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5 hidden settings that will make your phone even more awesome

You've got an Android phone. You love it. But you need more. How about we help you uncover a couple of the lesser-known secrets hiding in the shadows of your Android? With this list of hidden Android settings, you'll be able to make your Android even more awesome than it already is.

1. Instant magnification

Did you know your Android phone has a built-in magnifying glass? This useful not only for the hard of seeing or for reading fine-print, it also allows you to zoom in on stuff in apps that don't support zooming, such as Instagram.

Head to the Accessibility settings to turn the magnification feature on and triple tap the screen anywhere to zoom in (you can pinch to zoom even further and triple tap to exit magnification).

AndroidPIT Android 6 0 Marshmallow accessibility magnification gestures
Android's magnifying glass lets you zoom in even where you're not supposed to zoom in. / © ANDROIDPIT

2. Easter Egg

I'm always surprised by how many people are baffled when they find me playing the Lollipop Easter Egg game on their phone. In case you didn't know either, Google hides an Easter Egg in every Android version, which is accessible by going to Settings > About phone and tapping Android version repeatedly.

You'll see the Android version come up and if you tap it a few times and then press on it (in Lollipop or Marshmallow), you'll be taken to a fun Flappy Bird style game.

android lollipop flappy droid IT
Still the best way to kill time at the train station if you're not a hardcore gamer. / © ANDROIDPIT

3. Faster animations

This is the first thing I do with any new phone. Disabling a couple of the system animations makes your phone feel a little faster. This is kind of a trick – transitions and animations don't actually make you phone run more slowly, but it does feel as though they do.

Go to Settings > About phone and tap Build number until you get a notification that Developer options has been enabled. Back up a step and go to Settings > Developer options and scroll down to Window animation scale and Transition animation scale and set both to off. If you want to know what they do, set both to 10x (you'll see the first in action as soon as you tap 10x) and then hit the recent apps button to see the second in action.

AndroidPIT Android 6 0 Marshmallow developer options animation scale
Turning these two options off makes your phone feel faster. / © ANDROIDPIT

4. System UI Tuner (Marshmallow only)

Marshmallow has a unique new hidden menu called System UI Tuner. It's basically an in-progress developer menu with a couple of nifty new features that Google decided to keep out of the window, which you can access if you know how. Use two fingers to swipe down your notification shade and hold down the Settings icon (it looks like a cog). It will spin and then take you to the Settings menu, which will now have a section called System UI Tuner.

Go to Settings > System UI Tuner and choose from a couple of cool features: add a battery percentage meter to your status bar battery icon, choose what icons appear in your status bar (if you're sick of alarm or Bluetooth icons taking up valuable space), or customize and re-arrange your Quick Settings layout. You can easily remove System UI Tuner from the Settings menu using the overflow menu button in the top right corner.

AndroidPIT Android 6 0 Marshmallow System UI Tuner status bar quick settings
The System UI Tuner will hopefully have the Dark Theme again soon. / © ANDROIDPIT

5. Gateway to nerdy stats

Most people don't know this, but there's a whole bunch of secret Android codes for a whole range of different functions, but one of the most useful is a shortcut to some nerdy statistics about your device. Simply open your dialer and enter the following to access it: *#*#4636#*#*

You'll see slightly different information depending on your version of Android, but you should see at least some details about your device such as your IMEI number, signal strength, network information, app usage statistics and Wi-Fi information. On Lollipop, you can also access battery usage statistics (which come to the foreground in Marshmallow). Check the guide linked above for manufacturer-specific Android codes.

AndroidPIT Android 6 0 Marshmallow system testing menu
All the information you could ever want about your phone, network and Wi-Fi. / © ANDROIDPIT

How do you make your phone awesome? Got any hidden features you can share? Tell us about them in the comments.


Write new comment:
  • Deven B. 2 months ago Link to comment

    My android tablet's hangouts dialer couldn't do *#*#4636#*#*, it just called the number. (It's a Digiland Insignia model NS-P10A6100, if anyone wants to investigate.) It doesn't come with the standard phone app, nor a carrier plan.

  • So my HTC One M8 (5.0.1) doesn't have "about phone" and when you tap then hold the Android version, nothing happens....

    It sounded like fun though.

  • *#*#4636#*#* not working

    Eh chlda ni hega ehnu chlao

  • *#*#4636#*#* is not work on my device.It said "This application is not work on this device". But some diagnosis is still work.

  • Mike Ward 10 months ago Link to comment

    For some strange reason *#*#4636#*#* doesn't work on my Galaxy S5 running on Lollipop.

  • Tip #1, Instant magnification can be very useful. I use several medical sites that do not provide in-app zooming so displayed documents are impossible to read. This fixes the problem!

    But a few caveats are needed:

    1. While activated, it is impossible to use the Keyboard - garbage input will result!

    2. It is annoyingly easy to activate by mistake. For instance, when using the keyboard, quick use of the spacebar, delete, backspace, arrow keys, or just quick typing will activate the function, and cause the problem mentioned above. And, when doing anything on the screen that uses quick taps, such as when backing out of browser pages, the same thing will occur.

    3. Pinching will adjust the zoom, but only to enlarge it further. Sometimes, 3X is just too much, and there's nothing available in between.

    So... It is best to ONLY activate when absolutely needed, and de-activate as soon as done.

  • It should be noted that the *#*#4636#*#* code cannot be turned into a Contact number (with the information given), but must be typed or pasted manually into the phone's dialer each time. It functions instantly, without needing to dial.

    But, the details it provides is really complex and very neat!

  • I think it was quite useful, I knew some already but only because I got the info of here. Not everyone is fully conversant with Android, and assume would be happy to find out these little extra functions, to be made use of that's why I'm here now.

  • What has nerdy stats got to do with making your Android more awesome?. This is just to fill your time with trying to look busy at work.System Ui tuner is only for Marshmallow, that sucks!

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