Photo: Dan Frommer, The Business Insider
Almost every Android phone is different than the next.Different manufacturers, different screen sizes, and different hardware.
That can make it tough to figure out the best ways to get the most out of your Android phone.
To help, we’ve assembled the best tips and tricks for navigating your Android that will work on practically every phone.
Click below to see what we came up with.
Note: Tips come from Google and our own experience.
Android allows you to create icons on your home screen for contacts. To add one press and hold an empty space on your screen. When the menu pops up select Shortcuts > Contact. You can then scroll through your list of contacts and tap the person you want to add.
Google's search app lets you search the web or your phone just by talking. Tap the microphone next to the search bar and record your search. It's incredibly accurate.
Many Android phones have talk-to-type built into the keyboard. Tap the mic icon and just talk. Android does the rest.
Android has a nice built-in widget that lets you toggle Wi-Fi, GPS, Bluetooth, Brightness levels, and syncing with Google. It's a great way to manage your battery power without digging through your settings
When you plug your phone into your computer with a USB cable, you can activate Android's storage mode. This allows you to swap files between your computer and phone, making an excellent way to take files with you on the go.
The beauty of Android is that you can use your phone's internal memory to store practically any file. But it can be hard to find those files once you transfer them. Download a file manager like Astro File Manager to locate and sort your files.
If you want to get to your special characters like commas and back slashes quicker, tap and hold the period key. A box will pop up with commonly-used characters.
To get the most out of Android, make sure you enter your Google account information when you first set up your phone. After that, all your Google services will just work. Apps like Gmail, Voice, Talk, and Calendar will automatically sync.
With a few exceptions, most Android phones give you the option to allow non-Market apps on your phone. That means you can download third-party software like Amazon's Appstore or apps you find online. To enable the feature go to Settings > Applications Settings and check the box next to 'Unknown sources.'
Keep in mind that this leaves your phone vulnerable to malware, so don't download apps from sources you don't trust.
Amazon's Appstore isn't as large as Google's Android Market, but it does have one killer feature. Every day Amazon offers a premium paid app for free. Amazon has also been able to score exclusive app launches like Angry Birds Rio and Plants vs. Zombies.
Click here to learn how to use the Amazon Appstore.
Malicious apps are still a real problem in the Android Market. Because apps don't go through a vetting process from Google, some bad eggs have gotten through in the past. Download Lookout Mobile Security for your phone. The app scans everything you install and warns you of any potential malicious files.
Android allows you to view how much processing power each open app is using. Go to Settings > Running Services to view the list. if something is open that you don't need tap it and select Stop to close the app.
Hold down your phone's Home button and a window will pop up with recently-opened apps.
Android's animated backgrounds are pretty cool, but they can be taxing on your battery life. If you find your phone quickly losing charge, switch to a still background instead.
You can also turn off other animations by going to Settings > Display > Animations.
We love it when people find clever uses for Dropbox. Check out the app DropSpace which will sync files stored on your phone to your Dropbox account. You'll never have to plug in to your computer again.
Google Voice integrates with any Android phone. You can also set it to be your default number for dialling out. Launch the Voice app to verify your phone number and set it as the default. It's also a great option for sending free text messages.
You can create a new folder on your home screen by tapping and holding an open space. When the menu pops up select Folders > New Folder. A new folder will show up on your screen. You can now drag apps into it.
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