Photo: Kevin Smith, Business Insider
If you like to tinker with your gadgets, Android is probably the best operating system for your smartphone or tablet. Unlike Apple’s iPhone and iPad, Google is a bit more lax with what it lets you do.For those of you who want to get the most our of your Android device, we decided to put together a few of our favourite not-so-common features for you.
Taking a screenshot on every Android isn't the same. But for most it's simple.
Galaxy S III: Press the home button and power button at the same time.
Galaxy Nexus: Press the power button and the volume down button at the same time.
HTC One X, S, & V: Press the home button and power button at the same time.
Droid Razr MAXX: Press and hold both the power key and down volume key for three seconds, or until you hear the camera shutter click.
If you don't have Android's latest software, Jellybean, then it's easy to add a contact to your home screen.
Simply, 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.
If you do have Jellybean, then tap your menu button and select widgets in the top right corner. Slide over one page and choose Contact. You'll then be prompted to select a specific contact.
Sometimes it's handy for new apps to appear on your home screen, but other times you don't want them to appear instantly.
To turn this feature off head to the Google Play Store. Next head to the menu and select 'Settings.'
Finally, uncheck 'Auto-add widgets.'
Now the shortcuts won't automatically show up on your home screen.
This one's easy. To take a picture while recording a video simply tap the screen. The photo will be stored in your gallery.
The feature doesn't work on all Android phones, but most new models can do it.
When you plug your phone into your computer with a USB cable, you can activate Android's storage mode. USB mode allows you to swap files between your computer and phone, making an excellent way to take files with you on the go.
We're sure you probably see that little microphone everyday but don't forget you can use it to dictate.
Simply tap the microphone while inside of a text message, notes app, or anything else that requires you to type.
If you have a set data plan, you know the importance of staying on top of how much you consume.
Luckily, Android has built-in monitoring that makes it easy to see just how much data your favourite apps are using.
Start by heading to Settings, next select data usage toward the top of the screen.
Once you're inside you can see exactly which apps are using the most data. The data is then stored and you can view it month by month.
To view notifications without unlocking your phone, simply slide your finger from the top to the bottom of the lock screen. Tapping an item opens up that app right away.
If you don't already have the Google Voice app installed, head to the Play Store and download it.
If you want, Google Voice can provide voicemail for your phone, replacing your carrier's service. This allows you to retrieve voicemail on your phone and computer. Google Voice also lets you take advantage of neat features such as assigning a specific voicemail greeting to select contacts.
All of these features can be taken advantage of by using the Google Voice app.
Google Music is growing, fast. The service allows you to enjoy your favourite tracks without wires.
Google Music allows you to store up to 20,000 songs in the cloud from your own library, for free. You can then enjoy the tracks on all of your devices, including your desktop. It's ridiculously easy to access your own tracks and even buy new songs.
Google Music comes pre-loaded on many new Android devices, but if you have an older one simply download the app in the Play Store for free.