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4 months ago

Best third-party camera app for Android

23

Take better photos with a great third-party camera app on Android!

Shooting with your Android camera is usually great, but third-party apps can pack a punch in places you didn't even know you needed! From manual controls to real-time filters, to creative extras and so much more, you can achieve a lot more than you think you can with your phone photography by shooting with a third-party camera app.

Best overall

Open Camera

Free

Download now

Effortless to shoot with and packed with plenty of useful features, Open Camera is a free app that helps you take your phone photography snapshots to the next level.

With features like automatically taking photos with voice commands like 'CHEESE!', shooting RAW files, overlaying grids, locking orientation, volume key configuration, and so much more, Open Camera turns your Android into an even more powerful camera.

You can even use Open Camera to make shooting your videos smoother and simpler, as it supports some external microphones, helps with manual exposure time, and effortlessly focuses to get the perfect video clip every time.

Bottom line: If you're looking for an app that makes your photos and videos look great without confusing the pants off of you, Open Camera is a great call.

One more thing: You can add the date and timestamp along with location coordinates and text to your pictures.

Why the Open Camera is the best

Free, functional, and fun – the way phone photography should be.

Being able to take complete creative control of your Android phone's camera is a rare and sometimes challenging thing to do. There are plenty of third-party apps that exist out there competing to take the place of your standard camera, but very few make things so straight-forward while still allotting the user ample room for creative photographic expression.

The features Open Camera has are pretty vast depending on what you want to shoot, how you want to shoot, and your particular shooting style and taste. You have the option to record your videos in HD while simultaneously zooming with a single-touch control, or shoot RAW (DNG) files along with manual distance focus (if your phone supports it), manual exposure timing, and manual ISO.

Open Camera isn't just for people who know and understand all the bells and whistles of professional photography: it also has some extremely fun and quirky features that make shooting with your Android phone a creative adventure.

Set up remote photo taking with a voice command or a noise – all you have to do is whistle, and your Android device captures the perfect photo! The app also has optional geotagging so you can keep track of when and where you took your photos, while basic, yet practical, features like overlaying a grid disabling the shutter sound makes your entire camera experience smoother and more customized to what you're comfortable with.

At the end of the day, Open Camera does a good, straightforward job of getting users to be more creative with their shots, try out more professional-grade settings, and experiment with their phone photography. What else can you ask for with a camera app?

Best for fun

Prisma

Free

Download now

In the last few months, you've probably noticed more and more photos of people, places, and food (what else is social media for?) being uploaded to Instagram and Facebook with hints of different art styles.

Some photos may look like vivid watercolor paintings, while others resemble rough, charcoal sketches. Some are reminiscent of a specific artist's look and feel, while others mesh mediums like anime to cartoon-ify your photos.

Prisma is an app that works by turning your photos into modern works of art using art style filters. Just shoot your photo with the app – your image will be shot as a square – and then pick and choose the filter you think will look best on your photo! There are dozens of different options to choose from, so try a couple.

Bottom-line: If you want a camera app that mixes creativity and art with simple shooting, then Prisma is your gal.

One more thing: Prisma is an awesome app for social media — spice up your selfie a bit and slap a Heisenberg on that baby.

Best for Manual Controls

Manual Camera

$2.99

Download now

Manual Camera gives whoever is behind the screen complete control of almost all settings. It's almost like having a little DSLR in your pocket, which is perfect for pro phone photographers or people looking to get better versed in photography!

While the standard camera app for Android allows you to control a few settings, Manual Camera takes the basics up a notch with complete manual control of shutter speed, focus distance, exposure compensation, ISO, and white balance.

Unfortunately, this is the only app on the list that costs something, but it's worth noting that you'll be using several different professional settings to capture the clearest photos.

Bottom-line: If you're looking for a professional camera app that lets you adjust your settings and add more than just a few colored filters to your photos, check out Manual Camera.

One more thing: The app runs quickly, so you won't have to worry about waiting for it to load as you miss your perfect shot.

Best for Social Media

Candy Camera

Free

Download now

Fun, straight-forward, and super filter friendly, the Candy Camera is a great tool for shooting the perfect selfie or snapping the ideal social media post!

Candy Camera is a third-party tool that works by overlaying flattering filters overtop of your photos in real-time. That means you can test out what filters look best, and if need be, layer them with other filters before posting.

With the Candy Camera, you also get a couple of insta-makeup editing tools: you can slim your face, whiten your teeth, add concealer, lipstick, blush, eyeliner, mascara, and more!

Bottom-line: Candy Camera is the perfect partner for social media posts and popularity.

One more thing: You can also decorate your photos with stickers in the app. New stickers are even added every update!

Conclusion

Shooting with third-party cameras is important for several reasons: they help you get creative, they help expand your photography horizons, and they help turn your Android phone into the powerful little photography tool it really is.

Best overall

Open Camera

Free

Download now

Effortless to shoot with and packed with plenty of useful features, Open Camera is a free app that helps you take your phone photography snapshots to the next level.

With features like automatically taking photos with voice commands like 'CHEESE!', shooting RAW files, overlaying grids, locking orientation, volume key configuration, and so much more, Open Camera turns your Android into an even more powerful camera.

You can even use Open Camera to make shooting your videos smoother and simpler, as it supports some external microphones, helps with manual exposure time, and effortlessly focuses to get the perfect video clip every time.

Bottom line: If you're looking for an app that makes your photos and videos look great without confusing the pants off of you, Open Camera is a great call.

One more thing: You can add the date and timestamp along with location coordinates and text to your pictures.

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4 months ago

How to opt out of WhatsApp sharing your information with Facebook

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How do I stop WhatsApp from sharing my information with Facebook? There are two ways!

In 2014, Facebook bought WhatsApp for a whopping $21.8 billion. WhatsApp users everywhere went, "Oh, no. This can't be good." That feeling has finally come to fruition in that WhatsApp will now start sharing your information with Facebookincluding your phone number.

If you don't want Facebook getting ahold of your WhatsApp info, you can opt out in one of two ways.

Here's how!

Note: We're approaching the 30-day limit to opt out of WhatsApp's new privacy policy, so if you haven't done so already, now is a good time to do it.

How to opt out of sharing your WhatsApp information with Facebook in the WhatsApp terms of service

When WhatsApp updates, you'll have to agree to its terms of service all over again, but before you tap agree, you can read more and opt out of sharing your information.

  1. Launch WhatsApp from your home screen or the app drawer.
  2. Tap the upward arrow in the bottom right corner to read more.
  3. Tap the checkbox to opt out of sharing your information with Facebook.

    Launch WhatsApp, tap the upward arrow to read more, tap the checkbox

If you go looking for the Share my account data option in your settings afterward, it won't be there, since you've already opted out.

How to opt out of sharing your WhatsApp information with Facebook if you've already agreed to the new terms of service

If you've already tapped "Agree", you can still opt out:

  1. Launch WhatsApp from your home screen or the app drawer.
  2. Tap the more button in the top right corner. It looks like three vertical dots.
  3. Tap Settings.

    Launch WhatsApp, tap the more button, tap Settings

  4. Tap Account.
  5. Tap the checkbox next to Share my account info.

    Tap Account, tap the checkbox next to Share my account info

Now you're opted out and Facebook isn't getting your phone number, and won't share any information with its parent company to influence the ads you see.

Questions?

Let us know in the comments below!

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4 months ago

Google's latest Android Experiment turns your phone into a paper plane

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Throw a plane, not a phone.

After debuting it at Google I/O this past May, Google and Active Theory have released Paper Planes, an app and Android Experiment that means to bring people together on International Day of Peace (that's today).

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4 months ago

Allo can send you messages on Android even if you don't install it

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Allo notification

On Android, friends with Allo can bug you even if you haven't installed the app yet.

Update: Google has announced that it's opening up App Preview Messaging, which is the Play Services feature powering these notifications, to third-party developers. Allo is a great use case for this feature, but the documentation makes it clear Google sees uses for it beyond growing Allo's user base.

Google has built a unique trick into its new messaging app, Allo, which may help spread its reach throughout the vast Android user base. Allo can send messages to your Android friends, even if they don't have the app installed.

It'll look a little something like this:

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4 months ago

Allo and phone numbers: Everything you need to know

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Allo

How Google's chat app handles phone numbers, multiple devices and switching phones.

Allo is tied to both your Google account — for intelligent predictions and Google Assistant — and your phone number, for helping friends and other contacts find each other. But the phone number requirement also introduces a few limitations in the way you can use Allo.

Here's a thorough breakdown of how things currently work.

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4 months ago

Traveling with Allo? You can swap SIMs without logging out

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Allo + travel

You can activate Allo on your normal number and still use a local SIM for data.

In addition to being linked to your Google account, Allo is tied to your main phone number. That makes things tricky if you use multiple devices — unlike Hangouts, there's no easy way to use it on multiple phones at the same time right now. And the phone number tie-in might seem to make things difficult for travelers too — specifically being stuck on one phone number with the associated roaming costs when traveling abroad.

Fortunately, there's a simple workaround.

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4 months ago

Allo is now available from the Play Store!

119

Google's smart messaging app Allo is finally becoming available to the public. The app is now available on Android and iOS. Announced back at I/O 2016, Allo is the first app to integrate Google Assistant, a chatbot that leverages the company's machine learning and AI smarts to provide answers, suggest replies to conversations, retreive your travel information, and so much more. Think of it as an evolution to Google Now.

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4 months ago

Google Trips wants to be the only app you need while traveling

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Google has released a new app to the public that takes its Gmail inbox-reading machine learning prowess and applies it to travel.

Dubbed Google Trips, the app consolidates all of the travel data Google has collected from Gmail (with your permission) and arrays it in an easy-to-understand way, with offline support for those times you don't have cellular or Wi-Fi connectivity.

The app takes what Inbox and Google Now have been doing for some time — deciphering the automatic emails you get from booking sites, travel agents, and other sources — and adds personalized recommendations for what the company calls the "top 200 cities in the world." These include local tourist hotspots, restaurants and "local gems," consolidating them into a full day's tour that can be followed offline.

The app has been in beta since April, and as a result feels extremely polished and well-designed. From a recent trip to San Francisco, for example, it pulled in my flight and hotel data as well as any places I'd saved in Google Maps. It also described local customs, shopping districts, and any other essential information such as available of taxis and how to navigate the public transit system.

Trips can be as automatic or customized as you want, depending on how much time and investment you want to put into it. You can also add one location in a city and have Trips fill in nearby attractions based on that manual input — very clever if you know you have one or two things to hit but don't have a full day planned.

While much of this information is available through various Google services already — Gmail, Inbox, Maps, and Google Now — it's nice to see an app like Trips that, for the avid traveler, will fill in any of those blanks.

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4 months ago

Google Photos update simplifies sharing, launches new automatic creations

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It's now even easier to share from Google Photos to anyone, no matter what.

Google Photos

Google Photos already does a great job letting you share photos, videos and albums, but with its latest app update things are getting even simpler. Now when selecting photos to share, you can bypass the idea of sharing to a specific app and just send to specific people instead — the share sheet will now just have a "To:" field where you can type names, email addresses or phone numbers.

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4 months ago

Exploring the world of Adult VR apps [NSFW]

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How do I find the best adult VR apps?

The last couple of years have represented the time when VR became accessible to the people. From Google Cardboard to the popularity of the Samsung Gear VR just a few weeks ago, we've seen experiences that can take us around the world, right to the Avengers Tower. For some of us though, there has been a lingering question, is there adult content for VR floating out there on the internet?

Plenty of folks have been wondering about adult content for VR out there, and how well it was done. So I took it upon myself to hunt it down, and let everybody know whether it's worth your time — and money.

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4 months ago

Best fantasy football apps for Android

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Football season is back, baby!

The kickoff to the 2016 NFL season is rapidly approaching, and from office leagues to public leagues, we're sure there's a lot of you looking to get in on the fantasy action. We've gathered up our favorite Android apps to help you dominate this year's fantasy football draft (and hopefully, the season that follows it)! You'll find plenty of options here, each letting you drill down into player statistics, latest news, and updates to your draft.

Note: these apps are for season-long fantasy football, not daily fantasy sites like FanDuel and Draft Kings.

Updated: This article has been refreshed with the latest information as of September 2016.

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4 months ago

Action Launcher's September update brings rumored Pixel phone features

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It's September, which means another update to Chris Lacy's excellent Action Launcher, our favorite third-party launcher.

This month, Action Launcher offers a set of features that are rumored to be coming to the upcoming Pixel phones when they are expected to launch next month. Many of the improvements, such as swiping up from the dock to reveal All Apps, have been built through leaks and off-hand experiences.

The full change log is below:

  • Integration of Nexus Launcher's rumored All Apps drawer. Swipe up on the dock to reveal All Apps.
  • Two new Nexus Launcher inspired style folder types!
  • Add tinted dock background.
  • Customize the colors of All Apps, folder icons and the dock background via Quicktheme.
  • Add caret (^) page indicator.
  • Add Google "pill" widget.
  • Add date widget.
  • Many miscellaneous bug fixes.

I've been using the September update on my Moto Z for a month or so in beta form and have to say it is one of the most easily-recommended launcher experiences on Android, period.

Download: Action Launcher (free)

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4 months ago

BlackBerry brings whole productivity app suite to more Android phones

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Last month, BlackBerry announced they would be bringing their Android apps such as the BlackBerry Hub, Calendar, and Password Keeper to even more Android users through a new subscription offering called Hub+.

Now, they have announced an expansion of that access adding even more of the productivity apps to the mix.

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4 months ago

Google's September security update has three patch levels

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Google has broken the security patches down even further to make it easier for manufacturers.

For more than a year now, Google has been addressing security on Android through monthly updates. These updates are provided to Google's partners 30 days before being released to Nexus, Pixel, and Android One hardware in hopes that all of Android can be more secure every month. Despite these efforts, many Android phones still lack regular security updates. September 6th marks not only a new month for Google's security patch program, but a new step in further simplifying the security patch so more phones and tablets can remain up to date.

September's security patch levels will look like this:

  • 2016-09-01 — patches for a pair of Critical remote code execution vulnerabilities, many serious Elevation of Privilege vulnerabilities, several Information Disclosure vulnerabilities, and a pair of Denial of Service vulnerabilities all within Android itself.
  • 2016-09-05 — Everything in the 2016-09-01 patch, as well as patches for several kernel related Elevation of Privilege vulnerabilities, many Qualcomm driver-related vulnerabilities, and Elevation of privilege vulnerabilities found in other third-party drivers.
  • 2016-09-06 — Everything in the 2016-09-01 and 2016-09-05 patches, as well as a fix for a Critical Elevation of Privilege vulnerability in the kernel shared memory subsystem and a fix for a vulnerability in a Qualcomm networking component.

Obviously the September 6th patch level will make your phone or tablet the most secure, but breaking up the patches into specific categories like this makes it easier for many manufacturers to release something. Google's report reminds everyone that there have been no reported cases of active exploits using any of the vulnerabilities fixed in these patches, but these are all still incredibly important additions to Android itself and should be installed as soon as possible. If you have a Nexus, Pixel, Android One, or BlackBerry Android phone you'll see this update arrive shortly through and Over the Air update. If you'd prefer to install that update on a Nexus right now, you can find the images on Google's Developer Site.

For every other manufacturer, we'll have to wait and see which patch level is offered in their update!

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4 months ago

Five must-have games for your Oculus Rift

Consider this your Oculus Rift starter kit.

There's a lot going on in the Oculus Store, which is the primary place you get games for your Rift headset. Titles range wildly when it comes to price and description, due in no small part to Oculus pulling content that was originally made for the Samsung Gear VR into the store so you can experience it in a higher resolution. It's a lot to take in, and that's only going to get more interesting when you start playing games for your Oculus Rift that come from Steam instead of the Oculus Store.

To help you get started with your Oculus Rift, we've put together a quick lift of titles everyone should have in their library in order to fully appreciate this incredible VR experience.

Read More at VR Heads!

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