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5 months ago

The Samsung Galaxy S5 still has a menu button, it's just hidden

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Samsung Galaxy S5

You just have to know where to look for it

With the Galaxy S5, Samsung has at long last done away with the capacitive menu key and replaced it with the fast app switcher. The stock Touchwiz apps in their new form all sport a proper, on screen menu button now, and all is right with the world. But, what about when you come across a really old, but still totally necessary app that still uses a legacy menu button? Well, Samsung took it away...but not completely.

Read on to see where you'll find it on the Galaxy S5.

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5 months ago

Galaxy S5 launch day tip: Disable S Voice shortcut for faster home button response

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Home button slower than expected? There's a simple fix

As we enter Samsung Galaxy S5 launch day, here's a quick tip that applies to many Samsung phones including the newly-released GS5. If you've noticed your home button being a little less responsive than you'd expect out of the box, there's a good reason for that...

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5 months ago

How to take a screenshot on the Samsung Galaxy S5

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Galaxy S5 screenshot

Want to take a screenshot on your Galaxy S5 or Galaxy S5 Active? It's just a couple buttons — or a swipe — away

This Galaxy S5 trick is an old one, but a good one. And it's one you'll certainly want to use. For those of you who are coming to the Samsung Galaxy S5 from another Samsung Galaxy phone, you'll be right at home here. Taking a screenshot on the Galaxy S5 is exactly the same.

But for those of you who are coming over from an iPhone or another Android phone, it's a slightly different procedure. And Samsung's got one really cool trick up its sleeve. (Note that these methods also work on the more rugged Galaxy S5 Active.)

(And be sure to read our comprehensive Galaxy S5 review!)

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5 months ago

These are the first five things you need to do with your new Galaxy S5

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Samsung Galaxy S5

So you've got your shiny new Samsung Galaxy S5. Congratulations! But now that you've got your phone, it's time for a little Galaxy S5 help. And you've come to the right place.

When it comes to smartphones — and in this case, when it comes to setting up your Galaxy S5 in particular — there are a few things we always recommend doing.

And with that, we present the first five things you should do once you've got your Samsung Galaxy S5.

For more, swing by our complete Galaxy S5 help page!

1. Use a password of some sort on your Galaxy S5

Samsung Galaxy S5 security options

No excuses here. You need to password-protect your phone. If you didn't do it at first startup, Go to Settings>Lock screen>Screen security. Swipe is the same as not having a password. So don't use it. A pattern lock is the next best thing. Fingerprints and PINs are considered to be medium to high security, and a full-on password is best.

If you're going to be wearing a Gear watch or the Gear Fit, you can use it to bypass the lock screen security, so long as it's connected to your phone. Should the watch or band disconnect, lock screen security will be re-enacted. This is a great way to keep your phone more secure but still have it be easy to use.

2. Sign up for (or sign into) the Samsung App store

Samsung Apps

We get it, signing in to a second app store can be a pain. But you're going to want to sign in to Samsung's. Whereas other manufacturers have been offloading system apps to Google Play, Samsung's got its own repository. So if you want to get the latest updates for, say, a Gear smartwatch, the Gear Fit fitness band or any number of other Samsung apps, you're going to need to bite the bullet and use Samsung's store.

The good news is it's pretty easy to use, and there's a world of stuff there. Some of it is redundant to what's in Google Play, though, so choose wisely.

You can sign up from your phone, or in a browser at SamsungApps.com.

Oh, and Samsung, would it kill you to include some single-sign-in options?

3. Turn off those blasted Galaxy S5 sound effects

We go through this one every time Samsung releases a new phone, and we're going to have to do it here again with the Galaxy S5. This damned thing beeps anytime you touch it. Any time you unlock it. And, perhaps the biggest sin of all, any time you type on Samsung's keyboard.

There are a couple ways to tell your phone to shut the hell up. The easiest is to pull down the notification shade and tap the "Sound" button to change to either vibrate or silent mode. That's working with a hammer, however.

For a surgical strike, it's time to head back into the settings menu. Go to Settings>Sound and then have a look at the options. We recommend unchecking "Touch sounds" and "Sound when tapped" in the keyboard settings at the very least.

Trust us, anyone within earshot will thank you.

4. Pop in an SD card

Samsung Galaxy S5 SD card

Those of you who opted for a 16-gigabyte version of the Galaxy S5 will definitely want to do this. Samsung's system takes up a good chunk of space on the Galaxy S5. (The AT&T model we have here has a little less than 10 gigabytes free. Sprint's had just a tad more.) As you start installing applications, space can become tight. So, a little external storage may be in order.

Do keep in mind, however, that SD cards don't work the same in Android 4.4 as they did in previous versions. We explain that here.

5. Make sure you get all the plastic off the phone

Galaxy S5 stickers

No. this isn't another joke about Samsung phones being plastic. But it is a cautionary tale about how much removable plastic Samsung uses to keep the phone in pristine condition until you're ready to use it. That include a damned-near invisible piece over the camera lens. And it's not the first time.

That's not a bad thing, of course. Just be sure you get it all off the phone before you venture out in public — you don't want to be that guy — and get the piece off the camera lens before you start taking pictures with your phone.

Actually, scratch that. Here are a couple more things you need to do with your new Galaxy S5: First off, download our app. Once you've done that, hit up our Galaxy S5 help page, and be sure to swing by our Galaxy S5 forums for even more Galaxy S5 help, tips and tricks from folks just like you!

And above all else, enjoy!

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5 months ago

How to get the vertical display on the Samsung Gear Fit

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One of the big blunders of Samsung's Gear Fit was that the screen was horribly annoying to read in the horizontal orientation while on your wrist. It just didn't look right and you have to shapeshift your arm to be able to read it straight on.

With a quick update however, they've added a new option that lets you change the orientation to vertical instead — making things much easier to read. Of course if you like the horizontal layout better, that option is still there as well.

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5 months ago

How to enable Samsung Galaxy S5 developer options

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Samsung Galaxy S5 developer mode

Developer mode is easy to get to, you just have to remember to enable it

As has been the case since Android 4.2, the developer options have been hidden by default from your Android settings menu. This is a good thing, actually, as it'll keep curious minds from potentially breaking things. It also helps keep your phone more secure.

But there are plenty of reasons why you would want to enable developer options on your Galaxy S5. If you want to plug in to a computer and do any sort of command-line work, this is going to be your first stop. Or if you need some extra debugging options as a programmer. Or, maybe you are that sort of curious creature who just wants to see how things work. Nothing wrong with any of that.

But, of course, you're going to first have to turn developer mode on for your Galaxy S5. Here's how to do it.

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5 months ago

Moving to a Samsung Galaxy S5 from an iPhone? Here's what you need to know!

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Galaxy S5 and iPhone

Get set up and running with these handy hints!

If you're picking up a new Samsung Galaxy S5 and moving from a past life with an iPhone, then there's some questions you might have. Firstly, welcome! We hope you enjoy your new Galaxy S5, but likewise we know that changing platform can be daunting at first.

But we're here to help. After the break you'll find some helpful links, tips, tricks and apps to help you get up and running before you really start to explore.

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5 months ago

How to customize BlinkFeed on the HTC One M8

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HTC BlinkFeed

How to add apps, social content, news, RSS, change colors and tweak settings in HTC's home screen reader

HTC's BlinkFeed home screen reader is at the heart of its Sense UI, bringing social updates, news and app content to a special scrolling list in the app launcher.

First introduced on the HTC One M7 last year, BlinkFeed returns in HTC Sense 6 with a new look, support for new services and even more customization options. Available first on the HTC One M8, HTC says BlinkFeed will eventually be coming to other Android phones through Google Play, giving owners of rival devices the chance to see what all the fuss is about.

And BlinkFeed is more customizable than ever in Sense 6. Check past the break to see how you can make BlinkFeed your own.

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5 months ago

How to set up and start using the Mail app in Sense 6

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How to set up and start using the Mail app in Sense 6

Whether you're brand new to Sense 6 or you've upgraded your existing HTC phone, one thing you'll definitely want to be able to do is get email. Default Mail apps typically get a pretty bad rap, which is why we have alternatives like Gmail. However, the official Mail app in Sense 6 is more than decent and supports multiple account types all in one place. Here's how to set it up and start using it:

How to add an email account in the Mail app of Sense 6

  1. Launch the Mail app on your HTC phone running Sense 6.
  2. Choose the mail provider you use. If it isn't listed, select Other.
  3. Type in your credentials and then tap Next.
  4. If you chose Other you may be asked to input ingoing and outgoing server settings. If you don't know them, you'll need to look them up or ask your email provider for them. (Gmail's for example, live here.)
  5. Lastly, give your mailbox a name. This can be anything you want. It just helps you differentiate it from any other mail accounts you may set up. Once you've picked one, just tap on Finish Setup.
  6. Your email inbox should now appear in the Mail app of your phone.

If you have more Mail accounts to add, just tap on the plus sign in the upper right corner of the Mail app and then choose Add account. Simply follow the same process as above to add all of your accounts.

How to use and manage the Mail app in Sense 6

The Mail app in Sense 6 is fairly straightforward. Simply pull out the side menu to switch between accounts. From this menu you can also toggle your views and view any folders or other boxes linked to your accounts. The default view is the unified inbox but you can change it at any time in this menu.

You can also head into the Settings app on your HTC phone and edit sync settings as well as sync all accounts. Just tap on Accounts & sync and then find Mail in the Accounts list. From here you can change sync intervals and set file limits for individual accounts.

If you're using Sense 6, what do you think of the official Mail app? Are you willing to give it a try this time around or are you sticking with something else? And if so, let me know in the comments what Mail app you're using instead!

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5 months ago

How to use Do Not Disturb on the HTC One M8

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HTC One M8 Do Not Disturb

This may be the most important feature on any smartphone

Our phones make a lot of noise. They chirp. Beep. Vibrate. Sing. Howl. And if you're the popular type (or, worse, work with folks across many time zones), your phone can be worse than a newborn at 3 a.m. or a dog in a thunderstorm. Fortunately, smartphone manufacturers are finally baking in "Do Not Disturb" functions.

Here's how to use Do Not Disturb in Sense 6 on the HTC One M8.

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5 months ago

How to change the apps in your HTC One M8 lock screen dock

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HTC One M8 lockscreen

App shortcuts are easy to switch out on the new HTC One, with one caveat

HTC was one of the first Android manufacturers to allow for app shortcuts in its lock screen, giving quick access to some of your most frequently used applications without actually having to unlock the phone first. That feature returns on the HTC One M8.

By default, you've got four app shortcuts on the lock screen: Phone, Messages (texting), Internet and Camera.

But what if you want different apps there? It's pretty simple to switch out.

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5 months ago

Want to downgrade Android? Sure thing, but first ...

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Android Version

In this segment of Ask AC, we tackle what you need to know before you decide to downgrade Android on your phone

Most of us here are update junkies. When a new version of Android (or anything, for that matter) is announced, we start bouncing off the walls and worrying about when we get a chance to have it and enjoy the changes. When it's a new version of our operating system, things get even more frantic. We look for leaks, we try custom ROMs based on the new stuff, and we're ready to sideload the minute the right files appear. It's half the fun of owning an Android, and we just love the fluid state of software and the constant changes.

But not everyone feels this way.

Some of us need to stay on an old version — or think we need to stay on an old version. Maybe you've read about some bugs that you don't want to encounter. Or maybe the new version breaks support for something you want or need. Or battery life issues and reports have you skittish. There are any number of reasons to want to go back, but it's not as simple as it sounds in most cases.

Let's discuss both the reasons for needing to downgrade your Android, as well as the feasibility of doing the deed.

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5 months ago

How to AirPlay music and video from Android to your Apple TV

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AirPlay to Apple TV

No iPhone or iPad behind doesn't mean you can't still AirPlay content to your Apple TV

It isn't inconceivable that you own both an Android phone or tablet and an Apple TV. Sure, we're fans of Chromecast in these parts, but the Apple TV still has a lot to offer, especially if you're heavily involved in the iTunes content ecosystem.

One party piece that the Apple TV offers to iPhone and iPad owners is AirPlay. Wirelessly streaming music and video, mirroring the display on your iOS device or Mac, it's a tremendously handy thing to have. But just because you've got an Android phone or tablet doesn't mean you can't join in with some of the AirPlay action. Head on past the break to see a couple of ways to AirPlay your locally stored music and video from your Android device to your Apple TV.

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5 months ago

How to easily sync your iCloud calendar to Android

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iCloud calendar

One app makes it simple to keep using your iCloud calendar on Android

With all the awesome Android devices on the market today, it's perfectly understandable if you're ditching your old iPhone and coming to join us where things are more Google flavored. But, with leaving one ecosystem completely comes the problem of moving all your stuff with it.

iPhone owners may well have relied upon iCloud in a similar manner to Android users relying on Google. Fortunately, there's always something you can do to bring thing with you and here we're going to look at syncing your existing iCloud calendars to your Android device. You need not move it all to Google Calendar since there's a really simple way to carry on using it. Head on past the break to see how.

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6 months ago

How to rid your Xperia phone of Sony's anti-shatter film, and what to replace it with

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Xperia Z1 Compact

Want to ditch the fixed Sony screen protector? There are a couple of options to consider

Sony's fixed screen protectors — officially known as "anti-shatter film" — are finally a thing of the past with the Xperia Z2 series. But the vast majority of Sony smartphones on the market today still come fitted with these slimy-feeling plastic sheets over their displays — and sometimes on the back glass, too.

These don't just make your glass-clad phone feel like plastic, they're also way easier to scratch than the reinforced glass used by most smartphones displays. To cite a couple of examples — Andrew Martonik tore a scratch across the face of his Xperia ZL when it brushed the corner of a MagSafe connector. And the ASF on my own Z1 Compact was dented by a USB connector dropping onto it from a height of around six inches. You'd understandably expect a high-priced piece of consumer electronics to be more resiliant than this, and that's no doubt why Sony has ditched the ASF for its early 2014 flagship.

But what if you've damaged the fixed screen protector on your Xperia phone, or you just don't like the way it feels and want to get rid of it? Well, the process is actually relatively simple — and there are a few options open to you when it comes to replacing the shipped screen protector.

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