So, you rooted your Pixel 2 or 2 XL and everything seems to be working quite well. However, a month passes, and you get a notification to install the monthly security update. Like clockwork, Google has been pushing out OTA security patches every single month for a while, but there is a new problem for you at this point — as a rooted user, you are unable to apply the update correctly.
For some Android users, this guide is sacrilege — but for others, iOS is just an attractive operating system that can be admired without feeling like you've betrayed your own phone. If you're one of those Galaxy Note 9 owners that have peeked across the aisle and desired an interface as clean as the one on the iPhone XS Max, you can configure your Note 9 to look like its rival with some tinkering.
One of the issues with rooting your device is the inability to update your phone via OTA. Any security patches or software updates pushed out by the OEM are lost because your bootloader is unlocked. However, you still can update your device, it just a take a bit more effort.
Sorry Samsung. I know you really wanted Bixby to be the next Siri, Google Assistant, or Alexa — but it just isn't. Burying the option to disable the app won't change that. Sure, Bixby has some redeeming qualities, but there are many of us who don't want it shoved down our throats. We'll show you how to disable the app to prevent it from launching every time you try to access just about anything.
Although the Galaxy Note 9 is an amazing phone, many members of the Android community won't even look at it. This isn't just because of the Samsung Experience skin, but the large amount of bloatware that comes with this device. However, with a little work, you can remove all of it.
Many apps claim to record phone calls on Android, but very few actually deliver. There's just too many different devices floating around out there for one app to be able to support them all — or so it would seem.
Despite its rocky start, the Essential PH-1 has a lot going for it. Not only does it get consistent security patches and system updates hours after the Pixels, but like the Google-developed lineup, it's also great for rooting. Not only is your warranty not void with rooting, but the process is pretty straightforward.
When you unlock the bootloader on your Essential PH-1, you open your device to a host of new possible tweaks. One popular modification is a custom kernel, which can not only speed up your phone, but give you new features that wouldn't be possible otherwise.
The main draw for Google's Pixel series is the software. It rocks a clean version of stock Android instead of a heavy OEM skin like TouchWiz, it gets frequent prompt OS updates, the camera software is downright amazing, and it has perhaps the most fluid UI of any phone. But an understated advantage of the software is how dead-simple it is to modify with root-level tweaks.
For modders, there are few tools more important than TWRP. TeamWin's custom recovery makes flashing mods like Magisk, Xposed, and custom ROMs incredibly easy, and it lets you root your phone at the press of a button. On top of that, it can make complete backups of your phone in case you mess up. That's why, for Essential users, this should be the first mod you add.
When I review apps, I'll oftentimes end up downloading at least one or two "bad" apps that either lied about their functionality or were riddled with ads. These apps, while not as harmful as malware, can still be a major headache. This got me thinking about the other bad apps on the Play Store and how to avoid them.
Battery drain is a major pain point for Android users, though that promises to change thanks to Android Pie's new Adaptive Battery feature. But Google hasn't said much about the inner workings of this feature, only publicly stating that it uses AI to boost battery life. So we dug in to find out what's really going on under the hood.
Although the Essential PH-1 got off to a rocky start, thanks to steady updates, it has slowly become one of the best Android phones to come out in recent years. For $499, the Essential Phone is a cheaper Pixel, receiving updates almost as soon as the Pixel lineup does. What's more, you get a phone with an easily unlockable bootloader, which is the first step to rooting.
While Android does allow apps to use picture-in-picture mode (PiP), only a handful of apps actually support the feature. Most of the apps that do are video apps. The thing is, PiP is useful for more than just watching videos, and the Galaxy Note 9 has included a way to allow any app to offer a similar feature, video or not.
With the Galaxy Note 9's 6.4-inch AMOLED display, split screen is far more useful since each half of the screen is relatively large. The problem is that there are some noticeable omissions in the list of apps which support the feature. However, Samsung offers a fix for this.
Android does a great job at multitasking. Split-screen mode and picture-in-picture are terrific at letting you manage more than one app at a time. But there are some limitations. For instance, when you're playing a video and you open a second video in split-screen, the first one pauses. Thankfully, Samsung has a fix for this.
For the majority of phones, Android's volume rocker is wrong. A large vocal part of the Android community wishes the volume buttons' default control was the media volume, not the ringer. Although the Galaxy Note 9 is in the "wrong" camp, Samsung has included multiple ways to change it.
Thanks to Android Pie's gesture controls, features like split screen mode now take several additional steps to activate. This change is due to the revamped navigation bar which removed the recents apps button. Luckily, we can still change it back.
For some, the Galaxy Note 9's volume rocker doesn't have enough steps between silent and max volume. We all have different preferences for volume, and a higher number of steps would equal to more precise volume control. Good thing we can at least adjust this for the media volume.
One option you won't find buried in the Galaxy Note 9's Settings is the ability to return the navigation bar to black. Samsung changed the default color to white with the Note 8, removing any ability to bring the black color back. But thanks to a neat app, Note 9 users can do it themselves.
Despite a very vocal distaste for Bixby, Samsung continues to push their voice assistant on customers. For many, the button is not only a waste, but placed perfectly for accidental presses. While it appears Samsung has no intention of giving up on Bixby, with the help of an excellent app, you can get rid of it yourself.
Just because Developer Options is hidden by default doesn't mean you shouldn't unlock it. While for rooters its benefit are obvious, even for the average user it opens the door for tools which enhance your experience. From animation speed to improving gaming graphics, Developer Options has something for everyone.
Samsung Experience isn't for everyone. While it's a far cry from the TouchWiz days, it is still too heavy of a skin for Android purists. But you shouldn't let that dissuade you from a powerful device that checks nearly all other boxes — there are ways to make the Galaxy Note 9's software look and feel almost exactly like stock.
Xiaomi made a new phone with their sights set on picking up some ex OnePlus users. As a result, the Pocophone F1, or just Poco in some markets, is quite unlike most other Xiaomi phones. While you can't buy the F1 in stores in the US, you can get its home screen app on almost any phone right now.
Starting November 1, 2018, Google will require that all new apps and updates to existing apps target Android 8.0 Oreo or higher. This move means the developers behind many of your favorite apps are now scrambling to get their software modernized, while others are considering abandoning outdated apps altogether.
After months passed since Google first announced the feature, YouTube's dark mode has finally reached the Android masses. Sure, it just changes some colors, but it has been a highly sought-after feature since iPhone users got it months ago.
Ever-shrinking bezels and disappearing hardware buttons make for good looking phones, but they also increase the need for gesture controls. Android Pie comes with seven new swipe gestures, but if you don't have the update yet (or find its default gesture options to be lacking), you should take a look at the Microsoft Launcher.
All phones (yes, iPhones too) slow down over time. As your device gets bogged down by various apps and you begin to run out of storage, it's just an inevitability. That doesn't make it any less frustrating ... I mean, is there anything more annoying than a slow phone? My answer: No. Of course not. It's the single most annoying thing ever.
Google Photos integrates with Google's ecosystem to bring you awesome features like the ability to identify landmarks, track down products you've photographed, and so much more. Now, if you need to translate foreign words in any of your pictures, the app has you covered as well.
Think back to when you last wanted to transfer some music or videos to your friend's smartphone and how difficult and slow it was. As powerful as our phones are, the default file sharing options are limited. There are, fortunately, some better options which make moving files easy, secure, and painless.
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.
With Android Pie, Google added a genuinely useful feature for Pixels called App Suggestions, which uses AI to predict the apps you might want to use next. These show up at the top of your app drawer and in the new dock in the revamped multitasking UI for quick access. But here's the trouble: Muscle memory is a thing.
As a longtime Android user, one of the changes I was most excited about with Android Pie was the fact that the volume rocker finally controls media volume by default. However, the new way isn't ideal for everyone, but thankfully, there's an app that can change it back.
With all Android updates, there's a considerable wait before most phones get the new version, and Android Pie is no different. Until then, most of us are stuck just looking at videos of the newest update. Well thanks to developer Trey Dev, we can enjoy the new notification shade and Quick Settings menu while we wait.
Fortnite's long awaited arrival on Android has ramped up excitement among gamers who are installing the beta version in astounding numbers. With so many midrange and budget devices running Android, however, it's important to stay on top of your device's performance to ensure smooth and uninterrupted gameplay.
With every new Android update, hidden features are lurking under the surface. Google hides these options to prevent unnecessary tinkering by average users, leaving them in place for power users to discover. These secrets range from silly to really useful, with the latter opening up new ways to manage your phone.
Samsung emphasized its goal of a streamlined user experience with the unveiling of the Galaxy Note 9, highlighting the flagship's capabilities of seamlessly connecting with other devices. The Note 9's new and improved DeX mode makes it easier than ever to interface with a slew of devices like the Galaxy Tab S4 and a wide array of displays and monitors.
If you've upgraded your phone to Android 9.0 Pie, you might notice some intermittent problems with your internet connection. That's because "Turn On Wi-Fi Automatically," while available with Android Oreo on select phones, is now enabled by default on all phones running Android Pie. If your Essential or OnePlus device is acting up, you'll want to check this out.
UPDATE: The ported APK covered below is now obsolete because Fortnite beta is officially available for all Android devices!
Time to play — Fortnite is now officially available on Android. However, the game won't be available across the Android ecosystem right away. Fortnite Battle Royale launches on Samsung devices first. That means if you have a Galaxy S7, S8, S9, Note 8, Tab 3, or Tab 4, you can download the game right now.