Android help

It's time to spill the deepest, darkest secret we have here at Android Central. It's one that folks get close to figuring out but for some reason have a hard time understanding with any real clarity. But it's simple. And I almost hesitate to share it in fear that others will emulate it. Are you ready? Here it comes.

We're here to help.

When you get down to it, it's that simple. Before we do any post — be it the nerdiest of the nerdy or something ridiculously simple — we ask ourselves (or we should ask ourselves), "Will this help a reader?"

Now that's kind of an easy answer. It's easy to argue that any post helps someone, whether it helps them to do something, or learn something, or save money, or just helps to entertain them. But the premise is sound. And that goes for the super simple posts that we've done as part of our push for more "reference"-type content (read: simple or boring), as well as the more in-depth reviews and features that we do. It's all about helping folks. None of this should be a surprise to anyone — I explained it in this space some four months ago. We'll continue to do the great work we've always done. And we'll continue do more simple, "reference" posts.

It's always struck me as kind of funny when folks more advanced in the ways of Android look down at posts that help someone who just picked up a phone for the first time, or who might be looking at buying their first Android. (And they seem to be bitching more than normal lately.) For one, it shows a distinct lack of appreciation for the sheer number of Android devices being sold. And a lack of respect for the newbies. But more than that, it shows an ignorance of the way things work. You think writing that sort of post is fun for us? (Hint: Not so much.) Do you think we'd rather do that instead of playing with the hot new phone? (Which we're absolutely still doing.) Or going to an important event? (Which we're also still doing.) Or debunking the latest viral fallacy.

I could go on. Folks get such tunnel vision and focus on something they don't like, then completely miss the forest for the trees. (Or in this case, saplings?)

And do you think we'd continue to do those more simple stories if we didn't have evidence that shows people are searching for and reading that sort of content? Do you honestly think we'd waste our time on something no one is reading? We're smarter than that. And the proof is pretty clear. The notion that simple posts can't live in the same universe as something more expert and nerdy is as lazy and ill-informed as it is silly.

No, we do those posts because people are reading them. They are seeking out that sort of help. We have data that shows this, and it's pretty obvious. And those are the people who we all can serve and help grow in to the next generation of Android experts. Don't like 'em? No worries. Don't read 'em. If you're a publisher who turns your nose up at that sort of thing, well, um, keep up the great work. Or something.

But us? We're here to help.

And in other news ...

  • I've switched over to the OnePlus One this week. There's a lot to like there. It's still too big for my taste, and it's fun to think of CyanogenMod in the same context as you would any other manufacturer software customization. But the biggest problem is still that you can't easily buy the damn thing, and that's still a shame.
  • Remember that Andrew has already reviewed the OnePlus One, but I'll probably write something up in a week or two.
  • Speaking of reviews, we've converted a few old ones to an updated review template. If you notice that comments are missing, that's why. We'll get on that this week.
  • I hope Jerry is wrong in his prediction that the Nexus 4 won't get the Android L release. But I also wouldn't bet against. Fifty-fifty chance, I'd say.
  • Note to self (and Jerry): Need to go back into those old prediction posts and see how we (Jerry) did.
  • I'm still amazed at just how bad the Facebook permissions stories that went viral managed to be. If you're looking for an example of shouting "fire!" in a crowded theater, that's it.
  • And then there's the Xiaomi server thing. A good response from Xiaomi and Barra, I think, and I can't help but feel more than a tinge of xenophobia in all that. On the other hand, China hacks the shit out of things, right?
  • I still don't know what to do about the Google Play Music authorizations thing. I love Google Play Music. I get that most folks don't need to de-authorize more than four devices every couple months. But I can't help but notice that I can read all the books and watch all the movies and use all the apps I've bought on every single device I own. I think it's pretty clear who to blame here, but I also think Google has the muscle (and money) to do the right thing by its users.

That's it for this week, I think. Things are about to get real busy around here. Everybody have a good one.


Reader comments

From the Editor's Desk: We're here to help


Yep, you too will soon be a grizzled, cynical journalism vet grumbling about writing a "How to disable *insert random useless new software feature that is "helpfully" on by default*" for the thousandth time, and why can't a user figure it out, and while they're at it get out of your parking lot or at least quit double parking there's lines on the ground for a reason. ;-)

And the bitchy whiners also seem to forget that at they were new to Android at some point too and they needed to go somewhere to find out how things worked. But now they want to sit on their high horse act like the universe should revolve around them. Very annoying.


Everyone was new at some point and people also fail to realize that not only are new people getting smartphones, but the people coming from BlackBerry, Apple or WinMo need to figure out how things work here on Android.

Exactly. This is the first phone I've had where I've had to dive into it a little because of problems I've had and I am by no means technically gifted. Until last week I didn't know how to take a screen shot but I found out here. Still I probably won't know about 90% of what you guys are talking about but at least I think I can ask a question about what something is or how it works and get a reasonable answer.

Phil great article.

How about holding off writing another word on the OPPO 1- until they actually release the phone and have an official CM build.

It will save you the trouble of ever having to spend the 1s and 0s on it.

Listen man, just because you don't have the phone doesn't mean others on his forum don't. I've seen at least a few other people here with OnePluses.

Posted via the 64 GB OnePlus One

They can buy it, I am not stopping them. I am just hopeful they look at these posts and take pause and do some research into the fraud that the OPPO OnePlus is. They sure will not get it from the OPPO 1- minus forum. They delete anything they do not like

Missed deadlines, false promises, no stable build, a distinct possibility of being stuck with half-assed colorOS.

Take your pick of what is wrong with them. I am helping them make an informed choice.

Oh you have an official CM build? It was released at the end of Q2?

No. You do not have an official CM build and no it was not released. You have to go through stupid invites, gimmicks and games to try and get one.

When they realse it to something besides that fraud OPPOMART, get back to me.

PS: saying that your a start up and you are not is just as deceptive...

It was delivered through the invite system as oneplus stated it would happen in a time frame they predicted. I had no other expectations than that.

Posted via my One + ONE

You set the bar low. They stated it would be available, to order, way back in April and then delayed it until June and yet it is still on an invite/game/gimmick system with no official OS yet (unless you are in China and are stuck with the half working ColorOS)

Thats great, enjoy your phone.

I am not warning you, it is too late. It is the next guy that is considering it that I hope reads these warnings.

Yeah that whole fake start up thing totally turned me off to them. If they were a real start up, I'd excuse their antics and 'odd' business model as part of the natural process. However since they are simply a subsidiary of a large and well-known OEM, I see no reason to go through such a silly process to buy a phone that - let's be honest- only stands toe to toe at best with flagships that I can walk into a store and buy instantly.

Posted via Android Central App

Worse than that, the "Flagship killer that should have us not make compromises" (or whatever that dumb logo was) is not really any better spec'd out than the Note 3 that was release a few months before the 1- was even announced. Now that they have missed deadline after deadline, their tech is old and outdated. At least now it finally fits the price, which is all it had going for it in the first place.

Getting one via the fraudulent OPPO site ( or people selling them third hand (for a large mark up) is easy enough. Heck even getting an invite through the deceptive OPPO OnePlus (1-) site is easy.

Point is I would NOT use one if given to me, I most certainly would not put real money down to buy one.

You shouldnt either. They are a fraud. How is that official CM build going? Did you buy one at a retailer when they released it in Q2 (oh yeah, you didn't because they lied and didn't release it)?

You are a troll. If I ran 1+, I would have a legal injunction filed to prevent you from ever buying one of my products. How much is Samsung paying you to troll?

Posted via sheer force of will from my OnePlus One!

Show me a statment that I have made that is wrong? I have dealt with you TrollMongers long enough that I have links on speed dial.

In addition, you obviously are in no position to throw the "Samsung fanboy" BS at me. You obviously have not read what I write on here enough to know better.

Hahahaha.... I do the same thing man. Have hundreds of articles on "speed dial" for naysayers. Not android related though.

Mine are all tech related, not necessarily this topic but in general. It was a habit when I worked with technologically inept people and had to show them proof of some things before they would believe me. Now I just have a collection...

Not sure if serious or poking at me by mama always taught me to say

Your welcome.

Take it as you meant it towards me

Posted via Android Central App

You are a moron. If you even knew what was going on and knew the legal system, A: Thats is impossible. B: Oppo is is severe legal trouble themsleves. It is well known in Tech Circles that A.C. was "donated" "review" units.

This site has no real credibility as far as Phil is concerned. This is the same guy that said the GS5 Active wouldn't come out, etc. Just head on over to Twitter and search for all of Phils "Greatness". This site is bought and paid for, man.

What legal trouble is OPPO in?

Every site gets review units. Your gonna have to do better than that...

Posted via Android Central App

People love to complain. Phil, you know that better than most, their whining is their problem. Those helpful articles you guys do, do way more good than harm, so I see no reason for them to stop.

Posted via the Android Central App

I love the simple stuff like the post explaining Google plus or Google plus circle and communities, because I can then share them with my friends who love Android but are not techies

Posted via Android Central App

Exactly what I do. I get to be lazy and share those stories with the less tech savvy people I know.

Posted via the Android Central App

Exactly. I learned several things about Google+ from the article. Even the "simple" articles have gold in them and help those of us who need it. This is why I come to AC, to learn. Please keep up your good work and know it's appreciated.

I'm a lurker and have never posted here before. I did want to say that I appreciate everything that is posted here. This is a site rich with information about the Android OS. I had only used an iPhone until very recently. Although I'm pretty comfortable with my Nexus 5 (and LOVE the phone), I still need help with basic stuff sometimes. There's nothing wrong with asking questions and getting information. I find it fun to read the comments posted here and read the forums and get new ideas. There are probably many people like me who lurk. I've thought about posting a comment to an article or the forums before, but then I was afraid I might ask or say something stupid and didn't do it. Anyway, keep up the good work. There are people out there who don't post to the articles or forums but who, I'm sure, are like me and enjoy reading the things posted. I may not agree with everything posted, and I may not read an article if it doesn't interest me, but I'm glad those articles/posts/whatever are out there so that others can read and get the info they need.

I didn't really comment for the first year I started reading AC. Then, I realized there was just as much to learn from reading the comments. You get a real good feel for things by combining everyone's thoughts and opinions. Anyways.... Keep commenting and don't worry about saying something "stupid." There are probably a bunch of others wondering or thinking the same thing but are also reluctant to post.

It's too bad you were hesitant to post. The community here is far less aggressive than other popular sites, although people do have their moments still.

About the Play Music deauthorizations limit - I just sold my Note 3 and my 2012 Nexus 7, still have a Galaxy Nexus, and since I flash different ROMs I had about 10 different authorized devices. I deauthorized all of them by uninstalling Play Music updates - at least I think it was related I that - except for my current device. Can anyone else verify this if they have some time on their hands?

Posted via the 64 GB OnePlus One

I don't think that will do it. You can deauthorize devices directly from play music app. That's not the issue. You can have up to 10 devices authorized at a time. The problem arises when you need to make room for a different device from among the 10. You can now only deauthorize 4 devices in a year. This is really only an issue for 1. ROM flashers who each new ROM install counts as a new device. 2. Tech bloggers and journalists who change devices regularly and frequently use multiple device at a time. 3. Tech enthusiasts like me who may as well be tech journalists with all the devices we use.

Posted via Android Central App on my daily driver, the Droid MAX

When I first got an android phone, when I didn't know how to do something, I googled it. The 'basics' articles are just the type of thing I'd be looking for. Definitely keep doing them!

Posted from my Nexus 5 via Android Central App

Excellent read Phil. When someone new to Android or someone considering Android for the first time asks me questions about the Android phones, operating systems or ecosystem, I give them the normal spiel that I have owned Android phones since 2009 and I love them. I tried others but always come back to Android. And then I tell them to check out for the best resource for Android operating system and devices. One of the reasons is because of the more simple type of articles that are posted here. Keep up the great work guys. You need to cater to all Android users. Not just the experts & nerds.

Posted via a beautiful Ebony backed Moto X on Verizon or the amazing Nexus 10 using the Android Central App

I like the shift towards editorial style reviews and reference material. It makes android central my first choice for reviews and help when someone asks me about buying a new phone. Please keep up the personal approach. Its so cool to be able to recognize each writer by name and know a little (or more than a little) about them

Posted via the Android Central App

I consider myself an advanced user of sorts but I got an LG G3 last month after a few years of Nexus' and I've really enjoyed the little "this is how you do that simple thing" articles for that phone. So both ends of the article scale are useful to me Phil!

The android primer in the forums has to be one of the best tutorials ever on the subject. That's where I started almost a year ago when I joined.

Posted via my One + ONE

Phil, the basic stuff is very much appreciated. Some of us are perpetual noobs. The more advanced topics are mostly foreign to me but I still read and enjoy them.

Phil. Thanks to the AC crew that do every post. I love it.

But please don't reply to the trolls. Saying something just makes them worse. Rise above it. The good people that visit AC for the articles will always be happy to read them. And will always be thankful, but you will always hear from the ones that are not happy.

You cannot govern who reads the posts then morns about it. So let it go.

Keep up the good work. Its always awesome.

Posted via Android Central App

I fully agree  you Phil about the Play Music situation. I just a few months ago decided to subscribe to it.  I love it and love that I can use it  all my Android device as well as the wife's iPhone all on the same account. But I do change devices a lot. 

That's where I am at. I don't mind the 10 device at a time limit (and even a smaller number would be okay ) but I do change devices often which will eventually be a problem. Fortunately I do the vast majority of my listening in the HTC One M8.

Posted via Android Central App on my daily driver, the Droid MAX

Thanks Phil for all the laughs and great insight that you and the staff provide. Keeping it simple and to the point is why I love this place so much. I've been a lurker forever, and a member for 4 years, and this is the best place for help. I'm no rookie, but I still learn something new each day and I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

But the articles as of late are beginning to get piss poor. Typos are not that big of a deal as you normally fix things fast. But some are filled with incomplete sentences or misleading comments like the recent Verizon article. Such articles don't help and lead to confusion. Maybe some proof reading is in order to solve this. If you and the staff want to help inform us better, then getting lax with the proof reading is not the answer.

Then there are the reviews. For the most part, your phone reviews are great. But if you are going to do a carrier review then we need to know what is different then the unlocked one. Such as, is a feature missing or disabled? Are we robbed of the 50 gigs of Dropbox, or Polaris Office that the manufacturer is trying to give us? I would have been pissed if after I read a Verizon review of the m8, I then get the phone and realized that the FM radio is disabled and the highly underrated stock browser was missing. Thankfully I'm on AT&T, so now I'm just missing the free Dropbox and Polaris Office while installed on my phone is disabled. (but don't worry, I'm never buying a carrier phone again. Sorry LG, your G3 is awesome, but I'm passing it up due to the lack of FM tuner and Qi charging on AT&T. Next time, sell unlocked like Samsung and HTC or I'll skip you again)

Game reviews:
I'm sorry but this is one area where you used to be the best. You would tell us the good, the bad, and the ugly. But lately, the new writers are just simply promoting the game and not reviewing it. A great example is the new crazy taxi game. It is one of the worst aggressive paywall IAP free game since Dungenkeeper (and we all know just how the Internet reaction was with this popular PC game that came to Android).
Not only in the promotion (note how I don't call it a review), the writer does not describe any of the IAP, but there is no discreption of the poor controls, poor controller support, aggressive pay walls such as only being able to play tank mode once a day or only 5 plays at a time before you have to spend real money to continue to play. There seems to be plenty of bugs too and didn't seem worth it to the vast majority of your readers who consider themselves gamers. It seems if anything, this is a perfect example of what not to promote, and needs a thorough review if it is going to help the new Android user. But to also promote it as a best app or game of the week? That's a total failure in my book and I hope this gets improved in the future.

There is nothing wrong with developers getting paid by IAP. A great example is the plague. A game I would have never tried if not for AC. It is installed on my last 3 phones and I hope for more from them. Asphalt 8 is another good example, but my friends never want to play it on my TV when they come over as you do need to spend money once in awhile to advance. Yet the 99 cent Asphalt 7 is played for hours every time they come over. A game that is not free and that has no IAP seem to be always better. I'm glad that you guys do review them from time to time. New android users need to be reminded of this IMHO.

Sorry if this seems to be a rant, but I hope you take my comments and change some things for the better.
Anyway, what time is it again? Oh, It's Clemen time! (hint: best zombie game ever).

Posted via Android Central App using the all new HTC One (m8)

Agree. It drives me nuts when a professional site uses bad grammar. Once in a while is one thing but it happens far too often, imo.

Completely agree about the game "reviews" too. I don't even read them anymore because they're basically just super long advertisements. I'd rather have the truthful, down and dirty, review.

Heh. That is one hell of a rant. And I agree with a lot of it. As you bring on more people like we've done with our newsroom, things like grammar and writing styles become more of a challenge, especially when you have as many diverse backgrounds as our team does. And that's a challenge we're certainly addressing, and I thank you for your patience and for sticking with us. (I'd also point out that "get" isn't a very good verb, and proofreading is one word, but that's neither here nor there.)

And, yes, we've got to get our app reviews back up to snuff. That's absolutely something we intend to get better at.

Sorry for sounding like Debbie-downer. I should have also said, this site is awesome and the reason we all come back multiple times a day.

I have watched you twice now, write, "heh" what does that mean?

Also if as you say are about helping, what about responding to reader mail? Twice, recently I have written you to nary a response.

I don't expect an immediate reply after all I am just a reader and not that important, but a reply even days later would be appropriate and appreciated.


Posted via Android Central App

Honest answer? I try to answer as much email as I can. But I fail in that endeavor. Things slip through far more than I wish they did.

I need a hot West Virginia hillbilly secretary, perhaps. ;)

But Phil, what is the point of having editors if no one other than the author of the article actually edits and checks for these things? What does it really mean to be an editor? Maybe you could outline the editing process next week.

Posted via Android Central App

I read you guys more than any other for my Android fix. I still gain knowledge after year or two. As to Google music device restrictions, all they're doing is driving me to another music player (PowerAmp) and making me more prone to buy from iTunes or Amazon.

Posted via Android Central App

Try tubemate. It's the only thing that works.

Posted via Android Central App using the all new HTC One (m8)

Yip. Tubemate. But its not on the play market and you have to get it from the web and side load. Or can someone correct me on that?

Posted via Android Central App

When I was at school it would get brought to my attention if I was overusing the same word over and over in my writing. In that vein - folks, folks, folks, folks!

Not just in this article, but pretty much every post. I cringe every time your president uses it. English is a rich and plentiful language.


Heh. That's actually born from my old newspaper boss torturing me with the same thing. Well, that and that's how folks talk where I'm from. :p

Posted via the Android Central App

Although I am not new to android, there are still things that I'm not familiar with. The fact that y'all take the time to break down certain features is greatly appreciated.

Posted via Android Central App

I would like to sincerely thank the writers and members of this site for all the helpful info. When I was new to Windows phone I found WPCentral and because of that, now that I'm new to Android I knew exactly where to come... Android Central. I find myself somewhat intimidated but one can only learn by reading and asking questions.

Posted via Android Central App

I deathorized 8 devices yesterday from Google music and then checked on my account and the devices are completely gone.

Posted via Android Central App

Couldn't agree more with Phil's article!

I am an advanced, geeky, 'all guns blazing' technology guy, who utterly agrees with these types of articles. "Here to Help" should always be at the forefront, since one can never be too much informed about anything Android. Not to mention for the all important new user! Who is going to cater for them?

Furthermore, I do not believe that AC should even explain themselves, (i. e. research data etc), as to why they judge that such articles are necessary in the first place. Afterall, how many members have been 'complaining' about them? - Perhaps the AC Editorial Team could provide us with some data on that one, as something tells me that such members are not that many to warrant such replies.

I am still liking Android Central even more as time goes by, even after all these years. Why? Beacuse AC is about Android, geeky stuff, that puts the reader at the centre and not allowing the reader to be sidelined by the pseudo-celebrity 'status' that editors of other similar sites seem to be splattering around.

Diversification, inclusiveness, mutli-angled approach to articles, catering for such wide spectrum of audience, is something that I strongly feel AC is doing proficiently well!

If anyone, (still?), reads this, keep up the good work, and please, never forget your audience. ☺

Posted via Android Central App Runnning on Samsung Galaxy Note 3

Kevin (the analytics guru in addition to bring the other editors' boss) has said numerous times in the podcasts and elsewhere that the 'how to' articles are among the highest trafficked and searched.

Posted via Android Central App on my daily driver, the Droid MAX

Thank you Mr Nickinson for this article. You're absolutely right. I'm a long time Android user, but I am of the opinion that you always can learn something new. Or even refresh your memory once in a while. Keep up the good work. AC does great work!

Posted via the Android Central App

Maybe you can write a story on what I have been trying to resolve for about a year with no success??? Below is my original post from a few weeks back:

Now that "Stories" in Google Plus is available, I'm hoping someone has a solution to this problem as I need access to all of my family photos to properly develop a "story". I have been looking for a simple solution to aggregating pictures from different accounts forever. My wife and I both use our phones as our only cameras and need to upload each other's photos into our respective Google plus accounts. We currently use Dropbox and Plex to aggregate the photos for easy viewing but need them in our Google Plus accounts to propagate "Stories" properly. I found an app called "Auto Uploader" that automatically sends photos to the old Picasa dropbox album but it doesn't really work well (crashes, misses uploads) and will eventually be limited by the 1000 picture limit per album. So I was hoping there was an app I could install on our phones that would automatically send the pictures to each others accounts. Also hitting the Tasker community for a solution but was hoping you had one available.

May I make a suggestion?

In the same vein as making the how-to articles and beginner guides I think it would be helpful to focus in on specific issues that someone buying a lower end Android phone may face. For all of the G3, S5, and Moto G phones sold I bet there are a lot of people who are just getting in to Android who end up on lower end ZTE, Kyocera, or other carrier branded devices. Or even older models like the S3 that are still being sold on carrier shelves.

Those devices can sometimes have purpose driven design, like the Kyocera Brigadier that Andrew posted about, but mostly those are there for people with less money to burn and they have the specs to match. Less memory, more bloat - that sort of thing. People on those devices could need more targeted help and how-tos to make their phones last longer and AC could be very helpful there.