9 Awesome Android Ice Cream Sandwich Tips

Since the release of Ice Cream Sandwich in October 2011, Android users have been eagerly anticipated the release of the new OS on their phones and tablets. Most new Android phones and tablets coming to market (such as the HTC One X, ASUS Transformer Pad TF300 and Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 7.0) are powered by Ice Cream Sandwich, and carriers such as Verizon have finally announced that devices such as the Razr Maxx and HTC ThunderBolt will be receiving an over-the-air update to ICS later this year.

Thankfully, Android 4.0 was worth the wait. The new OS features a number of great features that improve multitasking, voice input, and other aspects of the user experience. Watch the video above or read on to see some of our favorite features of Android 4.0, as well as some bonus tips straight from the folks at Google.

Close Apps With a Swipe of Your Finger

Gone are the days of downloading a third-party task-switching app for your Android phone or tablet. Ice Cream Sandwich has a button for that built in.

  • Tap the Recent Apps button to bring up the applications currently in use.
  • Tap the icon to open the app.
  • Swipe the icon off the screen to close it.

Quickly Send a Text Response When Dismissing a Call

If you’re in a meeting or driving a car, it can be inconvenient (or unsafe) to craft a text message letting someone know why you’ve dismissed their call. Thankfully, Ice Cream Sandwich provides a neat feature that allows users to quickly send a text message as a response to an incoming call.

  • Swipe the selection cursor over the quick response icon (on the Samsung Galaxy Nexus, pictured above, that means swiping up) that appears when you receive an incoming call.
  • Select the response you want, such as “I’ll call you later.”
  • Alternatively, create your own custom message.

[Why Wait? 5 Devices That Run Ice Cream Sandwich Today]

Use Your Voice Instead of the Keyboard

Ice Cream Sandwich has brought the power of its voice input engine to every application that uses a keyboard and improved its accuracy to boot!

  • Tap the microphone button at the bottom of the keyboard to launch the voice input engine.
  • Tap on words underlined in red to fix typos when you’ve finished speaking.
  • Tap on words underlined in grey to change any words (correctly spelled) that may have been misinterpreted by the voice input engine.

Organize Your Apps in Homescreen Folders

With the addition of homescreen folders, Android 4.0 has made it easier than ever to organize your apps and documents.

  • Tap and drag an application over another app icon to automatically create a new homescreen folder.
  • Tap on the folder to open it.
  • Tap on the folder name at the bottom to rename the folder.

Manage Your Data Usage to Avoid Overage Fees

If you’re worried about racking up data overage charges, you’ll love the new feature in Ice Cream Sandwich that lets you keep a closer eye on your data usage.

  • Open the Settings menu.
  • Tap on “Data usage”.
  • Tap on “Set mobile data limit”.
  • Move the red sliding bar to set a cap on your data usage.
  • Move the green sliding bar to set a warning threshold, letting you know when you’re nearing your data limit.

[7 Indispensable Android Tablet Tips]

Share Information With Just a Tap of Your Phone

Since Beam’s launch last year as part of Ice Cream Sandwich, numerous apps have begun to incorporate Ice Cream Sandwich’s NFC functionality, including Foursquare, Shazam, BBC and others.  Just tap two Android Beam-enabled phones together and the phones will automatically swap data such as YouTube videos, contact information, and other nuggets of information.

  • Go to Settings.
  • Tap on “More…”
  • Tap on “Android Beam.” 
  • Tap the on/off switch to enable Android Beam.

Dismiss Notifications With a Swipe of the Finger

We already highlighted ICS’s ability to efficiently multitask by swiping away unused apps, but – as the folks at Google pointed out – the swipe-to-close functionality extends to email and notifications as well.

  • Drag down the notifications menu.
  • Press and drag notifications to the side to dismiss them.

Create Silly Faces and Add Backgrounds in Video Chat

Google Talk on Ice Cream Sandwich now supports face-distortion effects and custom backgrounds, making your video chat that much more lively.

  • Open the camera app.
  • Switch to video.
  • Tap on the Effects button.
  • Choose a background or face distortion effect.

Improve Your Surfing With Chrome Beta

Google is proud of the beta version of Chrome for Android, and rightfully so – the latest update of their browser offers a host of new functionality, including the option to quickly and easily download multiple files to your device; view the desktop version of websites with just two taps; and add bookmarks to your home screen. You can keep up with all the latest Chrome releases here.

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Submit Comments

  1. Sue Says:

    We are loading Ice Cream Sandwich to K1 Lenovo Tablet….all going well….however

    The apps I’m installing tell me they are installed, but they’re not. I have no apps downloaded….do you have a solution

    I have placed the Play Store Icon I retreived from my google account on homepage, but when I go to choose and download, shadowed “installed”, but nowhere to be found.

  2. jane Says:


  3. Pete Austin Says:

    Re: “Quickly Send a Text Response When Dismissing a Call If you’re in a meeting or driving a car”. Very annoying feature. It can be inconvenient (or unsafe) to have to look at the phone when answering, so I rarely do, which means I sometimes trigger this feature by accident. Wish there was a checkbox to disable it!

  4. Frustrated and Confused with ICS Says:

    Have been using ICS for a while now and find it quite frustrating, in particular for switching applications. On my phone with Jelly Bean I can easily switch apps by holding down the menu button and selecting an app from the task manager. Not so on this Novo7 tablet where holding down the menu button does nothing.

    Options hidden under buttons, not able to disable some options and generally not being able to find what I am looking for. I still haven’t figured out how to add icons to the desktop and I refuse to google it. Right now I just want to break my ICS device, scream and move on with life. Whoever thought that this was a better UI needs to have their heads examined.

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