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5 months ago

OnePlus 5: Do you really need 8GB of RAM in a phone?

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Nope. But it opens a lot of possibilities.

You can buy a OnePlus 5 that has 8GB of RAM on board. That's 4GB more than most other high-end Android phones (and Chromebooks and cheap Windows Laptops) have and about 6GB more than the absolute bare minimum you can get away with. We'll answer the question right here in the first paragraph: No, you do not need 8GB of RAM in a phone.

But it does mean some really cool stuff could happen.

Read our OnePlus 5 review

What your phone does with RAM

We all know that more RAM means more apps can be kept running at the same time (sort of at the same time, anyways) but that's just one thing your phone does with the RAM inside of it. In fact, a portion of that RAM gets used before Android even starts running.

Without getting too nerdy and injecting ideas like compcache into the mix, your phone uses RAM like this:

  • The kernel-space: Your Android phone runs on top of the Linux kernel. The kernel is stored in a special type of compressed file that's extracted directly into RAM during the device power-on sequence. This reserved memory holds the kernel, drivers and kernel modules that control the hardware and room to cache data in and out of the kernel.
  • A RAMdisk for virtual files: There are some folders and files in the system tree that aren't "real." They are pseudofiles written at boot and hold things like battery levels and CPU speed data. With Android, the whole /proc directory is one of these psuedofile systems. RAM is reserved so they have a place to live.
  • Network radios: Data about your IMEI and radio settings are stored in NVRAM (Non-Volatile memory that's not erased when you power off your phone), but get transferred to RAM along with the software needed to support the modem when you first turn on your phone. Space is reserved to keep this all in memory.
  • The GPU: The graphics adapter in your phone needs memory to operate. That's called VRAM, and our phones use integrated GPUs that have no stand-alone VRAM. System RAM is reserved for this.
  • Available RAM: This is what's left over, minus any extra reserved for file-system cache and minfree settings. This is what the apps you run can use.

Having 8GB of RAM means any or all of these different ways RAM is used can use a lot more of it if it needs to. Or if a person writing the operating system wants to try something new and different.

What can you do with extra RAM

I'll start by saying we're not yet sure what OnePlus is doing with the extra RAM or what plans it has for the future. We'll know more when the phones get in the right hands. At first glance, it appears that it's not doing anything different at all.

But there is one thing that OnePlus (or any custom ROM developers) can do that would be a great way to use an extra 2GB of RAM: store the entire system home launcher in it.

8GB of RAM means more could be set aside for the user interface or a game mode.

Think back to the HTC M7 if you've been around Android that long. It was the first phone that used Android and was super-responsive when you were zipping around the OS. It was because a good portion of the system RAM was "reserved" for HTC Sense and wouldn't be freed when another app asked for more memory. In the M7's case, that meant it couldn't hold as many apps open as other phones. Most companies making Android phones do something similar now and set things up so that parts of the launcher are never removed from RAM, and Android feels much better to use because of it. With 4GB of RAM, getting a balance that offers good performance without upsetting users who want to keep apps open in the background can be tough.

With 8GB of RAM, the whole user interface can not only be kept in RAM, but done with a real reserved block outside of the system memory parameters.

Writing a device driver that enables DMA (Direct Memory Access) for the user interface means RAM can be set aside for use by only the user interface. The operating system still controls the i/o, but no other application can overwrite any part of it so everything needed for "instant" scrolling and swiping is held in RAM where it's fast and ready at all times.

OnePlus may not have anything planned for the extra RAM, but I'm sure developers at XDA will.

This is a little different than the memmap kernel parameter that reserves space outside the operating system for the radios and VRAM, but it lets the OS manage the RAM so data can move in and out and a buffer can be written when you shut the phone down to prevent data loss. It's a more robust solution than using the standard Linux LMK (Low Memory Killer) system to keep important processes running. The end result is a user interface that's fluid and responsive all the time, without affecting the way other apps run or stay alive in the background.

And that's just one example I thought of without digging too deep into it all. Imagine a "game mode" that reserves more RAM for the GPU or can keep more of a 3D game in memory while you're playing it. Or even tweaked minfree settings so we can leave every app we love open in the background all of the time.

Don't forget the cool factor

The OnePlus 5 can have 8GB of RAM to do crazy stuff with the OS for better performance, but it likely has it simply because it can.

RAM isn't expensive. At least not component RAM used on a phone mainboard. Spending a few dollars more per unit (which can be a lot if you sell millions of units) to give the OnePlus 5 something the Galaxy S8 or iPhone doesn't have is a real selling point in parts of Asia and for a lot of enthusiasts. Plenty of people are obsessed about the specs of a phone because they understand how they could be used, or simply because more is always better. Double the RAM of other flagship phones makes the OnePlus 5 more futureproof.

I'm sure someone at OnePlus did the math and figured that through a combination of all these factors, it was beneficial to sell an 8GB RAM model.

We'll end this the same way we started: by saying no, you don't need 8GB of RAM in a phone. But it doesn't hurt anything, and the creative freedom it gives to Android developers, both at OnePlus and third-party devs, could very mean some cool things will be coming.

OnePlus 5T and OnePlus 5

OnePlus Amazon

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5 months ago

How to use Alexa for traffic updates

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Nobody wants to get stuck in traffic, and Alexa can help.

Traffic is the bane of existence for anyone who's ever been late to a meeting because of gridlock. While you can use your phone, the radio, or the internet to check on traffic before heading out of the house, you can also ask Alexa. She'll let you know what your commute looks like; all you need to do is let her know where you're going.

Alexa can let you know about traffic

From within the Alexa app on your phone. you can add an address and from then, on all you need to do is ask Alexa what traffic on your commute looks like. She'll let you know the status of traffic, approximately how long it will take there, and the fastest route to get you there. Once you've got your destination address set in the Alexa app, you can check on your commute by asking "What does my commute look like?", "What is traffic like right now?", or "How is traffic?" to ensure you know what the roads look like before you even leave the house.

Since you can just ask Alexa what your commute looks like, this is a great way to save a few minutes in the morning when you're running around, trying to get out the door to start your day!

How to add a destination in the Alexa app

  1. Open the Alexa app on your phone.
  2. Tap the menu button that looks like three horizontal lines in the upper left corner of your screen.
  3. Tap Settings.

    Open the Alexa app, Tap the overflow button, tap settings.

  4. Tap Traffic.
  5. Tap add address.
  6. Type in the address of your destination and tap save changes.

    Tap Traffic, tap add address, type in the address and tap save changes.

Questions?

Sound off in the comments below.

Amazon Echo

See at Amazon

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5 months ago

How to get the Pride flag reaction on Facebook

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Share some love on Facebook during Pride Month!

Android Central loves, well, love. With that in mind, we're sharing something fun for those who feel the same. If you're celebrating Pride Month and have a Facebook account, you've already seen most of the account tweaks you can add, like temporary profile banners. If you want to go a little deeper, Facebook now lets you share the Pride flag as a reaction to both posts and comments. It's not a takeover of an existing reaction, it's an entirely unique reaction you can share!

Here's how to enable the Pride reaction for your account!

Enabling the Pride reaction on your Facebook Account

Like many other custom reactions on Facebook, you can opt-in by liking a specific page. In this case, liking the LGBTQ@Facebook page will enable the Pride reaction for your account.

Once you've liked the page, if you hadn't previously liked it, wait about five minutes and you'll see the rainbow option appear on both mobile and the web. This will probably only be around for the rest of the month, so enjoy it while it lasts!

Step-by-Step instructions

  1. Open the Facebook either through the app or browser
  2. Search for LGBTQ@Facebook in the top search bar
  3. Like the LGBTQ@Facebook page
  4. Wait five minutes
  5. Spread delightful rainbows as far and wide as you choose

Got it? Great! Have fun, and remember...

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5 months 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.

Check for battery-draining apps

Google Pixel

The Pixel really uses its systemwide battery-saving function called Doze, which puts the system and apps into a low-power state to help save battery when the phone isn't in use. A vast majority of the time the system can handle all sorts of apps and manage them so you still get notifications even while other apps are "sleeping," but in some cases a poorly coded app can keep the system awake when it's not supposed to, draining your battery in the process.

Doze does a great job, but you can always check on individual apps.

To find if there are any apps causing issues, head into your Settings, tap on Battery and look at the list of apps under "Use since last charge." You'll see most of the usual suspects like the screen, Android OS and Bluetooth or Voice calls, but if you see a seldom-used app taking up more than a couple percent of your battery drain, you should investigate to see if it's doing things it shouldn't be.

Use Battery optimization features

The "Battery optimization" feature in Android is a tad bit complicated, and in most cases will simply work as intended without your management, but if you're having battery life troubles it's worth checking out. Battery optimization builds on the battery-saving features of Doze to identify how and when you use apps to put forcibly them to sleep when they shouldn't be awake draining your battery. Go into Settings, tap on Battery and then tap the Menu button and tap Battery optimization to get started with this.

The system does a great job on its own, but you can still check in on it.

By default, the system has been analyzing how you use your phone since the minute you started installing apps, optimizing usage on the apps to get the most battery out of the phone while keeping your most-used apps available when you need them. In the main screen of the Battery optimization settings you'll see the "Not optimized" list, which you can see will include some apps that can't be optimized, along with some stragglers that may not be optimized yet.

If you see an app that you want to be optimized, tap it and switch to "Optimize." If you want to switch to a full apps list, tap the top bar and you'll see the option to view "All apps." Here you can tap on individual apps and switch them to "Don't optimize" if you wish to let the app have free reign to run as it pleases. You may choose to do this for critically important apps like those for travel or banking — just know that most of the time, the system will handle these functions exactly as you want, with the added benefit of optimizing them for battery savings.

Use Battery saver

Google Pixel battery saver

Though it isn't nearly as comprehensive as similar features on other phones, the Pixel includes a Battery saver mode that can help extend your battery life with the flip of a switch. With Battery saver turned on, your phone will have reduced performance, limited vibration, limited location services and reduced background data. Together the limitations don't have a huge effect on the usability of the phone, but they do save precious battery drain.

Battery saver can add a couple hours of life in a pinch.

Pull down the notification shade, tap on your battery icon and you'll see a "Battery saver" toggle you can turn on and off as you please when you know you need a bit more longevity. If you prefer, you can also have it come on automatically at 15 or 5% battery, which is what most people will be more comfortable with. Battery saver automatically turns off when you start charging your Pixel.

Battery saver isn't something you'll want to leave on all the time, but in a pinch it can help you get through the end of the day or a tough time away from the charger — it's just another tool to make the most of the Pixel's battery.

Uninstall unused apps

Of course you can mitigate the issues from the prior situations by simply uninstalling apps that you're not using that often (or at all). When you have a little free time, sit down and open up your app drawer — check out your apps and see which ones you've honestly opened in the past couple weeks. Chances are you're going to find more than a few you haven't even touched since you got your Pixel.

Going forward, when you're setting up a new phone a good rule to follow is to just install the basic apps you need from the start, and only install additional apps when you find you need them. After using several different phones we often fall into the trap of installing dozens of apps we think we'll need, but in reality never touch — and in the end we have to end up uninstalling them later.

Last resort: A mobile battery pack

Google Pixel with battery

Yes, we know, a portable battery pack doesn't fix the root problem of bad battery life on a phone, but it does fix the issue of a low battery. If you can't manage making it through a heavy day without needing a charge, and can't spend time plugged in at any point, you'll want to invest in a mobile battery pack.

There are plenty out there that will charge up your Pixel super quickly, and top up your friends' phones as well, like the Anker PowerCore 10,000 mAh battery, or this 20,100 mAh battery from Jackery that has USB-C. For a relatively inexpensive purchase, these batteries can be a great backup solution when you can't spend time at a power outlet.

How have you been finding battery life on the Pixel and Pixel XL? Did any of these tips help extend its life? Let us know in the comments!

Google Pixel + Pixel XL

Google Store Verizon

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5 months ago

Where to buy the HTC U11 in the U.S.

67
HTC U11

HTC U11 in the U.S.: where, when and for how much.

HTC's relationships with the U.S. carriers have weakened, and with the launch of its 2017 flagship the U11 it has just one carrier on board. The HTC U11 is exclusive to Sprint at launch, but has other retail partners for a proper unlocked model. The pricing from Sprint is set at $0 down and $29 per month for two years, or a total price of $696. Sprint will be offering the U11 in black and blue colors, at least at launch.

Thankfully, you are only stuck going to Sprint if you want to buy the phone directly from your operator. HTC is also selling the U11 unlocked on Amazon and HTC.com, continuing an excellent trend of selling directly to consumers who want to bypass the carriers. It's available immediately for order from both storefronts for $649, with an additional color choice of silver alongside black and blue.

Amazon

Amazon is selling the U.S. unlocked model of the U11, coming in black, silver and blue colors. The listing has a proper price of $649, plus free shipping for Prime members. Amazon offers special 12-month financing if you use an Amazon Store Card.

See at Amazon

HTC

It's always a fine idea to buy a phone directly from the manufacturer. HTC sells the U11 directly for $649 in the same black, silver and blue color options — no word yet on when (or if) the red and white color options will be available. HTC offers 24-month financing from its website.

You'll notice that HTC lets you select your carrier when buying, but don't be confused by that — selecting AT&T, T-Mobile or Verizon gets you the same unlocked model. HTC is simply trying to explain that its unlocked phones work on all U.S. carriers. The Sprint model is indeed a Sprint-specific SKU, though.

See at HTC

Sprint

If you're already a Sprint customer or perhaps switching and can get some incentives on a new phone, you may end up finding that getting a U11 directly from Sprint makes the most sense for you.

Sprint only offers the black and blue colors, and the price is a smidge higher at $696 (or $29/mo), so seriously consider buying the unlocked one for more options and a lower price.

See at Sprint

HTC U11

Amazon Sprint HTC

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5 months ago

How to shop on Amazon with Alexa

0
Amazon Echo

As an Amazon product, naturally you can buy things with Alexa. Here's how.

Everything Amazon ever does has some form of hook into buying things from its retail store. On its tablets, that extends to adverts on your lock screen, but on the Amazon Echo, it's pretty much the opposite.

You can use it to buy things from Amazon, but only if you want to. There're no ads, no up-sell. But instead of reaching for your phone or going on the computer, just ask Alexa to order things for you. Here's how.

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5 months ago

What color HTC U11 should you buy: Black, blue, silver, white or red?

44
HTC U11 colors

You want the phone ... now you just have to pick a color.

The HTC U11's big design feature is its pristine curved glass back, which has a unique color infusing process to bake the colors into the glass rather than layering on top or underneath. It's a look that you can't get from any other glass-backed phone, and it means you may be taking extra care in choosing which color HTC U11 you want to buy.

We have great pictures of all five colors, and some things you may want to keep in mind when making a choice — read on.

See at Amazon

HTC U11 in Brilliant Black

When you're releasing a new phone, you pretty much have to offer a "safe" color — that's Brilliant Black. It's a pretty basic look, but you still get the shiny "deep" color embedded in the glass. When you turn the phone the colors do shift and give it a look of some deeper greens and blues, just not to the extremes that the other colors do.

Who is it for?

If you're interested in the U11 but don't want to go all out with one of the flashy colors, black is going to be the one to get. The glass still stands out, but it isn't way out of line.

HTC U11 in Sapphire Blue

The "Sapphire Blue" U11 is one step above the black in terms of flash. The deep blue glass flows into color-matched blue metal on the side, and it really looks nice. When you tilt the phone the colors change to different shades of blue, and because it's a bit lighter it also starts to pull in colors from around it.

Who is it for?

If the black U11 feels a bit boring for you, but you still don't want to go flashy, the blue will be a good middle ground.

HTC U11 in Amazing Silver

This is where things start to get crazy. Depending on what angle you see it from, the "Amazing Silver" U11 can look like anything from shiny chrome all the way to deep blue. In a purely white room with no other colors around, the silver U11 is more of a very light blue — both the glass back and metal sides. But because of the extreme reflectivity, it pulls in colors from all around — it's hardly ever the same color twice.

Who is it for?

If you want a super-interesting color that will stand out from every angle every single day, this is the one to get. So long as you're okay with the "regular" view of it being a light blue base color, the silver U11 is a good choice.

HTC U11 in Ice White

The "Ice White" U11 is a pretty typical white glass and silver metal color scheme. The back has a very deep color that isn't nearly as reflective as the other colors, and the color doesn't shift as much. You get a pearlescent look and hints of pink from some angles, but the back stays very much "white" from most angles.

Who is it for?

There aren't a lot of white glass phones available, so if you've been looking for something that's beyond the standard black/gold/silver options, this is for you.

HTC U11 in Solar Red

It's hard to explain the ridiculousness of the "Solar Red" U11. Nominally, it's red. But when you tilt it off-axis, it turns a deep gold, orange or yellow depending on the angle. It's an amazing effect that's truly unique, even among the other U11 color options.

Who is it for?

The Solar Red color is absolutely for someone who wants to stand out. Not only are there so few red phones out there in general, but you won't find another "red" phone out there that can change colors so dramatically.

Regional differences matter

As is always the case, you won't necessarily be able to choose from all five colors in all regions around the world. Right at launch, HTC is primarily offering the black, blue and silver colors. White and red were not finalized until later on in the development of the U11, so they won't be widely available for some time. Here's the current breakdown of availability, as of mid-June:

  • U.S.: Sapphire Blue, Brilliant Black, Amazing Silver (Amazon and htc.com only)
  • Europe: Sapphire Blue, Brilliant Black, Amazing Silver, Ice White, Solar Red (coming soon)
  • China: Sapphire Blue, Brilliant Black, Amazing Silver, Ice White, Solar Red (coming soon)
  • Taiwan: Sapphire Blue, Brilliant Black, Amazing Silver, Ice White, Solar Red (coming soon)
  • Australia: Brilliant Black, Amazing Silver (carrier/retailer dependent)

One thing you'll notice is that the Solar Red model isn't available anywhere right at launch — but expect it to head out to various regions soon. So if you have your heart set on red, be patient rather than settling for another color, because it is coming.

HTC U11

Amazon Sprint HTC

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5 months ago

How to keep your smartphone cool during the hot summer months

15

Sun's out, the smartphone's out. But don't forget that in addition to slathering on the sunscreen, you'll have to keep your phone protected, too.

Summer is all about streaming the hits of year's past and shooting a bounty of selfies. But while you're out doing that, remember to keep tabs on how hot your smartphone becomes as you're having fun.

The warmer weather months don't offer a friendly climate for electronics, and the heat can actually be hazardous to overall device health. Here are a few tips to keep your smartphone cool for the summer.

Don't leave the phone in the car

Grab one of these if you need to tend to use turn-by-turn directions, in your car, during the hot summer months.

There's a reason it's illegal in some areas to leave your child or a pet behind in a hot car. Even with the windows cracked a bit, cars are effectively giant metal incubators. It's also why you shouldn't leave your smartphone behind.

Overall, it's best to pre-plan where you'll put things before you get into the vehicle. If you're driving long distances, for example, grab a magnetic car mount to keep the phone affixed to the air conditioning vent as you're using turn-by-turn directions. If you have to leave the phone in the car for safety reasons, try storing it in the trunk instead. That's the part of the car with the least "greenhouse gas" effect (link is a PDF).

Another rule I abide by is to never leave any gadgets in the glove compartment, even if I'm streaming music and my phone is connected to the auxiliary cable located inside. Glove boxes are hot enough to melt the cassette tapes of yore, and unless you've got an air conditioning vent located inside, it's definitely hot enough to toast your electronics.

Turn off what you don't need

Bluetooth, LTE, Wi-Fi, and GPS — if you don't need these things while you're out and about, turn them off. That will ensure your phone isn't working in overtime in your purse or pocket while you're out gallivanting in sun-stroked gardens. It'll also be a boon for battery life, which you'll want considering how much warmer a smartphone gets when it's plugged in for a charge.

Take off the case

Don't bother with a case in the hot summer months. It'll just make things hotter.

You wouldn't wear layers in the hot summer heat, right? There is no need to pile them on top of your smartphone, either. If you're in need of a case because you're engaging in outside activity, put the phone inside an Otterbox and keep the screen off during your excursion.

Keep devices separate

I don't live in a humid climate or in the desert, so I've never had this sort of issue. But if you're walking around with several devices clustered in a bag or backpack and the air is positively thick with heat, be sure that they're powered off and kept in separate compartments. This gives all the metal things on your shoulder a little room to breathe as the world outside bakes everything else.

Don't put it in the fridge

A strange practice that isn't worth practicing at all.

I used to do this with my MacBook Air until I was scolded for doing so. According to Gazelle, a site where you can sell your old gadgets, cooling your gadgets too rapidly could actually damage the inside components.

Don't cool it too fast. If your phone overheats, your initial reaction is going to be to rush it to the coldest place you can find. However, rushing the cooling process can cause condensation to get trapped on the inside of the devices and inevitably, water damage.

Whoa! The best thing to do if you feel like your device is too hot is to slowly cool it down by turning it off completely and leaving it alone for a while. You should also unseat the battery pack, if it's removable, and definitely place the phone away from direct sunlight.

What are your tricks?

We all have our own tricks for dealing with the heat. What are you some of your methods for cooling your smartphone down when the world outside is burning up? Let us know!

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5 months ago

How to use a Google Play gift card

12
Play money is fun money

Google Play is not only the largest app store in the world but also a music subscription service, a bookstore, and a video store. Google Play gift cards make an excellent gift (hence the name), but that's not the limit of their use. Since Google restricts underage user accounts from Google Wallet, Google Play gift cards might be the only way for your munchkins to purchase content. Here's where to find them and how to use them.

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5 months ago

How to pause and clear your YouTube history

3
Clear this out

We all have videos we'd rather forget.

YouTube hosts a lot of fascinating, entertaining, and educational content. It also hosts a lot of trash, and we'd rather not have that trash in our search histories, our watch histories, or in the YouTube recommendations that are generated from those histories. Do you want Google to autocomplete to "red hot baby mommas" every time you start looking for a Red Hot Chili Peppers video? Did you forget to switch accounts before handing it off to your little ones and now your recommendations are littered with those mind-numbing toy demos?

Or worse. Much, much worse.

Never fear, we can scrub that data from YouTube and get you back to what you really want to see — more cat videos.

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5 months ago

How to add a second user and Google account to your Chromebook

6

You can add as many accounts to your Chromebook as you like, and there are even some handy ways to administer them all.

A great thing about Chromebooks is that whenever you sign into one, it syncs all your apps, extensions, and settings, so you always have the same experience. It's pretty cool knowing exactly what to expect and where everything is.

And Chrome is ready for multiple users on the same machine, each with their own private section of the storage. When you log in, you'll have your stuff and when someone else logs in they'll have their stuff. And the two never mix so you won't have to worry about who can see what.

All you need to do is add another user, and this is how you do it.

How to add a second user/Google account to your Chromebook

  1. Check the settings and make sure you don't have other users blocked. Open Settings and scroll down to Users. There are four checkboxes, and they are labeled with exactly what each does.

    • Enable Guest browsing allows anyone to use your Chromebook's browser. They can't save or install anything and no history is saved.
    • Enable supervised users lets you create a managed account. {here's everything you need to know about doing that](https://www.androidcentral.com/how-add-supervised-user-account-your-chromebook).
    • Show user names and photos on the sign-in screen is a privacy setting. you can uncheck this if you don't want to show who has an account. You'll need to enter your Gmail address to login instead of clicking your profile if you uncheck this one.
    • Restrict sign-in to the following users lets you choose who can log in from the list of active accounts. Choose which ones from the box below.

  2. Log off and go back to the start screen.
  3. In the bottom left you'll see Browse as Guest and Add person.

    • Click Browse as Guest to start up the guest account if you want to use your Chromebook without any personalized settings or save any history. You'll need to have enabled guest browsing in the settings from step one.
    • Click Add person to add a new account to your Chromebook.

The account creation is just like you saw the first time you logged in. You supply your Google account (usually a Gmail address), then provide the correct password and pass any two-factor authentication challenge you may have on the account. If you're adding a person who doesn't already have a Google account, you can create one in the wizard by checking More options.

When you're done, the account information will be saved and the new profile is there at the start screen. You can create as many accounts as you like and each will always have their own personalized settings and apps. This is pretty awesome for sharing with a friend or family member or even separating work and play.

Chromebooks

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;} /*-->*/ /*-->*/ /*-->*/

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5 months ago

How to turn off screen overlay on Samsung Galaxy S8

9
Galaxy S8 screen overlay

It's an odd warning message, but it's fixable.

There's an interesting issue that crops up now and then on Samsung Galaxy phones pertaining to "screen overlay" settings preventing you from using some apps. It's an issue most people aren't used to seeing all that often, and to be fair the settings for screen overlay are deep and not explained very well.

The issue has been mitigated some in the last year, it seems, but the settings remain in the Galaxy S8 in case you're running into issues running some apps and seeing this screen overlay error message. Here's how you can fix it.

To provide a bit of background, "screen overlay" is the system by which an app can overlay elements on top of other apps. The most popular example would be Facebook Messenger's "Chat Heads" feature that lets little bubbles persist as you change apps, but other apps can use the feature in many ways. These apps need your permission to run screen overlays for security reasons — for example, an unwanted app could put a button on top of another button, unbeknownst to you, getting you to select something you didn't mean to.

You may run into situations in which you'll have to head into your settings to enable screen overlay so an app like Facebook Messenger can provide a feature, but more likely to happen seemingly randomly is the requirement to disable screen overlay so the foreground app can work properly. In either case, here's how you can manage screen overlay on an app-by-app basis so everything works.

How to turn on or off screen overlay

  1. Launch Settings from your home screen.
  2. Scroll down and tap on Apps.
  3. Tap the overflow menu button in the top-right corner and tap Special access.
  4. Tap on Apps that can appear on top.
    • See how this is confusing? "Screen overlay" wording isn't used consistently.
  5. Find the app you expect to be causing issues, and tap the toggle to turn it off.
    • Or, to keep screen overlay enabled, tap the toggle to turn it back on again.

Galaxy S8 screen overlay

Now in the case of needing to enable screen overlay for an app, you'll have a good idea of which app to toggle on. But in the case of needing to disable screen overlay to use a different app, you may have to play the guessing game a bit. Toggle off apps one by one as you go back to the primary app you're trying to use, and you'll eventually find the culprit.

Unfortunately due to the security concerns highlighted above, there's no full-on "fix" for the issue of screen overlays blocking the use of other apps. If the app you're using doesn't permit the use of screen overlay while running, you'll just have to use these toggles more frequently.

Questions?

Let us know in the comments below if you continue to have these problems on your own Galaxy S8.

Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+

Verizon AT&T T-Mobile Sprint Unlocked

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;} /*-->*/ /*-->*/ /*-->*/

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5 months ago

Show your Pride with our rainbow theme pack

13

How do I theme my phone for Pride?

It honors the Stonewall Riots from 1969. There are memorials and ceremonies nationwide to honor those in the LGBTQIA community who have been lost throughout the year. There are parades and parties throughout month to celebrate the progress that has been made and to savor the freedom to live as we wish, in the sun as once we could only in the shadows of secrecy. But this year Pride Month has a bit more meaning. June 12th now marks the worst mass shooting in American history, and it was a direct attack on the LGBTQIA community.

To honor them, and the entire community, here are our favorite wallpapers, icon packs, widgets and more customizations to celebrate Pride Month!

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5 months ago

How to enable family sharing on YouTube TV

4

You can share your monthly online cable subscription with up to five other people.

Did you know that a $35-a-month subscription to YouTube TV gets you access for your friends and family, too? Google lets you share your membership with up to five people at no additional cost. You can easily create a family group and manage it as you need, though you can only do so from the web. Here's how.

  1. Go to https://tv.youtube.com/?settings=personal.
  2. Under Account, click Set Up to get to your Family sharing settings.
  3. You'll be taken to the Family sharing page where you can start inviting people to your group.

When your friends or family members open the invitation in their inbox, they'll be asked to sign in with their Google account to complete the setup. Afterward, they'll be able to access YouTube TV through a desktop browser at tv.youtube.com, or through the mobile app on Android or iPhone with their login credentials.

What is YouTube TV, anyway?

Confused as to what YouTube TV is, anyway? Be sure to read up on our primer and then follow up where we compare two streaming apps that bring live television straight to your smartphone.

Read: YouTube TV vs. Sling TV

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5 months ago

How to customize your Amazon Alexa Flash Briefing

0

Alexa, what's in the news?

That's a question you can ask your Amazon Echo every single day and receive a custom report based on what you want to hear about. Cut out the fluff, keep the good stuff.

Thanks to the Alexa skills catalog, there are a number of different news sources you can call upon to tailor your Flash Briefing to your particular tastes. It's really easy to set up, too.

Here's what you need to know.

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