Underrated iOS And Android Features You May Be Overlooking

Date Apr 13, 2021
Blog category Mobile Phone
By Staff Writer

Your smartphone is one of your most-used devices every day. Some light users max them out for about 3-4 hours per day, while other heavy users use their phones for more than 6 hours, or until the battery's dead. 

Regardless of what type of user you are, do you know the ins and outs of your mobile phone? Have you truly explored your device to its full potential? Even if you’re with it almost 24/7, there may still be some features you’re missing out on!

Here are some underrated features for iOS and Android you may be overlooking.

Android 11

Android is best known for its customisation features! From the opening animations to transition effects, you have plenty of choices to truly own your phone. You even have the choice to personalise your themes and icons according to your preference! Aside from customisation, you'll need to check some features you may be overlooking in your Android phone. 

Disclaimer: Some features may not be available or are tweaked depending on the smartphone manufacturer. This is based on Google’s version of Android 11 with no interfaces or skins from mobile phone companies.

Temporary permissions

Do you want to take more control of your app permissions? For better security, Android now lets you allow temporary access to each app. You can only permit apps to access your location, camera, or microphone when you open the app. Once you’re not using the app, access to these phone accessories are prohibited.

This gives you the confidence that your data in your local storage is secured. This also prevents the app from unauthorised tracking, which may put you at risk. Of course, you still have the option to give permanent permissions to the app or not give them any access at all.

Dynamic media controls

Smartphones are now all about wireless connections! With the latest Android, it lets you control your media and music dynamically. When you’re playing music on Spotify, you don’t have to open the app just to change the song. 

Simply scroll down to the notifications panel and select the volume controls over your connected devices. You can even switch between apps from the last order they were played. This saves you a few trips and loading time, making your media experience even better.

Built-in screen recorder

You don’t have to download a buggy and risky third-party application just to record your screen! Android 11 just launched a native screen recorder that can record your mic, screen device, one at a time, or both at the same time!

What’s great is, you can easily find this control on the notification panel! Simply click on this feature and begin recording. Depending on your device, you can even set it up with a timer before you can record or edit it, and save it in your local storage.


Bubble notifications

Are you a fan of bubble notifications on Android’s version of Facebook Messenger? Now, you can see them in most applications! Google is finally rolling out system-wide bubble notifications on their native applications, as well as some supported apps.

Developers are also updating their codes to support this bubble notification feature. Sooner, more and more applications can finally have this notification system. And just like the Facebook Messenger bubbles, you can also exit or remove them by swiping at the bottom of the screen.

Notification history

Have you cleared your notifications accidentally? You can’t rewind them to appear in the notifications panel, but you can see them in the device settings! It’s usually displayed under the notifications section in your device settings, but it may still vary per smartphone.

All notifications within the past 24 hours are displayed in this section. Plus, it’s a great way to know which apps bother you the most. You also have the option to turn off app notifications to help you focus better on your tasks and be more productive.

Dark mode scheduling

Dark mode has been in Android for a while, but it lacked some useful features like scheduling. Android 11 has announced a feature that activates dark mode automatically at sunset. Likewise, it can also turn on light mode automatically at sunrise.

If you don’t want the automatic dark mode activation, you can custom the time that it activates. Of course, the option to stay in dark mode or light mode permanently is still there. Otherwise, you can also switch from light to dark or the other way around as much as you want.

iOS 14.5

Unlike Android, iOS is known to lack customisation features. What you see is what you get with iPhones — there’s no personalisation whatsoever. However, this is changing! It now offers plenty of customisation features! The great thing is, the top-notch security features you’re used to with iOS are still there. 

But as most iPhone users aren’t used to these personalisation features, most users may not even know that they exist. Check out the best features you’re missing out on the latest iOS 14.5.

Recording indicators

While some applications promise not to track your online activities, you still can't be sure! With the new iOS 14.5 across Apple devices, you can know exactly which apps are secretly tracking and recording your online activities! 

When the app is recording you through your camera or microphone, a light is indicated at the top right of the display, next to the cellular signals. Whether the app is active or running in the background, you can identify which ones are sneaking behind your back in the Control Centre.

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Tracking transparency

As expected from iOS, they added security features to their already secured system! App tracking transparency gives you the freedom to choose apps that track your activities. You can also request certain apps to track you by toggling it in the Privacy section in the settings.

As Apple manages its own device and processor, most app developers have no other option but to comply with this new feature. This is a great move by the company as they handle your own data, giving you the confidence that you’re safe in the online space.

Location sharing

Do you have guests coming over to your place? If you live in a remote location where it can be difficult to reach, use location sharing! This allows you to share your accurate location with other iPhone users. Simply tap their name on your contacts card, and you’re all set.

When sharing location, you have the choice to share them permanently, for an hour, or until the end of the day. You can also disable or turn off location sharing for mutual location sharing friends on your contacts card. 


Do you ever want to scroll through your Facebook feed and watch a YouTube video at the same time? With the introduction of Picture-in-Picture — also known as PiP — it’s now possible across supported Apple devices!

You can resize the PiP window to make it larger or smaller. You also drag them anywhere around the screen. What’s great is, you can also minimise the window and simply listen to the audio. This is a great productivity tool to keep notes while watching an important video.

Pinned messages

Do you have important messages that you urgently need to reply to? Pin them! iOS 14.5 lets you do this nifty feature by swiping right and clicking the pin symbol. This keeps your most important contacts accessible whenever needed. You can pin up to nine contacts.

With pinned messages, you can see their recent messages, tap backs, typing indicators, as well as their photos. There’s an indicator for unread messages. You can even pin group messages and see the three recent participants in the chatroom.

Which one is better: Android or iOS?

Now that you know their latest features, which one is actually better? Actually, they’re both great operating systems, and you’re not getting any less by choosing the other. Ultimately, it’s only a matter of preference.

They offer different mobile viewing, software, hardware, optimisation, and just overall user experience. As a rule of thumb, remember to know their strengths and weaknesses as well as niche features that match your needs.

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