Things You Never Knew Your Android Phone Could Do

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Cell phones have become so popular that everyone uses at least one. These are becoming more and more technologically advanced and can do much more than just receiving calls. But, interestingly, there are quite a few things you can do with your cell phone that most of the product manuals do not mention. We are mentioning some of them here.

Mount USB Flash drive in Android phone
Almost all Android phones have a microUSB port for charging or copying files to and from your personal computer, laptop or notebook. However, most users do not know that by using a simple USB OTG (on the go) adaptor cable, you can attach and transfer files directly from a USB Flash drive. You can even attach an SD card reader and use that to grab photos from your camera and automatically upload them to the cloud.

Fig. 1: An Android phone connected to a Flash drive
Fig. 1: An Android phone connected to a Flash drive
Fig. 2: An OTG cable
Fig. 2: An OTG cable
Fig. 3: OTG cable connections
Fig. 3: OTG cable connections
Fig. 4: StickMount installation through Google Play
Fig. 4: StickMount installation through Google Play
Fig. 5: Screenshot of an Android phone
Fig. 5: Screenshot of an Android phone
Fig. 6: Hidden test panel
Fig. 6: Hidden test panel

Fig. 1 shows an Android phone connected to a Flash drive. Follow the steps below to connect any Flash drive to your Android phone.

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Step 1. Buy an OTG cable. These cables are easily available in the market. You can even make your own OTG cable by following the connections mentioned in Fig. 3.

Step 2. Plug the Flash drive into the USB OTG cable and connect the cable into your phone’s microUSB port. Some phones come equipped with USB OTP drivers and will immediately jump into USB host mode from where you can access gallery and music. If, however, nothing happens, you need to root your device and install a free app from the Google Play store.

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Step 3. You will first need to find specific instructions for your make, model and carrier from such websites as The Unlockr.com and XDA developer forums to root your device. Once the device is rooted, install StickMount app from the Google Play store as shown in Fig. 4. Now connect the Flash drive using OTG cable to your phone. Check ‘use by default’ and tap OK when Android pops up a prompt that says ‘Open StickMount when this USB device is connected.’

After your device successfully mounts, you will see a notification from StickMount that displays a message like ‘Active mounts: /sda/usbStorage/sda1’ to let you know that your USB storage drive is ready for reading/writing.

Take a screen shot
If you are using Android 4.0 or later, this is easy. Just press and hold the volume down and power buttons at the same time. You will see an animation on the screen as shown in Fig. 5, indicating that the screen photo was saved. Android will save the image to your gallery.

Fig. 7: GTalk service monitor
Fig. 7: GTalk service monitor
Fig. 8: IME1 numbers
Fig. 8: IME1 numbers

Get hidden phone information
Dial *#*#4636#*#* on your Android phone and it will give you information about phone and battery as shown in Fig. 6. The menus might differ for different cell phones.

Get GTalk Service Monitor
Dial *#*#8255#*#* on your Android phone and it will open GTalk Service Monitor (Fig. 7). Google Talk Service Monitor in Android mobile phones will monitor Google Talk host address and port, your Google JID, your device ID, GTalk connection status, your connection history, your current GTalk presence (available, idle or invisible) and many other things such as GTalk heartbeat status.

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Get IMEI number(s)
You can dial *#06# on your Android phone to get its IMEI number(s). You should always make a note of these numbers. In case your mobile gets stolen, you will need these numbers to lodge an FIR in the police station. Fig. 8 shows a screen of IMEI numbers as an example.


The author is B.Tech in electronics and communications from GGSIP University, Delhi

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