Android Tips: Turn Your Android Phone Into a Powerhouse

Get the most out of your Android smartphone or tablet

Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge in hand

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If you have an Android phone or tablet, there are several ways to extend the battery life, reduce the number of notifications you receive, and further customize your device to your liking. To get the most out of your smartphone, try these performance boosting tips for Android devices.

The information below should apply no matter who made your Android device: Samsung, Google, Huawei, Xiaomi, etc. Upgrade to the latest version of Android to take advantage of these tips.

How to Customize Your Notifications on Android

Distracted by notifications? Priority mode puts up a "do not disturb sign" for certain blocks of time so that you aren't interrupted or awakened by unimportant notifications. At the same time, you can allow certain people or important alerts to break through so you don't miss any essential notifications.

To enable and customize priority mode:

  1. Swipe down from the top of the screen.

  2. Tap Do not disturb.

    Priority only option for Do not disturb in Android
  3. Tap Priority only.

How to Track and Limit Your Data Usage

Whether you're worried about overage charges, or you're going abroad and want to limit usage, it's super easy to track data usage and set limits on your Android phone. Go to your phone's Settings and tap Data usage to see how much you've used each month, set limits, and enable alerts. If you set a limit, your mobile data automatically shuts down when you reach it, or you can set up a warning, in which case you'll receive a notification instead.

Limit mobile data usage checkbox in Android

How to Save Battery Life

Also a necessity when traveling or running around all day is saving battery life, and there are many ways to do this:

  • Turn off syncing for any apps you don't use, such as email.
  • Put your phone in airplane mode if you're traveling underground or out of network; otherwise, your phone will keep looking for a connection and drain the battery.
  • Shut off Bluetooth and Wi-Fi separately.
  • Download battery saver apps or use Power saving mode, which turns off haptic feedback on the keyboard, dims the screen, and slows down overall performance. 
A woman plugs a charging cable into a smartphone.
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How to Use a Portable Charger

If battery-saving measures aren't enough, invest in a portable charger. Portable chargers come in all shapes and sizes with varying levels of power. When your phone is about to run out of battery, connect it to the charger to extend the battery life by up to 100 percent at a time with no need for electrical outlets.

A smartphone is charging on a wooden table.
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How to Access Your Chrome Tabs Anywhere

Sometimes you start reading an article on your tablet, and then you want to resume reading on your computer. If you use the Chrome browser on all your devices and you're signed in, it's possible to access all open tabs from your Android device or Chromebook.

While using Chrome on any device, select the three vertical dots in the upper-right corner of the window and choose History to see a list of open or recently closed tabs organized by device. 

History menu item in Chrome browser

How to Block Unwanted Calls

If you're getting spammed by a telemarketer or want to avoid other unwanted calls, here's how to put a stop to that:

  1. Save the caller's number to your contacts if it's not already there.

    Create contact, Block numbers, confirmation button in Android
  2. Tap the contact in the Contacts app.

  3. Tap Menu.

  4. Add the contact to the blocked numbers list, which will send calls straight to voicemail.

Steps for blocking calls may differ by manufacturer. Consult your device's manual for further guidance.

How to Root Your Android Phone

If you want more customization, consider rooting your phone, which gives you administrator rights to your device. There are risks, such as breaking your warranty, but there are also rewards. For example, you'll gain the ability to remove apps that have been pre-loaded by your carrier, install a variety of "root-only" apps to block ads, and turn your phone into a wireless hotspot (even if your carrier blocks this function).