Android’s Secret Options

July 31, 2014

3:00 pm

There are a lot of things you can tweak in Android. Probably you haven’t even bothered opening up the Accessibility settings, but given the name, you might think those are just features for people who have disabilities, but they’re actually quite useful for anyone.

The Accessibility settings in Android are a lot like those on the iPhone. Try these tricks and see what you think:

Zoom Anywhere

When you enable “Magnification Gestures,” Android will zoom in on anything you like, whether the app allows for it or not. It’s easy to implement too, just triple-tap any part you want to magnify, then pan with more than one finger. Pinching will adjust the zoom level.

You can temporarily magnify what’s underneath your finger by just triple-tapping and holding. During this magnified state, you can drag your finger and explore different parts of the screen. Simply lift your finger and you return to your previous state.

Power Button Hang Ups

When your phone rings and you want to end the call quickly, all you do is press the Power button and you enable the “Power button ends call” that’s in your Accessibility settings.

This option is great because when you have your phone in your pocket and you’re in a meeting or busy with something else, all you need to do to cut off the call and have it go to voicemail is press the Power button, even without even taking the phone out of your pocket. It’s also useful if your proximity sensor is slow and takes a few seconds to register the tap before ending a call when you’ve finished talking.

Make Any Book an Audiobook

Google has an option built in called “Text-to-speech output” that will turn any eBook into an audiobook. It won’t work with Pocket or Kindle, but with the Books app from Google Play, you can have any book you like read aloud, and even customize the voice as well.

You can choose from various voice data options to get an accent or language that’s just right for you. For example, with the setting for English, you get options for the United States, U.K. or even India. Using the Spanish setting, you can choose between either the U.S. or Spain. And you can set the rate of speech by choosing between nine different speeds to get it just the way you want it.

Once you’ve set up Text-to-speech, go to Google Play Books and open up your eBook. If it wasn’t bought from the Google Play Store, it’s not a problem, just import all your eBooks into Google Play Books.

Make Text Larger System-Wide

If the font size on your device isn’t big enough, and often it isn’t, and especially if you need reading glasses, then you can again turn to the Accessibility settings for help. There’s an option to enable “Large text”, and it works all across the entire system. Your font is made larger everywhere, making it more legible.

Shortcut to Enable and Disable Accessibility Features

With all these Accessibility features, it’s possible you might not want or even need to use them all of the time. There’s a simple shortcut that lets you enable or disable them quickly.

The Accessibility shortcut can be activated by both pressing and holding the power button, or you can touch and hold by using two fingers. If you press and hold the Power button, it brings up the Android shutdown menu. Touching and holding with two fingers can, however, accidentally trigger another action, so be careful. Doing it on the home screen may bring up widget and launcher options that you don’t want.

These great accessibility options should help you to get more out of your Android without installing anything and refering any mobile website. There are also some other options, like Talkback, but those are made for certain disabilities and require that you to change how you normally use Android.

Tweaking Android to make it work just the way you want it will take a little time, but it can be well worth the time and effort. Opening up the Accessibility settings may be just the KEY to give you a lot more enjoyment when using your Android device.


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Devin Thomson is 21 years old blogger and providing marketing services at keydifference. He mostly spend his time working here. On his free time he likes hanging out with friends. If you would like to reach him send him an email to

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