Master Android KitKat's redesigned phone dialer with these three tips

Android 4.4 (KitKat) comes with a radically, redesigned phone dialer app. Here are three tips to help you master the dialer's interface.

Long-time Android users have grown accustomed to using the built-in dialer app to place calls. But with Andoird 4.4 (aka KitKat), Google made drastic changes to how users interact with the dialer. In this TechRepublic Two Minute Drill, I'll show you three ways to use the new dialer more efficiently.

Two Minute Drill: Managing the Android KitKat dialer

I will be demonstrating on the Verizon-branded, Motorola Moto X, which is one of my favorite Android devices. As with most Motorola devices, the Moto X received the KitKat update before handsets from many other OEMs.

New look

First and foremost, the overall look of the dialer has changed. When you first open the dialer, you’ll be greeted with avatars for most recently placed (or received) calls.

KitKat Dialer

1. Tap to call your contacts

Remember prior to KitKat, you could swipe to the left to message and swipe to the right to call? That action is no more. In the main screen you will see your favorites with a small star on the bottom right corner. Tap that star to open the contact. From the resulting window, you can tap the phone icon to call the number, tap the messaging icon to send an SMS, tap the star to remove the contact from favorites, or tap the “head and shoulders” icon to open the contact for editing, sharing, setting ringtones, and more.

2. Quicly view a contact's history

Back at the main dialer screen, you can tap the bottom left corner to open up the recent history. If you tap an entry in that history, you can see details for the history of that contact.

3. Opening the phone dialer

Tap the bottom center of the main dialer window to open up the phone dialer. The phone dialer itself behaves exactly as you would expect -- you tap the number out and then tap the phone icon to initiate the call.

Android KitKat Dialer - Keypad

Although it's not something most will have much trouble getting used to, the KitKat phone dialer has changed how you interact with contacts and call history. Although it may not be as efficient at first, you’ll get used to the new way of life on KitKat.