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7 months ago

Getting started with the Samsung Galaxy S7


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

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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 { border-radius: 5px; display: inline-block; font: 14px/31px "Proxima Nova Extrabld",Helvetica,Arial,sans-serif; text-align: center; } .devicebox, .devicebox, .devicebox, .devicebox { background: #37B5D7; color: #FFF; } .devicebox { background: #2694B2; text-decoration: none; } .devicebox { 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 { width: calc(50% - 2.5px); margin: 0 5px 5px 0; } .devicebox { margin: 0 0 5px 0; } .devicebox { 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 { width: calc(100%/3 - 10px/3); margin: 0 5px 5px 0; } .devicebox { margin: 0 0 5px 0; } .devicebox { width: 100%; margin: 0 0 5px 0; } .devicebox, .devicebox ~, .devicebox, .devicebox ~ { width: calc(50% - 2.5px); } .devicebox ~, .devicebox ~ { 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 { 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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8 months ago

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


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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8 months ago

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


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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8 months ago

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

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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8 months ago

The how and why of third-party music widgets


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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8 months ago

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


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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8 months ago

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


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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8 months ago

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

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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8 months ago

Factory Reset Protection: what you need to know


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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8 months ago

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


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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8 months ago

Put some super in your screen with this Wallpaper Wednesday


Don't let your home screen fall into a rut — switch out your wallpaper!

You don't have to pull out a complex new theme like Deadpool to bring a breath of fresh air to your home screen. A new wallpaper can do wonders, and launchers like Action Launcher can re-theme your entire home screen around a good wallpaper. In our effort to help brighten your device — and maybe your day — we're compiling some wallpapers for you to try out.

If you've got a wallpaper you use everywhere, share it in the comments below! We're always looking for something new. Now get your wallpaper picker ready and see what's in store this week.

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8 months ago

Even the Justice League will be jealous of these Batman and Superman themes


Tell me … does your theme bleed awesomeness?

We're ready to see Batman and Superman duke it out for a few hours before they team up to beat down Facebook founder lookalike Lex Luthor. They're even bringing along a Wonder Woman we have a lot of hope for and an Aquaman that I'm gonna cheer on even if he's not the Aquaman I'd prefer. (I'll take as much Aquaman as I can, but could we get one with a sense of humor on the big screen once?)

While some Android phones can get Superman or Batman cases, maybe, if your phone is popular enough with casemakers, but we don't limit our themes to a case. We're not iPhone users, for Duarte's sake. So we've assembled two themes to bring the badass of Batman to your icons, your widgets, and the rest of your home screen.

Let's put some super in your phone.

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8 months ago

When will my Rogers smartphone be updated?


Not the most up-to-date, but it's something.

Rogers is Canada's largest mobile provider, and releases dozens of new devices every year. And with the inconsistency of Android updates, it's understandable that its customers would want to know when their handsets will receive significant new updates.

Like Telus, Rogers hosts a chart detailing when forthcoming updates will be made available over the air. Unlike Telus, however, Rogers isn't particularly good about keeping it updated.

Right now, it looks like there are no dates for major Samsung release like the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy Note 5, but the LG G3 will be receiving Android 6.0 Marshmallow "soon."

Last updated March 17, 2016

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8 months ago

When will my Telus smartphone be updated?


Your phone could be updated sooner than you think.

Telus, Canada's second-largest mobile carrier, is a customer-friendly company, and one of its commitments is to keep Android users informed about when their devices will receive bug fixes, performance improvements, and significant new OS versions.

The company hosts a constantly-updated chart in its forums detailing when the next Galaxy, Moto, Nexus or Alcatel will receive an over-the-air software update, which has helped alleviate a number of emails, tweets and calls to customer service representatives, according to a company representative.

As of this writing, Telus has issued an Marshmallow update to the Samsung Galaxy Note 5 and Galaxy S6 edge+, while the Galaxy S6 update will arrive on April 18. These numbers tend to change, but Telus is usually quick about making those updates.

Telus notes that is one of the fastest providers to turn around updates — Android updates go through Quality Assurance testing for network performance and safety, such as 9-11 access — so any delays are usually the result of the manufacturer. Nevertheless, it's nice to see Telus committing to keeping its customers informed.

Last updated Apr. 5, 2016

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8 months ago

When will my Bell smartphone be updated?


Does your Android device have the latest update?

Bell, Canada's third-largest carrier, doesn't always make it easy to find out when its smartphones will be updated, but it does keep a comprehensive list of recent improvements.

Unlike Telus and Rogers, Bell doesn't keep a list of updates, but it does have a listing for every smartphone it's sold in the past few years, along with that device's latest update.

To find your phone's update, head to Bell's device listing page and tap on Select a device. Tap on the name of the manufacturer, such as Samsung, and then scroll down to find the handset you're looking for.

When new Android releases are made available, Bell is usually fairly good about updating its device pages, such as the Samsung Galaxy S6 above.

Last updated March 17, 2016

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