Blog

Android’s latest OS, Android P Beta, is available for download on Google Pixel devices, Essential Phone, Nokia 7 plus, Sony Xperia XZ2, Vivo X21, Vivo X21UD, Oppo R15 Pro and Xiaomi Mi Mix 2S. A welcome change from past upgrades where betas were restricted to Nexus and Pixel devices.

Here is what to expect from Android P, Android’s latest smartphone OS:

Navigation Bar Changes

Users of Android P can expect a substantial change in the Navigation Bar. The Home button will now allow you to access recent apps. When using the updated Home gesture, a small pin-shaped button replaces the old home button and will be located at the bottom of the screen.

The Overview icon no longer appears if you choose to use the updated Navigation Bar. More customizations are available for the Android P Navigation Bar.

Dashboard

A new feature called Dashboard helps users track the amount of time they spend on their device. See the amount of time you spend surfing the internet, sending messages, making calls, or streaming content with Dashboard. Specific apps with all you to set up screen limits and YouTube sends recommendations for a screen break.

Wind Down Mode

Another new feature, Wind Down Mode was created to improve digital well-being. Just tell Google Assistant what time you would like to go to bed and Wind Down Mode automatically places your Android phone on Do Not Disturb mode as well as switches your display to greyscale.

Adaptive Brightness

With Adaptive Brightness, your preferred brightness settings are determined using A.I. Once it learns your preferences, Adaptive Brightness will make adjustments according to your lighting conditions.

Slices

Slices are very similar to widgets. This feature allows app developers to utilize it API to create contextual messages according to your use. For example, rather than opening an app, an option appears to book a car when searching for a Lyft.

Improved Notifications

Google notifications to become more useful to the user. Rather than opening a full app, users will be able to attach photos or stickers, type in a reply, or use one of Google’s smart replies.

App Actions

App Actions is another new feature Google added to enhance Android P. In addition to selecting apps by using A.I., contextual suggestions based on the user’s usage will also be made.

New Gestures

Android P brings with it many new gestures. Some of the new gestures include swiping up on the new Home button to look at recent apps and holding the Volume Up and Power button to prevent ringing. The ability to silence your Android smartphone by turning it over it included with Android P.

This and much more is coming to Android’s latest OS, Android P. Keep your eyes and ears open for more information! Plus, you should also know the reasons to choose Android over iPhone!

Security is vital due to the amount of personal data we maintain on our smartphones. By default, Android phones are encrypted and provide numerous methods for locking and unlocking. Some are more convenient, while others are more secure.

Password Lock

When choosing a strong password, or passphrase for more strength, they are very secure. However, on average we unlock our phone a hundred times per day, making this method inconvenient. For the highest level of security, try using a password as a backup option to a biometric choice.

Pin Lock

A PIN lock provided an easy alternative to a password. However, it can be difficult to remember a strong PIN code. As with a password, a PIN is a good backup option to a biometric choice.

Pattern Lock

The pro for using a pattern lock is that they are both easy and intuitive. Unfortunately, most people tend to choose a simple, predictable pattern. Also, people can easily learn your pattern when looking over your shoulder.

Fingerprint Sensor Lock

Fingerprint sensors have become common and even are available in several entry-level Android phones. They are fast and very secure, but not always located in the right spot. The best time to use fingerprint sensors is as a default.

Facial Recognition Lock

Facial recognition locks are fast and there is nothing to remember; with just a glance, your phone is unlocked. Unfortunately, however, in its current form, facial recognition is not very secure. This locking method is fine to use only when not accessing payment or banking apps.

Iris Scanner Lock

The iris scanner lock method is one of the most secure forms of the biometric ID. However, when using this lock method, it can become hindered by bright glasses or light. It also requires a more deliberate gesture and more work than the fingerprint method.

Intelligent Scan Lock

Created by Samsun and used on the Galaxy S9, intelligent scan combines the best elements of both the iris and face scanning. However, as with facial recognition, it is not secure enough to use of banking and payment apps. This method should be used only if you would also use facial recognition alone.

Smart Lock

Android offers users five Smart Lock features built to make the action of unlocking your device less intrusive in addition to their main security choices.

On-body Detection allows your phone to remain unlocked when it senses you are carrying it, such as in a bag or pocket. This method is less about security and more about convenience.

Whenever you are in a specific location, such as home or work, Trusted Places unlocks your phone. However, while in these trusted places, anyone can use your device.

Since Android first introduced Trusted Face there have been improvements. Unfortunately, it is not secure as the other options.

Voice Match allows you to unlock your phone simply by saying the “OK Google” hotword. This is an excellent choice for those who use OK Google often, or for those who need access while in a hands-free setting, such as driving.

In the end, it is all up to you, the Android user, for which lock method works best for their needs.

If you are an owner of an old Android device, you are not using it because it is so slow. In the off chance, you are using it, the performance of the device is probably horrible. To learn how to make an Android device faster, consider the following:

1. Locating and Removing Unused Apps

If the storage of your device is almost full on your device, it performs poorly. We recommend using one of these two apps, DiskUsage for experts and Files Go for beginners.

Removing clutter from Files Go

Files Go is easy to use. Just install and allow the app to run each of its jobs. First, you must grant File Go access to allow it to automatically free space by opening the app and head to Find unused app and select Get Started > Settings to allow the app access by sliding over the tab. Once the app is finished it lets you know which apps you are using and what can be removed.

Removing clutter with DiskUsage

DiskUsage shows you files on your device are using the most space. Identify the files and remove and delete them if wanted. To delete, open the depiction of the file and in the upper-right corner tap on the 3 dots, and hit delete. Never use DiskUsage on any devices system storage drives.

2. Optimizing Your Android Device

In two of these tips, it requires enabling Developer Options.

Trim Your Storage Device

Before the storage begins to behave normally again, a function called trim needs to run. For trim to work best, at least 25 percent of space is needed. Also, for trim to run uninterrupted, leave it charging overnight.

Enable Developer Options

To turn on Enable Developer Options head to Settings > About > Build number and tap on Build number seven times.

Once Enable Developer Options is turned on, head back to Setting > Developer Options.

Turn Animations Off

All screen transitions are automatically animated in Android. By turning off animations, apps launch faster.

Open Developer Options and look through the list of items and locate Drawing. The three kinds of animations include:

  • Animator duration scale
  • Transition animation scale
  • Window animation scale

Animations scale begins at off and goes up to 10x. Tap in the entry and from the context menu, select off.

Check Process Stats

To locate Process Stats, head to Developer Options > Process Stats. Here you are able to look at the amount of memory an app consumes and also the length of time a process runs in the background. While not all apps located here are bad for the performance of your Android device, you may possibly see a few you forgot you installed and do not use. If so, uninstalled those apps.

Once you have finished cleaning and optimizing your device, plug it in overnight while in airplane mode.

On average, we check our smartphones approximately 150 times per day. Even while we are in bed, our phone is a priority, with 71% of users sleeping with their device a mere 3 feet from them. Also, studies have found that 1 in 3 users bring their smartphone with them into the bathroom. These numbers are astounding, to say the least.

If you are like the users found in this study, you may want to control your social media use with these following apps:

Quality Time – My Digital Diet

Quality Time is one of the best apps to help you control your social media use, having more than 1 million downloads. Included in this Android apps top-features is the ability to provide a unique, in-depth analysis of tracking your phones activities such as screen unlocks, usage, as well as individual apps. Track in day, week, or month. Also, receive a notification when you have reached a pre-selected time limit on your social media apps.

Download Quality Time

Instant – Quality Self, Track screen time usage

Instant is by far one of the best apps to use for when you want to control the amount of time that is spent on activities. This app does not limit the control on only social networks, but also exercising, sleeping, traveling, or visiting places. Instant collects real-time data making is simple to set short-term objectives or goals for time spent on social media, sleeping, or daily exercise.

Download Instant

Forest – Stay focused

Similar to the Pomodoro Technique which breaks down work and leisure in 25 minutes work time and 5 minutes of leisure, this app makes the user more responsible for their phone usage. This allows the user to focus on the more significant things in life. With Forest, you plant a tree in the forest and over time it will grow. However, the tree will wither away if you leave to check social media before time is up.

Download Forest

IFTTT

Short for “if this, then that”, IFTTT contains hundreds of options allowing you to reduce the amount of time spent on social media or checking your phone. For example, have certain apps turn off automatically when you enter your work office. Or, have your Android device send a message to a specific contact when leaving your house. How many times you need to take out your phone is reduced to the more creative you get.

Download IFTTT

Take some time to try out each of these great apps before choosing your favorite.

If you are like everyone else, you are guilty of realizing you have forgotten to charge your phone as you are getting ready to head out the door. You have a few minutes to spare, do you decide to plug the phone into its charger to give it a quick battery boost. However, only three percent was added before you have no choice but unplug it and leave. What can you do in the future to help avoid this from happening?

Battery life of an Android smartphone involves numerous factors. However, using your phone wisely as well as having the correct equipment, you can save a lot of aggravation by following these tips and tricks.

Airplane Mode

Your phone recharges quicker when it is trying to do less while charging. Wireless radios are blocked on your phone when in airplane mode. Placing your Android smartphone on airplane mode reduces its capabilities which prevents it from doing many things. While calls and messages will not be received during this time, it is worth the quicker charge.

Turn Phone Off

Your phone will recharge even quicker than when put on airplane mode by turning it off completely. As with airplane mode, having your phone last longer while away from home may be worth missing a few notifications.

Turn Off Unnecessary Features

Look to find if there are any unnecessary features turned on, such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, NFC, or GPS. These features could be taking up battery life. Stop your phone from updating apps or doing automatic updates, and close all of your apps.

Do Not Touch

If you are expecting an important call or text and are unable to turn the phone off or place it in airplane mode, attempt not to use every few seconds. The largest battery drainer is the screen on your phone. Which means, the battery drains faster with the more you wake your phone. Leave the phone to charge and attempt to not check each and every notification that makes a sound.

Purchase Portable Charger

A portable charger will not charge your smartphone quicker, but the issue of having no time to fully charge it when the battery is low is resolved. For under $20, you can purchase a small, lightweight portable charger.

A portable charger easily fits in your pocket allowing you to charge your Android phone while on-the-go. There is no need to worry about forgetting to recharge your phone and the last-minute rush to juice the battery when you have a portable phone charger.

Trying these tips and tricks can help you charge your Android smartphone faster.

Backup Your Pics Using Google Photos

Posted on March 28, 2018
0

Google Photos is a fantastic way to backup your pictures. In addition to backing up your Android photos, this remarkable app provides ways to edit, share, and gives you great control over each aspect of the image. This includes choosing which folders to back-up, viewing pictures you previously shared, and the image quality to upload your photo. With Google Photos, never lose a photo again.

Set-Up Google Photos

To begin, open Google Photos and sign in to your Google account. If you don’t already have one, take a minute to create one. You are offered two choices on the image quality to upload your photos – original or optimized. Choose original if you’re planning on creating a photo book, you’re a somewhat serious photographer or want little quality degradation for archiving. Keep in mind, the 15GB of storage on your Google account is quickly used up with original back-ups. However, unlimited storage is available for optimized photos and is great if planning on sharing online mostly, such as with social media or email.

When back-up takes place, there is much flexibility available with Google Photos. To ensure you’re not using too much data, you can choose to only back up when over Wi-Fi. Also, to minimize battery usage, you can choose for back-ups only to occur while the phone is charging.

Google Photos is more than backing up your Android photos. Select which folder you want backed-up, downloads, screenshots, Instagram, and more. Head to Back up & sync > Back up device folder to change folders on/off options.

You also have the choice to manually back-up an individual video or photo. Open the desired image, select the three-dot menu located on the top-right, and select Back up now. More than one item can be selected for manual back-up.

Google Photo Assistant

With Assistant, you receive updates about your Google Photos library. When photos are being backed-up or a new Creation is available, a card similar to those on Google Now appears. The assistant can also inform you when your internal storage is running low and allows you to clear out photos that you’re already backed-up to your Google Photos account. Different actions are available with each card.

Search

Sort through your photos quickly and automatically by people, places, and things. Find a photo of your daughter’s first day of school with just a few taps. You’ll be amazed at how accurate search is.

Shared Albums

Google Photos makes sharing easy. Either choose the album you wish to share, hit the share icon, and enter the email or name of the person to send it to. Or, create a new Shared Album where you can decide on whether the people you share with can or cannot contribute to the album.

Explore the many other different ways Google Photos can make your images awesome!

Everyone forgets things at times. Perhaps you forgot to lock the front door; where you placed your car keys; or maybe you forgot the PIN or pattern on your Android device. Fortunately, many methods are available to bypass your lock screen and gain access to your Android device. What method to use may also depend on the version of your Android device; some may not work on older versions.

Android Device Manager

Android Device Manager is the best and easiest way to gain access to an Android device when the PIN is forgotten. To work, you must be logged into your Google account.

Log in to Android Device Manager from your computer and choose which device you wish to gain access to from the devices associated with your Google account. Hit “Lock” although it sounds counter-intuitive. The original code will be overwritten once your phone is locked with a new code.

This method works on Android version 2.3 or higher.

Smart Lock

The newer versions of Android are unable to be unlocked with your Google account due to greater security than the older ones. They do, however, have a Smart Lock feature that allows you to unlock the phone automatically depending on the condition, such as connecting to your home’s Wi-Fi. With Smart Lock, simply go home to unlock your Android device when you forget the PIN or pattern.

This method works on Android version 5.0 or higher.

Google Account

If you have forgotten your pattern, there is no need to worry about this simple method to gain access to your Android device.

If you have attempted to gain access to your Android device five times and failed, you will be locked out. The good news is if you are unable to get to a computer to log into your Google account, and the option will appear at the bottom of the screen of your device that states, “Forgot Pattern”. Select it and now you can sign into your Google account. You will be able to choose a new pattern, lock, PIN, etc., and unlock your Android device once it is authenticated through your Google account.

This method works on Android version 4.4 and lower.

Third-Party Options

Some manufacturers of smartphone devices have included their own security software with their device, such as Samsung with Find My Mobile. This option must be set up prior to forgetting your pattern to allow you access to the device.

Factory Reset

Keep in mind, with a factory reset, all your data will be erased. Be sure to try the other methods above be proceeding to factory reset.

The simplest way to factory reset is by going online and log into Android Device Manager. A hardware reset must be done if you are unable to gain access to Android Device Manager or your Google account.