Android Smartphone Smarts: Top Tips for New Users and the Technically Challenged

android-is-lostIf you’re new to Android phones or have switched over from iPhone, there are a few things to learn. Reading a short primer is a good way to avoid mistakes, or repeating silly habits. Here is some advice on the main interfaces, terms, functions and some good starting apps for Androids.

Icons, Terms and Symbols

Android has a few funky terms to get used to. They name their updates after sweets, with the latest Android 7.0 Nougat update featuring additional features and superior design to the old Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow. Android “builds” are different versions of the operating system, overclocking means you’re putting too much stress on your CPU through special configurations or faulty apps. The first thing you’ll notice in the phone is the home screen: here you can start apps and receive notifications.

Apart from the apps, there are symbols which work as buttons: when you tap them they perform tasks. Most of these are intuitive and similar to symbols on computers or other smartphones: the magnifying glass searches the phone or the Internet for information, you delete things with the bin, edit with the pencil, use your voice to dictate text with the microphone and so on.

Others are trickier: a tiny triangle resembling a square cut in half diagonally in the lower right corner of a button or image displays a pop-up menu of action options, and three circles connected by a < sign allows you to share information stored on your phone via email, social networking or another internet service.

Finger Movements and Starter Apps

In order to do anything on the Android touchscreen, you’ll need to know how to move your fingers. The small circle beneath the touchscreen – the home button – will turn the screen on when the phone is dormant or minimise any application you’re using and return you to the home screen if the phone is on. Hold down the home button to select between apps, and double tap it to activate to active Google Now: Android’s Siri equivalent. Tap icons, hyperlinks and other buttons to open or activate them, twist two fingers around a point to rotate an image, and touch a spot on the screen and swipe your finger left or right to move between screens.

Don’t be afraid of getting stuck on any of these movements, you’ll get the hang of it soon enough. Your Android will come with a bunch of essential stock standard apps, but you’ll want to get more. Find a good podcast app for your liking or upgrade your clock, browser or weather app on Google Play.

Important Tips and Tricks

There are plenty of extra tips and tricks you’ll pick up along the way. Here are some of them. It’s best to keep your Wi-Fi turned on to avoid unnecessarily using mobile data, although you may want to selectively turn Wi-Fi off for certain apps whose free versions host ads. If you’re in a hurry, you can take photos by swiping the camera icon on the lock screen. You can also quickly put your phone into vibration mode by pressing the Down Volume key until the phone vibrates.

If you get into trouble or can’t find the answer to a question on the internet, you can contact Android OS Help, call your cell phone provider or phone manufacturer. Happy tapping!
Edward Williamson is passionate about technology and making sure people know how to use it properly, especially the older generation or just anyone who is a techy phob!

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