Imagine tilting the top of your phone away from you — it becomes a bit of a trapezoid, right? The top will appear smaller since it's further away, and the bottom will appear larger since it's closer to you — in other words, the perspective is all off. The same can be said of the pictures you take with an awkwardly-positioned phone.
Google's version of Android is best described as AOSP with extra features. But while the Pixel's UI is rightfully praised for its simplicity, those "extra features" aren't as numerous as they are on other OEM skins like Samsung's One UI. Case in point, there's no real system-wide audio EQ.
On a PC, you can play sound from multiple apps at once. It's great, but it can also be confusing — there's a volume slider in each app, then the system-wide one, and probably another knob on your speakers. To avoid this dysfunction, Android only has one sound stream for media. But that has its own problems.
Pixels don't have a "Download Mode" like Samsung Galaxy phones, so there's not an easy, point-and-click way to send firmware files and low-level commands from your computer. What they do have is an even more powerful tool: Fastboot Mode.
Android's hidden Developer Options menu, sometimes called "Developer Mode," has a ton of cool settings inside of it. You can enable wireless ADB, spoof your geolocation, make the Pixel 5's screen always run at 90 Hz, or even force incompatible apps to work with dark mode.
The Pixel 5 is a great value proposition in this era of $1,500 phones. With its reasonable price tag, fully open-sourced software, and unlockable bootloader, it's also an ideal phone for rooting.
Google doesn't get enough credit for it, but they definitely make some of the best phones for rooting and modding. Heck, if you want to replace the entire operating system on a Pixel, you can do it pretty easily. It all starts with the bootloader.
Every year, Apple adds some old technology to the iPhone and gives it a catchy marketing name, then like clockwork, it becomes the next big thing. Google, on the other hand, creates some truly innovative features, doesn't really bother naming them, then lets them languish in obscurity until Apple reinvents them at a later date.
Android's status bar is ever-present. It sits at the top of almost every screen in every app, making it the most prominent part of your Pixel's theme. So it only makes sense that Google would give you a way to change the icons it uses.
The Pixel 5 is the first mainstream phone with perfectly symmetrical slim bezels. Most other "bezel-less" phones have had a disproportionately large bottom bezel, and while the iPhone's side and bottom bezels are symmetrical, there's a huge notch across most of its top bezel. The downside to the Pixel's approach is it has a pretty big display cutout for the front camera.
In a tradition dating back to the Nexus days, Google has always used fish-themed codenames when communicating internally about their phones. Their laptops and tablets are usually named after video game characters. These names often give us the first evidence of an upcoming device when they're used in software commits in Android's open source code.
Android updates don't have as many headlining features as they once did, but that's the point. If you keep updating software to add features and fix bugs, you'll eventually reach a point where the main focus is polish. That doesn't mean you can't get excited about a fresh coat of wax.
How To: Use Portrait Lighting in Google Photos to Add an Adjustable Key Light to Pictures You've Already Taken
Google's Pixel smartphones have earned a reputation for taking great photos without relying on top-of-the-line camera sensors. Instead, Google leans on the software side to squeeze super images out of its camera. This also enables them to roll out new features out to previous-generation devices.
As if telemarketers weren't bad enough, now we have robocalls and spoofed numbers to deal with. Many of us get a least one spam call per day, if not much more than that. Google's Phone app has always been great at managing these calls, but it's been exclusive to their Pixel phones — until recently, that is.
Your phone tracks your every move to some extent, and I'm not just talking about Google services. Smartphone manufacturers use telemetry services that run in the background to track how you use the device, mostly for ads or to improve their future products. You don't usually have a say in the matter, but if you have a rooted OnePlus, there's a way you can take control over it.
Like with many aspects of One UI, Samsung's changes to Android's volume panel are controversial. Between the different orientation and alternative design, it isn't for everyone. Fortunately for Android purists, there's an app to solve this problem.
Google's been on a mission to improve the privacy and security of Android lately, and Samsung's always been at the forefront in these areas. As a result, One UI 3.0, which is based on Android 11, is the most secure OS version to ever hit Galaxy phones thanks to few key changes and new features.
With Samsung's beautiful, large displays, the Galaxy S and Note series are great tools for multitasking. This goes beyond the hardware with tools like split-screen mode, floating windows, bubbles, and picture-in-picture mode. And in One UI 3.0, that last one is becoming even more useful.
Android 11 has a new power menu with integrated contactless payment cards and smart home toggles. It's definitely futuristic — so much so that it pushed out a tool many of us use in the present: the screenshot button.
You can't beat Samsung's hardware, but their software still isn't for everyone. That's the thing, though — software can be replaced. So if you're more a fan of Google's vision for Android, but you can't get enough of Samsung's beautiful screens and build quality, you're just 11 steps away from getting the best of both worlds.
From browsing social media to creating films, your smartphone can do it all. But even with all that power, for many, it is primarily used to communicate with others, particularly via text. In One UI 3.0, Samsung and Google drastically changed this core functionality with a new-ish feature called notification bubbles.
One thing about the small round little Pixel Buds — they might get lost easily if you have a terrible habit of misplacing stuff. Or worse, imagine someone taking a liking to them a little too much and stealing them when you aren't looking. Google thought ahead about these issues, so just like your smartphone, you can track your wireless earbuds from anywhere with ease.
Android 11 has plenty of new features as you'd expect, including a fancy new embedded media player. Rather than a constant notification, your audio controls now get pushed up into the Quick Settings panel when playing music. However, to make way for this new media player functionality, your total number of quick settings tiles had to be cut from nine down to six.
The Galaxy Note 20's speakers are so loud and capable that they almost never need to be set to 100%. But by the same sense, it can be hard to find that just-right volume level since one increment represents a bigger change in sound output. Believe it or not, there's actually a first-party tool to fix this problem.
Nearly ten years since the first Galaxy Note and yet the Galaxy Note 20 still hasn't solved one of its biggest problems: bloatware. There are still over 20 redundant or unnecessary apps that are on this $1,000+ phone. But while it does require some advanced tools, it's still possible to remove them.
Google is making its Phone app, the default dialer for Pixel and Android One devices, available to many other smartphones via the Play Store. If you're enticed to replace your factory-installed dialer to take advantage of the spam-filtering capabilities, you don't want to miss out on other features like the ability to customize canned responses for declining calls.
The Snapdragon version of the Galaxy Note 20 and 20 Ultra — the one sold in the US — can't be rooted. Without root, the level of customization is limited. Such a large group of Android users shouldn't miss out on mods, and they don't have to.
The Galaxy Note 20 series has one of the largest screens on any smartphone. Such a massive display not only makes it easy to enjoy videos, but it also makes split-screen mode more viable, as each half of the screen is large enough to enjoy the content — including two different videos.
How To: Completely Remove the Media Controls in Android 11's Quick Settings When You're Done Playing Music
As you test out the new Quick Settings media controls in Android 11 and form an opinion, you'll notice one of the changes they made to the player besides the new location. For example, when you swipe away the mini version of these controls, the music keeps playing and the player still appears in the expanded view.
If you're a PC gamer, you know the value of performance metrics. These graphs and charts overlaid on top of a game give you real-time information about how well your system performs. And for the first time, Galaxy users running One UI 3.0 will get access to similar information for mobile games.
Apps can learn a lot about you just by reading information about your smartphone. They can easily track what device model you have, your phone number, and in some cases, your hardware MAC addresses. Many third-party apps will only track your device values for advertising purposes, but some might be trying to snoop on your data for ill intentions.
Since launching Google Lens as a a Pixel-exclusive feature in 2017, Google has not only expanded the availability of the tool to Android and iOS, but also built upon its functionality. Now, in addition to translator, tip calculator, personal shopper, and tour guide, Google has added math tutor to the job description for Google Lens.
Just days after Google released the official Android 11 update, Samsung already had a pre-beta build of One UI 3.0 available for developers to test their apps on. So this year's main OS upgrade is likely hitting Galaxy phones even earlier than we thought.
I think it was about Day 3 of working on our massive, all-encompassing Pixel 4a root guide for beginners when I realized something: Not everyone needs their hands held through each tiny step. If you just need a quick refresher, some links, and maybe a fastboot command to copy, this Pixel 4a root guide is for you.
The gesture navigation introduced with Android 10 worked wonders by giving you more of your screen and less tapping. Android 11 offers the option to fine-tune the back gesture sensitivity for your screen's left and right sides. However, the issue still stands for people who like to use the left swipe menu within apps to open hamburger style menus.
Alongside the launch of Android 11, Google added a new feature to Live View, the augmented reality mode for walking navigation in Google Maps, that helps you find friends in AR. But even if you're not trying to meet up with somebody, you can easily access the AR mode and orient yourself to any location.
Alongside the launch of Android 11, Google has gifted Pixel users with several exclusive features, including App Suggestions on the home screen. Another exclusive feature involves Live View, the augmented reality walking navigation feature in Google Maps and one of the more useful implementations of AR for the average consumer.
If you've ever been into custom ROMs, you likely know the Dirty Unicorns name pretty well. It's been synonymous with unique features and awesome tweaks when compared to stock. Recently, Dirty Unicorns has returned again in a big way with some neat features for Android 10.
If it has an internet connection, it's got a huge attack surface for hackers. But what makes your phone even more dangerous is its portability and the collection of sensors it houses that can be just as good at tracking you as the camera and mic.
Have you ever received a toast message, but weren't sure where it came from? While usually harmless, sometimes, it can be an indication of the presence of an app long forgotten. But with numerous running background apps, it can be hard to identify the source.