Screen recording, Smart Lock and Android’s other best hidden features

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Google Pixel 5 smartphone

Your Android phone has a treasure trove of hidden features. 


Stephen Shankland/CNET

Part of the appeal of using an Android phone is the wide variety of hardware and software options. For instance, the experience you get from a Google Pixel phone is very different from what a Galaxy S21 offers, and then you add OnePlus into the mix and the experience diverges even more. That said, the core Android experience remains nearly the same. All three manufacturers use Android, sharing the same features — some of which are hidden. 

And now that Google has released the first developer beta of Android 12 (which you can install if you like living on the edge), the staple Android features are only getting better, and there are sure to be more hidden features. 

Take screen recording as an example. It’s a feature that you may not even realize Google added with the rollout of Android 11, but it’s there, just waiting to help you show off your gaming skills. Also, the ability to use two apps at the same time is not only something iPhone users can only dream about but it’s also downright useful and built into your Android phone (this feature isn’t new, at least for Pixel phones) — you just have to know where to look. One of my favorite hidden features is called Smart Lock, a tool that keeps my phone unlocked when I’m at home, then reverts back to requiring my fingerprint or PIN code when I leave. It’s convenient and it allows me to keep my phone secure when I’m not at home. 

Keep in mind, the features below may not look or work exactly the same on every phone, and that’s because different Android device manufacturers like to use unique interfaces. My…

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