With smartphone makers ditching the headphone jack in the hopes of a truly wireless future, we're having to rely on Bluetooth devices like earbuds and headphones more and more. But the downside here is that these devices aren't physically connected to your phone in any way, which makes it way too easy to leave an important accessory behind.
Locking individual apps on your Android device gives you an added layer of security by safeguarding app data from unwanted attention. I personally prefer using an app locker over a standard lock screen because my kids play with my phone, and they've completely disabled it after inputting the wrong PIN. So app lockers give me the right balance between giving my children access to my device, and the security of locking down my data from would-be intruders.
Let's say you gave your Wi-Fi password to your neighbor a while back, under the assumption that they'd only use it while they were at your house sharing stuff via Chromecast. But now, your connection is slower than it normally should be, and you have this sneaking suspicion that the dude in apartment 3C is flat-out piggybacking off of your home network.
Everyone loves sharing pictures and quick video clips with Snapchat, but while the service itself is tons of fun, the Android app is one of the worst on the market. For one, Snapchat takes terrible photos even on high-end Android phones. And to make matters worse, the app is a notorious data-sucking battery drainer.
If your mechanical home button or capacitive navigation keys are on the fritz, doing something as simple as navigating your phone's interface becomes a tedious chore. In this situation, some users have turned to root mods that enable Android's software navigation bar to solve the problem, but not everyone is willing or able to root their device.
Android 7.0 Nougat brought a lot of multitasking improvements along with it, but the most notable addition is a unified multi-window mode (which shines bright in Google's Pixel phones). This means that every Android device can now use the same split-screen interface, and the days of software fragmentation caused by differing multi-window implementations by LG and Samsung are now over.
Ever since QuickPic was sold to a known adware company, there's been a glaring need for lightweight and fast third-party gallery apps on Android. For the folks that don't want to use Google Photos and other cloud-based solutions, a gallery app that loads your locally-stored pictures quickly without taking up much storage space is the best possible fit.
Ever since the update that turned Google Keyboard into Gboard rolled out, a lot of people have been noticing that word suggestions and auto-correct features are downright slow. The issue seems to affect users with multiple languages installed more than anyone, though it can also happen if you have a midrange phone or older device with only one language installed.
Android's notification system is quite robust, especially now that Google added bundled notifications and quick reply features to Android 7.0 Nougat. However, things can still get quite cluttered when you have several unread messages, which fills your status bar with icons and makes your notification tray take up half of the screen by itself.
If you have a mobility impairment that affects your hands, arms, or manual dexterity, a smartphone's touch-based interface can almost be a barrier between you and the mobile internet. Eye-tracking software requires too much computing power for today's smartphones to handle, so it might seem as though there's no good way to interact with an Android device.
After months of it being exclusive to iOS devices, Google finally made their popular Gboard app available for Android phones and tablets. It's a snappy keyboard with the power of Google search built right in, which allows you to search for and share images and GIFs right from your favorite messaging app.
Starting in October, many Nexus 6P users have been experiencing a bug that causes their phone to completely shut down, even though there was 20% or more battery life remaining. At first, it was thought to be a direct result of the recent Android Nougat update, but a combination of factors indicate that this isn't necessarily the case—or, at least, it's not the only problem.
Cyanogen, Inc., the for-profit company that spun off from its CyanogenMod roots several years ago, has announced that they're shutting down all of their services. The company's impending demise shouldn't directly impact many Android users, but the announcement does have one major repercussion: The servers that used to host the popular CyanogenMod custom ROM have now been shut down.
If you were a particularly good little girl or boy this year, Santa might have finally brought you that cool new smartphone you've been wanting. Or perhaps you just took advantage of a great sale and treated yourself to a new gadget this holiday season—totally justifiable, and surely a well-deserved gift.
WhatsApp recently updated their emojis (or emoji, depending on your preference), but it wasn't exactly a welcome change. Many users have complained that the new smilies are just way too big, others aren't too fond of the shinier appearance, and countless folks have been venting their frustrations on Twitter.
If you need to do some hardcore multitasking on your Windows PC, a second monitor can go a long way towards getting things done. If you opt to "extend" your Windows desktop across a dual monitor setup, it's as if you have two computers side by side, with each display getting its own set of windows and programs that can be open simultaneously.
Thanks to live-streaming video and social media apps like Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat, we're all on camera nowadays. Unfortunately, though, we don't have a script to work with when we're shooting selfie videos, so it's hard to come off as perfectly eloquent when you're just freestyling off the top of your head.
With the exception of New York, D.C., and maybe San Francisco, public transportation in the United States is downright abysmal. Like it or not, you need a car to get around. This is why Uber and Lyft have seen so much success in recent years. Both ride sharing services get you from point A to point B in an efficient manner, and they do it without costing an arm and a leg. Well, in most cases.
YouTube is a great place for all your mainstream audio and video needs. Too bad you can't simply plug in your headphones, choose a playlist, and put your phone back in your pocket. Oh wait, you can... with YouTube Red and its absurd $9.99/month pricing for ad-free and background playback.
Google's new Pixel and Pixel XL flagship phones are a rousing success, with consumers praising the fluid user experience and overall performance as two of the devices' biggest strengths. But even though Google may have knocked it out of the park with a set of Apple-like smartphones that "just work," there's still room for improvement in a few areas.
If you're an Android user, Google probably has almost your entire digital life stored on its servers. Family pictures are backed up on Google Photos, your e-book library resides with Google Play Books, videos are on YouTube, chat logs in Gmail and Hangouts, starred places and location history in Google Maps, and so much more.
How To: Film Student Tracked Phone Thief for Weeks by Installing Cerberus as a System App, Here's How to Do It
Dutch filmmaker Anthony Van der Meer recently published his 2015 thesis short from Willem de Kooning Academy in South Holland online—a brilliant piece of work that managed to be touching, alarming, and informative at the same time. His documentary, which is soaring to the top of the YouTube charts as we speak, covered the journey made by a stolen smartphone and how the theft and ensuing tracking affected all parties involved.
If you really want to play Gran Turismo or Castlevania on the go, Sony's PlayStation Portable is a great way to do it. But it gets harder and harder to justify carrying around a PSP handheld gaming console when you've got an equally powerful Android phone in your pocket already. The PSP had a good 10 years before being discontinued, and your Android can pick up the slack now.
Each generation of smartphones ushers in a new set of top-of-the-line specs, with processing power, battery size, and display resolution growing by the year. These headlining features get the most press, but there's one unsung hero that has the potential to make the biggest difference when it comes to real-world performance: RAM, or random-access memory.
By default, Android limits your call history to the last 500 incoming, outgoing, or missed calls. When you reach this limit, older entries get trimmed off the bottom of the list and deleted forever. This isn't an issue with storage space, because even the biggest call logs only occupy mere kilobytes, so it's really just an artificial limit.
Android 7.1.1 stock images for the Nexus 6P were released last week on December 5, 2016. However, Verizon users seem to have been excluded from the update. Google's factory image page states "All carriers except Verizon" next to version number NMF26F. This doesn't seem fair, especially since Verizon Nexus 5X users received the latest Android Nougat update.
Chrome's text selection interface is pretty nice, but it could definitely use some improvements. For instance, when you're in Incognito Mode, you can't perform a web search for words you've highlighted. And when you're typing out a forum post or using any text input field, for that matter, there's no option to search or share any of the text you've written.
No matter which smartphone you buy, it will come with an internet browser preinstalled. Depending on your OEM, the default browser might be called Samsung Internet, HTC Internet, Silk Browser by Amazon, ASUS Browser, or Google Chrome—there's just so many stock browsers available.
When you're sitting at your desk trying to get some work done, your Android device can be a big distraction. If a text comes in, you have to pick up your phone, unlock it, then respond with the clumsy touch screen keyboard—and by then, you've probably forgotten what you were doing on your computer.
Now that Android 7.1.1 has been released, several features that were previously exclusive to Google's new Pixel phones are now available on the Nexus 6P. However, Google seems to be holding back on the Pixel's best features, as things like the "Night Light" red screen filter, "Moves" gestures, Google Assistant, blue accent color, and the new solid navigation buttons are still only officially available on the Pixel.
The V20 is an amazing new phone from LG powered by Android. Packing impressive features such as a removable battery, expandable storage, and the latest Android version straight out of the box, the V20 is a tough phone to beat.
The beauty of Android is that nearly everything can be customized. But sometimes, we get so caught up in tweaking functionality and other minutiae that one of the most important interfaces gets neglected—the home screen wallpaper.
LG, like many other OEMs, usually locks down their bootloaders with an airtight seal. There are a few good reasons for this, the big one being that an unlocked bootloader technically compromises some device security measures. LG would also argue that unlocking your bootloader is absolutely pointless, as having it locked will not hinder normal device usage, which is kinda true.
It's been little over a month since the official release of LG's latest flagship phone, the LG V20. Despite a few minor hiccups, the V20 has been attracting attention from all over for being an amazing phone. But like with most Android phones, there's no better feeling than rooting and taking complete ownership of it.
Being able to take screenshots on Android isn't something we were always able to do. It was added to stock Android in Ice Cream Sandwich 4.0 (Gingerbread 2.3, if you were a Samsung TouchWiz user) as a simple full screen screenshot, and that's the way it's remained ever since—until now.
As a former repair tech, I've heard the same reasons over and over as to why people opt not to purchase phone insurance. Some cite the cost, why pay extra every month for insurance when you're careful with your phone. Deductibles are expensive, so why not just spend that money on a repair instead of getting a refurbished phone as a replacement.
A custom recovery is a very powerful tool. You can flash ZIPs that modify your Android device in ways that not even root can accomplish, and of course you can use it to install custom ROMs. But when you're applying all of these cool mods, there's always a chance that something could go wrong, and you might even end up bricking your device.
If your phone has an unlocked bootloader, you can use Fastboot commands to flash factory images. That may sound like a bunch of technical jargon, but when it comes down to it, this is the best method for updating a rooted device, fixing a bricked phone, reverting to stock, or even getting new Android updates before everyone else.
Most websites prevent you from saving embedded videos, but if you have the Xposed Framework installed on your Android device, a cool module from developer Ashish Bansal will now let you download almost any video. The way it works is simple—just start playing a video in your favorite web browser, then you'll see a notification that lets you download the source file in one tap.
Now that Google's new Pixel phones have a working root method and custom recovery, the mods are starting to pour in. In fact, developer CZ Eddie has already recreated one of our favorite customization tweaks for the Pixel XL—a set of modified framework files that will center your status bar clock.