Chrome OS does a lot of things right: it’s fast, super efficient, and great for most everyday tasks. One thing it doesn’t do very well is cater to power users, but Google is slowly changing this. Recently, Google added the ability to quickly toggle both the touch screen (on touch-compatible devices, of course) and touchpad with simple keyboard shortcuts. These settings are technically still experimental, however, so they’re hidden. Here’s how to enable them.
A few years ago, a trend started with Android manufacturers where they thought it would be a good idea to take the Settings menu—a generally straightforward place on most phones—and paginate it. So instead of having a solid list of things that can quickly be scrolled through until you find what you’re looking for, you’re stuck with flipping through a series of tabs and then scrolling through each one. It makes no sense.
LG did something weird with the G5: it completely removed the app drawer in the stock launcher, and tossed all apps on the the home screens, like in iOS. I get that some people probably like this—maybe even prefer it—but I’m sure it’s off-putting to many others. If you’d like to give the stock launcher a go but want the app drawer back, LG actually included a way to add an app drawer to its launcher via a separate download.
If you’re the “tech guy” (or girl!) in your family, you know what it’s like to deal with a constant barrage of questions every single time your tech challenged family members get a new gadget. While we can’t really help you simplify everything in their lives, we can tell you how to simplify their LG G5 with LG’s “EasyHome” launcher. Here’s how to enable it.
Although the Google Play Store offers thousands upon thousands of applications to choose from, sometimes you’ll want to break free and install applications that aren’t available in Google’s official store. Read on to learn how.
They say the best camera is the one you have with you, and most smartphone cameras can now easily replace a point-and-shoot. For users who have experience taking pictures, the move from a “real” camera to a smartphone can be an easy one, but for users with no photography experience, it can be a real challenge to get a decent looking shot from your phone. Fortunately, smartphone cameras are often more intuitive than more traditional cameras, and landing the best possible shot just take a few considerations.
Trying new things is always fun, especially when it comes to tech. Getting hands and eyes on new features before they become mainstays is even more exciting. Not only that, but it also helps software builders gauge interest for new features before they make them permanent. Samsung gets this, so on the international versions of the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge, it included a new feature called “Galaxy Labs.”
Everyone likes their devices to charge quickly, right? That’s why aptly-named quick charging technology is so popular—almost every chip maker has its own version of it at this point. Still, there are occasions when fast charging may not be the best solution.
Smartphones can be confusing—especially to those who may be less than enthusiastic about tech. And while manufacturers like Samsung and LG have stock options to simplify home screens and the app drawer, many others don’t have a built-in way to do this. Fortunately, there are plenty of launcher replacements in Google Play that can make navigating through an Android phone much simpler than it is out of the box. Out of all the ones I tested, however, two really stand above the rest: Necta Launcher and Wiser.
It’s been a long day and you’ve got some time to kill, so you grab your Samsung Galaxy S7 and fire up your favorite game. You’re all set to crush the level that you’ve been stuck on for the last seven weeks—it’s so close you can taste it. Then your bff decides to send a text that interrupts your game, which throws you off your mark. You lose again.
Sometimes you need to get stuff from your computer to your phone—pictures, files, links, text, etc. And most of the time, that’s way more of a pain than it should be. If you’re tired of uploading files to Dropbox or Drive, emailing links to yourself, or—worst of all—plugging your phone into your computer just to get your stuff from point A to B, stop. There’s an easier way. In fact, we’ve got three easier ways. Let’s get to it.
I love Chromebooks (and Chrome OS in general), but it has always bothered me that there isn’t an easy way to see how much of my device’s internal storage is actually being used. I get the whole “live in the cloud” thing, but c’mon—sometimes that just isn’t practical. And with the limited amount of storage found on most Chromebooks, you really need to be able to keep a close eye on what’s happening.
You crack open the box for your new Galaxy S7, S6, or Note 5 and start setting that bad boy up. About three taps in, you realize something: this thing is making noise every time you touch it. If that drives you as crazy as it does me, we have good news: it’s easy to disable not only the touch sounds, but also the lock screen and charging sounds.
When you tap certain items in Android, your phone will vibrate just a bit, giving you a little feedback. Sometimes, this is nice—getting that response is a nice acknowledgment that the thing you want to do is about to be done. But maybe you don’t like that, which is okay. I support your decision even if I don’t agree with it. The good news is that it’s easy to disable touch feedback on pretty much all Android devices.
At some point or another, you might lose your phone. It’s always good to know what to do when that happens, but there’s another side to that story: what if you’re the person who finds a lost phone? You’d be surprised at how many people don’t know what to do when they find someone else’s phone—and really, there isn’t a single “right” answer. But there are a few things to keep in mind to make it easier for that person to get their phone back.
Do Not Disturb mode on Android can be handy if you’re in a meeting, at a movie, or anywhere else where your phone needs to not be a distraction for a little while, but the real value is found in Do Not Disturb’s automatic rules. Basically, you can tell Android when not to bother you—like at night while you’re sleeping, for example—as well as who can bother you if they must. It’s pretty brilliant and only takes a few minutes to get set up.
Android’s “Do Not Disturb” seems like a simple, self-explanatory setting. But when Google dramatically overhauled Android’s phone silencing with Do Not Disturb in Lollipop, then re-designed it again in Marshmallow, things got a little confusing. But it’s all good—we’re here to make sense of it for you.
Now is arguably the best time in the history of the platform for Android users—the OS is getting better, updates are getting (slightly) quicker, and there are several excellent handsetS to choose from. If you’re not into the whole “manufacturer skin” that most are offering these days, however, it can be slightly less exciting to buy a non-Nexus phone. But giving your phone a “stock Android” look and feel isn’t as hard as you think.
When you have multiple applications that do the same thing—like browsers, for example—Android will ask you which one you want to use every time, at least until you set one as the default with the “always” action. In the earlier days of the app picker, you’d have to clear defaults for each one before applying another, but things have changed.
Android Wear has been around for a couple of years now, and it’s honestly one of those things that you don’t know how much you’ll use it until you actually have it. There are some really good, useful tools available for Wear that will make your life simpler, but we want to highlight a handful of apps that will also help you live a bit healthier.
Android has come a long way in terms of battery life over the last few years, and the built-in tools for monitoring battery usage have gotten significantly more useful. Still, sometimes the stock options just aren’t enough. Thankfully, there are ways to easily gauge your battery usage, remaining time, and even hunt down apps that are stealing your precious juice.
You know what’s not cool? Having that default block letter as a contact picture for your favorite contacts in your phone. They’re your favorites! Your besties, your husband or wife, even your kids. C’mon guys, they deserve better than the first letter of their first name. It’s up to you to make this right. But don’t fret—we’re here to help. It’s kinda what we do.
If there’s one argument I’ve seen made for capacitive buttons on Android (as opposed to on-screen navigation), it’s that you get more information displayed on the screen—that means more time reading and less time scrolling. If you have a Samsung Galaxy device, then you’re already on the capacitive buttons train, but there’s also a way to get more info on the screen if you want. It’s called “Display Scaling,” and you can get it on the S7, S6, and Note 5.
Two-factor authentication is an excellent way to make sure your account is secure, but having to input a code every single time you need to log in can be a real pain. Thanks to Google’s new code-less “Prompt” authentication, however, getting access to your Google account can be a lot simpler—you just need access to your phone.
There are a few things you can do to make sure your Android phone stays as safe as possible should it stray from your hands—a good lock screen password is a solid start. What you may not realize is that there’s a way to take that security a step further by enabling SIM Lock.