Recent Articles | Android Central

Order Samsung Galaxy S8: AT&T | Verizon | T-Mobile | Sprint

Headlines

5 days ago

How to customize the Galaxy S8 navigation bar and home button

8
Galaxy S8 soft keys

It's easy to change the color or swap the order of your Galaxy S8's software keys.

The move to on-screen keys in the Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+ opens up new possibilities for customization. Unlike capacitive and hard keys, the GS8's buttons and status bar — the back, home and recent apps keys you see at the bottom of the screen — are part of the display, and can be controlled through Samsung's software.

And it turns out there are a few neat ways in which you can personalize your Galaxy S8's buttons. Here's how:

Background color

Navigation bar options

As the name suggests, the background color option allows you to set the hue of the lower area behind the on-screen buttons. By default, it's white, though it's worth noting that this setting only affects Samsung's own apps — standard Android apps will use the regular black background or whichever color the app's developer specifies.

There are a few pre-selected colors for you to choose from, or you can tap the color wheel to pick one of your own.

Unlock with Home button

The Unlock with Home button option is self-explanatory. By default, pressing the virtual home button while the screen is off takes you to the lock screen, where you can swipe to unlock using pattern, PIN, face unlock, or irises. (Or simply swipe to unlock if you're using Android's Smart Lock feature.)

With this option enabled, your phone will unlock immediately — after first checking your face, irises, or asking you for a PIN or pattern. (With Smart Lock, you'll simply press to unlock.)

Note: This setting won't affect how the fingerprint scanner works. If you have fingerprint unlock set up, unlocking via the fingerprint scanner will always bypass the lock screen.

Button layout

Button layout

By default, the Galaxy S8's keys are arranged in the same order as older Samsung phones — recents - home - back. If you're used to the button layout used by most other Android phones — back - home - recents — you may want to switch to this layout.

How to switch the position of the navigation buttons on the Galaxy S8

Home button sensitivity

This one's self-explanatory: You've got five levels of sensitivity to choose from to decide how hard you'll need to press the screen for the GS8 to register a hard press on the home key.

Obviously, this only applies to hard presses such as when you're unlocking the phone or using the home button from within a full-screen app where the soft keys are invisible.

Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+

Verizon AT&T T-Mobile Sprint

img { width: 100%; height: auto; } .devicebox ul { display: table; margin: 0 0 10px; width: 100%; } .devicebox ul li { background: #f7f7f7; margin: 2px 0; padding: 4px 15px; } .devicebox ul li:hover { background: #fff; } .devicebox ul li:before { display: none; } .devicebox p ~ p { line-height: 1.25; } .devicebox p:first-of-type + p { padding: 15px; } .devicebox a.buy-link { border-radius: 5px; display: inline-block; font: 14px/31px "Proxima Nova Extrabld",Helvetica,Arial,sans-serif; text-align: center; } .devicebox a.buy-link, .devicebox a.buy-link:link, .devicebox a.buy-link:active, .devicebox a.buy-link:visited { background: #37B5D7; color: #FFF; } .devicebox a.buy-link:hover { background: #2694B2; text-decoration: none; } .devicebox a.buy-link:before { content: "\e61e"; font: 40px/0 "ac_iconset" !important; margin: 0 3px 0 -8px; vertical-align: middle; } @media all and (min-width: 1025px), all and (max-width: 800px) and (min-width: 660px) { /* div:not(.columns-3) excludes help menu content */ .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox { padding: 20px 0 25px; } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox .video { float: left; margin: 0 30px 0 0; width: calc(100% - 375px); } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox h3 + p { bottom: 37px; display: block; overflow: hidden; position: absolute; top: 60px; width: calc(100% - 375px); } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox p img, .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox p > img { position: absolute; top: 50%; transform: translateY(-50%); } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox p:nth-child(n+3), .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox ul { box-sizing: border-box; margin-left: calc(100% - 345px); width: 340px; } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox p.list-head { margin-top: -5px; } } @media all and (max-width: 1024px) and (min-width: 801px), all and (max-width: 660px) { .devicebox h3 { text-align: center; } .devicebox ul, .devicebox p { display: block; } } @media all and (max-width: 800px) and (min-width: 660px) { .devicebox { padding: 20px 0 25px; } .devicebox .video { float: left; margin: 0 30px 0 0; width: calc(100% - 375px); } .devicebox h3 + p { bottom: 37px; display: block; overflow: hidden; position: absolute; top: 60px; width: calc(100% - 375px); } .devicebox p img, .devicebox p > img { position: absolute; top: 50%; transform: translateY(-50%); } .devicebox p:nth-child(n+3), .devicebox ul { box-sizing: border-box; margin-left: calc(100% - 345px); width: 340px; } .devicebox p.list-head { margin-top: -5px; } } @media all and (min-width: 1025px), all and (max-width: 800px) and (min-width: 661px), all and (max-width: 500px) { /* 2x buy buttons */ .devicebox a.buy-link { width: calc(50% - 2.5px); margin: 0 5px 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-of-type(even) { margin: 0 0 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:last-of-type:nth-of-type(odd) { width: 100%; } } @media all and (max-width: 1024px) and (min-width: 801px), all and (max-width: 659px) and (min-width: 501px) { /* 3x buy buttons */ .devicebox a.buy-link { width: calc(100%/3 - 10px/3); margin: 0 5px 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-of-type(3n):not(:nth-last-of-type(2)) { margin: 0 0 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:only-child { width: 100%; margin: 0 0 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(2):nth-of-type(3n+1), .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(2):nth-of-type(3n+1) ~ a.buy-link, .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(4):nth-of-type(3n+1), .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(4):nth-of-type(3n+1) ~ a.buy-link { width: calc(50% - 2.5px); } .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(2):nth-of-type(3n+1) ~ a.buy-link, .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(4):nth-of-type(3n+1) ~ a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(odd) { margin: 0 0 5px 0; } } @media all and (max-width: 800px) { .devicebox { margin: 0 0 30px; max-width: none; width: auto; } } @media all and (max-width: 500px) { .devicebox { margin: 0 0 30px; max-width: none; width: auto; } .devicebox a.buy-link:before { display: none; } } .page-admin .devicebox {max-width: 350px;} .page-admin .devicebox .video_iframe {position: relative; height: 0; padding-bottom: 56.9%;} .page-admin .devicebox .video_iframe iframe {width: 100%; height: 100%; position: absolute;} /*-->*/ /*-->*/ /*-->*/

Read more and comment

 
6 days ago

How to enable or disable the LG G6's camera roll — and why you may want to leave it off

6
LG G6

The LG G6 lets you see a scrolling strip of recent photos, but you may want to leave it off for quicker camera load times.

The LG G6 has a lot of neat features that utilize the taller 18:9 aspect ratio, letting you see more at once. One of those can be found in the camera app. The filmstrip view — officially called "camera roll" — gives you a scrolling vertical strip of recent photos off to the left of your main viewfinder. It's a great way to use up some of that extra height, since the sensor itself shoots in 4:3 natively.

Read more and comment

 
6 days ago

How to back up your Android launcher, and why you should

31

You backup your photos, your music, your documents… Why not your launcher?

We've all been there. You get a new phone and want it to feel familiar, like the one you just replaced. But all your app icons and widgets are all over the place. If you use a custom launcher, it's possible to quickly get right back to where you were before, by using a backup and restore feature.

Here's how.

Update April 2017: We've taken off Google Now Launcher, as it will be retiring soon and its backup system in not transferrable to other launchers, and Apex Launcher, ahead of its re-launch. We've also added Evie Launcher, Smart Launcher, and Yahoo Aviate.

Read more and comment

 
6 days ago

Project Fi Buyer's Guide: Everything you need to know

41
 Everything you need to know about Project Fi

Hate paying for features or data you don't use? Project Fi might just be the carrier for you.

Project Fi is Google's foray into the world of alternative carriers. Fi is a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) and leases coverage from Sprint, T-Mobile, U.S. Cellular, and the Three network for overseas roaming.

Here's everything you need to know about Google Project Fi.

Coverage

Project Fi coverage map

Google leases its coverage from Sprint, T-Mobile, and U.S. Cellular in the U.S. and uses Three's network in Europe and Asia. Its 4G LTE coverage extends throughout most of the U.S., though parts of the Midwest only receive 3G and 2G speeds (there's essentially no 4G coverage in Montana of Wyoming).

Advertisement

Using the three big cellular networks in the U.S., Project Fi will move you from carrier to carrier depending on how strong the 4G LTE signal is. Fi analyzes your location to see which one is fastest and will bounce you around as necessary so that you're always at maximum speeds.

Learn more

International coverage

As mentioned, Project Fi relies on the Three network for coverage in Europe and Asia. One of the best parts of any Project Fi plan is the fact that you can use your data in more than 135 countries just like you would at home — no roaming charges.

You get unlimited international texting with any plan and calls to and from other countries are a flat rate of 20 cents per minute. 4G LTE coverage is subject to availability in one of the 135+ countries covered, but if it's available, it's yours to use (within your monthly cap).

Learn more

Project Fi plans

Project Fi's plans are about as straightforward and simple as it gets for mobile plans.

You start off with "The Basics" for $20 a month. This gets you unlimited domestic talk and text (including SMS and MMS), unlimited international texting, tethering, and the free data-only SIM card. You can also make calls and texts across all of your devices.

After you sign up for the basics, you add 4G LTE. It's $10 per GB of data. That data works in over 135 just like it does at home. If you buy a certain amount of data but don't use it all within your billing period, you'll be refunded for the amount you don't use, at the rate of about 1 cent per MB. If you go over your monthly data allotment, no biggie — you'll just get billed at the rate of $10/GB.

If you'd like to add on friends and family, you can do so with Project Fi Group plans, and they get a $5 discount on The Basics.

Learn more

Best phones to use with Project Fi

Google Pixel

The one catch (maybe?) with Project Fi is that it only supports Google phones. It makes sense; why wouldn't Google want you to use its phones on its network? Luckily, some of Google's phones are some of the best Android phones around.

The Google Pixel is handily the best Google phone you can buy, which is why it received an Android Central Choice Award and is a favorite among our editors. It's software is excellent, it's got a great build, and it's camera is among the upper echelon of smartphone cameras.

Advertisement

Here are all the phones that work with Project Fi:

  • Google Pixel
  • Google Pixel XL
  • Nexus 6P
  • Nexus 6
  • Nexus 5X

How to finance a phone with Project Fi

So long as you qualify (up to Google, based on a credit check) you can purchase a new phone and pay for it in monthly installments. There's no down payment required and no interest; the cost of the phone of your choice is just spread out over 24 months.

You can pay off the balance at any time, but if you decide to leave Project Fi, you'll have to pay out the total cost of the phone then and there. You have 30 days to activate Project Fi service from when you buy your phone. If your Project Fi service isn't active within 30 days, Google will just charge you the full amount for the phone.

Learn more

Do I have to sign up for a Project Fi contract?

No. Project Fi operates on a month-to-month basis. You can start up and cancel at any time. The only "contract" you agree to is if you choose to purchase a phone on monthly installments. In that case, you must make 24 monthly payments with active Project Fi service.

Can I bring my phone number over from another network?

Absolutely. When you start the signup process, there'll be a section where you can check to see if your number can be transferred. If it can, enter it, and Google will do the rest. Most transfers take only 15 minutes, though some can take a day depending on the network from which they came.

To port your number:

  1. Insert your Project Fi SIM card into your Fi-compatible phone.
  2. Turn on your phone and follow the on-screen instructions.
  3. Wait for your number to be transferred. You'll be able to see its status in the Project Fi app and on its website.

While your number transfers over, you'll still be able to use your old phone to make calls and send texts, and you'll be able to use data on your Fi-enabled phone.

Learn more

Why can I only use Google phones?

For right now, Google has only enabled Google phones to use the Project Fi SIM. It claims that only Google phones work with the Project Fi SIM card because they have "state-of-the-art cellular radio[s] tuned to work across network types".

How do I cancel Project Fi service?

Very simply. All you have to do is head to the Project Fi website or app:

  1. Click or tap on the Account tab.
  2. Click or tap on Manage Plan under Your Plan.
  3. Click Cancel service.
  4. Follow the instructions.

That's it. Google isn't like other carriers that make it difficult for you to leave. Just say you want to cancel and cancel. Boom.

Can I use my Project Fi phone with another carrier?

Provided it works with that particular carrier (chances are it will), yup. Google clearly states that your phone is not locked to Project Fi service.

Questions?

Got any other questions about Google Project Fi? Let us know in the comments below.

Alternative carriers (MVNOS)

img { width: 100%; height: auto; } .devicebox ul { display: table; margin: 0 0 10px; width: 100%; } .devicebox ul li { background: #f7f7f7; margin: 2px 0; padding: 4px 15px; } .devicebox ul li:hover { background: #fff; } .devicebox ul li:before { display: none; } .devicebox p ~ p { line-height: 1.25; } .devicebox p:first-of-type + p { padding: 15px; } .devicebox a.buy-link { border-radius: 5px; display: inline-block; font: 14px/31px "Proxima Nova Extrabld",Helvetica,Arial,sans-serif; text-align: center; } .devicebox a.buy-link, .devicebox a.buy-link:link, .devicebox a.buy-link:active, .devicebox a.buy-link:visited { background: #37B5D7; color: #FFF; } .devicebox a.buy-link:hover { background: #2694B2; text-decoration: none; } .devicebox a.buy-link:before { content: "\e61e"; font: 40px/0 "ac_iconset" !important; margin: 0 3px 0 -8px; vertical-align: middle; } @media all and (min-width: 1025px), all and (max-width: 800px) and (min-width: 660px) { /* div:not(.columns-3) excludes help menu content */ .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox { padding: 20px 0 25px; } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox .video { float: left; margin: 0 30px 0 0; width: calc(100% - 375px); } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox h3 + p { bottom: 37px; display: block; overflow: hidden; position: absolute; top: 60px; width: calc(100% - 375px); } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox p img, .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox p > img { position: absolute; top: 50%; transform: translateY(-50%); } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox p:nth-child(n+3), .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox ul { box-sizing: border-box; margin-left: calc(100% - 345px); width: 340px; } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox p.list-head { margin-top: -5px; } } @media all and (max-width: 1024px) and (min-width: 801px), all and (max-width: 660px) { .devicebox h3 { text-align: center; } .devicebox ul, .devicebox p { display: block; } } @media all and (max-width: 800px) and (min-width: 660px) { .devicebox { padding: 20px 0 25px; } .devicebox .video { float: left; margin: 0 30px 0 0; width: calc(100% - 375px); } .devicebox h3 + p { bottom: 37px; display: block; overflow: hidden; position: absolute; top: 60px; width: calc(100% - 375px); } .devicebox p img, .devicebox p > img { position: absolute; top: 50%; transform: translateY(-50%); } .devicebox p:nth-child(n+3), .devicebox ul { box-sizing: border-box; margin-left: calc(100% - 345px); width: 340px; } .devicebox p.list-head { margin-top: -5px; } } @media all and (min-width: 1025px), all and (max-width: 800px) and (min-width: 661px), all and (max-width: 500px) { /* 2x buy buttons */ .devicebox a.buy-link { width: calc(50% - 2.5px); margin: 0 5px 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-of-type(even) { margin: 0 0 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:last-of-type:nth-of-type(odd) { width: 100%; } } @media all and (max-width: 1024px) and (min-width: 801px), all and (max-width: 659px) and (min-width: 501px) { /* 3x buy buttons */ .devicebox a.buy-link { width: calc(100%/3 - 10px/3); margin: 0 5px 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-of-type(3n):not(:nth-last-of-type(2)) { margin: 0 0 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:only-child { width: 100%; margin: 0 0 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(2):nth-of-type(3n+1), .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(2):nth-of-type(3n+1) ~ a.buy-link, .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(4):nth-of-type(3n+1), .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(4):nth-of-type(3n+1) ~ a.buy-link { width: calc(50% - 2.5px); } .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(2):nth-of-type(3n+1) ~ a.buy-link, .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(4):nth-of-type(3n+1) ~ a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(odd) { margin: 0 0 5px 0; } } @media all and (max-width: 800px) { .devicebox { margin: 0 0 30px; max-width: none; width: auto; } } @media all and (max-width: 500px) { .devicebox { margin: 0 0 30px; max-width: none; width: auto; } .devicebox a.buy-link:before { display: none; } } .page-admin .devicebox {max-width: 350px;} .page-admin .devicebox .video_iframe {position: relative; height: 0; padding-bottom: 56.9%;} .page-admin .devicebox .video_iframe iframe {width: 100%; height: 100%; position: absolute;} /*-->*/ /*-->*/ /*-->*/

Read more and comment

 
1 week ago

How to back up your music files to your computer or online storage

How to back up your music files to your computer or online storage

How do I transfer music from my Android phone to my computer?

Updated April 2017: This post was updated to make sure it has the best ways to transfer your music from your Android.

If you have all your beloved music on your Android phone, then it's probably a good idea to back it up, especially if you plan on buying a new phone. You can choose to back up your music to a computer or you can back it up to the cloud so that you can access it from virtually any device (pun intended).

We have a few apps that we like to use to make backing up music easier. Here's how to backup your music (just in case).

How to back up your music files to online storage

Backing up your music to the cloud is the first logical step if you want to make sure that if your phone craps out, your music doesn't go down the toilet with it. There are two awesome apps you can use that your music files can follow you wherever you go.

Google Drive

Google Drive

Google Drive is where it's at when it comes to file storage. You get 15GB of free storage space! Depending on file sizes, 15GB is nearly 4,000 songs. Just like Dropbox, Google Drive is ubiquitous; if you have a device with an internet connection, you can access your Google Drive, thanks to the cloud. If you have a Gmail account, then you have Google Drive.

You can listen to the music you upload right in Google Drive or you can download it for offline listening and you bet your sweet patoot that you can share anything and everything via a link to that file or folder, even with non-Google users (the heathens!).

If your Android phone didn't come with Google Drive, it's a free download on the Google Play Store.

To set it up, you just sign in with your Gmail address and password. From there, you just tap the big ol' + button to upload files or folders. To upload music, just choose Audio from the list of options. You can upload as many songs as you'd like (or your 15GB limit will allow). If your Google Drive starts to fill up, just download files to your computer and transfer them to an external hard drive, if that's your fancy.

To access Google Drive on your computer, just hit up drive.google.com and sign in. You'll walked through a simple setup process and then you'll be ready to go. Google Drive is seamless, so you can enjoy your favorite music on just about any device.

Dropbox

Dropbox

A basic Dropbox account is free and comes with 2GB of storage. All you need to sign up is an email address and a pocket full of dreams (pocket full of dreams is optional). Visit Dropbox.com, enter your name, email and a password and you're on your way.

2GB isn't exactly a ton of storage, so you may want to download music to your computer as you transfer more into your Dropbox folder.

Here's how to intstall Dropbox on your computer:

  1. Launch your web browser on your computer.
  2. Navigate to Dropbox.com.
  3. Click create an account.
  4. Enter your first name, last name, and email address into the fields. You can also choose to Sign up with Google.
  5. Click the checkbox to agree to the terms and conditions.

    Click create an account, enter your information, click to agree to the terms and conditions

  6. Click Create an account.
  7. Click the Free Download button to install Dropbox on your computer.

    Click Create an account, click Free Download

Next, you'll want to install and set up Dropbox on your Android phone if it isn't already. Here's how:

  1. Download the Dropbox app from the Google Play Store.
  2. Launch Dropbox from your home screen or the app drawer.
  3. Tap Sign in.
  4. Enter your email address and password.
  5. Tap Sign in.

    Tap Sign in, enter your email address and password, tap Sign in

You can tap Not Now through the "Set up Dropbox on your computer" stuff, since you've already done that.

Now when you want to upload files, create folders, take photos to upload, and a lot more, you just press the big + button. To add your music to your Dropbox folder, just select Audio from the list of options that pops up.

Once your music is in the cloud, you'll be able to access it from any device that has Dropbox on it and, even better, you'll be able to share it all with friends, even those without Dropbox! They'll simply receive a link and will have full access to the music you've shared.

Dropbox isn't just for music; you can upload video, photos, text files, and just about everything in between. It certainly beats the hell out of having to connect a USB cable from your computer to your phone and you can easily make files available offline by downloading them from your Dropbox folder.

How to back up your music files to your computer

You can use a USB cable and transfer your music from your phone to the hard drive on your computer. This works like any other MTP device (like a media player or camera) and the only limiting factor is hard drive space. it's also pretty easy to do.

Android File Transfer

Android File Transfer

If you're a Mac user you need a special utility to transfer music (or any type of file) from your Android phone onto your computer: Android File Transfer. It's not the greatest app in the world, but it gets the job done.

There isn't much to the setup process; you just download it, install it, and that's it. When you connect your Android phone to your Mac via USB, Android File Transfer will open automatically. You may have to tap Allow on your phone before you're able to access its contents on your Mac.

Once you do have access, you'll be able to access all of the files that are stored on your Android phone, as well as any that are stored on your microSD card, if you use one. From there, you can just drag and drop music at will into folders on your computer. The best part is that you can drag out entire folders into a Finder window, instead of having to tap, hold, and select all, like you do on your phone.

One caveat: do not try to move too much music at once. One of the reasons Android File Transfer isn't so great is that it seems to just crap out if you overload it. When transferring music, do so in smaller batches under 1GB. Otherwise, you might get halfway through transferring a batch and it'll just stop and you'll have to dig around and figure out exactly where it stopped and where to start again.

It may be a bit of a pain in the hiney, but if you want music from your Android phone on your Mac without using a cloud-based service, then it's the only way.

Windows users have it even easier

If you're using a computer running Microsoft Windows (version 7 or later) all you need to do is plug in your phone to a USB port using the supplied cable. A regular Windows Explorer window will open with your phone's contents right there for the taking. Just drag and drop to the place you want to store your music and let it copy things over.

When it's finished you can "eject" the phone from the taskbar icon like any other USB device.

The first time you plug your phone in Windows might need to install and setup some things. Just wait until it's finished and you'll be ready to go.

The bottom line

Using a cloud-based service to transfer music from your Android phone to your computer is easy, and you can access your music from just about any device with an internet connection. You can also download your tunes for offline listening to a computer or another Android from the cloud service.

The sharing feature is also a great reason to use Google Drive or Dropbox since most songs are too large to email normally and the folks you share with can choose to download the music you send or play it right there in the Google Drive or Dropbox link.

If you would rather skip the cloud, using a USB cable to transfer files directly to a computer is easy, too. Android File Transfer can get finicky from time to time if you're a Mac user, but in the end everything is just drag and drop.

Read more and comment

 
1 week ago

Smart Lock on the Galaxy S8: Everything you need to know

78

The Galaxy S8's fingerprint sensor placement has some people in a tizzy. Here's how to avoid using it and still keep your device safe.

The Galaxy S8 is a great phone with a lot of ways to unlock the screen. That stems from the fact that Samsung relocated the fingerprint sensor from the front below the screen, which is easy to reach, to the back next to the camera, which is considerably harder. Then it added two new ways to unlock the phone with one's face, but neither of them are as easy and seamless (though they're pretty darn close) than a fingerprint sensor below the screen.

So what's a person to do? How do you overcome this? Well, you could just adapt and learn to live with it, but that's no fun, right? We like to complain and then find better ways to do the same thing! If that describes you to a tee, then let's talk about Fitbit.

Fitbit? Daniel, you crazy

Hear me out. Samsung has included a popular Android feature called Smart Lock that uses an idea called persistent authentication to temporarily disable the phone's lock screen for a period of time. The idea behind persistent auth is that once you prove to the phone that you are you, you shouldn't necessarily have to continue doing so as long as that cycle of trust isn't broken.

You can wear a Fitbit, or any Bluetooth wearable, to safely bypass the lock screen at any time.

So Google figured out a way to do this, and integrated it into Google Play Services a couple of years ago. It's not necessarily the most popular Android feature, which is why it's often overlooked, and perfect for a phone that makes it just a bit too difficult to quickly unlock using a biometric passcode.

While wearing a Fitbit, or any other Bluetooth-enabled device that has a persistent Low Energy (LE) connection to the Galaxy S8, Smart Lock allows users to bypass the unlock process entirely. This makes it easy just to push the invisible home button on the front of the Galaxy S8 (it's always on, even when there's nothing on the screen) to get to the home screen, or press the home button after quick-launching the camera without having to wait for the phone to unlock.

Smart Lock isn't a perfect fix to your Galaxy S8 biometrics troubles, of course: for security reasons, you're forced to re-enter a lock pattern or PIN after four hours of inactivity; and it doesn't always detect the Bluetooth device, even when it's right next to the phone. I wore a Fitbit Alta HR the entire time I reviewed the Galaxy S8 and only had this happen a couple of times, but it was annoying when it did.

Of course, you don't have to use a Fitbit, or even a wearable, to engage in Smart Lock's Trusted Devices feature. It can be any Bluetooth device, including a speaker, selfie stick, or something else entirely. As long as it is connected to your phone, it will work. I just recommend a wearable because, well, it's generally attached to you and harder to steal than a selfie stick or a speaker. It would also be great if Trusted Devices worked with biometric persistent authentication, so it would automatically disconnect not with the Bluetooth connection but with the cessation of a readable heart rate.

See Fitbit Alta HR at Amazon

Other ways to Smart (un)Lock

Trusted Devices aren't the only way to bypass Samsung's lock screen hell. Google has incorporated three other methods, too, and all can work for you.

  • On-body detection keeps the phone unlocked when the proximity sensor is engaged. The idea is that the phone is in your pocket, so Google trusts it's you who has possession. Once you remove the phone from your pocket, you have a few seconds of freedom before the lock mechanism springs back into place. This doesn't always work consistently with every phone, but it's done a good job on the Galaxy S8.
  • Trusted voice is a way to unlock your Galaxy S8 with your voice by saying "OK Google", and it works well, but the screen has to be turned on (but still locked) for the feature to engage, which isn't as useful.
  • Trusted location puts a geofence around an area — your house, your work — where the phone will stay unlocked (for four hours, at least) when you're there. Because it uses an approximate location to save power, Trusted Location isn't a particularly secure method for maintaining authentication, but it's convenient. Only use this when you're sure your device is safe.

How to enable Smart Lock on your Galaxy S8

Want this on your phone? Here are the steps to enable Smart Lock.

  1. Swipe down from the notification shade on your home screen.
  2. Tap on Settings icon (cog shape).
  3. Tap on Lock screen and security.
  4. Tap on Smart Lock.
  5. Enter your unlock code.

  6. Select On-body detection, Trusted places, Trusted device, or Trusted voice.
  7. Configure your Smart Lock settings.

No cure for the common outrage

None of these methods are complete solutions for your Galaxy S8 unlock vitriol. If you can't overcome your absolute hatred for the placement of the fingerprint sensor or the perceived slowness of the iris scanner, you probably shouldn't buy the phone.

But I can assure you that, after using both the Galaxy S8 and the S8+ for a number of weeks, the combination of fingerprint, facial and Google's own Smart Lock procedures is a recipe for certain success. Even without Smart Lock, I've found a fairly good rhythm just using a combo of face unlock and the fingerprint sensor, but the addition of a trusted device like the Fitbit Alta HR improved that process immensely.

What do you think? Would something like Smart Lock be enough to overcome your hesitation in buying a Galaxy S8? Let us know in the comments!

Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+

Verizon AT&T T-Mobile Sprint

img { width: 100%; height: auto; } .devicebox ul { display: table; margin: 0 0 10px; width: 100%; } .devicebox ul li { background: #f7f7f7; margin: 2px 0; padding: 4px 15px; } .devicebox ul li:hover { background: #fff; } .devicebox ul li:before { display: none; } .devicebox p ~ p { line-height: 1.25; } .devicebox p:first-of-type + p { padding: 15px; } .devicebox a.buy-link { border-radius: 5px; display: inline-block; font: 14px/31px "Proxima Nova Extrabld",Helvetica,Arial,sans-serif; text-align: center; } .devicebox a.buy-link, .devicebox a.buy-link:link, .devicebox a.buy-link:active, .devicebox a.buy-link:visited { background: #37B5D7; color: #FFF; } .devicebox a.buy-link:hover { background: #2694B2; text-decoration: none; } .devicebox a.buy-link:before { content: "\e61e"; font: 40px/0 "ac_iconset" !important; margin: 0 3px 0 -8px; vertical-align: middle; } @media all and (min-width: 1025px), all and (max-width: 800px) and (min-width: 660px) { /* div:not(.columns-3) excludes help menu content */ .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox { padding: 20px 0 25px; } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox .video { float: left; margin: 0 30px 0 0; width: calc(100% - 375px); } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox h3 + p { bottom: 37px; display: block; overflow: hidden; position: absolute; top: 60px; width: calc(100% - 375px); } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox p img, .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox p > img { position: absolute; top: 50%; transform: translateY(-50%); } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox p:nth-child(n+3), .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox ul { box-sizing: border-box; margin-left: calc(100% - 345px); width: 340px; } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox p.list-head { margin-top: -5px; } } @media all and (max-width: 1024px) and (min-width: 801px), all and (max-width: 660px) { .devicebox h3 { text-align: center; } .devicebox ul, .devicebox p { display: block; } } @media all and (max-width: 800px) and (min-width: 660px) { .devicebox { padding: 20px 0 25px; } .devicebox .video { float: left; margin: 0 30px 0 0; width: calc(100% - 375px); } .devicebox h3 + p { bottom: 37px; display: block; overflow: hidden; position: absolute; top: 60px; width: calc(100% - 375px); } .devicebox p img, .devicebox p > img { position: absolute; top: 50%; transform: translateY(-50%); } .devicebox p:nth-child(n+3), .devicebox ul { box-sizing: border-box; margin-left: calc(100% - 345px); width: 340px; } .devicebox p.list-head { margin-top: -5px; } } @media all and (min-width: 1025px), all and (max-width: 800px) and (min-width: 661px), all and (max-width: 500px) { /* 2x buy buttons */ .devicebox a.buy-link { width: calc(50% - 2.5px); margin: 0 5px 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-of-type(even) { margin: 0 0 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:last-of-type:nth-of-type(odd) { width: 100%; } } @media all and (max-width: 1024px) and (min-width: 801px), all and (max-width: 659px) and (min-width: 501px) { /* 3x buy buttons */ .devicebox a.buy-link { width: calc(100%/3 - 10px/3); margin: 0 5px 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-of-type(3n):not(:nth-last-of-type(2)) { margin: 0 0 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:only-child { width: 100%; margin: 0 0 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(2):nth-of-type(3n+1), .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(2):nth-of-type(3n+1) ~ a.buy-link, .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(4):nth-of-type(3n+1), .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(4):nth-of-type(3n+1) ~ a.buy-link { width: calc(50% - 2.5px); } .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(2):nth-of-type(3n+1) ~ a.buy-link, .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(4):nth-of-type(3n+1) ~ a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(odd) { margin: 0 0 5px 0; } } @media all and (max-width: 800px) { .devicebox { margin: 0 0 30px; max-width: none; width: auto; } } @media all and (max-width: 500px) { .devicebox { margin: 0 0 30px; max-width: none; width: auto; } .devicebox a.buy-link:before { display: none; } } .page-admin .devicebox {max-width: 350px;} .page-admin .devicebox .video_iframe {position: relative; height: 0; padding-bottom: 56.9%;} .page-admin .devicebox .video_iframe iframe {width: 100%; height: 100%; position: absolute;} /*-->*/ /*-->*/ /*-->*/

Read more and comment

 
1 week ago

Where to buy the Samsung Galaxy S8 in the U.S.

69
Samsung Galaxy S8+

Here's where you can buy Samsung's latest phones.

The Galaxy S8 and S8+ are up for sale just about everywhere, with carriers and retailers getting in on the action. Pre-orders ran for a full three weeks before the proper release, but now it's open season and you can buy online pretty much anywhere you turn.

Here are the details when it comes to availability of the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ in the U.S.

Read more and comment

 
1 week ago

Best tips for extending the life of your phone's battery

20

How do I make sure my phone's battery lasts as long as possible?

Most of us never think about the battery in our phone until it dies. When everything is working properly the battery should not be a part of the Android experience, other than not lasting long enough because we never put our phones down. The only time we ever think about the battery is when we have to charge it.

How you do that charging can make a difference, though not nearly as much as some people think. Let's have a look at the right way to take care of your battery and if it really matters.

Battery things

A few facts about your phone's battery make for a great starting point. We need to know the basics before we dive into the rest.

Chemical batteries aren't safe, but there is science trying to get them there.

The battery in your phone is almost certainly a single lithium-ion (also known as Li-ion, Lion or LiB) cell. Li-ion batteries offer what's called a high energy density (power output compared to size), have almost zero memory effect and offer a moderate self-discharge rate. There are Li-ion batteries in all shapes and sizes, and while most of what we're going to talk about apply to them all we're going to focus on the one inside your phone.

The chemistry of your phone battery is usually lithium cobalt oxide-based. These types of cell offer a very high energy density but also pose some serious safety issues like the ones we saw with the Galaxy Note 7. While the actual composition can vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, generally you have two electrodes (one carbon-based and one lithium oxide-based) encased in a pressurized foil pouch filled with a lithium salt dissolved in an organic solvent as the electrolyte paste.

Charged lithium ions move from one electrode to the other through the conductive electrolyte, which is flammable. The electrolyte gets very hot when the juice is flowing and a puncture of the foil can lead to a small explosion of very flammable fluid.

The Note 7's silver lining

Some good things happened because of Samsung's Note 7 recall.

As consumers, we're more aware of the inherent danger of Li-ion batteries and Samsung is leading the charge (no pun intended!) when it comes to the science of smartphone battery safety. We'll never know exactly what happened or why, but we can be sure that every phone leaving Samsung's factories have been through a rigorous testing procedure and should be very safe. Hopefully, this can be a learning experience for all the companies who make our battery-powered things!

This is Samsung's new 8-point battery safety check

The companies that make Li-ion batteries are always working on ways to make them safer without lowering the amount of energy they can store. Graphene, Sulfur, and Hexafluorides are just some of the chemicals being used to try and build a better battery, and every model made is safer than the last. But lithium-ion cells are still inherently dangerous. That's why the battery in your phone is more than just a cell — it makes things a lot safer when you regulate things.

The battery inside your phone is a power cell as described above coupled with sensors and other parts like voltage regulators and an external connector. This electronic hardware monitors the electricity moving in and out of the battery as well as the capacity and temperature. They are there to shut down power instantly if they detect a short or dangerous temperature spike.

A lot of work went into making a battery for your phone that can deliver the power needed as safe as possible.

The memory effect

Battery memory effect is when the battery (not the cell itself) forgets the capacity that's not regularly charged. It's a weird concept that's difficult to fully explain.

Li-ion batteries don't have a memory effect.

If you charge your battery every time it goes down to 25% and then remove it from the charger when it reaches 75% every time, you're only charging 50% of the capacity. The 0-25% that never discharged and the 75-100% that is never charged will be forgotten. This means that over time your battery thinks 25% is 0% and 75% is 100%. You are unable to use half of the battery in this case.

As crazy as it sounds, it's true. But not for Li-ion batteries. You don't need to worry about any battery memory effect for the battery inside your phone.

From zero to 100

The battery in your phone has a "zone" that provides as much charge as possible without doing anything that affects the lifespan of the battery too much. Completely draining a battery might cause it to die and not come back.The smarts in the battery and your phone work together to make sure this doesn't happen. Overcharging a battery can cause heat that damages the cell inside it. Your phone and the battery itself work together to make sure this doesn't happen, too.

Your battery and phone are smart and make sure you can't fully discharge or overcharge things.

In a perfect world, you would keep your phone battery close to 50% charged at all times by micromanaging the time it spends on the charger to top it off when needed. This is because batteries have a useful life and it's based on charge cycles.

A charge cycle is going from dead to full (inside that safe zone described above) one time. Most phone batteries are designed to last about 400 cycles. That means if you let it run to zero then charge it to full 400 separate times the battery will no longer be able to hold a full charge and it will take more of the stored charge to normally operate your phone. Eventually, you'll notice that it takes longer to charge it and it doesn't last as long as it did when it was new.

This will happen to every battery eventually, but small "top-up" charges that don't heat things up as much have less of an impact than long charges. If you always run your battery down until it's almost dead then plug your phone in until it's full you're putting more stress on it than doing a bunch of short charges. We can't say the difference is so small it doesn't matter, but we can say that it's probably not worth the inconvenience of charging your phone five minutes at a time all day long.

Charging at night

If you plug your phone in when you go to bed and let it charge all night, it still won't overcharge the battery. But it's important to mention that you should never charge a lithium-ion battery unattended.

When the phone is fully charged the electronics in the battery tell your phone to stop sending electricity from the charger to the battery charging circuit. Power still comes in, it just doesn't work at recharging anything and goes back out to the wall socket (electricity travels in an unbroken loop to and from the power source). If your phone is still powered on the battery will discharge because it's being used. When it discharges to a certain point, charging starts again. This cycle repeats until you unplug it in the morning.

A lot of work was done to make sure the cell inside the battery doesn't overcharge at any time. Even during the night while it's on the charger. If you're going to charge your phone overnight, make sure everything works properly and you're charging properly. That means you don't have the phone under a blanket or laying on the rug while it's plugged in or have it in a thick sealed case that keeps the heat in. Plug it in (or put it on a wireless charger) somewhere that it won't get tangled up in your bedclothes or knocked to the floor.

Storing your phone or battery

Charge your battery to 50% and turn the phone off. Check it once in a while and recharge it before it drops under 10%.

Your battery will discharge in the drawer over time.

Li-ion batteries have a moderate self-discharge rate. That means when they are not being used they still will lose their charge. All batteries do this and some types (lead-acid) are bigger offenders than others (lithium-sulfur). A battery can self-discharge to zero when it's not being used even if your phone would normally shut down before you get there. Letting a Li-ion battery run down completely could cause it to not come back online, depending on the internal circuitry.

If you plan on storing a phone over the long term, drop a monthly reminder in your calendar to take it out, turn it on and charge it a little.

Recalibration

This means running a battery down to zero then charging it to full in one sitting. This is said to recalibrate the battery.

Recalibration won't hurt anything but it might not do anything, either.

Laptops may benefit from a recalibration cycle if the battery level icon has the wrong reading. The software that controls this on a laptop is a good bit different from your Android, though. Some experts claim you need to recalibrate your battery from time to time or when you see an issue, but others say it won;t do anything.

Fully cycling the battery in your phone every once in a while isn't going to break anything. It's not something we recommend you do every day because of that charge cycle life we talked about up the page. If you think you need to do it to fix something, go for it.

Are wireless chargers bad for my battery?

Not really, as long as you're using a quality charger of the right type.

They aren't any better than charging over a wire, either. Charging a battery makes it hot. Heat shortens battery lifespan. Once the electricity from a wireless charger passes into your phone it's handled the same way as a wired charger. Inside the battery where the chemical reaction is happening heat builds up no matter how you charge your phone battery.

Wireless charging is inefficient so it takes longer, but it also is less wear and tear on the USB socket on your phone. If you like the convenience of a wireless charger, go for it!

How about fast charging?

When using any fast charging method (Qualcomm Quick Charge, Adaptive Fast Charging, USB PD, etc.) you have a charger that is capable of supplying electricity at a higher voltage or amperage than normal. Your phone has programming on the circuit board that tells the charger how much electricity to deliver, and the charger has circuitry that listens and complies. Without both sides being able to communicate, quick-charging can't happen.

Fast charging affects battery lifespan but nobody is sure exactly how much.

There is a lot of science behind quick charging. Most of it agrees that quick charging contributes to a faster decline of the battery's lifespan. But nobody is able to measure exactly how much.

Quick charging is uber-convenient and has changed the way a lot of us use our gadgets. The best recommendation, in this case, is to use it wisely if you're concerned that it affects battery longevity. Usually, that means you need a second charger, so make sure you buy one made by a reputable company.

Using another charger

Always try to use the charger and cable that came with your phone each and every time you need to charge it. If you need a replacement or an additional charger, buy the type the manufacturer recommends. Products are designed so that the different types of quick charging products can be used on phones that don't support them (you won't get fast charging speeds) but it's still advisable to use the right quick-charge technology. If you're unsure of which kind of quick charging your phone uses, online resources like our forums are helpful, or you can contact the manufacturer.

It's also a good idea to buy new cables when you buy a new phone. Always. Charging technology change so fast that the cables you have been using for a few years might not meet the requirements and cables degrade from all the twisting and pulling they suffer through. Make sure the cables you buy match the specifications of the ones that came in the box and are made by a company you trust. Recycle your old cables and protect your expensive new phone.

Our recommended practices

  • Charge your phone when it needs a charge and remove it from the charger when it's finished. Don't be afraid to use a wireless charger.
  • Use quick charging sparingly if you're concerned about its effect on battery lifespan. There is little immediate damage or danger from using the right charging method for your phone.
  • Try to manually shut your phone off if the charge ever drops below 10% and leave it off while charging it for a few minutes.
  • Never store a phone with a dead battery and check on a stored phone periodically.
  • Don't buy cheap chargers or cables from the gas station or that dude at the flea market. Use the type of charger the people who made your phone recommend.

You can make yourself crazy by worrying about the perfect way to charge your phone's battery. All the technical details about how behaviors can affect the lifespan of the battery are true, but they are also very minor in scale. Charging and discharging a battery shortens its lifespan, but a battery is useless if it's not charged so it can power something. It's OK to baby your phone's battery, but ultimately not necessary.

Read more and comment

 
1 week ago

US Cellular: Everything you need to know

10

What you need to know about America's fifth largest network provider.

When people talk about post-paid nationwide cell phone networks in the U.S. they usually mean the Big Four: AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon. But there is a fifth company who offers full-service nationwide contract plans that are as good or better than the bigger corporations: US Cellular.

It stands to reason. As of Q4 2016, US Cellular had 10x fewer subscribers than number four Sprint had with just over 5,000,000 in total. For comparison, America Movil (TracFone, Walmart Family Mobile) had just over 26,000,000. US Cellular is not the giant company that its rivals are. but that doesn't mean it isn't a great option for a lot of people looking for a new phone company.

Let's have a look at what you need to know about US Cellular.

Advertisement

Great nationwide coverage

US Cellular offers really good voice and LTE coverage in the continental United States. Coverage maps aren't the best way to gauge service for any one particular area, but they can give a good indication of the overall network footprint. US Cellular's looks better than Sprint or T-Mobile here.

There is a very good chance that you'll have good US Cellular coverage if you're in the states.

Reciprocal roaming and rural coverage

US Cellular uses what they call "4G LTE Data Partner Coverage" for a good chunk of their service area. This means it has an arrangement with another company to use its networks in areas where there is a need. Your US Cellular phone will work seamlessly in these places and you won't even know it. It also doesn't cost you anything extra when it happens. In addition to agreements with AT&T and Verizon, US Cellular partners with King Street Wireless for deployment of the 700Mhz LTE band in 27 states.

This means US Cellular has the same type of great coverage in rural areas that AT&T and Verizon offer. You can look here for an interactive map that shows where partner coverage is located.

There are data plans to fit everyone

US Cellular offers post-paid contract plans at 2GB, 6GB, and unlimited tiers. The unlimited plan is very competitively priced.

  • Unlimited data on one line: $70
  • Unlimited data on two lines: $110
  • Unlimited data on three lines: $150
  • Unlimited data on four lines: $160

All plans come with unlimited talk and text messaging, have no extra monthly connection fees, and there is no activation fee or ETF for service cancellation. You will need to pay for the phone if you are making installments, though. Unlimited talk and text to Canada and Mexico is included in the 6GB and unlimited plan.

US Cellular also offers prepaid plans in 1GB, 5GB, and unlimited tiers. The 1GB and 5GB plans switch to standard 2G speeds for the remainder of the month when your LTE data allotment is used.

  • 1GB of LTE data: $35
  • 5GB of LTE data: $45
  • Unlimited LTE data: $70

Prepaid plans include tethering and unlimited international texting.

US Cellular also offers corporate plans, data only device plans and complete business solutions that include automation and asset management in addition to communications.

Advertisement

Popular phones are supported

US Cellular offers installment payment plans for phones from Apple, LG, Motorola, Samsung and plenty of other companies. A currently offered installment agreement for the Galaxy S8 is $24 per month for 30 months, at zero interest. You'll find plenty of other devices starting as low as $4 per month for a Motorola G4 Play. You'll also find pre-owned devices and special deals to help save you even more money.

You can bring your own phone to the prepaid service, but it needs to be a compatible model. You can check your phone at the US Cellular activation website to make sure it's compatible or take it to a local store.

Best US Cellular phones

When all is said and done, the most important factor when you're looking for phone service is the coverage. US Cellular looks really good there thanks to both the native network and the partner programs. The company also has a very good reputation and has won numerous awards for customer service and community outreach. We think you should give them a look the next time you're shopping for a new phone company.

Read more and comment

 
1 week ago

How to switch the position of the navigation buttons on the Galaxy S8

23

I put my Galaxy S8 down, flip it and reverse it.

The Galaxy S8 is the first Samsung phone with on-screen navigation buttons, which is a big change for the company, and its users! By default, though, the Galaxy S8 puts those virtual buttons in the same position as Samsung's older phones, with the "back" button to the right of the "home" button, and the "multitasking" button to the left.

Thankfully, these can be reversed, making it easier for people coming from other phones to adjust to the new Galaxy S8! Want to switch around the position of those buttons? Easy!

Put the back button where it should be on the Galaxy S8!

  1. From the home screen, swipe down to reveal the notification shade.
  2. Tap on the Settings button (cog icon).
  3. Tap on the Display menu.

  4. Scroll down and tap on Navigation bar menu.
  5. Tap on Button layout.
  6. Switch orientation to Back-Home-Recents (if applicable).

That's it! Now you can let your brain calm down and your mind open up to navigating Android just as Google intended.

Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+

Verizon AT&T T-Mobile Sprint

img { width: 100%; height: auto; } .devicebox ul { display: table; margin: 0 0 10px; width: 100%; } .devicebox ul li { background: #f7f7f7; margin: 2px 0; padding: 4px 15px; } .devicebox ul li:hover { background: #fff; } .devicebox ul li:before { display: none; } .devicebox p ~ p { line-height: 1.25; } .devicebox p:first-of-type + p { padding: 15px; } .devicebox a.buy-link { border-radius: 5px; display: inline-block; font: 14px/31px "Proxima Nova Extrabld",Helvetica,Arial,sans-serif; text-align: center; } .devicebox a.buy-link, .devicebox a.buy-link:link, .devicebox a.buy-link:active, .devicebox a.buy-link:visited { background: #37B5D7; color: #FFF; } .devicebox a.buy-link:hover { background: #2694B2; text-decoration: none; } .devicebox a.buy-link:before { content: "\e61e"; font: 40px/0 "ac_iconset" !important; margin: 0 3px 0 -8px; vertical-align: middle; } @media all and (min-width: 1025px), all and (max-width: 800px) and (min-width: 660px) { /* div:not(.columns-3) excludes help menu content */ .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox { padding: 20px 0 25px; } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox .video { float: left; margin: 0 30px 0 0; width: calc(100% - 375px); } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox h3 + p { bottom: 37px; display: block; overflow: hidden; position: absolute; top: 60px; width: calc(100% - 375px); } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox p img, .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox p > img { position: absolute; top: 50%; transform: translateY(-50%); } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox p:nth-child(n+3), .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox ul { box-sizing: border-box; margin-left: calc(100% - 345px); width: 340px; } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox p.list-head { margin-top: -5px; } } @media all and (max-width: 1024px) and (min-width: 801px), all and (max-width: 660px) { .devicebox h3 { text-align: center; } .devicebox ul, .devicebox p { display: block; } } @media all and (max-width: 800px) and (min-width: 660px) { .devicebox { padding: 20px 0 25px; } .devicebox .video { float: left; margin: 0 30px 0 0; width: calc(100% - 375px); } .devicebox h3 + p { bottom: 37px; display: block; overflow: hidden; position: absolute; top: 60px; width: calc(100% - 375px); } .devicebox p img, .devicebox p > img { position: absolute; top: 50%; transform: translateY(-50%); } .devicebox p:nth-child(n+3), .devicebox ul { box-sizing: border-box; margin-left: calc(100% - 345px); width: 340px; } .devicebox p.list-head { margin-top: -5px; } } @media all and (min-width: 1025px), all and (max-width: 800px) and (min-width: 661px), all and (max-width: 500px) { /* 2x buy buttons */ .devicebox a.buy-link { width: calc(50% - 2.5px); margin: 0 5px 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-of-type(even) { margin: 0 0 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:last-of-type:nth-of-type(odd) { width: 100%; } } @media all and (max-width: 1024px) and (min-width: 801px), all and (max-width: 659px) and (min-width: 501px) { /* 3x buy buttons */ .devicebox a.buy-link { width: calc(100%/3 - 10px/3); margin: 0 5px 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-of-type(3n):not(:nth-last-of-type(2)) { margin: 0 0 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:only-child { width: 100%; margin: 0 0 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(2):nth-of-type(3n+1), .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(2):nth-of-type(3n+1) ~ a.buy-link, .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(4):nth-of-type(3n+1), .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(4):nth-of-type(3n+1) ~ a.buy-link { width: calc(50% - 2.5px); } .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(2):nth-of-type(3n+1) ~ a.buy-link, .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(4):nth-of-type(3n+1) ~ a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(odd) { margin: 0 0 5px 0; } } @media all and (max-width: 800px) { .devicebox { margin: 0 0 30px; max-width: none; width: auto; } } @media all and (max-width: 500px) { .devicebox { margin: 0 0 30px; max-width: none; width: auto; } .devicebox a.buy-link:before { display: none; } } .page-admin .devicebox {max-width: 350px;} .page-admin .devicebox .video_iframe {position: relative; height: 0; padding-bottom: 56.9%;} .page-admin .devicebox .video_iframe iframe {width: 100%; height: 100%; position: absolute;} /*-->*/ /*-->*/ /*-->*/

Read more and comment

 
1 week ago

How to get driving directions in Google Maps

6

Google Maps lets you easily navigate with turn-by-turn directions for various forms of transportation.

Google Maps has a wealth of options for driving, walking, public transit, and cycling. The desktop version of Maps also includes flight information, but that option isn't available on mobile. Whether you're looking for turn-by-turn directions to your favorite restaurant by car or are interested in cycling through a particular area, Google Maps has you covered.

Read more and comment

 
1 week ago

How to set up the fingerprint sensor on the Galaxy S8

34

Set it up so that all you have to do is touch the back sensor to unlock the phone.

So what if the iris scanning and facial recognition unlocking capabilities on the Galaxy S8 are too futuristic for you? It's okay to do things the old fashioned way — or rather, to stick to a way of doing things that have just become routine for you. Like scanning in your fingerprint to unlock your smartphone.

The Galaxy S8 has a fingerprint sensor, too, though this time it's located on the back of the device, right next to the main rear-facing camera lens. One you register your fingerprint, you can use it to unlock the phone, unlock the Secure folder, pay with Samsung Pay, and unlock the vault to your online banking account (provided your bank app supports this feature). Here's how to set up the fingerprint sensor to unlock a world of unlocking.

Read more and comment

 
1 week ago

These are all the ways you can save data and monitor your data usage

16

Check how much data you're using and control how it's used with these simple tools.

Most people don't need an unlimited data plan. With contract data plans offering up to 10GB per month and off-contract plans from carriers both big and small, there is a data plan that works for almost everyone and chances are using one will save you money. Add in free hotspots from your carrier or even your cable TV company and the need for an expensive unlimited plan gets even less.

Don't pay for data that you aren't using!

There is a small adjustment you need to make if you go this route: watching how much data you use. Your carrier will either slow your data down to 3G speeds, let you run up large overage fees or just cut you off when you've out of data, none of these is a great experience, and neither is buying too much data every month because you're worried it will happen. Luckily monitoring how much data you use is pretty easy, and so is managing how you use it.

Monitoring your data usage

Step one is finding a way to check how much data you have used during a billing period. There are several ways and they are all effective. Pick the one that suits you best.

Get the total from your carrier

This is the best solution for knowing how much data the carrier thinks you have used. It's important to realize that how much data your phone says you used might not match what your carrier says. And they are the ones who decide when you've used it all.

You can use the web browser on your phone to log into your account at the carrier's website and they might have an app you can install that tells you about your usage for the billing period. Not all carriers will have an app for your phone, and even if they do it might not keep track of your data usage, but it's worth checking for. Take a look at your carrier's website or in Google Play and see what's offered.

A word of warning: While great at giving you access to your account, carrier applications can do a lot more. Sometimes they can be a little intrusive, especially if they came pre-installed. Be sure to read everything you're agreeing to when you install or first use one.

From your phone settings

Android comes with a way to check how much data you've used during a billing period. Some features can vary from phone to phone, but every phone will have a way to see how much data has been used during a set time period. You'll usually find this in your settings menu under Wireless & networks. Look for an entry called Data usage.

For this to be useful you'll need to tell your phone when a new billing period starts. Since it's monitoring how much data comes into the phone itself it doesn't ask your carrier for the numbers. While the way Megabytes and Gigabytes can be rounded and calculated, it can be slightly different from what your carrier says, but usually not by very much. It's a good way to see if you're close to using your monthly allotment.

When you open the Data usage setting you'll see an entry to set up the billing cycle. Tap on it and enter the starting day of the month and it will reset on that day every month. Remember, it can't go back and check what you might have used before you set it up!

Now all you need to do to check how much data your phone has received is look in the settings.

Third party apps

Google Play has well over a Million apps and there are quite a few that can be used to check your data use. You can see a list of them all here. We're unable to recommend any particular app over the other but most of them work the same way and will give the same numbers. Remember that these measure data coming into your phone from your carrier and the numbers won't be exactly the same as what you'll see on your bill. But they'll be close, just like the number found in the settings.

As with any app, you need to look at feedback and permissions before you install an application that can look at the data coming in and out of your phone. While we like checking from the Android settings instead of another app, they can offer features like widgets and custom alarms so it's worth looking.

Controlling data usage

If you find that you are using more data each month that you would like, there are ways to decide which apps can use data while not on a Wi-Fi connection, as well as settings in most apps that let you control how much data is being used.

Data Saver

Android 7 makes watching how data gets used easily with a super-functional tool called Data Saver.

On the Data Usage screen, you'll see Data Saver listed. Tapping on it allows you to toggle data saver on and off. When Data Saver is on you'll see a notification reminding you about it. You need to know it's on because unless you change the settings it will stop every app and service on your phone from using any data unless you have it open and are using it.

That's great, but to get the most from Data Saver you need to tell it about apps that are allowed to use data if you want them to. That's easy, too. Tap the entry that says Unrestricted data access and you'll get a list of everything on your phone that can use data. You'll know what some of the things are and others will be things Android does you might not have ever heard about. Beside each entry is a switch: Turning the switch on means that app or service is allowed to use data without you asking for it.

Once done, when Data Saver is turned on only the apps you selected can get data from the internet while they aren't open on your screen. This can make a dramatic difference when your phone is idle in your pocket. Remember, things like your email or Twitter apps aren't going to get any notifications if you didn't whitelist them because they aren't allowed to refresh and check for them. You'll still get text messages and phone calls, though.

App settings

Many apps that can use data in the background have a setting that controls how data is used in the background. If you aren't using a phone with Android 7 this can be a great way to get those data hog apps under control.

Every app will be different, but if an app lets you decide what and when it can refresh you'll find it in the settings of the app. Look for things like Background refresh or Automatically update and turn things down or off as needed.

If all else fails, you can still tell Android to cut off background data on a phone not yet running Android Nougat. Head back to the Data usage screen and tap on an app that's been using data. A screen for the app will open and you'll see an entry labeled Background data with a switch beside it. Turn this switch Off to not allow the app to use data unless you're on Wi-Fi. You'll need to do this for each app you want to check.

The kill switch and Airplane mode

In the settings of your phone, you'll also see a setting to turn off the cellular connection completely. you can do this to actually disable the cellular radios so your phone doesn't even try to connect.

You also have what's called Airplane mode. This shuts down your connection to everything, but you are able to turn Bluetooth and Wi-Fi back on after you enable Airplane mode.

While not a great long-term solution, these are easy ways to stop using data altogether with one switch.

Third party apps

Advanced users might want to look at third-party apps that try to restrict how apps can use data. Apps like Greenify can reduce your data usage significantly but aren't that easy to use. Most of the ones that actually work as advertised require you to root your phone as well.

Root apps can save your data but might be complicated to use.

Any time you manually control how apps can use background data, whether through Android N's tools or an app like Greenify, you need to remember that any app or service which requires a data connection isn't going to work if you break that connection. If you don't know what an app is or what it does, you're better off leaving the setting for it alone until you find out if it can be safely changed.

Using these tools you'll be able to take charge of how much data you use each month. That's a great way to only pay for the data you're actually going to use versus paying your carrier for nothing!

Android Nougat

img { width: 100%; height: auto; } .devicebox ul { display: table; margin: 0 0 10px; width: 100%; } .devicebox ul li { background: #f7f7f7; margin: 2px 0; padding: 4px 15px; } .devicebox ul li:hover { background: #fff; } .devicebox ul li:before { display: none; } .devicebox p ~ p { line-height: 1.25; } .devicebox p:first-of-type + p { padding: 15px; } .devicebox a.buy-link { border-radius: 5px; display: inline-block; font: 14px/31px "Proxima Nova Extrabld",Helvetica,Arial,sans-serif; text-align: center; } .devicebox a.buy-link, .devicebox a.buy-link:link, .devicebox a.buy-link:active, .devicebox a.buy-link:visited { background: #37B5D7; color: #FFF; } .devicebox a.buy-link:hover { background: #2694B2; text-decoration: none; } .devicebox a.buy-link:before { content: "\e61e"; font: 40px/0 "ac_iconset" !important; margin: 0 3px 0 -8px; vertical-align: middle; } @media all and (min-width: 1025px), all and (max-width: 800px) and (min-width: 660px) { /* div:not(.columns-3) excludes help menu content */ .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox { padding: 20px 0 25px; } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox .video { float: left; margin: 0 30px 0 0; width: calc(100% - 375px); } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox h3 + p { bottom: 37px; display: block; overflow: hidden; position: absolute; top: 60px; width: calc(100% - 375px); } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox p img, .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox p > img { position: absolute; top: 50%; transform: translateY(-50%); } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox p:nth-child(n+3), .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox ul { box-sizing: border-box; margin-left: calc(100% - 345px); width: 340px; } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox p.list-head { margin-top: -5px; } } @media all and (max-width: 1024px) and (min-width: 801px), all and (max-width: 660px) { .devicebox h3 { text-align: center; } .devicebox ul, .devicebox p { display: block; } } @media all and (max-width: 800px) and (min-width: 660px) { .devicebox { padding: 20px 0 25px; } .devicebox .video { float: left; margin: 0 30px 0 0; width: calc(100% - 375px); } .devicebox h3 + p { bottom: 37px; display: block; overflow: hidden; position: absolute; top: 60px; width: calc(100% - 375px); } .devicebox p img, .devicebox p > img { position: absolute; top: 50%; transform: translateY(-50%); } .devicebox p:nth-child(n+3), .devicebox ul { box-sizing: border-box; margin-left: calc(100% - 345px); width: 340px; } .devicebox p.list-head { margin-top: -5px; } } @media all and (min-width: 1025px), all and (max-width: 800px) and (min-width: 661px), all and (max-width: 500px) { /* 2x buy buttons */ .devicebox a.buy-link { width: calc(50% - 2.5px); margin: 0 5px 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-of-type(even) { margin: 0 0 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:last-of-type:nth-of-type(odd) { width: 100%; } } @media all and (max-width: 1024px) and (min-width: 801px), all and (max-width: 659px) and (min-width: 501px) { /* 3x buy buttons */ .devicebox a.buy-link { width: calc(100%/3 - 10px/3); margin: 0 5px 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-of-type(3n):not(:nth-last-of-type(2)) { margin: 0 0 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:only-child { width: 100%; margin: 0 0 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(2):nth-of-type(3n+1), .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(2):nth-of-type(3n+1) ~ a.buy-link, .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(4):nth-of-type(3n+1), .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(4):nth-of-type(3n+1) ~ a.buy-link { width: calc(50% - 2.5px); } .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(2):nth-of-type(3n+1) ~ a.buy-link, .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(4):nth-of-type(3n+1) ~ a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(odd) { margin: 0 0 5px 0; } } @media all and (max-width: 800px) { .devicebox { margin: 0 0 30px; max-width: none; width: auto; } } @media all and (max-width: 500px) { .devicebox { margin: 0 0 30px; max-width: none; width: auto; } .devicebox a.buy-link:before { display: none; } } .page-admin .devicebox {max-width: 350px;} .page-admin .devicebox .video_iframe {position: relative; height: 0; padding-bottom: 56.9%;} .page-admin .devicebox .video_iframe iframe {width: 100%; height: 100%; position: absolute;} /*-->*/ /*-->*/ /*-->*/

Read more and comment

 
1 week ago

How to restore the app drawer button on the Galaxy S8 — or disable it altogether

10
Galaxy S8

It's easy to bring back the 'all apps' button, or disable the app drawer altogether and see all your apps on your home screens.

Samsung's new home screen launcher on the Galaxy S8 introduces many new features, but most notably it changes the way the app drawer works. Instead of having a button on the right of the favorites tray allowing you to view all your apps, you now access the app drawer by swiping up or down, similar to how the Google Pixel Launcher works.

It's a new and simplified approach, and one that frees up some space in the favorites tray for an extra app. However, if you prefer to go back to the old way of doing things, a simple setting change will restore the "all apps" button. Alternatively, if you prefer no app drawer at all, like the iPhone's home screen, that's also possible on the GS8.

Read more and comment

 
2 weeks ago

How to properly secure your Android phone

69

Know how to use the tools you're given to keep your phone and your data secure.

Update, April 2017: In light of the recent round of celebrity phone hacks, we have refreshed this page with up-to-date information.

Google, Apple, and Microsoft have great tools for managing your online security. Some implementations may be technically better than others, but you can be reasonably sure that your data — both on the phone and in the cloud — is safe. If you need more reassurance or have different needs, third-party companies are available that with the big three to provide enterprise-grade security assurances. No method is 100% secure, and ways to get around it are found regularly; then patched quickly so the cycle can repeat. But these methods are usually complicated and very time-consuming and rarely widespread.

This means you are the weakest link in any chain of security. If you want to keep your data — or your company's — secured you need to force someone to use these complicated time-consuming methods if they wanted to get into your phone. Secure data needs to be difficult to obtain and difficult to decipher if someone does get hold of it.With Android, there are several things you can do to make someone work really hard to get your data — hopefully so hard that they don't bother trying.

Use a secure lock screen

Having a secure lock screen is the easiest way to limit access to the data on your phone or the cloud. Whether you just left your phone on your desk while you had to walk away for a moment or two or if you've lost your phone or had it stolen a lock screen that can't be simple to bypass is the best way to limit that access.

The first step is to lock the front door.

If your company issued you a phone or you work for someone with a BYOD policy there's a good chance your phone is forced by a security policy to have password protection and your IT department may have assigned you a username and password to unlock it.

Any method that locks your phone is better than none, but generally, a random six-digit PIN is enough to require someone have special knowledge and tools to bypass it without triggering any self-destruct settings. Longer randomized alpha-numeric passwords mean they will need the right tools and a lot of time. Entering a long complex password on a phone is inconvenient for you and we tend not to use things that inconvenience us so alternatives have been thought up that use patterns, pictures, voiceprints and a host of other things easier to do than typing a long password. Read the instructions and overview for each and decide which works best for you. Just make sure you're using one.

Encryption and two-factor authentication

Encrypt all of your local data and protect your data in the cloud with two-factor authentication on your account logins.

Recent versions of Android come encrypted by default. Android 7 uses file-level encryption for faster access and granular control. Your corporate data may have another level of security to reinforce this. Don't do anything to try and lessen it. A phone that needs to be unlocked to decrypt the data is one that only someone dedicated is going to try to crack.

Online accounts all need to use a strong password and two-factor authentication if offered. Don't use the same password across multiple sites and use a password manager to keep track of them. A centralized spot with all your account credentials is worth risking if it means you'll actually use good passwords.

Know what you're tapping on

Never open a link or message from someone you don't know. Let those people email you if they need to make the first contact, and offer them the same courtesy and use email instead of a DM or a text message to get in touch with them the first time. And never click a random web link from someone you don't trust. I trust the Wall Street Journal's Twitter account, so I'll click obscured Twitter links. But I won't for someone I don't trust as much.

Trust is a major part of security at every level.

The reason isn't paranoia. Malformed videos were able to cause an Android phone to freeze up and had the potential to allow elevated permissions to your file system where a script could silently install malware. A JPG or PDF file was shown to do the same on the iPhone. Both instances were quickly patched, but it's certain that another similar exploit will be found now that the "right" people for the job know where to look. Files sent through email will have been scanned and links in the email body are easy to spot. The same can't be said for a text message or a Facebook DM.

Only install trusted applications

For most, that means Google Play. If an app or link directs you to install it from somewhere else, decline. This means you won't need to enable the "unknown sources" setting required to install apps that didn't originate from a Google server in the Play Store. Only installing apps from the Play Store means Google is monitoring their behavior, not you. They are better at it than we are.

If you need to install apps from another source you need to make sure you trust the source itself. Actual malware that probes and exploits the software on your phone can only happen if you approved the installation. And as soon as you're finished installing or updating an app this way, turn the Unknown sources setting back on as a way to combat trickery and social engineering to get you to install an app manually.

None of this will make your phone 100% secure. 100% security isn't the goal here and never is. The key is to make any data that's valuable to someone else difficult to get. The higher the level of difficulty, the more valuable the data has to be in order to make getting it worthwhile.

Some data is more valuable that others, but all of it is worth protecting.

Pictures of my dogs or maps to the best trout streams in the Blue Ridge Mountains won't require the same level of protection because they aren't of value to anyone but me. Quarterly reports or customer data stored in your corporate email may be worth the trouble to get and need extra layers.

Luckily, even low-value data is easy to keep secure using the tools provided and these few tips.

Read more and comment

 
Show More Headlines

Pages