underrated things to do with your Android.
7. Setup lock screen security
If your adventurous nature stops a little short of implanting an NFC chip in your person, the next best thing to do is setup your lock screen security. I am forever surprised by just how many of my friends don't have lock screen security set up.
If you lose your phone or have it stolen do you really want that thief to have access to all the intimate corners of your smartphone? No? Then set up a pattern or PIN lock right now. Just go to Settings > Security > Screen lock or on some devices Settings > Lock Screen to set up your preferred type of lock screen security. Seriously, do it right now.
What else should everyone do with their Android? Share your tips in the comments.