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1 month ago

How to set up your Shield Android TV to control your TV, receiver or soundbar

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How to set up your Shield Android TV to control your TV and receiver

It would be great if all of your entertainment devices just worked together, wouldn't it?

The new NVIDIA Shield Android TV is stepping up to the plate as a more complete entertainment solution, and part of that process is playing nice with more of the various devices around it. To that point, the new versions of the Shield Controller and Shield Remote that ship with the new box have integrated IR blasters so they can control your TV and receiver, acting in effect as simple semi-universal remotes.

With a little bit of configuration, you can easily use just the Shield Android TV's controller or remote to turn on your TV and receiver right alongside the box itself, and then control the volume of the receiver instead of just adjusting the Shield's own volume. While it won't work for every entertainment center setup, it could be just the fit for you. Here's how to get it done.

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1 month ago

Introducing Ask Jerry, the dopest place to get your questions answered!

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You asked for Ask Jerry, and here it is!

We're very lucky to have Jerry Hildenbrand as part of Android Central. He's smart, foul-mouthed and oh-so-intelligent, and he's now yours for the questioning.

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1 month ago

Google Home app for Android: Everything you need to know

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The Google Home app is for more than the speaker.

Google's eponymous app controls Google Home and Chromecast devices, and opens up new worlds of content for both. Whether you need to set up a new Chromecast, refine your Google Home actions, or just need to find something to cast, Google Home has got you covered.

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1 month ago

Common Moto G4 and G4 Plus problems and how to fix them

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Facing issues with your Moto G4 or G4 Plus? Here are the most common problems, and how to fix them.

The Moto G series epitomizes the budget segment, and the Moto G4 and G4 Plus build on that tradition by offering great features at an affordable price. Both phones have been in the market for over six months, and have their share of problems — both hardware and software. Some have been addressed with software updates, with the recent Nougat update increasing battery life and fixing several bugs, and there are others you can fix yourself.

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1 month ago

How to store downloaded Netflix content on a microSD card

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How do I store my offline Netflix content to a microSD card?

Netflix has just been updated with the ability to download offline content onto a microSD card. It's awesome! This comes after the app was updated to support offline content in the first place.

There are a couple of stipulations, of course: not every device supports the new feature, and you can only store the content that can actually be saved offline in the first place, which is a small percentage of Netflix's total catalogue.

Still, if you're running an older Android device, or one with nearly-full storage, this is a game-changer. Here's how to do it.

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1 month ago

How to change the Amazon Echo 'wake word' using Alexa app

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How can I address my Echo as "Computer"? Just follow these steps!

There's a new way to address your Amazon Echo, and it's about as fun as wearing Combadge — only with fewer stares in public. Amazon has updated the Echo and Echo Dot to respond to the wake word "Computer," instead "Alexa" or "Echo," and it's easy to change. Here's how to do it!

See at Amazon

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1 month ago

International data: How AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, Sprint and Project Fi compare

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International data overseas

Roaming outside the U.S. has improved dramatically — but not every carrier handles it the same.​

The editors here at Android Central tend to travel a lot for this job, and that isn't limited to staying in our home country. When we travel, we need to have our phones with us and connected all the time — that's kind of what we do. We're no strangers to dealing with roaming internationally, and thankfully for us the U.S. carriers are getting on board with everyone's tendency to get out of the country and see the world with their phones and tablets at their side.

Gone are the days of astronomical pay-per-megabyte rates, limited roaming carrier agreements and poor options from some of the carriers. Two of the big four carriers are now offering some sort of free international roaming, with the other two coming around to friendlier pricing structures and fewer restrictions on how we use our data we bought. Even prepaid carriers are getting in on the action with some international calling plans.

Even with all of these changes, international data still isn't cheap. Your best bet is to find a local prepaid SIM card when you travel and pop it in your unlocked phone. But that's not always easy — and there's really something luxurious about stepping off a plane, firing up your phone ... and seeing it just work.

So we've gathered up the international data rates and policies for the four major U.S. carriers — Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint — plus Google's own Project Fi. Each carrier does things slightly different, whether it's buying data ahead of time, loading up full-speed data passes once you're already gone or setting up a monthly roaming add-on.

Here's how each of the carriers handles international roaming.

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1 month ago

How to add a supervised user profile in Chrome 👀

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Supervised profiles for Chrome let you decide what your kids will see on the internet.

Got little ones who want to use a Chromebook or surf the web on your MacBook or Surface but aren't ready for everything on the internet? A supervised profile might be just what you're looking for.

A supervised account isn't connected to Google in any way, and the owner of the Chromebook (whoever first signed into it) controls what that account can do. You can block websites, see the full internet history, preinstall extensions and bookmarks, and more. It gives you pretty tight control over what the managed profile can do. Supervised profiles in the Chrome browser on Windows or Mac or Linux only control the browser window and can be created by any other user.

It's pretty simple to do and everything is right in the settings, so you won't have to enter any commands or read any confusing help files.

For Chromebooks

  • Make sure you're signed in as the owner of the Chromebook and open the settings.
  • Look in the People section to Manage other users and you can make sure supervised users is enabled.
  • Log out and on the start page, click More instead of signing in, and you'll see Add supervised user.
  • Click that link and you'll be asked which account will be the manager. Enter the password for that account.
  • Next, choose the name, password, and profile photo for the new account.

For the Chrome browser

  • Open the settings and go to the People section.
  • Click the Add person button.
  • Check the box that says you want to control and view the websites this user visits when you enter the name and password.

Now you can go to the new Supervised users section of your Google account and set up any restrictions you would like to enable.

One last step

If you're using the Chrome browser on Windows, Mac, or Linux, there's one last thing you should do to make sure the supervised account isn't able to switch to your account. Kids are smart. When you shut down, be sure to enable Childlock.

  • In the upper right corner you'll see your name. Click on it.
  • Click the Exit and childlock label.

Now you will need to enter your password the next time you want to log into Chrome.

We think everyone should be able to raise their children the way they think is best. That means different things to everyone, so we need tools like these. Like Chrome OS itself, Google has streamlined the process and management of user accounts in Chrome.

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1 month ago

Best flash drives to expand your NVIDIA Shield Android TV's storage

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Best flash drives to expand your NVIDIA Shield Android TV's storage

It's cheap and easy to expand the internal storage of your set top box.

The latest revision of the NVIDIA Shield Android TV may have lost its SD card slot, but it still has two perfectly good USB 3.0 ports that can work to expand your internal storage. You can attach just about anything to those ports, but with just 16GB of internal storage, many will want to fill one with an inexpensive flash drive that can be adopted into the system and work just as if it were internal storage.

NVIDIA actually makes a great set of recommendations for which flash drives work best with your Shield, and having done some research on them ourselves, we want to point out which ones are the drives to go with.

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1 month ago

Google Calendar: Ultimate Guide

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Everything you need to know about Google Calendar.

Google Calendar is an amazing and useful app because it's more than that — it's a cross-platform service that is as elegant as it is versatile.

It starts by being pre-loaded on your Android phone, tablet or Chromebook, and it goes from there. It's on the web, and it's on iOS. You can use it by yourself or share it with others. You can even subscribe to public calendars that are separate but perfectly integrated into your own. And the best part is that it syncs seamlessly in the Google Cloud, so you never have to worry that you've lost something.

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1 month ago

Don't forget to buy an HDMI cable for your NVIDIA Shield Android TV

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Don't forget to buy an HDMI cable for your NVIDIA Shield Android TV

Get this out of the way before your new Shield Android TV arrives.

Whether or not your shiny new set top box includes all of the required accessories is a bit hit or miss, and in the case of the new Shield Android TV the one thing missing is a crucial part: an HDMI cable. At this point a majority of us probably have an extra HDMI cable (or five) laying around and can plug right in, but if you're starting from scratch or have only ever used in-box cables, you'll need to buy an HDMI cable before you start using your shiny new Shield.

So what kind of cable do you need for the best performance, and what are some good options? We have you covered right here.

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1 month ago

How to fix Google Pixel battery life problems

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How to fix Google Pixel battery life problems

How do I extend battery life on my Google Pixel?

Google's Pixel XL offers impressive battery life for a phone of its size, but determined users can definitely drain it over the course of a hectic day. The smaller 5-inch Pixel with its 2770 mAh battery doesn't always offer the same longevity, giving you less wiggle room if you have heavier-than-usual use or forget to charge overnight.

Though both should be able to make it through an average day for most people, if you're finding your Pixel's battery coming up short sometimes, you'll want to follow a few of these handy tips to make the most of what you have.

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2 months ago

Here's a neat Chrome + multi-window trick you probably didn't know about

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Chrome multiwindow

It's easy to open links in the opposite window, or juggle Chrome tabs between both viewports.

Android 7.0's multi-window feature is great, letting you split your display between two full screen apps. But it comes with a few caveats, including the fact that you generally can't run different instances of the same app in both windows.

Google Chrome, however, is smart enough to juggle tabs between windows, letting you view different pages in each half of the screen. It's a neat trick that you might not be aware of, so here's how you do it.

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2 months ago

How to clear your Google Play search history

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We all have searches we'd rather forget.

We all go on app kicks that could skew our future search results. We may need to cover our tracks after searching for certain kinds of apps) on Google Play. We need to clean things up after our stupid friend/coworker/kid brother searches for apps on our phone as a joke. And when it comes to cleaning our Google Play search history, things are blissfully simple.

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2 months ago

Common Galaxy S7 problems and how to fix them

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The Galaxy S7 is an awesome phone, but it's not without its problems. Here are some of the most common issues and how to fix them.

Back in March of last year (has it been that long already?!), the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 edge launched to outstanding reviews and plenty of plaudits for both its hardware and software. But given that the phone is approaching its one-year anniversary, it's not surprising that some issues — both hardware and software — have arisen in that time.

Samsung has been generally good about correcting the major ones through software updates, but there are some big issues that users can address on their own.

Battery life problems

The Galaxy S7 suffers from battery issues more so than the larger Galaxy S7 edge — the former has a 3000mAh batter to the edge's 3600mAh cell — but they're both prone to getting beaten by the daily grind.

  • The first thing you're going to want to do is eliminate any errant battery-sucking apps that you've downloaded from the play store. Facebook and Facebook Messenger continue to be two that are repeatedly brought up by members of the AC community as being the worst battery offenders. Facebook can be accessed from the mobile web, and Facebook Messenger, well — just get WhatsApp and call it a day.

  • To check whether an app is using an unreasonable amount of battery, dive into Settings --> Battery --> Battery usage to isolate the misbehaving entity.

  • These potentially problematic apps extend to bloatware installed by your carrier. If you use a Verizon, T-Mobile or AT&T model, in particular, you'll benefit from deleting or disabling some or all of the pre-installed apps on the phone.

  • You can also disable the always-on display by going to Settings --> Display --> Always-on display and turning everything off. The feature was added to the Galaxy S7 for its convenience, and because the phone uses an efficient SuperAMOLED panel, but just because it's efficient doesn't mean it doesn't help to disable it.

How to fix Galaxy S7 battery life problems

  • Finally, if you're running Nougat — and you soon should be, if you're not already — you'll notice that battery should improve just by doing the upgrade. Why? Because Samsung has made a change to the default resolution of the Galaxy S7 that uses less energy. It's not magic, but you'll probably benefit from a couple extra hours of uptime as a result. Win!

Slow performance

This is a big category, and pretty hard to pin down, but we'll go through some of the most common solutions. Obviously, slow performance can be indicative of an errant app that may also be sucking up battery life, so dealing with this may help the other. Phones are known to slow down over time as people add more and do more with them.

Free up internal storage

The Galaxy S7 has 32GB of internal storage, and once you fill that up, the phone may begin to chug. The system will alert you when you get really close to the edge, but even before then, deleting some of those larger apps and games may do the trick.

It may also be a good idea to upload your photos to Google Photos so you can delete them locally. Google Photos offers unlimited free high-quality backups, along with at least 15GB of full-quality backups, on any phone, including the Galaxy S7. It's also likely pre-installed on your device — just look for it in the Google folder on your home screen, or in the app drawer.

How to use Google Photos on Android and the web

Change launchers

On the surface, changing launchers may not seem like it will do anything, but it does: Samsung's TouchWIZ launcher is notoriously slow, especially with all the features enabled (like Flipboard Briefing, which you should probably turn off).

To fix that, you may want to change launchers to something a bit more lightweight and performant. May we suggest one of the following?

The best Android launchers

Factory reset your phone

There are myriad reasons your phone may be bogged down, and merely deleting apps, changing launchers or disabling some features may not do enough.

If you're running into a virtual brick wall, back up everything in Google Drive, Google Photos, Dropbox, or wherever else you tend to store your virtual goods, and start over.

How do you do that on your Galaxy S7 or S7 edge?

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Scroll down to Backup and reset.
  3. Scroll down and top on Factory data reset.
  4. Tap on Reset Device.

Once you reset, you'll have to log in again to your various accounts and apps, but your apps should download automatically once you log into your Google account.

Wi-Fi & Bluetooth issues

Among the most common problems on a smartphone today, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth problems can be caused by a number of factors, many of which are outside of your control.

When troubleshooting these wireless connections, it's important to establish whether the issue is indeed your phone or the object(s) you're connecting to, and the fastest way to determine that is to use another phone or tablet to connect. If that other product has no connectivity issues, then it's worth pursuing a fix on the Galaxy S7 or S7 edge itself.

  1. Make sure you turn off Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, wait a few seconds and turn it back on. If that doesn't fix the problem, head to the next step.
  2. Restart your phone. Sometimes all that's needed a quick kick to the reset button and you're good to go.
  3. If Wi-Fi problems persist, try forgetting the network by holding down on the SSID (name) and tapping Forget network. Then re-enter the password.
  4. If Bluetooth problems persist, try unpairing the object from your phone and re-pairing. To do that, tap on the little cog icon next to the product's name and hit Unpair. Put the speaker or whatever you're connecting to in pairing mode and connect again.

How to fix Wi-Fi problems on the Galaxy S7

Random restarts and boot loops

A common occurrence, especially in more recent months, has been Galaxy S7 units randomly freezing while in use, restarting, or what's known as boot looping, which finds the phone stuck in a cycle where it attempts to boot into Android but somehow gets stuck and performs the process all over again.

Like with all the above issues, there are a number of potential issues causing this, from errant apps causing overheating to problems with an Android update to a corroded or damaged mainboard.

To troubleshoot, work from easiest solution to most difficult.

  1. If your phone boots into Android but is randomly restarting, it may be overheating or have a problematic app. Follow the instructions above to isolate the malefactor.
  2. If deleting all potentially problematic apps doesn't work, reboot into the recovery and clear the cache partition.
  3. If that doesn't work, it may be time to reset the phone completely. If you can't get into the phone, follow the instructions to factory reset the phone from the recovery menu.

Other issues

What are your main issues with the Galaxy S7 or S7 edge? We'll keep this article updated as new information becomes available!

Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 edge

Unlocked AT&T Sprint T-Mobile Verizon

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