Thursday, July 18, 2013

How to use your new Nexus 7 tablet (This applies to the 2012 version)

Step One: Charge it fully. With the supplied charger, this should take no more than 3-4 hours (longer won’t hurt). Btw, you can use it while it’s charging!

Tip No.1: Don’t turn it off! Set the time-out to five minutes and after that amount of time of inactivity, it will go into “Sleep” mode. To awaken (or to put to sleep), just tap the power button (don’t hold button in, when either awakening or putting it into sleep mode). By not turning the tablet off, you save a lot of time not having to wait for it to “reboot” each time.
Of course, if you plan not to use it for a few days, you may want to turn it off to prevent the battery from completely discharging.

Tip No. 2: Read the manual! It’s already on your tablet; just click on blue “Play Books” icon at bottom and you should see a link to it. This manual is updated frequently, so check it often. You can also download it from the internet, to other computers as a pdf file. Just “Google” it.

Tip No. 3: Put your name, address, phone, etc., in it. This is in Settings, Security, Owners Info. Check the box near the top, “Show owner info on lock screen”.

Tip No. 4: To get more battery life, turn off features that you don’t need at the time, i.e., GPS, Bluetooth, etc., esp. at night, even Wi-Fi when you’re not at home. Of course Wi-Fi has to be on in order to connect to outside sources, like friends houses, Starbucks, McDonalds, Supermarkets, Target stores, etc.

Tip No. 5: A simple touch or tap can activate most items on your tablet. However, a longer “touch” (= “right click”) can give you options, depending on the application.

There are two “shades” that can be dragged down from the top left and top right of the screen. To reach “Settings”, drag down the upper right shade. The "Notification" shade can be reached by dragging down from the upper left.

You’ll find that there are five “desktops” on the Nexus. These can be found by dragging the screen left and right. You can put any of the icons on any of the five screens. It might make sense to “categorize” your icons this way. You can also combine icons into “folders” just by dragging one over the other and releasing. Then give the folder a name.

While on one of the desktops, a very handy feature is to tap the microphone in the upper right corner, then ask the tablet any question. You’ll be surprised how quickly and accurately you’ll get an answer! You can do the same thing, while in Google Now by simply saying “Google” and then asking your question. Google Now is opened by an “up swipe” from the bottom of the screen.

While the default keyboard is good, I find that the free app, “TouchPal X” keyboard is much nicer. Give it a try. It’s available, like everything else, on the Google Play Store site.

For a good file manager, I recommend, “ES File Explorer”. Both it and “Total Commander” are excellent file managers.

While the Nexus 7 will not display Flash content by default, you can view it by installing the Firefox Beta browser, and installing a special Flash app. Any ‘ole Flash app won’t do: you have to have the one titled, Adobe Flash Player 11.1-111115011. Just Google it.

To install new apps, I use my desktop computer by going to the Google Play Store ( You can install from here and when you turn on (wake up) your Nexus 7, the app will be there! If you see an app in the icon list of the Play Store, click on it and you should see a full page, describing the app. This is where you install the app from. You can also go to the Play Store directly on your tablet by tapping the white shopping bag icon in the lower right of the display.

Some interesting apps that I use are, Dropbox, Evernote, Flashlight, Google Sky Map, Kindle, RealCalc(ulator), Camera, Google Keep, GPS Essentials, HD Widgets, Lookout, ISS Detector, 1Weather, Out of Milk, Pic2shop, (Btw, all of these apps are free!)

To move an app’s icon, just hold your finger on it for a second, then drag it to wherever you wish. If you drag an icon over the top of another and release, it will create a “group”, or folder. You can catagorize apps in this manner, then rename the group. An example of this is the group at the bottom, left of your tablet. If you wish to remove an icon from the desktop, do the above, then drag to the top of the screen to “remove”. This does not delete the app from your tablet, only the icon from your desktop. To uninstall an app, go to the apps page (the circle with six squares at bottom, center) then touch and hold the app’s icon you wish to delete, and drag to the top of the screen to the “uninstall” location. Then click, “OK”.

If, for whatever reason, you have turned your tablet off or it has shut down on its own, you may have to hold the power button in for up to 30 seconds to get it to respond. Usually, this is not necessary, but can get you out of a jam.

I try to never let my battery get below ~20 percent charge. I just leave the charger plugged in to the wall outlet and every day or two, plug it into the tablet.

I don't know why reviewers, etc., fail to mention it, but the Nexus 7 is one of the very few tablets that has a complete, stand-alone GPS built in. This works like any regular GPS unit and is one of my favorite features of the tablet. There are many apps available that utilize the GPS function.

The Nexus also features NFC, or Near Field Communication. This enables simply 'touching' the tablet against other NFC devices to quickly transfer files, etc. Using Google Wallet, you can also use NFC, at some cash register terminals, to easily charge your purchase.

To perform a screen capture, hold in the power button and the down volume at the same time for about two seconds. The screen should flash when it works. After doing this, drag down the upper, left “shade” and you should see a line that says, “Screenshot captured”. Touch this to view, copy, move, etc., the image.

A clever “secret” is that a magnet, when held near the lower left side (in “portrait” format) will turn the tablet on and off. The area is just above the four contact points on the left side of the tablet. It seems to work, both on the front and rear sides. Some book-type cases will have a magnet built into them, just for this purpose. Strangely, the “official” Nexus case does not have this magnet.