Nexus 7 tips and tricks

User guides Clare Hopping 12:31, Jul 03 2013

The Nexus 7 is a great tablet and these top tips and tricks will help you get the most out of it

Google's Nexus 7 tablet is a blast out of the box but you can make the most out of the Android 4.1 device with a few tweaks. We offer 30 tips and tricks that will really let you harness all of the power of your Nexus 7. 

How to get a better battery life on the Google Nexus 7

With about eight hours on a full charge, the Nexus 7 does get solid battery life but you can always squeeze a bit more out of it. Turning off Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and GPS when not in use will make a big difference and so will making the brightness of your screen a little dimmer. You can also go into your account settings and have it not automatically download emails -- just check them manually. 

How to turn off keyboard sounds on the Google Nexus 7

The virtual keyboard on the Nexus 7 is pretty good but we don't always need to hear it. To turn off the keyboard sounds, go into Settings, tap on language & input, click on Android keyboard settings and then tap Sound on Keypress.

How to launch the camera on the Google Nexus 7

The Nexus 7 has a 1.2-megapixel front-facing camera but it doesn't come with a camera-launching app. You can always launch the camera from within apps like Facebook, Skype or others by clicking on a camera function, but you can also download the Camera Launcher for Nexus 7 app from MoDaCo. It's free, provides quick access to the camera and even offers some camera effects.

How to install Flash on the Nexus 7

Flash isn't natively available on the Nexus 7 or Chrome browser, but you can use Flash on the device still. Yopu'll probably want to install an alternative browser first. We recommend Firefox. Now, find the Adobe Flash Player APK from XDA Developer's Forum. You'll need to activate the 'install from unknown sources' option by going to Settings>Security>Unkown sources and tap the box to activate.

Once you've installed Flash, you can use the browser you downloaded, such as Boat Browser, Dolphin Browser or Firefox that allows you to use Flash in websites to get a fully functional web-browsing experience.

FYI: Many websites automatically forward you to mobile websites that strip out the Flash. To see the website in its full Flash-loaded glory, go into the browser's menu, choose Settings>More and tap on the box next to Request Desktop Site.

How to use Google Now on the Nexus 7

Google Now is the company's next-generation search engine, which is trying to show you the information before you even know you need to search for it. Crazy, huh? It's not perfect but if you want to give it a try on your Nexus 7, simply hold any of the bottom menu buttons (Back, Home or Multitask) and then slide your finger to the top of the circle toward the Google logo. 

Another way to quickly activate Google Now is from the lock screen. Instead of sliding the center icon to the unlock icon, just slide it to the Google icon and you'll immediately go into Google Now.

Once you've set up Google Now on your Nexus 7, you can start adding new cards and using it. Just swipe up from the bottom to access it, and then scroll down to the bottom of the screen to add new cards.

Cards supported include weather, traffic and time to work, public transport, Flight information if you're booked on a flight (and the confirmation is sent to your Gmail inbox), Sports scores, your next appointment, Language translator. Currency exchange, Time at home if you're traveling in a different time zone and much, much more.

More cards will show up as Google learns more about you. It's quite disconcerting when Google starts guessing random things, but pretty useful at the same time!

If a card is shown that you don't want to see, you can just swipe it off the Google Now screen.

How to use Gesture Typing on the Google Nexus 7

The Nexus 7 features Gesture Typing as it runs on Android 4.2. Gesture typing allows you to type by just gliding your finger across the keyboard rather than typing the letters individually.

To start Gesture Typing, open up the app you want to type into (creating an email, typing into the internet browser bar for example). Now, slide your finger across the letters you need to use and the Nexus 7 will try and predict which word you're trying to type.

Release your finger when you've finished typing the word and a floating preview will show you suggestions for the word. You can just tap on an alternative to choose a different word if you wish.

You can choose whether to use a space bar or not. By default, Gesture Typing is set up to use without the space bar, but you can change the settings by heading to Settings >
Language & input > Keyboard & input methods > Android keyboard. Then touch Settings and look under Gesture Typing.

How to use Face Unlock on the Google Nexus 7

Face Unlock is a handy feature in Android 4.2 that allows you to use your face to unlock your device rather than having to insert a PIN number, password or pattern.

To set up Face Unlock, head to Settings - Security - Screen lock - Face Unlock.

Now tap Set it up, Continue and move your Nexus 7 so your face fits inside the template as shown on screen.

Once your Nexus 7 finds your face, it will ask you what you want to do if it can't match your face.

Choose between Pattern and PIN, enter a pattern or PIN number and tap Next.Confirm the patter or PIN and Face Unlock will be activated.

How to take a screen shot on the Google Nexus 7

Want to share your high score on Angry Birds Space and want proof? Go ahead and hold the power and volume down buttons for two seconds to take a screen shot. You can then send the picture via various communication forms from the Gallery. 

How to switch orientation on the Google Nexus 7

The Nexus 7 tends to be focused on the portrait orientation, but you can easily make it switch to however you're holding it. Simply pull down the notification bar and tap the orientation icon (right next to the date) in the menu. 

You can also lock and unlock the tablet's orientation through the settings. Go to Settings, click on Accessibility and then click on Auto-rotate screen. 

How to make the text larger on the Google Nexus 7

Larger text can be nice on weary eyes, so it's pretty simple to expand the text on the Nexus 7. Go to Settings, click Accessibility and then tap on Large Text. 

The previous tip will make system text larger, but if you want nearly all the text larger on your Nexus 7, go to Settings, click on Display, then tap on Font Size. You can choose from Small, Normal, Large and Huge. 

How to gain quick access to Settings on the Google Nexus 7

Instead of having to click through to the Settings icon, you can always reach the Settings menu by pulling down the notification bar and then clicking on the Settings icon in the top bar. It's the one that looks like multiple dials, and it will take you there no matter what app you're currently in.

How to set a password on the Google Nexus 7

One of the best ways to secure your device is by setting a password to unlock the Nexus 7. Go to Settings and then click on Security, then tap on Screen lock. From here, you'll have the option to set a numeric password, a pattern password or you can have the tablet require a picture of your face to unlock. 

How to encrypt your Google Nexus 7

If setting a password isn't enough for you, you can also encrypt all the data on your Nexus 7 tablet and require a pin to decrypt this data whenever the device is turned on. Go to Settings, click on Security and then tap on Encrypt tablet. 

How to turn on Airplane mode on the Google Nexus 7

The Nexus 7 is great when it's connected to the Web but that's not always what you need for, say, a plane ride. To turn the Nexus 7 on Airplane mode, go to Settings, click on the More option (under Data usage) and then tap on Airplane mode. You can turn it off by clicking on that same button again.  

Want a quicker way to turn Airplane mode on and off? Well, you're in luck because this can be done on the Nexus 7 by holding the power button for a few seconds. You'll then be presented with a menu to turn the device off, turn on silent mode or to put it into Airplane mode. Click the airplane mode option to turn it on and off. 

How to get more apps on the Google Nexus 7

The Nexus 7 is meant to showcase the Google Play Store but there are multiple other ways to get new apps. You can find some other apps from places like the Amazon Appstore for Android and GetJar. Amazon offers a different premium app for free every day and GetJar only offers free apps.

How to let Nexus 7 use outside apps

In order to utilize apps that aren't in the Google Play, you'll have to set up your Nexus 7 to install apps from third-party sources. You can do this by going to your Settings, click on Security and then tap on Unknown sources. Remember, by enabling this, you do open yourself up to some potential security concerns, so be wary. 

How to install apps from your computer on the Google Nexus 7

It's fun to browse the Google Play with the Nexus 7, but you can also install apps remotely from your computer. Once you've hooked your Nexus 7 to your Google account, visit: in your browser and when you find an app you want then click Install. You'll then be given the option to send to a device and once you click on the Nexus 7, that app will be installed on your tablet in just a few seconds. 

How to get Flash on the Google Nexus 7

Adobe has said it won't offer an official version of Flash for Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, but you can still get Flash on your Nexus 7 in a few ways. If you've set your device to install non-Play Store apps, you can just download the Flash APK directly

Another way to get Flash on your Nexus 7 tablet is to download a browser that supports it. Unfortunately, this doesn't include the default Chrome browser, but I've found the Dolphin HD browser to be a wonderful, Flash-enabled alternative. 

How to use a keyboard on the Google Nexus 7

While the Nexus 7 has a solid on-screen keyboard, some of you just want to use a physical one. The easiest solution is to get a Bluetooth keyboard and then go into the tablet's Settings, turn on Bluetooth, hit the Search for devices button and it should recognize your keyboard (make sure it's turned on). From there, you'll get on-screen pairing instructions and you should be able to use your keyboard anywhere on the Nexus 7 where there's text input.

How to use a Bluetooth mouse or keyboard with the Google Nexus 7

  • Tap ‘Settings’
  • Tap ‘Wireless & Networks’
  • Select ‘Bluetooth’
  • Toggle Bluetooth ‘On’
  • (Once you have switched Bluetooth on follow the manufacturer’s instructions on your peripheral to begin pairing it with your Nexus 7. It is usually a small button or key that needs to be held for 2-5 seconds or something similar).
  • Once you have set the wheels in motion you will notice your peripheral appear within your ‘Bluetooth’ menu on your Nexus 7.
  • You may now tap the ‘Settings’ icon, which appears next to the peripheral’s name in order to alter settings, change its name or customize its method of operation in any other way.
  • Once you’ve completed your customization, tap ‘Back’ to return to the menu screen, then ‘Home’ to return to your device’s home screen.
  • You can now get on and enjoy editing some documents, typing up some emails or getting those homework assignments done with the added bonus of a hardware keyboard and mouse!

How to print with Nexus 7

I generally don't need to print much from my tablet but if you do, you'll be happy to know that's possible with the Nexus 7. You'll need to download an app that works with Google Cloud Print (I recommend Easy Print) and you'll have to have a Web-connected printer that works with Google Cloud Print. Once you've installed an app like Easy Print, hit the share icon on the page you want to print, select Easy Print and it will print in just a few seconds. 

How to get more space for music on the Google Nexus 7

Storage space is limited on the Nexus 7, so don't even worry about clogging it up with tunes because there are a variety of options that will let you access music from the cloud. Google Music will let you stream up to 20,000 of your songs that you've uploaded to Google's servers, and Pandora will get you a free, radio-like stream of music. 

If you want on-demand music and don't mind paying a few dollars, Spotify gives you access to nearly any song out there. If you just want to listen to a podcast, I recommend using Stitcher Radio or TuneIn Radio to get streaming access to your favorite Web audio. 

How to get more space for movies on the Google Nexus 7

Videos take up even more space but you can stream a bunch of great video content onto your Nexus 7. Buying or renting any movie or television from the Google Play Store will grant you streaming access to these on your tablet. While there's no Amazon Video On Demand app, if you've used the Flash trick above, you can log into your account and watch videos directly from the browser. 

Netflix is also a great option for streaming movies and television shows and I've found the selection continues to get better. Hulu Plus also gives you access to a wealth of television shows and movies but you'll have to pay a monthly subscription, much like you do with Netflix. 

How to get more space on the Google Nexus 7

Even if you get the 16GB version, the storage on the Nexus 7 can quickly run out. Along with the ways to get more music and video tips, you should check out one of the free, cloud-storage options out there. Google Drive, SugarSync, Dropbox and Box all offer the ability to store and access your files wherever you have an Internet connection. Each offers a few gigabytes of free storage, so feel free to try them and see which one best fits your needs.

How to accessorize your Google Nexus 7

A little-known feature of the Nexus 7 is that it supports USB-OTG (USB-on-the-go) and this means you can plug some of your USB devices into it. You'll need a microUSB-to-USB adapter to make this work and you should know that not everything will work (plugging a flash drive in doesn't work out of the box). If you root your device, you can gain much more control over what USB-OTG devices will work with the tablet. 

How to protect your Google Nexus 7

There's nothing worse than buying a new gadget and having it break because of an accidental drop. If you plan to buy a Nexus 7 and use it on the go, I suggest picking up a case. Google offers an official one for $20 but there are also a bunch of useful third-party cases.

How to install Android 4.2.2 on the Google Nexus 7

To install Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean on your Nexus 7, follow the directions below. This method should work on any Nexus 7 out there.

  1. Go to Settings, Apps, then All
  2. Find and select Google Services Framework.
  3. Tap Force Stop, then Clear Data
  4. Now go back to Settings, About, and the click Update.
  5. The Nexus 7 will download the update automatically. After several minutes you will see a pop-up indicating the software upgrade is complete. Your device will probably reboot.
  6. That's it! You have successfully installed Android 4.2.2 on your Nexus 7.

How to set up a personalized screen lock on your Nexus 7

One of the most important things you can do to protect your tablet and the content enclosed therein is to set up a security lock so that only you can gain access to your stuff. We’re here to walk you through the incredibly simple task of doing so:

  • Grab your Nexus 7
  • Tap ‘Settings’
  • Tap ‘Security’
  • Select ‘Screen Lock’
  • Select the type of lock that suits you; we recommend a PIN code
  • Hit ‘Home’
  • Tap ‘Settings’
  • Choose ‘Security’
  • Tap ‘Owner Info’
  • You can now enter your personal details, making it very easy for the honest person finding your lost device to get it back into your loving arms!
  • Rest easy!

How to take a screenshot on your Nexus 7

  • Grab your Nexus 7 tablet
  • Press the Volume Down and Power keys simultaneously
  • Wait for the snapshot
  • You’re done!

How to beam content from one Nexus 7 to another

One killer feature of the Nexus 7 is that it comes equipped with NFC, which stands for Near Field Communication, a short range wireless technology that makes it a breeze for your device to interact with other NFC-enabled hardware.

If you’re looking at a Web page or watching a video and you want to share it with your friend/wife/barber who is also using a Nexus 7 (they are cheap, so we predict the whole damned world’s gonna have one soon) then you can do so without having to punch out an email or Tweet/Facebook the link.

All you need to do is beam the content, and we’re here to show you how:

  • Grab your Nexus 7
  • Ensure that NFC and Beam are enabled:
  • Tap ‘Settings’
  • Tap ‘Wireless & Networks’
  • Select ‘More’
  • Tap ‘NFC’
  • The same procedure can be followed to activate Beam (Settings>Wireless & Networks>More>Android Beam)
  • Next, navigate to some share-worthy content
  • Once you’ve found it, place your tablet toward the rear of your friend/wife/barber’s tablet
  • The devices will then "handshake", and you will hear a sound
  • The content you are sharing will then shrink on your screen and you will see a message saying ‘Touch to Beam’
  • Tap the Nexus 7’s screen anywhere
  • You're done!

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