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More Nexus 4 tips and tricks

Authored by: Kris Carlon — Dec 16, 2013

You guys asked for it so here it is: some more tips and tricks for the Nexus 4. It may be a year old and recently superseded by the Nexus 5, but the Nexus 4 still holds many places in many hearts and it seems like a lot of those owners are not looking at giving it up anytime soon.

nexus 4 black
There's still plenty of reasons to be dazzled by the Nexus 4. / © AndroidPIT 

Get better battery life

Yes the Nexus 4 battery sucks. Sure, Android 4.3 and 4.4 have made improvements to it, but it still sucks. So what can you do to make it last as long as possible? If you're rooted you can install a custom kernel like Matrix that is well known for extending battery life. If that's too complicated you can do simple things, like switch off Bluetooth, GPS and NFC when you don't need them. You should also keep Wi-Fi on during sleep (in Advanced Wi-Fi settings) because it will stop your phone from reconnecting every time you open it up. It may sound counter-intuitive, but keeping Wi-Fi on the whole time is actually better for your battery. If you don't need internet connectivity all the time though, use those Quick Settings to switch Wi-Fi or mobile data on only when you need them. The same goes for location reporting, only use it when you need it.

Android phone battery drain fix
The Nexus 4 battery is bad, but you can make it as good as it can get. / ©

In Advanced Wi-Fi options you can also set your phone to avoid poor Wi-Fi connections and tick the box for Wi-Fi optimization to improve battery management. Also, you can minimize the number of apps syncing. Just go into your Google account and set the apps you need to sync but disable the rest. Set other apps to update manually when you launch them, not all the time via push notifications. Set Google Play to update apps manually rather than automatically. This will stop massive download battery drain when you're not expecting it. Switch off mobile data when you're at the office or home where you're using Wi-Fi. There's no reason to be pinging towers for nothing. And finally, install an app like Dynamic Notifications that let you get notifications on your lock screen so you don't turn on your screen so often. And of course, set your screen brightness to as low a setting as possible. Check out our upcoming video on how to improve your battery life generally.

Active notifications missed call
By using a lock screen notification app, you can minimize the number of times you need to unlock your phone and save on your battery. / © ActiveNotifications/AndroidPIT
DynamicNotifications Install on Google Play

Try out ART on Android 4.4

ART is a different runtime for your Nexus 4, courtesy of Android 4.4 KitKat. Not everyone likes it, and the limitations on using WhatsApp have caused many to ignore it, but for those that are using it, the general consensus is that it will speed up your Nexus 4 and provide a smoother experience all round. Not to mention it also improves battery life. Generally speaking, ART will also make apps run smoother with less stuttering and lags and generally improve RAM management too. All you have to do is get your Developer Options up (tap on the build number repeatedly in the ''About phone'' section of settings) and then change the Runtime option from Dalvik to ART. Test it out and see what you think.

AndroidPIT Nexus4 ART
In Developer Options, just switch from Dalvik to ART and reboot. / © AndroidPIT

Enhanced Face Unlock

Sure it's a gimmick, and it isn't always that reliable, but Face Unlock is actually quite useful. First, set it up in your security settings and capture your face, then in the settings, tick the box for Liveness Check, which means you need to blink to unlock the phone (so someone can't fake it with a picture). You will also be required to set up a backup unlock option, for when your phone doesn't recognize you – this will stump any fakers too. You should then improve your phone's chances of recognizing you by capturing your face under different conditions, like with different hairstyles, clean shaven or bearded, indoors or outdoors, with or without glasses etc. Once you've got it set up properly, Face Unlock can actually be really good.

AnroidPIT Nexus4 Face Unlock
Between a backup lock option, additional Face Unlock images and Liveness Check, Face Unlock is pretty good. / © AndroidPIT

Sidestep the memory problem

There's several cool gadgets you can get at the moment which can help you sidestep the limited memory capacity of the Nexus 4. We're a fan of the Mini MicroSD, which you can carry on your keychain and simply plug into your phone with all your photos and music files, but it requires USB On The Go support, which the Nexus 4 sadly doesn't have. There are ways to get your Nexus 4 to support OTG, but it's not a walk in the park and you're still going to need a secondary power source to make it happen. If that is too difficult for you, your alternatives are to actually use some of that free cloud storage everyone is offering and bump your photos and music to the cloud. Sure, you'll be using more battery to listen and watch, but if your phone gets stolen at the very least you won't lose all your data. Backing up and doing a factory reset, then reinstalling will also free up some space.

usb otg logo
You'll need to do some fiddling, but you can get your Nexus 4 to support USB On The Go. / ©

Have you got any other great tips for the Nexus 4 you can share?

Kris Carlon comes to the AndroidPIT Editorial Team via a lengthy period spent traveling and relying on technology to keep him in touch with the outside world. He joined the Android community while resurfacing in civilization back in 2010 and has never looked back, using technology to replace his actual presence in other people's lives ever since. He can usually be found juggling three phones at once and poring over G+ posts, Reddit and RSS feeds.

1 Comment

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  • Turn the network mode to "2G". This saves the battery life a lot. Change to 3G when u need. if u keep only 2G it really improves the battery life.

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