Tech Solutions

5 handy tricks for your Google Nexus 5

Adam Turner
Technology Journalist

Adam Turner is a Sydney Morning Herald senior technology columnist who has been writing about the challenges facing Australian business for more than a decade

Adam Turner
Technology Journalist

Adam Turner is a Sydney Morning Herald senior technology columnist who has been writing about the challenges facing Australian business for more than a decade

Google’s own Nexus 5 comes with the latest and greatest version of Android in the form of 4.4 KitKat. Here are a few handy tips that will make your smartphone even more useful when on the go.

One of the best features of Android 4.4 KitKat is the ability to find the phone number of a local business directly from the dialer instead of having to do a dedicated Google search via the web browser.

Simply enter the name of the business in the search bar located at the top of the dialer. What’s nice is that whenever you receive a call from an unknown number, Google will look up the number and if applicable and display the business name on the caller ID.

1. Access Google Now with Nothing But Your Voice

While voice control is still far from perfect on smartphones, Android’s Google Now is the best of the bunch and can be very handy for those occasions where you simply cannot get to your phone.Voice commands can be used to launch apps, set reminders and even perform Google searches.You can now launch Google Now by simply saying “OK Google” from the home screen. To enable this feature, go to Settings > Language & Input > Voice Speech > Language. In the language options, tap “English”, and then choose “English (US)”.Remember that you need to be on the home screen for the “OK Google” command to work.

2. Edit Documents on the Go with QuickOffice

QuickOffice comes preinstalled on the Google Nexus 5 and is a handy way to make edits to documents while on the go.To launch an email attachment directly with QuickOffice, simply select “QuickOffice” in the file picker prompt after selecting the email attachment. Alternatively, save the file, then fire up the QuickOffice app and select “Open file” which will search for any relevant documents saved on the phone or Google Drive.

3. Reduce Battery Drain by Running GPS in Low Power Mode

More and more apps these days require GPS location data to function properly but the reality is that keeping GPS enabled drains the battery very quickly.Thankfully, Android 4.4 has a “Battery Saving GPS mode” that does a great job in keeping battery drain to a minimum. Oddly enough, it isn’t enabled by default so you will need to go to Settings > Location > Mode > select “Battery Saving” to enable.

4. Add Widgets to Your Lock Screen

You might have noticed that the “Widgets” tab has disappeared from the App drawer. You can still add widgets by long-pressing on your home screen.To add widgets to your lock screen go to Settings > Security, and tick “Enable Widgets”. On your lock screen, swipe to the left and tap the "Plus" icon. Most apps support Widgets so you should see a number of options including email, calendar and weather.

5. Take a Screenshot and Access to Quick Settings with a Swipe

You can take a snap of your Nexus 5 screen by simultaneously pressing the volume down and power buttons. The image can then be shared from the gallery.Another useful trick is the ability to access quick settings (Wi-Fi, Brightness, Bluetooth, Aeroplane Mode etc.) by simply sliding down from the top of the screen with two fingers while sliding with one finger will give you access to the notification menu.

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