Six features you don't want to miss in Android 4.2

Android 4.2 Jelly Bean has been out for a few weeks now and we've rounded up six features you won't want to miss in the latest Android operating system.

Jason Cipriani
Jason Cipriani
Jason Cipriani Contributing Writer, ZDNet
Jason Cipriani is based out of beautiful Colorado and has been covering mobile technology news and reviewing the latest gadgets for the last six years. His work can also be found on sister site CNET in the How To section, as well as across several more online publications.
Jason Cipriani
3 min read
Jason Cipriani/CNET

Android 4.2 is full of new features, some are fairly minor, such as the Settings shortcut in the notification bar. Other features, such an improved photo editing process, are bound to have a bigger impact on the overall user experience.

Here are five new features you can find in Android 4.2 Jelly Bean, with the sixth item being a workaround should you decide against lock-screen widgets.

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Developer Options
Developer Options is an important settings menu for developers and those who like to fiddle with their Android device. For whatever reason in Android 4.2, Google hid the Developer Options menu in the Settings. But all is not lost; you're only a few taps away from getting it back.

Read: Restore the Developer Options menu in Android 4.2

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Lock screen widgets
From the beginning, widgets have been a key part of the Android experience, and up until Android 4.2 those widgets were only available on the home screen. Now users can add Gmail and Calendar preview widgets to their lock screen, among others. You'll also be able to launch the camera app with a single swipe after waking up your device.

There are some privacy concerns you'll want to think about before adding some of these widgets, so be sure to read our getting-started guide.

Read: Getting started with lock screen widgets on Android Jelly Bean

Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET

Disable lock screen widgets
Not a fan of random strangers being able to pick up your device and view previews of your messages or your e-mails? I can't say I blame you. Even if you delete the widgets from your lock screen, you may not want to see the boxes blink every time you unlock your device. I can't blame you for that either. Luckily, a developer has released an app to eliminate the widgets and camera shortcut.

Read: Disable lock screen widgets, camera access on Android 4.2

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Improved photo editing
Have you ever started to edit a photo only to forget what the original photo looked like? It happens. And often times we do so much editing we end up making the photo look worse in the end. With Android 4.2 it only takes a simple gesture to reveal the original photo without losing any of the edits you've made.

Read: Quickly view original photo while editing on Android 4.2

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Jelly Bean Daydreams
Android 4.2 Jelly Bean also introduced a new screensaver mode, activated while your device is charging or docked. But Google doesn't call them screensavers, they're called Daydreams. There's a total of five preinstalled Daydreams, with a sixth Daydream having to be unlocked through a top secret method. OK, it's not really top secret, but it's not something the average user knows about.

Read: How to unlock Android 4.2's hidden Daydream 'BeanFlinger'

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Photo Sphere and Google Maps
Photo Sphere is a new feature in Android 4.2 that allows users to take 360-degree panoramic photos of their surroundings. Once you're done taking the photo, you'll have truly created a Photo Sphere and can even use the gyroscope built into your device to view it. Another way you can use your new Photo Sphere is to upload it to Google Maps, making it viewable to Google Maps users.

Read: Upload a Photo Sphere to Google Maps using Android Jelly Bean

But wait, there's more
There are still plenty of features left in Android 4.2 Jelly Bean worth mentioning. Tablets now have multiple-user support, and there's even an AirPlay-like feature for sharing content from your device with your TV. As we continue to learn and use the OS, we will update this post with more features and links to tips and tricks for Android 4.2 Jelly Bean.