Android 5.0 Lollipop tip, tricks and hidden features

Android 5.0 Lollipop has arrived with the Nexus 9 and Nexus 6 and is rolling out to thousands of devices. Whether you've got the update already or just want to get a head start, here are our top 15 Android Lollipop tips, tricks and hidden features. Read: How to install Android Lollipop now: a beginner’s step-by-step guide.

There are many changes in Lollipop apart from the Material Design and performance improvements. These are our top 15 but let us know yours in the comments section below. Note that Lollipop will look different on different devices from different brands. Here we show stock Android from Nexus devices. See also: First Android Lollipop screenshots: how the material design compares to KitKat.

Top 15 Android Lollipop tips, tricks and features

Easter egg game

You're probably used to the Android Lollipop where you tap on the version name in the about phone/about tablet part of the settings menu. Well this is no different in Lollipop but if you tap the image of the lollipop multiple times then long press it you'll load up an Android themed mini-game which is a nod to Flappy Bird. See also: iOS 8 vs Android Lollipop

Android Lollipop hidden game

Search settings

With more technology packed into smartphones and tablets, the settings menu has grown and got ever more complex. Samsung's TouchWiz menu is crazy big. Google is known for search but Lollipop is the first version of Android to let you specifically search the settings menu – it's fast and easy if you know what you're looking for. Tap the magnifying glass to do a search.

New notification bar

The notification bar in Lollipop is different to before so you don't swipe down on different sides of the screen to get notifications or quick settings. Now you simply swipe down once for notifications and a second time for quick settings. You can still get straight to the latter with a two-finger swipe and it's accessible via the lockscreen.

Android Lollipop notification bar

Hide sensitive notifications

Notifications now show in the middle of the lockscreen which is a good thing but not if you don't want juicy details on display to everyone. Under Settings > Sound & notifications > When device is locked you can choose to hide sensitive notifications. Developers can add this into app so they are not on show. You can also switch off lockscreen notifications completely here.

Stop new apps appearing on the homescreen

It might be handy sometimes and you might be used to it but you don't have to put up with newly installed apps appearing on the homescreen (often creating a brand new panel). To switch this off, open the Play Store app, head to settings and untick the 'Add icon to Home screen' box.

Flashlight

Third party flashlight/torch apps have been very popular and a must download, making handy use of the camera's LED flash – for devices with one anyway. Well Google's gone and made this a standard feature of Lollipop so you don't need an app anymore. The flashlight is found in the notifications bar.

Android Lollipop flashlight

Check data usage

If you have a data limit on your mobile phone tariff then Lollipop makes it really easy to check on your usage. In the notification bar, tap on the cellular icon and you'll get some info on how many MB you've used. There's also a handy toggle for switching it on and off.

End call with power button

If you want an easier way to end your phonecall than tapping the button on the screen (once it comes back to life after moving your phone away from your ear) you can end the call with the power button. Switch this on in the Accessibility settings.

Screen pinning

Android has user profiles and a guest mode but they take time to setup so if you want to just hand someone your device briefly, use screen pinning to avoid any unwanted mistreatment. Activate it in Settings > Security > Screen pinning then you can pin the last app in your recent apps menu by clicking the mint-green pin button at the bottom right. Now when you hand your device over, the guest can only use the app you pinned.

Android Lollipop Screen Pinning

Tap and Go

If you're Android Lollipop is brand new and you're setting it up for the first time then Tap and Go will come in useful for any existing Google Android users. Us this option to pair the Lollipop device with any Android 4.1 and above smartphone through NFC and your stuff will be transferred to it over Bluetooth. Everything is included, even icons and folders.

Priority mode

This is essentially Google's Do Not Disturb mode and is accessed by clicking your volume up or down button. Under the slider you have three options to choose from: None, Priority and All. Two of them are self-explanatory while the middle one allows you to customise which notifications are allowed. For example you can allow only texts and calls (even starred contacts only). You can also select automatic 'down time' such as when you're in bed.

Android Lollipop Priority Mode

Tap to wake

A feature first seen on the LG G2 has made its way to various other Android devices and it's now a standard part of Lollipop (although the Nexus 5 doesn't have it). Instead of using the power button, you can simply double tap the screen to switch it on. Only LG's devices support a double tap on a free area of the homescreen or status bar to switch it off though.

Open Google Now from anywhere

This isn't new fro Lollipop but you might not even know it's there. No matter what you're doing, even watching a video, swipe upwards from the circle (home) on the navigation bar and let go once your finger is on the Google icon. Of course, swipe sideways if you're in landscape.

Open Google Now

Colour inversion

We're not sure why you'd want to do this so it's is really only good for a prank but if you head into the Accessibility section of the settings, you'll see the option at the bottom under 'display'. Flick the toggle switch and watch the screen invert all colours. This is experimental so may affect performance and a new icon will appear in the notification bar which is not easily removable.

Magnification gestures

Also in the Accessibility settings is the option to turn on magnification gestures. When on you can triple tap the screen to zoom in and out. While zoomed in you can drag two fingers to pan and pinch to adjust the zoom level. You can also temporarily magnify whats under your finger by triple tapping and holding. It works everywhere apart from the keyboard and navigation bar.