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Android Lollipop 5.0 is a major upgrade over the previous 4.4 KitKat version and has several new features apart from performance improvements. While Nexus 6 and Nexus 9 owners got instant access to Android’s latest offering, Android Lollipop will be coming to flagship devices very soon. Meanwhile, we’re going to look at the 15 best tips, tricks & new features in Android 5.0 and give you an overview for all of them.
#1. Login as Guest
Ever been asked for your Android device by friends and family? You probably hesitated on account of your apps or emails and other personal stuff. Well, Android 5.0 Lollipop allows you to sign in as a Guest on your device, which effectively prevents the guest from accessing your data or reading your emails.
Just swipe down the notification bar on Android 5.0, tap the user icon in the right corner and select the guest user profile to activate it.
#2. Set up multiple profiles
Just like the ability to activate a guest profile, you can also create more profiles for different users (like your kids or spouse) in Android 5.0 Lollipop, and restrict their options by choosing the apps or services you want any profile to be able to access.
#3. Wake with double tap
A lot of device manufacturers have built this feature into their phones, but now Google has included it as a default Android 5.0 feature for compatible hardware. If your phone or tablet supports tap to wake (like the Nexus 6), you no longer have to press the power key every time you want to wake up your device – you can just double tap the screen to do so.
#4. Manage notifications
Notifications have received major changes in Android Lollipop. For starters, you can now decide which apps should generate notifications and choose your own settings for every installed app.
Secondly, you can now manage lock screen notifications from the settings menu and tell your device to consider certain notifications from certain apps to be ‘sensitive’. After that, if you choose a lock screen mode (pattern, pin, swipe or password) you can also check the ‘Hide sensitive notification content’ to prevent notification details from showing up on the lock screen.
#5. Notification actions
Apart from managing notifications, you will also want to act on them. On older Android versions notifications simply showed up as sliding texts in the status bar and you needed to swipe down the notifications panel to act on them. On Android 5.0 you can simply swipe a notification left or right to dismiss it or double tap on it to go to the source app.
This however does raise a new problem, where notifications won’t go away on their own (for about 10 seconds or so) unless you swipe them away or act on them. Sometimes, you just want to ignore a notification and expect it to go away, but Android 5.0 notifications are kind of annoying in that regard.
#6. Overview Multitasking
Multitasking on Android has never been exceptional (and certainly not as good as BlackBerry OS 10), but Android Lollipop takes a step towards the better by introducing an overview mode. Simply tap the square icon at the bottom of your screen to bring up the overview (which was the recent apps screen in older versions). From this screen you can choose whichever app you want to return or switch to.
However, an issue with this is that it displays a separate window for each action within an app. For instance, if you are using the Gmail app and composing an email in it, the overview screen will show you both, a tab for Gmail and a tab for the compose mail window. This can get quite crowded quite easily and lose its utility as more and more tabs from the same app stack up.
#7. Lock screen to Phone & Camera
Much like on BlackBerry OS 10, Android Lollipop also has a phone and a camera icon on the lock screen, both of which can be swiped towards the center to launch their respective applications.
#8. Searchable Settings
This too is a useful feature from BlackBerry OS 10, where you can search for settings (or other stuff in BB OS) using the onscreen keyboard. Earlier you had to navigate through multiple screens looking for the one option you wanted, now you can simply bring it up with a few keystrokes.
#9. Surround Sound
If you use Play Movies to stream your favorite flicks or TV shows, you can now enable 5.1 surround sound from the settings and it will be switched on when available.
#10. Battery Saver Mode
Now Google has officially included a battery saver mode into Android Lollipop which allows you to get the most out of your device on low power. You can set it up to start automatically when your device reaches 15% or 5% of battery charge and it switches off automatically as well as soon as you plug your device in for charging.
#11. Unlocking with Trusted Devices
Android Lollipop allows you to unlock your device using other trusted devices, like your Bluetooth headset. You can simply pair the two devices, then go to settings, security and smart lock. Here you enter your pin, then choose Trusted Devices and add the device you paired earlier.
Now your Bluetooth device is added as a trusted device and can access your Android without you having to unlock it every time.
#12. Priority Interruptions
While you can always reduce your Android device’s volume to zero and get silent mode, Android Lollipop gives you more control by allowing priority interruptions. This can be accessed through settings, sound & notification, interruptions – and you can basically decide which notifications will give you alerts even when you are in priority mode.
Now you can basically silence your Android device without having to worry about missing important notifications, calls or texts.
#13. Built-in Flashlight
We’ve all installed flashlight apps to use the camera flash on our device for lighting things up in the dark. Now Google has given us a built-in flashlight feature with Android lollipop and you simply have to swipe down the notifications panel to switch it on or off.
You should also read: 10 Best Android Widgets Ever
#14. Screen Pinning
This is quite a useful new feature on Android lollipop, which basically allows you to lock down your device’s screen on a certain app and prevent any user from closing or bringing it down without a preset combination of keys or a code.
In order to start pinning screens, you need to go settings, security, screen pinning and switch it on. Then you need to run the app you wish to pin, tap the square button on your device (to bring up the overview mode) and then pull that device’s tab up and tap the pin icon on its bottom right corner.
To unpin the app, just press and hold the back and square buttons, or set up a pin code if you want.
Now you can start up a game, pin it and hand your Android device to your kids – they won’t be able to close or exit the game accidentally or otherwise.
#15. Easter egg – Flappy Bird Clone
Android Lollipop also has an Easter egg, a game which is much like the popular Flappy Bird. Go to settings, about and then tap the Android Version box repeatedly (quickly). The game will then automatically launch and you can have a go at it.
If you can’t figure it out, just tap the large circle in the centre of the screen and hold until the game starts.
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Are there any other Android Lollipop tips, tricks or features you would like to share? You can comment below and let us know about the features you love in Android’s latest version (and those you don’t).