Have you ever been using your computer when a friend randomly decides it's time to start up a text message conversation? You usually have to stop what you're doing on the desktop, then go pick up your smartphone and respond to the text. Then, if your buddy replies with another message, you have to juggle back and forth between your mouse and keyboard and your handheld device.
If you're in the market for a non-root ad-blocker, developer Julian Klode has an app that you'll definitely want to check out. It uses Android's VPN system in a similar manner to alternative apps like NetGuard and AdGuard, but it's got a new twist that should save lots of battery life in the process.
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.
The Galaxy S8 and S8+ might not have made it into the hands of the public yet, but we sure have come across a lot of the stock apps from Samsung's latest flagship phones. First, there was the new launcher, then Hello Bixby, and now, the extremely elusive Record Screen feature has been leaked.
The new HTC One (M8) is a large phone, no doubt about it. Still, with those BoomSound speakers, 5-inch display, and 2600mAh battery, it's a wonder they managed to cram everything in that gorgeous, unibody metal shell. By that logic, it makes sense that the M8 makes the switch from a micro-SIM card to nano-SIM to save as much space as possible.
Traditional root ad-blockers like AdAway and AdBlock Plus have no effect on YouTube anymore. Until now, if you wanted to get rid of the commercials that play before your favorite videos, there have only been two ways—either by paying for a YouTube Red subscription, or by using an Xposed module to modify the YouTube app itself and force it into not showing ads.
If you've ever wondered why the pictures and videos you share with Snapchat on your Android device seem to look grainy with low resolution, you're not alone. We all know it, and we've come to accept it as a plain fact: Snapchat image quality sucks on Android.
When Google released the first Developer Preview build of Android 7.0 Nougat, users were happy to see that a new "Night Mode" was included among the changes. The feature would cancel out any blue light emitted from your screen to help you get to sleep a bit earlier, quite similar to f.lux for desktop computers, or Apple's Night Shift for iPhones. It could be set to turn on automatically based on time of day, or you could manually enable Night Mode with a Quick Settings toggle.
Over the course of owning your Android device, you've probably connected to dozens of Wi-Fi networks. School, home, work, the gym, your friends' and family's houses, coffee shops—each time you typed in one of these Wi-Fi passwords, your Android device saved it for safekeeping and easy access in the future.
It's hard to not to like the look of iOS emojis. Sure, Samsung and other Android phones have emojis, but they're all kind of goofy-looking. And since iPhone emojis continue to be viewed as the standard, it comes as no surprise that you can actually get them on Android—and without root!
The iPhone X has a new unlocking mechanism called Face ID, which replaces the old Touch ID system since the phone no longer has a fingerprint sensor. The way it works is simple — you just look at the phone, it recognizes your face, then the system unlocks — so Apple deserves the praise they're getting for it. But did you know you can get almost this exact same feature on any Android device right now?
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.
It's official — the newest version of Google's mobile operating system is called Android 8.0 Oreo, and it will soon start rolling out to Nexus and Pixel devices. This new version has plenty of changes in store, ranging from revamped looks to under-the-hood improvements, so there's tons of cool new stuff to explore.
Thanks to the strenuous efforts of our Gadget Hacks development team here at WonderHowTo, the fortified barrier segregating Android from iOS has finally fallen down.
One of the best new features in Android Oreo is the new Adaptive Icons system. Starting now, developers can create a single icon for their apps, then your launcher can stylize those icons in a broad range of shapes to match your system theme. Most home screen apps haven't added support for this feature yet, but Nova Launcher just threw its hat into the ring.
When you think of an online music service nowadays, Spotify is probably near the first that come to mind, and for good reason. Being able to create, share, and take all of your playlists anywhere, across all of your devices, is something that I couldn't live without. Unfortunately, nothing this good is free, and with Spotify Premium, users of their free service are left with very limited features when streaming on their mobile devices.
There's no debating that the Galaxy S8 and S8+ are top contenders for the most beautifully designed handsets of 2017, but the same can't be said for their TouchWiz interface, which has been met with lukewarm reception at best.
Because of Android's new SafetyNet system, certain apps can now block rooted users or prevent you from accessing them altogether — but at least for now, there are still ways around these restrictions.
Okay, so that headline definitely got your attention, but what the hell do cats have to do with Android Nougat? Well, apparently, Google's on a far-out trip reminiscent of the post-India Beatles era, because this is actually a thing.
When I first received my HTC One M8, I was in love with the 5-inch screen size, but the icons and font just seemed too big, wasting valuable screen real estate. Phablets, like the Samsung Galaxy Note 4, have only slightly larger screens, but don't seem to have this problem since manufacturers lowered the device's DPI, or dots per inch.
Samsung's recent TouchWiz rebranding didn't really change much — the skin is still as bloated as ever, and the UI still uses tacky accent colors. But while you can't fully remove TouchWiz without rooting, there are ways to make it look a lot better.
Samsung makes some wonderful phones, but one thing I've noticed is that battery life can start to degrade over time, causing the phone to die a lot faster than it used to. If you've been experiencing this issue, and have asked yourself, "Why does my Galaxy S5 die so fast?" there are a few likely causes—and we've got you covered with troubleshooting tips and simple fixes below.
Just the fact that you own an Android device means you're privy to an entire world of third-party development. Many of the mods you'll see here on Gadget Hacks can be performed fresh out of the box, but with root and Xposed, the list grows longer. But to truly be able to take advantage of all that Android's massive development community has to offer, you'll need to have a custom recovery installed.
Smartphones are almost always connected to the internet, so it stands to reason that they can be hacked remotely. Or perhaps a jealous boyfriend or girlfriend got hold of your device physically, in which case they could've potentially installed a keystroke logger, a virus, or any other type of tracking app to spy on you.
Kate Upton and mobile gaming is something I would have conventionally thought of as oxymoronic, but the celebrity's Game of War endorsement serves as a true testament of how far the mobile gaming industry has come.
YouTube is a great place for all your mainstream audio and video needs. But you can't simply plug in your headphones, choose a playlist, and put your phone back in your pocket without subscribing to YouTube Red, which costs $9.99/month for ad-free and background playback. If you can't afford that for just background playback, there are other ways.
If you've ever rooted an Android device in the past or installed a custom recovery, you're surely familiar with the term "unlocked bootloader." But if all of this sounds like gibberish to you, some major changes in Android have made it to where you should definitely get familiar with the concepts.
The first time a friend or family member asks if they can borrow your phone or tablet, you probably just hand it over without a second thought. But the second, third, and fourth times? Now it's starting to become a habit, and something probably needs to be done about it.
UPDATE 11/17/15 The Xposed Framework now officially supports Android 5.1 through 5.1.1 Lollipop devices as well. Everything will still work the way it has with Android 5.0 through 5.0.2, but there are a separate set of files for the newer Android version. I'll cover both below, but make sure to download the proper file for your particular version of Android.
When someone asks me why they should root their phone, one of the top reasons I always give is that it enables you to install the Xposed Framework. Created by developer Rovo89, Xposed basically hooks into the Android system, then allows users to simply install mini-apps called modules that can change almost anything in a device's interface or other installed apps.
Now that Google Assistant is coming to all devices running Android Marshmallow or higher, roughly one out of every three Android users will no longer be able to access the old Google Now interface. The Assistant, which was previously exclusive to Pixel devices, takes over your home button long-press gesture and completely replaces all of the old Google voice search functionality.
We all got a little jealous of the iPhone 7 Plus's dual-lens camera during the Apple Keynote in September. It's okay, you can admit it. But just because your Android doesn't have two lenses doesn't mean you can't recreate the fun bokeh effect of the iPhone's now wildly popular Portrait Mode.
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.
Over the years, YouTube ads have become more and more integrated with the videos themselves, which means traditional Android ad blockers can no longer block the ads without blocking the videos. It's gotten to the point where the only ways to get rid of the ads are to either subscribe to Google Play Music and YouTube Red, or go through the complicated process of installing the Xposed Framework.
Everyone's been talking about Samsung's new Galaxy S8 and S8+, but not all of the chatter is positive. The fingerprint scanner is in an awkward location, the North American variant is simply not as smooth and fluid as the international model, and Samsung Experience is nothing more than TouchWiz with a bow on it. But perhaps worst of all, user reports are starting to roll in that indicate the Galaxy S8 may have a serious problem with premature screen burn-in.
Taste is certainly relative. When you look at Central American architecture and notice all of the bright pastel colors, then move just a thousand or so miles to the north and see that buildings in the United States are mostly painted in earth tones, this becomes abundantly clear. Imagine if you were to switch hemispheres altogether—what would you see in East Asia?
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.
Many midrange phones are being manufactured without a gyroscope sensor—the Moto X Play, third-generation Moto G, and several of Samsung's Galaxy Grand models, among others. It's not exactly an essential smartphone sensor, and leaving this out keeps the phone's price point down, so it's an understandable omission.
Samsung's new personal assistant, Bixby, is making its debut on the Galaxy S8 and S8+. In addition to taking voice commands and performing visual searches, a new Hello Bixby feature predicts what you might want to do next with an integrated home screen feed. All of these features look nice, but if you're not ready to shell out at least $750 for a new phone, you'll be glad to know that Hello Bixby just leaked.
Without a comprehensive root method for all Android phones and tablets, a device-specific approach is needed. And since we always cover each new rooting method for all the popular phones and tablets here at Gadget Hacks, we've built this always-updated guide to rooting any Android device.