How many times has something been wrong with your Android and it was solved by tweaking a setting? How many annoyances have been put to rest through Settings? Android also has an array of customization and personalization options in Settings, because if you wanted decisions to be made for you, you probably would have purchased an iPhone. But to access these options, you still have to be able to find them in Settings.
There are apps you can download that make accessing settings easier. We have guidance for Android phones and tablets. And also for when you are just getting started with a new device. There’s also help for when you have an older OS version, like Android 4.0.
1. Notification Bar
A really quick way to access Settings is to swipe down using two fingers from the top of your screen. On Android 4.0 and 7.0, you can pull down the Notifications Bar from the top, then tap the Settings icon.
2. App Drawer
Use the icon (white circle with six dots) in the bottom center of the quick launch bar to open the drawer.
3. When You are Just Getting Started
When your Android is brand new and gleaming is the best time to check out settings and get off to a good start. For instance, to help you battery life, you can go to Settings > Display & Wallpaper and use the Brightness slider to make your screen less bright. You probably won’t miss it, but you will appreciate the boost in battery life.
We also recommend setting up your Device Manager by going to Google Settings (see below) > Android Device Manager. This feature will help you located your Android if it gets lost or stolen, but you will want to set it up before it gets these things happen. Don’t forget to also visit Settings > Sounds & Notifications and adjust your sound settings before you go on that job interview or attend class.
4. Google Settings
In your Android’s Settings app, tap Google. Or some devices have a free-standing option from within the app drawer. Look for a gear icon named Google Settings. Of the ways to get to settings on your Android phone, these are some important settings.
5. Privacy Settings
From within the aforementioned Google Settings, there may be (depending upon device) settings for Sign-in & security, Personal info & privacy, and Account Preferences. Be sure to check these out. This is also where you can often opt out of ad personalization, manage apps connected to your Google account, and manage location settings.
6. Get Quick Settings from Lock Screen
Obviously there can be some privacy issues with having this feature, but some users feel that the convenience benefits outweigh any risk involved. If you feel that way too, you’re still going to need to be rooted, have downloads from Unknown Sources enabled, and have Xposed Framework installed. You will then need to install the Notification Mod by Anees Mohamed. From within the Xposed Installer, choose Download and search for the mod.
Download: Xposed Installer from Xposed Website (Note the separate link for Lollipop & Marshmallow)
7. Settings App
8. Hidden Nougat Night Mode Setting
The Night Mode feature cancels out the blue light emitted by your Android’s screen to allow you to get better sleep, even if you use your device right before bed. To get the feature, you must first enable UI Tuner. Pull down the notification shade like a curtain and long-press the Settings gear icon.
You should see an announcement that UI Tuner has been added, and you should now be able to find it towards the bottom of your Settings menu.
To get Night Mode, you will also have to install an app called Night Mode Enabler and enable the app itself.
Download: Night Mode Enabler
9. Another, Different Settings App
This app allows you to customize settings for each of you apps by creating profiles. These settings can include orientation, volume, Bluetooth, network conditions, brightness, and screen timeout. Settings App is a convenient and personalized way to get to your settings on Android phones.
Download: Settings App
10. On Android Tablets
To access Settings on a tablet, tap the area next to the time on the lower-right portion of your screen. This causes the notifications panel to pop up, which contains the icon for Settings. This will take you to Quick Settings, and if you don’t find what you need there, tap on the Settings icon again for more options.
11. Enable Developer Options
If you intend to do more advanced operations like rooting your phone, Developer Options is a must. Regardless of what you use it for, it opens up more settings and it’s easy to do. Go to Settings > About Device. Navigate to Build Number, typically located towards the bottom.
Tap on Build Number seven or eight times until you see an announcement proclaiming you a developer. Now when you revisit Settings you will have a new tab to tap on and explore called Developer Options.
12. Settings to Improve Performance
If there are any accounts that you don’t need to sync constantly, delete them or increase the amount of time between subsequent syncs. To view all of the accounts that engage in syncing, go to Settings > Accounts. Additionally, if you followed the steps above to enable Developer Options, you can also change your Animation Settings by finding that tab in the Drawing category, and selecting Window animation scale, Transition animation scale, and Animator duration scale. If you change each of these to .5x or turn them off, you will speed up your animations and therefore, your Android. Some users find that turning them off altogether makes animations choppy.
13. Notification Settings
All of your apps want your attention, but you might not want to hear from all of them constantly. Go to Settings > Apps > Downloaded and select any app you don’t care about. Then uncheck Show Notifications.
14. Change Default App Settings
You’re an individual. You might not want the launcher that comes with your Android that everyone else uses. You can change it to something else though. To change your default apps, go to Settings > Apps and tap on the cog wheel (or gear icon) in the upper right corner.
You should land in the Configure Apps screen where you can simply tap on the type of app you wish to change the default settings for, and then choose your alternative from the list of apps you have installed.
15. Clear Default App Settings
To clear a default app, go to Settings > Apps and select the app you wish to strip of its default status. Then go to Open by Default > Clear Defaults.
16. MMS/Internet Settings
To set up new mobile Internet or MMS, go to Settings > Mobile Data or Mobile Networks > Access Point Names. Now you can add the APN provided by your carrier.
17. Reduce Data Usage/Change Download Settings
In case you don’t have the luxury of unlimited data, you might want to prevent your Android from downloading updates or other big files until your device has access to Wi-Fi. To do so, go to Settings > Battery & Data Manager > Data Saver and check its corresponding box. Go back to the previous screen, and choose Data Delivery.
Disable Background Data Delivery, and check out your other options while you are here. This way to get to settings on your Android phone can reduce your data usage dramatically.
18. Change Language/TTS Settings
Navigate to Settings > Language & input (A icon) > Select Language (typically the first item on the list) and choose your language preference. To use text-to-speech, go to Settings > Language & input > Speech > Text-to-Speech output.
19. Keyboard Settings
Don’t like your current keyboard? Change it! You will need to install an alternate keyboard of your choice, but then to implement it go to Settings > Language & input > Keyboard & Input Methods. As long as you see your new keyboard there, go back to Language & input > Default and select the keyboard you want to use.
20. Disable Tracking Settings
Google probably knows where you live and work. It’s probably just using this information to better advertise to you, but that doesn’t make it any less creepy. Apple does it too. To disable these features on Android, go to Settings > Location access and uncheck Google Wi-Fi & mobile network location or Use Wireless Networks.
Knowing how to navigate Android settings can turn a novice user into a knowledgeable user. Just like the saying “There’s an app for that”, there’s also usually a setting to suit your needs. Once you have your settings just the way you want them, you might want to create a backup just in case. One of the upsides of syncing is the backup of your data, so don’t disable any apps you actually use and want to save information from.
Do you have other tips you would like to share? There are soo many Android devices out there, and settings may differ. Let us know what worked or didn’t work for you in the comments.