23 February 2013

30 Google Nexus 4 Tips and Tricks

Google's latest Nexus phone may be as hard to obtain as the Holy Grail at present, but that hasn't stopped us from getting our hands on one and testing it to destruction. As a result, we're perfectly positioned to provide you with a quarter-century of indispensable Google Nexus 4 tips.

Google Nexus 4 Tips and Tricks

Below you'll find 25 handy hints, which will enable you to get the most out of your bargain of a quad-core monster. Many of them will be relevant if you have another phone running vanilla Android 4.2 Jelly Bean.

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1. Trace to type
One of Android 4.2's most significant new features is its trace-to-type keyboard. If you've used Swype in the past you'll know what to expect. Instead of tapping on each key to write something, you merely draw a line over the letters in sequence and lift your finger from the screen to add a space and move onto the next word. To enable it, go to Settings > Language and Input, and select the Android Keyboard option. Make sure 'Enable Gesture Typing' is ticked, and you're away.
2. Take a screenshot
There are times when you just want to capture what's on your phone's screen, so you can keep a record of it or show it to others at a later date, and thankfully this functionality comes baked into Android these days. Simply hold the Volume Down and Power buttons at the same time.

3. Share things instantly with Android Beam
Thanks to the inclusion of a NFC chip inside the Nexus 4, you can share data simply by holding your phone next to a compatible device. If you know someone else with a NFC-packing handset -- such as the Nexus S or the Galaxy Nexus -- you can use this feature to display things directly on their screen. If you're viewing a Web page, for example, or a Google Play listing, you can show your friend by beaming the same page to their device, instantly.

4. Access Quick Settings even more quickly
Android 4.2 boasts a new Quick Settings menu, which can be accessed from the Notifications pane. By dragging the pane down with two fingers however, you jump straight to the Quick Settings option.

5. Take a 360-degree images with Photo Sphere
Panoramic photos are so last year, man. The Nexus 4 can take 360-degree shots, thanks to its unique Photo Sphere option. It takes a while to compose the image as you have to take multiple shots, but the end result is unique to say the least. 

6. Lock screen widgets
Yet another new feature for Android 4.2 is lock screen widgets. From your lock screen you can take photos, browse your emails and check calendar appointments -- all without having to unlock your Nexus 4. This is especially handy if you use a gesture or passcode to secure you phone, as it saves you from having to input it every time you receive an email.

7. Secure your phone with Face Unlock
One of Android's unique functions, Face Unlock allows you to access your device using nothing but your face. To enable it, go to Settings > Security > Screen Lock and select 'Face Unlock'.

8. Type using your voice
Speech-to-text isn't anything new in the world of mobile phones, but its application in Android is possibly the best we've yet seen. Accuracy is very impressive indeed, and text is generated on the fly -- you don't have to wait for the Nexus 4 to convert your speech at the end of each sentence. To access this feature, simply tap the microphone symbol at the bottom of the Android Keyboard.

9. Monitor your battery life
Since Android 4.0, Google fans have enjoyed robust battery monitoring features. By visiting Settings > Battery, you can see how long it has been since your Nexus 4 was last charged and spot processes which are consuming a large amount of power. This allows you to take steps to conserve the juice within the phone's 2,100mAh battery, such as dimming your screen or switching off non-essential services.

10. Charge your Nexus 4 without wires
Although it's not available yet, the Nexus 4 has its own wireless charging station, which tops up the phone's battery using induction charging technology. Thankfully, there are alternatives if you're fed up of waiting for Google and LG to get their collective acts together, such as the Philips Qi Charging Pad.

11. Get traffic reports with Google Now
Google Now is Android's answer to Apple's Siri, and is so powerful that it starts offering assistance even if you don't ask it to. Once you 'opt in' to the Google Now experience, it will track your movements and look for patterns. If it sees your regular work trek repeated over a week, it will ask if you wish to mark your place of employment. From that moment onwards, Google Now will offer traffic reports and estimated journey times to and from work, allowing you to plan in advance if you see any potential issues.

12. Make your screen smarter
Screebl is one of the first applications I download whenever I move to a new Android device. It uses your accelerometer to tell when you're holding the phone and looking at the screen, and disables the timeout. This means you don't have to keep prodding the display to prevent it from sleeping if you're reading a web page or other content. When you rest the phone down on a flat surface, Screebl quickly puts the display to bed. Genius.

13. Automatically back up all of your treasured photos
Google+ may not have taken the social networking world by a storm, but the Android application has one fantastic use -- it boasts an option, which allows you to automatically upload photos you've taken on your Nexus 4 to your Google+ account in the cloud. Even if you lose your device, you won't lose all those valuable memories.

14. Expand and collapse notifications
Android's notifications menu has become a pretty powerful feature lately, allowing you to see the contents of individual messages, such as emails or texts. To expand a notification, hold your finger on it and swipe downwards. To collapse, perform the same gesture but after you slide your finger down a little, slide it back up the screen.

15. Tidy up your homescreens
Even with five different homescreens, things can become crowded on your Nexus 4 if you're download-happy. A way of getting around this is to group apps into folders. All you have to do is press and hold down on an app, and then drag and float it over another app -- this will create the folder. Tapping a folder expands it and displays the contents within, and tapping the name of the folder will allow you to give it a more suitable moniker.

16. Silence your phone fast
For those moments when holding down the volume button just isn't a quick enough way of shutting up your phone, you can hold down the Nexus 4's power button briefly to bring up a separate menu. From here you can put your phone into silent or vibrate mode with a single tap, saving your blushes during important meetings.

17. Access your music from the cloud
Google Music is now available in the UK, and the Nexus 4 is the first phone to benefit from this expansion. You can upload your songs using your PC and then access them from the pre-installed Google Music application on your new Nexus phone. If your music doesn't show, check the app settings to ensure that it's been synced with your relevant Google account. 

18. View your Google Play library from your homescreen
Introduced with the launch of the Nexus 7 tablet earlier this year, the Google Play library widget gives a snapshot of the most recent movies, music and books you've either purchased or accessed recently. As well as looking rather fetching, it allows you to quickly jump back into content you've enjoyed over the past few days. You can place the widget on any of your five homescreens by selecting it from the Application Drawer.

19. Sync your bookmarks with Google Chrome
The default Android browser has officially been retired in 4.2, and Google's Chrome browser now takes centre stage. If you use Chrome on your desktop (or any other device, for that matter) you can sync your web activity with your Nexus 4.

20. Put your Nexus 4 into a Daydream
Daydream is another new facet of Android 4.2. It allows you to display content on your Nexus4's screen either when it's docked or simply charging at the mains. You can have it show a clock, fancy colours, content pulled from your Google Currents account or even a selection of photos.

21. Monitor your data usage
If you're on a contract which stipulates a fair usage policy on your data allowance, then you'll want to make use of this feature as much as possible. Go to Settings > Data Usage and you'll be shown a graph, as well as a list, of the most data-hungry apps. You can disable apps which you feel are eating too many megabytes, and even set a monthly limit to ensure you never blast over your allowance.

22. Power control
It's one of Android's most useful widgets and should be on every self-respecting owner's homescreen -- the Power Control widget allows you to toggle features such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, auto-sync and screen brightness, all with a single tap.

23. Add phonetic names to contacts to make voice dialling easier
Even though Android's voice recognition is pretty nifty, it can struggle with names, which could lead to some potentially embarrassing accidental calls when you're using voice dialling. Thankfully, you can now add phonetic names to contacts so voice dialing knows the difference between your mum and Mama's Pizza.

24. Prolong your battery by enabling auto-brightness
When you're using your phone in a darkened room, the brightness of your screen doesn't have to be eye-meltingly intense, so it’s a good idea to switch on auto-brightness. By monitoring the level of light in the room, your Nexus 4 can determine how high luminous the screen needs to be, potentially saving your battery from needless drain.

25. Set applications to auto update
When you've got a shed-load of applications on your Nexus 4, manually installing updates can be a pain. Thankfully, there’s a way of automatically downloading and installing updates without having to lift a finger. Go to the Google Play market and select an app, then check the box which says 'Allow automatic updating'.

How to Factory Reset Nexus 4

Performing a factory reset on Nexus 4 is done when you purchased the tablet second-hand, wiping your apps and starting from scratch or when it’s basically not functioning at all. If you can still get to the tablet’s menu, make sure to back up all necessary documents before you perform hard reset on your device. Here’s how you can do factory reset of your Nexus 4.

1. On your tablet, go to Settings.

2. Under the Personal section, tap on Backup and Reset.

3. Tap on Factory Data Reset and then press on Reset Tablet.

4. If you've set up a password for your device, it will prompt you to enter the said password, pin or pattern. And lastly press Erase Everything to clean out your device.

But if you can’t even get to the menu screen or the device is not functioning at all, you need to do these steps before you can perform factory reset.

1. Turn off the device first if it’s turned on and using a USB cable, connect it to your computer.

2. Press and hold Volume Up, Volume Down and the Power button simultaneously for about 3-4 seconds. This will turn on the device and you’ll see an Android image lying on its back. Wait for your computer to install the drivers before you go to the next step.

3. Using the volume buttons, navigate your device until you reach the Recovery Mode option. Press the Power Button for OK.

4. Your device will restart and will boot to a screen showing an Android with a red triangle. Just press and hold for few seconds the Power Button and Volume up to make the menu screen appear.

5. Now that you’re on the menu options, go to Settings and just follow the steps above to navigate to the Factory Data Reset page using the volume buttons. Use the Volume buttons for YES and the Power button to confirm.

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How to Make Your Nexus 4 a WiFi Hotspot

Ever imagine how you can make your own Nexus 4 a WiFi hotspot? Well, sure you can. This feature allows for your other devices to pick up your mobile hotspot settings on your Nexus 4. This is more preferable when you’re in public trying to locate a WiFi connection. You can share your Nexus 4 connection with up to 8 computers or other devices. Check out these steps for easy, convenient and a money-saver internet experience.

1. On your device, head on to Settings

2. Select Wireless and Networks. And tap on More options.

3. Go to Tethering and portable hotspot.

4. And finally check on Portable WiFi hotpost.

Wait for few seconds and your phone will start broadcasting its WiFi network name. Now you’re ready to connect your other device to your portable mobile wifi hotspot.

How to Extend Battery Life of Nexus 4

Battery Life depends on how you use your device. For Google Nexus 4 device, if you want to save your battery to last longer hours, you may need to adjust your settings. Follow these suggestions:

If your Nexus 4 tablet has multiple users, each user can change the global Battery Settings. To control the Battery settings, go to Settings, select Device and tap Battery.

To extend the battery life of your Google Nexus 4, you need to turn off the features that you are not using:

• Turn off the Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, or GPS on settings if not in used so your device will stop searching for a network signal. You can use the Settings app to turn them off. The GPS is located in Settings Personal Location access.

• The Maps or Navigation apps should not be leaved open on the screen. Close the application if not in used.

• Turn down your device volume with the volume keys.

• Lessen the screen brightness and make the Sleep timeout to shorter time. You can adjust the brightness on Settings Device Display

• Turn off the automatic syncing of apps if you don't need it. You can go to Settings Accounts Google account-name.

• If your not in range of a Wi-Fi network, switch your settings to Airplane mode. You can go to Settings Wireless & Networks More > Airplane mode, or press and hold the Power button.

• You should use the latest version of the software update. Software updates improves some features and fixes some bugs on the previous software version.

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How to Turn on Screen Magnification on Google Nexus 4

With the advance technology we have these days, there is indeed an improvement of how day-to-day devices are structured. These devices, like mobile phones, can now cater to people with physical challenges especially to blind and deaf ones. Take for example the Google Nexus 4. It has lots of features that can be pretty useful to users with visual impairments. One of which is its screen magnification gestures which aides the readability of fonts and photos on a screen. Here's how to turn on the Screen Magnification feature on Nexus 4.

1.  On your Nexus 4 device, go to Settings. 2. Then go to System and select Accessibility. 3. And lastly go to Magnification Gestures to turn on screen magnification. While you are in Magnification mode you can do these gestures: 1. Pan - just drag two or more fingers across the screen. 2. Adjust Zoom Level - pinch or expand using two or more fingers. 3. Temporarily magnify - triple-tap and hold. 4. Magnify and Pan - triple-tap and hold then drag your finger. 5. Toggle Magnification mode in and out - triple-tap and release or simply enter and exit and app to get out of magnification mode. Take note that the triple-tap magnification gesture will work everywhere on your device except for the keyboard and navigation buttons.

How to Add and Remove an Account on Nexus 4

Synchronizing an account on your Nexus 4 enables you to get quick access on those accounts right on your smartphone. Whether you're adding a Google account or another account like Facebook or Twitter, then you must read this. Take note that in adding some accounts, you may need to obtain certain details from system administrator like the account's domain or server address. Here's how to add and remove an account on Nexus 4.

To add an account

1. On your device's screen, go to Settings.

2. Then go to Accounts and select Add account.

3. And tap on the kind of account you wish to add on your device. Just follow the on-screen instructions to complete. Most accounts require a username and password depending on the kind of account and the configuration of the service you're connecting to.

4. You may also be asked to configure what kinds of data you want to sync, name the account and other pertinent details.

5. Once you're done adding an account you can view them on:

> For Google Accounts you can view them under Settings Accounts Google.
> For all other accounts you can view them under Settings Accounts.

To remove an account

1. To remove a Google account on your Nexus 4 touch its name under Settings Accounts or Settings Accounts Google, then Menu > finally tap on Remove account.

2. To remove other accounts on your Nexus 4 go to Settings Accounts account-name and look for Remove option.


  1. Thanks for sharing this! I am a new user of Android device, I switch iPhone to Android. I also want to know how to root an Android phone.

    1. Thank you for the comment. You can find the needed info about rooting here:


    2. Can you briefly explain why do we need to root an Android phone?
      How will that help?

  2. Fantastic, thanks for putting the time in to publish this ! Very helpful for a new android user

  3. Thank you...... Didn't know about the Screebl app..... that's going straight on my N4 and N7..... it's always bugged me having the screen go off while I'm using it..... Cheers....!

    1. Thanks for the info.
      I still do not know how to delete or remove items that are not needed.

  4. Really useful! Learned a couple of things :-)

  5. Thanks for this really useful. Any ideas on how to turn GPS off on the camera?

    1. Go in to the camera's settings, then turn "Store Location" off.

  6. Hi,

    I'm a new android user, everytime i tap the screen three times it zooms in, but it is not required when i'm playing any game, is there a way to disable it? kindly share if you know any.

    thanks in advance

    1. Go to settings - accessibility - maginification gestures - and turn off. This will disable triple zoom.

  7. Is there a way to turn on screen without touching power button?

    1. try this app - gravity screen. This app turns off the screen if you put the screen in your pocket or bag or table and turns it on when you pick it up.

    2. Try the app screebl... Similar function.. It does not turn off the screen as long as you b are using it... And the min you put it b down on A flat surface it turns the screen off

  8. Can any one please tell me how to get the App Info screen.

  9. I am a new android user. Can anyone tell me how to signout out of gmail account on google nexus 4.

  10. nice share.. i have this nexus 4, n i experiencing problem with the lower soft touch keys, that all the three soft keys:back, home, and recent apss currently not working, i did factory reset, but still doesn't working..any idea how can fix that problem? thx before..

  11. Thanks for this very useful info you have provided us. I will bookmark this for future reference and refer it to my friends. More power to your blog.

  12. Thank you - very useful information for new android phone user :)

  13. How do I delete hotmail emails from Nexus 4 phone but not from the server?

  14. Does nexus 4 have a restart option? I can see just a power off option. Also, it does not auto restart after crashing. I have seen auto restart after crashing on previous android versions. How to enable that on nexus 4?

  15. Nexus 4 Doesnt have auto restart option i gues..

  16. /// I am a new android user. Can anyone tell me how to signout out of gmail account on google nexus 4.///
    Setting->Accounts- Google-> tap on the mail id. -> tap on the ryt top most 3 dots -> Remove account .

    Varna Ch

  17. I am a new Nexus 4 user. From 5 days the keybord of Nexus doesn work. I am anable to fix the problem through factory settings because, the phone is pin protected, and I am enable to give the PIN because the keyboard doesn work.
    how to fix and reset the keyboard in a Nexus 4 phone when a keyboard doesn't work and it is pin protected ?

  18. Great post! Very useful and to the point. Thanks!!

  19. Thanks for sharing such an informative post.

  20. John I believe now only LG service center can help you by putting back the factory settings master reset.

  21. How can I change fonts in google keyboard?
    I have Nexus 4.4.2


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