8 An­droid app short­cuts

Save your­self some taps while free­ing up stor­age space, cre­at­ing re­minders, scan­ning re­ceipts, record­ing au­dio notes, snap­ping a selfie and more. By

PC Advisor - - CONTENTS - Ben Pat­ter­son

Some­times, just sav­ing a tap or two can make you feel so ef­fi­cient, if not ac­tu­ally more pro­duc­tive. This is the aim of An­droid’s new app short­cuts—small, pop-up short­cut but­tons that ap­pear when you long-press on a home-screen app icon.

Some of the avail­able An­droid app short­cuts, which you’ll find on hand­sets run­ning An­droid 7.1.1 or later, are more use­ful than oth­ers. For ex­am­ple, I could do with­out the ‘I’m feel­ing lucky’ short­cut in the Google Photos app, which sim­ply opens a ran­dom snap­shot. But a short­cut that lets you take one-tap scans of re­ceipts? That’s in­ter­est­ing.

Here are eight of the more use­ful An­droid app short­cuts, from a quick way to free up stor­age space on your de­vice to a short­cut that lets you record an au­dio note.

1 Free up stor­age space

One of the quick­est ways to clear out the clut­ter on your An­droid phone is to delete any photos or videos you’ve al­ready backed up to the cloud. With Google Photos, you can do so by open­ing the app, tap­ping the main menu but­ton in the top-left cor­ner of the screen, and then tap­ping Free up stor­age.

Or you can make an app short­cut and shave a few taps off the process: tap and hold the Google Photos icon on the home screen, then tap the Free up space app short­cut.

Bonus tip: To add an app short­cut to your An­droid home screen, tap and hold the short­cut, then drag it to an avail­able spot.

2 Cre­ate a re­minder

An­droid re­minders are the per­fect so­lu­tion for my Swiss-cheese brain, so long as we

re­mem­ber to set them. It helps if the process of cre­at­ing re­minders is su­per easy – ide­ally, noth­ing more than a tap or two.

Luck­ily, there’s a handy An­droid app short­cut for mem­ory-chal­lenged An­droid users like me. Just tap and hold the Cal­en­dar home screen icon, then tap the New re­minder short­cut. Once you do, you’ll in­stantly jump to a blank re­minder in Cal­en­dar.

3 Go to a spe­cific Mes­sen­ger con­ver­sa­tion

Tap­ping on the Mes­sen­ger icon on your An­droid home screen gen­er­ally takes you to the ‘all con­ver­sa­tions’ screen, mean­ing you’ll have to tap again be­fore you can ac­tu­ally start tex­ting with some­one. For a faster way to chat with a spe­cific some­one, tap and hold the Mes­sen­ger icon to re­veal short­cuts for three or four of your most re­cent con­ver­sa­tions. To be­gin a new thread, tap the New con­ver­sa­tion short­cut.

4 Scan a doc­u­ment

Google Drive’s Scan but­ton makes it easy to quickly scan a re­ceipt, a con­tract, or other doc­u­ment, but it takes a few taps – not par­tic­u­larly con­ve­nient, es­pe­cially if you’re try­ing to quickly scan a re­ceipt on the go.

The good news is that there’s an eas­ier way to scan a doc­u­ment: tap and hold the Drive icon, then tap Scan. When you do, you’ll zap to Drive’s scan­ner viewfinder.

Bonus tip: When you scan a doc­u­ment us­ing Drive’s app short­cut, the scan will be up­loaded to the top level of your Drive directory. If you want your one-tap scans to go to an­other Drive folder, in­stall a Drive scan wid­get from the Wid­gets screen (tap and hold an empty space on your home screen to get there), then spec­ify a tar­get directory on the wid­get’s set-up menu.

5 Go di­rectly to your Play Mu­sic tunes

One of our pet peeves about the re­vamped Play Mu­sic app is that it puts the Google Play Mu­sic stream­ing ser­vice front and cen­tre, while hid­ing your own tunes be­hind a tab. If you feel the same way, here’s an app short­cut you’ll like. Tap and hold the Play Mu­sic home screen icon, then tap the My li­brary short­cut to skip Play Mu­sic’s stream­ing ser­vice and jump di­rectly to your mu­sic col­lec­tion.

6 Cre­ate a new au­dio note

When in­spi­ra­tion strikes, there’s not a mo­ment to lose – you need to jot down that

idea down be­fore it dis­ap­pears, and there’s no eas­ier way to pre­serve a thought than to sim­ply say it. If you’ve got Google Keep in­stalled on your An­droid de­vice, try this: tap and hold the Google Keep icon, tap New au­dio note, then speak your mind. Not only will Keep record your voice, it’ll also tran­scribe what­ever you say.

7 Save the dig­its of a new con­tact

Trad­ing busi­ness cards? So 2010. It’s much eas­ier to tap the num­ber of a new busi­ness con­tact di­rectly into your An­droid phone, but it can be a bit awk­ward to tap to the New con­tact screen when you’re at a net­work­ing party, and you’ve got your phone in one hand and a drink in the other. In­stead, just tap and hold the Phone or Con­tacts icon on your An­droid home screen, then tap New con­tact; in an in­stant, you’ll be ready to take down the de­tails of your new con­nec­tion.

8 Snap a selfie

It doesn’t have to be a two-step process to take a selfie with the stock An­droid cam­era. In­stead of launch­ing the Cam­era app and tap­ping the selfie but­ton be­fore snap­ping a photo, just tap and hold the Cam­era icon, then tap the Take a selfie short­cut.

The re­minder app short­cut for the Google Cal­en­dar app lets you quickly tie a vir­tual string around your fin­ger

You can quickly free up a large swath of stor­age space on your An­droid de­vice with this Google Photos app short­cut

Wish you could skip Google Play Mu­sic’s stream­ing sta­tions? This app short­cut makes it easy

Save the de­tails of a new con­tact in a flash with this app short­cut for the An­droid phone di­aller

Google Keep’s au­dio note short­cut makes it easy to dic­tate your ideas

Time for a selfie? Start snap­ping with this Google Cam­era app short­cut

You’ll be scan­ning more re­ceipts once you dis­cover Google Drive’s app short­cuts

Mes­sen­ger’s app short­cuts let you jump di­rectly to a spe­cific con­ver­sa­tion

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