We’ve been eagerly anticipating a new Nexus tablet for quite some time. Google finally got it together with a resurgent HTC to bring us the Android 5.0 Lollipop-toting Nexus 9. It’s svelte, it’s lightweight, has a gorgeous screen, and that battery goes all day and all night. But are you getting everything out of it that you could be? New hardware and new software means new capabilities and we’ve got the Nexus 9 tips you need to unlock them right here.
How to turn your Nexus 9 on
You can always use the traditional Power button technique, but Google has also included the option to bring your tablet to life by double tapping on the screen.
If that isn’t enough, you can even wake your Nexus 9 by simply saying, “Ok Google.” You’ll find this option in Google Now, then swipe up from the bottom of the screen to open it. Swipe from the left side of the screen in Google Now and choose Settings > Voice > “Ok Google” Detection and you can choose to toggle the options Always on and When locked. You can also access it via the Google Settings app.
When you set up a new Android device and log in with your Google account, you’ll automatically get access to your saved contacts and purchases through the Play Store. Android also has a great restore and backup system built in, and you’ll find that it pops up as part of your Nexus 9 set up. You’ll be asked if you want to Get your apps & data from a previous Android device. Think carefully.
You’ll see a list of previous backups ordered chronologically with the device name. If you are going to restore one of them, make sure you tap on the apps list first and edit out the ones you don’t want. If you run into Nexus 9 issues down the line, you can often trace them back to app data or old settings that you restored from an old backup. Some apps have not been updated or optimized for the latest Android version, and there will be apps that worked well on your old Android smartphone that won’t work so well on a tablet.
It can be a handy shortcut, but bear it in mind as a possible source of future problems, especially since Android 5.0 is so brand-spanking new.
How to add users and guests
If you pull down the notification shade and tap on your user icon or photo at the top right, you’ll find the option to Add guest and Add user. Adding a guest simply strips out any personal accounts, apps, and data that you’ve added, giving them a fresh tablet with the basic pre-installed app line-up. This is ideal if you let someone borrow your Nexus 9 and you don’t want them getting access to anything private.
If you choose to add a new user, then they’ll be prompted to set the Nexus 9 up as though it were a new tablet. They’ll be able to log into a different Google account, restore their own settings, and install their own apps. It’s an ideal solution for two adults sharing a tablet. If you want to edit these settings later or delete a user, then pull down the notification shade, tap on your icon again, and then choose More settings.
Remember that you’ll need to have a screen lock set up to prevent people from switching to your profile. You can do that in Settings > Security > Screen lock.
How to safely let your child use your Nexus 9
The options for user accounts actually go deeper, and they can be used to set up separate profiles for your children. Go to Settings > Users and tap Add user or profile and then choose Restricted profile. You’ll be prompted to set up lock screen security if you haven’t already.
Choose a name for the profile, select or take a photo, and then you can pick exactly what they have access to. You can handpick all the apps and games they will be able to use and block things like the browser and camera if you’d prefer they didn’t use them.
There are some great apps out there that handle this kind of thing better and offer a deeper level of parental control and curated content. If the basic user profile system built into Android isn’t enough for you, then check out something like Kid Mode.
There’s also an even simpler option known as Screen pinning, which you’ll find at the bottom of Settings > Security. Turn it on, and you can tap the multitasking or Overview button. Then, tap on the pin icon at the bottom right of an app to lock the Nexus 9 to that app. That screen will be locked down until you touch and hold Back and Overview together. You can set it to use a PIN, if you want more security.
You will want to do this as a matter of urgency, especially if you have a lot of apps installed. If you don’t, then you’re going to be flooded with messages from your apps and games. There are actually three ways to tackle this one:
- Wait until the offending notifications pop up and long press on them, then tap to turn Block – Never show notifications from this app
- Go to Settings > Apps and choose each app individually, then uncheck the Show notifications box, and tap OK on the pop up.
- Go to Settings > Sound & notification > App notifications and choose Block on any apps you don’t want notifications from. You can also choose to prioritize notifications from specific apps in here, so they’ll appear at the top of the list, or to hide notifications from certain apps so they don’t appear on the lock screen.
How to save your battery
The Nexus 9 has a good battery, but it can also benefit from the all new Battery saver option in Android 5.0 Lollipop. Tap Settings > Battery and then tap the three vertical ellipses at the top right for the menu and you’ll see the Battery saver option. You can toggle it on and off and choose whether it should ever automatically spring to life (at 5 percent battery or 15 percent battery). Bear in mind it will turn off some syncing, vibrations, and reduce performance.
How to use Smart Lock
If you have already set a Screen lock PIN, password, or pattern, then you can also use Smart Lock, which you’ll find in Settings > Security. It includes the Trusted face option, which is the old face unlock functionality that you may remember, but there’s also an option to add Trusted devices. Now your smartwatch or your car’s Bluetooth system will keep your Nexus 9 conveniently unlocked when they’re in the vicinity.
You don’t want an incoming message or a notification to wake you from your slumber. Good news! You can make sure your Nexus 9 stays quiet between specific hours and set special exceptions to the rule by going to Settings > Sound & notification > Interruptions. Choose the days and times you don’t want to be interrupted and specify any exceptions you want to add by making them priority interruptions. Remember, you can set apps to be Priority in Settings > Sound & notification > App notifications.
How to backup and transfer files
You’ll find the basic option to back up your app data, Wi-Fi passwords, and more to your Google account in Settings > Backup & reset.
You can also use Google+ or Photos to automatically backup your photos and videos. Load up either app and tap the menu icon at the top right to choose Settings > Auto-Backup. Any new photos and videos you make with your Nexus 9 will be uploaded to your Google+ or Photos account.
You can also use Google Drive to share files easily between devices, and it will show you how much of the 15GB of free space you get across your Google accounts you have left. Open the Google Drive app, swipe in from the left, and you’ll see remaining space at the bottom.
You can plug your Nexus 9 into a PC or Mac via USB to drag and drop files. If you’re using a Mac, then make sure to download and install Android File Transfer first.
If you want an app for easy wireless file transfer and file management on your Nexus 9 from a computer on the same network, then check out AirDroid.
There is no default file manager app on your Nexus 9, but you can install ES File Explorer File Manager or something similar for free.
We’ve reached the end of our Nexus 9 tips. Many of these will work for any device rocking Android 5.0 Lollipop. We’ll add an update with more tips just as soon as we uncover them.