No matter the claims of the device manufacturers, enterprise users and enterprise applications drain battery power. Android 5.0 gives a fairly simple way of checking on and controlling your battery use.
Simply tap on the battery-level indicator at the top of Lollipop's Quick Settings panel to see Android's power consumption tool. This tells you exactly what apps and processes are draining your device's battery.
While you are there, dig out Lollipop's new battery-saver mode. Simply tap the overflow menu icon (the three vertical dots) at the top right of the screen, to throttle back your system when the battery gets low. You’ll still have to carry your charger and cables around, but this will, in an emergency, keep you productive for a little longer.
Apple has Siri for the iPhone, Microsoft has Cortana for the Windows Phone and, of course, Android has its version of voice control – but it has to be activated and is quite hidden in Lollipop.
To try voice control, go to your system settings, go to Language & input, then Voice input. Chose the gear icon next to "Enhanced Google services," then tap "Ok Google Detection and look for the option labelled From any screen. (If you can’t find it, your device probably doesn't support the feature.)
From here, follow the prompts to train the system to recognise your voice and your voice alone. When you're finished, you'll be able to say, "Ok, Google," to wake up the device - even when the screen is off -- and give it a range of commands.
Security and usability
Many of us have championed Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) and Choose Your Own Device (CYOD) in our organisation. Who really wants to work in a place that doesn’t try to support the use of our own personal devices for at least some of our day-to-day work?
As professionals this means worrying about Mobile Device Management (MDM) technologies, employee roles, data policies and staff willingness to use self-service. As device users though, we face some frustrations, which these tips may ameliorate.
The lock screen is a basic, minimal, but essential security measure, but it can be frustrating to have to enter your code every few minutes when at home or in the workplace.
Android 5.0 offers Trusted Places, which allows you to keep your phone or tablet always unlocked at a set geographical location. To try it, go to your system settings, tap on Security, and then Smart Lock and you will find Trusted Places, where you can set specific trusted locations.
Road warriors are catered for too. You can keep your phone or tablet unlocked whenever it's connected to a Bluetooth device such as your car stereo.
In the Smart Lock menu tap the Trusted Devices option and follow the prompts to add a device to the list. When you are finished, your phone or tablet won't prompt you for your PIN, pattern, or password when the trusted device is present and paired.
For the security conscious among you (and that is everyone, right?) it is worth knowing that Lollipop allows you to still secure your device even when Smart Lock is enabled, by simply tapping and holding the padlock icon at the bottom of your phone or tablet's lock screen. After about a second, an alert will inform you that the device is locked.
Next section: Alarms and notifications
Alarms and notifications
Your life is ruled by deadlines. You can’t complete your day’s work without a series of alarms and notifications going off. Worse, your managers and colleagues put stuff in your dairy and your device buzzes and beeps with monotonous and sometimes inappropriate regularity. Fortunately Google Android OS update offers you considerable control of your alarms.
In the Quick Settings panel Lollipop shows the date and time of your next alarm.You can tap on it to go directly to the Clock app if you need to make any changes. You can also see only important notifications with Lollipop's new Priority notification mode. To activate simply press your device's volume-up or volume-down button and tap Priority on the box that appears. You can leave Priority mode enabled indefinitely or to set a time period for it to remain active.
You can also tap the gear icon next to the words "Priority notifications only" to set up alerts the way you want. Here you can control which types of notifications are considered "priority" -- events and reminders, any calls and messages, or only calls and messages from specific, approved contacts.
You can also set regular recurring times for Priority mode to be activated – this is handy if you are on call, overnight for example. Important alerts get through, the rest don’t disturb your beauty sleep.
Confidentiality: By default Lollipop puts pending notifications on the lock screen. This is handy but it may raise privacy or security issues. The Sound & Notification section of your device's system settings allows you some control over this, however. Once there, tap the option labelled "When device is locked". Then choose whether the lock screen shows all notifications, no notifications, or only notifications that aren't considered sensitive.
To mark an app's notifications as sensitive, tap App Notifications in that same Sound & Notification section and select the app from the list. Here you can set its notifications to "sensitive" and block it from showing any notifications or whitelist it to always show its alerts when you're in Priority mode.
Control: If you're getting pestered by a notification you'd rather not receive, tap and hold down the notification for about a second. Android will show you what app created the notification and give you a link to the app's information page, where you can blacklist it.
Next section: Device Sharing
We have all been asked to share a device with a colleague and we’ve all fretted when children want to ‘use’ your kit. Lollipop has a new guest mode that can remove the stress.
Swipe down twice from the top of your screen to access the Quick Settings panel, then tap the user icon in the upper-right corner of the screen and hit Select.
From the menu hit "Add guest" and your device will create a new profile with the basic functions available but not your apps, data, or settings.
To exit guest mode, hit “Remove guest" in the Quick Settings panel, enter your security code, and your regular profile reappears.
For a work colleague you can limited access to a single app using Android 5.0's new screen-pinning feature.
In the Security section of your system settings select Screen Pinning to activate it. Then tap your device's Overview button and scroll upward with your finger.
Tap the green pushpin icon on the bottom card and confirm that you want to start screen pinning. Select the "Ask for unlock pattern before unpinning" option.
That locks your device to your most recently used app or process so that someone can access it and nothing else. To exit screen-pinning mode, touch and hold the Overview button and enter your security code to continue.
Android Beam gets a major boost with Lollipop, giving you the ability to wirelessly transmit most types of content from one Android device to another.
Tap the share icon in any app and select Android Beam from the list of options. Then tap the back of your device to the back of another Android device, and the info will be zapped over in an instant.
The receiving device doesn't need Lollipop; but must support NFC (near-field communication) -- which most recent mid- to high-end Android devices do -- and to be powered on and unlocked. Have fun,. try to ignore the fact that this may sidestep a whole bunch of the security provisions you have put in place....
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