The Android operating system receives frequent updates, and what gets all of us really excited are the major firmware updates. A lot of users might be looking forward to using Android Lollipop, but Android KitKat is still widely used around the world. You’ll find that for most phones right now, Android KitKat is the latest update available.
When I switched to the Android OS, I didn’t know much about the latest updates, which is why I couldn’t take advantage of all the cool features that were hidden. If you haven’t updated your phone or you’re wondering what’s new in the KitKat update you installed, then continue reading to find out the best Android KitKat features.
1. Immersive Mode
One of my personal favorite Android KitKat features is Immersive mode, as it makes watching videos and reading books a lot more interesting. On older Android versions, you’ll see the navigation and status bars appearing on all screens, even when you’re reading a book.
Immersive mode is a new feature that hides the navigation and status bars so you can enjoy your videos and read books on the entire screen. It’s basically a full screen mode and it is extremely useful for phones with smaller screens.
2. Full Screen Album Art And Music Controls On The Lock Screen
Another great KitKat feature is that when you’re playing music on your phone, your lock screen’s wallpaper will automatically switch to a full screen album art image of the song that you’re playing. This is an excellent feature if you listen to music often and have up to date album art. You’ll also find music controls on the lock screen.
3. Improved Caller ID
There’s a new and enhanced caller ID feature available on KitKat as well. This is an excellent feature if you don’t usually answer phone calls from unknown numbers. The way this works is that when you receive a call from an unknown number, your phone will try to find the caller’s information using Google Maps.
4. Hangouts As An SMS And MMS App
The Hangouts app in Android KitKat is now set as a default SMS and MMS app. Hangouts is already a great app for instant messaging, but with this new integration, it has become even more awesome.
While Hangouts is a great app for SMS and MMS, some of you might prefer a separate Messaging app. Fortunately, Android KitKat lets you switch to a different Messaging app for handling your SMS and MMS messages.
5. Improved Contacts App
The contacts app on Android KitKat has also been improved and it gives priority to the contacts you talk with the most. Aside from that, the contacts app also lets you search for businesses and places.
6. Ok Google
One of the most useful Android KitKat features is launching Google Now using the Ok Google command. While on your home screen, say “Ok Google” followed by a task. For instance, if you want to find out the closest coffee shop, say “Ok Google, where is the nearest coffee shop” and Google Now will get the results.
7. Support For Emojis
If you like using Emojis and smileys in your messages, then you’ll love the new Emojis on Android KitKat.
You don’t need to download any third-party keyboard apps from the Google Play Store, as Emojis are now supported on the default Google KitKat keyboard, and the great thing is that there are lots of Emojis available in order to liven up your messages.
8. Support For Wireless Printing
For all you office users, Android KitKat now supports wireless printing. Not many people might be interested in wireless printing, but if you require regular prints, then this feature can make your life a lot easier.
9. Google Quickoffice
Android KitKat also comes with Google Quickoffice and if you regularly edit documents, spreadsheets and presentations, then this is the perfect feature.
10. Step Counter And Detector
Another awesome Android KitKat feature is the Step counter and detector. Your phone will be able to detect whether you’re walking, running or climbing. It can also detect the number of steps that you take. This might not be useful for some people, but for users looking to use health and fitness apps, this is an excellent feature.
11. Process Stats
Process stats is a cool new hidden feature that lets you view the memory consumption of your apps. You can easily view the battery usage of your apps, however, the Process stats feature is hidden and not many people can see it. You’ll find Process Stats in Developer options in the Settings app.
12. Advanced Photo Editor
If you like editing photos on your Android phone or tablet, then you’ll love the new advanced photo editor on the Android KitKat firmware. The editor lets you dig deeper into images and apply various filters and effects.
13. Dismiss Alarm
A cool new feature on Android KitKat is the option to dismiss an alarm before it starts ringing. If you wake up before the alarm starts ringing, you can easily dismiss it through the notifications panel before the alarm actually starts ringing without going into the Clock app and disabling the alarm manually.
With Android Lollipop slowly arriving on some Android smartphones, Android KitKat is still one of the most popular Android firmwares right now and many latest smartphones and tablets come with Android KitKat pre-installed.
I personally think that the greatest changes are on Android Lollipop, but if you’ve been using Android Jelly Bean or any other older Android version, then I’m sure you’ll love all the cool features on Android KitKat.
Aside from the list of features above, you might also find other minor changes on the KitKat OS. If you have any questions, feel free to mention them in the comments area below and let us know about your favorite Android Kitkat features.
What’s next? If you have a Nexus 5 or 7, and really prefer KitKat, we have a guide for downgrading from Android L to KitKat.