Hidden tricks you didn’t know your Android phone could do

Cast your Android screen
For a number of years, you’ve been able to broadcast your Android phone or tablet’s display to the larger screen of a television using a Chromecast. In addition to beaming video from all the usual movie and TV apps, this streaming device can mirror your phone. Take advantage of a mirroring shortcut in the Quick Settings pane, which you access by dragging down from the top of the screen with two fingers. You should find a Cast option in this menu.

If it doesn’t show up, there’s another way to set up mirroring. First, check to make sure you’ve installed the Google Home app for Android. You probably already used this program to set up your Chromecast. Open the app, tap Cast screen/audio from its menu, and then choose your Chromecast. Your device’s display should appear on the big screen.

Run apps side-by-side
One of the new features added in Android 7.0 Nougat is the option to run apps side-by-side or one above the other. This view comes in handy when you want to display photos, optimize your social networking, or multitask, although it’s a bit too laggy for gaming.

Bring back lost notifications
Accidentally swiped away one of the notifications that you wanted to read fully? Got a nagging sense that someone emailed you, but now you’re not sure? If you want to review all of your recent notifications on Android, you’re in luck. This ability is possible—though the option isn’t easy to find.

Tap and hold on an empty part of the home screen, and a screen-adjusting mode will pop up. Choose Widgets, and find the Settings shortcut. Drag this icon to an empty space on one of your home screens and drop it in place, and a list will automatically pop up. Choose Notification log from the list and tap the icon to open up Android’s notification history.

Choose new default apps
One of the differences between Android and iOS is that Google’s mobile operating system lets you choose different default apps for web browsing, texting, viewing photos and so on. A default app is the app that opens automatically when you try and do something on your phone—so when you click a hyperlink, for example, your default web browser app will open that link.

Take advantage of this flexibility by setting up the defaults as you want them. Head to Settings, then Apps, then tap the cog icon in the upper right corner. Select any of the categories on screen to see a list of installed apps that can take over default duties. For example, if you’d prefer to chat with friends via Facebook Messenger, rather than your phone’s built-in SMS app, you can make Facebook’s product your default messaging app.

Tweak the status bar
To enable it (if it’s available on your phone), swipe down from the top of the screen with two fingers to show the Quick Settings pane. Locate the settings gear icon in the top right, then press and hold it for a few seconds. If you see a confirmation message, that means you’ve successfully enabled Settings UI. When you go to the Settings menu, you should see a new menu entry called “System UI Tuner.” Tap on this new entry, then choose Status bar to control which icons— from Bluetooth mode to battery levels—will show up in the status bar.

Disable the lock screen at home
From Settings, tap Security and then Smart Lock. As well as disabling the lock screen when you’re at home (that’s the trusted places option), you can also disable the screen when your phone’s Bluetooth is connected to a trusted device, such as your car stereo unit.

Make text and images more visible
To change size settings, open the Android Settings app and go to the Display heading. From the Display menu, tap the Font size link to change the default font size in Android. Select the Display size link to make on-screen objects larger or smaller.

Activate one-handed mode
As today’s phones continue to grow in size, they become harder and harder to operate one-handed. So Google’s custom keyboard, which is the default option on certain Android phones, has a solution: A special one-handed mode that you can switch to with a simple shortcut.