Android smartphones are well known for being incredibly customizable, and mobile device manufacturers like TCL like to add special touches to expand on the operating system. Last year, we introduced a handy new feature on our new Android smartphones called Smart Key.

Smart Key is a convenient hardware button located on the left side of the phone that can be programmed to open apps or perform various tasks, and it’s all customizable to help you be even more productive.

Capable of programming up to three features at the same time, you can choose which features you want to access and simply activate them by doing one of three gestures: single-press, double-press, and long press.

Here are just a few things that the Smart Key can be used for:

  • Activate Google Assistant. This comes in especially handy if you like using Google’s voice assistant but prefer not triggering it with your voice. By activating Google Assistant through Smart Key, you still have access to the same thousands upon thousands of options that the service can provide.

  • Open an app…any app! Literally every app on your phone can be called up, so this is helpful for any apps you need to access frequently throughout the day.

  • Flashlight. I use my phone’s flashlight a lot, so being able to turn it on through a hardware button is much more convenient than having to turn the screen on and going through the drop-down settings.

  • A multitude of camera features. With Smart Key, you can not only launch into the camera, you can also launch specific camera modes – say if you want to go straight to selfie mode, video mode or super night mode – and you can also use it to take the actual shot itself.

  • Open your remote controls. This option applies to TCL phones that come with an infrared blaster built-in.

  • Activate split-screen mode. Great for those who love multitasking on their phones.

  • Turn on/off mute. If you’re spending a lot of time on conference calls, this particular feature is a must!

  • Take a screenshot.

To program the Smart Key, simply go into your device’s settings menu > Button & Gestures > Smart Key.