Android is now the most used mobile operating system in the world, with many commentators putting its market share at around 70%. With such growing presence, there are too many Android applications, although if we are able to hack Android OS and customize it as we wish. Not to worry, crazy Android developers have already done this for us.
People have successfully rooted their Android smartphones and there are number of wild Android hacks with countless applications (Android apps). Some of these Android apps are fun and some are very useful too. In this post, I am going to present the top 11 Android hacks and their applications to make your Android Smartphone smarter than ever before.
1. Get Android updates before your mobile handset manufacturer releases it
For most people using Android phones, they usually have to wait for Google to release updates for Android via Google Play and this may sometimes take months. However, the problem is that when the new Android system updates are released, mobile handset manufacturers have to readjust them in order to run on their handsets, and also add new Android based software, before releasing these Android updates to their customers. However, the good news is that you do not have to wait this long to get the latest Android updates after its release. Since there are a great number of people working on releasing their own stable Android updates, you can root your Android phone so that you are able to release such Android updates as soon as the developer has released them.
2. Scale up your Android media center with Gmote Android apps
One of the major reasons why people usually buy smartphones is so that they are able to play their favorite music and videos. However, this usually comes with some limitations, mainly with regard to storage space. For many people, most of their music and video files are usually stored in their PCs, while just a selected number of files are stored in their smartphones. This thus means that they cannot access their music files, and they have to keep deleting some of the files in order to make room for new files. This is a great inconvenience for smartphone users; the good news is that someone saw this and decided to come up with a simple hack that enables one to stream their music from their PC to their smartphones by using Wi-Fi. There is an Android app called app called Gmote that makes accessing this future a breeze.
3. Change the appearance of Android user interface with Beautiful Widgets Android App
One of the most common tasks that people usually perform on their mobile phones is changing the themes and wallpapers so that they can suit their fancy. If you have tried this before, then you will have realized that there are numerous limitations, thanks to the small number of wallpapers and themes that ship with your Android phones. The wallpapers and themes are also not that inspiring, since most of them are static. But you can change all this and bring your Android’s user interface into life. This is easily done through the use of some Android apps, such as Beautiful Widgets, which will then give you access to tonnes of customized and animated wallpapers that you can use on your Android smartphone.
4. Play retro games by Rooting Your Android Phones
If you are an avid smartphone gamer, then you most definitely usually pull out your old game console ad play a few classic games so as to remind yourself of how it used to feel playing such games. Android, being open source, has stirred some interesting thoughts from some top tinkerers who also happen to love playing games. They have come up with simple hacks that can to play classic games on your Android device. Gameboid and Ataroid are two such Android apps that allow you to play some classic games on your Android smartphone. There is another hacker, who even went ahead and rooted his Android phone so that it is now able to use an NES controller by attaching it to the phone.
5. Install Android apps that are root-only on Your Android Smartphone
If you like tinkering with different aspects of your Android based phone and would like to get as much flexibility as possible, then you should go ahead and root your Android phone by installing root-only apps. These apps will open up a whole new world of possibilities for you, as you will be able to undertake some tasks that are not usually supported by the standard Android software that is usually shipped with phones from the smartphone manufacturer end. For example, you can install a root app that allows you to gain access to extra memory on your Android phone, making it run faster, especially when running Android apps that demand plenty of computing power.
6. Open your garage door with an Innovative Android Apps
Now this is very interesting! With an imaginative Android hackers, there have been some simple yet highly effective hacks. For example, there is an Android app called OpenSeMe that makes it very easy to enable your Android phone to open your garage door; this is pretty cool. This Android app has some simple features that make it safe and easy to use. It uses a pin to verify authenticity of the owner before opening the door; it also only opens the garage door when within a radius of one block. In short, it acts as a garage door opener.
7. Overclock your Android phone to Optimize your Smartphone Resources
Are you tired of having your Android phone hang up every time you use an Android app that is resource-intensive? If this is the case, then you should consider overclocking your smartphone. Overlocking is nothing but rooting your Android mobile to such an extent that a user adds permission to OS settings and removing number of hardware limitations such as internal memory, battery life etc., However, you have to take note of the fact that overclocking your smartphone has a number of side effects. You may wear out your phone’s processor since overclocking it creates intense heat, which may overwhelm the in-built cooling system of your smartphone. It may also shorten your smartphone’s lifestyle. However, by using well-designed overclocking Android apps, you will be able to also underclock your phone’s processors so that their lifespan is prolonged. You also need a new generation Android phone in order to run such apps on your Android phone. One great Android app that you can use for this function is called SetCPU, and it comes highly recommended.
8. Run Android OS on an old iPhone
If you love playing practical jokes as well as tinkering, then you may find this hack hilarious: install Android on your old iPhone. This is a cool way of finding out how Android system would perform on an iPhone. If you have an old iPhone lying around, say iPhone 2G, then you can install Android OS on it. Doing this will also open up quite a number of Android apps that you can then use on your old iPhone. In order to have some fun doing this, you can even install some Android apps that have been restricted by Apple. But in order to get this hack to work, you have to break into your iPhone first; you can use software such as Redsn0w or PwnageTool to do this.
9. Take screenshots of your Android Smartphone
One of the common complaints about Android phones is that it does not allow users to take screen shots. However, some clever Android developers have made this possible by creating some interesting Android apps that enable you to take amazing screenshots of your Android phone, albeit with some fancy effects. However, you need to first root your smartphone before trying these Android apps. You can use the ShootMe app that enables you to take screenshots of your Android phone, with a little shake. This is a simple yet very effective feature.
10. Block Ads from getting displayed on your Android based Smartphone
Advertisements are the price people usually pay for using free software, and this is not different on Android OS. Many free Android apps you will be using will be running ads, and one of the ways of getting rid of these Android apps is to use paid versions of these apps. However, after you have rooted your Android based phone, you can install the Adfree app that essentially blocks ads from everywhere on your Android smartphone. This is quite handy if you usually use plenty of free Android apps on your smartphone.
11. Turn your Android phone into a Wi-Fi hotspot with Wireless Tether App
Many people would be more than happy to use their Android phones as a Wi-Fi hotspot, but only a few of them are able to do so. Once you root your Android phone, then you can easily turn it into a Wi-Fi hotspot, regardless of the mobile carrier subscription active on your Android phone. You can use the Wireless Tether app, as it makes it such a breeze to turn your Android phone into a Wi-Fi hotspot that other Wi-Fi enabled devices can plug into quite easily.
So, by rooting your Android phone, you can turn it into a very powerful mobile device with limitless possibilities. However, always bear in mind that rooting your smartphone usually makes your warranty void, and it may end up totally messing up your phone.
12. Install Custom ROMs On Your Android Phone
One of my favorite things about the Android OS is that it is extremely customizable. While third-party apps and themes are great if you’re looking for minor changes, custom ROMs can change the entire user interface on your phone. Therefore, if you’re bored with your current UI, I would highly recommend trying a custom ROM.
Aside from customization, custom ROMs can also improve the performance and battery life on your phone significantly as they bring various performance optimization tweaks. You’ll also get various cool new apps and features on your phone after installing a ROM.
13. Improve The Sound Quality On Your Android Device
While many Android devices come with incredible audio quality, some phones have terrible audio quality. If you’re looking to improve the audio quality and loudness through your phone’s speaker and headphones, then you can try out the Equalizer app from the Google Play Store. It’s free, but has in-app purchases.
If you have a rooted Android device, then you can also flash custom sound mods. Developers are usually trying to improve the experience on Android devices and you can find flashable audio mods for various Android smartphones.
14. Install APK Files On Your Android Phone
You can also install APK files on your Android smartphone or tablet. Not many people know about APK files, so their apps are only limited to the ones available on the Google Play Store. There are many third-party apps that are removed from the Google Play Store, but you can find their APK files on various websites.
In order to install these apps, you simply need to download the APK file, tap on it and press the Install button. You’ll need to enable the Unknown sources option from your Settings app first.
15. View A Detailed Battery Graph On Your Android Device
One of the issues with many Android devices is poor battery life and if you’re wondering what’s eating up your battery, you can view a detailed battery graph on your phone.
In order to view the graph, open Settings, go to About phone, select Battery Use and tap on the battery graph in order to view a detailed graph of your battery usage. You can also check out the apps that are taking up most of your battery juice.
16. Check Date With One Tap
A cool feature that not many people know is checking the date on Android with a single tap. Just press the status bar on your phone and you’ll see the date on the top. You don’t need to pull the bar down.
17. View Detailed Usage Of Mobile Data
Many of us use mobile data instead of WiFi, however, using mobile data can be quite expensive and if your apps are using too much data, then you’ll end up with a huge bill.
In order to monitor the detailed usage of your data, go to Mobile data under Wireless & Networks in the Settings app. You’ll now see a detailed data usage history of your apps. You can tap on an app to see its data usage history in graph form.
18. View PC Version Of A Website In Your Browser
There are many websites that have a separate light version for mobile phones. These light websites can save mobile data and are better for viewing on mobile phones, however, if you want to view the original PC version of the website, you can change the browser’s settings.
If you’re using Chrome on your phone, launch the website, tap on Menu and enable Request desktop site. The original PC version of the website should now appear on your phone.
19. Gesture Typing
If you have an Android smartphone with a small screen, then you probably don’t enjoy typing long text messages. One of the most popular Android hacks is gesture typing, and if your phone’s keyboard doesn’t support gesture typing, then you can use third-party apps such as SlideIT free keyboard from the Google Play Store.
Using gesture typing, you won’t need to press the keys and you’ll only need to slide your finger around the keys and it will automatically type the word.
20. Use Android Device Manager To Locate Your Phone
If you’re jealous of Apple’s Find my iPhone feature, then there is a perfect alternative for Android. Android Device Manager is one of the most useful Android hacks that lets you easily locate your lost or stolen Android device and the feature is really easy to use.
In order to learn more about Android Device Manager, you can check out my detailed guide. Aside from locating your missing phone, this feature also lets you change your phone’s PIN in order to protect your confidential information. You can also erase everything off the phone.
21. Remove App Notifications
Some third-party apps can be really annoying if they keep on displaying notifications on your phone. If you use the app often, then you might not have a problem, but for apps that you don’t use regularly, these notifications can be really annoying.
In order to disable these app notifications, go to Applications or Apps in the Settings app, tap on the app’s name that is bothering you and untick the Show notifications option.
22. Create A Nandroid Backup
Creating a Nandroid backup is one of the best Android hacks for rooted phones. If your Android device is rooted and you have a custom recovery installed, then you can create a full Nandroid backup of your device. I’m not talking about backing up your files and data here.
Using Nandroid backup, your phone’s entire image will be backed up, including settings, messages and call logs.
Nandroid backups are perfect if you like installing custom ROMs on your phone. So, if you don’t like a ROM that you installed, you can simply restore the backup and get your phone back exactly like it was before flashing the ROM.
23. Customize LED Lights On Your Phone
Light Flow is a great app that lets you customize the notification LED light on your phone. You can customize things like LED color, duration and flash rate. If you like the free version, then you can also get the paid version ($2.49) as it supports LED customization for over 600 apps.
24. Record The Screen On Your Android Phone
While taking screenshots has become quite popular, not many people know that they can also record the screen on their Android smartphone or tablet. Screen recording basically lets you record whatever is happening on your screen and it is a great way of showing others an app that you’re using on your phone.
Capturing screenshots only takes a couple of seconds. However, screen recording is a bit more complicated. If you want to record the screen on your Android device, then you can check out my detailed guide.
25. Record Phone Calls On Your Android Device
Recording phone calls seems like such a simple feature and some users expect their Android phones to come with this feature. However, you won’t find call recording built into most Android smartphones.
That being said, the Google Store has a solution for this and you can find various call recording apps. Feel free to read my guide on how to record phone calls on Android.
26. Use Guest Mode On Android
LG’s latest smartphones come with a unique Guest mode feature in order to give phones more privacy. While passwords and pattern locks protect your overall phone, users can’t do much when others borrow their devices.
Guest mode is the perfect solution for this issue. Guest mode is a separate profile that you can activate before giving your phone to others.
In this profile, you can leave out certain basic apps such as the Phone app and you can block other apps that contain your private information. If you’re not using an LG phone, then you can set up Guest mode using a third-party app from the Google Play Store.
27. Unblock YouTube And Other Websites
In some countries, YouTube and several other websites are banned. On a PC, you can easily unblock these websites using VPN apps.
You can do the same on Android. Hotspot Shield is one of the most popular VPN apps available on the Google Play Store and you can use it to unblock your favorite websites. My personal favorite VPN app is SuperVPN.
28. Use Launchers On Your Android Phone
Many people buy Android devices because they like the manufacturer’s user interface, such as Samsung’s TouchWiz. If you don’t like your phone’s UI or you’re looking for something new, then you should definitely try out launchers.
There are several launchers available on the Google Play Store, such as Nova launcher and Apex Launcher. These launchers change different things on Android devices, such as theming, icons, dock and notification drawer.
29. Connect Your Android Phone To Your TV
This is a really simple hack and not many users take the advantage of this. Many Android devices come with micro HDMI ports and you can connect your phone to your LED TV using a micro HDMI to HDMI cable. This way, you’ll be able to enjoy your games and HD videos on a much bigger screen.
Some phones don’t have a micro HDMI port, but many of them do support MHL adapters. You can buy an MHL adapter from Amazon and then connect your normal HDMI cable to your phone using the adapter. If you have an S4 you can check out our guide here.
If you want to make the most out of your Android smartphone or tablet, you should use the Android hacks you’ve probably never heard. If you have any questions, feel free to mention them in the comments section below.