Navigate Easier with Android’s Smart Text Selection and Selected Text Magnification

For some, especially those of us in the approaching-the-over-the-hill gang, working with text on our phones can be cumbersome. Because smartphone text itself, context menu entries, and all the other tools for working with text are so small that they render simple tasks, such as selecting an address or phone number, copying it, and then pasting it into the target app, is not only hard to see but also somewhat difficult to manipulate.

Currently a contributing editor at PCMag, William Harrel has been writing about computer technology for more than 30 years, since well before the advent of the internet and has authored or coauthored more than 20 books.

The good news is that, with features like Smart Text Selection and Text Magnification, later versions of Android (versions 8 and 9, or Oreo and Pie) have found ways to alleviate some of the tedium.

With Smart Text Selection, for example, when you select text in one app, such as, say, a street address in your browser, Android presents you with a suggested shortcut—in this case, the option of finding the location in Google Maps.

Smart Text works in several different scenarios, including navigating to specific apps based on selections (phone numbers, email address, street addresses, and names) from web pages, emails, Recents, Notifications, and some other screens that display text.

Text Magnification (a feature available on iPhone for some time now), on the other hand, simply displays an enlarged representation of the text you’re selecting, as you highlight it, primarily to make it easier to see what you’re dragging your finger over. We’ll get to that in a moment, but first, let’s look at several Smart Text Selection scenarios.

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