You don't need to be a hardcore modder to know the importance of booting your S10 into either recovery mode or download mode. In fact, these pre-boot menus are something everyone should be familiar with. The former can help you get out of soft bricks, while the latter lets you use utilities like Odin and Smart Switch to flash firmware files and fix your phone when all other solutions fail.
Wi-Fi signals have limited range, so if you live in a two-story house or work in a larger office, you may have set up multiple routers or repeaters to ensure full wireless coverage. Sadly, Android handles the transition between networks pretty poorly.
There's actually more to the dialer screen on your OnePlus than meets the eye. Besides its obvious purpose of calling people, there's a vast array of secret codes that you can input to troubleshoot your device, in addition to revealing important information, making anonymous phone calls, and so much more.
How To: Check Your Android Security Patch Level to See if You're Protected Against the Latest Vulnerabilities
Numerous potential exploits are found for every operating system each month, and Android is no exception. Trouble is, lots of Android devices don't receive timely updates — but many are now getting regular monthly security patches to at least shore up these vulnerabilities.
While still extremely awesome, the Samsung Galaxy Gear smartwatch is limited as to what you can download on to it, especially apps. It also doesn't have its own internet access (only Bluetooth), so apps like Instagram, Facebook, and Vine have yet to make their way to the Gear Store.
An iPad can serve as a second screen for a Mac via Sidecar, available since iPadOS 13, but Apple isn't the only manufacturer to support such a feature. Samsung has had a similar tool since One UI 3.1 that lets you turn certain Samsung Galaxy tablets into second displays for your PC — and there's a hidden feature that expands it to more tablets and even Samsung Galaxy smartphones.
Document scanning is possible via the Google Drive app, but my brain doesn't think of opening a cloud storage app to scan a document. I usually just open the camera app and take a picture instead — and apparently, I'm not the only one.
The default screen timeout on most Android devices is 30 seconds. This usually offers a good balance of usability and battery savings, but sometimes, you need the screen to stay on longer. For instance, practically every time I try to show something on my phone to someone else, the screen locks before they get a chance to see it. But increasing the system-wide screen timeout isn't a great solution either, because this can lead to unnecessary battery drain and even screen burn-in.
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.
Samsung has a cool security feature built into One UI that has an interesting side effect, one that lets you have two separate copies of any Android app on your Galaxy phone. And that's not the only integrated Samsung tool for cloning apps.
A great way to incorporate a healthy exercise routine is by taking lots of steps throughout the day. While most smartphones can track and report your steps via a third-party app, you can check them right from your home screen if you have a OnePlus phone.
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.
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.
ADB and Fastboot are probably the most essential tools for any Android aficionado. They can do everything from backing up your device to unlocking your bootloader with a few simple steps. This paves the way for many new tweaks and customizations that weren't possible before. The required platform works with the three most popular computer operating systems, too, which is good news for everyone.
Your phone is loaded with contacts you've collected over the years. They're an asset, and you should use your library of connections outside the confines of your mobile device. Luckily, your Pixel uses a standardized medium to store contacts that can be used by the likes of LinkedIn, Outlook, Hubspot, iCloud, and more.
If you're using Samsung's default keyboard on a Galaxy or Gboard on any Android phone, here's a cool trick you should know about.
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.
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.
How To: Enable or Disable Chat Heads in Facebook Messenger on Android for Quick Access to Conversations
Popular chat apps like Messenger allow us to communicate with friends and family across iOS and Android phones alike. However, that interconnectivity doesn't mean both apps are the same. While Facebook has made strides to close gaps between these two platforms, chat heads remain an exclusive feature for Android devices, and they let you keep Messenger threads close by.
No matter how many camera improvements a phone adds, you're always better off using manual mode. Known as "Pro Mode" on the Galaxy S20, this feature can remove Samsung's pre- and post-processing from photos, putting you in total control.
If you scan the notification panel on your Samsung Galaxy smartphone daily, all those red circles with numbers that litter the apps on your home screen and app drawer can feel like persistent nagging and unnecessary clutter rather than friendly reminders to check your app alerts — but you can do something about it.
Samsung uses their own SamsungOne font for their Galaxy lineup. But if you're coming from an iPhone or another Android device, you might not love it. With the help of this mod, however, you're sure to find a font that's right for you.
Not every app is designed well. With nearly 3 million apps on the Play Store and countless more that you can sideload from other sources, there are bound to be a few stinkers. And many of them do a terrible job using RAM.
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.
In the past, if you upgraded to a new Galaxy or if you had to factory reset your existing one to fix an issue, you had to restore your home screen layout manually. Your wallpaper, widgets, icon placement, and launcher settings were all dependent on you to be put back in their place. Thankfully, this isn't an issue anymore.
After exiting the mobile market, Microsoft has redirected its efforts to better integrating their services with Android. Thanks to a partnership with Samsung, that Windows integration is even better if you have a Galaxy phone.
With Samsung's One UI 3.0 update, the main on-screen volume slider has a little menu button on the top of it. Tapping this will expand the slider into a full-blown volume panel, complete with controls for all of the various types of sounds your Galaxy might make. Standard stuff, really, but there's more to it.
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.
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.
Update (February 2019): The methods below will help on older Android versions, but we've recently revisited this topic. So if you have a newer Android phone and you want to get rid of Google, head here.
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.
"Why do I keep getting popups on my phone when I'm not even doing anything?" I see this question asked all the time. The answer? You have a shady app on your phone and it started showing full screen ads. But people either don't know this (so they don't know they just need to find and uninstall the problematic app), or if they do know it's a bad app, they don't know which app is causing it.
Both the OnePlus 5 and 5T have two pre-boot menus that every owner should know about: Recovery mode and bootloader mode. The recovery screen lets you wipe cache, perform a factory reset, or install firmware, which can help save the phone from a soft-brick. Bootloader mode, on the other hand, lets you send Fastboot commands via PC or Mac to lock or unlock your bootloader or flash images.
If you enjoy watching music videos, live concert recordings, or bedroom cover songs on YouTube, then YouTube Music is worth your consideration. In fact, YouTube will show a "Switch to YouTube Music" button on some music videos that opens the song in the YouTube Music app — but not always.
When you delete a file, Android doesn't actually remove it from your storage drive—instead, it simply marks that space as empty and pretends the file doesn't exist anymore. But deep down inside, the file that you originally wrote to that location is still physically there, at least until you randomly happen to save another file on top of that same spot.
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.
T-Mobile's "Uncarrier" initiative has done wonders for my wallet and my data usage. Before I had to deal with being throttled down to 2G speeds after passing my data limit, but thanks to their unlimited data plans, I'm free to use as much LTE data as I possibly can. The only downside is, when sharing data through a mobile hotspot (tethering), T-Mobile imposes a 5 GB limit (which was recently upped to 7 GB for some).
Google worked with design agency B-Reel to create some unique wallpapers for its Pixel and Pixel XL flagships, and the end result is quite stunning. These "Live Earth" wallpapers, as they're called, combine Google Earth's high-def satellite imagery with a 3D parallax effect that changes perspective as you move between screens.
With great power comes great responsibility, and when it comes to modding Android, nothing is more powerful than TWRP custom recovery. As easy as it is to replace your phone's entire OS with a custom ROM, when things go awry, you can also be left with no operating system at all.