"An iOS-like Control Center? On my Android? What is this blasphemy?!" - you might be asking. Calm down, Android loyal, no one from Apple is going to hurt your phone. All we want to show you is an easy way to obtain a convenient feature - especially if you own a tall, wide smartphone with a 5-inch display or more. We're talking about a control panel that you comfortably pull up with your thumb from below the home screen, instead of awkwardly reaching (or using a second hand) for the screen's upper edge to pull down the Notifications menu. This isn't only a case of ergonomics, though. Android Control Center, also known as Quick Control Panel on the Google Play Store, is a highly customizable utility for those of you that want ultimate control with the flick of a thumb. Here's how to try it out.
On your desktop or Android device, head over to the XDA Developer Forum, and install the Android Control Center APK. If you are running Android 4.2.2 and lower, get v14, otherwise get v18. Note that you can get the app by searching for Quick Control Panel in the Play Store, but over there, it has free and paid versions. Note that the paid version is actually the one available for free from the XDA Forum. How come? Don't worry, there's nothing illegitimate here - the developer is simply giving the app away to the community, while encouraging users to support his work by buying Quick Control Panel from the Play Store. It's only $1.85.
- If your device has hardware keys, hold your thumb on the Home button and choose Android Control Center to complete the action. As always, you can assign the toggle to permanently open ACC, or stick to Google Now.
What is this that stands before you? It's lean, mean control panel! Let's dig into it. On the lower side, you have indicators for time, date, and battery life (but we disabled that one). Above them, you have handy music controls. Here's the first thing of beauty about this app - when you are playing a game, or browsing, you no longer have to give up what you're doing just so you can open your music player to change the song or something else. Simply call up Android Control Center from your Home button, change or pause the tune, and come back to what you were doing with the back button. ACC appears as an overlay over everything you might have open, including the Android interface, but it's only there if you need it.
The upper side has Brightness and Volume sliders, and above these, you will find a rich shortcuts menu. The ubiquitous Wi-Fi, GPS, Location mode, and other toggles that you might find in Android's pulldown Notifications menu are there. Scroll left and right to browse shortcuts and toggles. Aside from quickly toggling system functions, ACC lets you assign an infinite number of app shortcuts in the same line. Simply tap on a slot and assign the app you want to it. Interestingly, you can also change each shortcut's icon to whatever you wish. But this happens elsewhere.
The rest of the menus keep going in the same spirit. You will be bored out of reading long before we manage to take you through them all. We'll just clue you in about some options. If you want the ACC to have an iOS 7-like white appearance, instead of Android's dark Holo-styling, you should head to Color Settings and choose the Light color scheme. It looks really good on stock Android. Some other options that captured our attention are the crazy-extensive customizations. ACC lets you adjust the swipe detection region, the quick toggle buttons' appearance, all colors used in the theme, and so much else it's overwhelming.
If you like what you've read so far and want to try out the app yourself, download it from the following links and go to town. Happy customizing!