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21 tips for making Android a better personal assistant

JR Raphael | April 24, 2015
Here are 21 tips for making the most of your device's email, calendar, and contacts capabilities.

Repeat the process as needed for any additional labels, and ta-da: Your Android device is now like your own personal assistant, sorting through the junk and letting you know with a specific sound whenever anything important has arrived.

Become an Android calendar master

Tip No. 12:If you have a phone or tablet with manufacturer-modified software, try installing Google's official Google Calendar app for Android. It's designed with the fresh and modern Lollipop-level Material Design guidelines, which makes for a far more pleasant user experience than the alternatives most manufacturers ship with their devices. The app has some excellent features, too, like the ability to automatically add relevant images and maps to your events, to automatically create events from confirmations and itineraries in your Gmail inbox, and to simplify the process of adding an event by making intelligent suggestions as you type.

Tip No. 13:For extra pizazz, the third-party Today Calendar app — free with an optional $4.49 pro version — is also worth a whirl. Today starts with a Google Calendar-like base and adds advanced options like custom theming support and a series of fully customizable widgets with agenda and full-month views.

Tip No. 14:In addition to regular alerts for calendar events, the Google Now system that is integrated into Android can help you make and manage reminders based on the time or your current location. Simply tap the microphone on your device's home screen or within Google Now (usually accessed by swiping upward on or long-pressing your device's Home button), then say something like: "Remind me to take out the trash when I get home" or "Remind me to call the doctor's office tomorrow morning."

Tip No. 15:You can use Google Now to create recurring reminders, too: Follow the same steps mentioned above but add the word "every" into your command — "Remind me to file my TPS report every Friday at noon," for instance.

Tip No. 16:To manage your Google Now reminders, head into Google Now and tap the menu icon in the top-left corner of the screen, then select Reminders. You'll find all of your present and past reminders there, along with an option to manually create a new reminder on the spot.

Tip No. 17:Looking for a more flexible way to organize your tasks? Grab the free Google Keep app and use it for jotting down longer notes and to-do lists. The app ties into the Google Now system, so you can set reminders for items in Keep and have them work exactly like the regular Now reminders mentioned above.

Become an Android contacts master

Tip No. 18:Your contacts on any Android device are automatically synced with Google's universal Contacts system — which means you can view and edit them via the recently redesigned Google Contacts Web app, and all of your changes will instantly and automatically be synced to any Android phones or tablets connected to the same account.

 

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