It’s easy to forget sometimes, but these powerful little computers we carry in our pockets are also phones — you know, devices with numbers that can make and receive those crazy old things called voice calls.
Go ahead and take a minute to absord the shock of this revelation. Gasp, guffaw, get a comically exaggerated expression of surprise on that stunning face of yours — whatever does the trick. I’ll wait.
Back? Okay, good. Listen, I know: Nine times out of 10, when we talk about Android tips, we talk about ways to be more efficient and productive with tapping around on our screens and getting things done. But today, I want to share a handy little enhancement I’ve encountered for making the phone portion of your smartphone more useful and easier to manage.
I don’t know about you, but on those rare occasions that I actually get a call these days — be it something related to work or the work of a relative ringing me up (aren’t those about the only two types of calls anyone gets anymore?) — there’s a decent chance I won’t answer it in time. And that, of course, means I then have to remember to return the call or otherwise get back to the person who’s paging my mobile apparatus.
That’s precisely where this little trick comes into play. It’s a simple way to get smart call reminders on Android — reminders that pop up automatically when you miss a call and then demand your attention. They give you convenient one-tap commands to deal with the deed or, more likely, get reminded later. It’s a better version of Android’s own native missed call notification system, and it takes no time at all to set up.
Your missed call reminder upgrade
The secret to this subtle enhancement lies in an app called Any.do — a top-notch to-do list organizer that’s worth having for its list-keeping capability, anyway, but that has an awesome extra option worth embracing whether you use its other functions or not.
All you’ve gotta do to start is download Any.do from the Play Store. (The app itself is free with a basic level of service, though it will make you sign in with Google, Facebook, or an email address to get things going.)
If it’s your first time using Any.do, the app will actually prompt you to enable the feature right off the bat. It’ll ask for a couple of phone-related permissions in order to do so; without those permissions, it wouldn’t be able to see when you miss a call or respond accordingly.
If you were already using Any.do or didn’t get the prompt, just head into the app’s settings (via the toolbar at the bottom of the screen), then tap the “Missed call” line until it shows a blue “ON” alongside it. Do the same thing with the line below it labeled “Call follow-up.”
And that, my dear comrade, is it (told ya it was easy, didn’t I?): The next time you miss a call, you’ll see a can’t-miss alert pop up along the bottom of your screen:
It’s larger and harder to overlook than the regular Android missed call notification, which can easily get lost in the shuffle of other incoming notifications (and, if you’re anything like me, can frequently get dismissed inadvertently and then quickly forgotten). Plus, the snooze function is right in front of you and incredibly easy to use — just a couple quick taps to send the alert away until a better time — and when the reminder next appears, you’re sure to see and act on it.
And by “act on it,” of course, I mean snooze it a couple dozen more times and then eventually send a short text message asking the caller if he or she actually needed anything. Hey, we may carry powerful supercomputers in our pockets, but we’re still only human.
Sign up for JR’s new weekly newsletter to get this column along with bonus tips, personal recommendations, and other exclusive extras delivered to your inbox.