Wednesday, May 22, 2013

50 Google Nexus 10 Tips and Tricks

Welcome to the most comprehensive list of tips and tricks for the Nexus 10 you’ll find anywhere on the Internet. This started off as part of a Nexus first impressions article, but quickly grew into a list of 50 tips, so I’ve broken it out on its own. Because this article is intended for everyone from beginners to experts, there will be some things here you already know here, but you’ll also find tips you won’t find anywhere else.

1. Upgrade to the latest version of Android – There have been several updates to Android since the first Nexus 10 tablets left the factory. Make sure to install the newest Android system update. If your tablet isn’t already running Android 4.2.2, and it doesn’t appear under Settings > About tablet > System Updates, scroll to the bottom of this article to learn how to force an update to Android 4.2.2.

2. Choose your screen orientation – The startup screen, volume control and speaker placement seem to indicate Google intended the Nexus 10 to be used horizontally in landscape mode. However I prefer the vertical portrait mode for the following reasons: First, it’s better suited for most web pages. Second, apps like Instagram and Spotify can’t be used in landscape mode. Third, it’s easier to hold the Nexus 10 vertically with one hand. Of course you’ll want to use portrait when watching most movies. In the end the choice is yours, just keep in mind if you use it in portrait mode the volume control will be reversed (e.g. pushing the lower button turns the volume up.)

3. Activate Google Now – Swipe up from the bottom of your tablet screen near the center to access Google Now. Before using Google Now you must go through a tutorial and then activate it. Then make sure location services are on. To do this you need to check the box next to ‘Wi-Fi & mobile network location’ and agree with the prompt. Then go through the settings for Google Now and enter your favorites sports teams and adjust a few other settings. When you’re finished Google Now will start presenting you with information tailored to your needs like the local weather. You can see what my first Google Now page looked like in the screenshot above. It’s worth mentioning I’ve never taken my tablet to the gym, or asked Google for my drive time to work. It provided that info based on my previous behavior. I know some people have privacy concerns, but I think this feature is great.

4. Download the official Nexus 10 Guidebook – Google just made available a new 159 page Nexus 10 Guidebook. You can download this excellent guide here. Once downloaded, I recommend you copy it to your tablet, so you can refer to it anywhere you go. Make sure you have a PDF reader on your Nexus 10 however. You can download Adobe Reader here. 

5. Download some tablet-optimized apps – You’ll quickly discover not all of your Android smartphone apps adapt well to the extremely high pixel density of the Nexus 10.

For this reason, Google recommends you download some of the following apps: Autodesk Sketchbook Pro for Tablets, Cat in the Hat, Cut the Rope Experiments HD, Evernote, Expedia, Fandango Movies for Tablets, Friendcaster, Google Currents, Fancy, Heros Call HD Widgets, Hipmunk, Hulu Plus, Magic Piano,, Netflix, News Republic for Tablets, Ocean HD, Office Suite Pro, OpenTable, Picsay Pro, Plume, Pinterest, Pulse News, SplashTop Remote Desktop HD, Strikefleet Omega, Sprinkle, SwiftyKey3 Tablet, Pocket, SeriesGuide, Taptu, TED, Trulio, Zappos and Zoomingo. In addition to the above apps, I would add the following apps which have all been optimized to run on tablets like the Nexus 10: 500px, AccuWeather for Android, AirCalc, BaconReader for Reddit, Business Calendar, Calendar, Flipboard, Google+, Hotel Tonight, Kingsoft Office, NYTimes for Android, Pinterest, Sing! Karaoke, Smart Tools, SkyDrive, Solid Explorer, Songza, SoundHound, Tasks, Temple Run 2, The Weather Channel, USA Today, Wunderlist 2 and Yahoo! Weather. 

6. Install the Adobe Flash plug-in – Flash may be a dying format, but there are still millions of Flash videos around and the Nexus 10 should be able play some of them. To install Flash from the official Adobe website, follow the instructions at the bottom of this page.

7. Expand your keyboard – Since the Nexus 10 has such a large screen you may want to expand to a full-sized PC-style keyboard that includes number keys and extras like the screenshot above has. It’s tricky to set up, but worth it if you like to type in landscape mode. Go to Settings/Language & input and then touch the settings Sliders next to ‘Android keyboard.’ Next, touch ‘Advanced settings’ and touch ‘Custom input styles.’ It will say Deutsch and Francais, but you can ignore that. Touch ‘Add Style’ near the upper right. Then select your language and change the layout from QWERTY to ‘PC’ or one of the other styles. Now touch ‘Add’ and you’ll see your new style appear in the list. Touch ‘Enable’ and use the back key to go back to the Language & input screen. Now touch ‘Input languages’ near the top and uncheck ‘Use system language.’ Lastly, touch ‘English (US) (PC)’ and you’re done.

8. Control your tablet using your voice - Most people don’t know you can have your tablet open an app, create a calendar event, display a map, navigate to a place, send an email, set an alarm, define a word, show movie times, take a note, display a weather forecast, identify a zip code or area code, provide flight info, find a restaurant, run a calculator or provide a translation by simply speaking. Start by touching the microphone next to the search box. For more info, go to pages 58-64 in the Nexus 10 Guidebook (See Tip 3 to find out where to get this). There’s also a list of all 53 types of voice requests here.

9. Download a high-quality video – If you really want to see what the Nexus 10 display is capable of when it comes to video, download Timescapes. It it the first 4K movie that you can purchase for $29.95. It has almost twice as many pixels as a normal high-definition video. If you’re not ready to shell out $30 bucks, but want to watch a free 1080p preview of the movie click here. If you decide to buy the movie, make sure to download the 2560×1440 version and not the others. The movie is over 6GB, so you should back it up to your computer, so you can free up space on your tablet if you need to later. In order to play this video, you may have to download free MoboPlayer software (or equivalent). 

10. Turn off haptic feedback if you don’t like it – When touch the screen on the Nexus 10 to navigate, you get a little vibration. If you don’t like this, go to Settings > Sound and uncheck ‘Vibrate on touch.’ Making this change will not turn off the vibration you get when you type on the onscreen keyboard. To turn that off, go to Settings > ‘Language and input.’ Then touch the Setting icon for the ‘Android keyboard’ and uncheck ‘Sound on keypress.’ Make sure ‘Vibrate on keypress’ is unchecked as well. If you’re using SwiftKey 3 Tablet, go to its settings page, touch Advanced. Touch ‘Audio and haptic feedback’ and uncheck Haptic feedback. 

11. Shoot and edit video on your tablet – If this is your first Android tablet, you probably haven’t used ‘Movie Studio’ yet. Movie Studio lets you edit video clips together in a timeline with transitions, music, effects and titles. Movie studio has been around since Android 3.0, but the tablets back then didn’t have enough power to run it well. Here are some good instructions how to use Movie Studio. 

12. Unhide Developer Options – Earlier versions of Android had a ‘Developer options’ area in Settings but that’s no longer present in Android 4.2. However, you can still put your tablet into Developer Mode by going to Settings and touching ‘About tablet.’ Then click the build number seven times. After you do that you will see ‘Developers options’ appear in the Settings menu! This great tip came from Wai Ho Cheung. 

13. Try a tablet-optimized keyboard – If I had to pick one single app that softened my transition from the iPad 3 to the Nexus 10 the most it would be the SwiftKey 3 Tablet Keyboard. The reason for this is because I type a lot and I like to work in portrait mode. That squeezes the keys closer together and makes typing harder on the stock keyboard. I can’t say enough good things about this app. It takes a while for you to learn it, and for it to learn you, but when that happens, you’ll never go back. 

14. Toggle between MTP and PTP – Here’s another tip you won’t see anywhere else: You can put the Nexus 10 into Camera (PTP) mode by going to Settings > Storage and then selecting the menu in the upper right-hand corner. From there, you can select ‘USB computer connection,’ which allows you to toggle between MTP (which is the default) and PTP which lets you transfer photos using camera software. PTP also works on computers that don’t support MTP. 

15. Learn how to use Quick Settings – You can use the Quick Settings menu to turn on/off Wi-Fi, change screen brightness, turn off auto-rotate and more. To open Quick Settings, swipe down from the top right corner of any screen. You can even access the full settings menu from Quick Settings. 

16. Try the new Notification Shade – To open the Notification Shade, swipe down from the top left corner of any screen. You can do this even when your Nexus 10 is locked. Certain notifications like emails or calendar events can be expanded to show more information. Some notifications let you take action by touching icons. For example, Calendar notifications allow you to Snooze or send email to other guests. To collapse a notification, pinch it. To expand a notification, glide using two fingers. When you’re finished with a notification, just swipe it to the right to make it go away. To dismiss all notifications, touch the icon at the top right of the notification shade. If you long-press on an open task, you’ll be taken straight to the settings page for that app. 

17. Uninstall unneeded apps – After you’ve been using your tablet for a while you’ll probably have apps that you never use. You may want to remove any unused apps to free up space. The easiest way to uninstall an app is to press and hold the app icon in the app drawer and drag it to the top of the screen where it says ‘Uninstall.’ If it only shows App Info, it is a system app and cannot be uninstalled. However, if you drag the app to where it says App Info you’ll have the option to disable the app, which frees up memory. 

18. Download a new game – Playing games on your Nexus 10 tablet is very different than playing games on your smartphone. The large screen, killer graphics, faster processor and great sounding stereo speakers take gaming to a whole new level. Make sure to download a game with great graphics like Asphalt 7, Dead Trigger, or Shadow Gun. All of these will cost you, but there are many great free games as well, including Temple Run 2. 

19. Improve your gaming graphics – If you’re a hard-core gamer, you probably already know what 4x anti-aliasing is. You can enable this on the Nexus 10 if you know a secret trick. First, enable Developer Options as described above in Tip #11. Then go to Settings and click on Developer Options. You will now see an option on the right to enable Force 4x MSAA. Multisample anti-aliasing (MSAA) is a technique used to improve image quality. Since the Nexus 10 has a GPU capable of supporting MSAA, this setting should make your graphics look more detailed when you’re playing advanced games. Keep in mind this will also cause your GPU to work harder and your tablet may get hotter and consume more power than normal. It’s also possible that all games may not support this, but this seems to work great with games like Asphalt 7.  

20. Use a gaming controller with your Nexus 10 – If you game a lot, you might try using a gaming controller with your Nexus 10. You have three options: If you own a Sony PS3, you can use up to four PS3 controllers with your Nexus 10 at the same time. Instructions here. You can also plug an Xbox gaming controller into the Nexus 10, as long as you have a micro USB to USB adapter. Lastly, you can purchase a wireless gaming controller like the Nyko Playpad. 

21. Copy your media to your tablet – One of Android’s best features is the ability to plug your charging cable into the USB jack on your computer and have your tablet appear as a hard drive. Once you do this, you can easily copy over the music, photos, videos or documents you want to take with you everywhere. 

22. Select a lock screen – If you plan to bring your Nexus 10 outside of your house, you should go to Settings/Security and pick a pattern (recommended), PIN or password-based screen unlock. 

23. Connect your tablet to a television – The Nexus 10 has a standard micro HDMI jack, so you can purchase a high-quality cable which connects to your TV for as little as $3. This allows you to watch high-definition videos from YouTube, Netflix or any other site on your TV. Unlike other tablets, the Nexus will display a video on your tablet and television at the same time. It will also automatically scale 2550x1440p videos to 1080p, so your television can display them. As you can see from the screenshot above, the picture quality is great. Important: Make sure to power down your tablet and television before connecting or disconnecting an HDMI cable. If you don’t, it’s possible that you could damage your tablet. 

24. Hook up an external keyboard and mouse – You can easily connect your tablet to an external keyboard, mouse, or other input device and use these just as you would with a PC. This can be done using Bluetooth or direct USB connection. To connect via USB you will need an adapter like this. To connect more than one USB device at a time, use a powered USB hub to reduce drain on your battery. I’ve tried a wired keyboard and a standard wired mouse with the Nexus 10 tablet and both work pretty well. The mouse had no issues whatsoever. The keyboard seemed to miss keys or spaces occasionally when I typed too fast. However, I really like using the arrow keys on the keyboard to precisely move the cursor around text on the screen. I also like the fact the tablet can tell there is a keyboard attached and does not display the onscreen keyboard. This saves a lot of space on the screen.

25. External keyboard tips – In addition to entering text, you can use your keyboard to navigate your tablet’s features: Use the arrow keys to select items on screen. Press Return after selecting an item is equivalent to touching that item. Press Escape to go Back. Press Tab or Shift-Tab to move forward on a screen with multiple text fields. For maximum typing speed, turn off auto-replace, auto-capitalization and auto-punctuate. To do this, swipe down on the top of the screen and ‘Select keyboard layout.’ To do this, swipe down on the top of the screen and ‘Select keyboard layout.’ Don’t forget you can use keyboard commands like Ctrl-V to paste text just like you would with a PC. 

26. Expand your memory – One of the biggest complaints about the Nexus 10 is the fact it doesn’t have a memory expansion slot, but that doesn’t mean you can’t add your own memory by buying a short micro USB to USB cable and connecting a low-cost memory stick. However, stock Android devices do not automatically “mount” mass storage devices like USB sticks, so one additional step is required. If you’re Nexus tablet is rooted, the best solution is an app called Stickmount (Note: I was recently told there may be problems with it and Android 4.2, which the developer are working on now). Once StickMount is installed you connect a USB stick to your Nexus using a USB OTG cable and the device will show you a popup and ask if you want to open StickMount. You’ll need a file viewer app like ES File Explorer to display your files. More details. If your Nexus 10 is not rooted, you have two options: The first is a $3 app called Nexus Media Importer, which allows you to import or stream music, video, photos and documents from a USB flash drive or SD card. More info. The second option is free. You can enable PTP on your Nexus 10 by following the instructions in Tip #13 above. Once PTP is enabled, when you plug in a supported device it should immediately bring up the Gallery app with a new folder containing all of your photos. When you open that folder, you can either import, or browse the photos. All of the above options require a USB OTG to mini USB adapter.

27. Edit your photos like a pro – The Android 4.2 Gallery app is more than just a photo viewer. It now has some serious editing capabilities. In addition to all of the standard Instagram-style filters, this app has some advanced photo editing features that are similar to the ones you’ll find in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom. The incredible screen on the Nexus 10 and fast processor, make it a serious photo editing station. For even better editing options, try Snapseed or Pixlr Express.  

28. Learn how to take a screenshot – To take a screenshot on the Nexus 10, press the power button and the volume down button and continue to hold them until you hear a beep and see the screen zoom in. The volume down is on the top part of the volume slider when you are holding the tablet in portrait-mode. 

29. Use the new Google Voice search – It doesn’t make sense to type your searches any more. Just touch the microphone near the top of the screen and talk, or say “Google” when you are on the Google Now page. 

30. Set up a guest profile – You may want to setup a guest profile on your Nexus 10, so a friend can check their email, and install their own games, but can’t update your Facebook status. Their app settings, screen background, game-progress and high-scores remain separate. To add a new user, go to Settings/Device/Users. Touch ‘Add user’ and then touch OK. Touch ‘Not now,’ if your guest is not available. A generic new user should now appear in the list. 

31. Customize your home screen – Every one uses their tablet differently, so you should customize your home screen(s) to meet your needs. Here are some suggestions:

a. Make shortcuts on your home screens for all of your favorite apps. To do this go to the App locker and then touch and hold an app and drag it to the desired screen.

b. Create folders for different categories of apps (e.g. Games, Utilities, etc.) and move all of the related apps into those folders.To create a new folders drag on app on top of another similar app. After the new folder is created, make sure to name it.

c. Uninstall any unnecessary apps or widgets from your existing homescreens. To do this, simply touch and drag them into the text ‘Remove’ near the top of the screen.
32. Buy a carrying case – It’s a good idea to purchase a leather case for your Nexus 10. This will protect your screen from scratches and give you additional protection if you drop it. Most cases also act as a stand for your tablet. Nexus 10 cases are just starting to appear on sites like 

33. Don’t forget about the free music – Although you won’t see the free music that is included with your Nexus 10 in the “My Library” widget, if you go into ‘All Apps’ and open ‘Play Music,’ U.S. Nexus owners will find ten free songs from The Rolling Stones, Cat Power, M. Ward, The Lumineers, Bob Mould, Eskmo and more. Preloaded music in other countries varies. 

34. Install tracking software – You paid good money for your Nexus 10, so you don’t want to lose it. Make sure to install software like ‘Where’s My Droid‘ which allows you to track your tablet if lost or stolen. If you spend $4 to upgrade to the Pro version, you can also remotely lock your tablet, enable the camera to see the thief and as a last resort erase your tablet remotely. If you install this app, make sure to run the setup and connect the Commander screen to your Google account. 

35. Try gesture typing – The standard Android keyboard now allows you to slide your finger over the letters you want to type, and lift it after each word. You don’t need to worry about spaces, because they’re added automatically for you. This feature used to be only found in premium apps like Swype. Now you can use it whenever you like. 

36. Zoom two different ways – There are different ways to zoom in on the Nexus 10. The first is called double-tap. You can quickly tap two times on most webpages in Chrome to zoom in. Double-tap again to zoom out. This feature works on most webpages, maps, and other screens. Android 4.2 also has an interesting new feature called magnification gestures. When enabled, you can triple-tap the screen everywhere (except on the keyboard or notification bar) and zoom in. The nice thing is that you stay zoomed in, until you triple-tap a second time. To enable this feature, go to Settings > System > Accessibility and touch Magnification gestures. Then slide it from off to on and hit the back button. It’s worth mentioning that the way you zoom in works differently when you double or triple tap. Both have advantages, try each and see which is better for certain things. One user has reported that enabling triple-tap doesn’t work well when playing games like GTA3.

37. Access your Google Play media offline – Normally Google Play streams your content from the cloud when you access it. This is done so the content doesn’t take up any of your precious storage space. However, there are times where you may not have access to the Internet, but still want to read a book or watch a movie. To do that you’ll want to download or ‘pin’ the media on your device so you can access it offline. To ‘pin’ a book, open the Play Books app, go to the menu and select ‘Make available offline.’ A blue dot with a pin in it means the book is available for offline, but has not been downloaded yet. To download it, tap it once and the pin should turn white. Once the book is finished downloading, the pin icon should be upright, white and surrounded by a blue dot (like “The Time Machine” book above). Keep in mind that downloading a movie will consume a substantial amount of storage space (~1.7GB).  

38. Quickly change camera settings – You can now press and hold on the camera app screen and swipe to quickly change white balance, HDR and other camera settings. You can also go directly from the camera app to the Photo Gallery app by swiping to the right. Swipe left to return to the camera. 

39. Improve your Internet download speeds – If you have Wi-Fi range issues like I do, you may want to purchase an Ethernet adapter. The Nexus 10 supports USB-OTG, which makes this possible. Although micro USB to Ethernet adapters are available, they don’t get good reviews, so you’re probably better of with a USB to Ethernet adapter and a micro USB to USB adapter. More about the types of things you can connect with USB-OTG. 

40. Pinch-to-zoom Gmail – Gmail has a new setting called ‘Auto-fit messages’ which is not enabled by default. When you enable this setting, you can manually pinch to zoom in or out on an e-mail. This is really useful. 

41. Learn how to decipher the notification LED – You’ve probably noticed there’s an LED on the front of your Nexus 10 that flashes occasionally. It’s there to let you when you have one ore more notifications waiting. Its LED is capable of displaying multiple colors so you can tell what type of notification you have without unlocking your tablet. Since there is no mention of this feature in the Nexus 10 manual, there is some confusion over the colors used. It appears Google uses white for Gmail or SMS texts, blue is for Facebook notifications, green indicates your tablet is 100% charged, and also may show Google Voice notifications, yellow is for Google Talk and red is for Google+. It appears third-party apps can trigger the notification LED as well. One thing I’ve noticed about the notification LED is it sometimes continues to flash after you’ve cleared your notifications. If this blinking bothers you, you can turn off the notification LED by going to Settings > Display and unchecking ‘Pulse notification light.’

42. Customize your LED notifications – A free app called Light Flow Lite allows you to take control of the colors of your notification LED. It also makes your Nexus 10 flash one color after another. This app allows you to set the notification color for the over 250 applications and system events including missed calls, low battery, no signal, voice mail, calendar reminders, Gmail messages, email messages, SMS messages, MMS messages, Twitter notifications and more. 

43. Quickly silence or restart your tablet – To quickly silence your Nexus 10, press and hold the power button for 1-2 seconds. To restart your tablet, press and hold the power button for 8 seconds.

44. Make it easy for someone to return your tablet if lost – It’s a good idea to add a message to your lock-screen like the following: If found, please call [Enter your area code and phone number here]. To do this, go to Settings > Security > and touch ‘Owner info’ (or User Info, for other users). Then enter the text you want displayed on the lock screen. 

45. Backup everything on your tablet – Although it’s true Google backs up some of your data, it doesn’t back up everything. My Backup Pro backs-up your photos, SMS texts, contacts, call log, browser bookmarks, system settings, Home screens, music playlists and apps. Your entire backup is stored online. 

46. Use your tablet as a phone – You can turn your Android tablet into a phone with apps like Talkatone, GrooVe IP, Viber, Tablet Calling or others. A free Google Voice account is required by most of these programs. For best results, you’ll want to use a Bluetooth earpiece, since the mic used for this is located on the back of your tablet. For video calls try Skype or Tango. Video calls use the front camera on the Nexus, which works pretty well, however you still should use a Bluetooth earpiece for best results. 

47. Let Google know where you live and work – In order to get the most out of Google Now you must enter your home and work addresses. To do this go to using your browser, touch the Menu icon in the upper right hand corner, and open My Places. From there, you can enter your home and work addresses. 

48. Nexus 10 features to avoid – Because Android 4.2 and the Nexus 10 are still so new, there are several features you may want to avoid until the next update is available. Avoid using Lock-screen music widgets and Auto-brightness.

49. Get yourself some wireless headphones – The Nexus 10 is great for multimedia. After Google fixes the Bluetooth issues with Android 4.2.2 you may want to get yourself a wireless headset. It’s stereo, sounds good and also has a mic, so you can make calls with it. If you have problems pairing your Bluetooth headset, try it several times. It took me at least three tries before it worked. 

50. Get help from Google – You can call (855) 836-3987 and ask Google questions about your Nexus 10 24/7. I know some people are bashing Google for their phone support, but my phone support experience was positive. Once I waited on hold for 15 minutes, but the person who answered my call was able to quickly solve a difficult problem.

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