first_img 1 2 Android has become much more user-friendly in recent years, but there are still all manner of cool features lurking under that veneer of usability. If you know where to look there are ways to transfer files faster, make your phone more secure, and eliminate common annoyances. It’s not always obvious how to get at these hidden gems, so let’s track down the best ones.WiFi Direct file transfersGoogle introduced Beam in Android 4.0 to share links, apps, and a few other pieces of content. With 4.1, the functionality was expanded to allow photo sharing. Just tap two NFC-enabled devices together, and the file zips over. This is definitely cool, but it relies on Bluetooth. It can take a very long time to send multiple pictures or a video file. Luckily, most modern Android devices support WiFi Direct.WiFi Direct is pretty much what it sounds like — it’s a service that allows two WiFI-equipped devices to negotiate a direct connection for file transfer. To use WiFi Direct, you heed to have your WiFi radio on, and some devices have an additional toggle in the WiFi system settings.Samsung uses WiFi Direct for S Beam, but you can use almost any Android device in the same way. All you need is an app to mediate the connection. SuperBeam is probably the best choice because it has support for NFC and non-NFC devices.Find the files you want to send, and select SuperBeam from the Android sharing menu. NFC devices can be tapped to initiate the transfer, or you can scan a QR code for non-NFC phones. The transfer is blazing fast — usually upwards of 30 Mbps.Delay screen lockIt’s always safer to have your mobile device locked in some way. Whether you choose a pattern, PIN, or password, it will effectively keep people from snooping in your data. That said, it can be a pain to enter the unlock combination every time your screen goes off. This leads many folks to choose simple, low-security passcodes and patterns. Luckily, there is a little-known setting that fixes that.The exact location will vary by device, but in stock Android and HTC Sense it’s just called “Security”. The option you’re looking for is the “Automatically Lock” or sometimes “Lock Screen After.” By default, this is set to lock the device immediately when the power button is pressed. This option will only show up when you have some kind of pattern or password set up.If you increase that limit to a few minutes, you can easily set your phone down and turn off the screen, then pick it up a moment later and jump right back into what you were doing. This prevents the lock screen from being triggered until a certain amount of time has passed.With this tweak, you can go back and forth messing around with your phone, and doing actual work without entering the code every single time you pick up the device. It will still lock normally after your chosen time, thus preserving security.PC keyboard modeGoogle released the stock Jelly Bean Keyboard app in Google Play a few weeks ago, and that affords many users an interesting option. Deep in the keyboard settings is a layout selector which offers, among other things, PC mode. This layout puts more keys on the screen instead of hiding things behind a long-press. There is also a dedicated number row.To enable it, go into your input settings and open the Google Keyboard’s settings page. Tap on Advanced, and scroll down to Advanced Settings. Choose Custom Layouts, and select your language. Then in the layout drop down, pick PC. Head back to the main keyboard settings, and go into Input Languages and change over to the PC keyboard.This is a more cramped design, so smaller phones won’t really benefit. A tablet user could definitely be into this layout, though.Next page: More Android features that you should be using… VIEW PHOTO GALLERY EncryptEncryptBackupWiFi DirectPC Keyboard ModeUnlock Delaylast_img read more