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18 ways to get the most out of Android 5.0

JR Raphael | Feb. 10, 2015
Got Lollipop? Then these tips and tricks will help you handle Android 5.0 like a pro.

Android guys

Got Lollipop? Google's Android 5.0 operating system is slowly but surely making its way to devices around the world -- and like any major OS upgrade, it brings with it a whole new set of options, features, and shortcuts to master.

Some of Lollipop's new elements are obvious, like the striking new Material Design motif or the revamped Overview (aka Recent Apps) interface. Others, however, take a little learning and exploration to discover.

Strap on your explorer hat and stretch out your phalanges: It's time to get into the nooks and crannies of Lollipop's many possibilities.

(Note that this story focuses on Google's core Android 5.0 software. Some hardware manufacturers modify the OS, however, so the placement and presence of items described here may vary depending on your device.)

Tip No. 1: Bump and beam data to another device
One of Android's least-known but most useful features picks up even more power with Lollipop: With Android 5.0, Android Beam gains the ability to wirelessly transmit practically any type of content from one device to another -- and it's easier than ever to use.

Simply tap the share icon in any app -- like while viewing a photo in the Photos app, a contact entry in the Contacts app, or a document in your favorite Android office suite -- and select Android Beam from the list of options that appears. Then tap the back of your device to the back of another Android device, and the info will be zapped over in an instant.

The receiving device doesn't even have to have Lollipop; it only needs to support NFC (near-field communication) -- which most reasonably recent midrange to high-end Android devices do -- and to be powered on and unlocked.

Tip No. 2: Quick swipe for settings
Need to change a device-level setting fast? You can swipe down twice from the top of your device's screen to access the new Lollipop-level Quick Settings panel, which allows you to quickly adjust elements like display brightness, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connections, airplane mode, and flashlight status. You can also get to the Quick Settings panel by swiping down once from the top of your screen while using two fingers.

Tip No. 3: Tap text for extra shortcuts
You wouldn't know it by looking, but two of the settings in Lollipop's Quick Settings panel have hidden secondary functions: With both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, you can tap the icon to toggle the function on or off and tap the text -- either your Wi-Fi network name or the word "Bluetooth" -- to jump directly to the respective section of the full system settings.

 

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