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8 months ago

How to use custom icon packs in your launcher

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Every app has an icon, but thanks to icon packs you don't have to stick with the one it came with.

There are plenty of reasons to use a custom icon pack. Maybe you want your icons to match your totally awesome theme. Maybe you want all your icons to look consistent. Maybe you just want the apps on your new phone to look like they did on your old phone. Maybe you want to disguise your apps so your co-workers won't get into anything you don't want them to.

Whatever your needs, there are icon packs out there for you. Here's how to use them.

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8 months ago

The best Android launchers for theming customizations

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Android is all about choices, and nowhere is this more clear than your home screen. Not only can you choose what you do and do not want on your home screen, but you can choose which launcher app runs that home screen. There's no shortage of launchers trying their hardest to be the one that you call your home... screen. Some are simple inside and out, others offer a myriad of options and customizations. Some are geared towards function rather than form, but the best launchers keep both in mind.

Launchers are important, because each has its own specific quirks, limitations, and methods. Setting a theme in Nova Launcher is different than setting a theme in Buzz Launcher. Folders work differently in Action Launcher 3 than they do in Hola Launcher. So let's run down the options together and find the best launcher and theming options for you!

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9 months ago

Google Drive is an Android themer's best friend

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The best tool in a themer's app drawer isn't a launcher or a widget. It's the cloud.

When developing a theme, you tend to gather a lot of elements. Wallpapers, widget configurations, sounds, custom icons, launcher layouts… they all add up. You need a place where you can keep things organized and access them across your devices. You need a place to sync up the custom icons from your desktop to the phone you intend to use them on. You need a place to share them when someone asks how you pulled your theme off.

You need Google Drive.

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9 months ago

How to set up a Project Fi data-only SIM with your tablet

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Project Fi on a tablet

Bring the great Project Fi experience to your connected tablet, too.

After several months as a phone-only service, Project Fi recently introduced a new "data-only SIM" option to let you share your existing Fi account and data usage with your LTE-enabled tablet. This is pretty standard stuff if you're comparing to the other big carriers in the U.S., but for Project Fi it's always exciting to get new features.

If you're a Project Fi user (or are about to be one) you'll want to know how this all works — here's how you add a tablet to your account.

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9 months ago

How to get that perfect blurry Christmas light look from your Android camera

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Have fun with the camera on your phone, especially during the holidays.

We've all seen those incredible photos where the background is a series of soft, blurry lights that come together to form the iconic Christmas tree. The truly great versions of these photos are usually taken with very nice professional cameras, but you can also get this effect with the camera in your Android phone. With all of the great cameras on phones running Android this year, there's more than a couple of you out there looking to take these photos whenever the opportunity arises.

Here's a quick tutorial on capturing these photos with your phone, and the apps that will help make it easy.

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9 months ago

How to personalize your Android phone with themes, launchers, and more!

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Every Android user has a theme on their phone. They just don't know it yet.

It's true. Even if you don't know what icon packs or launchers are, if your phone has a home screen on it, it's got a theme. Android users don't have to live in their app drawers: they can choose how their phone looks and functions. They can use widgets to interact with apps without opening them. They can use custom icons to theme or obscure the apps on their phone from prying eyes. They can even use gestures and contextual data to help their phone adapt to where they are and what they're doing.

So, what are Android themes and how can you get started with one?

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9 months ago

How to check data usage with Google OnHub

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Sometimes you need to know how much data you're using on your home network, or how much a single device is using out of the total. With Google's OnHub routers, it's easy.

Like most everything else about the OnHub "ecosystem" (yeah, I'm tired of that word, too) you do this right from the Google On app. So grab your phone, fire up the Google On app and let's see how it's done.

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9 months ago

How to set a Priority Device in Google OnHub

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Most modern routers and other home networking equipment allow you to set a specific connected device to have a higher priority than other devices on the network. This means that bandwidth is reserved for this particular device, and it won't have to wait in line while other requests are being served.

Google's OnHub routers support this, and they call it a Priority Device, and it easy to set one for a specific amount of time.

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9 months ago

Pixel C keyboard shortcuts

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Pixel C keyboard

Google's Pixel C tablet has a couple really good keyboard options available for it. They're surprisingly spacious for a mobile typing mechanism, and the keys have a pretty good feel to them.

But one way Google got the keyboards to be as good as they are was to do without some of the less common secondary functionality. Some symbols have been moved. And others are missing altogether. And so you'll want to learn some keyboard shortcuts on the Pixel C.

Then there's the matter of navigating Android itself. There's no trackpad on these keyboards, so you'll have to lift your hands from the keys and peck at the screen more than you might like. Or, you can once again use some Pixel C keyboard shortcuts.

Google has a good cheat sheet that's worth taking a look at. But here are the Pixel C keyboard shortcuts we think you need to know above all others:

For navigating Android

  • Home — Search + Enter
  • Back — Search + Backspace
  • Recent apps — Alt + Tab (same as it ever was)

Missing symbols

  • Brackets — Use three dots + o for left bracket [, three dots + p for right bracket ]
  • Back slash — Three dots + equals =
  • Escape — When would you use this? We don't know. But it lives at three dots + 1

Default apps

Android sets defaults for a number of applications types — default browser, email client, messenger, etc. And there are keyboard shortcuts for launching them, which can be handy. Those shortcuts are:

  • Browser — Search + b
  • Search Search + l
  • Contacts — Search + c
  • Email — Search + e
  • Messenger — Search + t
  • Music — Search + p

Pixel C

Google Store

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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9 months ago

Using manual video controls on the LG V10

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You'll find that everyone has an opinion when we talk about which Android phone is the best. That's a good thing, because it means we have plenty of choices to consider when we're spending that money we work so hard to make. One thing that most people can agree with, though, is that the LG V10 has one of the best cameras on any mobile phone you can buy today.

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9 months ago

Snap Video on the LG V10 is easy and a lot of fun

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There are a lot of ways to take a few short video clips and build them into something better. We first saw the concept from HTC with their Highlight feature, and since we've seen companies like Motorola and Google do the same. LG uses what they call Snap Video on the V10, and it's another awesome camera feature that's easy to use and is a lot of fun.

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9 months ago

Direct Share makes it even easier to share to your contacts in Android

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Direct Share will be a great way to decrease steps between actions, eventually.

No other mobile OS handles interactions between apps quite as well as Android. With the release of Android 6.0, Google took this idea and went one step further. We use dozens of apps every day, several for communication. Instead of sharing everything to everyone every time, it makes a lot of sense to make it easy to share something with a single person, especially someone we communicate with on a regular basis.

The function is called Direct Share, and it makes it incredibly easy to share something from just about any app directly to someone you talk to on a regular basis. Here's how it works.

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9 months ago

Get your phone ready for The Force Awakens with these great Star Wars themes

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The Force is strong with these themes...

It's almost here. We've already got our tickets ordered. We've watched the original trilogy a dozen times. Some of us already have placeholders in line outside the theater. Because if there was ever a time to pay someone to stand in line for you, this is it.

Here at Android Central, we're excited for The Force Awakens, but since not all of us can buy Star Wars edition Droid Turbo 2s, we're going to help you with the next best thing: Star Wars themes for the phone you're already rocking.

Here's what you'll need to assemble your theme:

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9 months ago

How to turn off 'app suggestions' in the Google Now Launcher

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Google Now Launcher app suggestions

Google introduced a new app drawer style in the latest version of the Google Now Launcher — coinciding with the launch of Marshmallow — that now scrolls vertically, and has a set of so-called "app suggestions" at the top of the app drawer. It's supposed to smartly place apps at the top of the drawer based on how, when and where you use them ... but most of the time, it can just be annoying.

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9 months ago

How to use the LG V10 video camera's directional audio feature

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The LG V10 has multiple microphones (three, actually) to help focus on the sound you you want to capture when you're recording video. The combo of one pointing towards the front, one pointing towards the rear, and another used to try and filter out background noises is common, and it generally works well in most cases. But LG takes it all one step further with directional audio control.

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