Being able to customize the look and feel of your device is the main reason a lot of folks choose Android over iOS. And perhaps the single biggest way to visually overhaul your phone or tablet's UI is to apply an icon pack, which can liven up your home screen with bright colors or make things look a bit more classy with a sleek, minimalist style, for instance.
As Android's official app provider, the Google Play Store is packed with thousands of useful programs. But Google's terms of service is extremely restrictive, which means that countless apps simply don't qualify to be hosted on the Google Play Store.
Okay, so you finally got around to rooting your Android device—now what? Well, to get the most out of your Superuser status, you'll need to find some good root apps, which will allow you to easily add features, reduce battery drain, remove ads, and much more.
For people that like to get things done, Android's home screen widgets are almost indispensable. Rather than packing your launcher with a bunch of icons, you can utilize widgets to get quick information in a beautiful package or provide one-tap access to a particular functionality within your apps.
Fewer and fewer Android phones are being released with SD card slots, so it's always a struggle to make sure you have enough free storage space for your photos, videos, and music. Things like app data and cache slowly build up as you use your device, which means your available storage number gradually decreases over time.
Today's smartphones and tablets offer a great way for children to learn through interactive sight, sound, and touch, but they can also provide hours of genuine fun. If you have a spare tablet laying around—or at least a nice, durable case—the only thing you need to get your child started in this world of fun and learning is a handful of good apps.
Smartphone cameras are so good nowadays that there's almost no reason to own a point and shoot. Once the megapixel spec race was finally settled (hint: more isn't always better), manufacturers started focusing on the quality of their camera sensors, which has led to a huge jump in color accuracy, dynamic range, and image clarity.
Making sure you have the best gallery app available for your Android device used to be as easy as just installing QuickPic. But late last year, Android's top photo-viewing app was sold to a company who is notorious for permission spamming, so QuickPic quickly lost everyone's approval.
Android has a single text file named build.prop that determines tons of various system-wide settings on your device. You need root access to edit this file, since it's stored on the system partition—but the various lines of codes it contains are actually fairly easy to interpret and modify.
As one of the most powerful Android apps for connecting your phone or tablet to your other devices in various ways, Pushbullet had always been a fan—and Gadget Hacks—favorite.
The Xposed Framework was just recently made available for Android Marshmallow, but everything isn't quite back to status quo just yet. Sure, some Xposed modules function properly, but others are a bit buggy, and several don't even work at all. This is mostly a result of changes to the Android system that Lollipop modules relied upon, and such modules will need to be updated for Marshmallow compatibility.
It would only make sense that Google is one of the most active app developers on the Android platform, particularly when you consider that they develop the platform itself. From my count, there are an astounding 117 unique apps that the search giant and its subsidiaries have published on the Google Play Store.
Scanners are much too cumbersome to fit in a pocket, but with the use of just one application, you can replace all that bulky hardware with your Android smartphone and take it with you wherever you go. All you need to do is find the scanning app that fulfills your needs. Here are our five favorites that are good for business pros and average joes alike.
Let's say you're flush with Google Opinion Rewards credits, or you just got a Google Play gift card for your birthday. This is a perfect opportunity to remove ads and unlock new features by upgrading some of your free apps to their paid counterparts, or to finally purchase that app you've been lusting after that doesn't offer a free version.
There are over 1.6 million apps on the Google Play Store, which makes it the largest collection of mobile apps on the planet. However, a large portion of this total is occupied by apps with overlapping functions—think social media, news, weather, music players, and various other categories where developers compete against one another to garner the largest user base.
In general, smartphones and cars don't mix—but this is mainly because you have to take your eyes off the road to poke around on your handheld gadget. In reality, the only difference between your smartphone and your car's FHWA-approved infotainment system is that the latter is mounted in a fixed position and has an oversized interface that makes it easy to use without looking away from the road.
Practically every smartphone comes with a built-in camera app, but these apps are generally created by the device's manufacturer. And let's face it, manufacturers are hardware companies first and foremost, so they don't always produce the best software.
Remember portable MP3 players like the classic iPod? Seems like forever ago that they were all the rage, and I don't think I've seen a real one in the wild for a good 5 years now. These devices died out so quickly as a direct result of the onset of smartphones, which allow us to do everything that an MP3 player could do and then some.
I have a personal rule when it comes to an app's interface: If it doesn't follow Android's design guidelines, it was probably written with Apple's iOS in mind first and foremost.
If your Android device wasn't manufactured by Samsung, chances are it uses on-screen navigation buttons. Colloquially referred to as "Soft keys," these have become commonplace due to their flexibility, as well as the fact that manufacturers don't have to include extra hardware buttons with a propensity to fail.
As Android's de facto virtual assistant, Google Now lets us speak directly to our phones in plain English to answer our questions and perform many basic tasks. With the app open, just say "Okay Google," then wait for the beep, and ask almost any question.
One of Android's biggest strengths, when compared to other mobile operating systems is its open file structure. Google introduced a built-in file manager with Marshmallow that provides basic file management, but like with most apps on Android, there are alternatives. Third-party file managers are readily available, providing deeper access and control of all your files.
Heads up! We've done a new, more thorough review of the best Android file-sharing apps. You can check that out here. Our old file-sharing app roundup can still be viewed below for posterity.
Most mobile games have moved to an online-only format, meaning you need to be connected to the Internet in order to get any kind of multiplayer action going. This is great when you're at home on Wi-Fi, but when you're out and about, slow and inconsistent data speeds can cause serious lag. Or worse yet, you may be nearing your monthly data cap!