Android Marshmallow may be the most recent Android release, but there are plenty of phones and tablets still rocking KitKat – and if yours is one of them, we’ve got a whole bunch of Android 4.4 KitKat tips and tricks for you to try.
1. Unlock your phone with your face
It’s not the most reliable feature we’ve ever used, but there’s no doubt that Android’s Face Unlock feature is the sort of thing that amuses people in the pub. To turn it on, you need to go into Settings > Security > Screen Lock and enable Face Unlock. You’ll then have to hold the phone while it scans your face several times to create a model. The trick is to scan your face in a range of lighting conditions once the basic setup is complete: that helps the camera recognize you no matter where you are or what time of day it is.
2. Turn on Developer Mode to enable tweaking
One of our favorite Android KitKat tricks is to turn on Developer Mode, from which you can speed up animations and control background processes to make the phone feel faster. To do it, go into Settings > About Phone and then tap Build Number seven times. Once you’ve done that, look for Window Animation Scale, Transition Animation Scale and Animator Duration and change the numbers to make things faster: the smaller the number, the faster things will appear.
3. Switch to ART for happier apps
The app runtime is the bit of Android that runs your apps. In Lollipop, Google dumped the previous Dalvik runtime for the more efficient and smooth ART runtime. ART is in KitKat too, but it isn’t enabled by default. To change that, take a trip to the Developer Options screen in Settings and use Select Runtime to specify ART. A reboot and a recompile of your apps takes a while, but the results are worth it.