5 months ago

Why do I care if my phone is SIM unlocked?

SIM tray

Would you buy a car that can only use the right lane?

SIM unlocked, or network unlocked, phones aren't a big deal for many of us. We're using a network provider that works well in the places where we spend most of our time (or should be), and using a phone that was designed to work on that particular network. Everyone is happy, everything just works, and we don't take time to think about it.

But we should.

While we're just fine with the status quo described above most of the time, there are three really good reasons why you would want a network unlocked phone. Let's have a look at them.

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5 months ago

How to disable ads in HTC BlinkFeed


Ads in BlinkFeed are rolling out to HTC phones in some countries — but it's easy to opt out if you want

HTC recently started showing promotions through its BlinkFeed home screen reader app. It's a somewhat controversial move that sees BlinkFeed — which had previously been free of advertisements — starting to show "interest-based" ads alongside news and social content in the U.S., UK, Germany, Taiwan, and China. That means you might have started seeing sponsored BlinkFeed items on your HTC One M9, One M8, Desire or other HTC phones. Fortunately, if you're not a fan of ads in your feed, it's easy to opt out altogether.

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5 months ago

What is an 'unlocked' phone? (And why do I care?)

Unlocked phones

Is my phone's bootloader unlocked? Is it SIM unlocked? What's the difference, and why is any of this important?

Unlocked. It's a word you'll see used a lot on websites about mobile technology, and most people writing about it will be sure to let you know that it is a good thing™. And it is (See? told 'ya). But unlocked can mean different things — that are all good things — depending on what, exactly, we're talking about.

Maybe you're wondering about being able to unlock the bootloader on the phone you want to buy next. Or maybe you'll need to SIM unlock your phone so you can take that trip abroad and not pay AT&T ten-cents a minute and a handful of dollars each time you check your email. Both are important, and we're going to talk about the differences.

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5 months ago

Smart Cleaning on the LG G4 - what is it, and do you need it?

LG G4 Smart Cleaning

Know what is going to happen before you tap that button, or you might regret it.

There are a lot of tools and utilities in the LG G4's settings pages. Some are simple, and the same you would see in any other Android phone or tablet, while others require a bit of thinking before you go and tap on buttons. Smart Cleaning is one of the latter.

The idea is a good one. You will likely have files on your storage that you don't want or need, and Smart Cleaning is a one-touch solution to get rid of a few of them. But there is also the potential to delete things you don't want deleted, like camera raw files and even applications you haven't used recently. Let's take a look at exactly what Smart Cleaning does when you tap the button.

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5 months ago

How to factory reset and erase the LG G4

All good things must come to an end, even your relationship with your phone. This means at some point you may need to reset your LG G4. But it's not the only reason to do it.

Your LG G4 comes from the factory just about as clean as it will ever be. You haven't filled it up with apps and photos yet. It's not littered with folders from apps you installed, used for two days, then uninstalled. You haven't messed with the settings and forgotten what you did. So when your phone starts to slow down, or when a bug rears its ugly head and regular troubleshooting fails to fix it, you can always go nuclear with a factory reset.

Make sure your backups are current and let's hit the reset button.

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5 months ago

How to merge and unmerge Chrome tabs in Lollipop


It's either the best or worst feature ever invented, depending on who you ask.

Everyone uses their devices just a little bit differently, and the web browser is more often than not a perfect example of that statement. Chrome for Android offers many great features, including the ability to sync all of your data across multiple devices so you are always with whatever tabs you left open elsewhere. How we use those tabs is often a topic of great debate, usually between those who keep dozens of tabs open at all times and those who swipe a tab away when they're done with it and bookmark the rest.

With the Lollipop release of Android, Google introduced a new way to handle Chrome tabs. Instead of keeping the tabs contained in one app, Android now offers individual Chrome tabs as their own cards in the multitasking panel. It's not something that works for everyone, so here's a quick explainer on turning that feature on and off.

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5 months ago

How to make sure you get the fix for the Samsung keyboard exploit


Two days after word of an unlikely-but-real exploit involving the stock keyboard in a number of current Samsung smartphones was revealed, we're getting more details about the fix.

Samsung in a blog post today has further explained what to expect in regards to upcoming software fixes to the way its stock keyboard updates itself. As was disclosed earlier this week, it's theoretically possible for an attacker to piggyback on the language packages as they're updating, if you (and the attacker) are on the same unsecure network. It's unlikely — and Samsung today says "there have been no reported customer cases" of phones being compromised by this exploit since the June 16 announcement — but it's still possible.

New security policy updates will push out "in a few days," Samsung says in the post, "to invalidate potential vulnerabilities caused by this issue."

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5 months ago

How to get your pictures out of Facebook and into Google Photos

Facebook Photo Albums

Facebook basically does the bare minimum when it comes to giving you your photos back, and that's really unfortunate.

Most of us have a lot of photos in Facebook, but don't actually use that platform as a long-term storage solution. That's probably a good idea considering how photos are handled on the service, and making the move to something like Google Photos instead is something to consider. Unfortunately the data export tools for Facebook are pretty bad, leaving you with lots of issues when it comes to getting every photo out of the service and over to something new.

But there's no better time to get this done than now, and we're going to explain all of the caveats related to getting your photos from Facebook to Google Photos.

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5 months ago

How to move your OneDrive pictures to Google Photos

How to move your OneDrive pictures to Google Photos

OneDrive has its draws as a photo locker, but if you've chosen to move to Google Photos it's a simple process.

With great cross-device syncing — particularly if you use Windows devices — and very cheap storage options, OneDrive is a great choice for storing photos and plenty of other things. But if you're ready to give Google Photos a try instead, it's a simple move that will only take a few minutes to set up.

Microsoft makes it super easy to download specific albums or every single one of your photos, and if you've installed the OneDrive app on your computer this process is going to be even easier. Let us show you how to get it done.

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5 months ago

T-Mobile's Android 5.1 update for the Galaxy S6 fixes a major annoyance


Here's one little change in the latest software update to T-Mobile's Samsung Galaxy S6 and GS6 edge that's going to be a welcome one for many of us.

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5 months ago

Switch LG G4's Settings to list view

Once you go list, you never go back.

Settings is an app that we rely on more than almost any other. You can replace a launcher if you don't like it, but the Settings app that came on your phone is the one you've got.

Settings is not an app the average user leisurely scrolls through while they're waiting for the bus. You get in, change what you need to, and get out. Settings is also an app that doesn't change that radically, either. Even for all of Samsung's UI tweaks, they left the Settings on the Samsung Galaxy S6 in one big list with some quick links at the top. Settings is the dependable old road you can take home, even while the rest of the neighborhood changes. The LG G4 turned that trusty old road into an ever-changing desert.

Here's how to get back to the road you know.

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5 months ago

The ultimate guide to Google Maps on Android

Google Maps on Android

Google Maps is an amazingly powerful tool that can help you get anywhere, and see anything.

Google Maps

Whether you want to drive to a new place in the shortest amount of time, navigate a public transit system that you're still learning or get recommendations for things around you, Google Maps is an all-encompassing app that can do it. It offers real time traffic data, transit directions, a massive directory of places and an impressively large set of satellite imagery all at your fingertips.

An app as huge as this deserves plenty of your time to learn how to use it just right, so we've pulled together all of our information, help and tips on the subject into one place — the ultimate guide to Google Maps.

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5 months ago

How to handle wireless charging in big phones

Note 4 Qi

Making everything bigger introduces new problems, but the solutions are often fairly simple.

We might as well call facts facts; big smartphones aren't going anywhere anytime soon. If anything, our mobile devices are going to continue to push the envelope. For the most part, the people who enjoy these devices can all agree it's a good thing. There are a couple of situations, however, where having a big phone can present unique challenges. A perfect example is wireless charging, which seems like it would be easier with a larger phone but more often than not means you have to be unreasonably specific about how your phone sits on whatever platter you've purchased.

In a perfect world these devices would all have guiding magnets to make things easier — RIP Nexus 5 — but since that doesn't happen we've got some quick tips on making wireless charging a little easier.

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5 months ago

How to move your Flickr pictures to Google Photos

Google Photos and Flickr tabs in Chrome

Google Photos is a great new system, but you need to get your existing photos up there somehow.

If Flickr has been your photo system of choice — and we wouldn't blame you with 1TB of free storage — up to this point, then you'll have to download all of your photos from there in order to get your Google Photos library started. Unlike Dropbox there's no way to automatically download your Flickr photos to your computer, so this will take a few extra steps and manual downloads.

But if you're committed to moving things over to Google Photos, it'll be worth it. We'll show you how to get your Flickr library downloaded and moved over to something new.

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5 months ago

Using Dual Window on the LG G4


While phones have gotten bigger and bigger, we've still (mostly) only been using one app at a time on these growing screens. On the LG G4, you can take full advantage of its 5.5 inches.

Sometimes you want to take notes while you watch a video, but you only have one device with you. Sometimes, you need to reference the numbers from your spreadsheet while you draft and email. Or maybe you just wanna watch the Android Central Podcast while you sort out your email in a vain attempt at achieving Inbox Zero.

Whatever you needs may be, Dual Window on the LG G4 is here to help, and while there may not be a lot of apps supported right now, the ones that are will help you get things done.

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