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HolidayBuyer's Guide
Mobile

5 Android shortcuts you'll wish you knew all along

​While Android doesn't have keyboard shortcuts, these time-saving tips are the next best thing.

Whether you're just getting started with Android, or a seasoned user, these are the five shortcuts you should be using right now.

Bypass unlocking your phone (when it's safe)

This feature in the Lock screen and Security menu will let your device know when it's safe to stay conveniently unlocked. Once you add trusted places, devices, or voices you can skip the PIN, pattern or password every time you want to check an alert. For more info on how to set this up, check out this post.

Reject calls with a text

Make your phone work like a personal secretary by letting callers know why you can't answer, and (hopefully) avoiding follow-up calls. On most phones, this option is available in the Phone app > Settings, and labeled Call blocking, Quick responses, or something similar. You'll see the call-reject messages that you can edit with your own writing style.

Quickly open the camera

Launching the camera at a moment's notice means that you won't miss great photo opportunities. How you access this camera shortcut will vary between manufacturers, but here's a few examples of popular devices that have it enabled:

  • Nexus 5X or Nexus 6P: double-tap power button.
  • Samsung devices 2015-2016: double-tap the physical Home button.
  • LG V10: double-tap the volume down button.
  • Moto G 2015: twist your wrist with the device in hand.

Add contact widgets

Want to reach out to your favorite people with just a tap? Press and hold on your Home screen, choose Widgets, and then look for the Contacts 1x1 widget. Tapping this shortcut loads a contact's details, letting you call, text, or email without scrolling through your address book.

Enable 'OK, Google' everywhere

Ask your burning questions right now by enabling "OK, Google" everywhere -- meaning from any screen. To get set up, open the Google (search) app and head to Settings > Voice > "Ok Google" Detection > toggle the From any screen option on. Say the magic words three times and you're set. As a bonus, this little exercise will let you use the trusted voice option in Smart Lock.