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Nexus 4: Tips & Tricks

Sterling Keys
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While we wait for confirmation from Google on whether or not they’re going to release an in-house phone as their successor to the Nexus line or source out to another manufacturer, it’s nice to be able to keep things fresh by exploring some new settings or “hidden” features. While some of these tips might not be so new to you, I always find that there’s at least one person in the crowd who goes: “YOU COULD DO THAT?!”.

nexus 4
Hey there Nexus 4! What shall we do today? / © LG Google

Say Goodbye to typing, say hello to Swyping

While it may not be as intuitive as your normal typing with a QWERTY keyboard, by enabling gesture typing you can just drag your finger across all the letters in the word you are typing, rather than tapping each one out.

swype android
Tap no more. Seriously. Just drag those lazy fingers across the screen. © Google Play Store

While it took me some time to get used to this method of writing out words on my device, it definitely is a time saver in the long run. And you don’t really need to be worried about how accurately you’ve gone across a letter or two as the keyboard is quite intuitive and intelligent when it comes to auto-correct. 

To turn this setting on, go to Settings > Language & Input > Choose the Settings button for the keyboard section and tick the gesture box.

The non-expandable memory issue

One of the downfalls of the Nexus 4 is that users are constrained by having non-expandable memory and only have an 8 or 16 GB model available to choose from. With other devices boasting a ton of extra space inside with the option of adding on via microSD, it’s really a downer for the Nexus 4.

Fortunately, there are some options for Nexus 4 users should they want to store all their media and music, if they’re willing to deal with cloud storage or online music streaming services (providing you have the data plan to support it).  Some of these services do come with a free version that can be bumped up to a premium service, should you choose to pay a monthly or yearly fee to keep the service going. It all depends on what you want to get out of them.

For streaming music, popular service such as Spotify and Pandora, as well as Google Play Music All-Access, are notable contenders and each has it’s own benefits that we’ve laid out in previous articles.

For online storage, depending on what you want to get out of your device and how much you want to store comes into account. We’ve got Dropbox, Google Drive (now with increased storage) and even Box.net as some contenders for this side of things.

Root your device. Seriously.

Since the Nexus 4 is running a pure version of Android, the reasons for rooting the Nexus 4 are a little less numerous than that of any other device, but it’s still a super viable option for the type of person who wants more out of their phone. If you like tinkering around with your phone or customizing to how you like it, definitely look into rooting your device.

It’s been posted before here at AndroidPIT as well as over at the XDA–Developers Forums (these guys are awesome). However, it’s always important to note that rooting your device does come with some consequences should you mess up. Always make sure to back up your phone before you start tinkering around with it.

Didja hear about these Quick Settings?

The release of Android 4.2.2 brought with it some vast improvements to the notification bar and the introduction of Quick Settings. I was quite surprised when talking to a friend who had a Galaxy S4 and he didn’t know about how to even access the Quick Settings, which for me, are something I use a countless number of times through-out the day.

Galaxy S3 quick settings my device
Quick Settings, one of the saving grace features of Android 4.2.2. / © AndroidPIT

If you want easy access to your notifications pane, to see what you have pending or have missed, simply swipe down from the notification bar at the top of the screen with one finger. Voila! There’s your notification shade with all your feeds, e-mails, and messages.

And if, for example, you want to quickly turn on your Wi-Fi or turn on Airplane mode, you don’t need to jump through hoops and browse through different settings. Again, from the notification bar, simply swipe downward with two fingers and it’ll bring up the Quick Settings menu.

Panoramic made easy

I really like being able to take pictures on the fly with my mobile devices. On of the neatest features that I’ve found with the Nexus 4 (…and really, any Android 4.2.2 device) is the ability to take a panoramic photo using Photo Sphere. With this feature, you can take photos in 360-degree mode that is similar to what you would see on Google Street View. Check out the video below for a demo on how it works.

Select 360-degree Mode and then follow the blue dot on-screen to capture an entire scene. The images, once processed, can be explored by swiping left, right, up, or down. It does take a bit of practice to get the hang of this feature, but once you do, it can produce some pretty amazing results.

What other tips and tricks do you use for your Nexus 4? Any must-have apps or features that you think everyone else should know about?

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Comments

Write new comment:
  • CJ Brown Jul 5, 2013 Link

    Spotify and Pandora are my two favorite Audio Streaming Apps (Google Play Music needs to take a look @ these two Apps, then implement from both of them to improve theirs)


    Google Drive and Yahoo Dropbox are my two favorite Cloud Storage Apps (both are free, easy to navigate, doesn't take up that much airtime to kill your monthly bill)


    Since MetroPCS now accepts unlocked android smart phones, I think I will be getting an LG Nexus4 (16 gig) ... don't know if I am confident enough to root it (but I will definitely enough the Quick Settings and Panoramic Photo Sphere)

    0