Android used to have a notification ticker, but those days are long gone. Now, important new messages pop up on the top half of your screen with what's known as a "heads up notification." If you're in the middle of something, these popup notifications can be pretty annoying — luckily, it's pretty easy to turn them off.
Over the years, the internet has become a dangerous place. As its popularity has increased, it has attracted more hackers looking to make a quick buck. However, as our dependency on the web grows, it becomes increasingly difficult to sever all ties. This means we have to protect one of our weakest points, the password.
Apple didn't invent the concept of photos with videos embedded (that credit goes to HTC and their Zoe feature), but they sure did popularize this functionality when they came out with Live Photos. If you're jealous of iPhone users, you certainly don't need to be — there are several great ways to recreate Live Photos on Android.
A while back, we told you about NoChromo, a no-root ad-blocking browser based on Google Chrome's open source code base, Chromium. That browser was wildly successful, as it offered an identical interface to regular Chrome, but without any ads. Sadly, the developer abandoned NoChromo, but a new ad-blocking Chromium port called Bromite has been released to fill its void.
Deep down inside, Android is really just a fork of Linux, the popular open source desktop OS. You can see traces of its roots everywhere, and this lineage still holds a certain appeal with many Android fans. If you're in that boat, you'll love the newest notes app we just found.
Android's share intents system is great in theory, but the execution can sometimes be frustrating. When you tap the "Share" button next to a link, app, or file, you see a list of apps you can share that item with. But it seems like every time you use this function, the list of apps is in a different order — especially when it comes to the Direct Share targets at the top.
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.
With beta testing coming to a close, it's quite likely we will see the stable Android Oreo OTA roll out for the Galaxy S8 in late January. Yesterday, a Reddit user posted a link to an official Oreo OTA build for the Galaxy S8. We've already detailed everything that's new in this stable build. Now, let's take a look at how you can install the update on your device.
One of Android's most glaring weaknesses is its lack of an iMessage equivalent. That is, of course, until now. There's one app that will allow Android users to experience iMessage on their non-Apple phone, complete with end-to-end encryption, message effects, and group messaging.
Google's launchers are some of the most polished home screen apps out there, but they lack the ability to customize. With the old Google Now Launcher, we had Xposed GEL Settings to add options for tweaking the layout, but that project was abandoned when the Pixel Launcher came out. Now, a new root mod will give us some key customization settings for Google's latest launcher.
When it comes to your security, you want the best of the best. Why settle for mediocre service with something as valuable as your protection? Malware continues to make its way onto the Play Store, leaving millions of devices vulnerable. You need an app that will shield your devices from both the latest malware threats and threats nearby. And when it comes to antivirus apps, there is only one choice.
Many people think antivirus apps are useless — why pay a subscription fee when most malware can be avoided with common sense? But the thing is, there were an estimated 3.5 million malicious Android apps discovered last year, with many of them making their way onto the Play Store. As this number continues to rise, can you truly depend on common sense to protect you?
Sometimes I'm convinced Google has ADHD. They'll create a great product, then get distracted by the next moonshot and never put the finishing touches on their last project. Case in point, you can't just cast a playlist of your subscriptions from YouTube to Chromecast, even though that's how many people prefer to use YouTube.
The Play Store hasn't been the most secure place for apps lately. A quick Google search for "Play Store malware" will give you a taste of some of the malicious apps that snuck their way onto Android's official app store. Google is aware of the problem and they're tying to fix it, but their new Play Protect program doesn't have a great track record, so you might want to look elsewhere.
The Pixel 2's camera is one of the best you'll find on an Android phone. Among its standout features is the incredible Portrait Mode, which Google accomplished with some impressive software processing. Thanks to a few clever developers, you can now enjoy the Pixel 2's Portrait Mode on your Galaxy S8 or Galaxy Note 8.
It took a few months, but several major phones are finally receiving updates to Android Oreo. At this point, we've spent significant time talking about Oreo on the Galaxy S8, Galaxy Note 8, and Essential Phone. While an update to the latest OS is always great, there is one big Android 8.0 feature that isn't coming to every phone.
One of the biggest gripes we always hear about is the changes OEMs make to Android's notification shade. Icon styling and home screen layouts can be fixed with custom launchers like Nova and Action, but we're stuck with the tacky Quick Settings theme our phones came with. Today, we no longer have to envy Pixel 2 owners, as a new app will give you that clean stock Android look on any phone.
TeslaCoil's Nova Launcher is one of the best home screen apps on the Play Store. It's about as fast as it gets, and it's always among the first to add the latest Android features. However, it looks like Nova Launcher isn't showing users all of the customization options available — apparently, there's a secret menu, and it's pretty simple to unlock.
Android is a highly customizable operating system, but that doesn't always apply to the apps you find on the Play Store. Most of the time, when you install an app, you're stuck with the default look and feel — but luckily, this isn't the case with Firefox. Unlike most other browsers, you can actually install themes to change the look of the top browser for Android.
Features like themes and a tab queue make Firefox an extremely versatile mobile browser. Mozilla is constantly adding bonus functionality like this to Firefox, but a long-time staple is perhaps the most powerful feature: Extensions. This system gives you the ability to add features without having to upgrade the entire app.
Mozilla baked an easily missed feature into their Firefox Browser for Android called the "tab queue," which you should definitely be using if you find yourself opening links a lot from emails, texts, and other link-heavy apps. With tab queuing enabled, you can save links as new tabs in Firefox without ever leaving the current app you're in.
There are over 3 million apps in the Google Play Store, all optimized for the small screen in your hands. While that number sounds staggering, there are still many online tools and websites that require you to use a mobile browser since app development is expensive. However, that's where Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) come into play, a cost-effective way to turn websites into mobile apps.
It recently came to light that a number of Android phones are unable to stream HD video through services like Netflix, Google Play Movies, and Amazon Prime Video. If you're worried that your phone may be affected, there's a simple tool you can use to find out for sure if you can actually stream video in 720p or higher.
Over the past month, we've spent significant time covering Samsung's Oreo Beta program, and the detailed list of features in Oreo is extensive for the Galaxy S8 and S8+. Many of you were upset when the Galaxy Note 8 was left out of the official Oreo beta program entirely, but we found a method to install a beta Oreo build right now on the unlocked and US variants if you'd like to give it a try.
Mozilla's Firefox has always been a highly praised internet browser. Since it's open-source, users know what they're getting without any secrecy. It's got plenty of features that are unmatched by any of its competitors on mobile. However, speed and performance have always been a pain point for Firefox, but Mozilla went back to the drawing board to solve this problem with the release of Firefox Quantum.
For all those times when an app either isn't available or simply won't cut it, your phone's internet browser provides access to your favorite websites and services. But some browsers are flat-out better than others, and chances are, the browser that came pre-installed on your phone isn't the best option out there.
Since its debut in 2004, Gmail has become the go-to email service for the internet at large. Over 1.2 billion people use it, so Google has wisely continued to add features that address the needs and wants of its diverse user base. For US and UK users, one of these new features is the ability to transfer money.
Google just rolled out a revolutionary feature to its Pixel devices — Google Lens. Previously, Lens had only been available in the Photos app, but now, whenever you want to learn about something in the real world, you can just bring up Google Assistant, turn on the camera, then let Google's famous AI analyze the scene.
Most of the free apps you'll find on the Play Store have ads. These ads are personalized — in other words, they're for products and services Google believes you might be interested in. The way Google knows about your interests is by collecting data from your smartphone, including your location and app usage. While personalized ads have their advantages, the collection of data is unsettling.
Android's Quick Settings menu gives you easy access to certain actions from any screen, but the tiles available are largely dependent on your phone's OEM skin. For instance, the Google Cast button that can cast your entire screen has been exclusive to Nexus and Pixel devices, even though other phones have the requisite software to use it. Fortunately, there's a way to add it on any device running Nougat or higher.
The OnePlus 5T was just released, and it's packing several new useful features. While many OnePlus 5 buyers are feeling frustrated with the quick release cycle, lots of fans are still clamoring to buy the new device. Aside from the larger screen, most of the buzz around the 5T has centered around the new face unlock method. Thanks to a clever hack, you can now get this feature on almost any phone!
Threats to your privacy and security are everywhere, so protecting your data should be the highest priority for anyone with a smartphone. However, one threat many people overlook is the company who supplies the operating system your Android phone runs — Google.
One of the best parts of being an Android user is the countless awesome features. Many of these features are well-known and user-facing, like custom icon packs and launchers, but some get lost in the shuffle. Back at Google I/O 2016, Android Instant Apps were introduced to developers and enthusiasts. Since then, the feature has seen a wider rollout, but few users are aware of it.
Chis Lacy's Action Launcher is easily one of the best third-party home screen apps for Android. If you're interested in the basic feature set of this impressive app, check our our overview of the top five launchers on Android. Today, we're taking an in-depth look at the brand new Adaptive Folders feature included in the latest update.
Essential just dropped the Oreo Beta Program for their flagship PH-1 phone. Users have been eagerly awaiting this update as the early Nougat builds of the PH-1 software have suffered from numerous performance issues and lag. The good news is that you can grab the Oreo update today with a few simple steps.
Despite concerns with SafetyNet, Google actually cares about root. Every phone they sell has an unlockable bootloader, so you can toggle a setting and send a Fastboot command, then start flashing custom firmware right away. The Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL continue this tradition, and now they have an official root method.
Root, TWRP, Xposed, Magisk, custom ROMs — before you can have any of these, the first thing you should do is unlock your bootloader. Thankfully, the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL are some of the most modder-friendly phones out there, so you only need to send a single fastboot command to unlock the bootloader.
As smartphone users, we live in dangerous times. The value of phones continues to rise, making them prime targets for thieves. In 2015, the FCC estimated that one million phones are stolen each year, and with several devices starting to hit the $1,000 mark now, these numbers are sure to rise. But what do you do if you fall victim to phone theft?
Because of the way Google Play works, Android has a "bad app" problem. Google allows any developer to upload an app to the Play Store, regardless of if it works, how it looks, or whether or not it can harm users. Malware scanning happens primarily after apps are uploaded, and though Google has recently taken steps to safeguard users with its Play Protect program, you don't have to depend on them.
Since the release of the T-Mobile G1, the Play Store has been flooded with apps that claim to improve performance by clearing cache and storage. These apps are typically useless, rarely providing more than a temporary fix which Android undoes immediately. As Android has continued to improve cache and storage management, such apps have become more trivial. However, there are few decent ones out there.