Android normally secures your device by demanding a PIN, pattern, or full password. Your phone isn’t useless if you forget the unlock code — you can bypass it and get back in.
Google automatically added the Google Settings app to nearly all Android devices back in 2013. Since then, Google has added feature after feature to this app via Google Play Services updates.
All modern operating systems — from smartphones and tablets to desktops and laptops — automatically send your local searches over the Internet and provide web results. But you can disable this, which is especially useful for protecting private searches.
Windows 10 doesn’t include Microsoft Office, but it does include regular advertisements encouraging you to download it. If you don’t want to get Office on your Windows 10 PC, you can prevent those notifications from bothering you.
Apple now supports Windows 10 in Boot Camp. If you have Windows 7 or 8.1 installed on a Mac, you can take advantage of the free upgrade offer and get Windows 10. Just ensure you’ve updated your Apple software first.
If you’re a Linux user, there’s a good chance you’ve installed Linux alongside an existing Windows 7 or 8.1 system in a dual-boot configuration. You can get the free Windows 10 upgrade without damaging your existing Linux system.
Modern mobile operating systems — Apple’s iOS, Google’s Android, and Microsoft’s Windows 10 — all provide a unique advertising identifier to apps you use. Apps use this identifier to track your interests and provide personalized ads.
Windows 10 (and 8) include a new virtual memory file named swapfile.sys. It’s stored in your system drive, along with the pagefile.sys and hiberfil.sys. But why does Windows need both a swap file and a page file?
What’s that song playing right now? At one point, your best bet was to hope your friend knew — or try to listen to the lyrics and search for them. Now, you can just have your phone, tablet, or PC listen to it. This is all built into modern operating systems.
Few people noticed at the time, but Microsoft added a new feature to Windows 8 that allows manufacturers to infect the UEFI firmware with crapware. Windows will continue installing and resurrecting this junk software even after you perform a clean-install.
Windows 10 includes OneDrive, and Microsoft’s official party line is that you can’t disable it. That’s not true — there are several ways to disable OneDrive and remove it from File Explorer on Windows 10.
Windows 10 uses the new Photos app as your default image viewer, but it still includes Windows Photo Viewer — kind of. Microsoft has hidden Windows Photo Viewer on new Windows 10 systems.
Windows 10’s All Apps list functions a bit differently than the All Programs list in Windows 7. You can’t just drag-and-drop shortcuts or right-click All Programs and select Explore anymore.
Cortana is one of Windows 10’s most visible new features. Microsoft’s virtual assistant makes the leap from Windows Phone to the desktop, and there’s a lot you can do with it. It isn’t just a voice assistant either — you can also type commands and questions
Windows 10 includes a variety of universal apps, and there’s no easy way to hide them from the “All Apps” view in the new Start menu. You can uninstall them, but Microsoft doesn’t allow you to easily uninstall them in the usual way.
Windows 10 comes with the Microsoft Solitaire Collection, a solitaire game that requires you to watch 30-second-long full-screen video advertisements to keep playing. Ad-free solitaire costs $1.49 per month or $9.99 per year. That’s $20 per year if you want both ad-free solitaire and ad-free minesweeper. But there’s a better way.
Android has a massive security bug in a component known as “Stagefright.” Just receiving a malicious MMS message could result in your phone being compromised. It’s surprising we haven’t seen a worm spreading from phone to phone like worms did in the early Windows XP days — all the ingredients are here.
Windows 10 includes a new peer-to-peer download feature for updates and Windows Store apps. By default, Windows will automatically use your PC’s Internet connection to upload updates, hiding the option to disable this five clicks deep in the operating system.
Windows 10 has been released to the wider world, but the “Windows Insider” program is continuing. Testers will get access to new Windows features before everyone else, just as Windows Insiders could use Windows 10 for months before the rest of the world got it.
Windows 10 isn’t just an improved desktop environment. It includes many “universal apps,” which often replace existing desktop apps. Unlike on Windows 8, these apps can run in windows on the desktop so you may actually want to use them.
Windows 10 PCs automatically check for updates and install any updates they find. You can take some control over this and have Windows 10 install updates on your schedule, but these options are hidden. Windows Update really wants to automatically update on Windows 10.
Apple’s Mac OS X and iOS send your Spotlight searches over the Internet to Apple. You then see results from Bing and suggested websites, locations, and media content. You can disable this and keep your searches entirely local, whether you’re using Spotlight on a Mac or iOS device.
Here’s a dirty secret: Most Android devices never receive security updates. Ninety-five percent of Android devices can now be compromised via an MMS message, and that’s just the most high-profile bug. Google has no way to apply security patches to these devices, and manufacturers and carriers just don’t care.
Windows 10 includes a package management tool built into PowerShell. In the final version, it’s named “PackageManagement”, but it’s still based on an open-source project named OneGet.