OK, Google: 20 Useful Things You Can Say to Your Android Phone

“OK Google” is a phrase you probably say so often that you may not think twice about it. From ordering an Uber to setting reminders and more, Google’s voice assistant has embedded itself into our lives. Here are some of the best commands to give your Android phone. Make sure you learn how to use Google Assistant first if you’re unsure. OK Google, Call and Text This is an easy one, so if you’re not using it yet, you should start. Google Assistant can call anyone on your contact list or businesses around you. Tell it to call [contact] or…

Read the full article: OK, Google: 20 Useful Things You Can Say to Your Android Phone

“OK Google” is a phrase you probably say so often that you may not think twice about it. From ordering an Uber to setting reminders and more, Google’s voice assistant has embedded itself into our lives.

Here are some of the best commands to give your Android phone. Make sure you learn how to use Google Assistant first if you’re unsure.

OK Google, Call and Text

Ok Google, call home

This is an easy one, so if you’re not using it yet, you should start. Google Assistant can call anyone on your contact list or businesses around you.

Tell it to call [contact] or call [business] to start a call. If the name appears once in your contact list, the app will begin the call. If that person has more than one number, or if there are several businesses that answer to the same name, you’ll need to choose the one you want to call.

On a similar note, you can also use the command text [contact] to start a text message. Not only that, you can dictate the text message itself while you’re at it.

For example, try saying text [contact] I’ll be right there. All you’ll have to do next is choose the app you want to use to send it. You can edit the text too, if you want.

OK Google, Let’s Navigate

Ok Google, where am I

You may already know you can ask Google for directions to anywhere. After all, Google Maps is the navigation method of choice for a lot of people, even if they’re not on Android. But did you know you can ask for more than just directions?

To start, you can use the command where am I?, and Google will highlight your location on a map, along with an approximate address.

You can use the commands directions to, navigate to, and even how to get to. Then either say an exact address or a landmark name and Google will figure out where to go. If there are several places with a similar name, it will let you choose between them before it switches over to Google Maps for the actual directions.

Want to walk somewhere, bike somewhere, or use public transportation? No problem. A simple command like walking directions to or transit directions to will get you on the right track. Commands such as next bus to, or train timetable will also bring up helpful information, plus directions to the bus or train station if required.

As a bonus, you can also use the command map of with an address, name, or city to open Google Maps on that spot.

If that’s still not enough, then take a look at these awesome Google Maps hidden features.

OK Google, Create Reminders and Events

Ok Google, set a reminder

By saying remind me to followed by a phrase, Google will create your reminder, and ask you when you’d like it. Or you can say set a reminder, and Google will ask you for the reminder details alongside the date and time.

After setting one, you can say show me my reminders to see a list of everything you’ve got coming up.

Reminders can get even more sophisticated if you use geolocation. Try saying something like remind me to feed the cat when I get home. If Google doesn’t know where home is, you can set a location for it to remember. This can work with businesses too. For example, remind me to buy eggs when I get to the store.

Check out other cool ways to use Google Assistant reminders for more tips.

Setting events is similar. To create an event, say create an event or create a calendar event and state the event, day or date, and the time. You can also use the command schedule a meeting to arrange meetings with a person, date, time, and location.

The last task in this category is setting alarms. This is as simple as saying set alarm and specifying the time or how long from now. For example, set an alarm for three hours from now, or set an alarm for seven. You can use any alarm app you want for this.

OK Google, Open an App or Website

Ok Google, go to

Use Google to open web pages you want to browse and even launch apps on your phone. Is it easier than tapping an app icon? Perhaps. But it’s certainly more fun.

To open an app, say open and the name of the app you want to launch. To go to a web page, say go to and give Google the URL. For example, if you say go to makeuseof.com, your browser will open to MakeUseOf!

OK Google, Send an Email

Ok Google, send an email

Android can remind you to complete tasks and add short notes for you, but did you know Google Assistant can also write whole emails? You don’t even have to launch your email app. Granted, I wouldn’t recommend using this for long emails, but if you’re only sending a line or two, it’s perfect.

If you want to keep it simple, say email or send email and specify a contact. This will start the email, letting you type it in yourself. If you want to go all-out, say something like email mom subject hello message I’m coming to visit you soon.

In much the same way, you can write Google+ posts by saying post to Google plus (if you actually use it).

OK Google, Translate

Ok Google, translate

You’ll need the Google Translate app installed for this to work. If you don’t have it yet, ask to install the Google Translate app. Google will open the installation instructions, with a link to download the app.

Once installed, saying phrases such as translate to Spanish, or how do you say hello in German will make Google speak your translated phrase, along with related phrases, and the written words. Check out our overview of Google Translate on Android for more tricks.

More Google Assistant Commands

Who knows what else Google Assistant will be able to do in the future? You might be able to book a flying taxi, or have Google read your thoughts.

If you can’t wait until then, have you considered changing the Google Assistant voice, or asking the most popular Google Assistant questions?

Read the full article: OK, Google: 20 Useful Things You Can Say to Your Android Phone

7 Great Apps to Personalize Android’s Notification Shade

The notification shade is an element you interact with often on your Android phone, whether to enable Wi-Fi or reply quickly to an email. Therefore, it’s crucial it looks and behaves the way you want it to. Sadly, neither Android vendors nor Google itself offer enough customization options for that. Fortunately, third-party alternatives are available. Here are seven great apps to personalize the Android notification panel. 1. Material Notification Shade Image credit: Uptodown.com If you own an Android phone that ships with a proprietary skin, chances are you’re living with a notification shade that’s vastly different from how Google intended…

Read the full article: 7 Great Apps to Personalize Android’s Notification Shade

The notification shade is an element you interact with often on your Android phone, whether to enable Wi-Fi or reply quickly to an email. Therefore, it’s crucial it looks and behaves the way you want it to.

Sadly, neither Android vendors nor Google itself offer enough customization options for that. Fortunately, third-party alternatives are available. Here are seven great apps to personalize the Android notification panel.

1. Material Notification Shade

If you own an Android phone that ships with a proprietary skin, chances are you’re living with a notification shade that’s vastly different from how Google intended it. In most cases, that doesn’t translate into a superior experience.

Enter a free app called Material Notification Shade. It’s available for those running Android 5 Lollipop through Android 7.1 Nougat.

As the name suggests, Material Notification Shade revamps your phone’s existing notification shade with a stock theme. In addition to overhauling its design, the app also enables several native features such as quick replies, notification bundling, adaptive background for music controls, and more if your phone’s skin doesn’t already support them.

You can even choose between Nougat or Oreo themes. The app LAO offers a plethora of further customization settings, such as a dark mode and altering specific portions like the background.

Download: Material Notification Shade (Free, premium version available)

2. Power Shade

If you split Material Notification Shade’s customization abilities into a separate app, you’d end up with something like Power Shade. It’s made by the same fleet of developers, and lets you intricately personalize the notification shade’s visuals.

You can alter tile gradients, transparency, layouts, add a background image, and more.

Download: Power Shade (Free, premium version available)

3. Notification Toggle

If you want to skip the two-swipe action for accessing quick settings, try Notification Toggle. The app adds a persistent extra row of toggles to the panel on top of your alerts.

You can pick which settings you want included and even add in-app activities if you pay for the premium version. Plus, you can also change how these icons and rows look and even configure a custom icon if you wish to.

Download: Notification Toggle (Free, premium version available)

4. Notin

Notin is a straightforward app for pinning quick information (like notes or tasks) to the notification dropdown. It comes with a barebones interface that simply lets you type the note and add it as a notification. You can dismiss these entries by swiping them away and append new ones by tapping them.

Of course, Notin is not as powerful as other note-taking apps on Android, but it certainly fits the bill for someone who wants to jot down a quick thought or piece of information.

Pro tip: Notin doesn’t have a save feature; your notes are deleted as soon as you swipe them. But you can store them for later by installing an app that logs your notification history.

Download: Notin (Free)

5. Quick Settings

With the Android Nougat update, Google greatly augmented the quick settings experience by opening it up to third-party developers. That enabled users to pin actions from other apps to the pane. An app called Quick Settings is one of those apps for customizing the panel and brings tiles for a host of other basic functions Android doesn’t include by default.

This includes battery level, a shortcut for storage, weather, and more. There are also a bunch other actions you may find useful, such as Caffeine for keeping the screen from falling asleep, Dice for generating a random dice digit, and more.

Download: Quick Settings (Free)

6. Notification Bar Reminder

This little app is similar to Notin except it handles reminders instead of notes. You can create new tasks and reminders, and Notification Bar Reminder will pin them to the top of your notification shade.

It has a minimal design and even lets you add a couple of other details such as the deadline, whether it should have a recurring alarm, to-do notes, and more.

Download: Notification Bar Reminder (Free)

7. Snap Snipe Drawer

While iOS places widgets in the notification drawer instead of the home screen, Android does the opposite But with Snap Snipe Drawer, you can add widgets to your notification shade on Android as well.

Snap Snipe Drawer lets you access widgets by swiping on a particular section of the status bar. You can configure as many as widgets as you want and interact with them from anywhere.

However, Snap Snipe Drawer is no longer available on the Play Store. You’ll thus have to sideload the app. In addition, since it’s not properly optimized for recent versions of Android, the pull-down gesture is a little unreliable—but you can enable a floating button for easily pulling the panel down.

Download: Snap Snipe Drawer (Free)

Bonus: Overdrop

Among the sea of weather apps on Android, Overdrop (currently in beta) is a snazzy one. Though not an app dedicated to the notification drawer, this one deserves a mention because it brings a weather widget to your shade. You can glance over all the essentials, including the forecast for the next few hours.

However, the free version only displays the temperature. For the rest, you will have to pay a few bucks. Overdrop, apart from that, is a competent weather app with a ton of widget options and an aesthetically pleasing design.

Download: Overdrop (Free, premium version available)

Master Notifications on Android

With these apps, you can take control of the notification drawer on your phone and customize it as you want. Afterward, take it a step further and get accustomed to all the ways you can master notifications on Android.

Read the full article: 7 Great Apps to Personalize Android’s Notification Shade

How to Pin Apps and Contacts to the Android Share Menu

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Android’s Share menu has undergone quite a few changes over the last few years. It’s now much more customizable, and you can pin your frequently used apps and contacts to the top of the list for easy access. Clearly, the feature has significant time-saving benefits. Realistically, you probably never share anything to 95 percent of the apps in the list, so by pinning your most-used apps, you won’t need to go scrolling through a massive list of entries just to find the one you want. Sounds great, right? But how do you set it up? What steps do you have…

Read the full article: How to Pin Apps and Contacts to the Android Share Menu

Android’s Share menu has undergone quite a few changes over the last few years. It’s now much more customizable, and you can pin your frequently used apps and contacts to the top of the list for easy access.

Clearly, the feature has significant time-saving benefits. Realistically, you probably never share anything to 95 percent of the apps in the list, so by pinning your most-used apps, you won’t need to go scrolling through a massive list of entries just to find the one you want.

Sounds great, right? But how do you set it up? What steps do you have to take to pin your most used Android apps and contacts to the top of the share menu?

How to Pin Apps/Contacts to the Android Share Menu

Before starting, there are a few things to be aware of.

Firstly, if you pin several apps, they will show in alphabetical order; you cannot change the order manually. Secondly, if you pin a contact to the direct share menu, the corresponding app will get pinned to the top of the regular share menu. And finally, any apps you pin will affect the contacts visible in the direct share menu.

Ok, so how do you do pin apps or contacts to the Android Share menu?

  1. Open an app from which you want to share something.
  2. Tap on the Share icon.
  3. Long-press on an app or contact that you want to pin.
  4. Select Pin.

To unpin something, repeat the process, but choose Unpin in step four.

For more cool Android tricks, check out our article on Google Play Store tricks every Android user needs to know about.

Read the full article: How to Pin Apps and Contacts to the Android Share Menu

Master Your Android Notifications With These 11 Apps and Tricks

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Notifications have become essential since smartphones launched. Whether a text from your friend or an email from the boss, they’re how you stay up to date with everything. But notifications have now also become a medium for companies to actively promote their content. Notifications vie for your time and can often overstep their bounds. Because of this, it’s more important than ever that you know how to manage them. Here’s how you can make the most out of Android notifications. 1. Notification History Android’s notification system is regularly praised, yet there’s still no native way to retrieve lost notifications. Alerts…

Read the full article: Master Your Android Notifications With These 11 Apps and Tricks

android-notifications-manage

Notifications have become essential since smartphones launched. Whether a text from your friend or an email from the boss, they’re how you stay up to date with everything.

But notifications have now also become a medium for companies to actively promote their content. Notifications vie for your time and can often overstep their bounds. Because of this, it’s more important than ever that you know how to manage them.

Here’s how you can make the most out of Android notifications.

1. Notification History

Android’s notification system is regularly praised, yet there’s still no native way to retrieve lost notifications. Alerts that you accidentally swipe away or ones you notice only as they slowly vanish after you tap the Clear All button are gone for good. Fortunately, there are third-party solutions for this—one of the best ones is appropriately named Notif Log.

Notif Log is a fairly straightforward app. Its core purpose is to log every one of your incoming alerts so that even if you dismiss them in the notification panel, you can revisit them on Notif Log.

In addition, you can snooze notifications for later and even access the quick actions associated with each of them. Plus, you can even pin a shortcut for instantly viewing the recently logged notifications.

Download: Notif Log (Free) | Notif Log Pro ($1)

2. Smart Replies

Do you find replying to every single message a hassle? Or perhaps you end up ignoring some of those due to lack of time?

Try Google Reply, one of Google’s lesser-known apps. It suggests a bunch of automated responses beneath a particular notification. For instance, if someone asks if you’d like to have dinner tonight, the app will recommend replies such as Sure, That sounds perfect, and similar.

What’s more, Google Reply can even recognize if you’re driving and send a predefined text to the recipient. It also has the ability to automatically figure out when you’ll reach your destination and forward the ETA if someone asks for it.

Sadly, though, Google Reply is limited only to a handful of messaging apps including WhatsApp, Twitter, Android Messages, and a few others. It’s also not yet available on the Play Store, so you will have to sideload an APK file.

Download: Google Reply (Free)

3. Notification Channels

In Android Oreo, Android notifications got a significant upgrade. One of the features it brought is the ability to mute a specific set of alerts from an app. You can also adjust alerts to play a sound for some but not others, for instance.

On WhatsApp, for example, you can block unnecessary group messages while still receiving to receive personal pings. The feature is called Notification Channels, and is one of the highlights of Android’s sophisticated notification system.

To access an app’s notification channels, head to Settings > Apps & notifications > See all X apps. Locate and tap the app whose alerts you’d like to adjust, and select the Notifications field. There, you’ll find all the categories which you can individually disable and adjust.

You can turn off all the notifications from an app by simply disabling the top Show notifications master option.

4. Notification Ringtones

Android also allows you to alter notification ringtones through its notification settings. You should be able to adjust the sound (or disable the sound but keep the visual notification) in the notification channels described above.

To change an app’s standard notification sound if it isn’t present in the menu above, you’ll need to check the app’s own settings. In order to set a new notification tone in WhatsApp, for example, open Settings from the three-dot menu and in Notifications, you can change the default Notification tone for group and individual chats.

5. Quick Shortcuts

Notifications on Android offer a bunch of handy swipe shortcuts which can make it a lot easier for you to quickly supervise them. You probably know how to dismiss by swiping them.

But if you don’t swipe all the way out, you’ll see two other options. One snoozes the notification, while the other launches the app’s notifications settings. If you long-press an alert, you can also silence the notification channel it originated from.

Lastly, you can swipe down on bundled notifications to perform actions on them individually. Do keep in mind, however, that the majority of these features are only available on Android 8.1 and above.

6. Notifications on the Lock Screen

By default, Android displays your notifications on the lock screen. But you probably don’t want that, since anyone can simply pick up your phone and read all your private messages. There is a way you can hide them, though.

To configure this, open Settings > Security & location > Lock screen preferences. Tap On lock screen to choose from three options. You can choose to show all notifications, hide all of them, or hide sensitive content. This will show that you have a new email or text message, but won’t display the contents of the message.

7. Do Not Disturb

Android also features a comprehensive Do Not Disturb mode (updated for Android Pie) where you can pick which type of notifications you’d like to receive when enabled. Open Settings > Sound > Do Not Disturb to take a look. This lets you modify several attributes including calls which contacts are allowed to ring, when the mode activates, which sounds to mute, and more.

8. Read Aloud Incoming Notifications

Sometimes you’re unable to reach your phone when a notification arrives, such as when you’re driving. For those scenarios, we recommend installing a free app called Shouter.

Shouter reads your incoming notifications aloud (including their primary content) once it’s up and running. You can select the apps you want enable Shouter for, the duration for when Shouter is active, change languages, and a whole lot more.

In addition to that, Shouter can dictate the charging status, time, locations, and even records the announcement history.

Download: Shouter (Free) | Shouter Pro ($1)

9. Floating Bubbles for Notifications

If you’re a Facebook user, you’re likely familiar with those floating chat heads that appear so you don’t miss a message. What wouldn’t it be great if that feature was available for every other app?

With an app called nBubble, it’s now possible.

nBubble adds a persistent floating bubble through which you can view and attend to notifications. It’s almost as if your notification panel acquired wings. You have access to all buttons such as quick actions, clear all, and more. There are even a ton of customization options to personalize the floating window.

Don’t forget that there’s much more you can achieve with popups shortcuts on Android.

Download: nBubble (Free) | nBubble Unlocker ($1)

10. Trigger the Flash on Notifications

Do you often miss crucial calls and notifications because the ring wasn’t audible or the vibration wasn’t intense enough? Try Flash Alerts, which along with the highly customizable front LED, also invokes the flash on the rear when there’s a new notification.

Flash Alerts triggers your phone’s flash every time a new call or any other notification arrives. The app is compatible with every app and hence, requires the notification access permission. In addition, you can personalize the flash pattern and even configure it for when the battery falls below a specific level.

Download: Flash Alerts (Free)

11. Notification Management

If you’re someone who gets swamped by dozens of notifications every minute, you should probably set up a notification management tool. You could either try Apus Message Center or BlackBerry Hub. Both of them let you attend to all your alerts on a central platform.

Apus even goes the extra mile and organizes notifications in various categories so that it’s much less cumbersome to see which ones are important. For instance, spa, notifications are segregated into a separate section so that they don’t bother while you’re scrolling through the list. Apus also offers smart contact actions, SMS integration, and a floating window for incoming notifications.

BlackBerry Hub is better for business users, since it’s more secure and has better email management. Moreover, you will find options for snoozing emails, filtering them based on their nature, and more. BlackBerry Hub also features a cleaner and less overwhelming design, unlike Apus Message Center.

Download: Apus Message Center (Free)
Download: BlackBerry Hub (Free)

Making Android Notifications Less Distracting

While these tips and apps certainly enable you to have a more stringent control over the notifications you receive, there are a bunch other ways through which you can get rid of annoying and distracting alerts on Android. Take some time, and you’ll make your Android device a much less stressful place.

Read the full article: Master Your Android Notifications With These 11 Apps and Tricks

The 7 Best Lightweight Android Browsers for Speedy Performance

lightweight-android-browsers

If you own an older Android phone, then popular browsers like Chrome, Firefox, and Edge can seriously affect the performance of the device. These browsers tend to consume more storage space, processing power, and memory. Fortunately, there are lightweight alternatives that have a much smaller footprint and focus on speed. We’ll guide you through the best lightweight browsers available for old Android devices. 1. Via Browser: Small in Size, Rich in Features APK size: ~821KB App size after installation: 2MB The Via Browser is built on top of the Chromium WebView. Its main highlight is the simplicity. The browser doesn’t…

Read the full article: The 7 Best Lightweight Android Browsers for Speedy Performance

lightweight-android-browsers

If you own an older Android phone, then popular browsers like Chrome, Firefox, and Edge can seriously affect the performance of the device. These browsers tend to consume more storage space, processing power, and memory.

Fortunately, there are lightweight alternatives that have a much smaller footprint and focus on speed. We’ll guide you through the best lightweight browsers available for old Android devices.

1. Via Browser: Small in Size, Rich in Features

  • APK size: ~821KB
  • App size after installation: 2MB

The Via Browser is built on top of the Chromium WebView. Its main highlight is the simplicity. The browser doesn’t compromise on any features and offers you many customization options. From look, to feel, to how you interact with it, every aspect of the browser puts you in control.

Tap the Hamburger Menu, then tap the Settings button to open the Settings screen. You can customize the homepage by changing the background picture and style, enable or replace the browser logo with your image, and adjust the opacity of the background.

It also includes Incognito Mode for private browsing, or you can set the app to let automatically clear your browsing history on exit. You can even set the navigation button to perform a particular function on long-press. For example, you might set Scroll to top for the Back button and Scroll to bottom for the Forward button.

Via Browser also offers some advanced features. You can change the browser user agent, block images when using mobile data, save a web page for offline use, and more. With a small footprint of 2MB, Via browser does an excellent job on an old Android device.

Download: Via Browser (Free)

2. Monument Browser: Designed for Readers

  • APK size: ~2MB
  • App size after installation: ~9MB

Monument Browser is also made possible thanks to Chromium WebView. It is a fast, secure, and intuitive web browser designed to give you the best possible experience while surfing and reading. Tap the Overflow Menu, then the Settings button to open its Settings. You can choose to move the search bar from top to bottom, change the user agent, and swap search engines.

It gives you some interesting options as you start surfing the web. Tap the Overflow Menu, then Extras to take a look at these. You can switch on the night mode, or try the reading mode which has the ability to change fonts and listen to the article. While you’re on a page, you can take a screenshot of an entire article or save it as a PDF.

The app has built-in support for downloading audio, video, and entire web pages for offline viewing. Tap the Overflow Menu > Download Medias to activate the media inspector. Then while watching a video, it will automatically enable picture-in-picture mode.

If you’re looking for a lightweight browser focused on surfing and reading, then monument browser should be your choice.

Download: Monument Browser (Free, premium version available)

3. FOSS Browser: Open Source and Full of Features

  • APK size: ~2.5MB
  • App size after installation: ~8.6MB

FOSS Browser is an open source browser also based on WebView. Its main goal is to give you a browsing experience that puts you in control. The search bar, tab preview, and entire navigation controls live at the bottom of the screen, making it optimized for one-handed browsing.

The homepage includes links to your saved sites, bookmarks, history, and saved login data. While you’re on the page, tap the Overflow Menu, then the Share button to share a link, screenshot, or PDF with a single tap. You can save them to your device as well.

Since the browser puts you in control, it has some interesting security options. Long-press on the Overflow Menu button to open the Fast Toggle dialog menu. Here you can enable or disable JavaScript, cookies, location, images, and more on a per-site basis. You can even save the login data of your favorite web apps in a separate encrypted database.

Apart from the usual theme and UI customization, you can create a whitelist of selected sites that have access to your location, JavaScript, cookies, and more. You can even export data for backup.

With a small footprint of 9MB and built-in security controls, FOSS browser is an excellent option for an old Android device.

Download: FOSS Browser (Free)

4. Phoenix Browser: Download Videos With Zero Effort

  • APK size: ~5.5MB
  • App size after installation: 27.5MB

Phoenix Browser uses a WebView component built on top of Chromium. It’s a lightweight browser with a built-in download manager to grab online videos and play them without the need of a third-party video player.

When you install the app, you’ll see the homepage cluttered with news based on your location, games, and most visited pages. There’s a bit of an issue with notification ads too. If this bothers you, tap Manage Homepage and toggle off all the options. Also, you might want to disable notifications for this app.

Apart from the usual browsing-related features, there are some interesting tricks too. Access them by tapping the Hamburger Menu, then Toolbox. Turn on the Private Space to keep the browsing history and downloaded videos in a separate database. Other users will not be to able to view what sites you visit and videos you download.

Overall, there are both pros and cons for this app. But if you travel frequently and like to watch videos offline, Phoenix browser should be on your device.

Download: Phoenix Browser (Free)

5. Hermit: Lite Apps Browser

  • APK size: ~3.7MB
  • App size after installation: ~10MB

Hermit is essentially a browser that lets you create lite apps from websites you visit frequently. It comes with a rich library of ready-made lite apps, complete with pre-configured settings. Tap an app icon to install that app instantly. If you don’t find a particular lite app, type in the URL of a site and Hermit will turn it into an app on the home screen.

When you create a shortcut to a website with Chrome, it functions as a browser tab. In Hermit, the lite apps operate as actual apps in its browser. You can customize those apps with different settings for each.

For example, you can set one lite app to desktop mode, but others in default mobile mode. It also lets you block images for specific lite apps and set custom themes. Hermit also supports notifications for RSS feeds, lets you bookmark a particular section of a site, supports night mode and reading mode, and much more. Visit the Hermit website to see how it’s different from other browsers.

If you own an old Android device, then you should try this app. It helps reduce battery consumption, free up storage space, does not use background resources, and reduces the permission requests required by native apps.

Download: Hermit (Free) | Hermit Unlocker Pro ($5)

6. Lynket Browser: Multitask While Surfing the Web

  • APK size: ~3.8MB
  • App size after installation: ~9MB

When you open a link from any Android app, it either opens in your default browser or the app’s integrated web browser. While the integrated browser suffers from the older implementation of WebView, the external browser might take a while to load the website. This results in loss of focus and prevents you from multitasking.

Lynket is a unique browser build on the top of the Chrome Custom Tabs protocol. So when you open a link, the web page will slide over the app you are using. This lets you you multitask or stack multiple links in floating bubbles in the background, so you don’t lose them if you accidentally swipe them away.

Lynket also offers unique customization options. You can choose the toolbar color dynamically, read articles without any distraction, utilize Google AMP support, and much more. If you own an old Android device, this browser helps you have the best customized browsing experience without slowing down your phone.

Download: Lynket Browser (Free)

7. Opera Mini: Browser With Data-Saving Features

  • APK size: ~8MB
  • App size after installation: ~20.5MB

Opera Mini is a lightweight and powerful web browser designed to work with devices that have fewer resources. Out of the box, it comes with incognito mode, a smart download feature with intelligent mobile data detection, a night theme, the ability to change search engines, data sync across your devices, and more.

Its data saving feature is unique among browsers and supports multiple modes. Tap the Opera Mini button on the bottom toolbar, followed by Settings > Data Savings. You’ll see a graph of the data you’ve saved over the last week. You can let Opera do the magic for saving data, or choose between Extreme and High compression modes.

In the High Compression mode, the browser will crunch the web page through a server and push a lighter version to your phone. In contrast, the Extreme Compression is too aggressive and might break a page. Use it only when you’re really low on data, or in a location where internet connectivity is poor.

Download: Opera Mini (Free)

More Tweaks to Make Android Faster

The Play Store has a variety of lightweight browser apps with different sets of features and abilities. It doesn’t make sense to use Chrome or Firefox for your old Android device. In the long run, with a more streamlined browser you’ll save battery and resources, plus get more life out of your phone.

Installing a lightweight browser isn’t the only way to keep Android speedy. Read up on tips to speed up Android, and try installing other tiny apps too.

Read the full article: The 7 Best Lightweight Android Browsers for Speedy Performance

Tweak and Improve Your Phone With These 7 Useful Android Apps

improve-android-apps

Android is a fantastic operating system, but that doesn’t mean you can’t improve it. Thankfully, its open nature means skilled developers can make apps that bring changes for the better. Curious? Here are seven Android apps that make small but powerful tweaks. None of the apps need root access. 1. Parallel Space Have you ever wished you could run two instances of the same app at the same time on your Android device? Just think of the possibilities—you could run two versions of WhatsApp, each with a different phone number. Or two versions of Uber; you’d receive double the number…

Read the full article: Tweak and Improve Your Phone With These 7 Useful Android Apps

Android is a fantastic operating system, but that doesn’t mean you can’t improve it.

Thankfully, its open nature means skilled developers can make apps that bring changes for the better. Curious? Here are seven Android apps that make small but powerful tweaks. None of the apps need root access.

1. Parallel Space

Have you ever wished you could run two instances of the same app at the same time on your Android device?

Just think of the possibilities—you could run two versions of WhatsApp, each with a different phone number. Or two versions of Uber; you’d receive double the number of promotions and discounts!

Parallel Space makes it possible. The two versions of the app will run at the same time but are sandboxed from each other, so you won’t encounter forced logouts. The app also offers an incognito installation feature that lets you hide apps from your drawer; other people won’t know you’re running them.

For more information, check out our short instructions on how to set up Parallel Space.

Download: Parallel Space (Free)

2. Status

The Android status bar feels like a forgotten place. When the rest of the Android operating system upgraded to Material Design back in 2014, the status bar was largely untouched. In the intervening years, there have been some minor usability adjustments, but it’s still quite plain.

Status changes all that. You can tweak the status bar’s color, add transparency, change the icons, use animations, adjust the design of notifications, and a whole lot more.

Because the app draws an overlay over the native status bar, all the buttons and gestures will still work. Be warned, however; due to the nature of the app, it requires a lot of permissions. Privacy-conscious users might find it off-putting.

Download: Status (Free)

3. PowerLine

Let’s stick with the theme of status bars for a moment.

Do you ever get annoyed by how difficult it is to see how much battery you have remaining? The icon is so small it’s hard to tell with any precision. And what about your signal strength, CPU usage, Wi-Fi signal, storage capacity, and more? Wouldn’t it be great if you could easily see a detailed breakdown of stats in these areas?

That’s exactly what PowerLine offers. You can add smart indicators to your status bar so you can see them all the time. It also lets you add always-visible indicators anywhere else on your screen.

The free version of the app lets you add two indicators. You’ll need to buy the pro version of the app to add more.

Download: PowerLine (Free) | PowerLine Pro ($3)

4. ACR

ACR (Another Call Recorder) is a call recording app for Android. There’s no native way to record phone calls on your device, so the functionality this app provides is an essential addition to your repertoire.

But why is it useful? Well, you never know when you might need to record a call. Perhaps you’re planning to have a long chat with your lawyer or financial advisor and want to refer back to what you discussed after the event. Or maybe you work in business whereby it’s a legal requirement to record customer calls.

Feature include starred recordings, automatic deletion of old calls, and password protection. For the full benefit, you need to buy the pro version. It lets you automatically record calls to/from specific numbers, create cloud-based backups, and adds a button to start recording manually in the middle of a call.

Download: ACR (Free) | ACR Pro ($4)

5. EasyJoin

Wirelessly moving content between your Android device and your computer has never been straightforward. This is because there’s no native method on the operating system.

Yes, you can use apps like Pushbullet, but they require an internet connection and connect to an external server.

For a more secure method, check out EasyJoin. Instead of using the web, the app relies on your local Wi-Fi network. You can send messages, links, files, folders, and notifications between devices using the clipboard.

By using the ad-free EasyJoin, you’ll save on your data allowance while simultaneously preventing your information from getting into the hands of third-party advertisers.

Download: EasyJoin (Free)

6. Fliktu

The Android share menu is another of the OS’s most underwhelming areas. It works fine, but the lack of customization is frustrating, especially if you always have to scroll a long way to get to the app you want to share with.

There are a few apps that let you clean up the share menu on Android. But some (like CustomShare) require root access, while the once-popular Andmade Share no longer exists.

As such, the best recommendation we can offer is Fliktu. The app has not been updated for a couple of years, but it still works well. You can add manually choose which apps appear on the share menu, pin your most-used apps, and automatically sort your other apps by frequency of usage.

Fliktu used to cost $1, but it’s now free.

Download: Fliktu (Free)

7. Dactyl

How many times have you ruined the perfect photograph because your hand moved slightly while reaching for the shutter button, or your phone jiggled when you pressed the volume down button?

There are probably too many instances to remember. Well, step forward, Dactyl.

Dactyl lets you take photos using your phone’s fingerprint sensor. And best of all, it’s compatible with every camera app—even third-party ones.

When the camera app opens, you won’t need to perform that balance-the-phone-and-press-a-button-and-keep-your-hand-steady dance that you’re so accustomed to. Just put your finger on the sensor, and the shutter will fire.

Download: Dactyl ($2)

Other Apps That Tweak the Android OS

Of course, we’ve covered many other apps that make essential alterations to your Android phone—either by introducing new functionality or fixing a long-standing irritant.

If you’d like to learn more about apps that’ll make your phone more enjoyable to use, check out how to replace many kinds of Android apps with one Google app and the best Android tweaks that don’t require rooting.

Read the full article: Tweak and Improve Your Phone With These 7 Useful Android Apps

7 Android Apps to Supercharge the Text Selection Menu

android-apps-text-selection

While Google has made commendable efforts to supercharge text selection on Android with more contextually aware features, there’s still a lot you can add with third-party apps. Here are seven apps that make selecting text even better on Android. 1. Multi Copy Say you’re looking to copy multiple excerpts from a lengthy page. Normally, you would have to grab each individually and paste them in a temporary file before moving on to the next. A free app called Multi Copy makes this process much less cumbersome. As the name suggests, Multi Copy essentially allows you to copy several text portions…

Read the full article: 7 Android Apps to Supercharge the Text Selection Menu

android-apps-text-selection

While Google has made commendable efforts to supercharge text selection on Android with more contextually aware features, there’s still a lot you can add with third-party apps. Here are seven apps that make selecting text even better on Android.

1. Multi Copy

Say you’re looking to copy multiple excerpts from a lengthy page. Normally, you would have to grab each individually and paste them in a temporary file before moving on to the next. A free app called Multi Copy makes this process much less cumbersome.

As the name suggests, Multi Copy essentially allows you to copy several text portions from an article without having to paste them elsewhere. The app adds a new option called Multi Copy in Android’s default long-press contextual menu. Selecting that instead of the usual Copy option will let you easily grab all those snippets like you would do with a single chunk.

Multi Copy also offers a bunch of other tools relevant to its core objective. For instance, it shows a popup every time you choose the Multi Copy option that lets you start another clip or save the existing one in a new note. In addition, there’s a feature called Smart Copy that enables Multi Copy inside other apps like WhatsApp. With this, you can even copy messages from different chat windows and paste them as one.

Download: Multi Copy (Free)

2. Look Up

Another handy app for augmenting your phone’s text selection menu is Look Up. Mac users who regularly employ the OS’s built-in dictionary might be familiar with how this app functions.

Look Up’s pitch is quite straightforward. You select a word, tap its entry in the menu, and the word’s definition appears. But that’s not all. The free app also comes with the ability to bookmark these words and lets you add notes to them.

What’s more, if you hit the little menu button on the popup, there are a few quick actions for checking the word’s synonyms, dictating it, and even translating to another language (the latter requires the premium version). Thankfully, it works offline so you don’t need an internet connection to use all these features.

If you find Look Up too limited, try Merriam Webster’s great dictionary app for Android.

Download: Look Up (Free) | Look Up Pro ($1)

3. Text Infinity

Text Infinity, unlike the rest on this list, is not designed for just one purpose. The app brings a host of utilities to the text selection menu on Android. This includes dictation of the selected word, calling or texting a highlighted number, searching the text on YouTube or Google Maps, and translating to a different language.

Text Infinity thus adds five new options to your context menu. It would be nice if the developer allowed you to hide the ones you don’t use, though.

Download: Text Infinity (Free)

4. Clipboard Actions

If you find your text selection menu cluttered with all these new options, try Clipboard Actions. It’s nearly identical to Text Infinity, with one key difference. Clipboard Actions places all its options in the notification shade instead of the long-press list.

Once you’ve copied a piece of text, you can simply swipe down and find a bunch of nifty shortcuts to web search, share, translate, and more. The app also behaves as a clipboard manager, so you can revisit every one of your clippings later down the road. For more like this, check out how to improve the copy-paste functionality on Android.

Download: Clipboard Actions (Free)

5. Universal Copy

Universal Copy goes where no other text selection feature has gone before. The app makes it possible for you to copy text that you wouldn’t be able to otherwise. Once invoked for a particular page, Universal Copy scans the entire screen and lets you select any text without hassle. For instance, you normally can’t directly copy titles of YouTube videos in the app—but with Universal Copy, you can.

There’s even a Select All button when you need it. It’s similar to the old Now on Tap feature that scanned your screen to find relevant information, but instead of offering relevant web results, this app uses it for selecting text.

Download: Universal Copy (Free)

6. Copy to Read

As the name suggests, Copy to Read lets you simply select some text on a web page or anywhere else and have it read aloud. The app makes use of the Google Text-to-Speech engine, so ensure you have that installed and updated.

Too basic? Try the best text-to-speech Android apps instead.

Download: Copy to Read (Free)

7. Screen Translator

Similarly, Screen Translator is a single-purpose app for translating highlighted text. You can choose from a wide array of languages, including regional ones. In addition, once you’ve translated something, Screen Translator adds a bunch of other handy features in the popup.

You can enlarge the translation to show it someone in a foreign city, share it, or edit the input text manually. If you’re looking for a more capable translation app, though, you can use Google Translate in any Android app.

Download: Screen Translator (Free)

Android Text Selection’s Future

In addition to these third-party apps, text selection on Android is natively quite powerful as well. With a few recent updates, Google has made it contextual.

For instance, if you’re copying a location, the menu will have a Google Maps link. But for these features, you’ll have to be using the latest Android version. Unfortunately, this continues to remain a bottleneck for Android.

If you’re fed with your current update scenario, see what Android manufacturers are the best for timely updates.

Read the full article: 7 Android Apps to Supercharge the Text Selection Menu

How to Mirror Your Android Screen to a PC or Mac Without Root

android-mirror-pc-mac

Sometimes, you might want to see your Android phone’s screen on your PC. How do you do that? If you have rooted your Android device, it’s easy. But if you haven’t rooted, there are still some simple ways to get your phone or tablet’s screen to show on your PC or Mac. Why Mirror Android to Your PC? Why would you mirror your screen? There are plenty of reasons. You might be a developer in the middle of coding and want to check your app without having to constantly reach for your phone. You might want to share your pictures…

Read the full article: How to Mirror Your Android Screen to a PC or Mac Without Root

android-mirror-pc-mac

Sometimes, you might want to see your Android phone’s screen on your PC. How do you do that?

If you have rooted your Android device, it’s easy. But if you haven’t rooted, there are still some simple ways to get your phone or tablet’s screen to show on your PC or Mac.

Why Mirror Android to Your PC?

Why would you mirror your screen? There are plenty of reasons. You might be a developer in the middle of coding and want to check your app without having to constantly reach for your phone. You might want to share your pictures on a big screen without uploading them. Or you might need to give a presentation quickly while the projector is connected to a PC.

The quickest and easiest way, as you will find out, requires no installation on your phone, and a simple app for your computer.

What You’ll Need

Vysor, made by prolific Android developer Koushik Dutta, is the simplest way to get your Android screen onto your PC or Mac’s screen. Here’s what you need to get started:

  1. Download Vysor for Windows | macOS | Linux | Google Chrome (Free)
  2. A USB cable to connect your phone to your PC.
  3. An Android smartphone or tablet with USB debugging enabled.

As always, if your phone or PC has a USB-C port, then we recommend using a trusted USB-C cable that won’t destroy your devices.

Enable USB Debugging Mode on Android

enable usb debugging on android

We have a full explanation of what USB debugging mode is, but you don’t need to concern yourself with that here. All you need to know is how to enable it:

  1. Go to Settings > About phone (Settings > System > About phone on Android 8 Oreo and newer).
  2. Scroll down and tap Build Number seven times.
  3. Go back to Settings (Settings > System on Oreo and later) and enter the new Developer Options menu.
  4. Scroll down and enable USB debugging.
  5. Confirm the action when prompted.

Share Your Screen to Your PC or Mac via USB

Mirror android phone screen to PC with vysor

Now that you have USB debugging mode activated, the rest is simple.

  1. Start Vysor by searching for it on your computer (or via the Chrome App Launcher if you installed there).
  2. Click Find Devices and select your phone.
  3. Vysor will start up, and you’ll see your Android screen on your computer.
  4. Optional: You can set your phone to connect automatically every time you plug in the USB cable.

With this, you are ready to go. Your mouse and keyboard work within Vysor, so you can start any app you want and type in it too. There are plenty of apps that don’t have a web client, so this is a good way of using your physical keyboard for your phone’s apps.

Vysor’s Appeal Lies in Four Aspects

  1. You don’t need anything installed on your Android phone.
  2. It works on Windows, Mac, and Linux.
  3. The USB cable makes your screen reflect in almost real-time, as opposed to wireless solutions where there is distinct lag.
  4. You can interact with your phone’s screen through your computer.

Try it out and see how you like it. If it’s useful to you, you can pay ($2.50/month or $10/year) for Vysor Pro, which enables high-quality mirroring, wireless mirroring, and drag-and-drop file sharing.

How to Share Your Screen Wirelessly

If your phone runs on Android 5 Lollipop or later, Google has made it easier to mirror the screen of any device. For a wireless, cross-platform solution, Koushik Dutta has another app.

How to set up Android Mirroring with AllCast:

  1. Download: AllCast Receiver for Chrome (Free)
  2. Download: Screen Recording and Mirror for Android (Free)
  3. Make sure your computer and smartphone are on the same Wi-Fi network.
  4. Start AllCast Receiver through the Chrome App Launcher.
  5. Start Screen Recording and Mirror on your Android phone.
  6. In Screen Recording and Mirror, choose the Network Device that matches your PC. It will still start with Chrome @ followed by an IP address.

Just like that, your screen will be wirelessly mirrored on your computer. This is the easiest way to share your Android screen without the hassle of a cable, and it supports other devices on the same network too, including Fire TV, Apple TV, Roku, and more.

This method has a few disadvantages:

  1. You cannot interact with your screen through your PC. The interaction is limited to your phone itself, but you will see what’s happening on the big screen. Unfortunately, that means no typing with your computer’s keyboard on your phone.
  2. Unfortunately, there’s no way to remove annoying Mirror floating watermark. This can be a dampener for presentations and slideshows.

Rooted Is Still the Best Option

As Android has grown, it’s added so many features that only power users really need to root. But if screen mirroring is important to you, then I would still recommend you root because it gives you access to the best way to mirror Android to a PC.

The Android management client Airdroid offers a built-in protocol to wirelessly mirror a rooted Android phone to a Windows or macOS computer. It works for non-rooted phones too, but this requires a cable and works much like the aforementioned Vysor.

But with a rooted phone, you only need to be on the same Wi-Fi network to start mirroring immediately, without watermarks. And you can control the phone too, unlike the AllCast option above.

Don’t forget about the other ways to cast your screen, too.

Read the full article: How to Mirror Your Android Screen to a PC or Mac Without Root

7 iPhone-Only Features You Can Get on Android Right Now

iphone-features-android

The Android-iOS rivalry is a perennial battle that we don’t expect to end anytime soon. But if you’re on the Android side, you don’t necessarily have to sulk over the features only available on the iPhone. Here’s how to replicate seven iPhone-exclusive features on any Android phone. 1. Universal Search One of the most glaring deficiencies of Android is the lack of a universal search. Fortunately, there are third-party options available. You have two main two ways to set up a feature like iOS’s Spotlight search on Android: you can either install a launcher that includes it, or set up…

Read the full article: 7 iPhone-Only Features You Can Get on Android Right Now

iphone-features-android

The Android-iOS rivalry is a perennial battle that we don’t expect to end anytime soon. But if you’re on the Android side, you don’t necessarily have to sulk over the features only available on the iPhone.

Here’s how to replicate seven iPhone-exclusive features on any Android phone.

1. Universal Search

One of the most glaring deficiencies of Android is the lack of a universal search. Fortunately, there are third-party options available.

You have two main two ways to set up a feature like iOS’s Spotlight search on Android: you can either install a launcher that includes it, or set up an app dedicated to searching. The former is ideal for most users since it doesn’t require additional tinkering and ticks the majority of boxes. On the other hand, if you decide to go with the latter, you’ll have a more powerful search.

For a built-in search option, you can download a free app called Evie Launcher. It’s a rather straightforward launcher that allows you to search your phone’s data and the web by swiping down on the home screen, just like iOS Spotlight.

For the other method, we recommend Sesame Shortcuts integrated with Nova Launcher. Launch Sesame Shortcuts and grant all the necessary permissions. Then open Nova, swipe down on the home screen, and you’ll have a feature like iOS Spotlight.

Sesame Shortcuts integration is just one of the key highlights of Nova Launcher, especially if you’re a Nova Prime user.

Download: Evie Launcher (Free)
Download: Sesame Shortcuts (Free, premium version available)
Download: Nova Launcher (Free, premium version available)

2. AssistiveTouch

Another longtime iOS feature is Assistive Touch, which adds a floating menu of quick actions on your screen. To replicate the same on Android, all you need to do is install a free app. And one of the best shortcut apps around is Easy Touch.

Easy Touch looks and functions like Assistive Touch on iOS. It brings a persistent floating menu that allows you to quickly access options such as taking a screenshot, return to the home screen, pulling down the notification shade, and more. In addition, you can customize the app and modify the order of these shortcuts or add new ones.

However, a new feature of Android Pie negates the need for these apps thanks to a new built-in Accessibility menu. This pins to your navigation bar and includes shortcuts to Notifications, Recent Apps, Assistant, and more. To enable it, head to Settings > Accessibility > Accessibility Menu and toggle it on.

While you can’t edit this menu yet, perhaps Google will add that ability in later updates.

Download: Easy Touch (Free)

3. Screen Recording

With iOS 11, Apple brought a native utility for recording the phone’s screen to iOS. Google, unfortunately, still hasn’t. But if you don’t want to be left behind, you can download a third-party alternative.

We recommend AZ Screen Recorder since it’s mostly free and even allows you to tweak an array of settings like video resolution, showing touches, and more.

Download: AZ Screen Recorder (Free, premium version available)

4. Notifications on PC

Apple’s closely knit ecosystem is one of the cornerstones of its products. That includes the ability to read and interact with iOS notifications on macOS. To have that privilege on Android, you need to configure Pushbullet.

Pushbullet not only mirrors your phone’s alerts to your Windows PC or Mac, but also lets you share files, browse your phone’s internal storage remotely on a computer, reply to SMS messages, and more. It’s the complete package.

Unlike what you’d think, it’s also free (with some limitations). To set it up, sign up on the Pushbullet website with your Google or Facebook account. Install the app on your Android phone and all your other devices via desktop and browser clients. Once you’re signed in everywhere, you can easily send files, links, and more across your devices.

Download: Pushbullet for Android (Free, subscription available) | Pushbullet apps for other platforms

5. Universal Clipboard

Similarly, Apple also allows Mac and iOS users to share a common clipboard. An app titled Clipbrd brings this functionality to Android as well.

Once installed and logged in, Clipbrd lets you copy text on an Android phone and paste it directly on your PC, or vice-versa. To get started, install the Clipbrd Android app and the Chrome extension on your computer. Create a new account and you’re ready to share. There are no in-app purchases or advertisements.

Download: Clipbrd for Android | Chrome Extension (Free)

6. Screenshot Markup

Another native feature available on the majority of iOS devices but only a handful of Android phones (those running Pie) is a screenshot markup tool. To get that on phones running Android 8 Oreo or earlier, head over to the Play Store and install Screenshot Crop and Share.

The app syncs with Android’s default screenshot shortcut and presents you with an editing option as soon as you take one. You can annotate, crop, or delete the file if you want to take it again. The Play Store is full of comprehensive screenshot apps as well.

Download: Screenshot Crop and Share (Free)

7. Digital Wellbeing

Digital wellbeing features will soon arrive with iOS 12, but the comparable feature is only available on Android Pie. A free app called Social Fever brings nearly the same set of tools to any Android phone today.

Designed for people who find it difficult to put their phones down, Social Fever comes with a host of features. This includes a detailed summary of your usage, reports, limiting app times, and more. You can even specify your hobbies and Social Fever will recommend you other activities if it thinks you’re on your phone too much on a particular day.

Download: Social Fever (Free)

Third-Party Apps: A Compromise or Advantage?

While these third-party options certainly highlight how Android’s open environment allows users to replicate nearly every iOS feature, its fragmentation hurdles continue to remain a bottleneck. Features such as digital wellbeing tools and screenshot markup are available officially on Android Pie. But it will be a while before your phone gets the update (if it ever does).

But look on the bright side: Android still has plenty of features that the iPhone doesn’t.

Read the full article: 7 iPhone-Only Features You Can Get on Android Right Now

12 Types of Android Apps You Can Replace With the Google App

google-app-replace

The majority of Android users use Google’s search app for, well, searching the web. But the company has supplemented its main app with a host of new features and utilities. Usually, you’d rely on a variety of dedicated third-party apps for these features. We’re going to show how the Google app can handle several different common tasks and turn into a Swiss Army knife for services on your phone. 1. Reminders We begin with reminders, which have lived inside the Google app for years now. The app lets you easily configure alerts for quick tasks based either on a location…

Read the full article: 12 Types of Android Apps You Can Replace With the Google App

google-app-replace

The majority of Android users use Google’s search app for, well, searching the web. But the company has supplemented its main app with a host of new features and utilities.

Usually, you’d rely on a variety of dedicated third-party apps for these features. We’re going to show how the Google app can handle several different common tasks and turn into a Swiss Army knife for services on your phone.

1. Reminders

We begin with reminders, which have lived inside the Google app for years now. The app lets you easily configure alerts for quick tasks based either on a location or time. You can add tasks in a handful of ways.

You can either ask Google Assistant by pressing the mic icon, or simply enter a query into the search box like “Remind me to buy milk tomorrow.” If you prefer, head into the Reminders section and tap the floating Plus icon for another way.

The Reminders section is present in the hamburger menu located in the bottom-right corner of the Google app. There, you’ll also find a list of your active and past reminders. You can click either of them to edit or delete.

2. Weather

Another longtime Google app feature is the ability to check the weather. The app has received a handful of updates recently to deliver a better experience, though.

To know the forecast for your location, you have two options—Google Assistant or the Google feed where it’s available as a card on the app’s homepage. Tapping the three-dot menu at the right edge of the card will also let you switch temperature units or enable updates for your current or home location.

In addition, you can add a shortcut to the detailed weather page to your phone’s home screen. To do that, tap the weather card on the feed or search for it. The app will ask if you’d like to have a shortcut on the home screen. Select Add and place the icon wherever you prefer.

If you need a more comprehensive solution, check out the best weather apps for Android.

3. Podcasts

You can also follow and hear your favorite podcasts right from the Google app. Just search for a particular one and you’ll see a list of the tracks. Tap the Follow button to get updates in your feed and the Play button to begin listening.

The playback notification even has a 30-second skip option, which is a nice touch.

4. Tip Calculation

The Google app comes bundled with a nifty tip calculator too. For this, type calculate the tip or tip calculator in the search bar. You can then specify the bill amount, how much would you like to tip, and even the number of people if you want to know how much each of your party owes.

5. Shopping List

The Google app also allows you to build a shopping list. However, there’s no built-in mini-app for this. Instead, you’ll have to either rely on Google Assistant or head over to a web app weirdly linked to an option in the app’s settings. Hopefully Google will update it and bring a native view soon.

Anyway, to add an item to the shopping list, you can ask Assistant by saying, for instance, add milk to my shopping list. The second way is to open the Google Shopping List page and type there. In order to check on your list, say my shopping list to the Assistant or launch that web app again.

We’ve covered more advanced shopping list apps if this doesn’t cut it for you.

6. News and Interests

One of the first items you’ll see as soon as you land on the Google app is news and content based on what Google’s algorithms think you like. What you might not know is you can specifically customize the type of content that’s delivered to your feed. In turn, this will let you get rid of the dedicated RSS app using memory and storage on your phone.

To personalize and update the topics you’re interested in, press the hamburger icon at the bottom-right corner and then tap Customize. Here, you can add new topics to follow or edit the existing ones Google has automatically set based on your search history.

The majority of articles that appear on your feed are tailored to your preferences and search history. However, if there’s something you’re not into, you can change that on the feed itself. Tap the card’s three-dot menu where you will have three choices: hide a particular story, unfollow the topic altogether, or block the source website.

7. Bookings and Reservations

The Google app also funnels your forthcoming reservations and orders onto a single page. This lets you quickly glance over details such as confirmation numbers. Unfortunately, this won’t do anything if your primary account is not on Gmail. You can find your bookings inside the second tab of the Google app.

You can tap on the little arrow beside a reservation to reveal more information like order details or check-in dates. There’s a View in Gmail button too, which will redirect you to the relevant email.

8. Save for Later

You can save articles you’ve read, pictures you’ve viewed, or places you’ve looked up on the Google app as well. Whenever you open a link, you’ll see a bookmark icon at the top. Tap that and the article will be added to your favorites. These are available inside the Saved option on the app’s last tab.

You can even create a new collection if you’re researching for a specific purpose like a trip or project. Unfortunately, there’s no offline access yet. Hopefully, Google will roll out that feature in a later update.

9. Currency Conversions

Currency conversions are also possible on the Google app. You can either search by typing a definite query like $5 in INR or you can look up $ to INR and then fill out the values. Google search also displays a chart of the historical rates and allows you to switch currencies through dropdown menus.

10. Sports

The Google app easily lets you keep track of your sports teams and leagues. To tell the app which ones are your favorites, head into the Customize option in the last tab and tap View all settings. There, under the Sports section, you can specifically add the teams and leagues for which you’d like to get updates and alerts for.

Google can even send you video highlights through notifications. In addition, at the bottom of the page, there’s a category called Not Interested where you can exclude clubs and teams from appearing in the feed.

11. Stocks

Similarly, you can follow stock rates and updates through the Google feed. Go through the same customization process above, but instead of Sports, open the settings for Stocks. Through the search, you can even compare multiple shares.

To do that, search for a stock and click the blue arrow beneath its card. There, you’ll have a button labeled Compare with a share or index. Tap that, select the second stock, and you’re all set. You can continue to do this for additional stocks and collate their charts from several periods, if you like.

If this is too basic, check out the top stock market apps that let you go further.

12. Translations

You can access a mini counterpart of Google Translate from the main Google app as well. You can translate phrases by simply searching for them, like Hello in French. Dictation is available, and there’s an option to enlarge the translated text if you’d like to show it to someone in a foreign land.

You’re Now a Google App Master

While these features certainly can’t replace full-fledged apps if you’re a heavy user, they’re perfect for someone who rarely fires up apps for specific purposes. And the best part is that the Google app is already on your phone and works with voice commands too.

For more like this, check out other Android apps by Google you might not know about.

Read the full article: 12 Types of Android Apps You Can Replace With the Google App