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1 year ago

How to get lock screen widgets on the Samsung Galaxy S4

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Lock screen widgets are easy to enable on the Galaxy S4, but there are a couple of extra settings to get to grips with

When you first pick up the Samsung Galaxy S4, it might appear that lock screen widgets aren't available. After all, the default lock screen is just a big clock widget with "life companion" or some other message up top. But as an Android 4.2 device, the S4 includes full support for lock screen widgets, it's just a case of enabling them in the phone's lock screen settings.

Head to Settings > My device > Lock screen and check "Multiple widgets." Once you've done that, you're able to swipe to the right and add more lock screen panels. There's the standard list of Google widgets as well as some new stuff from Samsung, including a new WatchON widget. This ties into the WatchON app, which is the Peel-powered universal remote included on the Galaxy S4, giving you an expandable universal remote right from your lock screen. Third-party offerings like Dashclock Widget should work just fine, too.

In stock Android, there's always a camera shortcut on the right-most lock screen panel. On the GS4 you can choose what goes here -- either a big, Nexus-style camera shortcut or a grid of favorite apps. Head to Settings > My device > Lock screen > Lock screen widgets > Favorite apps or Camera to configure this.

Like some of the other Samsung widgets, the main clock widget is customizable too. You can change or get rid of the message, have a dual clock if you're roaming overseas and customize the style and size of the on-screen fonts.

Check the quick video demo above to see lock screen widgets in action on the Samsung Galaxy S4.

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1 year ago

How to get to Google Now on the Samsung Galaxy S4

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Google's predictive search app is alive and well on the Galaxy S4 -- and there are a few ways to get to it quickly

On many Android phones with on-screen keys, getting to Google Now -- the excellent predictive/voice-controlled search app in Android 4.1 and above -- is simply a matter of swiping up from the bottom of the screen. It's not quite as simple as that on the new Samsung Galaxy S4, but fear not, there are still a few quick and easy ways to get to the new Google Search app.

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1 year ago

Using 'Multi-window' on the Samsung Galaxy S4

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Samsung's full-screen multi-tasking feature returns on the Galaxy S4. Here's where to find it and how to use.

A favorite feature of the Galaxy Note 2, Samsung's 'Multi-window' multitasking capability is included out of the box on the Galaxy S4. It's probably one of the coolest software tricks Samsung has come up with to date, but it's easily overlooked if you don't know it's there.

To use Multi-window, you'll first need to enable it in the quick settings area. Drag the notification bar down, hit the block icon in the top right corner and make sure "Multi-window" is lit up. From there, you can toggle the Multi-window bar on or off by long-pressing the back key. It's possible to move the bar around by long-pressing the rounded tab while it's open. (To move the tab up or down, simply long-press and drag up or down when the bar doesn't have focus.)

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1 year ago

Three ways to add camera shortcuts to the Galaxy S4 lock screen

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As with many features of the Galaxy S4, there's more than one way to get a camera shortcut on the lock screen

The Samsung Galaxy S4 is brimming with features, but right out of the box you could be forgiven for thinking there's no way of unlocking the phone straight into the camera app. Like many of the S4's advanced features, this is optional, and disabled by default. Enabling it is easy enough, but as it turns out there are three different kinds of camera shortcuts you can put on the Galaxy S4's lock screen.

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1 year ago

How to change the Galaxy S4 lock screen message

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The tag line for the Samsung Galaxy S4 is "Life companion." And that's a fine slogan. But if you're a little tired of seeing it on your phone every time you turn it on, you're not alone. 

Fortunately, it's easy to change. Samsung's taking advantage of the lock screen widgets in Android 4.2.2 to provide that custom greeting, clock and date as soon as you wake the phone. You can change the font, color and size, remove the clock and date if you want -- or get rid of the widget altogether.

See also:

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1 year ago

How to turn off those annoying Galaxy S4 sounds

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If you're new to the Samsung Galaxy S4, you might well think you're under attack by bloops and bleeps and drops -- the cacophony of "nature' sounds Samsung's got baked into everything these days. They're there by design, of course. That whole "designed by nature" thing started last year with the Galaxy S3, and it continues in the latest iteration. They're not necessarily that harsh, they can just get a little old after the first five minutes.

Those of us who have been using Samsung devices for a while are more used to this, of course, and are pretty adept at turning them off. This post isn't for you. Move on. But things have changed a little bit in Samsung's latest, so here's your primer for getting rid of those annoying system sounds.

More: Check out our Galaxy S4 forums!

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1 year ago

How to get to the developer settings on the Galaxy S4

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It's worth a quick reminder that the Samsung Galaxy S4 is one one of the first devices to actually launch with Android 4.2.2.  And it's also worth a reminder that the developer options are hidden by default starting with that version of Android. As those of us who have been using Nexus devices for the past quickly learned, you'll need to spend about 20 seconds and a few taps of the ol' index finger -- OK, any finger will do -- to open up the nether regions of your Galaxy S4. 

So. You're sure you want to do this? You want to unlock the developer options on your Galaxy S4? Cool. Here's how.

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1 year ago

Remove duplicate and empty Google+ photo albums in your Gallery

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It's a work-around, but there is a way to delete those pesky empty Google+ albums from your Gallery

Has your Gallery gone haywire with blank and duplicate Google+ albums? Don't worry, you're not alone. Since the implementation of Google+ Instant Upload and its deep integration into the included Gallery app, more and more of the photos you see on your device aren't actually... on your device. This all works great until there's an issue -- and what many people have been experiencing is duplicate, blank, and mislabeled albums showing up in their Gallery.

The problem is there's no way from the Gallery to manage these photos, it has to be done on the web. If you've been having issues with weird albums showing up in your Gallery, hang tight after the break and see if we can do something about that.

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1 year ago

T-Mobile's new plans: Ten frequently asked questions

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T-Mobile just dropped one helluva big change on us, completely redesigning its plans and how it sells devices.

No matter how simple they are or how you explain them, there are bound to be questions left unanswered. We've been keeping an eye on the burning questions people are having regarding the changes, and done our best to answer them below. We implore you to first take a look at our full set of announcement posts from Tuesday, where we break down the gritty details of the different plans, as well as some device announcements and other details:

Still curious to know a little more about T-Mobile's new rate plans? Hang around after the break and see if we can clarify a few things.

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1 year ago

Getting bad battery life from 4.2.2 on your Verizon Nexus? Try a factory reset

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Did the 4.2.2 update for your Verizon Galaxy Nexus cause horrible battery life? You're not alone, and a reset may just fix you up.

Now that the Verizon version of the Samsung Galaxy Nexus finally got the Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean update, there's a number of folks out there with some serious complaints about battery life. If you're one of the unlucky folks affected, you know exactly what I mean. If not, a quick look across the Internet will get you up to speed about the troubles these folks are having. Make no mistake, it's a real issue.

Now you'll need to keep in mind that the Verizon Nexus is one of those early LTE devices that will never have stellar battery life, but plenty of folks have found a way to get back to where they were before the OTA (in regards to battery life). Their secret? A factory reset. It's something that nobody ever likes doing, but sometimes you have to bite the bullet and just do it. We'll discuss why, and talk about how it's done after the break.

More: Android Central Forums

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1 year ago

HTC One camera tips: How to take better pictures

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A few simple tips will help you get better pictures from your HTC One

The HTC One's "Ultrapixel" camera is one of its main selling points, as is the vast assortment of photo features arranged around it. But knowing how to get the most out of the camera hardware and its array of software options isn't always easy, which is why we've come up with a quick guide to walk you through the best way to using the HTC One's camera features.

If you're picking up an HTC One this week in Europe or Asia -- or you're planning on taking the plunge in the weeks ahead -- you'll want to check it out after the break.

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1 year ago

How to set up your HTC One

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You've got a number of options to transfer data from your old phone to your new HTC One

So you've unwrapped your shiny new HTC One and you're ready to get up and running. In this article we'll help guide you through the process of getting your accounts and preferences in order, in addition to showing you around the new home screen dynamic.

From the BlinkFeed home screen reader to new app drawer setup, there's a lot to get to grips with before you even look at the more advanced stuff. And even more important is the addition of a number of ways to move your data from your old phone to your new HTC One. You can even parse an old iTunes backup to get your stuff off the iPhone and onto your new Android phone.

Check past the break for our walkthrough of your first hour or so with HTC Sense 5 on the new HTC One.

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1 year ago

From the Android Forums: Unlocking and root

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Justiceanthony asks in the Android Central Forums:

Hi all,
I'm new here. I'm looking to buy a new Note 2 for the third time (yeah, I lost the first one and gave the second to my girlfriend). Someone is selling one to me here in Ghana , and it was previously locked to O2 (UK network), it's now been unlocked and my question is whether it's been automatically rooted since it's unlocked. I wouldn't mind a rooted phone since I would like a little more "freedom" . thnx to you all.

First things first -- welcome to AC justiceanthony!

Now to the question. No, SIM unlocking a Note 2 (or any Android phone) does not automatically root it. SIM unlocking is a built-in tool that uses a key to activate. It's done outside of any modification to the firmware, like rooting. Having said that, sometimes the opposite is true, and a root method that unlocks the bootloader will also SIM unlock the phone.

This begs for an explanation about the different uses of the word unlock and root. Lets do that.

Root: Rooting an Android phone is simply adding a file to the system that allows other apps to elevate their permissions and read, write, and execute anything on your device. In this case, anything means anything -- if it is user editable or actionable, you can do it with root. This is both powerful and dangerous, so be sure to get all the answers and be clear on the subject before you do it.

SIM or Network Unlocking: This allows a phone bought for use on a particular network to be used on another network. If you buy a phone designed to only work on Orange (or AT&T for an American example), to use it on any other network, you will need to unlock the SIM programming. This is what Justiceanthony has done in the example above, as he wants to use an O2 phone on his carrier in Ghana. It's done without rooting or modifying any firmware in your phone or tablet.

Remember, the networks have to be compatible. A phone with radios designed for one carrier may not provide 3G or 4G service on another, and sometimes they won't work at all.

Bootloader Unlocking: All Android devices ship with a locked bootloader. Some are very easy to unlock, like Nexus devices, some need a little hacking to unlock (like most Samsung devices), and some are encrypted and designed to be very difficult to unlock (hello, Moto). Bootloader unlocking allows you to flash (write to your phone's "hard drive") image files that haven't been signed with the official key from the folks who made your phone or tablet. A locked bootloader can flash a new recovery provided in an OTA update because the recovery was signed with the right key. It will fail to flash a custom recovery like ClockWorkMod. An unlocked bootloader will flash anything that fits, as long as you tell it to. Once a custom recovery (or sometimes a "Super" boot image) is flashed, you can install and erase custom built system firmware at will. Again, this means you need to do your homework before you start fiddling with things. Use the forums. Read, ask questions, and read some more.

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

Android 101: Adding your own custom sounds to Android events

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The first thing most people do when getting a new phone is change the ringtone. Depending on which Android device you own, your options for different alarms, notifications, and ringtones will vary. Perhaps you aren’t happy with the sounds that came preinstalled on your phone, or you’ve been using the stock sounds and are ready for a change. You’ve got some ringtones on your computer, and want to use them on your phone. How do you get the files from your computer, to your phone? Do you have to put them in any specific place for them to be selectable in the Android menu, and will they be listed in the same place as the sounds that came with your phone? Does it matter what kind of sound files you use? You can find the answers to these questions, and more, after the break.

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1 year ago

From the Android Forums: Importing contacts and Nexus updates

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LolUmad asks in the Android Central Forums:

Hello.

I just sold my Nokia 920 and got a Nexus 4. I have two questions for the aware:

  1. All of my contacts had to be imported in from my microsoft.live account. How do I add them all to my Google account (so that next time I get another android phone I can just have them imported in automatically)?
  2. How do software updates work? Automatically or do I have to do something.

Thanks in advance.

Welcome aboard, and we're glad you asked! Your first question is a pretty common one, and luckily it's also a really easy one thanks to the settings built into Gmail. Since you're coming from a Windows Live account, you can have Google import your contacts automatically via the web. Open your Gmail account in a web browser on a computer, and look for the settings icon in the upper right. Open the settings, choose the "Accounts and Import" tab, and in the list choose "Import mail and contacts". This will copy everything over to your Gmail account, which syncs with any Android device you're signed in to. 

For anyone not using a web-based service like Windows Live, importing contacts is still pretty easy. Just export them from your mail client into a .csv file and you can import that file in your Google Contacts page. Either way sure beats typing them all by hand.

For your second question. the answer is both! Updates will come automatically from Google to your Nexus 4, and you'll know you have one because of the notification icon. Google rolls the updates out pretty slowly at first, and many times we don't like to wait. You can sideload an update pretty easily if you're the type who doesn't like waiting in line. It involves a little work at your computer's command line, but it's not really hard. You can find all the information you would every want to know about sideloading updates in the Nexus 4 forums.

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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