Protecting Your Smartphone Might be the Best Thing to Do
It’s common knowledge that antivirus protection is needed on your laptop or desktop computers, these machines must have constant protection. However, should an Android smartphone have similar protection? To answer this quickly, yes. Your Android smartphone should have a security app due to known security vulnerabilities.
Android Store Apps
Unfortunately, stores selling Android apps, which includes Google, tend to be laid back when it has to do with screen apps. Because of this, apps containing malware keep finding their way into these stores. One threat that continuously pops up over the last few years is Ransomware, and you can save yourself several headaches by having protection against this if you accidently get yourself one of these malicious apps.
An Android operating system has more than ninety-five percent of mobile type malware targeting it. Thankfully, with this many threats, there are numerous high-quality security and antivirus protection Android apps available. Choosing which one you want to use basically depends on the interface you believe is easier to use.
AV-Test.org test rank the following apps with top marks:
- Alibaba Mobile Security
- AVL by Antiy
- G Data
- Qihoo 360
- Kaspersky Lab
To receive high marks for AV-Tests.org, these apps must pass tests of detection on more than three thousand pieces of malware from the real-world. They must also have little effect toward the battery life of the phone, and no false alarms can be triggered. Many of these security apps have other features included with it, such as Qihoo 360’s has Privacy Protection and ESET’s Security Audit.
For added protection to your Android smartphone, there are apps you can install that provide you with a firewall, such as DroidWall. However, the majority of these apps require that your device is rooted, which can open it up to further dangers. With the addition of a firewall your phone may have more protection, but the way in which Androids are typically attacked, having a firewall is not necessarily needed.
Another crucial step you need to do to protect your Android smartphone is a guard against malvertising. There are not as many options available for protection against malvertising due to how new it has become a major threat. Disconnect is an excellent privacy browser extension. They offer their users Disconnect Malvertising as a solution for anti-malvertising which can be downloaded for to your Android phone. If you use Adblock Browser, brought from Adblock Plus, ads will be stopped even before they have a chance to load.
No matter what you are downloading to your phone, it is always a good idea to have some protection. Using one of these options above, you should be protected correctly.
Use These Top Android App Picks
SMS has been the way to go for text messaging for a very long time now. These are extremely easy to use, and the majority of cell phone plans offer their customers an unlimited number. Lucky for you, there are a plethora of apps compatible with Android that is able to send and receive SMS messages. Some offer tons of features while others provide only the needed basics.
Google Messenger SMS app is great for people looking for something simple without too many extra features. It is pleasant to look at with Material Design, and some features included are SMS blocking, text search, audio messages, and location sharing. Google Messenger app is totally free and meets the majority of user’s needs.
Chomp SMS is known as an excellent app for Android and has been around since FroYo and Éclair. Time has not taken away any popularity of Chomp SMS and it still grows today. Make text messages look how you want by using their theme support. This app also includes widgets, more than 800 emoticons, fast pop up replies, and SMS blocking. This SMS app for Android is one for people who like a lot of options with their themes. Users love also love that this app is free.
An Android app that has great popularity is EvolveSMS. This app provides users with several incredible features. One of their features allows users the ability of easier messaging by swiping between conversations rather than hitting back buttons and another button for the other conversation and so forth. Some other amazing features EvolveSMS offers include password support, Android Wear support, and notifications which are customizable. Free to download and use with in-app purchases available.
Signal Private Messenger
If you are familiar with Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, or Google Hangouts, you’d probably feel right at home when looking at Signal Private Messenger. This Android SMS app is very similar to them. However, this app uses a system with phone numbers to search for people and if they do not have Signal Private Messenger, a regular SMS is sent out instead. For users that want an app that focuses on security, this is perfect for you. There is end-to-end encryption for the prevention of prying eyes from the powers that be. To receive full security, both users must be using Signal Private Messenger. However, even as a standalone app, this works exceedingly well. You would be happy to know this app supports phone calls, is open source, and best of all- Free!!!
Keep in touch by using one the great SMS Apps available for your Android device! Make sure to check out these Android apps you can use while offline, too!
With All The Features, There’s Nothing You Can’t Do With OK Google
Google Now has had some extraordinary advancements over the last two years, making it packed with features to make life much simpler. And when you combine “OK Google”, where users can interact with Google Now by using simple voice commands, you get much more.
What Is OK Google Capable of Doing?
Many people tend to be unsure if OK Google provides real value or not. Listed below are just a few valuable things it is capable of doing:
- Send text messages.
- Send emails.
- Calls contacts.
- Searches the internet and answers your questions.
- Post updates on social media.
- Provides you with maps and routing while driving.
Using OK Google to find your next turn, gas stations, exits, or change your destination is more convenient than paper maps. Rather than using your hands while driving, this allows many aspects to be accomplished by voice commands making it much safer.
OK Google is able to integrate with many of your third-party apps, such as Pandora, WhatsApp, Trello, etc. Think of the simplicity of using only your voice to “Play Drake on Pandora”.
OK Google Set Up
The majority of Android phones now come equipped with OK Google. However, you will need to manually turn it on for phones where it is not enabled.
The only thing you need other than your Android phone is the Google app. There are more features with this app than with only OK Google. For example, having the ability to search the internet even when busy doing something else on your phone.
To set up OK Google, start up the app. Go to the top left and open the menu. Hit Settings > Voice > “OK Google” detection. Look down and find From the Google app. If not already enabled, do it now. It is recommended to also enable From any screen as well, to take full advantage of this app. When enabling this option, you must repeat the phrase “OK Google” 3 times. This way, your voice will be recognized by the app.
It’s that simple. That is all that needs to be done. There are a few setting you can adjust to make OK Google more to your liking.
To activate OK Google when your screen is locked, you want to adjust Trusted Voice. This works with only your voice.
When your screen is off and you want to activate OK Google, adjust Always On. However, this does not work with all models.
To have personal results returned with your searches, you want to adjust Personal Results. This works no matter if your phone is locked or not.
Commanding OK Google
There is an endless list of commands that you can use, just simply say “OK Google” and the command. Your life will be easily navigated by having OK Google by your side.
Print From Wherever You Are
There is no need keeping those awesome photos on your Android tablet or phone digital. Print them simple and fast by using your own printer at home, at a store locally, or sent quickly to you through the mail.
There is no expensive hardware to buy, use your own photo printer or pay-per-print for a higher-quality solution.
Home Printer Photos
When printing photos regularly, using a photo printer at home can be an ideal solution. You want to use high-quality photo paper with a dedicated photo printer. Using an old printer with traditional printer paper is not advisable for photos.
Next, your Android tablet or phone needs to communicate with the printer. Most printers have a dedicated app available through the Play Store which installs all necessary drivers allowing you to print directly to the wireless printer.
Find the app by either searching the Play Store or go to Settings > Printing and press Add Service. You now will see printing apps available that match your printer make. Be sure to follow on-screen instructions as each app works differently.
Google Cloud Print is another way of printing from your Android tablet or phone. The amount of Cloud Ready printers is increasing every day, but non-compatible and older printers can use it as well. A printer is connected to your Google account for Google Cloud Print to work.
Print Photos Locally and Pick Them Up Quickly
Rather than using your own photo printer at home, if you’re only printing a couple of photos on occasion, pay-per-print at your local store. There is no need to spend or maintain a photo printer or high-quality photo paper. This way is less costly if only using for occasional photos.
There are many local businesses that print photos and have them ready for pick up the same day near you such as Walmart, CVS, Target, and Walgreens. With the use of apps, you can easily find local stores and send photos that you want printed and go pick them up when ready. This store also has ways to send and order your photos by visiting their web page directly. These photos are printed at high-quality with no worry about printer maintenance.
Order Photos to Be Delivered to Your Door
If you do not want to leave your house to have photos printed there is no need to. High-quality photos can be delivered to your door within a few days of order. With apps such as FreePrints, SnapFish, and Shutterfly you can easily have some or all of your photos printed and sent right to your door. If you want, have them send these photos directly to a family or friend for you.
If none of these options are appealing, you can transfer them by USB cable or store them with services such as Dropbox, OneDrive, or Google Photos and print them from there. However, they look much better straight from your Android phone.
Check out some of the other cool apps that come with your Android phone.
Create Your Own Awesome Google Calendar To-Do List
Google calendar is there for scheduling and your to-do list app is there to mark down tasks. With the introduction of Reminders by Google, you now will have a to-do list integrated with Google Calendar. Reminders for Google Calendar is a great feature available on your mobile app and the web.
How Reminders Work
Reminders work by pressing the plus icon when you want to create a new event on the calendar for the mobile app, you will now be presented with another option for “Reminder”. Press that when you are ready to create a new reminder.
- Reminders assist you with creating better tasks by using what Google knows about you.
- Reminders remain on your calendar until they are marked as done.
- There are preset templates for text, email, call, read, meet, make reservations, cancel reservations, watch, return, and check in. Each template is designed to find information on Google helping to provide your tasks with more context.
- You have the ability to create new reminders by using non-Calendar Google apps. Use Google Keep, Google Inbox, or try voice commands with OK Google.
Add your tasks to Google calendar so they are scheduled rather than placed on a seemingly endless list where they are less likely to get finished. Increase the chances of following through on your tasks by scheduling them. Google Calendar prompts you for a date and time when adding your new task, so it will alert you.
You are more likely to complete small tasks is larger due to the ability to review our tasks. It is easier because your calendar and to-do list are kept visual and in the same space.
Why Use Google Calendar for Your To-Do List?
Even with Google Keep handling task, Calendar is the better option for several reasons. One of these reasons is being able to add from anywhere. When having to take several steps to add tasks, many of never bother. With most Google apps allowing us to add Reminders, we are able to reduce how many steps we need to take.
Another great reason to use Calendar is ability to review our tasks. To better our list of task, we must review and re-prioritize them. While having both our unscheduled tasks and scheduled tasks put in one place, you have an easier time reviewing and considering what should be done next.
The calendar can work in a similar way as Trello when accomplishing tasks, by allowing you a visual glance of everything that needs to be accomplished today. This also lets you view unscheduled tasks, letting you have an overview of your entire day.
Reminders with Google Calendar is synced across every platform, helping you be more productive every day!
Several of the new Androids no longer come with MicroSD card slots, for instance HTC One and Google’s line of Nexus products. When users begin to run out of space on these great phones, they either need to delete apps or use a cloud backup service to move their data too. There is no expanding these phones, and they lack all the options available to people who own smartphones with MicroSD card slots.
Here are some reasons you should use an Android phone with a MicroSD card slot:
1. Less Costly
Using Cloud services for extra storage allows only a small amount for free, with more storage needs costing monthly or yearly fees. There is no owning this space, rather you lease this space. This means, it is costlier to rely on Cloud services. Costs of MicroSD cards go down every year while their storage capacity increases.
2. Internet Connection Not Needed
Cloud services all require an internet connection to transfer or gain access to your files. Some people may not see this as an issues, but others do not have ideal connections 24/7. Users with dial-up connections, high-latency satellite internet, or unpredictable broadband are likely to become frustrated while waiting for their files to finish downloading. Users enjoying in the practice of accessing data on the go may become angry when losing data access each time their signal is lost or when they look at high bills at the end of month. They can access their MicroSD card wherever, whenever they want.
3. No Computer Needed to Flash ROMs
A great strength with Android is freedom of customization. Users are able to take things to a different level by flashing a new ROM. The default theme, operating system, along with other software which are unable to be changed normally, users can now change. Many ROMs have the capability of Bluetooth connections and improving cell phone signals over a default state of the phone.
4. World-Wide Accessibility
Some Cloud services have limitations with how far they are able to reach. Google Drive may be available world-wide, however, Play Music All Access has availability only in the US. While replicating all of your Pandora’s library to a MicroSD may be impossible, you are guaranteed media files played of this card are always accessible.
5. True Ownership
Storing files on MicroSD cards mean users truly own that data. When using Cloud services, users may have legal rights to their files but have no idea where they are actually stored or handled. These files are always being controlled by someone other than the user. Keeping your Android phone away from prying eyes allows your MicroSD card to be seen and controlled by only the user.
If considering a phone upgrade with no MicroSD slot, think about everything that you have to give up.
Make Use of USB OTG on Android
There is convenience with a USB connections, but they are not usable with phones. That is of course unless you are an Android owner and a user of USB OTG.
USB OTG (On-The-Go) allows data to be read from a device without the need of a PC by using a USB connection. This device becomes a USB Host, and every device is capable of doing this.
Android is the popular place where USB OTG is used, but not the only place. Some printers are already supporting it, Windows Phone 10 is likely to have USB OTG from Microsoft, but Apple has yet to show any signs of allowing this. Another reason why you should choose an Android over an iPhone!
Checking If Your Android Supports USB OTG
The most trustworthy way of checking if your Android supports USB OTG is by checking either the manufacturer’s website or the box you bought it in.
If you are unable to find it, check on the site, GSMArena.com. Scroll where is says USB in the specification list, now checks for USB Host. They are the words you want to find.
Another way of checking is by downloading from the Google Play Store the free app, USB OTB Checker.
Not all Android devices support the USB OTG, the manufacturer needs to have it enabled.
What is Needed
Android devices have standard size micro-USB ports, but the majority of USB devices need a USB port which is full-size. You solve this issue, you will need a micro-sized USB Male to full-sized USB Female adapter.
What You Are Able to Do With USB OTG
After you have your USB OTG ready for use with your Android, there are many opportunities newly opened up to you.
Some popular ones include:
Connect External Hard Drives and Flash Drives
Use of external storage is extremely popular, and you are able to just plug your USB in and go. The connection is easy with USB drives while an external hard drive might or might not work. External hard drives which have their own power source have no issues with working, but portable hard drives which take power from the Android device might not work.
Use Keyboard and Mouse to Control Android
Having a keyboard and mouse is an important part if you want to use your tablet as a laptop. Standard plug-and-play wireless keyboard and mouse sets which are compatible with all platforms work awesome. When buying hardware, be sure it does not require any software to be installed.
If your phone has a USB OTG you are capable of using your phone for many other excellent things as well. Such as controlling your DSLR camera, print directly from a printer plays games using video game controllers, among many other things. Android helps to open up a whole new world to their users.