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5 months ago

Understanding security options on the Samsung Galaxy S7

7

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

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

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

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

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5 months ago

Subgrid positioning: why I keep coming back to Nova Launcher

28

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

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

And that ace is subgrid positioning.

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5 months ago

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

92

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

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

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5 months ago

How to use Podcasts in Google Play Music on the web

16
How to use Podcasts in Google Play Music on the web

Finally! You can now subscribe and listen to your favorite podcasts with Google Play Music.

First it was its own streaming service and now Google Play Music has evolved to include podcasts in its library. Gone are the days of needing a third party app to subscribe and listen to your favorite podcasts ( the Android Central Podcast, of course!); you can now centralize all of your listening habits, thanks to Play Music.

We'll walk you through how their web interface works to get you on your way to podcast paradise.

How to find and subscribe to your favorite podcast in Google Play Music

There are a couple easy ways you can find podcasts through Play Music on the web.

  1. Visit Google Play Music in your favorite web browser.
  2. Click the menu button in the top lefthand corner of your screen.
  3. Click Podcasts.

    Click the menu button, click Podcasts

  4. There are three ways to find a podcast:

    • Top Charts: These are promoted podcasts or podcasts with the most subscribers.
    • Categories: Click All categories just under Your Podcasts, to browse the top-rated podcasts in each category.
    • Search: Click the search bar and type in the name of the podcast you're looking for or search by topic. Podcast results will appear under Podcasts.

      Click Top Charts, All Categories, or search

  5. Click on the podcast you'd like to subscribe to.
  6. Click the Subscribe button below and to the right of the podcast's title. Click the same button to unsubscribe.

    Click on the podcast to which you would like to subscribe, click the Subscribe button

At the moment, you can't manually add an RSS feed, so for now you'll have to be happy with searching.

How to view your subscribed podcasts in Google Play Music

Now that you've subscribed to all your favorite podcasts, you don't have to search for them every time you want to listen.

  1. Visit Google Play Music in your favorite web browser.
  2. Click the menu button in the top lefthand corner of your screen.
  3. Click Podcasts.
  4. Click Your Podcasts next to Top Charts.

    Click Podcasts, click Your Podcasts

All the podcasts you're subscribed to will appear here. You can listen to and manage them all from here.

How to share a podcast on Google Play Music on the web

There are a few different ways you can share your favorite podcasts.

How to share a podcast via a link with in Google Play Music

  1. Find or view the podcast you'd like to share.
  2. Click the podcast.
  3. Click the Share button next to Subscribe.
  4. Click Copy Link.
  5. Paste the link wherever you'd like to share it.

    Click the Podcast, click the Share button, click Copy Link

How to share a podcast to Facebook with Google Play Music

  1. Find or view the podcast you'd like to share.
  2. Click the podcast.
  3. Click the Share button next to Subscribe.
  4. Click Facebook.
  5. Click Post to Facebook.

    Click the podcast, click the Share button, click Facebook, click Post to Facebook

The link for that podcast will now be shared on your wall.

How to share a podcast to Google+ with Google Play Music

  1. Find or view the podcast you'd like to share.
  2. Click the podcast.
  3. Click the Share button next to Subscribe.
  4. Click Google+.
  5. Click Share.

    Click podcast, click the Share button, click Google+, click Share

How to share a podcast to Twitter with Google Play Music

  1. Find or view the podcast you'd like to share.
  2. Click the podcast.
  3. Click the Share button next to Subscribe.
  4. Click Twitter.
  5. Click Tweet.

    Click the podcast, click the Share button, click Twitter, click Tweet

How to share specific podcast episodes with Google Play Music

  1. Find or view the podcast you'd like to share.
  2. Click the podcast.
  3. Click an episode.

    Click the podcast, click an episode

  4. Click the episode menu button. It's the three vertical dots to the left of the episode description.
  5. Click Share.
  6. Share, as described above.

    Click the episode menu button, click Share

How to listen to a podcast in a pop-up window in Google Play Music in Chrome

If you want to listen to a podcast but still want to search around in Google Play Music, you can listen to the podcast in a separate pop-up. Here's how:

  1. Find or view the podcast you'd like to listen to in your Chrome browser.
  2. Click the podcast.
  3. Click the mini player button in the bottom right of the screen. It's a square with an arrow pointing upward and to the right.
  4. Click Install.

    Click the podcast, click the mini player button, click Install

  5. Click Add app.
  6. Find or view the podcast again.
  7. Click the podcast.

    Click Add app, click the podcast

  8. Double-click the episode you want to listen to.
  9. Click the mini player button in the bottom righthand corner of the screen.

    Double-click the episode, click the mini player button

Note: this feature is only available in Google Chrome.

A small pop-up window will appear wherein you can control the episode you're listening to using traditional music control.

Submit your podcast to Google

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5 months ago

How to manage Home screen settings on the Samsung Galaxy S7

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How to manage the Home screen settings on the Samsung Galaxy S7

Make yourself at home on the Home screen of your Samsung Galaxy S7!

The Home screen settings on your S7 let you change things like how many pages it has, what widgets are displayed, and how many grids it has. Let's run through them.

How to add Home screen pages on the Samsung Galaxy S7

  1. Tap and hold anywhere on your Home screen to bring up the Home screen manager view.
  2. Swipe left to scroll the screen to the right.
  3. Tap the add button. It looks like a plus sign in the center of your screen.

    Long press anywhere on the screen to open home screen manager, then swipe left to  scroll right, then tap add button

How to remove Home screen pages on the Samsung Galaxy S7

  1. Tap and hold anywhere on your Home screen to bring up the Home screen manager view.
  2. Tap and hold the page you wish to delete.
  3. Drag the page over the Remove button and release. The Remove button looks like a small garbage can and is in the top center of your screen.

    Long press anywhere on your screen, then tap and hold page you want to  remove, then drag onto remove button and release

How to turn on/off Flipboard's Briefing screen on the Samsung Galaxy S7

On the S7, the Flipboard app has a special screen called "Briefing" that shows you the latest information on its news stream. Some people may not want this taking up an entire page on their Home screens. Here's how you can turn it on or off.

  1. Tap and hold anywhere on your Home screen to bring up the Home screen manager view.
  2. Swipe right to scroll left.
  3. Toggle the Briefing switch to on or off, as you desire.

    Long press anywhere on screen, then swipe right then toggle  briefing on or off

How to change the grid size on the Samsung Galaxy S7

More grids lets you pack more apps on your Home screen, which is useful if you're an app junkie and want all of your apps right on your Home screen. It can also help you spread them out more so you can see more of that pretty wallpaper you downloaded.

  1. Tap and hold anywhere on your Home screen to bring up the Home screen manager view.
  2. Tap on the screen grid option of your choice to preview it:
    • 5x5
    • 4X4
    • 4X5
  3. Tap Apply at the bottom of the screen

    Long press anywhere on the screen, then tap on grid size of your  choice, then tap apply

How to add a widget to your Home screen on the Samsung Galaxy S7

  1. Tap and hold anywhere on your Home screen to bring up Home screen manager view.
  2. Tap Widgets.
  3. Swipe left to scroll to the right through the available widgets.

    Long press anywhere on screen, then tap widgets then swipe left to scroll right through widgets

  4. Tap on the widget you would like to use to view its options..
  5. Tap and hold the widget option of your choice for your widget.
  6. Drag the widget option to the location on the screen where you want it and release.

    Tap the widget of your choice to view its options then tap  and hold the option of your choice, then drag it  to the location where you want, and then release it

How to remove a widget from your Home screen on the Samsung Galaxy S7

  1. Tap and hold the widget you wish to remove.
  2. Drag the widget over the remove button and release.

    Tap and hold widget you want to remove and then drag it over the remove button and release

How to search for widgets on the Samsung Galaxy S7

  1. Tap and hold anywhere on your Home screen to bring up Home screen manager view.
  2. Tap Widgets.
  3. Tap more in the upper right corner.

    Long press anywhere on the screen to bring up home screen manager, then tap widgets, then tap more

  4. Tap Search widgets.

  5. Type the name or category of the widget for which you wish to search.
  6. Tap the widget to view its options.

    Tap search widgets, type name or category of widget,  then tap widget to view options

Once you find the widget you want to use, you can drag it into place as normal.

Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 edge

Unlocked AT&T Sprint T-Mobile Verizon

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;} /*-->*/ /*-->*/ /*-->*/

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5 months ago

Getting started with the Samsung Galaxy S7

12

Some important settings to consider when you're setting up your Samsung Galaxy S7.

Once you've gone through the initial set up for your brand new Samsung Galaxy S7, there are a few settings you'll want to set up right out of the gate. For starters, you might have data to transfer over from an old phone. You'll want to use the Samsung Smart Switch app to migrate your data over, whether it's coming from another Android phone, or even a Blackberry or iOS device. Then you'll want to make sure your phone's software is up-to-date, and stays updated by automatically check for software updates.

Then there's other settings that might be important for you getting started, such as changing the language, the keyboard, manually setting the time and date, and managing the different accounts you regularly use. Lets get to it.

Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 edge

Unlocked AT&T Sprint T-Mobile Verizon

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;} /*-->*/ /*-->*/ /*-->*/

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5 months ago

Here's what you need to know about backing up your launcher

16

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

We've all been there. Just got a brand new phone, still figuring out where all the new features and apps are laid out. But when you go to find one of your favorite apps… it's not where it was on your last phone. And your app drawer isn't organized quite the way we had it before. You search and you search, and when you find it you drag it back to where it was on your old phone.

No more. There is a better way.

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5 months ago

How to turn off annoying Galaxy Apps notifications on your Galaxy S7

51

The notification shade is for useful information, not your crappy ads.

It's already confusing enough that Samsung offers its own Galaxy Apps store in addition to the default Google Play Store, and it just makes things worse when Galaxy Apps starts dropping useless notifications on you. If you've had a Galaxy S7 or S7 edge for a little while, you'll notice Galaxy Apps dropping ad-like notifications on you pointing you toward featured apps in the store ... not exactly what you want to see, especially turned on by default.

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5 months ago

8 things to know about the Samsung Galaxy S7's SD card slot

133
10 things to know about the Samsung Galaxy S7's SD card slot

Samsung brought back the SD card in the Galaxy S7, now it's time to know what you can do with it.

While a good number of people will be completely fine with the 32-gigabytes of internal storage on their Galaxy S7, having the ability to pop in an SD card and expand that storage by 200GB more is very appealing. Even large SD cards can be found for a great deal, and the best part is being able to choose later on down the road if you want more storage.

But as is the case with adding external storage to most computing devices, there are lots of things to consider: what can you do with the storage? How does it interact with the system? How reliable and fast is it? We answer these questions, and many more, with the first eight things you need to know about SD cards in the Galaxy S7.

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5 months ago

The how and why of third-party music widgets

35

Music makes us better. Their widgets need to get better.

Music is a very important function of my phone, and it's the most important widget on my home screen. If I can only fit one widget on my screen around my totally awesome wallpapers, it's the music widget. Problem is, a lot of widgets from the top music streaming apps just don't look that great. They have buttons we don't need, they don't have the buttons we want, they don't resize well, and they just don't get along with a lot of themes.

Thankfully, we have choices.

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5 months ago

The best way to set up your fingerprint on the Galaxy S7

58

It's super easy to set up, but making it work perfectly can take some time.

For the most part, setting up and using the fingerprint sensor on the Galaxy S7 is exactly as easy as it's supposed to be. You go through the 13-part process of recording your finger on the sensor, and in exchange you get the ability to unlock your phone quickly and use your fingerprint as your password wherever it is supported.

As long as you're down with using your fingerprint like this, it's one of the best setups available today. That is, as long as you set it up correctly.

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6 months ago

Hate an app icon? Here's how to change it

50

Out with ugly. In with Awesome.

Stop me if you're heard this one: you've got an app you love to use, one with excellent features and snappy response time. But every time you go to open in, you just shake your head and wonder what the developer was thinking when they were creating that icon. Some of us hide ugly icons in folders, just so we have to look at them less. But there's another way, a better way.

We can replace that icon entirely. And you don't even have to use a fancy theming launcher. You just need Awesome Icons.

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6 months ago

Use caution when changing the Galaxy S7's default calendar sync settings

35
Galaxy S7 Calendar sync settings

We don't blame you for not liking Samsung's Calendar app — but you should just let it be.

One of the best parts of Android is being able to install apps from Google Play that replace default apps on the phone. And in the case of the Galaxy S7, you may find yourself downloading a new calendar app to replace Samsung's Calendar. That's all fine and good to do so — but we have a word of warning about turning off sync inside the stock Calendar app.

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6 months ago

Factory Reset Protection: what you need to know

48

Factory Reset Protection helps keep your data safe if your phone is lost or stolen, but you need to remember to disable it before a new user can set it up and sign in.

Factory Reset Protection (FRP) is a security method that was designed to make sure someone can't just wipe and factory reset your phone if you've lost it or it was stolen. Starting with Android Lollipop, FRP is "standard" in vanilla Android, and most companies making our phones have implemented it in their own models. It's a good thing — it makes a stolen phone harder to use, which makes it less appealing to thieves, and anything that can protect our data on a phone we've lost is welcome.

The problem is that people are selling or trading or even giving away phones with FRP enabled and this makes things difficult for the next user.

How it works explains why. If you reset a phone with FRP enabled, you have to provide the user name and password for the last Google account that was registered with the device. There are random work-arounds on the Internet, but they tend to get patched almost as soon as they are discovered. You'll pretty much need to know the login details for the last account to use the phone before you can do anything with it if FRP was enabled before you reset it.

We've been bitten by this ourselves. We ship phones all over North America and the U.K., and sometimes it's easy to forget about FRP when you wipe the data on a phone and stick it in a box. And yes, we end up having to share a password to get past the initial setup — you can't reset a protected phone for 72 hours after a password change, so "temporary" passwords aren't going to work. Never (and I mean never) reset a phone without turning FRP off during that 72 hour time period. There is nothing but heartache and pain at the bottom of that hole.

The good news is that disabling FRP is easy. The bad news is that there is nothing to remind you to do it when you're wiping your phone. I would love to see a reminder about FRP when resetting, much like the one we see now about losing our accounts and data. Until then, it's up to you to remember to disable it when you're getting a phone ready to send to someone else. The process:

  • Open your device settings and remove any security you have for the lock screen. This isn't a required step for all phones, but some want you to do this so we're including it here.
  • Once that's done, you need to remove any and all Google Accounts from the phone or tablet. That's also done in the settings — look for a section labeled Accounts. With an account selected, look for a delete or remove option, usually hidden behind the three little dots in the top corner of the screen.
  • When you've made sure all of the Google accounts have been erased, you can then factory reset your phone or tablet through the device settings.

The good news is that disabling FRP is easy. The bad news is that there is nothing to remind you to do it when you're wiping your phone.

A couple notes need added here. This doesn't undo Samsung's (or anyone else's) version of Reactivation Lock. If you've enabled data reset protection through your Samsung account, you'll need to turn that off in your Security settings. You can find the switch under the "Find My Mobile" section.

If you've forgotten to turn off FRP and sent a phone to someone else, you'll likely need to help them get it setup. This means giving them access to your Google account password. Do that while you're talking to them, and as soon as they are done you'll want to reset your account password. This sounds sketchy, but be a good seller and do the right thing. Then change that password ASAP because you never want anyone else to have your Google password. I'm sure you can see why disabling FRP before you send a phone off to someone else is a much better solution.

While we haven't seen headlines telling us mobile phone theft is down by any measurable percentage since FRP was enabled, it's still a good way to keep your data safe. And it's pretty easy to disable when you want someone else to be able to use your old phone.

A few words for Android power-users:

If you change the default security on your phone (root, unlock your boot loader, or simply check the box to allow it) this issue and these instructions are not for you. Most things related to security and OS integrity are not for you, because you elected to take care of those issues yourself. That's not a bad thing, unless you checked boxes and did things without understanding the implications.

Remember, we're the 1-percenters when it comes to Android. We aren't the people something like FRP was designed for because we care about unlocked boot loaders and don't want someone to worry about protecting us from ourselves or anyone else.

If you're using a phone that's not running Android as written, it may or may not use the same reset protection methods. Those particular devices are best covered with their own article talking about their own methods of theft-prevention. Those are coming.

Also — If you're using a phone that was shipped with a version of Android older than 5.1.1, this may or may not apply to you — that's up to the manufacturer to decide. Likely no update will enable FRP on a phone that didn't ship with it in the first place.

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6 months ago

Make your home screen look good, even without an app drawer

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The world isn't ending. No one is taking away your app drawer.

There's been a lot of talk about app drawers of late, particularly with more phones not using them by default. But what if you like not having to go to another screen to find all your apps? What if you don't want to hassle with learning a new launcher? What if you like the themes or features of the one you have, except for not having an app drawer?

Here's how to handle having all your apps on your home screen.

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