One of the big blunders of Samsung's Gear Fit was that the screen was horribly annoying to read in the horizontal orientation while on your wrist. It just didn't look right and you have to shapeshift your arm to be able to read it straight on.
With a quick update however, they've added a new option that lets you change the orientation to vertical instead — making things much easier to read. Of course if you like the horizontal layout better, that option is still there as well.
Developer mode is easy to get to, you just have to remember to enable it
As has been the case since Android 4.2, the developer options have been hidden by default from your Android settings menu. This is a good thing, actually, as it'll keep curious minds from potentially breaking things. It also helps keep your phone more secure.
But there are plenty of reasons why you would want to enable developer options on your Galaxy S5. If you want to plug in to a computer and do any sort of command-line work, this is going to be your first stop. Or if you need some extra debugging options as a programmer. Or, maybe you are that sort of curious creature who just wants to see how things work. Nothing wrong with any of that.
But, of course, you're going to first have to turn developer mode on for your Galaxy S5. Here's how to do it.
If you're picking up a new Samsung Galaxy S5 and moving from a past life with an iPhone, then there's some questions you might have. Firstly, welcome! We hope you enjoy your new Galaxy S5, but likewise we know that changing platform can be daunting at first.
But we're here to help. After the break you'll find some helpful links, tips, tricks and apps to help you get up and running before you really start to explore.
Whether you're brand new to Sense 6 or you've upgraded your existing HTC phone, one thing you'll definitely want to be able to do is get email. Default Mail apps typically get a pretty bad rap, which is why we have alternatives like Gmail. However, the official Mail app in Sense 6 is more than decent and supports multiple account types all in one place. Here's how to set it up and start using it:
How to add an email account in the Mail app of Sense 6
Launch the Mail app on your HTC phone running Sense 6.
Choose the mail provider you use. If it isn't listed, select Other.
Type in your credentials and then tap Next.
If you chose Other you may be asked to input ingoing and outgoing server settings. If you don't know them, you'll need to look them up or ask your email provider for them. (Gmail's for example, live here.)
Lastly, give your mailbox a name. This can be anything you want. It just helps you differentiate it from any other mail accounts you may set up. Once you've picked one, just tap on Finish Setup.
Your email inbox should now appear in the Mail app of your phone.
If you have more Mail accounts to add, just tap on the plus sign in the upper right corner of the Mail app and then choose Add account. Simply follow the same process as above to add all of your accounts.
How to use and manage the Mail app in Sense 6
The Mail app in Sense 6 is fairly straightforward. Simply pull out the side menu to switch between accounts. From this menu you can also toggle your views and view any folders or other boxes linked to your accounts. The default view is the unified inbox but you can change it at any time in this menu.
You can also head into the Settings app on your HTC phone and edit sync settings as well as sync all accounts. Just tap on Accounts & sync and then find Mail in the Accounts list. From here you can change sync intervals and set file limits for individual accounts.
If you're using Sense 6, what do you think of the official Mail app? Are you willing to give it a try this time around or are you sticking with something else? And if so, let me know in the comments what Mail app you're using instead!
This may be the most important feature on any smartphone
Our phones make a lot of noise. They chirp. Beep. Vibrate. Sing. Howl. And if you're the popular type (or, worse, work with folks across many time zones), your phone can be worse than a newborn at 3 a.m. or a dog in a thunderstorm. Fortunately, smartphone manufacturers are finally baking in "Do Not Disturb" functions.
Here's how to use Do Not Disturb in Sense 6 on the HTC One M8.
App shortcuts are easy to switch out on the new HTC One, with one caveat
HTC was one of the first Android manufacturers to allow for app shortcuts in its lock screen, giving quick access to some of your most frequently used applications without actually having to unlock the phone first. That feature returns on the HTC One M8.
By default, you've got four app shortcuts on the lock screen: Phone, Messages (texting), Internet and Camera.
But what if you want different apps there? It's pretty simple to switch out.
In this segment of Ask AC, we tackle what you need to know before you decide to downgrade Android on your phone.
Most of us here are update junkies. When a new version of Android (or anything, for that matter) is announced, we start bouncing off the walls and worrying about when we get a chance to have it and enjoy the changes. When it's a new version of our operating system, things get even more frantic. We look for leaks, we try custom ROMs based on the new stuff, and we're ready to sideload the minute the right files appear. It's half the fun of owning an Android, and we just love the fluid state of software and the constant changes.
But not everyone feels this way.
Some of us need to stay on an old version — or think we need to stay on an old version. Maybe you've read about some bugs that you don't want to encounter. Or maybe the new version breaks support for something you want or need. Or battery life issues and reports have you skittish. There are any number of reasons to want to go back, but it's not as simple as it sounds in most cases.
Let's discuss both the reasons for needing to downgrade your Android, as well as the feasibility of doing the deed.
No iPhone or iPad behind doesn't mean you can't still AirPlay content to your Apple TV
It isn't inconceivable that you own both an Android phone or tablet and an Apple TV. Sure, we're fans of Chromecast in these parts, but the Apple TV still has a lot to offer, especially if you're heavily involved in the iTunes content ecosystem.
One party piece that the Apple TV offers to iPhone and iPad owners is AirPlay. Wirelessly streaming music and video, mirroring the display on your iOS device or Mac, it's a tremendously handy thing to have. But just because you've got an Android phone or tablet doesn't mean you can't join in with some of the AirPlay action. Head on past the break to see a couple of ways to AirPlay your locally stored music and video from your Android device to your Apple TV.
One app makes it simple to keep using your iCloud calendar on Android
With all the awesome Android devices on the market today, it's perfectly understandable if you're ditching your old iPhone and coming to join us where things are more Google flavored. But, with leaving one ecosystem completely comes the problem of moving all your stuff with it.
iPhone owners may well have relied upon iCloud in a similar manner to Android users relying on Google. Fortunately, there's always something you can do to bring thing with you and here we're going to look at syncing your existing iCloud calendars to your Android device. You need not move it all to Google Calendar since there's a really simple way to carry on using it. Head on past the break to see how.
Want to ditch the fixed Sony screen protector? There are a couple of options to consider.
Sony's fixed screen protectors — officially known as "anti-shatter film" — are finally a thing of the past with the Xperia Z2 series. But the vast majority of Sony smartphones on the market today still come fitted with these slimy-feeling plastic sheets over their displays — and sometimes on the back glass, too.
These don't just make your glass-clad phone feel like plastic, they're also way easier to scratch than the reinforced glass used by most smartphones displays. To cite a couple of examples — Andrew Martonik tore a scratch across the face of his Xperia ZL when it brushed the corner of a MagSafe connector. And the ASF on my own Z1 Compact was dented by a USB connector dropping onto it from a height of around six inches. You'd understandably expect a high-priced piece of consumer electronics to be more resiliant than this, and that's no doubt why Sony has ditched the ASF for its early 2014 flagship.
But what if you've damaged the fixed screen protector on your Xperia phone, or you just don't like the way it feels and want to get rid of it? Well, the process is actually relatively simple — and there are a few options open to you when it comes to replacing the shipped screen protector.
There's no need to abandon your iCloud email address when you get a new Android device
If you're moving to an Android device from an iPhone or iPad, there's every possibility you're already set up and using an iCloud email address. Android devices require you to have a Google account and accompanying Gmail address, but you might want to keep using your iCloud account for email. And that's just fine.
The good news is it is perfectly possible to get your iCloud email address up and running on your Android device. It's pretty straight forward but does involve a little effort on your part. Head on past the break to see how.
Fear not, you can cut down on the number of QuizUp notifications without uninstalling the game altogether
The day has finally come when the folks on Android can get in on the QuizUp craze, and we're quickly finding out that the game is both fun and extremely annoying with notifications. Being a social game, QuizUp strongly encourages the use of Facebook or Google+ login along with Google Play Games, which has the upside of getting you playing with your friends and the downside of notifying you about every. single. game.
Luckily after a bugfix update the app should at least now obey your setting selections, so you now have a few options to make QuizUp a little less bothersome in your notification bar. There's the semi-annoying step of simply removing your Facebook or Google+ account from the game, and of course the nuclear option of blocking QuizUp notifications at the system level. Hit the break and see the process — you may just be able to keep this fun game installed after all.
Sometimes a big phone is just too big — LG's Mini View scales it down
So you bought a giant phone. In the case of the LG G Pro 2, you've bought yourself a 5.9-inch phone. That's a whole lot of phone. And at times it might be too much, leaving you longing for simpler days, when you were able to use your phone with one hand.
(We'll save for another time the idea that perhaps you should have bought a smaller device.)
LG's got your covered with the G Pro 2. With a simple swipe across the on-screen buttons you can enable Mini View, which shrinks things down to a more manageable size.
And that's just the beginning, really. Mini View has some flexibility to it.
Knock Code will come to other LG phones via software updates this year
With Knock On — wherein you tap the display twice to turn on your phone — has been one of our favorite new features of the past few months. LG introduced it with the LG G2 in 2013, and it returned with the LG G Flex toward the end of the year. And now, in 2014, LG's taking things a step further.
Introducing Knock Code. It's available now on the LG G Pro 2 and will come to other current LG phones later this year via a software update.
As the name implies, you'll no longer be limited to only unlocking your phone — now you'll be able knock (OK, tap, really) as a security function.