Recent Articles | Android Central

Order Samsung Galaxy S8: AT&T | Verizon | T-Mobile | Sprint

Pre-Order Unlocked Galaxy S8: Best Buy

Headlines

1 month ago

Two-factor authentication: What you need to know

32

You should use two-factor authentication on every account that offers it. Here's an explainer of what it is, and why you want it.

Update, April 2017: In light of the recent round of celebrity phone hacks, we have refreshed this page with the most relevant information.

You see a lot of talk on the internet about two-factor authentication (or 2FA as it's commonly called) but most times its just people like us telling you to use it. And we'll continue that trend and start this bit of prose by telling you to use 2FA whenever and wherever you can. But we're also going to let you know what it is, and why it's important that you use it. Read on.

What is two-factor authentication?

To put it in simple terms, 2FA means that you need to present two different things from two different sources that prove who you are. Generally, there are three different types of ID that can be used for 2FA purposes when it comes to online accounts:

  • A thing that only you should know. Things like a password, a PIN, an account number, your street address or even the last four digits of your Social Security number fit the bill here.
  • A thing that you can hold in your hands. This means your phone, an authenticator fob like this one or a USB security key.
  • A thing that is part of you like your fingerprint, retina pattern or voice pattern.

When you have 2FA enabled on an account, you need two of these three things to get access.

You've been using 2FA for most of your adult life. The companies who process credit card payments for online retailers usually force you to enter the three-digit code on the back of your credit card as well as the card number, then provide the billing address. The numbers on the card (both front and back) are a way to make sure you have the card in your possession for the first method of authentication, then the address you provide has to match what the card issuer has on file as a second way to prove who you are. That's 2FA. Back when the world still used checks to pay for things, most businesses wanted two forms of physical ID from a well-recognized place like your state DMV or your school as a way to make sure you are the person whose name is on the top of the check. That's also 2FA. And to get those IDs usually requires multiple things from different places to prove who you are.

You've been using 2FA all along and probably didn't realize it.

Using 2FA for your online accounts is a little bit different, but still uses the same principle — if you can provide more than one method to prove who you are, you probably really are who you claim to be. For an account somewhere like Google, or Facebook or Amazon you need to supply a password. Your password is something only you should know, but sometimes other people can get hold of it. When you add a 2FA requirement — like an authentication token sent to your phone or a USB security key that you plug into your computer — a password is no longer enough to get into your account. Without both pieces of authentication, you're locked out.

Is two-factor authentication secure?

Yes and no. Using 2FA on an account is a lot more secure than not using it, but nothing is really secure. That scary thought aside, using 2FA is usually sufficient protection for your "stuff" unless you're a high-profile target or really unlucky.

Using 2FA is usually sufficient protection for your onlione accounts and services.

On the positive side, if you're using 2FA and some fake phishing email manages to get you to supply your password they still can't log into your account. The way most people use 2FA for online accounts is to have a token sent to an app on their phone and without that token, the email scammer isn't going to have any luck getting access. They will enter your account user name or ID, then the password, and then they need to supply that token to go any further. Unless they have your phone, the work involved in bypassing the second ID requirement is enough to get the bad guy to say "forget it!" and move to someone else.

On the other hand, if you are someone like President Obama or Mick Jagger, it's worth it to try and get into your accounts. And there are ways. The communication between the people supplying the authentication token and your phone are safe for the most part, so attackers go after the website or server asking for the credentials. Auth tokens and cookies can be hijacked by very clever folks, and as soon as one method gets patched they start looking for another. This takes a lot of knowledge and hard work so that means that the end result has to be worth it all. Chances are you and I aren't worth the trouble, so 2FA is a good way to secure our accounts.

How do I use two-factor authentication?

It's easier than you might think!

Setting up 2FA on an account is a three step process. You need to provide your current credentials by typing in your password again (this helps keep someone else from adding it to your account), even if you're currently logged into the service. Then you go into the account settings and enable 2FA on your account. This lets the server that manages your login know that you want to enable it, and they will get everything ready on their end after they ask what type of authentication you will be using — most common are codes sent to your phone as an SMS message or through an authenticator application. Finally, you affirm the change by supplying a token back to the server. If you're using an app this might be a barcode you have to scan or manually entering some information into the app. If you chose to use SMS a code will be sent that you need to enter on the website to finish things up.

The next step happens when you want to log into that account again. You'll enter a username or ID, then a password, and then be asked to supply an authentication number. That number is sent as an SMS if that's how you set things up, or in the app on your phone if you decided to go that route. You type that number into the text field and you have access.

Most services will store an authentication token on your phone or computer, so the next time you want to log in you won't have to supply the code again. But if you want to set up access from another place, you'll need a code.

Read more: How to set up 2FA on your Google account

The process for each service that offers 2FA will be slightly different, but this is a good example of how things will work.

Wrapping it up

Now that you know a little more about 2FA, we hope you're inspired to set it up and use it wherever you can. Most popular services — Google, Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, Steam and more — offer 2FA. It's fairly easy to set up and the peace of mind you'll have makes it well worth it.

Read more and comment

 
1 month ago

How to back up your Android phone or tablet: The ultimate guide

30

Some things can't be replaced if we lose or damage our phone.

There is an incredible amount of our lives on our phones. Settings to keep everything running, the music that keeps us going, our contacts and even photos of times and places and people we'll never be able to relive or revisit. Keeping all of this safe and backed up is important.

The companies that make the products we use every day know this and offer a wide assortment of ways to store our things in plenty of different places. The key is knowing the best place to store it all, and how to do it.

Read more and comment

 
1 month ago

Cricket Wireless vs. Boost Mobile: Battle of the subbrands

These two MVNOs are a little different from the rest and can offer something most other MVNOs can't: Unlimited LTE data.

Boost Mobile and Cricket Wireless aren't like most MVNOs. Instead of buying service in bulk from another carrier and reselling it at a low price, they are actually owned by a bigger, more familiar name when it comes to cellular service: Boost Mobile is a part of Sprint and Cricket Wireless is owned by AT&T. This unique arrangement works well for every company involved and may even work well for you.

Let's compare Boost Mobile and Cricket Wireless and see which might be better for you.

Boost Mobile background

Who owns it? Sprint

Which network does it use? Sprint 3G CDMA and 4G LTE

How long has it been around? Since 2001, acquired by Sprint in 2006

Tethering allowed? Yes with qualifying plans or as an add-on

Cheapest plan: $30 for 1 month: 2GB 4G LTE, unlimited nationwide talk, text, and 2G data

Cricket Wireless background

Who owns it? AT&T

Which network does it use? AT&T EDGE, HSPA+, and 4G LTE

How long has it been around? Since 1999, acquired by AT&T in 2013

Tethering allowed? Yes with qualifying plans or as an add-on

Cheapest plan: $30 for 1 month: 1GB 4G LTE, unlimited nationwide talk, text, and low-speed (128kbps) data

Advertisement

Boost plans

Boost Mobile offers two tiers of single line and family plans: a 2GB LTE package and an unlimited LTE data package. Unlimited 4G LTE data is something most MVNOs don't offer, but because it's fully owned by Sprint, it's one of the ways Boost can differentiate itself.

Single line 2GB LTE Unlimited GBs (up to 23GB LTE) Price $35/month $50/month With Auto Re-Boost $30/month No discount Extras Streaming music without data charges Unlimited HD streaming for $20/month Family plan 2GB LTE Unlimited GBs (up to 23GB LTE) Primary line price $35/month $50/month Primary line with Auto Re-Boost $30/month No discount Secondary lines (up to 5) $30/month $30/month Extras Streaming music without data charges Unlimited HD streaming for $20/month

Note: Data is not shared between lines on a family plan. Each line gets its own allotment, based on its plan.

Unlimited plans use mobile-optimized streaming for video, games, and music. Full speed media streaming is available for an extra $20 per month.

Add-ons

Extra data:

  • 1GB/month: $5
  • 3GB/month: $10

International services

Todo Mexico Plus: $5 per month gets you unlimited calls to Mexico (including mobile numbers) and unlimited calls to all of Canada except the Northern Territories. You'll also get 8GB of data roaming while you are in Mexico and calls from Mexico to the US are free. Unlimited international texting is also included.

International Connect PLUS: Includes everything from Todo Mexico Plus and unlimited calls to landlines in over 70 countries and 200 minutes of calls to mobile numbers in 50 countries.

International Minute Packs allow you to purchase a bundle of minutes to use for calling select countries. See this list for pricing and availability.

International Text Messaging can be added at the cost of $0.10 per text (inbound and outbound).

Media and entertainment

Unlimited plans use mobile-optimized streaming for video, games, and music. Full speed media streaming is available for an extra $20 per month.

Boost TV packages are available starting at $10 per month. See the list of channels and packages here.

Tethering packages

The $50 unlimited plan (single line and family) offers tethering. If you use the $30 plan you can purchase tethering packages: $25 per month for 1.5GB of LTE data or $50 for 10GB of LTE data.

Cricket plans

Cricket Wireless offers several tiers of service for people with different LTE data needs. Like Boost, their unique position as a company owned by AT&T allows them to offer unlimited data on the highest tier plan.

Cricket also does LTE (and HSPA "4G") data a little differently than anyone else. Download speeds are capped at 8Mbps while using LTE and 4Mbps while using HSPA "4G". Once you reach your monthly limit of high-speed data, download speeds will be reduced to 128Kbps.

8Mbps speeds are more than sufficient for doing anything but streaming a 4K video without buffering. Most users won't be able to tell the data speeds are capped during normal use. But you still need to know.

1GB Basic (3GB LTE) Smart (8GB LTE) Unlimited (22GB LTE) Price (monthly) $30 $40 $50 $60 With Auto Pay $25 $35 $45 $55 Extras Basic, Smart and Unlimited plans eligible for Group Save Discount International texting, roaming in Canada and Mexico, eligible for Group Save Discount International texting, roaming in Canada and Mexico, eligible for Group Save Discount

Advertisement

Family Plan

Cricket also does family plans a little differently. If you have two or more qualifying lines on the same account you are automatically enrolled in what Cricket calls Group Save. The qualifying plans are: $40 with 3GB, $50 with 8GB, $50 with 5GB (grandfathered), $60 with 12GB (grandfathered), and Unlimited.

The discount you'll receive depends on how many lines of service you have.

  • The primary line is always full price
  • The second line will get a $10 discount
  • The third line will get a $20 discount
  • The fourth line will get a $30 discount
  • The fifth line will get a $40 discount

These discounts are cumulative. If you have three eligible lines, you save a total of $30. If you have five eligible lines you save a total of $100 each month, which is the maximum discount.

Add-ons

Extra data:

  • 1GB/month: $10

International add-ons:

  • Cricket International: Unlimited calling to landline numbers in 36 countries for $5 per month.
  • Cricket International Extra: Unlimited calls to landline numbers in 36 countries, unlimited picture and video messages (MMS) to 36 countries, 1,000 minutes of mobile-to-mobile calling to 32 other countries. The list of approved countries and full details are here.

Tethering:

Users on the $50 8GB LTE data monthly plan can add the Mobile Hotspot feature. You will need a supported phone and it costs $10 per month to share your connection with up to 6 other devices. Extra LTE data can be added for $10 per GB.

Boost phones

Boost Mobile allows you to bring your own phone as long as it is on their list of approved models.

  • Samsung Galaxy S7 Special Edition
  • Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge Special Edition
  • Sprint and Verizon-branded iPhones 5 to 7

They also sell phones for use on their network and have popular models from Apple, LG, Samsung and more.

Note: While it's possible to enable Boost service on unsupported phones from Sprint, this is against the terms of service.

Cricket phones

You can bring your own phone to Cricket if it meets two requirements:

  • It is network compatible GSM/UMTS/HSPA+ with 3G bands 2 and 5 (1900/850) and LTE bands 4G LTE Bands 2, 4, 12, 17 (1900/1700abcde/700bc). If you're not into the technical terms and numbers you can check your phone here.

Cricket also offers devices from popular companies like Apple, HTC, and Samsung. You can shop for a new Cricket phone here.

Advertisement

Which should I go with?

Both Boost and Cricket offer a selection of plans for casual users and power users alike. They also have the luxury of being able to offer unlimited LTE plans at very competitive prices that undercut their parent company by a large margin. Even the add-on services are similar. Which is best for you depends on three things:

  • Coverage. A great phone plan does you no good if you can't use it reliably. This is always a consideration and we think it should be your first consideration. Cricket has a much better network in parent AT&T than Boost on Sprint.
  • Uncompressed media streaming on Boost costs an extra $20 per month.
  • Cricket caps your LTE speeds at 8Mbps.

Do you need data with download speeds faster than 8Mbps? If so, Boost is probably better for you. If you want to stream media at full resolution without paying extra, Cricket is probably better for you. Both companies support the most popular devices and have nationwide coverage, but we can say from experience that Cricket is a better choice for most rural customers.

Both choices are good choices and we can recommend either, so pick the one that better fits your usage when it comes to data speeds and streaming caps.

Alternative carriers (MVNOS)

img { width: 100%; height: auto; } .devicebox ul { display: table; margin: 0 0 10px; width: 100%; } .devicebox ul li { background: #f7f7f7; margin: 2px 0; padding: 4px 15px; } .devicebox ul li:hover { background: #fff; } .devicebox ul li:before { display: none; } .devicebox p ~ p { line-height: 1.25; } .devicebox p:first-of-type + p { padding: 15px; } .devicebox a.buy-link { border-radius: 5px; display: inline-block; font: 14px/31px "Proxima Nova Extrabld",Helvetica,Arial,sans-serif; text-align: center; } .devicebox a.buy-link, .devicebox a.buy-link:link, .devicebox a.buy-link:active, .devicebox a.buy-link:visited { background: #37B5D7; color: #FFF; } .devicebox a.buy-link:hover { background: #2694B2; text-decoration: none; } .devicebox a.buy-link:before { content: "\e61e"; font: 40px/0 "ac_iconset" !important; margin: 0 3px 0 -8px; vertical-align: middle; } @media all and (min-width: 1025px), all and (max-width: 800px) and (min-width: 660px) { /* div:not(.columns-3) excludes help menu content */ .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox { padding: 20px 0 25px; } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox .video { float: left; margin: 0 30px 0 0; width: calc(100% - 375px); } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox h3 + p { bottom: 37px; display: block; overflow: hidden; position: absolute; top: 60px; width: calc(100% - 375px); } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox p img, .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox p > img { position: absolute; top: 50%; transform: translateY(-50%); } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox p:nth-child(n+3), .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox ul { box-sizing: border-box; margin-left: calc(100% - 345px); width: 340px; } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox p.list-head { margin-top: -5px; } } @media all and (max-width: 1024px) and (min-width: 801px), all and (max-width: 660px) { .devicebox h3 { text-align: center; } .devicebox ul, .devicebox p { display: block; } } @media all and (max-width: 800px) and (min-width: 660px) { .devicebox { padding: 20px 0 25px; } .devicebox .video { float: left; margin: 0 30px 0 0; width: calc(100% - 375px); } .devicebox h3 + p { bottom: 37px; display: block; overflow: hidden; position: absolute; top: 60px; width: calc(100% - 375px); } .devicebox p img, .devicebox p > img { position: absolute; top: 50%; transform: translateY(-50%); } .devicebox p:nth-child(n+3), .devicebox ul { box-sizing: border-box; margin-left: calc(100% - 345px); width: 340px; } .devicebox p.list-head { margin-top: -5px; } } @media all and (min-width: 1025px), all and (max-width: 800px) and (min-width: 661px), all and (max-width: 500px) { /* 2x buy buttons */ .devicebox a.buy-link { width: calc(50% - 2.5px); margin: 0 5px 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-of-type(even) { margin: 0 0 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:last-of-type:nth-of-type(odd) { width: 100%; } } @media all and (max-width: 1024px) and (min-width: 801px), all and (max-width: 659px) and (min-width: 501px) { /* 3x buy buttons */ .devicebox a.buy-link { width: calc(100%/3 - 10px/3); margin: 0 5px 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-of-type(3n):not(:nth-last-of-type(2)) { margin: 0 0 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:only-child { width: 100%; margin: 0 0 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(2):nth-of-type(3n+1), .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(2):nth-of-type(3n+1) ~ a.buy-link, .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(4):nth-of-type(3n+1), .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(4):nth-of-type(3n+1) ~ a.buy-link { width: calc(50% - 2.5px); } .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(2):nth-of-type(3n+1) ~ a.buy-link, .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(4):nth-of-type(3n+1) ~ a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(odd) { margin: 0 0 5px 0; } } @media all and (max-width: 800px) { .devicebox { margin: 0 0 30px; max-width: none; width: auto; } } @media all and (max-width: 500px) { .devicebox { margin: 0 0 30px; max-width: none; width: auto; } .devicebox a.buy-link:before { display: none; } } .page-admin .devicebox {max-width: 350px;} .page-admin .devicebox .video_iframe {position: relative; height: 0; padding-bottom: 56.9%;} .page-admin .devicebox .video_iframe iframe {width: 100%; height: 100%; position: absolute;} /*-->*/ /*-->*/ /*-->*/

Read more and comment

 
1 month ago

How to use the Galaxy S8 app scaling settings

13

Spoiler: They don't do much. It's full screen or bust.

The Galaxy S8 has an intriguing, and tall, screen with a unique 18.5:9 aspect ratio. While most Android apps are able to easily scale up to fill that extra screen height, some are hard-coded to stay at 16:9, leaving black bars between the notification shade and the on-screen navigation keys. These are not only awkward and distracting, but they also don't have to be there!

Is there any downside to enabling fullscreen mode?

If there is, we haven't found any. Some games may not look exactly as they were meant to when forced to run in fullscreen mode, but we haven't found that to be the case with any that we play regularly.

How to enable full screen apps on the Galaxy S8

  1. Hop into Settings.
  2. Tap on Display.
  3. Tap on Full screen apps.
  4. Enable the apps that aren't highlighted by default.

From here, you can choose which apps you want to utilize the full-screen aspect ratio.

You'll know when full-screen scaling is off if there are black bars on the top and bottom of the app next time you launch it.

Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+

Main

Verizon AT&T T-Mobile Sprint

About

The Galaxy S8, and its larger sibling the S8+, are Samsung's top-end devices for 2017 meant to appeal to the general consumer and power user alike. The two phones are only differentiated by screen and battery size: 5.8 inches and 3000mAh, and 6.2 inches and 3500mAh.

The displays have a new 18.5:9 aspect ratio with a QHD+ resolution, meaning they're extra tall and narrow. Samsung moved to on-screen buttons and reduced bezel size dramatically in order to fit as much screen into the body as possible. That moved the fingerprint sensor to the back of the phones, where it sits somewhat-awkwardly next to the camera lens. Iris scanning makes its return in a new-and-improved version from the Note 7.

Though the batteries haven't increased in size from the Galaxy S7 and S7 edge, the hope is that the improved efficiency of the new 10 nm processor inside will provide some help. The processor is backed up by 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage. Waterproofing and wireless charging are still here as well, plus a new USB-C port on the bottom. The rear camera is unchanged in terms of its 12MP sensor and f/1.7 lens, but has improved processing thanks to a new ISP and software.

Specs

Width Height Thickness 5.86 in
148.9 mm
2.68 in
68.1 mm
0.31 in
8 mm
5.47 oz
155g grams
  • Display:
    • 5.8-inch AMOLED display
    • 2960x1440 resolution
    • 18.5:9 aspect ratio
    • Dual-curve infinity display
  • Cameras:
    • 12MP ƒ/1.7 rear camera
    • Dual-pixel phase detection autofocus
    • 1.4-micron pixels
    • 8MP ƒ/1.7 front camera
  • Battery:
    • 3000 mAh battery
    • Non-removable
    • USB-C fast Charging
    • Qi + PMA wireless charging
  • Chips:
    • Snapdragon 835 processor
    • Samsung Exynos 8896 processor
      (varies by region)
    • 4GB RAM
    • 64GB internal storage
    • microSD card slot
    • Android 7.0 Nougat
  • GS8+
    • Samsung Galaxy S8+
    • 6.2-inch AMOLED display
    • 3500mAh battery
    • 6.28 in x 2.89 in x 0.32 in
      159.5mm x 73.4mm x 8.1mm
    • 6.10 oz / 73g

Read more and comment

 
1 month ago

How to use gestures to become an Android home screen expert

20

Gestures have been an iconic piece of the mobile computing experience since the beginning — even without an icon.

Slide-to-unlock. Pinch-to-zoom. Double-tap-to-wake. Gestures that work well are invaluable to a user's experience, and Android phone manufacturers are bringing these gestures to the home screen in deceptively simple and astonishingly successful ways.

Case in point: both the Samsung Galaxy S8 — and the Google Pixel before it — are eschewing the app drawer button and instead using a gesture to open the drawer. Google employed a slightly brightened dock background and a swipe from the dock to open the app drawer on the Pixel Launcher, but Samsung's taking this two steps further: swiping up or down anywhere on the home screen will launch you into the app drawer.

So what if you want to open something other than the app drawer? No problem.

Read more and comment

 
1 month ago

Make Google Play Music — or almost any music app — your alarm clock!

31

Forget alarms.

Who wants to wake up to some horrible ringing, buzzing, or other panic-inducing noise? Waking up to a klaxon?? STOP IT! NO! BAD! Why start your day in a bleary adrenaline rush? We don't have to do that to ourselves anymore. We have the technology to wake up better ways.

True, some alarm apps allow you to set a favorite song as your morning alarm, but the problem here is that no matter how much you love a song, if you wake up to the song every day, that love will eventually turn to hate. Remember 'I got you, babe' in Groundhog Day? Yeah, we don't need that. What if you could just pick up with your Google Play Music queue where you left off the night before, like those old iPod alarm clocks we all used in the early 2000's?

Unfortunately, most music apps lack a built-in alarm clock, but through some true Android magic — namely Tasker — we can wake up to just about any music app you've got.

Read more and comment

 
1 month ago

Everything you need to know about your SD card and Adoptable storage

216

What is Adoptable storage on Android?

Android has had limited support for removable storage in one form or another since the beginning. Since Marshmallow, it supports what's called Adoptable storage. It's a feature that lets you turn your removable SD card into a more or less permanent (and no longer removable) part of the device.

The idea is simple, really, and most of the confusion surrounding Adoptable storage is easy to clear up. There are a few things to keep in mind so you understand how it works and what it's doing.

Your phone probably doesn't support it

You might read this and think it's a great idea. But when you go into the settings or insert a card you don't see the option to use it. You're not crazy and it's probably not there.

Most high-end Android phones don't support Adoptable storage and that might not be a bad thing.

A byproduct of Android being distributed as free source code is that companies who make phones can alter it. And many companies remove the adoptable storage option or remove the user-facing portion so you can't enable it. Samsung does this, and it is the undisputed heavyweight champ of Android, so there is a good chance you can't use the feature unless you are comfortable hacking it in, as explained further down.

If this is the case we suggest you use your SD card to store movies and pictures and music and everything else you have to store and leave the room on your phone to use for your apps.

Your storage device really gets adopted

You can force any storage device (even ones connected via USB OTG) to be adopted using one simple command:

adb shell sm set-force-adoptable true

But you probably shouldn't.

Once a storage device is adopted, it becomes part of the system and is no longer removable. Sure you can physically remove it, but you'll be prompted to put it back while apps and services crash on your phone or tablet. It's adopted — taken in and loved by the system, and made part of the whole.

This means Adoptable storage is really only useful for two things:

  • An SD card placed in a phone or tablet and never to be removed
  • A USB storage device attached to your Android TV box, and never to be removed.

When you insert an SD card into the HTC One or your Moto G5 or any other phone that supports it, you have the choice of using it as a Portable device or an Internal device if you attempt to reformat it. If you choose Portable, it acts like any other SD card and you can take it out and swap it between devices at your leisure.

Once an SD card is adopted it has to stay inserted and working.

If you choose Internal, things change. The device is formatted as a local, 128-bit AES encrypted EXT4 drive and mounted as part of the system every time you start your phone. It's then set as the preferred storage, and you're prompted to move data over. Newly generated data is placed on the adopted storage by default.

If you try to remove it, things go haywire. Your phone will throw errors until you are forced to factory reset it and you can't read the data on the SD card with any other device or the original phone once it's been factory reset. That means you either have to insert the card back in the phone and hope things return to normal or delete all your stuff and reformat the card. If an SD card you're using for adoptable storage fails, you are out of luck.

It might be a little slow

Your phone will "benchmark" storage when it's adopted. Whenever I've tried it, I've always seen a pop-over telling me that my storage was slower than recommended at the end of the process. I didn't notice any significant slow-down, but I might not have been doing the right things to make it become slow.

In any case, when you want to use an SD card as adopted storage, I recommend using the fastest SD card you can find. Class 10 and UHS are words to look for.

Everything you need to know about SD card speeds and your phone

In any case, it's never going to be as fast as the internal flash storage built into your phone. This might make a difference to you, and you might not like what you see.

Do you really want to adopt your SD card as part of the system?

Chances are, if you try you will wish you hadn't.

General consensus is that Google made this move because Android One devices all ship with limited internal storage, and users will need more space to install apps and their associated data. I agree, and this is a decent solution if you're in a similar situation. Storage that's a little slower and might fail and force you to reset your phone is better than no storage (and no apps).

Adoptable storage is a great idea but it does have some serious drawbacks.

But for many of us reading this, we really only want more storage to store things like pictures, music, and movies. We're better off using an SD card as a portable storage device that we can remove and use wherever we want (like to transfer files back and forth between devices), and keep apps and data off of the card.

There's also the bit about how SD cards have a limited number of times they can be read from and written to. Using an SD card the "normal" way means failures are uncommon. When you start caching data and reading and writing at a rate higher than a card was designed to handle, problems can arise. Android takes some precautions here with formatting and mounting options that reduce the indexing, but it can still happen. SD card manufacturers will soon start selling "class A" SD cards that have been designed for more frequent use with apps. But even then, a card that is in use a lot will fail before a card that isn't.

Adoptable storage is a good idea. Formatting an SD card as an ext partition and mounting it at boot is something Android hackers have been doing for a while. It allowed my Nexus One to live a much longer life than it should have.

But it's not magic, and the idea is simple once you stop and think about how it works. You'll have to decide if it's an idea you want to use or not.

Android Nougat

img { width: 100%; height: auto; } .devicebox ul { display: table; margin: 0 0 10px; width: 100%; } .devicebox ul li { background: #f7f7f7; margin: 2px 0; padding: 4px 15px; } .devicebox ul li:hover { background: #fff; } .devicebox ul li:before { display: none; } .devicebox p ~ p { line-height: 1.25; } .devicebox p:first-of-type + p { padding: 15px; } .devicebox a.buy-link { border-radius: 5px; display: inline-block; font: 14px/31px "Proxima Nova Extrabld",Helvetica,Arial,sans-serif; text-align: center; } .devicebox a.buy-link, .devicebox a.buy-link:link, .devicebox a.buy-link:active, .devicebox a.buy-link:visited { background: #37B5D7; color: #FFF; } .devicebox a.buy-link:hover { background: #2694B2; text-decoration: none; } .devicebox a.buy-link:before { content: "\e61e"; font: 40px/0 "ac_iconset" !important; margin: 0 3px 0 -8px; vertical-align: middle; } @media all and (min-width: 1025px), all and (max-width: 800px) and (min-width: 660px) { /* div:not(.columns-3) excludes help menu content */ .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox { padding: 20px 0 25px; } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox .video { float: left; margin: 0 30px 0 0; width: calc(100% - 375px); } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox h3 + p { bottom: 37px; display: block; overflow: hidden; position: absolute; top: 60px; width: calc(100% - 375px); } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox p img, .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox p > img { position: absolute; top: 50%; transform: translateY(-50%); } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox p:nth-child(n+3), .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox ul { box-sizing: border-box; margin-left: calc(100% - 345px); width: 340px; } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox p.list-head { margin-top: -5px; } } @media all and (max-width: 1024px) and (min-width: 801px), all and (max-width: 660px) { .devicebox h3 { text-align: center; } .devicebox ul, .devicebox p { display: block; } } @media all and (max-width: 800px) and (min-width: 660px) { .devicebox { padding: 20px 0 25px; } .devicebox .video { float: left; margin: 0 30px 0 0; width: calc(100% - 375px); } .devicebox h3 + p { bottom: 37px; display: block; overflow: hidden; position: absolute; top: 60px; width: calc(100% - 375px); } .devicebox p img, .devicebox p > img { position: absolute; top: 50%; transform: translateY(-50%); } .devicebox p:nth-child(n+3), .devicebox ul { box-sizing: border-box; margin-left: calc(100% - 345px); width: 340px; } .devicebox p.list-head { margin-top: -5px; } } @media all and (min-width: 1025px), all and (max-width: 800px) and (min-width: 661px), all and (max-width: 500px) { /* 2x buy buttons */ .devicebox a.buy-link { width: calc(50% - 2.5px); margin: 0 5px 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-of-type(even) { margin: 0 0 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:last-of-type:nth-of-type(odd) { width: 100%; } } @media all and (max-width: 1024px) and (min-width: 801px), all and (max-width: 659px) and (min-width: 501px) { /* 3x buy buttons */ .devicebox a.buy-link { width: calc(100%/3 - 10px/3); margin: 0 5px 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-of-type(3n):not(:nth-last-of-type(2)) { margin: 0 0 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:only-child { width: 100%; margin: 0 0 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(2):nth-of-type(3n+1), .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(2):nth-of-type(3n+1) ~ a.buy-link, .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(4):nth-of-type(3n+1), .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(4):nth-of-type(3n+1) ~ a.buy-link { width: calc(50% - 2.5px); } .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(2):nth-of-type(3n+1) ~ a.buy-link, .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(4):nth-of-type(3n+1) ~ a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(odd) { margin: 0 0 5px 0; } } @media all and (max-width: 800px) { .devicebox { margin: 0 0 30px; max-width: none; width: auto; } } @media all and (max-width: 500px) { .devicebox { margin: 0 0 30px; max-width: none; width: auto; } .devicebox a.buy-link:before { display: none; } } .page-admin .devicebox {max-width: 350px;} .page-admin .devicebox .video_iframe {position: relative; height: 0; padding-bottom: 56.9%;} .page-admin .devicebox .video_iframe iframe {width: 100%; height: 100%; position: absolute;} /*-->*/ /*-->*/ /*-->*/

Read more and comment

 
1 month ago

How to share your location in Google Maps

4

Google Maps lets you easily share your location with friends and family.

Google uncoupled location sharing from Google+ and brought it back to Maps last month. There were a few missteps along the way as the company phased out the service in Google+ before reintegrating it into Maps, but as of today, the feature is available to all Maps users.

With the feature enabled, you can easily share your location with friends and family. You can broadcast your location for a set duration of time, pick approved contacts, or just create and share a link with your real-time location information.

Read more and comment

 
1 month ago

Everything you need to know about Sprint's Unlimited Freedom plan

39

A complete breakdown of Sprint's Unlimited Freedom plan and everything else you can get when you sign up for service.

In the United States, there are a lot of companies that can get you and your phone online, but most people use one of the four biggest: AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon. Choosing between them can be difficult. Your first priority should be what service works best in the places you spend your time. It's not worth saving $10 a month if the service is bad. Once you have that sorted, you can look at what each company has to offer and the prices they charge for it.

More: Which unlimited plan should you buy?

Let's take a look at Sprint to see what they can give you and what it will cost.

Updated, April 2017: This post has been updated with the latest information about Sprint's plans and pricing.

Sprint Unlimited Freedom plan details

  • Unlimited talk, text, and data (with certain restrictions)
  • Unlimited data for streaming video up to 1080p
  • Unlimited data for gaming up to 8Mbps
  • Unlimited data for streaming music up to 1.5Mbps
  • 10GB high-speed mobile hotspot with VPN and P2P support
  • Add a tablet with unlimited data for $25 per month

Note: These features apply only to new accounts.

Sprint's definition of Unlimited Data means that after you use 23 GB in a single month, your service can be slowed down if you're in a congested area. You'll hear the word throttled used here but you need to know that it's only a temporary deprioritization of your data connection when you're in a busy area. It may not happen at all depending on how many other customers are using the same towers.

Buying a phone and getting exactly the data plan and extras you want is far easier on Sprint than every other company we've tried.

Sprint's Unlimited Freedom plan applies only to new customers who are also buying (outright purchases or financing) or leasing phones from Sprint at the time of purchase, and credit approval is required. There is an activation fee of up to $30 per line and the Unlimited Freedom Plan requires eBilling. Current customers can call 1-866-275-1411 with questions about changing their plan.

Advertisement

Sprint offers a 14-day satisfaction guarantee and devices purchased on installments are subject to a $350 early termination fee.

Additional lines can be added to a Sprint Unlimited Freedom plan. Every line has the same benefits outlined above and requires an equipment purchase. Here is a pricing breakdown.

  • One line of service is $50
  • Two lines of service is $80
  • Three lines of service is $100
  • Four lines of service is $120

These prices are part of a limited promotion and are set to change on June 30, 2018. They also include the standard AutoPay discount ($5) the carrier uses to determine their advertised pricing.

Sprint Unlimited Freedom plan add-ons

Sprint's Unlimited Freedom plan is a no-frills option at a low price. There are few extras and add-ons available if you want international options or a few extra features.

  • Free Sprint Open World Winter Promo: Free calls, texts and high-speed data from Canada, Mexico and 25 other countries in Latin America until March 31, 2017
  • Mexico-Canada Plus: Unlimited calls and texts from the U.S. to Mexico and Canada, unlimited messaging to 180 countries and discounted international calling rates from the U.S. for $5 per month
  • Upgrade your phone every 12 months with a $5 monthly charge

Sprint also offers trials and discounts on some premium services for new customers. Spotify Premium has a 30-day trial available, as does Lookout and Sprint Family Locator. After the trial period, normal monthly rates apply.

Sprint also will offer "unlimited access to exclusive artist content not available anywhere else" now that the company has bought one-third of Tidal, though exact details on this aren't yet available.

See at Sprint

Read more and comment

 
1 month ago

Everything you need to know about SD card speeds and your phone

21

When it comes to SD cards, our phones have a need for speed.

An SD card is the only way to get extra storage space inside your phone. If you need an extra 256GB of storage that doesn't need any wires or anything plugged in, you have no other option. But you have to do it right to make the most of it.

The single biggest decision to make when you're buying an SD card is the speed. The form factor is easy (you need a microSD card for your phone) and we all understand that more capacity means we can put more stuff on it. But unless the card you buy is fast enough, none of that matters. Let's see what fast enough really means and how you can tell how fast a card is rated.

A numbers game

Ignore the speed listed on the package because it's not realistic, Ever.

When you get a new SD card you'll see all sorts of claims on the package about the card's read and write speeds. Forget about the actual rating for a moment because you need to know that your phone will never be able to read data from the card or write data to the card as fast as the package says. Most of the time, nothing can meet those speeds in the real world. Consider those numbers the theoretical maximums that happened under perfect conditions while a unicorn was in the lab next to the tester.

Next, you need to know that the write speed is much more important than the read speed and those blurbs that say things like "up to 90MB per second" are talking about the read speed. Like every other thing that's sold, the company making the cards wants to advertise the best features and fastest and biggest everything. But that's OK because you'll know exactly what you want when we're done here!

The speed 'class' rating

All SD cards have a rating that tells us approximately how fast data can be read from an SD card. They are, in order from slowest to fastest:

  • DS (up to 12.5 MB/s)
  • HS (up to 25 MB/s)
  • UHS-I (up to 104 MB/s)
  • UHS-II (up to 312 MB/s
  • UHS-3 (over 312 MB/s)

Don't get excited when you see those speed ratings and think you'll be able to move data at 312MB per second. Remember, those are the laboratory test maximum speeds that a computer program calculated. But those speeds are useful when you see how much faster or slower one type of card is compared to another. And to make things even more confusing there are also speed subclasses, and those are what most people use when they discuss anything to do with SD card performance.

  • DS speed cards are rated (slowest to fastest) 2,4 or 6
  • HS speed cards are rated 10
  • Sometimes UHS cards are abbreviated as U1, U2, and U3

You'll find the speed class of the SD card listed on the packaging and printed on the card itself. Look for a ②, ④, ⑥ or ⑩ printed on DS or HS class cards and the actual rating on a UHS class card. And know that a UHS-3 (I have no idea why Roman Numerals weren't used for 3 when they were for I and II) card is about 30 times faster than a class 2 DS rated card.

Here is where we are going to make things easy for you: Never buy a card slower than class 10 and always buy the fastest one you can afford.

Why your phone wants a fast card

This is simple once you stop overthinking things. The faster you can move data to and from your storage the less time it takes to do it.

A real world example would be copying a 600MB file to your SD card. A class 2 card would take about 200 seconds. A UHS-3 class card would take about 20 seconds to do it. While waiting for files to transfer is a horrible thing we go through from time to time, it matters even more to your phone.

Your phone is a computer. It is programmed to take input from you or through an app and do something cool with it. If you tell it to do something that needs it to copy a 600MB file, it has to wait until the file is copied before it can begin. Since it can't tell jokes or mix the perfect martini, it won't do anything while it is waiting. You can do something else while waiting on your phone, but nothing you can do will make the data move any faster.

While this is general information that's good for the way most of us use an SD card as a place to store media and documents, sometimes you want something even faster.

Running apps and using your camera

Imagine your SD card being used as the install location for an app and the place to store all the data for the app. You just doubled the wait time.

Realistically, you will be fine with a class 10 card most of the time even if you install apps to it. Your phone will store the parts of the app that make it run in its actual RAM so it only needs to load that once. And data created by an app is usually in very small files that can be read almost instantly. But there are apps that are huge, and some of them use many big files from their data resources when they run. You will see longer load times and wait times with something like a really big 3D game even with a UHS-3 card and they are magnified when you use one that's slower.

Your 4K videos will look better when you use a faster SD card.

Last but not least, your camera wants the fastest card available, especially if you take burst photos or shoot 4K video. Your phone camera has what's called a buffer. When you take a picture or video, the images and metadata and sound are all copied to that buffer because it's really fast to put them there. The buffer then writes all that data to the storage, and if you're using an SD card for camera storage those wait times come into play.

You'll be able to take more burst mode photos in sequence and that means less of them will be blurry. The faster the picture can move from the buffer to the card, the more free space is in the buffer for the camera to drop photos into. When that buffer is full, your camera can't do anything.

4K video will just look better with a faster card. 4K video files are gigantic and the data is pulled from the buffer a little differently. Since you're doing something live and in real time, waiting for a buffer to flush isn't an option. The movement from the camera buffer to the SD card is more like streaming video that a direct file copy. When you can't pull data from the buffer fast enough, you get fuzzy video, poor sound, skipped frames or audio and video not synchronizing very well. While 4K video is best when written to the phone's storage, you can get by with a fast UHS class SD card. You can't get by with a slower card.

If you take a lot of pictures or want to run apps from your SD card, buy a class UHS-3 card. Full stop. You will wish you bought a faster card eventually if you don't.

Don't be confused

Numbers and letters and the different ways an SD card can be used can be overwhelming if you're just buying an SD card to use and aren't worried about knowing what they all mean. But all that jazz aside, a few simple rules will make sure you don't buy the wrong thing.

  • Buy a class 10 card or faster every time.
  • If you like to take pictures and video, buy a class UHS-3 card.
  • If you want to install apps on your SD card, buy a class UHS-3 card.

We wish all tech was this easy to sort out.

Read more and comment

 
1 month ago

Home screen layouts and how to theme them

122

Making your home screen look pretty is not a requirement. Putting things on it is.

Even if you don't actively theme your phone, you do actively lay out your home screen. Layouts are the way you arrange the apps and widgets on your home screen. We don't talk about them nearly as much when theming as we should. In fact, I try to avoid specific layouts in my themes so they are more accessible to users of varying tastes. But layouts are important, whether you intend to theme your phone or not.

Some people like their home screen to have as little on it as possible. Some people want everything on the home screen they possibly can squeeze in there. Some people are a little of column A and a little of column B, because we believe that the space on our home screen is meant to be used, but we don't need/want to cover up every inch of it. No matter which camp you fall in, all of us can benefit from seeing the differences and the benefits of each approach.

Read more and comment

 
1 month ago

How to save your home and work addresses in Google Maps

5

Save your home and work addresses to get directions faster.

Google Maps makes it easy for you to save frequently visited addresses such as your home or work locations, allowing you to get directions quickly without having to enter them manually every single time. Doing so also allows you to use voice commands to say, "navigate to home" to get turn-by-turn directions to your house from your current location.

Then there's the ability to explore points of interest near your location. Just ask Maps, "theaters near home" to get a list of theaters in your vicinity. You can also customize the icons for your home and work addresses. Given how simple it is to save your home and work addresses, it should be the first thing you do once you get started with Google Maps.

Read more and comment

 
1 month ago

Six ways to make the Samsung Galaxy S8 work with Windows 10

15

If you're getting a new Samsung Galaxy S8 smartphone, these tips and tricks can help make the device work for you alongside your Windows 10 PC.

More than most Android phones, the Samsung Galaxy S8 is quite attractive to Microsoft fans.

The Galaxy S8 has plenty of Microsoft support built right in by way of preloaded apps and the Continuum-like DeX system. Aside from all that, here are some of the ways you'll be able to use your phone and PC in perfect harmony.

Note: This article was originally published on Windows Central.

Read more and comment

 
1 month ago

Samsung Galaxy S8 'Microsoft Edition:' Everything you need to know

33

What exactly is the "Microsoft Edition" of the Samsung Galaxy S8 (GS8)? How is it different than the regular version? And why would you want to buy an Android phone from Microsoft?

Last week, Microsoft quietly (and somewhat curiously) said that it will sell a version of Samsung's new flagship smartphone in its U.S. retail stores. The phone, The GS8 "Microsoft Edition," immediately grabbed online headlines, and in the process created some confusion.

Read more and comment

 
1 month ago

How to view your location history in Google Maps

1

See where you've traveled with Google Maps.

Google Maps has a nifty Timeline feature that lets you browse the places you've visited along with the routes traveled. The feature was overhauled in 2015, and Google has added the ability to collate images you've taken at a particular location, allowing you to get a better overview of your travels.

It certainly comes in handy if you're looking to see all the images you took at a particular location, or if you're trying to get a highlight of your weekly or monthly activity.

How to view your location history in Google Maps

  1. Launch Google Maps.
  2. Tap the more button (three horizontal lines) on the top left corner.
  3. Tap your timeline.
  4. Tap the calendar icon to view a particular day.

  5. Swipe left or right to switch months.
  6. Tap a date to view your location history. You'll see the route traveled, along with the duration and length of the overall journey.

How to disable location tracking

Timeline is certainly a useful feature if you're interested in looking at your previous travel data, but it also comes off as creepy (Google tracks everything). Fortunately, you can easily turn off location tracking in Maps.

  1. Tap the more button (three horizontal lines) on the top left corner.
  2. Tap Settings.
  3. Tap Personal content.

  4. Tap the field that says Location History is on under Location Settings.
  5. Tap the switch next to each device for which you'd like to disable location tracking.

There's also the option to pause tracking for your account as a whole. To do so, toggle Location History to off, and select OK in the dialog box that follows.

That's all there is to it! I like the feature a lot as it gives me a detailed look at where I've been over the course of the month (and how much time I wasted being stuck in traffic). What are your thoughts on the location history feature? Like it? Feel like it's an intrusion of your privacy? Sound off in the comments below.

Read more and comment

 
Show More Headlines

Pages