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TECHNOLOGY  Some Amazing Things Your Android Phone Could Do

1. Type by swiping.

Gesture typing allows you to compose messages by
dragging your finger from letter to letter, which is super
convenient if you've only got one hand to spare. It's
available through Google keyboard (which you can download
for free in Google Play), though the default Samsung
keyboard offers the gliding function as well, albeit without
the floating previews.

2. Share apps, contacts, photos, and music just by
tapping phones.

The Android Beam (very sci-fi) allows you to instantly
exchange almost anything — apps, contacts, music, videos,
photos, and even certain app-specific items like favorite
places on Foursquare or tagged songs in Shazam — just by
touching one NFC-enabled device to another, typically back
to back, and then tapping to send. Check if your phone is
NFC-enabled under "More" in Settings (or, for Samsung
devices, Settings > Connections) and then turn on either
Android Beam or S Beam right below the NFC option.

3. Facial recognition lock.

To set it up, go to Settings > Security > Screen Lock and
choose Face Unlock (for Galaxy devices: Settings > Lock
Screen > Screen Lock > Face Unlock), and then snap a photo
and you're good to go. You can also set a backup PIN or
take multiple shots for improving facial recognition, and if
you're worried that some mastermind might unlock your
phone using just a picture of you, you can set a "Presence
Check," which requires you to blink.

4. Take a screenshot.

Just hold down home, power,
and volume up buttons at the same time
(or, for Galaxy S4, just home and power).

5. Silence your phone or take a screenshot with
just your palm.

Samsung Granted, your palm needs to be big enough for
this to work, but these are both handy tricks
, if you have a Samsung device. You can take
a screenshot by swiping the side of your hand
across the screen or quickly mute a disruptive
phone by placing your hand over the screen;
you just have have to make sure that Palm
motion is enabled. Go to Settings > My Device
> Motions and Gestures > Palm Motion, where
you'll find options for Capture screen and

6. Turn your photos and recordings into a movie.

Phones running Android 4.3 and up have
the ability to automatically create short
films by editing together videos and
photos you have stored on your device.
The process is a bit more convoluted than
the other tips, but the outcome is so much
fun that it's worth exploring. First, go into
the Google+ app and turn on Auto Backup
from settings, so that every photo you
take with your phone will be automatically
saved in a private folder on Google+. Then,
along the top of the "Photos" section, click
on the little video camera icon. From there
you can choose whichever photos or
videos you'd like to turn into a movie, alter
the theme, style, and background music,
and Google+ does the rest.

7. Invert colors.

Just go to Settings > Accessibility (under "My Device" in
Samsung) > Negative Colors to make your Android a little
more readable at night and a lot more trippy.

8. Discover the inner workings of your battery.

Get voltage, ADC, and RSSI readings by dialing *#0228#,
because why not?

9. Voice search.

Your Android wants to help you out; it's
just waiting on the word. Click on the
microphone icon in Google search (or say
"OK Google") and send an email or text
(just say, "Text Brendan, I'll be there in
five," or "Email Caitlin, movie at your
place?" and hit send), email yourself a
reminder ("Note to self, call Jackie"), find
out about the weather or traffic ("Do I
need an umbrella today?"), track your
flights or packages (if you've gotten
confirmation emails), or simply ask any
research question you'd otherwise type
into the search bar.

10. Access tabs that are open on your other

As long as you're signed into Chrome, your Android has
the ability to access all other open tabs on devices in
which you are also signed in. To do this, just hit "Other
Devices" from Menu or the New Tab Page (or click that
bottom-right-hand-corner icon of a folder with arrows,
seen above), and then — like magic! — there they are.
But what if you want to read that long article on your
phone in a place with no service? If you download the
free Chrome to Mobile extension, you can send an
offline version of a specific web page from your
computer to your Android for reading on the subway or
in the air or whatever other type of horrifying internet-
less you'll be.

11. Stay awake and bright for as long as you're
looking at it.

Smart Stay is another Samsung-specific feature, which keeps
your Android at a bright display for as long as your eyes are
on it. Just go to Settings > Display > Smart Stay (for
Samsung: Settings > Smart Screen > Smart Stay).

12. Double as a Wi-Fi hotspot.

If you're in a Wi-Fi jam, you can turn your Android into a
portable hotspot. Just go into Settings > Wireless and
networks > Tethering and portable hotspot and set up
Mobile Hotspot (for Samsung: Settings > More networks >
Tethering and portable hotspot). Be aware, though, that
whether you're using your device or a laptop tethered to it,
it's all coming from your data plan.

13. Display your contact info on the lock screen.

Couldn't hurt, right? Set it up through Settings > Security >
Show owner info on lock screen (for Samsung: Settings >
Lock Screen > Lock screen widgets > Owner information),
then type out whatever information you'd like available to
anyone who might find your misplaced phone.
Important note for Galaxy S4 users: The "owner
information" option will only show up when "Clock or
personal message" is set to "Clock."

14. Control exactly how much data you use.

No guesswork here. Your Android lets you set warning levels
or limits to ensure you'll never go above your data
allowance, and offers charts that show total data usage on
each network (mobile or Wi-Fi) as well as the amount of data
used by each app. Just go to Settings > Data Usage to set
mobile data limits and to see how much you use per cycle.

15. Sync up to a computer or tablet to text
without your phone.

You'll need to download a free third-party app for this
one ( MightyText is a popular choice), but it's a game
changer, especially on those days that you've left your
phone at home. You'll be able to send and receive text
and media messages, linked to your phone number,
from your web browser or tablet.

16. Unlock a hidden animation.

Just go to Settings > About Device, tap on
"Android version" until an image shows up
(a "K" in Android 4.4. KitKat), and then hold
down on that image until the animation
begins. In KitKat, you can press down on
the red Kit Kat-style Android logo for an
even more fun tiled animation.

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