Having a smartphone with a pure version of Android access (almost always) to faster updates. Along with system updates, many new features are also usually released that are sometimes hidden and are lost between settings menus. Here are some tips and tricks to take full advantage of your Android-equipped smartphones!

Unlimited storage space (almost)

One of the main advantages of owning a Pixel smartphone is to have unlimited online storage space for photos and videos in original quality. Also all other Android devices have unlimited space but with a compressed version of both photos and videos.

If we combine this free space with the Smart Storage function, we can practically have all the memory we need for applications and files without worrying about the weight of images and movies. This feature automatically deletes photos and videos from your smartphone’s internal memory of which you have a backup on Google Photo so that you always have free space for all your apps. The multimedia files will obviously continue to appear in the dedicated Google app.
activating Smart Storage

To enable or disable Smart Storage, all you need to do is:

  • Open the Settings
  • Go to the item Storage
  • Activate or deactivate the switch under smart storage

Of course, make sure you have backed up your files on Google Photos otherwise the feature will not do its job.

Improve your digital wellbeing

All Pixel and Android One smartphones can finally access the digital wellness features created by Google, Digital Wellbeing is out of the Beta phase. Thanks to this free app (which will integrate into the Settings once installed) you can check the number of times you have unlocked the smartphone, how many notifications you have received and which apps you have used the most. In this way you can set rules of use to not exaggerate. The app is compatible with Google and Android One smartphones updated to Pie.

Activating Digital Well Being

Enable or disable the new gesture

Together with Android Pie, the new gesture-based navigation system has arrived on almost all smartphones with Android Stock (Sony is no exception). This is not a revolutionary system like the one presented by Apple on iPhone X and then taken by many manufacturers like Huawei or Xiaomi but it is a step in the right direction. On the Pixel 3 and 3 XL smartphones, the system is active by default.

To activate the classic navigation bar with three keys (or to move to the gesture) I will follow the following steps:

  • Open the Settings
  • Enter the System menu and then Gesture
  • Select the Scroll up item from the home button
  • Enable or disable the switch

Abandon Shazam and the like

This trick works only if you have a second or third generation Pixel smartphone in your hands. Your intelligent device is able to recognize the songs played in the environment around you without even asking it!

If you have activated the setting called Now Playing, in the always on display of your smartphone you will see a small musical note appear and the song title followed by the artist every time a piece is recognized. Automatically. Also offline!

To activate Now Playing follow the following procedure:

  • Open the Settings
  • Enter the Sound menu
  • Select the Now Playing item
  • Enable or disable the switch

Activating now playing

The lucky owners of Pixel 3 and 3 XL can also display in the same menu a chronology of all the recognized songs, you do not need to be ready to click on the notification while the song is still playing.

Do not you have a Pixel? Do not worry, just ask Google Assistant!

  • Hold down the home button or say “OK Google” to call up the assistant
  • If the music is at a sufficient volume you will see a button dedicated to the recognition of the song appear
  • Press it and wait a few seconds

This feature needs an internet connection comes to work.

Enable Dark mode (dark theme)

The ability to use a real system-level Dark mode will come only with Android Q. However, you can use a dark theme for the quick settings in the notification area, for the home screen, and for Discover (formerly Google Feed). Here’s how:

  • Open the Settings
  • Go to the Display item and then Device theme
  • From here you can choose to use the automatic theme based on the tone of your background or if you specifically use the light or dark theme

Activating dark theme

Applications, such as YouTube, still require manual activation of the dark theme and are not impacted by this settings item.

Make your WIFI smart

Going into the advanced WIFI settings you can find many interesting features. Google allows you, in fact, to automatically activate the WIFI when you return home, to be notified in case of open wireless network nearby (to save you GBs of your data plan) and even automatically connect to a public WIFI connection from high quality if detected by automatic scanning.

Do you know other tricks to use on smartphones with Android stock? Amaze me in the comments below!



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