Headlines

1 year ago

From the mail bag: Activating device administrator for an app

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Apps that can alter the default security policy can be powerful and handy, but you need to know why they are doing it before you say OK.

Carolyn writes,

I purchased the Unlock with WiFi app that Jerry recommended a few weeks ago. I haven't fully installed it to use yet because it asked to "activate device administrator". I wanted to be sure that was OK? What risks does it create to allow this type of access to my phone?

Thanks!

What an excellent question! Security on any smartphone is pretty darn important, and the simple fact is that most of the time when it gets compromised, it's because of something we did. I don't mean something crazy like installing cracked apps from a website you had to use Google Translate to read, though that's always a good way to compromise everything. I'm talking about changing device settings or just not using some functions because we don't fully understand them. The Device Administration API is a great example.

Originally baked into Android with version 2.2, the Device Admin API allows you to alter the remote or local security policy of your Android. We'll use my Unlock with Wifi app as a walkthrough of what that means after the break.

Have a question you need answered? (Preferably about Android, but we're flexible.) Hit up our Contact Page to get in touch!

More information about the Device Admin API

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1 year ago

From the Forums: How to build a Chrome web app on a Chromebook

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Making your own web apps for Chrome can be a fun and useful skill to have

Our very own Jerry Hildenbrand is a big fan of Chrome OS, and as he has spent more time with his Chromebook he has learned a few things. One of those thing is how to make your own Chrome web apps from a Chromebook, where you can then use them... on a Chromebook. Being a good neckbeard as he is, Jerry has posted a fantastic tutorial on the process in our forums for all to see.

This isn't exactly for the faint of heart, but eager users willing to tinker with things in their Chromebook and write a little code can be up and running in no time. Jerry shows the process of making a web app for none other than the Android Central Forums (rightfully so), but the process can be applied to any website of your choice. And best of all, being in the forums means help on your own project is just a reply away.

We'll be showing off even more great in-depth tutorials in the forums in the coming weeks, but for now the willing Chromebook users among us can check out this Chrome web app tutorial below.

[How-To] Build a custom web app (launcher) for Chrome right on your Chromebook

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1 year ago

Make the best Google+ 'Auto Awesome' photos you can

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From flashy to subtle, you can now make your Google+ photos come to life 

Google+ picked up a facelift and a big group of new features back at Google I/O 2013, and two of them -- Auto Awesome and Auto Enhance -- have opened up cool new photography possibilities on the network. Auto Awesome is especially intriguing, as it automatically turns groups of similar pictures you take into an animated image, HDR shot, panorama or collage to share on Google+, without any extra processing on your part. 

With just a few minutes of your time you'll be ready to make your own Auto Awesome images to share on Google+, and we're going to make sure you've got things set up properly. Once you're comfortable with the process, we also have a few tips and tricks to help make the best of this new feature. Let's make some awesome images after the break.

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1 year ago

From the Android Forums: Photo storage in the cloud with Google Photos

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Using your Google Drive space for photo and video storage is easy and automatic with your Android phone

Ohnelson77 asks in the Android Central forums,

Hey everyone. I have over 4,000 photos and videos on my SDcard, and Dropbox does not have enough space for me at the promotional rate. I'd love use Google Drive, but it doesn't automatically sync my photos and videos like Dropbox does. I cant even send my photos and videos to Google Drive from my phone. Also, if I by a wifi hard drive, can i use that like a cloud service if I'm not near my wifi drive? Can someone please help me?

Thank you

A couple of great questions there! Let's see if we can help get some answers. 

It sounds like you're looking for the best place to store your photos and videos, and you'd like to use Google Drive. I've got some good news for you -- you can, and it's easier (and cheaper) than you thought. Like a lot of things Google, it involves Google+.

Have a question you need answered? (Preferably about Android, but we're flexible.) Hit up our Contact Page to get in touch!

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1 year ago

What to do before giving away or selling your Android phone or tablet

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Before parting with any Android device, review this hardware and software checklist

With the ever-growing Android market, more and more people are buying and selling Android phones and tablets every day. Some people — like myself — depend on the value of their used devices to purchase the latest and greatest. But before shipping that phone or tablet off to its new owner, it is vital to make sure everything important has been removed.

The top concern for many folks in this position is that of privacy protection. Personal information like phone numbers, emails, and compromising pictures are things nobody wants falling into the wrong hands. It's also a good idea not to send any "extras" along with the device, like any one of the cards (microSD, SIM, etc.) that could be hiding in various nooks and crannies of any Android phone or tablet.

Of course, before removing any hardware or erasing any data, you'll want to backup the important things to keep or transfer to another device. Whether it be applications, music, or family photos, it needs to be correctly copied over to removable storage on the device itself or to a personal computer.

Let's get started.

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1 year ago

Google+ update lets friends see your +1's, here's how to hide your +1 history

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Google is keeping a history of your +1's, but you don't have to share it with everyone if you don't want to

The latest update to the Google+ Android app doesn't have the most exciting changelog, but the one feature it adds is a user-facing one that brings up a larger question of the service. With the latest version, the Google+ app will now show content in your "stream" that wasn't shared directly by someone in your circles, but instead was +1'd by someone. In reverse, this means that things you +1 on your own will be shown to your friends as well, assuming you keep the default +1 settings.

Now this is far from a privacy alarm -- you have these people in circles and use Google+ for a reason -- but rather something that needs to be kept in mind. When there's an app update to specifically highlight this new content type, it's important to focus on. Stick with us quickly after the break to see how to change your settings.

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1 year ago

How to get rid of the on-screen menu bar on the HTC One with Android 4.2

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On the newest firmware, a simple setting change will banish one of this phone's major annoyances

The HTC One's unsightly on-screen menu bar was never the most elegant way to handle apps that still use Android's legacy "menu" key. We said as much in our review of the phone back in March. Thankfully with the new Android 4.2 update that's now rolling out in some countries, it's now possible to get rid of it entirely, and use a long-press of the home key to access menu functionality instead.

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1 year ago

Take control of your Google Play application settings

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The Google Play application on your phone or tablet is your gateway to all the content Google has to offer. You'll use it often, whether you're looking at apps, books, magazines or any other digital content you can buy or rent from Google for your Android device. Needless to say, it's important to take a quick check of the general settings to make sure you have things just the way you like them.

We've already looked at password protecting your account to protect against unauthorized purchases, and how to manage your automatic update settings to control the way you use your data. Those an important subjects, so they each get their own section in our primer on Google Play. But there are other settings as well, and you should take a minute and set things up. Jump past the break, and we'll have a look.

Visit our Google Play page for everything Google Play

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1 year ago

Android 101: Keep your apps up to date

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Those apps aren't going to update themselves ... by default, that is

One of the best parts about owning a smart phone is the limitless possibilities of installing apps that can do so much more than the phone can out of the box. The unfortunate downside is trying to keep up with the seemingly constant flow of app updates coming to your device every day. But you're in luck, as Android has had automatic updating of apps through the Play Store since back in the day when it was still the Android Market, and it's a simple process to get set up.

Head to the Google Play Store on your device, hit the menu button and go to "settings". If it isn't already set by default, go ahead and tap the "Auto-update apps" setting and choose the most appropriate setting for your needs -- no updates, updates only on Wifi, or all updates. Most people with limited data buckets will be best-off with the "Auto-update apps over Wifi only" option. Once you have turned on automatic updates of either kind, you can always turn off automatic updates for a particular app by navigating to its Play Store listing (from the "My apps" area) and tapping the menu button, then un-checking the "Auto-update" box.

Visit our Google Play mini-site for everything there is to know about Google Play

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1 year ago

How to transfer your Google Reader RSS feeds to Feedly

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Fear not, there is a comparable replacement to Google Reader out there

It's time to face the facts here, folks: Google Reader is shutting down on July 1. Many of us (myself included) have been in the "denial" phase assuming that Google would come up with a replacement for the service, but it's time to start thinking about alternatives. Of the handful of potential replacements, Feedly seems to be in the lead right now and offers a nearly painless transition over from Google Reader.

Let's break down the process of moving your beloved RSS feeds over from Google Reader to Feedly, and give a few tips and tricks along the way to make the process as smooth as possible.

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1 year ago

Password protect your Google Play app to prevent unwanted purchases

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Money doesn't grow on trees. Take a few steps to password protect your Google Play purchases.

When it comes to things that cost real money, people tend to become a little more cautious. Nobody wants their child or kid brother accidentally buying a bunch of apps or in-app purchases from Google Play while they are supposed to be playing Angry Birds, and it's easy enough to do with just a few taps -- unless you've password protected your Google Play app.

With the password enabled, every time you try to spend money in Google Play, whether it be buying an app or book, renting a movie, or adding coins to your favorite game you'll need to enter your Google credentials to finalize the purchase. It's a great option, and one I suggest everyone enable. Luckily, it's easy to enable. Follow past the break to see how.

Visit our Google Play mini-site for everything there is to know about Google Play

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1 year ago

How to use the Google Play Wishlist feature

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The Wishlist feature is a part of Google Play that doesn't get much exposure. Added in the fall of 2012 during the first Play Store refresh, it's a handy tool to help you keep track of all the stuff you want from Google Play. Apps, books, movies, TV shows, magazines and music can all be added to your Wishlist, and while there is no way to share your list with friends and family just yet, it does put everything into one easy to manage spot on your phone or tablet.

Adding and removing items is easy, you'll find the Wishlist icon at the top of every item in Google Play. It's like a toggle switch, so if an item isn't on your list tapping will put it there, and if it is on your list a tap will remove it. To manage your list, the Google Play app menu has an entry for its page, and a tap takes you there. From your Wishlist page you can buy, rent, install or delete any item.

The Wishlist hasn't made its way to the web interface yet, so this is something you'll need to do from your phone or tablet. We have a feeling that's going to change when Google releases the new Play Store website, but for now know that you need an Android device to take advantage.

We've got a short tutorial after the break that will help it all make sense if you're not following. Have a watch, then grab your phone and start making that list!

Visit our Google Play mini-site for everything there is to know about Google Play

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1 year ago

How to apply a Google Play gift card to your account

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Google Play cards are a great way to buy apps and media, and redeeming them is easy

Google announced Google Play cards late last summer in the U.S., and have since been made available in Canada and the U.K. Of course, we all want them to be able to go global with the service, but there has been no word of when we can expect that to happen. In the meantime, if you're in a supported country, it's nice to know just how to apply the balance from a card to your Google account.

It's a pretty simple affair. You can find the gift cards themselves at retailers like Target or Walmart in the US and Canada,  and Tesco and Morrisons in the U.K. They come in $10, $15, $25 and $50 denominations in North America, and £10, £25 and £50 in the U.K. You'll find them next to iTunes cards in most retailers, and you buy them like any other item off the shelf from the store. Once you get them home, adding the balance to your account is easy.

Visit our Google Play mini-site for everything there is to know about Google Play

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1 year ago

From the mail bag: How do I clear default applications?

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Ryan writes,

I need to know how to change the default option for choosing photos under Facebook Messenger. The current option is File Expert and I do not know how to change it back to gallery. I need help with this.

One of Android's best features is the ability to choose default apps -- but how do you clear defaults and choose again?

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1 year ago

Moving apps to the SD card on the Samsung Galaxy S4

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Apps-to-SD support is coming to the Galaxy S4 in a new software update - here's how to use it.

Samsung's answer to the controversy over storage space on the Galaxy S4 has been to resurrect an old Android feature -- the ability to move apps to your SD card. By offloading heavier apps to your expandable storage (the S4 supports microSDXC cards up to 64GB) you're able to save precious internal storage for other stuff, like the many apps that can't be moved to the SD card. That's right, just like in the Froyo (Android 2.2) days, developers have to specifically allow you to move apps to the SD card, and some popular apps don't support the feature.

Nevertheless, if you're big on gaming, the latest mobile titles can take several hundred megabytes each, and the ability to move these apps to the SD card is a great way to save space. The update to allow apps to be moved to the SD card is rolling out now to unlocked German Galaxy S4s, and other regions and carriers should follow in the weeks ahead.

In the meantime, you can check past the break for our video walkthrough.

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