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1 week ago

Devil in the details: Nova Settings and what you do (and don't) need to know

38

Nova Launcher is a fairly easy launcher to pick up.

In fact, Nova was the very first third-party launcher I tried, and it's held a special place in my heart ever since. But Nova Launcher can get overwhelming at times, and most of those times have to do with Nova Settings. Because Nova Launcher has such an amazing amount of customization, it also has a lot of settings that those customizations rely on. So how do you find what you need among the rest? Never fear! We're here to help you through Nova Settings and help you find what you were looking for — plus a few cool features you probably didn't even know were there.

Let's customize!

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2 weeks ago

The HTC 10 monthly security patch isn't missing — it's just hidden

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Here's how to find out whether your HTC 10 has the most up-to-date security patch.

One of the more welcome features of Android 6.0 Marshmallow was the transparency of the new monthly security patches. Starting with the Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P and rolling out with updates to other phones, the "About" section in the settings menu tells the date of the most recently received security patch. It's sort of a badge of honor, really — and an important piece of transparency in the fight to keep our smartphones safe and secure.

HTC has been one of the better manufacturers when it comes to keeping its phones updated — especially when it comes to its carrier-free models. Computerworld's JR Raphael ranked HTC No. 2 (behind Google) in his latest "Android update report card," and while it focuses on major platform updates and not monthly security updates, the point stands — HTC has done pretty when when it comes to keeping current software on its phones.

That's why it's troubling, then, that HTC is hiding the monthly security patch level on the HTC 10. Especially when it's so easy to glean. Here's how you can do it.

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2 weeks ago

How to restart your Fitbit fitness tracker

How to restart your Fitbit tracker

When it comes to solving problems, sometimes the best thing you can do is restart.

Ideally, you shouldn't have to ever restart your Fitbit. Alas, we don't live in a perfect world. Each model has different method to initiate a restart, and usually the process only takes a few minutes. The following problems could potentially be fixed by restarting your Fitbit:

  • Your tracker won't sync
  • Your tracker doesn't respond to button presses, taps, or swipes
  • Your tracker won't turn on even when it's charged
  • Your tracker isn't tracking your activity

The great thing about restarting your Fitbit is it won't delete any of your tracked activity. So you don't need to be too worried about all the hard work you have put in to reach your goals.

However, it is important to note that if your tracker stores calls, texts, or calendar notifications those will be deleted during the restarting process.

How to restart your Fitbit Zip

Since the Zip has a removable battery the restart process is essentially a battery pull.

  1. Open the door to the battery in the back using the battery door tool
  2. Remove the battery
  3. Wait 10 seconds
  4. Put the battery back in with the "+" facing up and close the battery door.

Your Fitbit Zip will now restart and you should see the version number on the screen followed by a series of smiley faces.

How to restart your Fitbit One

  1. Plug your charging cable into your computer
  2. Plug your One into the charging cable
  3. Press and hold down the tracker's button for 10-12 seconds
  4. Unplug your One from the charging cable
  5. Press the tracker's button.

Your Fitbit One should boot up in just a few seconds and be ready to track once again.

How to restart your Fitbit Flex

  1. Plug your charging cable into your computer
  2. Plug your Flex into the charging cable
  3. Insert a paperclip into the small pinhole on the back of the charger.
  4. Hold down the paperclip for 3-5 seconds
  5. Unplug the Flex form the charging cable.

Your Flex should show some flashing LED lights for a couple seconds and then the restart will be complete.

How to restart your Fitbit Charge

  1. Plug your charging cable into your computer
  2. Plug your Charge into the charging cable
  3. Press and hold the button for 10 to 12 seconds until you see the Fitbit icon and a version number on the screen
  4. Let go of the button

Your Charge should be up and running again. You should probably go do the same slacker!

How to restart your Charge HR

  1. Plug your charging cable into your computer
  2. Plug your Charge into the charging cable
  3. Press and hold the button for 10 to 12 seconds until you see the Fitbit icon and a version number on the screen
  4. Let go of the button

Now, strap on that Charge HR and get that heart rate up!

How to restart your Fitbit Alta

  1. Plug your charging cable into your computer
  2. Plug your Alta into the charging cable
  3. Press the button on the charging cable three times with a slight pause between each press but within 8 seconds. The button is on the end of the charging cable.
  4. After you see the logo on the Alta's screen you can unplug it from your charging cable.

Get that stylish band back on your wrist and start strutting your stuff!

How to restart your Fitbit Blaze

  1. Press and hold the Back and Select buttons - the button on the left and bottom right - until you see the Fitbit logo on the Blaze's screen.
  2. Let go of the buttons

That should turn that dumbwatch back into a smartwatch!

How to restart your Fitbit Surge

  1. Press and hold the Back and Select buttons - the button on the left and bottom right - until you see the Fitbit logo on the Blaze's screen.
  2. Let go of the buttons
  3. When your screen turns off, wait 10 seconds and press the Home button to turn your Surge back on.

Take that GPS tracker for a run you track star!

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2 weeks ago

How to manually update your Nexus

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Nexuses in bootloader

Get the latest version of Android on your Nexus on your own terms

Nexus, the line of Android devices developed in partnership between Google and various hardware manufacturers (to date, HTC, LG, Samsung and Huawei), is a program that allows developers to get their hands on a 100 percent stock Android experience, as Google intends. It can help to develop applications for the platform quicker and easier than if using a device with a manufacturer skin onboard, and that's a good thing.

But if there's a single reason to buy a Nexus device, it's this — the newest software first. Period.

When Google works on major updates to Android, it's also building them to work specifically on Nexus devices. This means when Google releases an update to the Android code itself, it will come quickly to the supported Nexus devices first, if not immediately.

And Nexus devices actually are among the few that have several ways of receiving updates. Some are easier, some are faster, but all are available to you. Here's how to manually update your Nexus.

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2 weeks ago

How to set up Google two-step verification to protect your Gmail account

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Google two-step authentication

Using two-factor verification makes sure that you — and only you — have access to your Google account.

In light of a recent security breach that saw 273.3 million email accounts — including Gmail accounts — compromised, we strongly recommend enabling two-step verification (or two-step authentication, as it's also known) for your Google account.

This process will put a stop to anyone's efforts to access anything — including Gmail and all other Google services — that uses your Google account credentials when logging in, because you need more than a password to verify that you are the account owner.

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3 weeks ago

Fit more on your Galaxy S7's screen with condensed mode

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Galaxy S7 condensed mode

With a new software update, Samsung lets you increase your GS7's information density dramatically — at the expense of one or two things looking a little weird.

Phones are getting bigger with each release cycle, but new devices don't always let us see more stuff on the screen at once. This is an issue Samsung has attempted to solve with a new addition to the Galaxy S7 series: "display scaling." Simply put, this lets you not only adjust the size of fonts — as Samsung phones have for some time — but the way the entire user interface is scaled.

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3 weeks ago

Kick ass with our Captain America: Civil War themes

66

Let's get ready to watch superheroes fight each other. Again!

Captain America: Civil War debuts this Friday, and chances are you're as excited for it as we are. In honor of the major Marvel smackdown about to begin, our resident themer Ara Wagoner has assembled a team of themes to help us show our #TeamCap or #TeamIronMan pride. Or #TeamUnderoos, to celebrate the return of Spidey to the MCU. So, grab your favorite launcher and your spangly armor and let's get to it!

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3 weeks ago

6 things to look for in an icon pack

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Icon packs are like graphic t-shirts. You can never have too many.

Want to make your phone look new without completely changing up your home screen layout or trying a bunch of new widgets? Just switch icon packs. Finding an icon pack that perfectly matches your theme is cool. You know what's really cool? Finding an icon pack that'll go with five themes, or 10. Or finding an icon pack that doesn't leave any awkward gaps in your app drawer.

Good icon packs are out there. Here's how I find them.

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3 weeks ago

Inside Marshmallow: Adoptable storage

169

Android has had limited support for removable storage in one form or another since the beginning. With Marshmallow, the new Adoptable storage feature lets you turn your removable SD card option into a more or less permanent (and no longer removable) part of the device.

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3 weeks ago

How to enable VoLTE on the Galaxy S7

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VoLTE is one of the best ways to make your phone calls sound better.

Increasingly, carriers are rolling out Voice over LTE support on their devices, but the new telephony standard, which increases sound quality by using LTE instead of 3G to connect cellular calls, is still quite uncommon.

If your carrier supports VoLTE, here's how to enable it on the Galaxy S7 or Galaxy S7 edge.

  1. From your home screen, press the Phone icon.
  2. Tap More on the top right corner.
  3. Scroll down and tap on Settings.

    By default, VoLTE should be enabled if your Galaxy S7 or Galaxy S7 edge was first used with a carrier SIM that supports it. If your phone was unlocked and subsequently transferred to a carrier SIM that supports VoLTE, you may have to enable it manually.

  4. Tap on VoLTE.
  5. Make sure that Use VoLTE when available is checked.

Note: Some versions of the Galaxy S7 may show this setting in a different spot. This explanation was performed on a Canadian Galaxy S7 running on Rogers. For a more U.S.-centric version, check out How to enable Advanced Calling features on the Galaxy S7.

Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 edge

AT&T Sprint T-Mobile Verizon

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4 weeks ago

How to set and up and use Sonos for Android

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Set up your Sonos system and get music pumping through every room in your house!

Sonos is a wireless smart speaker system to which you can connect up to 32 components, so that your entire home is literally full with music. Once you've done a little browsing, you'll find you can get the first speakers to build out your system for about $200 each. Once you've got 'em, it's time to get them set up!

The first step is downloading the Sonos Controller app from the Google Play Store and then you're on your way to easily (albeit sometimes painstakingly) setting up your music atmosphere!

How to download the Sonos Controller app for Android

This will be the easiest and most painless part of the Sonos setup process. You can find the Sonos Controller app in the Google Play Store.

  1. Launch the Google Play store app from your Home screen or from the app drawer.
  2. Tap the search bar.
  3. Type "Sonos" into the search field.

    Launch Google Play, tap the search bar, type in Sonos

  4. Tap the search button. It looks like a magnifying glass.
  5. Tap the result by Sonos, Inc.
  6. Tap Install.

    Tap search, Choose Sonos, tap Install

  7. Tap Accept.
  8. Tap Open once the Sonos Controller app has downloaded.

    Tap Accept, tap Open

Boom! You're ready to becoming the music maestro you were always destined to be. Now, you just have to set up your speaker!

How to set up your Sonos speaker(s) using the Sonos Controller app for Android

Now that you have the Controller app, you need something to control. Let's set up your Play speaker!

  1. Launch the Sonos app from your Home screen or from the app drawer.
  2. Tap Set up a new Sonos system.
  3. Tap Next in the bottom right corner of the welcome screen.

    Launch the Sonos app, tap set up a new Sonos system, tap Next

  4. Tap Standard Setup to start the wireless setup process. You can choose Boost Setup, but that's only if you want to create a dedicated Sonos wireless network. Let's just stick with the basics.
  5. Tap Next in the bottom right corner of the Standard Setup screen.
  6. Tap Next in the bottom right corner of the Connect to Power screen, after plugging in your Sonos speaker.

    Tap Standard Setup, tap Next, tap Next

  7. Tap Next on the bottom right of the screen, after you have seen the green light flashing on your Sonos speaker. The indicator or the mute/play/pause button may be flashing. If you don't see the green flashing light, tap I'm unsure about the light; however, it may then prompt you to create a wired setup, which is kind of a pain in the ol' hind-end.
  8. Tap the dropdown menu on the "Player Setup" page, to choose your speaker model.
  9. Tap your speaker model in the menu.

    Tap Next, tap thew dropdown menu, tap your speaker model

  10. Tap Set up this player.
  11. Follow the on-screen instructions.
  12. Tap Next on the bottom right of the screen.

    Tap Set up this player, follow the on-screen instructions, tap Next

  13. Tap Next on the Wireless Setup screen.
  14. Type your Wi-Fi password into the field.
  15. Tap Done on the bottom right of your keyboard.

    Tap Next, type your Wi-Fi password, tap Done

  16. Tap Continue.
  17. Tap Next in the bottom right corner of the screen.
  18. Tap the dropdown menu to choose where you will use your Play speaker.

    Tap Continue, tap Next, tap the dropdown menu

  19. Tap the room in which you'll be using your speaker.
  20. Tap Next on the bottom right of the screen.
  21. Finish the setup process.

    • Tap Add another player if you have another speaker you'd like to set up. Just follow the same steps.
    • Tap Not now to continue on to registration.

      Tap the room your speaker is in, tap Next, finish up the process

  22. Tap Next on the Sonos Registration screen.
  23. Enter your email address and choose whether or not you'd like to receive information from Sonos.
  24. Tap Next on the bottom right of the screen.

    Tap Next, enter your email address, tap Next

  25. Tap the dropdown menu to set your location.
  26. Choose your location from the menu.
  27. Tap Next in the bottom right corner of the screen.

    Tap the dropdown, choose your location from the list, tap Next

  28. Enter your zip or postal code.
  29. Tap Next on the bottom right of the screen.
  30. Tap the check box to choose whether or not you'd like to send your usage data to Sonos.

    Enter your zip or postal code, tap Next, tap the check box if you want to send usage data to Sonos

  31. Tap Next on the bottom right of the screen.
  32. Tap Next on the Registration Complete page.
  33. Tap Set up music services to set up a streaming music service for which you have a subscription. Otherwise, tap Skip to Sonos menu.

    Tap Next, tap Next, tap Set up music services

Now, your Sonos is set up and ready to go. The music service setup process continues straight from here, but you can always do so later.

How to connect to an existing Sonos system using the Sonos app for Android

If you've never connected to a Sonos system before, but there's an existing one to which you'd like to connect, then we have you covered.

This will be the easiest thing you have to do today, since you just have to make sure your Wi-Fi is on and then follow these short steps.

  1. Launch the Sonos app from your Home screen or from the app drawer.
  2. Tap Connect to an existing system.
  3. Tap Next on the welcome screen.
  4. Tap Done once the connection has been established.

    Tao Connect to an existing system, tap Next, tap Done

Quick and painless. Boom.

The next section will detail the music service setup process, so follow me if you want to jam!

How to set up music streaming services using the Sonos Controller app for Android

Sonos supports myriad music streaming services, including Apple Music, Pandora, Spotify, and TONS of others.

It's super easy to add your subscribed services to your Sonos system, so let us not delay!

  1. Launch the Sonos app from your Home screen or from the app drawer.
  2. Tap the menu button on the top left of the screen. It looks like ☰.
  3. Tap Add Music Services.

    Launch the Sonos app, tap the menu button, tap Add Music Services

  4. Tap the music service that you'd like to add.
  5. Tap Add to Sonos.
  6. Sign in to the music service according to the on-screen instructions.

    Tap the music service you'd like to add, tap Add to Sonos, sign in

That's all there is to it! You've got your favorite streaming services wirelessly hooked up so that, so long as you're connected to your wireless network, you can stream all the music your streaming services have to offer!

How to control your music services using the Sonos app for Android

Now you're ready to dive in! Let's learn ya how to control your music service music from the Sonos app.

  1. Launch the Sonos app from your Home screen or from the app drawer.
  2. Tap the menu button on the top left of the screen. It looks like ☰.
  3. Tap the service you'd like use.
  4. Use the music service like you would on any other device. You can use standard media controls to play, pause, skip, etc.

    Tap the menu button, choose the service, use it as you would on any other device

When it comes to volume, play, pause, skip, etc., you can control the Sonos app the way you would any built-in music app.

How to control your own music with the Sonos app for Android

If you already have your phone loaded up with all your own tunes, then you can add those to your Sonos queue.

Here's how:

  1. Launch the Sonos app from your Home screen or from the Home screen or from the app drawer.
  2. Tap the menu button on the top left of the screen. It looks like ☰.
  3. Tap On this Mobile Device.

    Launch the Sonos app, tap the menu button, tap On this Mobile Device

  4. Choose from where you'd like to play audio:
    • Tap Artists to find the artist of your choice.
    • Tap Albums to search for the album of your choice.
    • Tap Genres to search music from a particular genre.
    • Tap Songs to search for a particular song.
    • Tap Playlists to search for a particular playlist that you've created.
    • Tap Podcasts to select podcasts which you have downloaded.
  5. Tap the item you'd like to play.
  6. Choose when you would like to play the song, album, or playlist.
    • Tap Play Now to play the song, album, or playlist immediately.
    • Tap Play Next to play your choice after the current song.
    • Tap Add to Queue to add the song to the bottom of the queue.
    • Tap Replace Queue to do just that.
    • Tap More to Browse the Artist or View All Songs on Album.

You can use standard media controls to play, pause, skip, etc.

Choose from where you want to play a song, tap the song, choose when you'd like to play it

How to find and play music using the Sonos app for Android

You've got a song in your head and you have to hear it NOW. You can search through every music service to which you're subscribed, as well as the music on your mobile device, using the search function.

  1. Launch the Sonos app from your Home screen or from the app drawer.
  2. Tap the search button on the top right of the screen. It looks like a magnifying glass.
  3. Choose a genre to search under:

    • Artists
    • Songs
    • Albums
    • Playlists
    • Stations
    • Genres
    • Composers
    • Hosts
    • Podcasts & Shows

      Launch the Sonos app, tap the search button, choose a category under which to search

  4. Type your query into the field.
  5. Tap the result you'd like to play.
  6. Choose when to play it.

    Type your query, tap the item you'd like to play, choose when to play it

That's really all there is to it. You search up music via the Sonos app just like you would any other music app.

The best part is that Sonos will search everything you have available, so it won't just search the music on your Android device; it'll search all the music services to which you subscribe as well!

How to factory reset your Sonos speaker

  1. Turn it off.
  2. Unplug it.
  3. Plug your speaker back in, while simultaneously holding the play/pause button (on older models, it's the mute button).
  4. Hold the button until the light starts flashing orange.

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4 weeks ago

Inside Action Launcher's Quicktheme

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Action Launcher has garnered a fair bit of praise from us at Android Central. Some love Quickdrawer and being able to ditch the traditional app drawer. Some love the Covers and Shades, which free up space and get us into apps faster. But as a themer, Action Launcher's got a great trick that can make your home screen feel completely new with one easy step.

Setting a new wallpaper in other launchers just gives you a new image behind all your widgets and folders. Setting a new wallpaper in Action Launcher will change not only that image but will recolor your Quickbar, Quickdrawer, and folders. Quicktheme does this by sampling colors from your wallpaper and using them to color the launcher's other elements in colors it believes it'll match. That beats digging around in Nova Launcher's settings to re-color everything manually.

You can even choose between several tints for your themes, most are pulled from your wallpaper but there will always be two defaults: Material Light and Material Dark. In most instances the algorithm Action Launcher uses to pick these shades will be enough. For wallpapers with a lot of colors, or wallpapers with a very small amount of an accent color you're trying to match, it can sometimes miss. Sadly, the only way to draw new colors is to set the wallpaper again with a different zoom or crop. There are also rare instances when Action Launcher fails to pull colors from a wallpaper.

While the ability to manually set colors when the pre-selected colors fail would be great, the built-in tones work well for most wallpapers and themes. Being able to simply set your wallpaper and watch the rest of your launcher re-theme itself to match is gratifying, instead of having to fuss around in your launcher's settings manually re-coloring your folders and drawers.

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1 month ago

Understanding security options on the Samsung Galaxy S7

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Make sure only you and the people you trust have access your Galaxy S7 and the data stored within.

Securing your devices and data is more important than ever these days. Just think of the sheer amount of personal information we pour into our phones, not to mention the shift towards using devices to manage finances. Now, think of all of that information falling into the wrong hands. Scary, right?

Fear not. The Samsung Galaxy S7 features a slew of security options to keep your data safe — even if someone really wants to get at it. Some of it is pretty basic stuff, like setting up a lock screen (which you should already be familiar with and using...right?). But you should also know how to encrypt the data on your SD card, how to use fingerprint security, and Smart Lock, which lets you leave your phone unlocked when it's on your body or in a location you've set as a secured space. Also, you'll want to make sure you're getting the latest security updates from Samsung.

If you're overwhelmed at all, don't worry! We've covered it all in this guide.

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1 month ago

Subgrid positioning: why I keep coming back to Nova Launcher

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There are features on a launcher that keep you coming back.

Action Launcher has Quickdrawer. Apex has its theme engine. Aviate has its quirky app organization. Well, Nova Launcher's got quite a few features that keep users coming back year after year, theme after theme. But beyond the ridiculous amount of launcher customization and the best damn launcher backups on Android, Nova has an ace in the hole.

And that ace is subgrid positioning.

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1 month ago

Misplace your phone? Simply Google 'find my phone' to locate it

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Lose your phone? You can now simply ask Google to find it for you right from a web search.

Google's ability to find and ring your phone or tablet has expanded outside of the Android Device Manager to regular Google search. Instead of going to the Android Device Manager website or app to find one of your other lost devices, you can now open up the main Google search page in your browser and type "find my phone" to get a top result of a map that will locate your phone, similar to the way you can use the main search box to see your upcoming flights and other personalized results.

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