Before you hand your Android phone to your kids, download and enable Kid Mode first!
Kid Mode is a great app made by Zoodles that not only adds some great parental controls to almost any newer Android phone, it also lets them draw, learn, and be creative — under a watchful eye of course. All this can happen without them being able to access or mess with any of your personal stuff. When they're done, just disable Kid Mode and go back to using your phone like you normally would. Here's how:
BlinkFeed has become quite the hit for HTC and its Sense user interface, giving you an easy way to snack on information from your social networks, or news, or even upcoming events in your calendar. Just swipe over from the main home screen, and there it is. But if you don't want it there, it's easy to remove.
If you have a lot of contacts, weeding through them to find a specific person or searching can be daunting. That's why most smartphones let you have a list of your favorite contacts. The Galaxy S5 is no exception. Here's how to add a contact to your favorites:
Put common settings at your fingertips with Quick Settings in Sense 6
The Quick Settings panel in Sense 6 gives you access to a lot of the common system toggles and settings most folks use on a regular basis. From turning wifi and Bluetooth on and off to enabling Extreme Power Saving Mode, here's how to set up and use Quick Settings on your HTC One M8:
Looking for a more Googley GS5 experience? Here are eight ways to get started ...
The Samsung Galaxy S5 is the hot new Android phone of the moment, with waterproof credentials, a new soft-touch plastic rear and a highly capable 16-megapixel camera. But one major sticking point for Android purists is Samsung's TouchWiz user interface. Though it's been pared back, flattened and de-bloated in its latest revision, TouchWiz remains a polarizing UI. And some of us just prefer the simpler look of vanilla Android.
Fortunately, thanks to Google rolling out many of its own Android apps freely on the Play Store, it's easier than ever for GS5 owners to switch to a setup closer to stock Android. Head past the break to find out how.
By popular request from a few folks in the office, here's a quick look at how the Motion Launch gestures work on the HTC One M8. You'll see some helpful pop-ups for this when you first use the phone. If you want to turn the gestures off, go to Settings>Display and gestures>Motion Launch gestures.
Don't deal with bad public wifi, just use your Galaxy S5's connection instead
Turning your smartphone into a mobile hotspot can save you from painfully slow public WiFi or the crappy free internet your hotel provides. With a battery that can last hours, the Galaxy S5 is the perfect companion for times when you need your own dedicated wireless connection. You may need to make sure you've got a proper plan with your carrier, though.
Here's how to use the mobile hotspot feature:
How to turn the Samsung Galaxy S5 into a wireless hotspot
Swipe down from the Home screen of your Galaxy S5 to pull now the Notifications shade.
Tap on the Settings icon in the top right.
Now find Tethering and Wi-Fi hotspot and tap on it to select it.
In the next menu, tap on Mobile Hotspot.
Turn it On at the top by tapping on the On/Off toggle.
Hit OK on the Attention screen advising you that WiFi will be turned off.
Follow the directions at the bottom of the screen to connect another device to your Galaxy S5.
How to change the password and security type for wireless hotspot on the Galaxy S5
By default your Samsung Galaxy S5 adds a password to the mobile hotspot feature. It also defaults to WPA2 for security. If you want to change either of these settings, follow these steps:
Swipe down from the Home screen of your Galaxy S5 to pull down the Notifications shade.
Tap on the Settings icon in the top right.
Now tap on Tethering and Wi-Fi hotspot.
Choose Mobile Hotspot.
Tap on the three dots in the upper right to view more options.
In this screen go ahead and change the password or any other settings you'd like, including security type and then tap Save.
Keep in mind that some data plans may not work with mobile hotspot if your carrier doesn't allow it. If you run into issues or have problems, the first thing you should do is make sure you're on a compatible data plan with your carrier.
The Samsung Galaxy S5 features an infrared emitter at the top of the phone which can control your TV and other home electronics. The app, Smart Remote, requires a little bit of setup but is ultimately very useful in reducing the number of controllers you need to keep around in your living room, not to mention keeping track of what’s on at any given time.
The group behind NFC wants to make sure you know what it is, and that you know you're using it
As more and more of us start taking advantage of NFC — that's Near-Field Communication, or the standard that lets you tap your phone to some other device to establish a connection, exchange data, etc. — we're increasingly getting the following question: "What is that weird symbol taking up space at the top of my phone?
While autocorrect always has the best intentions, it doesn't always play nice with everyone. The Galaxy S5 is no exception. Whether you want to simply disable it permanently or just while typing something that may contain a lot of words it doesn't recognize, you can do so on any keyboard you have pulled up in just a few taps. Here's how, when using Samsung's keyboard:
With the keyboard visible, tap and hold the Dictation key that sits to the left of the space bar.
In the floating menu, tap on the Settings gear.
Under the Smart Typing section, tap on Predictive Text and disable it at the top.
If you'd like, you can also disable settings such as auto-capitalization and punctuation under the Smart Typing section as well.
That's all there is to it. Anytime you'd like to change autocorrect settings again, just follow the same steps. Keep in mind that if you have alternative keyboards installed through Google Play, the directions may vary slightly due to how different keyboards are laid out.
Have you ever found a reason to disable predictive text or any other keyboard autocorrect feature? Or have you just swapped the default Samsung keyboard out completely for something else? Let me know in the comments!
By default, the Samsung Galaxy S5 just needs a little swipe to wake up from the lock screen, but anyone with even a tiny sense of security will want something more. The S5 offers a bunch of different ways to keep your device locked when not in use
No matter the weather, you won't have to choose between using your phone and having cold fingers.
You won't always need to make use of your phone while wearing gloves, but when the temperatures dip the last thing you want to do is expose your extremities to the elements to send a tweet. With the latest enhancements in touchscreen technology phones can now be sensitive enough to be used with gloves, and the Galaxy S5 is no exception.
The ability to poke around your new phone while keeping your fingers warm isn't turned on by default, but it's simple enough to turn on if you need the feature. Read along and see how you can turn on the increased screen sensitivity mode on your Galaxy S5, and keep your fingers warm in the process.
And that continues today with a few of the top Galaxy S5 questions we've received from the fine folks out there. Some of these we've already covered. Some of these will be pretty basic for those of you who have mastered your Android smartphone.
But for those of you just starting out, welcome! We're glad you're here. And these top Galaxy S5 questions will speed you on your way.
Believe it or not, this is proven to be our most popular GS5 tip thus far. Turns out folks love taking sharing screenshots from their Galaxy S5. (We'll save what they're actually taking screenshots of for another time.)
As the Galaxy S5 is physically different from most other Android phones in that it still has a physical home button, the methods of taking a screenshot are a little different. We go into more detail here, but these are the three options:
Simultaneously press the power button and the home button. Let go when you hear the shutter sound.
Swipe your hand, placed vertically with your pinky facing down, over the Galaxy S5 display, either from left to right or right to left.
There's a third option, of course – use the DDMS tool along with the Android SDK. But if you know what that is, then you should also already know how to use it.
How to change the Galaxy S5 lock screen
You're going to see your Galaxy S5's lock screen more than just about any other screen on the phone. It's what you see when you first wake it up. When you want to check the time or the weather.
And, fortunately for you, it's customizable.
Go to the phone's main settings menu, then scroll down to the "Sound and Display" section. That's where you'll find the lock screen settings. Once there, you've got a number of options. First and foremost is the "Screen security" option. That's where you choose whether you want a PIN or strong password to unlock your phone. Or if you want to use the fingerprint scanner. Or — and we don't really recommend this — to have no lock screen security at all.
The "dual clock" option will display a second clock when you're on the road. So if you live in the Eastern time zone but are in California, it'll show you the time in both places. Handy. You also can choose how big you want the clock to be.
There are basic checkboxes for the date and camera shortcut. Do note that if you have lock screen security enabled (and you should), opening the camera only gives access to the camera app. To go anywhere else, you'll need the password.
You also can change the unlock effect of the lock screen (ripple is pretty cool), and choose whether you want to see weather and steps information when the pedometer is turned on in the S Health application.
How to turn off Galaxy S5 touch sounds
This is another one of those simple tips that we love to give. The Galaxy S5 tends to make noise whenever you tap the screen, or type on the keyboard. Trust us, you'll want to turn these off. There are a few ways to do it:
Pull down from the top of the screen, and tap the sound quick setting to either vibrate or mute.
Go into the sound settings and uncheck the "Touch sounds" option.
If you're using the Samsung keyboard, we'd also recommend unchecking "Sound when tapped" in that section.
How to maximize your Galaxy S5 battery life
Battery life is like chocolate. You just can't ever get enough. Fortunately, the Galaxy S5 gets pretty good battery life. But we have a few tips that can help maximize your Galaxy S5 battery life. The broad strokes include:
Lower your display brightness.
Use Wifi whenever possible
Check your display timeout. If it's set to keep your display on for a long time while you're not using the phone, you're wasting battery life. + Use GPS sparingly.
Employ one of the Galaxy S5 battery saving modes.
Occasionally reboot or reset your phone.
Or just carry a spare battery around.
How to adjust Galaxy S5 call settings
And the last of the top Galaxy S5 new user questions regards the call settings. There are a couple of ways to get to these. One is through the phone application itself. Look for the three-dot overflow menu button. That's where you'll find the call settings. The other way is through the main settings menu.
There are a couple of call settings menus worth looking over. One is for calls themselves. You'll find options for rejecting calls, answering and ending calls, the pop-ups you'll get while you're on calls, call alerts and accessories, and additional call settings. If you're looking for a way to tweak your phone call experience, this is the place for it.
You'll also find the Contacts settings here as well. You can import and export settings, choose when contacts to display, and chose how they're displayed. Powerful stuff here.
And that's it for our top Galaxy S5 new users questions, as posed by you folks. For more Galaxy S5 help and hints, visit this page. And be sure to swing by our Galaxy S5 forums to get help from other folks using the phone!
We love features — and the ability to turn them off.
Samsung's My Magazine feature on the Galaxy S5 is similar to HTC's BlinkFeed feature. It can filter in news stories and social updates from various networks for easy access in just a swipe. However, if you don't like My Magazine you can easily disable it altogether. Here's how:
The only complaint you can make is that Google didn't release these features sooner.
Google has dropped a pretty notable update to its stock camera app, given it a proper name and at the same time opened it up to non-Nexus devices running KitKat in the Play Store. While the interface still isn't mind-blowing, it has changed pretty dramatically from what you'd be used to if you used a Nexus 5 just yesterday. Google has overhauled the picture-taking interface for regular shots, panoramas and Photo Spheres, while also adding a brand new feature called "Lens Blur."
We've taken some time to walk through the new interface, and you can color us impressed with the changes that have been made. While we know most of you will be able to get your hands on the app right away and give it a try for yourself, we're going to take a run through all of the latest features of the Google Camera app and give you a few tips for getting the best shots possible.