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31 min ago

How to get weather information without downloading an app

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Asking questions is a great way to learn, especially when your apps listen to voice commands.

'OK Google, what's the weather like?'

Weather is important, but sometimes you don't need a full two week forecast with barometric pressure and the exact phase of the lunar cycle. Sometimes, you just need to know if it's warm or chilly outside. Sometimes, you want to know the weather, but you just don't have your hands free.

Sometimes, you just need Google.

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3 hours ago

How to disable encryption in Android Lollipop

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Lollipop Encryption

So it turns out encryption wasn't exactly what you wanted.

Encrypting your smartphone or tablet is a great way to add a passive layer of security to your device, something that doesn't require a lot of work on your end and could actually protect your data if your device is stolen or you've somehow managed to become a target of some kind. It's far from an impenetrable shield in terms of security, but as long as its not getting in your way there's certainly no harm in having the protection, right?

Truth is, sometimes Full Disk Encryption can get in the way. Performance hits, especially when combined with the workload some power users (you know who you are) put on their devices, can be too much to deal with. The good news is it's pretty easy to turn off encryption on most devices, even the new encryption offered in Android 5.0. In most cases all you really need is 20 minutes near an outlet and some know how. In other cases, most notably the Nexus 6, things get a little stickier.

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1 day ago

How to enable encryption in Android

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Android encryption settings

Locking down your Android is easier than you think

We've talk a bit about encryption recently, specifically Android's full disk encryption setting. You can read a bit about what encryption on Android is and how it works here, and you can have a look here to see why you may or may not want to use it and how it affects you. Right now, let's have a look at how to enable it if you decide you need (or want) it.

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3 days ago

What is full disk encryption in Android Lollipop?

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Lollipop encryption

Keeping your bits and bytes as safe as possible through encryption is a complicated affair.

There's a lot of information out there about Android 5.0 Lollipop's "default" full disk encryption (FDE). Some of it is good information, some of it is bad information, and plenty of it is just repeated snippets of speculation. While this makes for good conversation — and FDE is something worth talking about — we wanted to break down the finer points into an easy-to-read discussion.

This isn't meant to be the be-all end-all document on Android encryption. Google has already posted that one. We're going to tackle the consumer-oriented questions we keep hearing. As always, use the comments for discussion so we all can learn a little something.

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4 days ago

How to use Google Maps Street View on your phone or tablet

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Google Maps Street View

Sometimes you need to get up close and personal with your maps — Street View has you covered.

Google Maps

While most people have played around with Street View for some fun exploring on the web, the full suite of Street View imagery is also available on your phone or tablet in the Google Maps app. Of course viewing Street View on a smaller screen isn't ideal, but it's quite amazing to have so much power in the palm of your hand — and the additional sensors available in your phone and tablet offer at least one feature you can't get on your desktop. Let's explore what Street View is all about.

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6 days ago

How to clear search and location history in Google Maps on the web

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Google location history

It takes some time, but you can completely control the location history Google collects from your devices.

Google Maps

We've already covered how to remove individual locations and history items from Google Maps on Android, but when you need to access and manage all of your location history, you need to hop onto the computer. As the old saying goes, "knowledge is power" — and we're going to give you all of the tools necessary to know what information Google knows about your location, and how to clean it up or stop further reporting.

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6 days ago

How to clear search and location history in Google Maps on Android

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Google Maps history

We all search for plenty of wacky and one-time things in Google Maps, and despite what Google thinks we don't always want that sitting in our history forever.

Google Maps

There are also plenty of times when we navigate somewhere that we'll never go back to, and there's no reason to have it saved in the app's history. Though the real power to wipe this all out from your account lies on the web, you can quickly remove specific searches and locations that you've recently navigated to right from your Maps app. Let us show you how to do it.

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1 week ago

Finding your way around with Google Maps on Android

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Google Maps

Google Maps isn't just for browsing around and looking up restaurants, it's also an incredibly powerful navigation tool.

Google Maps

When you need to get from A to B (to C and D) with reliable step-by-step directions, it's usually a good choice to go with the Google Maps app on your phone. Whether you're driving, walking, biking or riding public transit, Google Maps pulls in a wealth of information to get you there safely and quickly, provided you know the right buttons to tap and settings to check.

Now that we've gone over the basics of Maps, we're ready to get into the navigation side of things. If you're ready to master Google Maps navigation, we're ready to help you do it — read along with us.

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1 week ago

How to use 'Glance' on the LG G Flex 2

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Back in 2013, LG introduced KnockOn, the ability to double-tap on the G2's screen to unlock it. The next year, the company followed up with KnockCode, a more secure version which allowed owners of the LG G Pro 2, G3 and others to secure their devices using a pattern of taps.

This year, starting with the LG G Flex 2, the Korean company's trying something a bit different. "Glance" is a feature of the G Flex 2 that gives you a small preview of what's going on on your device, without having to turn it on.

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1 week ago

How to share directions in Google Maps for Android

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Google Maps Direction Sharing

You've always been able to share a specific location, or even your own location, on Google Maps — but as of version 9.3 of the app you can now share point to point directions.

Google Maps

The process is extremely simple, and gives you step-by-step text directions that can be read by anyone on any device, whether they use Google Maps or not. And though most folks with smartphones sharing location information to another smartphone user will be better off sharing a proper Maps location, this is how you can share basic directions — read along.

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1 week ago

Ask AC: Can I use my phone just on Wifi without a carrier?

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This question just popped up in our Galaxy Note 4 forums, but it's one that we've seen related to other phones before as well.

We're all so used to buying a phone with intentions of using it on a carrier that we often don't consider what it will operate like without a SIM in it. Rest assured that your phone will operate just fine without active service from a carrier, leaving it as a Wifi-only device.

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1 week ago

How to save Google Maps for offline use

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Google Maps Offline Save

Google Maps puts a crazy amount of information at your fingertips, but that's really only the case if you have an Internet connection.

Google Maps

Step-by-step navigation, place searches and other advanced features require your device to be online, but Google Maps does offer you the ability to save one part of the experience for offline use. It's not the best situation ever and it's not feature-complete, but this is how you get some utility out of Google Maps when you happen to be away from a network connection.

It's handy, and it's easy to use. Let's explore.

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1 week ago

Ask AC: Why won't my alarm sound after the Lollipop update when on mute?

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Here's one from our forums that we've been hearing. A lot. And experiencing ourselves as well.

If your phone's been updated to Android 5.0 Lollipop and it's using Google's new interruptions scheme — that is, All, Priority and None — you might find yourself selecting "None" and using it as a way to mute your phone. I've done it. I still do it. But there's a big catch.

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1 week ago

Updating your apps through Google Play

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App updates in Google Play

Keeping your apps up-to-date

Now that you have some great apps installed on your Android — whether you have just a few or have went wild and installed all the apps — you'll want to keep them all up to date. Apps get updated for different reasons. Sometimes developers offer new features or a new look to things, other times updates address pesky bugs that keep things from being perfect. Updates are important, and so is managing them on our end.

The Play Store app gives us a little leeway with how and when we update our apps. You can let things be more or less automatic and update themselves (apps that need new permissions are never automatically updated) or you can manually go through and inspect each update before it's installed. Both methods have their advantages.

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1 week ago

The basics of Google Maps for Android

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Google Maps

Google Maps is one of the biggest and best products from Google, and its integration and power within Android is one of the main selling points for many phones today.

Google Maps

But with a system this powerful things start to get complicated, and it isn't always obvious how to do the most basic things you want to do in a mapping app. Whether you're opening up Google Maps for the first time on your new phone or just need a refresher on the app you've kept on your home screen for months, we're here to help. Read along for our quick guide to the basics of Google Maps on Android.

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