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How to Get the Most Out of Android App Shortcuts

Android 7.1 brings a home screen feature that will make all power users groggy with efficient emotion. That feature is the application shortcuts.

If your Android device has recently been updated to version 7.1, you may have noticed a particular feature is back, one that brings new levels of efficiency to the platform. The feature I am talking about is the application shortcuts. This new addition to Android (which originally appeared in the second preview of Nougat for developers, only to be withdrawn before the final version) allows you to quickly access certain functions of your applications, without having to first open the application in question. .

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Before continuing, keep in mind that not all applications support shortcuts. As of this writing, only specific applications include the feature (for example, applications):

  • Chrome (new tab or incognito new tab)
  • Gmail (select which account you want to view or create a new email)
  • Hangouts (new voice call, video call or chat)
  • Play Store (my apps)
  • Save (new note, list, photo note, or audio note)
  • Unit (search, scan, load)
  • YouTube (trending, subscriptions, search)
  • Google (app search, recent, voice search, search)
  • Maps (work or home)
  • Telephone dialer (new contact)
  • Clock (start the stopwatch, create a new timer, or create a new alarm)
  • Messenger (create a message to one of your most recent contacts or start a new conversation)
  • Settings (battery, data usage, or Wi-Fi)
  • Spotify (search)

If you are curious to know if your applications are compatible or not, open your application drawer and long press an application; If an abbreviated menu of applications appears, your application is supported!

What does this feature bring to the platform? Suppose you have the Gmail launcher on your home screen (or in a folder on your home screen, or even from the app drawer. You need to compose a quick email. What do you do? Launch Gmail and then tap Compose button, right? Not if you have Android 7.1. Instead, press the Gmail launcher for one second (you will be rewarded with a vibration) and release it, tap the Compose shortcut (), and start composing your email. One less step to take in a long day of steps.

But only if there was a way to gain even more efficiency with this handy addition to the Android home screen.

Even shorter shortcuts

Let Android developers make an even shorter shortcut. What is that bit of magic I’m talking about? This is where the app shortcuts really come in handy. If you press one of the supported application icons and then tap and drag one of the application shortcuts to the home screen, you will find an icon available for that particular application shortcut. For example, if you want immediate access to Gmail’s composition feature, tap the Gmail icon, then when the context menu appears, tap and drag the composition shortcut to the home screen. You will now see a Compose launcher ready to make your life a little easier . Press it to immediately open the Gmail compose window.

The feature continues to evolve

Since its original preview version, the shortcut feature to the app has continued to evolve. The only thing I’d like to see is the ability to add custom shortcuts (like a shortcut for a specific contact in the dialer or in the Gmail menu. Even without that feature, app shortcuts are a quick way to help make your Android experience that much more efficient. Start using app shortcuts and see how quickly you grow to depend on them.

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