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Oldies but Goodies Tips: Pictures While Shooting Video, Quick App Info Access, and Notifications From Lockscreen


Ice Cream Sandwich has been out for a while now with the Galaxy Nexus and we originally put some tutorial/tip videos out to help everyone get accustomed to it. But every so often we need reminders or tips that make our use of it more efficient. So today, I thought I would toss out a handful of tasks that I use consistently throughout the day that were absent from previous versions of Android. 

  1. Quick App Info Access:  In ICS, you can grab an app from the app drawer and drag it towards a home screen to find quick access to App Info or Uninstall menus. As someone that removes and adds apps all of the time, this is an invaluable shortcut. Gone are the days when you had to go through Menu>Settings>Apps>Manage Applications and then sort through a massive list until you found the correct app. It’s now as simple as a grab and drag. Third party launchers have done things like this for a while now, but it comes standard in Android 4.0.
  2. Access Notifications from Lockscreen:  At one point, I had switched back to a phone running Gingerbread and realized immediately that my time with it wasn’t going to last long. You see, in ICS, you can access your notifications, emails and texts directly from the lockscreen without having to unlock it. Well, as long as you use the slide unlock rather than a securely locked method. This saves only a couple of seconds for the most part, but that extra swipe to unlock is enough to make you realize how nice Android 4.0 is.
  3. Snap Pictures while Recording Video:  While not as commonly used a feature as the other two, having the ability to snap still photos while recording a video is nice to have. You never know when you may need your camera during a video shoot. A simple tap on the viewfinder during recording will snap whatever is on screen at that time.

Any other Android 4.0 tips or tricks that you can’t live without? I could probably go on for hours, but would love to hear yours.

  • Tcorrell

    Is there any way to create a picture after the the video has already been created? 

  • Where do you get these backgrounds?! They’re awesome!

  • Christopher Riner

    Ahhhh, handy little tips.  I can’t believe I never noticed the “drag from app drawer for quick uninstall”.

    Handy article, I’m diggin it. 

  • Follower

    I miss most have feature from android 2.3.
    The ability to make the phone silent while it is locked.
    Now with android 4 I have to unlock the phone first to turn it silent !

    • G3spike

      If your running ICS and your a Droid-Life follower I doubt your running stock. I know with AOKP you can add up to 6 more icons into that circle (such as silent, text messages, or phone…). Also, if you press and hold the power button you can go into silent from there. It would be nice is stock OS did have some extra customization features though.

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  • ChuckDz3

    To add to the quick app info access I noticed too that if you launch an app and then bring up your recents soft key menu you can long press the app window to access the app info as well, which is pretty handy. 

    Side note – Has anyone ever been able to see the contact’s actual picture in the notification when receiving a text message or missed call? I just see the normal default icon for a contact even though I have a picture set for that contact. I remember the ICS demo back in October you could see the actual contact picture next to the notification. Anyone seeing this?

    • ErasedInOneDay

      I think the photo-in-notification bit you’re speaking to only involves Google services such as GTalk and GVoice. I wish it extended to the phone’s dialer and SMS/MMS app as well =/

  • Wow I can’t believe I didn’t know about being able to pull down the notification bar from the lockscreen!?!!?  How have I been missing this!?!?!?!

    • This was news to me as well… Glad I wasn’t the only one…lol

  • I know many people don’t like it, but I absolutely need the Face Unlock. The Galaxy Nexus is too big to unlock using a pattern by one hand comfortably. So, most of the times, I use the Face Unlock. The only downside is, it takes a while for the camera to come up!

  • Vinniebagadonuts

    i want those icons…i ask everytime what are they? can anyone direct me pls?

  • Anthony Alves

    i always thought the notifications from the lockscreen was part of the ROM i had. But i put a pin, and i didnt last 2 hours with it. you dont know what you’ve got till its gone. lol

  • Turdbogls

    Settings>developer options> check “show screen updates.  this will induce a seizure immediately to get you out of hairy situations (bad date, dinner with the in-laws, ect)

  • rcpa

    The dock bar slots at the bottom of the home screen can be folders.  Just drag additional items on to them and it creates a folder.  You can put shortcuts as well as apps in the folders.  The first item in the folder has it’s icon on top.  

    In the left most slot, I have the Phone app icon along with direct dial shortcuts for my wife and daughter and the app icon for the directory.  In the next dock slot, I have text messaging stuff: text messaging app icon, direct message shortcuts for my wife and daughter, and Glympse shortcuts for a couple of regular destinations.  For instance, when I’m on my way home from work, I hit the text messaging dock slot to open up the folder and then select the Home Glympse shortcut.  This opens one of my saved Glympse favorites that texts the message “On my way home” to my wife and starts Glympse.

  • possomcrast1

    Still think google needs to add more options to the lockscreen as an optional feature. If you get a text it should show up around the circle. Yes i know you can mod it onto the nexus.

    • John

      This type of action is coming.  google applied for a patent to do this recently. 

  • Michael Forte

    I love the swipe to remove individual notifications.

  • Metro Gnome711

    Unrelated, but how can did you add that “fldr” text for use as a folder icon? I’ve been wanting to go the minimalistic text route, but i use mostly folders and couldn’t figure out how to set a folder with a different icon?

    • Probably using Nova Launcher.  You can change icons and icon text.

    • Elliot

      Easy – when you open the folder you just tap on the text and it allows you to change it.  It took me forever to figure it out too, although it is pretty intuitive.

    • The Race To Die

      using nova or apex launcher which allow you to use a custom image for your icons and folders. then make a custom image with the simple text app in the store. 

    • Mikepinter

      I did figure out that the folders show the “first” icon in the folder.  You can re-arrange the order of the launchers in the folder by holding them and then dragging them.  Then just drag the icon you want to the first spot.

  • Take a screenshot of any screen by holding the power+volume down at the same time

  • Chris G

    The best feature to me is the pano pics.  I was coming off of the OG, so it was a major upgrade in all respects for me.

  • MKader17

    I’ve uninstalled so many apps using the method you described above and never realized you can get to the app info from there. Thanks.

  • fvqu

    Never knew you could snap pictures while recording video. Its not very smooth though.

    • Hangul

      it was mentioned and demoed on the 4.0 announcment event

      • hkklife

        I wonder if that is a hardware issue or an OS issue? My Sony camcorder and Cybershot still cam both allow stills while recording video. I have to admit that it’s a really cool feature (once I started remembering to use it)!

        • nsnsmj

           I ‘think’ it’s hardware-related because I can’t take stills while recording video on my Nexus S. Or maybe it just hasn’t been implemented in AOKP.

          • Chris Cousin

            yes it is a hardware thing… I think it is called “dual shutter”

    • Geoff

      yeah it is pretty blurry and lags when taking the photo.