December 11, 2013

Android 4.4 KitKat: Some Tasty Tips & Tricks

If you’ve already picked up a Nexus 5 –– Congrats! –– it’s an awesome phone, perhaps even one of the best Android handsets of the year. The specs are great, the hardware is plentiful, it runs the latest build of Android (4.4) and it costs just £299 off contract. What’s not to like?
So what about Android 4.4 KitKat? Below are some handy tips and tricks that’ll ensure you get the most out of your new handset. We’ll be adding more as and when we discover them. But for now here’s our current pick. 

Get “Okay, Google” working in UK 

Google’s always-on Google Now feature –– the one where you say, “Okay, Google” –– for some reason does not work when you have your handset’s language settings on English UK.
Why this is the case is unclear. Fortunately, there’s a work a round. All you have to do is go into Google Now –– swipe left from the Home screen –– go into Settings (three dots in the bottom right corner), then Voice and Select Language and reset it to English US. “Okay, Google” will now work from inside Google Now and from any of the Nexus 5’s homescreen.

Save Battery with Smarter Location settings

More and more applications want to know where you are and what you’re doing. All of this location pinpointing requires GPS, and that in turn warrants juice from your Nexus 5’s battery. Google knows this and has attempted something of a workaround inside Android 4.4 called Battery Saving GPS Mode.
Battery Saving GPS Mode essentially minimises the number of reference points used to derive your exact location and thus saves you unnecessary battery wastage. To enable this go to: Settings > Location > Mode, and enable Battery Saving.
For pinpoint accuracy, as and when you need it, go back into the Settings and select High Accuracy.

Turn off NFC

Not using NFC? Turn it off.

Check out Google’s Android KitKat animation

Hidden away inside Android 4.4’s menu settings is a little KitKat animation. It doesn’t do anything other than let you spin the KitKat logo but it is quite cool, especially for bragging rights –– no one will have KitKat for quite some time unless they have a Nexus.
To locate this little animation, head to Settings > About Phone > and then triple tap on Android Version. The KitKat animation boots up shortly thereafter. To get back to the Home screen just tap the Home button.

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