There’s no denying that Android is the most popular mobile operating system in the world. What makes it so popular is its ease of use and flexibility of customization. Apart from dipping your feet in the all-encompassing currents of customization, you can use a bunch of cool Android shortcuts to speed up your work and achieve more productivity (or even access entertainment faster). If you’ve landed here, chances that you’re an Android user are high, and this article will apprise of some easy and seamless shortcuts that will let you make the most out of your smartphone experience. Here are 12 cool Android shortcuts that every Android user should know.
1. Check your Notification History
Ever accidentally dismiss an important notification? Well, we have all been there. Thankfully, you can check all your previous notifications with a single tap. To do it, press hold on the homescreen and tap on “Widgets“. Scroll down below in the widgets page and add the “Settings” shortcut.
Then, tap on “Notification log” in the list of various settings shortcuts available and a shortcut for Notifications Log will be created on the homescreen. Now, you can just tap on the shortcut to see all your notifications. Cool, right?
Note: You might not find the ‘Settings widget‘ among all the widgets on smartphones running custom Android skins. For instance, on Samsung smartphones running Samsung Experience or the new One UI, the Settings widget is buried in the “Shortcuts“ tab. For more details, you can check out our article on how to check and recover notification history. Moreover, some skins including Huawei’s EMUI might not show you the option to access notification log but you can download an app – Notification History Log (free) – to access it.
2. Create Shortcuts for Different Actions
Did you know that you can create shortcuts for almost any action in Android’s native functionality to even a third party app? Yes, you can do this via an app dubbed Activity Launcher. The app lists down every activity that’s available on Android. You can just press hold on an activity to create a shortcut of it on the homescreen. To give you an idea, you can create a shortcut for any deep Settings page, a shortcut to jump directly to Gmail’s compose screen or even a specific Gmail label, launch Google’s easter eggs game etc. So, check it out, play around with various activities and you might end up creating a cool personalized shortcut for yourself.
Also, if you have a third party launcher app like Nova or Apex, you can create shortcuts for activities with them natively.
3. Use Google Assistant
Google Assistant, as the name suggests, is designed to assist you to perform tasks with great ease and make your Android experience much more convenient. Having evolved out of Google Now – the voice-based search and actions application, Google Assistant is also centered around voice interactions and uses machine learning to get better every time you give it the opportunity to serve you. Google Assistant can perform your odd jobs like setting an alarm or a reminder on your behalf, informing you about the weather, reading the news out, and even helps you play games.
Google Assistant’s capabilities extend further than mere shortcuts and can even come in handy when you’re traveling abroad or interacting with people of origin different from yours. On one hand, Assistant can understand tons of languages, including different accents, you can also use it to translate conversations in real-time so you don’t need an interpreter. And there’s much more which you can learn about in our list of 15 Cool Google Assistant Tricks You Should Try.
4. Reply to Messages from Notification Center
With Android Nougat, Google added support for a quick reply feature which allows you to reply to new messages or chats directly from the notifications panel. While Nougat is history now, the feature has evolved quite a bit with variations per app. For instance, in chat apps like WhatsApp, Google Allo, and Telegram etc., you can reply directly from the status bar, while in others like Gmail, the reply button take you directly into the Compose window where you can type a reply to the received email.
Besides replying, each app gives the feature a unique spin. As you can see in the screenshot above, you can archive emails in Gmail, mark messages as read in WhatsApp and Telegram, or even use the Smart Replies in Allo. If you want to set automated replies in response to particular messages, you can use the app called AutoNotification (free) to save some time while dismissing useless notifications and add more quality to the meaningful conversations.
5. Take Screenshot Quickly
All versions of Android support the universal gesture of pressing down the Power and Volume Down buttons together for a screenshot. But with the launch of Android Pie, Google has made it easier and now all you need to do is long-press on the Power button and then tap on the Screenshot option (even though the older shortcut still works). If you want a screenshot without using hands, you can simply ask Google Assistant to take a screenshot of the current screen you’re in by saying “Okay, Google” or “Hey, Google” followed by “Take a screenshot“.
Some skinned versions of Android including Xiaomi’s MIUI and OnePlus’ Oxygen OS also support swipe gestures for a screenshot. To take a screenshot in either of the two, you can swipe three fingers downwards from the top of the screen.