Headlines

1 year ago

This is why your HTC One Google Play edition may not get the best data coverage on T-Mobile

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'Compatibility' isn't always a guarantee of the best experience

pasadenabill posted in the forums with a question:

I bought the HTC One Google Play Edition because I wanted an unlocked phone for when I travel overseas. I am a longtime T-Mobile subscriber and after getting the GPE I immediately noticed that it would not connect to the 4G network very reliably. Thinking this was a possible local network issue, T-Mobile loaned me a T-Mobile version of the HTC One to use side by side. In most cases, the T-Mobile version had good or full 4G connectivity, but the GPE version did not. When it does not, it gets very slow 2G service.

I am able to get 4G about 1/3rd of the time but I can be sitting right next to someone with T-Mobile HTC One or a Galaxy or iPhone and they have full 4G service.

T-Mobile says that the unlocked phones are missing some code that only their phones have. I don't know if that is a line of BS or not, but I am hoping someone on the forums can tell me what is up before I start complaining more to the CEO of T-Mobile.

We can absolutely see how this can get confusing and frustrating, and the information provided by T-Mobile, Google and HTC on the matter doesn't always make things clear either. In the end it basically comes down to the incompatibility of what radio bands the HTC One Google Play edition supports and the radio bands that T-Mobile is operating its network on. Read along after the break for a complete explanation.

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

How to fix the Moto G notification LED

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No notification light on your new Moto G? Here's a quick, simple solution

Motorola launched its new entry-level phone, the Moto G, in multiple countries around the world last week. And after using ours for the past few days we've noticed a strange quirk to do with the phone's notification LED — it doesn't seem to work at all, and there's no software switch for it anywhere in the Settings app. Emails, texts and missed calls all failed to trigger the flashing white LED, nor could we use third-party apps like LightFlow to activate it.

The glitch is a side effect of restoring from your Google account to the Moto G, which is part of the setup process for the phone. The feature downloads apps and settings from the cloud, which is usually a good thing. But in some instances it can tell the Moto G to restore the notification LED setting from another phone, leaving the light disabled with no way to re-enable it.

Fortunately there's a simple fix for this issue, and it's one that apparently applies to some other Motorola phones too ...

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1 year ago

How to manually update your Nexus tablet to KitKat [updated]

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With the right tools and a little knowledge, there's no need to wait for your OTA

Update: Nexus 7 (2012) link has been added. Get to flashing!

Update 2: And the Nexus 10 is now good to go.

The Android 4.4 update has started rolling out to the Nexus 7 and Nexus 10 tablets around the world. But if your tablet has yet to receive the update, then don't despair — we've got a quick walkthrough that'll get you updated in a few minutes, assuming you've got a little experience with a command line.

Note that this is for stock Nexus tablets, and for people who want to update without really doing any real hackery, but don't mind a little command line work. Nothing we do here is permanent, other than the update itself. If you've already flashed a custom recovery, you should be able to update manually using that, instead of our method. And with that...

Caution: This guide is intended for technically proficient users only. Proceed at your own risk. Dragons ahead, etc.

The prerequisites

Check past the break to see the full manual update process.

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1 year ago

The Nexus 5 F.A.Q.

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Answering the most common questions we're getting about Google's new Nexus 5

Whether you have you new Nexus 5 in hand, or are covering all your bases before you decide to dust off the credit card, you've got questions. The most rewarding part of our job here at AC is answering those questions, and we always give it the old college try. 

Hit the break, and see what the top ten questions we're getting are, and their answers. Plus one bonus mystery question that we just have to get the real answer to.

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

How to disable SMS messages in Hangouts

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Don't want your text messages going to Google Hangouts? There's an easy way to go back to your old Messaging app

As of version 2.0, the Google Hangouts app for Android can handle SMS messages as well as regular instant messages. When you start it up for the first time you'll be asked if you want to use Hangouts for SMS or not. Tap yes and your existing messages are imported into the app, and you'll receive future SMS notifications through Hangouts instead of your preloaded SMS app. Tap "Maybe later" and you'll continue using your preloaded Messaging app.

But what if you've tried it and want out? Well, turns out there's a simple way to disable SMS in Hangouts and go back to using the built-in app.

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1 year ago

Screen recording is easy with KitKat and the Android SDK

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The new API 19 SDK tools include an easy way to record what happens on your Android's screen

Ever wanted to record exactly what's happening on your Android screen? Anyone who writes about Android for a living sure does, and now that KitKat is in the wild we see it will be easy to do with the latest version of Android.

You'll need the SDK installed, which is a little barrier for some, but there are plenty of folks in the forums to help make that happen for any computer, be it Windows, Mac or Linux.

That's also where you'll find Phil's mini How-To on screen recording, complete with examples. If you have you Nexus 5 already, or have put some flavor of KitKat on your current phone, jump in and give it a look. It's easier than you think!

How to use screen recording in Android 4.4 KitKat

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1 year ago

Creating Auto Awesome Videos in the new Google Photos app

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A little bit of work and a lot of Google magic lead to wonderful results

The latest version of the Google+ app brings with it another new app on your device: Photos. That's Google+ Photos to be exact, and it's an app that gives you access to all of your pictures and videos, both on-device and online, in a single place. Along with providing a system for managing your pictures, the latest version of this app also provides an interesting way to display your art, called "Auto Awesome Videos."

Incredibly similar to HTC's "Video Highlights," Auto Awesome Videos combine your pictures and videos into an artistic short film, adding filters, cuts and some background music to an otherwise run-of-the-mill set of pics. The end result is quite impressive as well — stick around after the break and see how it's done.

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1 year ago

Switching launchers with Android 4.4's new 'Home' setting

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KitKat makes it easier to swap or uninstall custom launchers

Many of us enjoy using custom home screen launchers on our Android phones, but the process of switching between them has never been entirely foolproof. That's changed in the latest Android 4.4 KitKat, which introduces a new top-level menu in the Settings app allowing you to select your default launcher. That means you don't have to traipse into the Apps menu, find your custom launcher, then clear its defaults to change back. The new Home menu also gives you an easy way to uninstall custom launchers, by pressing the trash icon next to it.

Check out our video above for a quick walkthrough on the Nexus 5.

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1 year ago

How to add and arrange home screens in Android 4.4 KitKat

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The launcher — the app that controls how your home screens look and act — arguably is the most important part of an Android smartphone. And from the earliest devices, we've seen manufacturers and app developers diverge from Google's solution and roll their own interpretations. (To varying degrees of success, for sure.)

In Android 4.4 KitKat, Google changed things up once more adding a couple of simple but much-needed features — the ability to add home screens, and the ability to rearrange your home screens.

Oh, Google Now is still attached to the far left — that's not going anywhere anytime soon, probably. But these new additions are welcomed, and easy to get used to.

We've got your primer videos after the break.

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1 year ago

Everything you wanted to know about disabling apps on your Android

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Pre-installed apps can sleep with the fishes if you know where to look to do it

Recent versions of the Android platform have enabled a pretty powerful little trick — the ability to put just about any app to sleep. It's one of those thing folks who rooted their phones have been able to do, but now anyone can, thanks to Android's built-in application manager.

If you're new to all this (and we're seeing plenty of new faces every day) you'll need to know how before you dive in. You could probably find a short and incomplete explanation in the user manual that came with your phone, but we've a better idea. AC Ambassador Haalcyon has written up a complete primer that will show you how to put any app into a coma, as he calls it. Take a few minutes to read through it, and you'll be ready to say goodbye to those apps you never wanted to begin with. 

You've got a powerful little box in your hands. We're always here to help you learn how to effectively use it. Jump into the forums and have a look.

[Guide] How to disable apps

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1 year ago

How to get Google Now off your Android 4.4 KitKat home screen

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Google Now on your home screen is a good thing — but you can turn it off if you wish

It was a couple years ago when some seer of an Android editor predicted that we'd one day find Google Now serving as our home screen. And in Android 4.4 KitKat, that has come true. Google Now is on the far left home screen. It's not just a widget. It's not some separate app. It is, for all intents an purposes, an integral part of the launcher and is a home screen.

But what if you want to get Google Now off your home screen?

There are a couple ways to do it — and one of them is going to cost you a fair amount of functionality.

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1 year ago

Check out this Google Keep how-to in the forums

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Get a quick introduction to Google's note, list and voice memo app

Google Keep has been available for some time now, and is even a default app on new devices since its introduction. Even so, not many of us take advantage of its potential as a note, list, voice memo and general brain dump kind of app. Taking to our "Ambassador Guides, Tips and How-To's" forum, forums ambassador Golfdriver97 has written up a nice introduction to the service.

With step-by-step picture tutorials, you can get a quick introduction to the basic features of Keep that could get you to start considering this service. Take a look at the forums post at the link below.

Read: [Guide] [How to] Use Google Keep

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1 year ago

How to shrink the Galaxy Note 3's display into a tiny window

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Can't reach across the Galaxy Note 3's enormous screen? Samsung's got a software trick to help you out

We may live in a world of 6.3 to 6.4-inch smartphones, but the Samsung Galaxy Note 3's 5.7-incher is still pretty big. And getting around it using only your thumb can be a challenge. Samsung has always offered "one-handed mode" software tricks on the Note series — for example, letting you shrink and rearrange the keyboard, dialer, and other areas for easier thumbing.

On the Galaxy Note 3, though, it's taken this to an all-new level. The new "Use for all screens" option, found under "Settings > Controls > One-handed operation," lets you shrink the entire display in to a moveable, resizable window a fraction of the screen's true size. Crazy!

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1 year ago

How to: Set up Android Device Manager to lock and wipe your phone

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Google makes remotely managing and wiping your device easy and effective

Back at the beginning of August Google unveiled a new service called "Android Device Manager" that let you locate and remotely wipe your phones and tablets, and now the service is getting a some much-needed refinement. Today Google updated ADM to include options to apply and change lock screen PINs and passwords, adding to the nuclear option of remote wiping the device completely.

Just as we covered when the service launched, enabling ADM is extremely easy. To get started, go to google.com/android/devicemanager on your computer and go through your list of devices that are connected to your Google account. Once there, you can send a notification to the device you want to enable remote password application and wiping on, and you'll be just a few steps away from a much more secure phone.

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1 year ago

Using Quick Memo for notes and annotations on the LG G2

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Jot a simple note or circle and clip a portion of your screen

Along with other nifty software features like Slide Aside and QSlide, LG has included an app called Quick Memo on the G2 that makes it simple to annotate screenshots and write notes with just one tap. You can access Quick Memo simply from the notification bar quick settings menu, where by default it is in the leftmost position. Tap it and you'll be taken to a simple interface that lets you write on the screen with a variety of drawing tools.

By default Quick Memo takes a screenshot of whatever app or home screen you were on when launching it and lets you draw on top of it, but you can also toggle over to a plain old notepad if you'd prefer. You can select between four different pen tip styles or a snipping tool as well as 16 different colors for the pens. Of course you don't have access to a stylus for precise input like you would on a Galaxy Note 3, but for quick jots your finger does just fine.

Once you've drawn your next masterpiece or circled an interesting portion of a web page, you can instantly share the image out to any app in your sharing menu that can handle pictures. You can also choose to save the note to your Notebook app or into your Gallery for use later. Quick Memo is a simple tool that will be useful for those who think and remember things visually, and can easily be hidden for those who don't. Stick with us after the break for a quick video showing off Quick Memo on the LG G2.

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