August 10, 2010 | by Lars Aronsson
A very useful tool to have in your software arsenal is an app that gives you quick access to your most commonly used settings. It’s a real timesaver when you don’t have to go to Android’s main Settings screen to change the options you use daily. Here are some of the top choices the Market has to offer.
Quick Settings is an open-source project that presents the settings you use from day to day in a clean, no-frills interface. As the name implies, the app is quick, not only in the sense that it lets you conveniently overlook your favorite options, but it loads fast as well. Since Quick Settings can be launched directly from your notification bar or via a long press on the Search key, you can promptly bring up the app whenever you want to.
Quick Settings is customizable, and the app also displays the current memory status for both the internal and external storage. These are the settings it lets you toggle:
- Volume control
- APN control
- GPS receiver
- Airplane mode
- Screen timeout
- Auto-sync data
- Master volume
- Auto rotation
- Unlock pattern
MySettings that we reviewed back in June is an app that some people may find more aesthetically pleasing than its cousin above. It’s very similar to Quick Settings since the utility also lets you change common settings from a single screen. But instead of presenting the various options in a traditional list, it shows them as large buttons across your display. The app can be accessed from the notification bar, although it may unfortunately not be launched by longpressing a hardware key.
Even if MySettings basically lets you modify the same options as Quick Settings, there is one key difference: while the latter can enable or disable the GPS from within the app, the former takes you to the Android Location screen for that purpose.
Install MySettings | Price: Free | Website: http://jqsoft.blogspot.com/2010/03/mysettings.html
If your country has paid apps on the Market and you don’t mind spending 99 cents, SwitchPro (featured in Android Apps Alert 27) is a great alternative to the applications above. It’s clearly based on the familiar Power control widget, but SwitchPro is configurable and much more powerful. Among other things, the widget lets you change its background and colors, and you can add up to seven simultaneous buttons in the order of your choice. SwitchPro currently supports 17 different settings, including Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS, Vibration/Silent mode, Screen always on, and Airplane mode.
Extended Controls Widget
While we’re on the topic of tools that let you change settings, one cannot fail to mention Extended Controls. It’s also a variation of Android’s Power control widget, and quite similar to SwitchPro above. However, Extended Controls is even more customizable and you can add as many buttons to the widget as you please (it can get crowded, though), including one showing your battery status. On the other hand, Extended Controls won’t let you change the order of the settings. All in all, the two widgets are more or less on par with each other.
The apps and widgets discussed in this post are all excellent choices for gaining quick access to Android’s most popular settings. It mainly comes down to personal preference – and price. One could however argue that the widgets are the best way to roll. They are customizable, stylish, and because of their homescreen dwelling nature, they can probably provide the quickest access to your settings. On the other hand, since Quick Settings can be launched by longpressing the Search button, it may be just as fast, if not even slightly quicker depending on the situation.