The HTC One A9 may boot up a little differently than your previous Android phone. There's a new step to take between turning your phone on and it fully booting up. That's another feature of Android Marshmallow — or, rather, a feature being re-enforced in Marshmallow: Encrypted storage. And while HTC could do a better job of making it sound less scary the first time you see it, you should be happy it's there.
Even if you don't actively theme your phone, you do actively lay out your home screen.
While we've spent a fair amount of time talking about themes and how to build them these last few months, there is one aspect of home screen launcher theming that we've been mum on: layouts, the way you arrange the apps and widgets on your home screen. This is in part because layouts aren't always a part of theming, in fact I try to avoid specific layouts in my themes so it's more accessible to users of varying tastes. But layouts are important, whether you intend to theme your phone or not.
Some people like their home screen to have as little on it as possible. Others want everything on the home screen they possibly can squeeze in there. Some of us are a little of column A and a little of column B, because we believe that the space on our home screen is meant to be used, but we don't need/want to cover up every inch of it. But all of us can benefit from seeing the differences and the benefits of each approach.
Hide the children and the chimichangas! Deadpool is coming!
The Merc with the Mouth is finally getting the screen time and saucy treatment he deserves! And in honor of our favorite fourth-wall-breaking super-powered anti-hero, we at AC want to help you deck your phone in Deadpool awesome. Today's theme is a little refined, a little playful, and all Android amazingness. Here's what you'll need for today's theme:
With Super Bowl 50 nearly upon us, we want to make sure you're fully set to not miss a second of the action. We're going to run down how you can watch the big game live from your Android phone or tablet, and keep up to date on the latest developments.
February is here, and that means it's time for the biggest game of the year.
Yep, it's Super Bowl time! You've got the big screen, you've got the snack foods, you've got the booze. But you're still missing something. Sure, you've got the body paint and jerseys ready to wear on game day, but what does your phone have? Well, you can douse it in a winning coat of team spirit to and show your support for your team, be it the Denver Broncos or the Carolina Panthers.
Every app has an icon, but thanks to icon packs you don't have to stick with the one it came with.
There are plenty of reasons to use a custom icon pack. Maybe you want your icons to match your totally awesome theme. Maybe you want all your icons to look consistent. Maybe you just want the apps on your new phone to look like they did on your old phone. Maybe you want to disguise your apps so your co-workers won't get into anything you don't want them to.
Whatever your needs, there are icon packs out there for you. Here's how to use them.
Android is all about choices, and nowhere is this more clear than your home screen. Not only can you choose what you do and do not want on your home screen, but you can choose which launcher app runs that home screen. There's no shortage of launchers trying their hardest to be the one that you call your home... screen. Some are simple inside and out, others offer a myriad of options and customizations. Some are geared towards function rather than form, but the best launchers keep both in mind.
Launchers are important, because each has its own specific quirks, limitations, and methods. Setting a theme in Nova Launcher is different than setting a theme in Buzz Launcher. Folders work differently in Action Launcher 3 than they do in Hola Launcher. So let's run down the options together and find the best launcher and theming options for you!
The best tool in a themer's app drawer isn't a launcher or a widget. It's the cloud.
When developing a theme, you tend to gather a lot of elements. Wallpapers, widget configurations, sounds, custom icons, launcher layouts… they all add up. You need a place where you can keep things organized and access them across your devices. You need a place to sync up the custom icons from your desktop to the phone you intend to use them on. You need a place to share them when someone asks how you pulled your theme off.
Bring the great Project Fi experience to your connected tablet, too.
After several months as a phone-only service, Project Fi recently introduced a new "data-only SIM" option to let you share your existing Fi account and data usage with your LTE-enabled tablet. This is pretty standard stuff if you're comparing to the other big carriers in the U.S., but for Project Fi it's always exciting to get new features.
If you're a Project Fi user (or are about to be one) you'll want to know how this all works — here's how you add a tablet to your account.
Have fun with the camera on your phone, especially during the holidays.
We've all seen those incredible photos where the background is a series of soft, blurry lights that come together to form the iconic Christmas tree. The truly great versions of these photos are usually taken with very nice professional cameras, but you can also get this effect with the camera in your Android phone. With all of the great cameras on phones running Android this year, there's more than a couple of you out there looking to take these photos whenever the opportunity arises.
Here's a quick tutorial on capturing these photos with your phone, and the apps that will help make it easy.
Every Android user has a theme on their phone. They just don't know it yet.
It's true. Even if you don't know what icon packs or launchers are, if your phone has a home screen on it, it's got a theme. Android users don't have to live in their app drawers: they can choose how their phone looks and functions. They can use widgets to interact with apps without opening them. They can use custom icons to theme or obscure the apps on their phone from prying eyes. They can even use gestures and contextual data to help their phone adapt to where they are and what they're doing.
So, what are Android themes and how can you get started with one?
Sometimes you need to know how much data you're using on your home network, or how much a single device is using out of the total. With Google's OnHub routers, it's easy.
Like most everything else about the OnHub "ecosystem" (yeah, I'm tired of that word, too) you do this right from the Google On app. So grab your phone, fire up the Google On app and let's see how it's done.
Most modern routers and other home networking equipment allow you to set a specific connected device to have a higher priority than other devices on the network. This means that bandwidth is reserved for this particular device, and it won't have to wait in line while other requests are being served.
Google's OnHub routers support this, and they call it a Priority Device, and it easy to set one for a specific amount of time.
But one way Google got the keyboards to be as good as they are was to do without some of the less common secondary functionality. Some symbols have been moved. And others are missing altogether. And so you'll want to learn some keyboard shortcuts on the Pixel C.
Then there's the matter of navigating Android itself. There's no trackpad on these keyboards, so you'll have to lift your hands from the keys and peck at the screen more than you might like. Or, you can once again use some Pixel C keyboard shortcuts.
Google has a good cheat sheet that's worth taking a look at. But here are the Pixel C keyboard shortcuts we think you need to know above all others:
For navigating Android
Home — Search + Enter
Back — Search + Backspace
Recent apps — Alt + Tab (same as it ever was)
Brackets — Use three dots + o for left bracket [, three dots + p for right bracket ]
Back slash — Three dots + equals =
Escape — When would you use this? We don't know. But it lives at three dots + 1
Android sets defaults for a number of applications types — default browser, email client, messenger, etc. And there are keyboard shortcuts for launching them, which can be handy. Those shortcuts are:
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