It’s easy to be duped by the seemingly simple aesthetic of Google’s Material Design language, yet, Android 5.0 Lollipop offers more depth than you might see at first glance. It’s a pretty major overhaul, lined with lock-screen notifications and tools for saving battery life, so even veterans of the platform may be a little lost at first. In this roundup, we offer some Android 5.0 Lollipop tips to help you uncover handy features and find shortcuts to what you want, whether you want to quickly silence your smartphone or wirelessly cast a myriad of content on your high-definition TV via a Chromecast.
You might be frustrated considering a single swipe simply brings down the notification shade with a list of your notifications and you have to swipe a second time to get into your Quick settings. If you want to get straight into those Quick settings without a second swipe, then just swipe down with two fingers instead of one.
Gone is the old silent mode from Android 5.0 (you used to be able to hold Volume down to quickly silence your device). If you hold Volume down now, the volume will merely go lower without every becoming silenced. You can tap the bell icon to switch to vibrate only. You can completely silence your device by pressing the volume rocker and then tapping None, but that means you won’t receive any notifications at all. If you’ve taken the time to set up your Priority notifications via Settings > Sound & notification > App notifications, then you’ll have fine-grained control over what notifications you receive. You can set None and Priority to last indefinitely or specify a particular amount of time, which is handy for meetings. You can also schedule regular Downtime where only Priority notifications come through via Settings > Sound & notification > Interruptions. You’ll know when Priority mode is on because it displays a star icon in the top-right of the display.
We just discussed the Priority system in the last tip. You can set Priority apps for notifications in Settings > Sound & notification > App notifications and you can toggle Priority mode on and off via the volume option, or you can schedule it in Settings > Sound & notification > Interruptions.
You can also set notifications for individual apps directly from any notification by tapping and holding on it before tapping the “i” icon. By default, you’ll find that notifications show up on the lock screen, too, but you can change that by tapping When device is locked in Settings > Sound & notification.
If you use a PIN, Password, or Pattern lock, then you can find a Sensitive option within each app in Settings > Sound & notification > App notifications, which lets you hide potentially sensitive content visible in lock screen notifications for that specific app.
The ability to create profiles and dictate what they have access to is especially handy for shared tablets. To get started, pull down your notification shade and tap on your profile picture in the top-right corner. There’s a Guest profile there by default, which is great if you’re passing your phone to someone and you want to make sure they don’t stumble on anything they shouldn’t. For more customization options you can create new profiles via Add user. Just remember to set up a Lock pattern, PIN, or Password for any profile you don’t want others accessing.
If the guest profile doesn’t go far enough to protect your privacy when you pass your phone to someone else, then the ability to pin an app on your screen should suffice. It will stop nosy friends or curious toddlers from switching away from the open app. To turn it on go to Settings > Security and scroll down to turn on Screen pinning. Now tap the Overview (multitasking or recent apps) button and you’ll see a green pin at the bottom right of each app. Tap on that and you can pin it, which will fix it on screen until you tap and hold Back and Overview together. If you have a Pattern, PIN, or Password set up then you can specify that it must be entered in order to unpin the app.
There are lots of Android 5.0 Lollipop shortcuts to get at what you want in a hurry. On the lock screen, you can tap and swipe the padlock up to unlock your device, but you can also swipe left to navigate straight into the phone app or right to launch the camera. Don’t worry about checking each option to find what you want in Settings, simply tap the magnifying glass icon in the top right and type in your search query. For example, typing “wifi” will curate a list of every Wi-Fi-related option on your phone.
Remember you can also use Google Now to find things and quickly launch apps. Just tap and drag the Home button up to the Google symbol, say “Ok Google,” and you can “Launch eBay” instead of having to dig into your app drawer.
You can check out where all that juice is going in Settings > Battery, but thankfully, you also have a Battery saver option now.
On the Battery screen, simply tap the three vertical dots in the top right and then choose Battery saver and toggle it on.
You can set it to automatically turn on at 5 or 15 percent if you want. It kills unnecessary vibrations, limits performance, and stops background data. That means you may need to open apps like email to sync them. Moreover, the feature will automatically turn itself off when you plug your phone into a charger.
Unsurprisingly, Google has actually built Chromecast support directly into Android 5.0 Lollipop. That means you no longer need to bother with the cumbersome Chromecast app. Simply pull down the notification shade with two fingers and tap the Cast icon to mirror your display on your big TV via a nearby Chromecast. Individual apps such as Netflix still display the cast icon within them, though.
This can be a handy time saver if you use a PIN, Password, or Pattern lock. The Smart Lock feature in Settings > Security can be used to automatically unlock your device in certain places or when specific Bluetooth or NFC accessories are connected.
If you’ve paired your phone with your car’s Bluetooth system or a smartwatch, for instance, then you can set either as a Trusted device and use them to keep your phone or tablet unlocked. You can also set a location, such as your home, as a Trusted place so your device remains unlocked while you’re there.
Google always includes an Easter Egg to unlock in each version of Android. Go to Settings > About phone/tablet and tap on Android version four times. Now tap on the lollipop and hold your finger on it to bring up a game starring the iconic Android mascot — one that’s every bit as maddening as the infamous Flappy Bird.
- The Witcher Monster Slayer: 10 essential tips and tricks for the best Witcher experience
- 7 things you didn’t know the Google Nest Cam (2021) could do
- The 100 best Android apps (August 2021)
- BodyGuardz 360 review: Useful utility for on-the-go security
- The best Android games available (August 2021)