5 Ways to Get More Out of Android 11

Last week’s Tech Tips column collected several iOS 14 tips for iPhone users, and many phones running Google’s Android 11 operating system have similar controls, such as the ability to use the quick settings panel or the wizard’s synthetic voice. to adjust. And once you start browsing on Android 11, you’ll find plenty of other useful features.

Here are just a few. These tips should work on Google’s latest Pixel models, but keep in mind that other phone manufacturers often run their own custom versions of Android, so features and menus may vary.

1. Make Google Wait For You

If you’ve chosen the Google Assistant as your virtual helper and you’re using the latest version of Google’s phone app for your calls, you can combine it with the Hold for Me feature to do one of the most annoying tasks of modern life to run: for a customer service representative to wait for. (You’ll also need at least a Pixel 3 or another compatible smartphone.)

To activate “Keep to me”, open the phone app and tap the three-dot menu “More” to get to the settings. Select Hold for me and then tap the button to enable the feature.

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If you call a toll-free number and are put on hold, tap the on-screen button to put it on hold for me. The Google Assistant listens to a person and displays a “don’t hang up” message. When the customer service representative answers the call, the Google Assistant changes the message on the screen to “Someone is waiting for you” and highlights the “Back to call” button. The phone records the audio and transcript of the call and you have the option to share the data with Google for better functionality.

2. Set Up Guest Access

Lending your phone to someone comes with risks – especially if you lend it to a young person who wants to watch videos, but could also end up on your email and contact list. To keep the peace — and to protect your personal files — you can use Android’s long-standing “Multiple Users” setting. Allows you to set up a guest account or a separate user account on your phone.

Open the Settings app, select System, then Advanced, then Multiple users. Tap the To button and then tap Add user to create a new account or use the guest account. You can switch between accounts here or by swiping down with two fingers from the top of the screen to open the quick settings panel and tap the user icon.

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3. Record Your Screen

Screen captures are useful for presentations, demonstrations, and troubleshooting. After years of third-party apps doing the job, Android 11 now includes a Screen Recorder app.

To use it, swipe down with two fingers from the top of the screen to open the quick settings panel, then swipe to the second Settings page. Tap the Screen Recording icon, enable the audio and screen tips controls (if necessary), and tap Start. To stop recording, swipe down from the top of the screen and tap the red notification bar. The recording is saved in the movie library.

4. Use Your Power (Button)

The quick settings panel is handy, but Android 11 adds one more place to store commonly used controls: press and hold the phone’s power button until the power menu appears. Here you’ll find shortcuts for shutting down or restarting your phone, buying Google Pay, and managing smart home devices. Install an app like Power Menu Controls or Tasker and you can add other system controls to the screen.

If you don’t want to add smart home devices to the Android 11 Power Menu, you can use third-party apps like Power Menu Controls to add system functions to the menu.

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Another use for the power button? Press it twice quickly to go straight to the camera app for that quick snapshot.

5. Herd Cats

Software developers have smuggled Easter eggs into code in the past, and Android has long maintained this tradition. Android 11 revives a previous prize: a hidden game that lets digital cats roam around your phone. To play it, go to the “About phone” section in Settings and tap “Android version” a few times. When a volume slider appears, turn it all the way up 3 times until an “11” and a cat emoji appear on the screen.

Then press and hold the power button to enter the power menu. Tap the More menu with three dots to select Add controls. Select “View other apps” at the bottom of the screen, select “Cat Controls” and add the water bowl, food bowl, and cat toy to your power menu. Tap these controls and digital cats will appear in your notifications or floating bubbles ready to be named and saved to your cat on the screen. It’s not a complex game, but it’s a way to pass the time until the final version of Android 12 comes out this year.