Tips & Tricks - OTTO
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Tips & Tricks

Enable Developer Mode

Ok, this is one of the more widely known tricks, but it’s important nonetheless, so we are going to include it.

Navigate to Settings > About phone and tap on your phone’s build number seven times. You’ll get an onscreen countdown, eventually followed by a message saying “Congratulations, you are now a developer”.

Change the Animation Scales

For the most part, the latest Android phones already feel very snappy. However, after the latest Nexus 5X only shipped with 2GB of RAM, some users were left feeling a bit underwhelmed by Google’s hugely popular product line.

One solution is to change your phone’s “Window animation scale”, “Transition animation scale” and “Animator duration scale” from 1x to 0.5x. Granted, it won’t actually make your phone faster, but it will make it feel faster.


Go to Settings > Developer options and scroll about two thirds of the way down the list to find the necessary options (you’ll need to have first enabled Developer Mode).

Clear App Defaults

It’s annoying when a link opens in a certain app rather than in the browser. It could be a YouTube link, a tweet, or a Facebook page — you’ll end up waiting around while your phone shuts down Chrome (or your browser of choice) and fires up something else.


It’s easily fixed.


Go to Settings > Apps and find the app that keeps opening. Once there, scroll down to Open by default, press it, and then select Clear Defaults.


If that doesn’t work, try doing the same with your browser app as well.

Quickly Change Your WiFi Network

Oddly, how to quickly switch between Wifi networks is not very obvious. Sure, you can go to Settings > Wi-Fi and change it there, but there has to be a faster way, right?


Well, there is!

Swipe down twice from the top of your screen to open the Quick Settings menu, and instead of pressing on the WiFi icon (which disables it), instead press on the network’s name. You’ll immediately be given a list of all the networks in your vicinity.

Cast Your Screen

Are you a Chromecast owner?


If so, you can easily mirror your Android’s screen (and individual apps) by using the cast function.


Just open the Quick Settings menu and hit Cast. Your device will find your Chromecast (assuming it’s on the same local network), and you’re good to go.


It’s great for playing games on a larger screen, showing off photos to family and friends, or playing your music through a louder set of speakers. Though many apps, like YouTube, have a dedicated cast button within the app.

Locate Annoying Notifications

Do you keep getting an annoying app notification, but you’re not sure which app is causing it?


There is an easy solution — just long-press on the notification in question, and your device will tell you.

Priority Mode

Priority Mode is probably one of the most underrated and underused features on the entire operating system.


In short, it allows you to put your phone into quiet mode, but still allow some “noises” to get through. This could be calls, texts, or WhatsApps from specific contacts, notifications from certain apps, or important alerts such as alarms.


To set it up, go to Settings > Sound & Notification > Do not disturb, then select the options that you require. It can be quickly toggled on and off from the Quick Settings menu.

Manage App Notifications

Moving on one step further from the previous tip, after you’ve long-pressed the app you’ll see an information icon. Press it, and you’ll be presented with the notification settings for the app in question.


You can do things like block all its notifications, allow it to override priority mode, and make it hide private information.

Map Zoom

Ever need to use Google Maps one-handed? (No, not while you’re driving!)


Just double tap the screen and swipe up and down to zoom in and out — it’s a lot less fiddly than trying to pinch your fingers and hold your phone at the same time!

Smart Lock

It removes the need to use a keypad lock when you’re at home or in another “trusted” environment.

It can use GPS, certain networks, your face, or even your voice to prevent your phone from locking itself, making for a much faster and hassle-free experience.


Head to Settings > Security > Smart lock to set it up.

Screen Pinning

If you have kids using your phone regularly, this is a great way to make sure they don’t accident run up huge bills or set their eyes on content that is age-inappropriate.


Firstly, you’ll need to enable the feature (oddly, it is turned off by default). Do that by going to Settings > Security and scrolling down to Screen pinning.


To pin a screen, open the app, press the Overview button (the square) and then the pin icon.


You can choose to PIN-protect the pinned screen, if you so wish.

Secret Game

Another well-known Android Easter egg among old-timers, the secret game might not be so obvious to newcomers.


Lollipop and Marshmallow’s game is based on Flappy Bird; it has the same gameplay principle but has had an Android-themed makeover graphics-wise.

Head to Settings > About phone and tap the device’s version number several times. Eventually you’ll be presented with an on-screen lollipop or marshmallow depending on your operating system. Continue to rapidly tap the center of it and the game will launch.

Lock and locate your lost phone

Use Android Device Manager (ADM) to find the approximate location of your device and when it was last used.


  1. Sign into the Android Device Manager website at, and ensure your current mobile device is selected.
  2. From here, you can see the approximate location of your device. You can also lock the phone, erase your data, or ring your device. Your phone will ring for up to five minutes even if it’s on silent.
  3. To quickly find your phone in the future, you can always ask Google to “find my phone.
Use your phone by voice alone

Set up voice search to use your phone hands-free.


  1. Open the latest version of the Google app.
  2. In the top left corner, tap Menu ≡, then “Settings,” then “Voice,” then “‘Ok Google’ detection.
  3. Make sure “From the Google app” and “Always on” are switched ‘on’.
Access all your photos, wherever you go

Get free unlimited storage for all your photos & videos.


  1. Open the Google Photos App and tap the ≡ menu in Google Photos
  2. Tap “Settings.”
  3. Select “Backup & sync.”
Control which apps have which permissions

Manage app permissions in Android Marshmallow so they can only access what you choose.


  1. Open your device’s Settings app. Under “Device,” tap “Apps” to see your list of installed apps.
  2. Tap the icon for the app you want to manage. On the app info page, find a list of current permissions assigned under “Permissions.”
  3. Tap “Permissions” to change permission settings. Toggle the button to the left to turn existing permissions ‘off’. Toggle the button to the right to turn those permissions back ‘on’.
  4. Note: Some apps may not be fully functional if certain permissions are turned off. You can change these settings at any time.
Accessibility and Gesture recognition

You can add and edit different gesture recognition by going to Settings > Accessibility>Gesture recognition >Letter Gesture Settings.

Camera and Beauty mode

Open Camera and go to Face Beauty mode and other Beauty mode selections for more options.