Today, it is tough not to know Android than it is to identify the most popular operating system in the smartphone world. Google has brought the operating system a long way to making it the market leader in a very tight market, which has surpassed the feature phones.
We are writing this article assuming from the person perspective who doesn’t mess with phones much, and this has a pretty broad scope, so just going off the top of my head and trying to keep it generic.
1. Most straightforward tip – You can manually download and install apps. Similar to Windows computers, download the .apk file, toggle the security setting on the phone to allow unrecognized sources and voila.
Note – Please don’t install apps from unknown/untrustworthy sources. I recommend this only for some region-locked apps/carrier-locked apps and some model-specific ones(like the pixel camera) to be installed this way if you don’t know exactly what you’re doing!
For some such fun and even some custom made apps, head over to XDA-Developers Android Forums to get your hands on some nice third party apps.
2. Apps BY-DEFAULT has access to MOST of your device’s data and sensors, especially if you’re on Android versions 8–9 or below. Be very careful about what permissions have been provided. If you’re on Android 10, you can toggle each permission separately. I’ve personally toggled (always on!) Location permissions for a gazillion apps who had no business knowing my location! Always check the permissions requested by the app(at install time for Android 9 and below and at usage for 10)
3. If you ever need to hide from the government after you drop someone or evade taxes 😉 – There are plenty of location spoofing apps. And yes, this spoofing is at a device level, so everyone who requests your location will be fooled.
I’ve personally used one called Lockito –Lockito – Fake GPS itinerary – Apps on Google Play, but this one needs root. Use responsibly and don’t get caught if it’s for.. nonrecreational purposes
4. If you really want to extract maximum performance or juice from your phone – Root it and install simple performance tweaking applications that will let you adjust the CPU ranges(overclocking), voltages, etc. Use with care and refer to XDA forums, which I’ve linked above.
5. Don’t be gullible for god’s sake – Battery boosters, Ram boosters, Disk cleaners, doctors are mostly all apps for just show and do more damage than good (especially to your battery life). Avoid most of these unless from XDA and certified by multiple users with concrete test results and numbers to prove they work. The Play store is full of phony trash, so don’t go wading in there expecting you’ll come out clean!
6. Facebook. Uninstall. Right now. It sucks the life force out of your phone in every way possible, and I don’t expect that to change. It locks your CPU, always stays on in the background and drinks battery, data, and RAM with a giant straw (at least until recently, I’ve been Facebook app free for a year or so now). Not to mention the pathetic optimization, even performance-wise. Just use the mobile website, it’s more than enough to scroll past meme pages and people’s cringy status updates.
Used to be the same for Snapchat but I believe it’s been overhauled so I won’t drag that name through the mud for the benefit of the doubt
7. If an app misbehaves or hangs or crashes – Don’t waste your time restarting the phone, just long-press the icon, go-to information, and “Force stop” the app. That’s the equivalent of turning it off and on again
If there’s any specific app-related information anyone would like, feel free to ask in the comments.