The Security section is an area you'll definitely want to visit. It houses the commands to set up a PIN, password or pattern lock for your phone. (Android 4.0 has a face-recognition unlock feature, too, but -- while incredibly novel -- it's far less secure than the more traditional methods.) The section also enables you to encrypt your phone's data and require a PIN or password to decrypt it every time the device is powered on.
As far as your data goes, Google can automatically back up your basic phone settings as well as your installed applications; if you should ever move to a new device, your settings and applications can then automatically be restored. Just make sure you have the "Back up my data" and "Automatic restore" options checked in the Backup & Reset section of your phone's settings if you want this feature to work.
Android 4.0 search and voice control
Google is famous for search, so not surprisingly, search is a core part of the Android 4.0 experience. The basic search functionality in ICS is the same as in past Android releases, but there's a new, more convenient way to access it: via a persistent Google search bar at the top of every home screen panel. (Some manufacturer-modified versions of ICS may put the bar in a different location or make it an optional element you can choose to include.)
To search for anything -- whether on your phone or on the Web -- touch your finger to the Google search bar. This will pull up a box that you can type any term into; your phone will start displaying relevant results for items on your phone and on the Web as you type, much like Google does with its Google Instant search feature online.
By default, the Android search function will look through a lot of different types of content, including apps you have installed, contacts you have stored, bookmarks and recently visited Web pages, and music files in your personal collection. You can customize exactly what types of content are and aren't included by tapping the Menu icon at the top-right of the search screen and selecting Settings and then "Searchable items."
In addition to standard search, Android includes a robust voice search system. Simply tap the microphone icon in the Google search bar and begin to speak; your phone will transcribe and then search for whatever words you say. Like regular search, the voice search will include items both on your phone and on the Web.
The microphone icon also gives you access to Google's Voice Actions technology. Voice Actions lets you complete numerous functions on your phone just by speaking (yes, kind of like Apple's Siri -- only this has been around since 2010). Try pressing the microphone and saying some of these commands:
- Send text to [contact] [message]
- Call [business name and city]
- Call [contact]
- Send email to [contact] [message]
- Go to [website]
- Note to self [note]
- Navigate to [location/business name]
- Directions to [location/business name]
- Map of [location]
- Listen to [artist/song/album]
Android 4.0 text input
Android 4.0 has a virtual keyboard that pops up anytime you're able to enter text. The 4.0-level keyboard is dramatically improved over the one in past Android releases; even when you type sloppily and miss a lot of characters, it can usually figure out what you're trying to say. The keyboard also has built-in word suggestion and spell-check capabilities.