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1 year ago

How to unlock the Nexus 6P or Nexus 5X bootloader


Your new Nexus 6P or Nexus 5X comes from the factory with a locked bootloader. While unlocking it is trivial, it's important to remember that an unlocked bootloader is very unsecure, and makes your personal data more vulnerable should someone get your phone in their hands. If you're not the type of person who wants to flash ROMs or system images or the like, it's probably best to leave it locked. That's for you to decide.

Should you decide to unlock your bootloader, remember that doing so will erase all the user data on your phone and return it to the out-of-box state. Still with us? Cool. Here's how to do it.

You'll need a working installation of fastboot on your computer. Yes, you need a computer to unlock the bootloader. We recommend that you install the Android SDK and the official Google USB driver if you're using Windows, but there are toolkits and bundles available if you'd rather go that way. You'll find more information about that in the forums. We're going to go with the premise that you've downloaded and installed the Android SDK for your computing platform, and any needed drivers for Windows computers.

Next, you'll need a suitable cable. In this case, suitable means one end needs to be USB Type-A to plug into your computer, and the other needs to be USB Type-C to plug into your phone. For the Nexus 6P and 5X, we recommend you use the one that came in the box.

Now you need to give permission for the bootloader to be unlocked. And to make things easy, enable USB debugging on your phone. Go to settings, About phone and find the entry labeled build number. Tap it five times, read the pop up telling you that you're a developer now, then go back to the main settings page. Near the bottom, you'll see a new entry labeled Developer options. Tap it to get in there, and toggle the switch to allow OEM unlocking, then enable USB debugging.

Now connect all the things together, and fire up the command line on your Windows computer or a terminal program on your Mac or Linux computer. Make sure your phone is unlocked and the screen is on, because you'll be asked to authorize the computer and give it permissions to communicate with your Nexus 6P over a wire. Once that's done and sorted, it's time to do some typing.

On your computer, at the command prompt type:

adb devices

If everything is good, you'll see the phone's serial number in your command line window. If not, you probably have a PATH issue. See the tutorial about setting up the SDK for help if you're using a full SDK installation, or ask in the developers support thread if you're using some sort of toolkit. As a workaround, you can navigate to the folder with the adb and fastboot executable files and work from there. If you do this on a Mac or Linux computer, remember your dot and slash: "./adb devices" for example.

Once you have things sorted, it's time to reboot to the bootloader:

adb reboot-bootloader

When you get to this stage, you will need to use fastboot to communicate instead of adb. If you're working out of the folder where the fastboot command is located, remember that dot and slash if you're using a Mac or Linux computer. Try this command to see if everything is working:

fastboot devices

See the serial number like we did with the adb command? If so, you're good to go. If not, you need to troubleshoot. If you're using Windows and having issues, chances are it's the driver. In any case, hit the forums and work out why things aren't communicating if you need to.

Up until now, things are the same here as they have always been with Nexus phones. But the command to actually unlock the bootloader has changed. When you're ready, at your command line, type:

fastboot flashing unlock

Remember — this will erase everything on your phone and restore it to the way it came out of the box.

You'll need to confirm this action on your phone's screen, using the volume and power keys. Follow the instructions on your screen.

Let it do it's thing, and when it's done send one more command to make things final:

fastboot reboot

After recovery erases everything and you've booted back to Android (at the device setup screen) you can unplug your cable and use your phone normally.

If you ever decide to relock your bootloader, you can do so with this command:

fastboot flashing lock

Remember, if you need to unlock your bootloader again, things will get erased again.

That's it. Your bootloader is now unlocked, and you can flash both official and unofficial firmware to your Nexus. In fact, you'll be reminded that your bootloader unlocked each and every time you start your phone. Stay safe, and choose wisely!

Make your new Nexus your own

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1 year ago

Call forwarding not working on Project Fi? It's not just you, and there's a fix

Project Fi app

If you're using Project Fi, this past week you may have noticed incoming calls no longer forwarding to your non-Fi phones as you had previously set up. Don't worry, you're not alone — but thankfully this isn't call forwarding being "down" as much as it's an unintentional wiping out of your call forwarding settings.

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1 year ago

How to enable developer options on the BlackBerry Priv


The BlackBerry Priv is going to introduce a good many people to Android, and we're here to help guide you along the way. You'll eventually see talk online about things you can set in the developer options on your new Priv, so here's a handy guide to enabling them.

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1 year ago

How to set up and use the Productivity Tab on the BlackBerry Priv


One of the things BlackBerry is loved for is its productivity credentials. One of the nifty features brought to Android with the BlackBerry Priv is the Productivity Tab, an at a glance view of some of the most important information in your day. You can get to your calendar, favorite contacts, messages and tasks list wherever you are on the phone.

Accessing it is easy once you're set up. A simple swipe in over either the left or right hand edges of the phone bring up the view you can see in the image up top. The best thing is you can customize the appearance and position so it's always there where you want it, looking how you want it.

Here's what you need to know.

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1 year ago

How to change the recent apps view on the BlackBerry Priv


One of the few visual changes BlackBerry made to the user interface on the Priv over how Google does things was to the recent apps view. Some will like it, some will not. If you're a long time Android user you may well hanker for the traditional Rolodex view that's been with us since Lollipop debuted.

Fortunately, while BlackBerry changed things a little, it also left it very easy to undo and go back to something more as Google intended. Here's how.

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1 year ago

How to search Google using just the BlackBerry Priv keyboard


The BlackBerry Priv has a pretty awesome hardware keyboard and its probably something you're going to use a lot. One neat trick is that you can just start typing and immediately search Google. We're using Google as an example here, but the same steps can also be applied to the on board BlackBerry Device Search.

Here's what you need to do.

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1 year ago

What are popup widgets on the BlackBerry Priv and how do you use them?


Widgets on Android are great, but they can also be incredibly messy across your different home screens. The BlackBerry Priv has a fantastic way to keep using and interacting with them, but also hiding them in plain sight.

It's called popup widgets and it allows you to view any app widgets with just a swipe over the app icon. Keep information handy and visual clutter to a minimum.

Here's what you need to know.

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1 year ago

How to change the swipe shortcuts on the BlackBerry Priv


On a regular Android phone, swiping up from the home button gives you access to Google Now. On the BlackBerry Priv it can do much more than that. Swiping up will give you three options instead of one, and two of them can be customized. Google Now is locked in place, you can't change that, but the left and right slots can be changed to almost anything you want.

Here's what you need to know.

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1 year ago

How to take a screenshot on the BlackBerry Priv


We know that plenty of people who picked up a new BlackBerry Priv will also be new to Android. That's why we're here — to help you get to know everything about your Priv, and how to get the most out of it. Right now, we'll talk about something basic — taking a screenshot.

Taking a screenshot on most Android phones works the same way, and the Priv is no exception. A simple button combination is all it takes to grab everything you can see, and package it up as an image file.

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1 year ago

Setting up adoptable storage on the HTC One A9

This tiny card is going to do big things for this phone.

We've been exploring all the goodies in Android Marshmallow with the Nexus line, but there's one tantalizing aspect of Marshmallow that couldn't be explored until the HTC One A9 came along: adoptable storage. Unlike the Nexus devices, the A9 has a microSD card slot, and while traditionally a microSD could take some of the burden off your internal storage, there were a lot of caveats. Even though there may be dozens of free gigabytes on your card, you'd be out of room on your internal storage and out of luck.

No. More.

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1 year ago

A look at the LG V10 Second Screen settings


Having a second screen at the top of your new LG V10 isn't very helpful if you don't know how to set it up to your liking. It's there, waiting for you to add handy shortcuts to apps and contacts, or grab your notifications, or even just display the time or a friendly saying if that's how you want to use it. All you need to do is tweak the settings a little bit.

Let's dive in and see how it's done.

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1 year ago

How to take advantage of the new App Permissions in Marshmallow


Marshmallow brought a number of new shifts for Android users, but one of the biggest applause lines was given to the overhaul of app permissions. Before Marshmallow, you had only one way to deny an app a permission it asked for: don't install it. In Marshmallow, you can install an app and allow or deny permissions on a per-app basis. This means that if you don't think this game deserves access to your contacts list, you can deny it access to the contacts list.

And changing an app's approved permissions is really easy, but there is a small hurdle you may have to overcome.

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1 year ago

A beginner's guide to the Samsung Galaxy Note 5

Samsung Galaxy Note 5

Everything you need to know about the Galaxy Note 5, all in one place.

If you're looking for top-of-the-line phones, the Galaxy Note 5 is bound to be in the conversation. With a great new design, high-end internals, wonderful screen and powerful camera, the Note 5 has a ton to offer. Many haven't been able to resist, and have already made the upgrade to a Note 5 — but others may still be on the fence.

No matter which camp you're in, we've rounded up all of our coverage that's required reading if you're getting into a Note 5. Let's get started.

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1 year ago

How cool are HyperLapses on the HTC One A9? This cool


Hyperlapses aren't exactly a new phenomenon. Instagram's been doing this for a while on its iPhone-exclusive app, and Microsoft finally opened up its Hyperlapse app for all Android users this summer.

However, with the HTC One A9, it is the first time that HyperLapse has been pre-packaged in a smartphone's stock camera app. HTC has not only made its TimeLapse function, well, functional, it has made it cool.

How cool? This cool.

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1 year ago

Enabling Android Pay loyalty card location notifications


Loyalty cards are great for earning rewards, but only if you actually remember to use them.

Using Android Pay, not only do you get to keep all of your loyalty and rewards cards together, you also can be notified when you can use the card. Simply by turning this feature on, Android Pay will let you know when and where your loyalty card can be used in the vicinity of your location. By then paying using your phone, you will earn rewards without being inconvenienced.

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