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5 fantastic Android 10 features you probably forget to use

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We’re officially in the final countdown to the launch of Android 11, which is expected to arrive any week now — but forget the shiny new stuff for a second. I’d be willing to wager there are some worthwhile treats in the current Android version that you either overlooked entirely or maybe thought about for a few minutes and then forgot to keep using.

Any Android update has a lot to digest, after all, and it’s all too easy to let certain things slip by. But Android 10’s got some subtle gems that are well worth putting back on your radar and embracing. And whether you end up seeing Android 11 within days of its arrival or waiting an eternity for the update to reach your phone, reminding yourself to take advantage of these features will make your life easier — both now and into the future. (Yes, they’re all still present in Android 11!)

1. Focus Mode

We may rely on our phones to stay connected and productive, but let’s be honest: Just as often, these shiny little slabs make it impossible to avoid distractions.

Android 10 introduced a super-helpful way to cut down on such attention-snatchers and keep your focus exactly where you want it. It’s called Focus Mode, and it might just be the focus-reclaiming instrument you need.

The way Focus Mode works is simple: You tell Android which apps you want to tune out and avoid using — maybe things like Twitter and whatever non-essential messaging service(s) you have on your phone — and then you either set a recurring schedule for when you want those apps to be hidden or you manually activate Focus Mode yourself as needed.

Either way you go, the apps will be grayed out on your home screen and in your app drawer whenever Focus Mode is running — and attempting to open any of ’em will result in a friendly reminder that the app is “paused.” More important, any notifications generated by those apps will be held back and kept out of your face until Focus Mode shuts off.

And a bonus tip: While the feature is designed for eliminating distractions and keeping you focused on work, you could also approach it in the opposite way and use Focus Mode to block work-oriented apps on the weekends or in the evenings. These days more than ever, we could all use a little more life-work separation, and Focus Mode is an interesting way you could achieve it.

How to find it

In Google’s version of Android — what’s present on Pixel phones, Android One phones, and some other non-Samsung devices — open up the Digital Wellbeing section of your system settings. Find and tap “Focus Mode,” then select the apps you want to have blocked whenever Focus Mode is active. If you want to have Focus Mode turn on and off automatically on certain days and times, tap “Set a schedule” and put in whatever days and times you want.

Copyright © 2020 IDG Communications, Inc.

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