Home Android Give yourself an Android productivity upgrade

Give yourself an Android productivity upgrade

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Hey — you. Yes, you. The gorgeous hominid there with an Android phone in your britches. What if I were to tell you that that phone, the very same one you tote around and cradle like a baby all day, had a secondary home screen that you could access from anywhere, no matter what you were doing on the device? That with a single swipe, you could pull up supercharged shortcuts for everything from your favorite apps to time-saving tools and even one-tap access to advanced system functions?

Now what if I were to tell you that this power-filled personal productivity panel is actually your Android phone’s Quick Settings section — that same set of ho-hum buttons you see and probably look past every time you peek at your notifications? And that all you had to do was take 10 minutes to transform it and unleash its inner beast?

Well, m’dear, I am telling you all of those things. And they’re all true as a turkey is tactless. (Trust me: Those birds have very little tact.)

All poultry references aside, Android’s Quick Settings panel truly does have the potential to become one of your phone’s most practical and powerful features, but most Android-carrying mammals fail to ever see it for what it is: an all-purpose command center that can expand your phone’s capabilities and make you meaningfully more efficient.

Today, it’s time for you to tap into that power and join the club of enlightened productivity pros.

Meet your personal Android productivity panel

First things first, let me ask you a question: What types of things do you do multiple times a day on your Android device?

If you’re like most people I know, the answer probably includes actions like opening specific apps, checking in on your calendar, creating new calendar events, opening specific web pages, and sending texts or emails (or perhaps even — gasp! — placing calls) to certain people. It might also include glancing at your phone’s battery level, pulling up a calculator, and maybe opening up a specific Docs or Drive file.

And yet, when you look at most Android phones’ Quick Settings panels, what do you see most prominently? More often than not, you see things like a Wi-Fi toggle, a Bluetooth toggle, a toggle to turn your mobile data connection on and off, and a toggle to enable or disable your screen’s auto-rotate function. You might also see an airplane mode switch and maybe a battery info tile that doesn’t actually tell you your current battery level or do anything particularly useful.

Odds are, those aren’t functions you’re relying on multiple times a day. And yet, they’re taking up a piece of prime virtual real estate — this potential-packed space that’s never more than a single swipe away. See the problem?

Today, I’d like to introduce you to a transformative tool called Shortcutter, which is free with an optional $2 upgrade for some of its more advanced features. Members of my Android Intelligence Platinum program have heard me mention the app in different contexts before, but the short version is that Shortcutter makes it possible to add all sorts of genuinely useful functions into that Quick Settings area — the exact sorts of daily-use items we were talking about a second ago. In doing so, it lets you keep those commands at your fingertips and make ’em readily available from anywhere in Android. And it consequently allows you to skip all sorts of cumbersome steps and save yourself mountains of precious time.

Using Shortcutter is pretty easy, once you know what to do. When you first open up the app, you’ll want to tap the section within its main screen labeled “Pull-Down.” There, you’ll find all the categories of commands the program makes available for bringing into your phone’s Quick Settings section.

JR
Shortcutter’s Quick Settings options — whoa, Nelly, that’s a lot of ham!

There’s a lot to take in here, I realize, and some parts are more useful than others. Allow me to call out a handful of especially practical possibilities worth exploring:

Copyright © 2021 IDG Communications, Inc.

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