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.
There's a lot of conflicting information out there when it comes to the best habits for charging a smartphone's battery, so let's clear some of that up right off the bat. Lithium ion batteries (the type used in most modern electronics) start to lose their ability to hold a charge over time, and the two biggest factors that contribute to this are excess heat and overcharging.
Android's settings menu is actually pretty daunting. There are options for nearly everything, so in the sea of various menus and submenus, it's easy to overlook important privacy and security settings. On Google's Pixel phones in particular, there are 20 such settings that you should double check.
If you somehow forgot the pattern, PIN, or password that locks your Android device, you might think you're out of luck and are destined to be locked out forever. These security methods are hard to crack by design, but in many cases, it's not entirely impossible to break into a locked device.
With all the high-tech wizardry available on modern smartphones, the low-key most practical tool is arguably the flashlight. If you own a Google Pixel model, it's finally easier to turn the flashlight on and off from anywhere.
Apps don't need to come bundled with an entire browser just to be able to display web pages — instead, they can call on the system WebView browser to render content for them. Android's default WebView renderer is Google software, which isn't quite as privacy-forward as some other options.
Back in the earlier days of Android, you were able to connect your phone to a computer, and it would mount automatically. This meant once the USB connection was made, your internal storage would pop up on the computer and you could go about your business. But recent versions of Android changed that to help increase security.
From booting into Fastboot mode with a single command to installing mods without root access, there's no shortage of reasons to use ADB. The catch, though, you had to be tied to a computer with a USB connection. However, a new feature in Android 11 finally allows you to run ADB commands over Wi-Fi instead of being tethered.
You've probably connected your Android device to dozens of Wi-Fi networks since you've had it, and your phone or tablet remembers each of them. Whether it's a hotspot at home, school, work, the gym, a coffee shop, a relative's apartment — or even from a friend's phone — each time you type in a Wi-Fi password, your Android device saves it for safekeeping and easy access later.
Being an Android user and having friends who are in the Apple ecosystem does not need to be a pain. You can easily send high-quality videos to iPhone users, so don't feel handicapped without access to iMessage. Sending high-resolution videos to iOS users is easy with this fast video-sharing method.
If you own a Samsung phone and enjoy rooting or modding your device, flashing official firmware can be very useful. Odin is Samsung's own internal program for loading such updates for testing purposes, and it's quite easy to use for your own custom modification needs.
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.
Starting with the release of Android Lollipop, the process of installing the Xposed Framework got a bit more complicated. Not only are there separate installers for each Android version, but now, you also need to know exactly what type of processor is in your device to make sure you're downloading the right files. In fact, CPU architecture is becoming a factor in more and more scenarios these days, including certain sideloaded app updates and, of course, custom ROMs.
Even though your phone has a built-in media player, it's got nothing on VLC. The popular third-party video player supports virtually every codec and file format, and even better, you can use it to stream movies, shows, and other video files from your computer to your phone.
What you see when you open the Play Store is completely dependent on your country settings. Search results and top charts are specific to each region and there are lots of popular apps and games that simply won't show up unless your Play Store country matches up.
Okay, so you rooted your Android phone .... now what? There are a few ducks you need to get into a row, like backing up your stock boot image, getting SafetyNet sorted, and improving security with biometrics. But there are also awesome root mods waiting for you — just don't get ahead of yourself.
How To: 9 Ways to Earn Google Play Store Credit and Discounts for Apps, Games, In-App Items, Movies, and More
There's more than one way to get free credits and discounts in the Google Play Store for apps, games, books, movies, in-app items, and other Play Store content. You may know a few of them — but some of these may surprise you.
With all the talk about privacy concerns recently, Google's name keeps coming up because they are a very data-driven company. As an Android user, they know basically everything about you based on your device usage. That can easily scare some people off who are worried about their privacy and security. You do have some say in what personal data Google controls, but what if you want total control?
Your Galaxy uses information from your SIM card to communicate with nearby towers and facilitate a connection. Which LTE bands you are assigned depends on a number of factors, including available bandwidth and your device's supported signals. But if speeds aren't great on your auto-selected tower, you can improve things by manually choosing a band.
How To: Activate Your Samsung Galaxy's Vault to Keep Your Apps, Files, and History Safe from Prying Eyes and Hackers
One UI has an exciting privacy feature that lets you lock apps, photos, videos, and files on your Galaxy device behind Samsung's defense-grade Knox security platform. Only you can unlock it using a pattern, PIN, or passcode, or with biometrics like fingerprint and iris locks. It's like having a safe built right into your smartphone, and it couldn't be easier to set up.
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.
From veteran modders to casual tinkerers, booting into either recovery mode or download mode is something every Galaxy S9 owner should know about. These two pre-boot menus serve a very important purpose — recovery mode is the go-to solution for soft bricks, while download mode allows you to flash firmware files using utilities like Odin and Smart Switch, which can truly be a lifesaver.
ADB and Fastboot are powerful tools that have always required a computer. But with the right setup, you can now send commands to a phone using another phone.
How To: Broken Buttons on Your Android Phone? Use This On-Screen Navigation Bar Instead (No Root Needed)
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.
As phones' screens get closer to seven inches, now is the perfect time to take advantage of Android's split-screen mode. This feature has available since Android 7.0 Nougat and allows you to divide the screen into two halves, with a different app on each side.
Some messages take precedence over others, so having the same notification tone for all your threads isn't always the best solution. Fortunately, Samsung Messages has a simple option you can tweak to set custom sounds for specific chats to help you stay on top of priority conversations and reply much faster.
Nova Launcher can be customized to do just about anything, but that can get overwhelming. If you're mostly interested in getting a Pixel-like experience, you'd normally have to spend all day tweaking mundane settings like dock padding and drop shadow placement. Well, we've already done that for you.
Android 9.0 Pie moved the status bar clock from the right corner to the left to accommodate phones with notches, but there's one major downside for Samsung users: since no Galaxy phones have a notch, all this did was take away space for the notification icons that would otherwise start from the left corner.
The Pixel's "Flip to Shhh" feature may not be groundbreaking, but it is useful. Third-party apps are copying it for other phones because it's so convenient. But it's not enabled by default and it's fairly hidden in the settings. So to take full advantage of your Pixel's feature set, you should learn how to use Flip to Shhh.
Android comprises an entire ecosystem of apps, games, functions, and features, so it would only make sense that it has its own lexicon. Words, phrases, and acronyms that didn't exist ten years ago are now used in an off-the-cuff style by developers and support technicians across the web.
Over the years, Nova Launcher has widened its audience. No longer is it simply a tool to return your home screen to a more stock look. With Nova, you gain customization tweaks and functionality unavailable with the stock launcher. One example of this is all of the cool stuff you can do to organize your app drawer.
While we shouldn't rely on it, every so often we need to hit the snooze button to get a few additional minutes of precious sleep. Depending on which OEM skin is running on your device, this could be either five or ten extra minutes of dozing. However, some of us need a different length of time.
Android's de facto document scanner is Google Drive, but it's far from the most intuitive method. With One UI 2, your Samsung Galaxy device now has a document scanner built-in, with the ability to automatically detect documents like letters, business cards, and notes that you can scan with just a tap.
I was skeptical when I first heard about GifWidget, an Android widget that lets you place GIFs on your home screen. As much as I love GIFs, did I really need to see this, this, this, or this, or even this, forever repeating on my phone?
Something went wrong and your Nexus 7 is freaking out on you. Maybe you flashed a bad ROM or ZIP file, or maybe it's just bugging, and it's time to restore your tablet back to a working condition. Thankfully, you've already made a backup of your Nexus 7!
By now, a mobile phone that isn't "smart" is about as hard to come by as a TV that isn't high definition. As a result, members of older generations who were previously reluctant to purchase a newfangled smartphone have no other choice but to cave into the more recent trends when their old device finally breaks down.
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.
TWRP is the premiere custom recovery for Android because of how many devices it supports and how simple it is to use. But installing it in the first place hasn't always been the easiest thing to do — until now. With the help of a Magisk module, you can finally use one Android device to flash TWRP on another.
How To: Create Home Screen Shortcuts to Almost Anything on Android — Videos, Music Playlists, Social Profiles, and More
If you're doing the same tasks on your Android phone repeatedly each day — like playing a specific playlist at the gym, viewing work documents, or watching your favorite music video — you can save some time by automating your routine, turning each task into a one-tap gesture on your home screen.
You can find a ton of live wallpapers for your Android device on Google Play, but the more alluring interactive ones are a harder to come by, which can bring your home screen to life using a few finger swipes and taps.