How-To Geek

Lesson 1: How to Use Android Effectively


Manage your apps, force them to stop running, clear out cache data, and more with the “Apps” settings. On the Samsung, you can reach this from the “More” tab.


We’ll teach you how to make the most of them in Lesson 2.


Battery life, or lack thereof, is a huge impasse to our cord-cutting desires. After all, what fun is a mobile device if you have to be near an outlet “just in case”? What’s the point of thinness and ultra-portability if you have to cart around a clunky charger and cable with you everywhere?


Nailing down the battery settings can help you diagnose and fix a great many battery woes. Note, on the Samsung, you can reach this from the “More” tab.

We will talk a great deal about this in Lesson 3.


Using the display accounts for the majority of battery use. Simply put, if you never used your phone except when necessary, your battery would probably last for days (plural). But you don’t use your phone that way so you can dial down the brightness and decrease the timeout period to eke a bit more time out of your battery.

On the Samsung skin, these settings are quite different but most should have the same effect.


We go into display settings more in Lesson 3.


If you spend a great deal of time at home, or you have a device that doesn’t have mobile data capabilities, then you can turn your Wi-Fi on or off to save battery. The Samsung “Wi-Fi” settings are more or less the same with a few added options at the top.


We’ll talk more about this in Lessons 3.

Data Usage/Mobile Data

If you’re on a tight data plan and want to know how much data you’re using, or if you want to see how much data certain apps use, then you’ll definitely want to learn this setting and use it. Similarly, you may not want to use your phone’s mobile data when you’ve got perfectly good Wi-Fi at home.

Note, you can turn off mobile data, which will help save your battery, but this may have undesirable side effects, such as the inability to send and receive MMS. As you can see the Samsung’s version of the “Data usage” settings is more or less the same.


More on this in Lesson 3.


Many of your apps, such as “Camera” and “Facebook,” report your location and this can lead to high battery use. You can adjust your location settings so that they use less battery. You can also turn off location specific items in many apps.

You can access the Samsung “Location services” from the “More” settings. As you can see it has a bit more going on than with the plain Android “Location” settings.


We’ll explain more about this in Lesson 3.


There’s a great many ways to protect your device and data on Android. On the Samsung device, the “Security” settings can be accessed from the “More” tab.


However, the “Lock screen” settings are accessible from the “My device” tab.


We’ll show you how it’s done in Lesson 4.


Similar to battery life, you can run out of storage space too. The storage settings are an excellent place to determine what is taking up space, and how much you can reclaim by removing applications and deleting stuff you don’t need. You’d be surprised how much space you get back this way. On the Samsung, this can be reached from the “More” tab.


We’ll talk a great deal more about this in Lesson 5.

Backup and Reset

Backing up your stuff is pretty important on any computer you use, but it’s even more important on your phone. Aside from the everyday disasters that can befall it, it’s also really easy to lose, in the back of taxicabs, to toilets, and common thieves. Using your device’s backup abilities effectively can save you a lot of awful heartache.

On the Samsung device, you can access this at the bottom of the “accounts” settings.


We’ll talk a great deal more on this in Lesson 5.

What this series offers

This series is comprised of four lessons that covers what we believe are keys areas to managing and mastering your Android devices.

Lesson 2 – Application Management

Trying out new stuff is fun and it’s all too easy to download apps until your phone is crammed with shortcuts and widgets. If you have a bunch of apps on your device you should understand all the ins and outs of shortcuts, Google Play, and the app settings.

Lesson 3 – Extending your Battery’s Life

You should definitely understand how mobile device batteries works, and the best conditions under which to operate them. Moreover, there’s a ton of stuff you can also do in the settings, which can help you get more use out of your battery during the course of a day. We cover all those things including managing your battery’s settings and the best ways to help it survive an average day’s use.

Lesson 4 – Performance and Security

Speed things up and lock things down! Truth told, there’s a bevy of devices on the market that perform very well even when burdened by whatever you can throw at it but there’s also a great many that don’t. So we’ll discuss possible ways you can improve that.

Also, you should definitely take device security seriously whether it’s a pattern lock, password, PIN, encryption, or any of the other ways you can protect your data and self from prying eyes. No worries, we’ll take you through all that in this lesson.

Lesson 5 – Data Management

Finally, we’ll talk about managing your data both in terms of how much space it occupies, and whether it is routinely backed up. After all, you spend a great deal of time on your phones and tablet, shouldn’t you understand what your devices are storing, and how much storage that data is taking?

Furthermore, if you’re going to keep your most important stuff on on a device the size of deck of cards, shouldn’t you at least make sure you can’t lose everything in one moment of forgetfulness? We think so and that’s why we cover a variety of methods you can always make sure that even if you drop your phone down a sewer grate, everything that’s on it can be saved.


That’s all for today. We’re going to stop for the time being and let all this sink in. We encourage you to familiarize yourself with your device’s settings before we get to good stuff tomorrow when we’ll talk all about managing your applications and getting to know the Google Play Store’s settings.

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Matt Klein is an aspiring Florida beach bum, displaced honorary Texan, and died-in-wool Ohio State Buckeye, who fancies himself a nerd-of-all-trades. His favorite topics might include operating systems, BBQ, roller skating, and trying to figure out how to explain quantum computers.

  • Published 04/21/14

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