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2 years ago

How to set lock screen and security options on Galaxy S3

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With NFC and all your personal information, its time to keep your Galaxy S3 safe from potential thieves and peeping neighbors. 

It is much more convenient not to use security options on your Samsung Galaxy S III (S3) or other Android phone. However, this is sort of like playing Russian roulette with your data and personal information.

Imagine if you lost your phone and someone was able to access everything inside. What would you lose? What would the “ripple effects” be? Could your bank information be compromises? Your credit? In today’s day and age we just can’t take a chance of our sensitive information falling into the wrong hands.

Fortunately, the Galaxy S3 offers some easy and powerful built-in tools to help keep you phone, your information and your peace of mind safe and secure.

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2 years ago

Keeping ideas synced while on the go using my Android device

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Lately I have been looking for various ways to refine how I work, the goal is to have things synced to be able to access from various places. Since I am not always at the computer, or the same computer for that matter, it can be difficult to keep my ideas with me all the time, and even more difficult to continue on an idea that I may have already started. Dropbox has proven to be a great tool for me, I can upload things that I want to be able to access later, and then download them elsewhere, and I have been looking for a tool to compliment that well on Android. When I was using the iPhone 4 there were many note applications that synced directly to Dropbox, but I haven't found any that worked well for me on Android, as most of them require you to save, then upload and that isn't what I was ultimately looking for. Let's hit the break to see how I was able to solve this issue, and what you can download to do the same.

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2 years ago

How to replace icons on the Home screen dock on the Galaxy S3

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Moving the icons you want into your Galaxy S3 homescreen dock is a great way to configure your device in a way that makes sense for you.

The Samsung Galaxy S III (S3) is highly configurable. In many ways, the new TouchWiz interface simplifies using the device. In other ways, TouchWiz can make seemingly simple tasks a bit more complicated.

Here's how to swap out the apps that are in the homescreen dock on your Samsung Galaxy S3.

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2 years ago

How to use S Memo on the Galaxy S3

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Samsung has put a bunch of proprietary software on the Galaxy S III (S3) and some apps, like S Memo are particularly useful.

There are lots of note-taking apps for Android.  Some of them sync with cloud servers like Google Drive and others sync with desktop note-organizing apps like Evernote.

Samsung has attempted to create a proprietary note-taking app that syncs with all these services, uploads to Dropbox and allows you to post your notes to your various social media networks. In short, S Memo tries to be all things to all users, and, surprisingly, it does a pretty good job. 

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2 years ago

How to: Activate the Google Sound Search widget in Jelly Bean if it's not in the drawer

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One of the many added goodies within Jelly Bean, is the Google Sound Search widget, sometimes referred to as Google Ears. It's really simple, but also a really nice touch to have built in to the OS. 

For some reason -- quite possibly some licensing stuff -- it isn't always there to choose from in the widget drawer for everybody. True, that when both my own Galaxy Nexus got the 4.1 update, and my new Nexus 7 arrived, neither had this widget. Being based in the UK, I imagine that it's got something to do with location. There are alternative apps, Shazam, Soundhound for example, but why should you have to use an alternative application when Google supposedly builds the functionality into the OS. 

Installing the apk that's been doing the rounds for a while doesn't do the trick either. On Jelly Bean it doesn't seem to like installing, but it works great on ICS. The app itself isn't missing from the device, it's just frozen so you can't use it. As too is Google Play Magazines, and Google Wallet. 

So, how do you use it? Well, to unfreeze it requires root. But from there, it's real simple. Titanium Backup is a fantastically useful root application, and is what we'll be using here to make things happen. If you're not sure on what freezing and unfreezing is, we'll walk you through it.

Once you've opened Titanium Backup, and all the application data has loaded, go ahead and hit the "backup/restore" button at the top. You should then be presented with a comprehensive list of every single application installed on your device. Including, all the system apps. Scroll through until you see "Sound Search for Google Play" -- which will also be highlighted by a purple bar -- click on it, and hit the defrost button. Next time you go into the widget drawer, there it will be, ready and waiting. 

Also, remember that clicking on a song once it's been identified won't do anything either, other than take you to the main Google Play Store front page. One day, maybe, Google will bring the full range of content to non-U.S. users. We can hope.  

The same tactic also applies to Google Play Magazines, and Google Wallet. But, outside of the U.S. there's not really anything you can use these for anyway, and Google Wallet will tell you so if you try to launch it. 

The only downside -- when you reboot your device, things will be reset and the app will be frozen again. But, if you're like me, your device rarely gets rebooted unless you're going in and out of recovery. So it's inconvenient, but not massively. 

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2 years ago

How to: Alter the DPI on your Nexus 7 to bring up that bigger tablet feel

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There's absolutely no doubt, the Nexus 7 is a fantastic piece of equipment. But, as with all Android devices, you can't please all of the people, all of the time. One point of annoyance for some is the phone styled UI that the Nexus 7 employs, and more specifically, the lack of a proper landscape mode on the home screens. 

But, this is Android, and this is a Nexus device. So, there's tweaking that can be done. Everything needed framework wise is on board to allow you to bring about what we see here. It's simply a matter of altering the DPI settings in the build.prop. Apps can mix and match elements. 

Sounds daunting, but thankfully for the less brave -- like myself -- some of the brilliant developers the Android community can call its own have done the hardest parts for us. 

The pre-cursor; this process requires root access. If you haven't already, definitely check out the fantastic step-by-step in the Android Central Forums on how to unlock and root your Nexus 7. Once you've done all that, and you've achieved root, the rest is easy. 

There are a variety of different applications in Google Play that can do the tweaks we require here. For the purposes of this article, we used Rom Toolbox Lite, which you'll find a download link to below. 

When Rom Toolbox has been opened, swipe left into the performance pane, and look for the button labeled "build.prop tweaks." Press this, and you'll be presented with three sliders, one of which will alter the DPI settings of your tablet. 

Out of the box, the DPI on the Nexus 7 is set to 213. It's worth remembering this value, to help you go back to the standard as quickly as possible should you so wish. To achieve the best results, slide the toggle right the way down to 160. 170 works too, but for proper tablet UI in some apps, we found 160 worked better. Remember, we're not actually changing any of the physical properties of the screen, just what is reported. 

Hit apply, accept the reboot and wait for the tablet to fire back up again. When it does, you'll see a much more familiar looking tablet appearance staring back at you. No more Google search bar right across the top, this is now reduced to the small box in the top left. The app drawer is now opened in the top right, and the three on screen buttons are smaller and located in the bottom left. 

Notifications are still the new, enhanced Jelly Bean notifications, but instead of pulling down from the top, they rise up from the bottom right hand corner. 

This isn't without potential issues though, it will most likely break some apps in the Play Store. But, it's pretty simple to set up, and equally simple to undo, so why not give it a try. If you just want your home screen to look a little bit like this, you could always try Apex Launcher. But, if you want the real deal, then try this. A custom launcher such as Apex will still keep the notification bar at the top, and the buttons at the bottom just as the stock launcher does. If landscape mode is all you want though, Apex might do you just fine.  

Download: Rom Toolbox Lite

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2 years ago

Ask AC: What is 'unlocked'?

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Is your Android phone's bootloader unlocked? Is it SIM unlocked? What's the difference?

There's been a bit of confusion in the blogs the past few days over unlocking phones. Maybe you're wondering about an unlocked bootloader. Or maybe you need something that's SIM unlocked. Or maybe you want to unlock your phone's bootloader, but you can't, because it's encrypted.

It's confusing, we know. Even bloggers have a hard time keeping it all straight. But you've come to the right place. We don't have that problem here. 

So let's have a little refresher course on what we mean when we talk about unlocking things, shall we?

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2 years ago

How to set up your new Samsung Galaxy S3

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Getting started on your brand-new Galaxy S3 won’t take too long. Soon you will be on the Android cutting edge!  

The UPS person just dropped off my Samsung Galaxy SIII (S3) today and I was very excited to crack open the box and get started. It occurs to me that for many, this is your first smartphone.  Others might be coming over from a previous (non Ice Cream Sandwich) device and other still might be coming to Android from the dark side … iOS or BlackBerry or Windows Phone

Let’s jump in to get you up and running quickly!

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2 years ago

Jelly Bean keyboard: get your quick punctuation keys back [from the forums]

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So you're all psyched about using the new fast keyboard in Jelly Bean, and digging the predictive text feature. But after a while, if you're like me, you realize that things went much smoother when you had all your punctuation options in your selection bar after typing a word instead of a guess for the next word. Predictive text is cool, but different strokes for different folks, right? Here's an easy fix from martonikaj in the Jelly Bean forums.

Buried deep in the settings (deeper than I cared to look the first time around) you can shut predictive text off, and still have word correction while typing, but when you hit the spacebar, you get your missing exclamation point and all the rest of your punctuation back up there where it always used to be. 

If this fits your typing style better than predictive text, hit the forums link below and have a look. Be sure to tell martonikaj thanks while you're at it!

[How To] Remove Predictive Text and Bring Back Punctuation

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2 years ago

Jelly Bean feature: A more functional notification drop-down [video]

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Google took its first steps towards redesigning the Android notification tray in Ice Cream Sandwich, and in the latest version, 4.1 Jelly Bean, it's taken things a step further, creating truly informative and interactive notification entries that border on widget-like levels of interactivity. In addition to the standard icon-and-label combo we're used to from earlier Android versions, many Jelly Bean-compatible notifications can be expanded by dragging down with a two-finger gesture. For example, if you've got an IM notification, you can swipe down with two fingers to view the first few lines of the message.

In addition, you'll find that notifications from many Google apps now feature buttons that allow you to perform certain tasks without entering the app. Google Calendar events, for instance, include a button to snooze the event (you can still swipe it away to dismiss it). And after capturing a screenshot, there's a handy "Share" button that you can use to send it via social networks, or any other sharing app you have installed.

Gmail is where I find this feature most useful, though. Swiping down on a Gmail notifications in Jelly Bean allows you to view a list of subject lines and senders, assuming you've got multiple messages waiting. Or alternatively, if there's just one, you can view the sender, subject line, and the first several lines of the message -- more than enough to work out if it's worth jumping into the app to respond. It's a great way to take advantage of the extra visual real estate offered by the Nexus 7, and looks good on the Galaxy Nexus too, assuming you're not already drowning in notifications.

We've got a brief video showing of all these features after the break. Also be sure to check out the rest of our Jelly Bean feature articles.

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