50 Android Jelly Bean tips Part 2

16. Offline speech-to-text

Being able to dictate long and rambling texts to loved ones is quite an old Android feature, but it's just got a whole lot better with an offline mode. Go to Google voice typing settings under Language & input and choose Download offline speech recognition. Now you'll be able to dictate that great novel without being distracted by Reddit.

17. Beam it across

Android Beam works with near-field communication (NFC) to enable fast data exchange between two devices. You'll need to make sure it's enabled first - you'll find it under Wireless & networks. You'll also need to know where the NFC area is on your device. This isn't a problem for phones, but it can be just about anywhere on the back of a ludicrously large tablet, so do a quick Google to find out where it is.

18. Simple secure pairing

Simple secure pairing works alongside NFC to provide a quick and easy way to connect Bluetooth accessories such as headsets, speakers and keyboards. You don't actually need to do anything other than activate NFC to use it, but make sure whatever you're pairing with is Simple secure pairing-compatible.

19. Calendar notifications

Any events you've been invited to via Google Calendar will show up in the notifications blind. From here you can expand it and quickly send a pre-defined response (Such as "I'll be there in 10 minutes") or type your own. Quick responses can be edited from within the General settings of the Calendar app itself. Perfect for you social butterflies.

20. Gallery views

Android snappers will love its new gallery features. Pinch on photos to zoom out into a filmstrip mode, where all your pics are displayed side-by-side. Swipe left and right to browse all your snaps quickly, and slide up and down on individual images to delete them. The gallery then gives you just enough time to realise you've canned the wrong thing and undo your delete.

21. Wi-Fi savings

It's all too easy to run up costs when you're on public or mobile WiFi. Tethering a tablet to a phone can suck a surprising amount of data, and public WiFi, such as that found in hotels, sometimes have ridiculously strict usage policies. In Jelly Bean's Data usage settings you'll find the option to designate certain WiFi networks as Mobile hotspots, which stops background apps accessing data and could save you lots of cash. If there's another Jelly Bean device on the same network it'll pick up its Mobile hotspot settings, too.

22. Try the stock keyboard

The Swiftkey keyboard is enormously popular among Android users, and for good reason: it monitors your typing and grammatical style uses this to predict words. Jelly Bean's keyboard now offers the same functionality, using bigram prediction and correction to complete words and sentences. We've found it to be every bit as good as Swiftkey, and even slightly faster and slicker.

23. Reboot to safe mode

Ah safe mode, the saviour of so many Windows PCs. Thanks to the sheer amount of dodgy apps on the Play Store it's on Android now, too. Long-press the power button, then long-press the Power off option. Choose OK to reboot in safe mode, which completely disables all third-party apps on your device. Then hunt down and destroy that nefarious bit of software..

24. Reset app preferences

Android gives you loads of different options for each installed app, and on the whole this is a very good thing. Sometimes it can be a bad thing, though: you may find your phone playing up because a crucial app has been disabled, or you've changed the notifications for something important like emails. In the apps drawer, you'll find Reset app preferences under the settings. This resets all your apps on a global level, returning actions and data settings to their original levels.

25. Add emojis

"Emojis" are the Japanese version of emoticons, and like most things from Japan they're much better and cooler than their western counterparts. You can enable emoji support for the default Jelly Bean keyboard by choosing Language & input in the settings app, then going to the settings for the stock Android keyboard. Here, choose Add-on dictionaries and select Emoji for English words. When you next type certain words (there's a complete list here) you'll see its symbol appear in the predictions bar. It's like Wingdings never died.


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