FEATURED ARTICLES / THE BEST OF HOW-TO GEEK

There’s a very curious short coming in the Apple HomeKit system: HomeKit supports combining your smarthome devices into rooms, zones, and scenes, but if a given app doesn’t support one of those things, you’re out of luck. And no smarthome apps let you create scenes with multiple products from different companies. Enter the Home app, which solves both these problems.

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Does this sound familiar? You start to watch a video on YouTube, and want to pause it. So you press the spacebar on your keyboard, but rather than pause the video, you randomly jump down the page instead.

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Everyone loses data at some point in their lives. Your computer’s hard drive could fail tomorrow, ransomware could hold your files hostage, or a software bug could delete your important files. If you’re not regularly backing up your computer, you could lose those files forever.

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Ever want to watch a video on your phone or tablet without wasting its storage space? Or maybe you just need to view a file your friend gave you. Most modern Android devices support standard USB drives, so you can plug in a flash drive just like you would on a computer.

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This only applies to purchases you make within apps. If you purchased a paid app from the App Store, you can just revisit the App Store and reinstall the app. As long as you’re signed in with the same Apple ID you purchased the app with, you’ll be able to install it again on any device.

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If you swipe down from Android’s menu bar twice, you’ll get a nice panel of quick settings you can toggle with one tap. Want to hide some of these settings, move them around, or add new ones? You have a few choices.

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Is your Android device low on space? If your phone has a MicroSD card slot, you can use it to expand your space for music, movies or even apps, thanks to the improved SD card features in Android 6.0 Marshmallow.

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File History is Windows 10’s main backup tool, originally introduced in Windows 8. Despite the name, File History isn’t just a way to restore previous versions of files–it’s a fully-featured backup tool.

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Many people have the attitude that it doesn’t matter if their router is older because their phone, laptop, or other wireless gear isn’t cutting edge anyways. Even if you don’t have brand new tech toys you still benefit from upgrading a dated router.

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With Android 6.0 Marshmallow, Google added more than just Doze. It added a feature named App Standby, which is designed to prevent apps you never use from draining your battery. It’s less effective than disabling apps completely, but it has its place.

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If you’re like me, you might have opened up your Windows 10 laptop today only to see a giant ad for Square Enix’s Rise of the Tomb Raider plastered across your login screen. This is the work of the “Windows Spotlight” feature in your Personalization settings, and thankfully, you can turn it off for good.

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More and more, the internet becomes central to everything we do at home. Watching movies, playing video games, and video chatting with family all require constant access. But with so much extra bandwidth necessary to push data to your wireless laptops, desktops, streaming devices and Smart TVs, will the routers of today be able to handle the demands of tomorrow?

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Microsoft is competing with Steam. For $60, you can get Rise of the Tomb Raider from either the Windows Store or Steam. But the Windows Store’s version of the game is worse, and Microsoft’s new app platform is to blame. It’s not ready for powerful games yet.

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Android 6.0 Marshmallow added a new feature called “Doze” that aims to dramatically improve your battery life. Android phones and tablets will “sleep” when you leave them alone, conserving battery life for later. Doze is designed to get out of your way and just work, but you can tweak it and make it even better.

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Is Touch ID on your iPhone or iPad not working as well as it used to? Does it take several tries to unlock your device? This could be the sign of a hardware problem, or it could be something far simpler and easily fixable.

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More games support Linux than ever, thanks to Steam for Linux. But, like on Windows, many of these games require the latest graphics drivers for optimal performance and the fewest bugs. The latest versions of Ubuntu may include fresher drivers, but not necessarily the most recent ones.

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Google added a “Battery Saver” mode to Android with Android 5.0 Lollipop. On a modern Android device, this mode can kick in and help prolong your battery when it’s almost dead. You can tweak that battery threshold or enable Battery Saver mode manually.

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Many low-level tweaks can normally only be performed on Android by flashing custom ROMs. The Xposed Framework allows you to modify your existing system without installing a new custom ROM. All it requires is root access.

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Unfortunately, not every mobile game supports physical game controllers. But quite a few games do, thanks to the Apple TV’s support for MFi controllers. For Android, devices like the NVIDIA Shield have encouraged developers to have controller support to their games. So, while this won’t necessarily work for every game you own, it should work for a fair amount.

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Android Wear is a rather useful addition to your arsenal of technology, but getting to know a completely new device can be overwhelming. Here’s everything you need to know about setting up, tweaking, and using your new Android Wear watch.

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Your Mac tracks the “energy impact” of each running application in a few places. Like on an iPhone or iPad, you can see exactly which apps are using the most power, and adjust your usage accordingly so you don’t run out of juice.

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After more than a decade as a fervent PC gamer, I purchased a PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Wii U last year, eager to try the current crop of consoles. The last console I seriously used was a Nintendo 64. A lot has changed since then.

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MacBooks attempt to automatically manage your display brightness for you, dimming the display when you step away from an outlet and adjusting the brightness to suit the overall light level nearby. But you can adjust the brightness manually and even disable these features, if you like.

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Those new Windows 10 apps have permission to run in the background so they can update their live tiles, fetch new data, and receive notifications. Even if you never even touch them, they may drain some battery power. But you can control which apps are allowed to run in the background.

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Touch on Windows laptops, in one form or another, has been around for quite some time. For most of that time, it was bad. No wait, bad is too generous–it was nearly unusable. But as much as no one wants to admit it, that’s all changed. Touch is quite good on Windows 10.

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