20 handy Android 2.2 tips and tricks
1st Sep 2010 | 09:16
Get the most from FroYo with our power-user guide
Google's Android 2.2 update, also commonly known under its development pseudonym of FroYo, is gradually finding its way onto more and more Android phones with every passing day.
Google and the networks of the world are slowly updating their handsets so the latest version of the mobile OS, with Android 2.2 bringing many new features - plus well known performance and battery life enhancements.
So now Android 2.2 is out and spreading, it's time to delve a little deeper under the bonnet and put together a few tips for getting the most out of your newly refreshed and invigorated phone.
What else can you do with it apart from send text messages and look at women applying their make-up on YouTube? This little lot, for a start. Read on for your top 20 Android 2.2 tips.
1. Edit your Android Search button settings
Google's Search box will, by default, search the internet and your phone for any text you enter. If you'd rather it just searched your phone, press the 'G' icon and change where Google looks for stuff. Also, under Menu > Settings > Search you're able to add or remove items and search locations from this list. Makes searching for apps by name much, much faster.
2. Stick a load of search widgets on a screen
If you're stuck for ideas on what to put on all your Home screens, why not build your own search super screen? One search bar for web, one for apps, one for contacts - easy.
3. Pull up for numeric Android keypad
If you're using the generic, unskinned Android 2.2, the keyboard now lets users swipe up to select numeric characters and apostrophes, rather than having to navigate to a separate screen. Not quite as intuitive as HTC's custom keyboard as found on the Sense-enabled HTC Desire version of Android 2.2, but a big improvement on the stock keyboard of old.
4. Power button ends calls
Under Settings > Accessibility there's a tiny new change - the option to use the power button to end a phone call. Very handy - if your phone doesn't already support that.
5. Enable Flash in your Android browser
The big selling point of Android 2.2 is it compatibility with Adobe's Flash 10.1 player. HTC has built the app into its Android 2.2 update, while the "vanilla" Nexus One FroYo requires Flash to be installed as a separate download from the Android Market. Just remember it'll need to be activated in the browser settings - if you want Flash, that is.
6. ...then turn Flash off again
Once the novelty has worn off, you may find Flash 10.1 to be a bit of a burden, what with the way it can slow down page scrolling on even the most modern of Android phones. The toggle option is found in the browser settings, where you can choose to have Flash plug-in content only activate "On Demand" when you click on it.
7. Enter a numeric pin
FroYo lets you specify a pin number to lock and unlock the phone, if you're not won over by the previous version's shape-based locking system. Stick in your choice of digits under Settings > Security > Set up screen lock.
8. Update your apps
Another of FroYo's big new additions is the option to save your apps to SD card. But remember this option is not universal - it requires the app developer to specifically add the option to their app. Don't blame yourself when you can't save something to SD card, it's the developer's fault.
9. Shuffle apps to SD card
Also, don't panic when you're not asked where to save an app when downloading it from the Android Market. That's not how it works. You can only install apps to your phone initially - then move them to SD card separately. Do this by going to Settings > Applications > Manage Applications and clicking on the app. If the developer has enabled it, now you can shuffle it to your memory card.
10. Install SDMove
SDMove is a tiny Android app that fills the above gap. It lists your apps, letting you see at a glance which ones can be moved to SD card and which can't. If you've got a heavily loaded phone, it could save many seconds of annoyed fiddling.
11. Don't install your most-used apps to SD card
Also worth remembering is that your SD card is not available to your phone while it's plugged in via USB - so any apps on your SD card won't be accessible while your phone's charging. So don't put anything too important on there, else you'll end up having to copy it back to use it while charging via USB.
12. Tether, don't hotspot
As cool as it may well be to use Android 2.2's network-hammering wireless hotspot facilities to share your 3G connection with your laptop, it'll guzzle the power out of your battery like a dog sucking the jelly out of a pork pie. So use the alternative Tethering option - and connect your laptop via USB. Not as futuristic, but works better - and means you don't have to mess about with WPA2 encryption settings on both devices.
13. Film something that happens at night
Android 2.2 lets you completely ruin your battery by keeping the camera's flash running constantly. HTC utilises this to provide a flashlight app, but it also means you're able to use your phone to record hedgehogs eating slugs at dusk.
14. Activate swearing recognition
You're now able to swear at your phone, and it'll know about it. Google's allowed rude words to be interpreted by its voice-to-text tools in Android 2.2. Go to Settings > Voice input & output, then deactivate the 'Block offensive words' checkbox. Handy if your late night web browsing requires explicit terminology and hands-free operation, for whatever reason.
15. Uninstall your Task Killers
There's no point bothering with a task killer of any sort on Android 2.2, as Google has changed its code to stop apps killing other apps. There's a manual override hidden in Settings > Applications > Manage Applications, where you're able to Force Stop a running app if you must. But it'll be easier and less stressful to simply surrender control and learn to trust Google.
16. Use Exchange ActiveSync
Android 2.2 now has enhanced auto-discovery options, making it possible to activate Exchange-based email systems by simply keying in your username and password - plus there's a remote wipe option for binning everything when you leave your phone and all your sensitive emails in a taxi or East End lapdancing club.
17. Enable Android auto app updates
Another milestone FroYo feature is the chance to have your downloaded apps update themselves. But the default option is to ask the user to update manually, for some odd reason. So no, your phone isn't broken - activate auto-updates by opening the Android Market and pressing Menu, Downloads, then opening up each installed app and ticking Allow Automatic Updating. It's a pain you have to do this for every app - but still easier than updating everything manually.
18. Turn off app update Notifications altogether
If you're happy with what you've got and would rather not be woken up at 4.35am to be told there's a minor incremental update to the Foursquare app now available, switch off app update notifications completely. From the Android Market home page, press Menu > Downloads > Menu and hit the Notifications toggle.
19. Manually update the stragglers
There's one quirk to this new auto-update feature that may appear like it's a bug - but it's not. Android 2.2 will refuse to automatically update any apps that have changed their permission settings, so you'll have to do those yourself. It's a security feature, so that the innocent wallpaper you installed can't suddenly request access to your location and web history without you first clicking the appropriate disclaimer.
20. Install Chrome to Phone
Google's new Android 2.2 exclusive feature is a clever, if slightly pointless, demo of Google's mobile powers. Install the app, install the Chrome extension, then hit the phone icon to ping URLs to your phone. Not sure what the point of it is when Android can do maps and internet perfectly well by itself, but it sure is impressive.
Liked this? Then check out Top 80 best Android apps
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