8 Android app shortcuts that are actually useful

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Sometimes, just saving a tap or two can make you feel so efficient, if not actually more productive. This is the aim of Android’s new app shortcuts—small, pop-up shortcut buttons that appear when you long-press on a home-screen app icon.

Some of the available Android app shortcuts, which you’ll find on handsets running Android version 7.1.1 or better, are more useful than others. For example, I could do without the “I’m feeling lucky” shortcut in the Google Photos app, which simply opens a random snapshot. But a shortcut that lets you take one-tap scans of receipts? That’s interesting.

Read on for eight of the more useful Android app shortcuts, from a quick way to free up storage space on your Android device to a shortcut that lets you record a quick audio note.

1. Free up storage space

One of the quickest ways to clear out the clutter on your Android phone is to delete any photos or videos that you’ve already backed up to the cloud. With Google Photos, you can do so by opening the app, tapping the main menu button in the top-left corner of the screen, and then tapping Free up storage.

Free up storage space Ben Patterson

You can quickly free up a large swath of storage space on your Android device with this Google Photos app shortcut.

Or you can make an app shortcut and shave a few precious taps off the process: Tap and hold the Google Photos icon on the home screen, then tap the Free up space app shortcut.

Bonus tip: You can take any app shortcut and add it to your Android home screen. Just tap and hold the shortcut, then drag it to an available spot.

2. Create a reminder

Android reminders are the perfect solution for my Swiss-cheese brain, so long as I remember to set them. It helps if the process of creating reminders is super easy—ideally, nothing more than a tap or two.

Create a reminder Ben Patterson

The New reminder app shortcut for the Google Calendar app makes it easy to quickly tie a virtual string around your finger.

Luckily, there’s a handy Android app shortcut for memory-challenged Android users like me. Just tap and hold the Calendar home screen icon, then tap the New reminder shortcut. Once you do, you’ll instantly jump to a blank reminder in Calendar.