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1 year ago

How to make your Android look and feel like an iPhone

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Apple has one look, and it's quite a distinctive one. If you really want to make your Android look like an iPhone, you can.

There's no single Android "look." Sure, we've got Material Design, and it's great. But Android can and often does look like anything under the sun: pretty, ugly, clean, busy, Material, Holo, retro, futuristic, and at times, even Apple-y. If you can make your phone look like anything, it makes sense that some might want their phone to look like one of Cupertino's devices.

Now making your phone look and behave exactly like an iPhone is impossible without a specialized ROM, or a phone that was designed to look and feel like an iPhone — think Xiaomi, Huawei, or a few other Chinese manufacturers. But between these apps and a little patience, we can make your new phone behave and feel a lot more like your old one … in a good way.

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1 year ago

U.S. prepaid phones guide 2016

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Prepaid SIMs

Sick of committing to annual contracts? Enjoy the flexibility of a prepaid wireless plan.

The days of being locked into a lengthy wireless contract are over, as there is a plethora of prepaid options that allow you to pay for your phone service on a month-to-month basis. We've taken the liberty of breaking down the top prepaid wireless options for you in this handy guide.

Check your coverage

One of the first things you should consider when deciding on a prepaid carrier is the coverage provided in your area. Prepaid carriers often have a smaller coverage map than postpaid carriers because of their limited roaming agreements, so it's good to re-check your area, even if you've used the carrier before. Here are the coverage maps for the carriers we will be looking at:

  • MetroPCS — Map
  • AT&T GoPhone — Map (make sure to check the GoPhone map)
  • Boost Mobile — Map
  • T-Mobile Prepaid — Map
  • Straight Talk — Map (requires Zip Code, and preferred phone/carrier)
  • Cricket Wireless — Map
  • Virgin Mobile — Map
  • Simple Mobile — Map
  • GoSmart Mobile — Map
  • Project Fi — Map

MetroPCS

MetroPCS

MetroPCS uses T-Mobile's HSPA+ and LTE network, as it is owned entirely by the larger carrier. You have the option to purchase a phone through MetroPCS, or bring your own device that's compatible with the T-Mobile network.

Price

Plan pricing is based on how much high-speed data (LTE) you think you'll use on a monthly basis. There are no annual contracts, and taxes and fees are included in the price.

  • 1GB of high speed data — $30/month
  • 3GB of high-speed data — $40/month
  • 5GB of high-speed data — $50/month
  • Unlimited LTE data — $60/month

All plans come with unlimited talk, text, data, LTE mobile hotspot, Wi-Fi calling, caller ID, call waiting, 3-way calling, and Data Maximizer, a feature that helps optimize your high-speed data usage when streaming videos.

Music Unlimited is included on $40 and higher-rate plans, which allows you to stream from over 40 streaming music services including Apple Music, Pandora, Spotify, and more, without dipping into your monthly high-speed data allotment.

Note that once you've burned through your allotted LTE data, you'll notice your data speeds fall to 2G.

How to reload

Log into the MetroPCS website to make a payment or set up Auto Pay. You also have the option to pay in person at a MetroPCS store.

AT&T GoPhone

AT&T GoPhone

AT&T's prepaid option lets you choose from a selection of phones specifically for their GoPhone plans, or you can purchase a GoPhone SIM card kit if you'd prefer to bring your own device.

Price

AT&T prepaid plans include unlimited talk and text in the U.S., as well as unlimited messaging to Mexico, Canada, and over 100 countries. For data, AT&T offers three types of GoPhone plans:

  • Pay-as-you-go ($5 per 100MB) LTE data — $30/month
  • 2GB of LTE data, with rollover data — $45/month
  • 5GB of LTE data, with rollover data — $60/month

The 5GB plan also includes unlimited talk and text within and between U.S., Mexico, and Canada, and allows you to use your high-speed data allotment from your plan when in Mexico or Canada. You can also save $5 per month by signing up for Auto Refill.

You can also pay $2 per day for unlimited nationwide talk and text or pay $0.25 per minute and $0.20 per text message. Data is available at $2 per MB (based on their stated $0.01 per 5KB rate), or you can add on a data package that gives you 100MB for an extra $1 a day.

How to reload

Pay online via myAT&T using a credit/debit card or eCheck, buy a Refill card (available online, at AT&T wireless stores, and at more than 200,000 retail locations), or call 611 anytime from your GoPhone (or 1-800-901-9878) and follow the prompts for Refill.

Boost Mobile

Boost Mobile

Boost Mobile uses Sprint's nationwide LTE network. You have the option of buying a phone through Boost or bringing your own Sprint-compatible device.

Price

Boost Mobile offers three types of monthly prepaid phone plans featuring LTE high-speed data. Once your plan's data allotment has been reached, speeds are reduced to 2G for the remainder of the plan cycle.

  • 2GB of LTE high-speed data — $35/month
  • 5GB of LTE high-speed data — $45/month
  • Unlimited LTE high-speed data — $60/month

One neat feature with Boost is the ability to increase your monthly data allotment. You get an additional 500MB of high-speed data per month when you make three on-time payments (up to 3GB after 18 on-time payments). You can also save $5 on your plan by signing up for Auto Re-Boost.

All plans come with unlimited domestic talk and text (available even if you haven't paid for up to 60 days), unlimited music streaming with select music partners, call waiting, voicemail, 3-way calling, as well as the ability to turn your phone into a mobile Wi-Fi hotspot (draws from your applicable data allotment). With Unlimited pans, hotspot data is capped at 8GB.

How to reload

Pay online via My Account on the Boost Mobile site or sign up for Auto Re-Boost. Pay by phone by dialing #-A-D-D (#-2-3-3) and following the prompts to pay with your credit, debit, or Re-Boost card, text ADD and the pin on the back of your Re-Boost card to 7225 (ex. ADD 12345678912345), or text "PAY," the dollar amount, and the last four digits of the credit or debit card associated with the account to 7225 (ex. PAY 50 1234).

Alternatively, you can pay in-store at any Boost Mobile location.

T-Mobile Prepaid

T-Mobile Prepaid

T-Mobile's prepaid service gives you access to T-Mobile's nationwide network without signing up for an annual contract. You have the option to buy a prepaid T-Mobile phone, or bring your own device for only the cost of the SIM card.

Price

T-Mobile offers prepaid plans for individuals and families, as well as a pay-as-you-go option.

Individual plans include:

  • 3GB of LTE high-speed data — $40/month
  • 5GB of LTE high-speed data — $50/month
  • 10GB of LTE high-speed data — $60/month

All plans include unlimited talk, text, and data on T-Mobile's nationwide LTE network, with data speeds slowing to 2G upon reaching your monthly data allotment.

If you're the type who rarely makes calls with their phone, T-Mobile also offers a text and web prepaid plan that includes unlimited text and data (4G speeds for the first 5GB; speeds reduced thereafter) and just 100 minutes of talk. It's the perfect plan for those who'd rather tweet or text than talk but only available for first-time T-Mobile customers.

Family plans start at $50/month for the first line, an additional $30/month for the second line, and $10/month for any additional lines. Each line comes standard with 2GB of LTE data with options to upgrade to 6GB for an extra $15/month, 10GB for an extra $30/month, or unlimited for $45/month. Family plans include Unlimited talk, text, and data, unlimited music streaming on select music services, free video streaming via T-Mobile's Binge On service, and more.

If you'd rather pay as you go, T-Mobile offers a plan that starts at $3/month for any combination of 30 minutes of talk or 30 texts, with options to add a high-speed data pass with daily ($5/day for up to 500MB of LTE data) and weekly ($10/week for up to 1GB of LTE data).

How to reload

To reload your account online, go to T-Mobile's website, either through one-time payments or by setting up recurring payments. You can also call -A-D-D (-2-3-3) from your T-Mobile phone to reload your account via credit, chequing account or T-Mobile Refill card. Refill cards are available to be purchased online or in-store at a T-Mobile location.

Straight Talk

Straight Talk Mobile

Straight Talk is a prepaid carrier that doesn't rely on just one wireless network to provide services to it's customers. It purchases the right to use other the towers of the four major carriers — AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon, and Sprint.

Straight Talk offers prepaid phones for purchase, and also lets you bring your own device. But just because it offers service from four carriers, that doesn't mean you get access to all four at the same time — you get to choose between T-Mobile or AT&T if you bring your own phone, or Straight Talk may choose the right carrier based on your location when you buy a phone from it.

Price

Straight Talk has seven tiers of wireless plans available for your smartphone, starting as low as a dollar a day up to a one-year unlimited plan for $495.

  • All You Need Plan: 1500 minutes of nationwide talk, unlimited texting, and 100 MB of data for 30 days — $30
  • 30-Day Unlimited Plan (5GB): Unlimited nationwide talk, text, and data (5GB of high-speed data, then 2G) for 30 days — $45
  • 30-Day Unlimited plan (10GB): Unlimited nationwide talk, text, and data (10GB of high-speed data, then 2G) for 30 days — $55
  • Unlimited International Plan: Unlimited nationwide talk, text, and data (5G of high speed-data, then 2G), as well as unlimited mobile-to-mobile to Mexico, China, India and canada, as well as unlimited calls to select international landline destinations for 30 days— $60
  • 3-Month Unlimited Plan: Unlimited talk, text, and data (5GB of high-speed data, then 2G) for 90 days — $130
  • 6-Month Unlimited Plan: Unlimited talk, text, and data (5GB of high-speed data, then 2G) for 180 days — $255
  • 1-Year Unlimited Plan: Unlimited talk, text, and data (5GB of high-speed data, then 2G) for 365 days — $495

How to reload

Go to the Straight Talk site to reload your account via service card, setting up recurring automatic payments, or downloading the Straight Talk My Account app for Android or iOS.

Cricket Wireless

Cricket Wireless

After being acquired by AT&T, Cricket Wireless has supported devices that use AT&T's HSPA+ and LTE network. You can purchase a phone from Cricket, or BYOD.

Price

Cricket Wireless offers four plan levels, from Basic to Unlimited.

  • Basic Plan: Unlimited nationwide talk, text, and data (2.5GB of high-speed LTE data before speed is reduced) — $40/month
  • Smart Plan: Unlimited nationwide talk, text, and data (5GB of high-speed LTE data before speed is reduced), unlimited international texting (MMS not included), data access plus unlimited talk and text to and from Mexico, Canada and the U.S. — $50/month
  • Pro Plan: Unlimited nationwide talk, text, and data (10GB of high-speed LTE data before speed is reduced), unlimited international texting (MMS not included), data access plus unlimited talk and text to and from Mexico, Canada and the U.S. — $60/month
  • Unlimited Plan: Unlimited nationwide talk, text, and high-speed LTE data, unlimited international texting (MMS not included), data access plus unlimited talk and text to and from Mexico, Canada and the U.S. — $70/month

All plans are eligible for a Group Save Discount when you add additional lines to your account. Save $10 when adding a second line, $20 off your third line, $30 off your fourth line, and $40 off your fifth line for a total eligible savings of $100.

Receive a $5 credit on your monthly bill by signing up for Auto Pay (not available with the Group Save Discount).

There's also a bunch of add-on features available for each plan.

How to reload

Log in to My Account on the Cricket Wireless site to pay your bill or sign up for Auto Pay, or download the My Cricket app for Android, iOS and Windows Phone.

Virgin Mobile

Virgin Mobile

Virgin Mobile uses Sprint's CDMA and LTE networks. You have the option of buying a phone through Virgin or bringing your own Sprint-compatible device.

Price

Virgin Mobile features a number of no-contract plans, including unlimited talk, text, and data starting at $30/month. All plans come with unlimited music streaming from Pandora, iHeartRadio, Slacker Radio, 8tracks, and Samsung Milk Music without it counting against your high-speed data allotment.

  • 500MB of high-speed data, unlimited talk, text, and data (2G after high-speed allotment) — $30
  • 4GB of high-speed data, unlimited talk, text, and data (2G after high-speed allotment) — $40
  • 6GB of high-speed data, unlimited talk, text, and data (2G after high-speed allotment) — $50

You can add more high-speed data to your account ($5 for 1GB, $10 for 2GB), and all plans come with international talk, text, and Visual Voicemail

Virgin also features Data Sharing plans for families with up to four lines able to share 16GB of data for $110/month.

How to reload

You can top up your Virgin Mobile account by buying a Virgin Mobile Top-Up card and entering it along with your Virgin Mobile number online, or simply pay online with your credit/debit Card or PayPal.

Verizon

Verizon Wireless

Verizon's prepaid option gives you full-access to Verizon's nationwide network without locking you into a lengthy contract. You have the option of buying a prepaid phone from Verizon or BYOD.

Price

Verizon offers monthly smartphone plans, featuring no annual contract, no activation fee, and no credit checks.

Unlimited talk and text with no data (Wi-Fi only) — $30/month Unlimited talk and text with 2GB of data — $45/month Unlimited talk and text with 5GB of data — $60/month

With no unlimited data plans available, expect to pay overage charges if you go over your data allotment for the month. Sign up for My Verizon Auto Pay for your $45-$60/month plan and get an extra 1GB of monthly data.

How to reload

Reload your Verizon account online, buy refill cards, or pay in-store at a Verizon Wireless location.

Simple Mobile

Simple Mobile

Simple Mobile uses T-Mobile's HSPA+ and LTE network and offers options to purchase a new phone or bring your own T-Mobile-compatible GSM phone (850 and 1900 MHz bands)

Price

Simple Mobile offers five prepaid plans, which all feature no contract or credit check, unlimited talk and text, unlimited international texting, unlimited calling to mobile phones in Mexico, Canada, India, China and 16 other countries and no roaming charges when in Mexico.

  • Basic talk and text plan (no data included) — $25/month
  • 4GB of up to LTE speeds, slows to 2G after data allotment — $40/month
  • 5GB of up to LTE speeds, slows to 2G after data allotment — $50/month
  • 10GB of up to LTE speeds (slows to 2G after data allotment) — $55/month
  • Unlimited LTE speed data$60/month

How to reload

ReUp through the Simple Mobile website via credit card or pin. You also have the option to pay in advance with Stash, allowing you to add money to your plan when you have it, so you don't have to worry about re-upping when your service runs out.

GoSmart

GoSmart Mobile

GoSmart is a subsidiary of T-Mobile and uses their nationwide network. You have the option of purchasing a device from GoSmart or BYOD.

Price

GoSmart offers four no-contract wireless plans to fit your needs. All plans come with unlimited talk and text, unlimited international texting to over 200 countries, unlimited LTE Facebook access and access to a nationwide 3G network.

  • Basic talk and text plan (no data included) — $25/month
  • 4GB of 3G web data per month— $35/month, or $30/month with auto pay
  • 12GB of 3G web data per month — $45/month
  • 20GB of 3G web data per month — $50/month

With the unlimited plans, speeds will slow after you've surpassed your 3G data allotment.

How to reload

Refill your account online via the GoSmart website, or pay by phone by dialing -A-D-D (-2-3-3) from your GoSmart phone, or call a GoSmart Mobile Refill Center Specialist at 1-877-569-0321

Project Fi

Project Fi

Google's first foray as a wireless carrier includes revolutionary pricing and flexible data usage rules. Sounds great, huh? The only unfortunate bit is that the service is currently limited to Google-designed devices — the Nexus 6P, Nexus 5X, and Nexus 6. You can bring your own phone if you already have one of the approved devices, or you can buy one from Project Fi with some attractive pricing incentives and financing options.

Price

Google's Project Fi features one flexible pricing plan, which starts with Fi Basics. For $20 per month, you get unlimited domestic talk and text, unlimited international texts, the ability to turn your phone into a Wi-Fi hotspot, and coverage in 120+ countries.

You pay for data as you use it. Featuring LTE speeds, you set your own custom data budget at $10 for every GB of data you use — but you're refunded if you don't reach that limit. So, if you pay for 8GB of data at the beginning of the month but only end up using 5GB, you'll receive a credit of $30 for your unused data. This is calculated down to the megabyte. If you go over your data budget, you pay for the extra used data based on the same $10 per GB rate — so 350MB of data overage would only end up costing you $3.50.

Set your data budget based on the amount you actually use and never worry about overages or overpaying again.

How to reload

Everything is controlled through the Project Fi app and website.

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1 year ago

Devil in the details: Nova Settings and what you do (and don't) need to know

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Nova Launcher is a fairly easy launcher to pick up.

In fact, Nova was the very first third-party launcher I tried, and it's held a special place in my heart ever since. But Nova Launcher can get overwhelming at times, and most of those times have to do with Nova Settings. Because Nova Launcher has such an amazing amount of customization, it also has a lot of settings that those customizations rely on. So how do you find what you need among the rest? Never fear! We're here to help you through Nova Settings and help you find what you were looking for — plus a few cool features you probably didn't even know were there.

Let's customize!

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1 year ago

How to pair Bluetooth headphones on Android

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How to pair Bluetooth headphones on Android

How do I pair Bluetooth headphones with my Android phone?

Whether you already have Bluetooth headphones lying around, or you are planning on purchasing a pair, you can easily pair them with your Android device to enjoy all of your favorite sounds.

How to turn on Bluetooth on Android

Before you can pair anything, you will need to make sure your Android device has Bluetooth on.

  1. Swipe down from the top of the screen to reveal the Notification Shade. Depending on which Android phone you have, you may have to swipe twice.
  2. Tap on the Bluetooth symbol.

    Swipe down from the top of the screen to reveal the Notification Shade and then tap on the Bluetooth symbol.

You can turn off Bluetooth at any time by following the same steps. If the Bluetooth symbol is grayed out, as pictured in the middle screenshot above, that means Bluetooth is currently off. If the symbol is colored in (usually white or green) — like the right screenshot displayed above — that means it's on.

How to pair Bluetooth headphones on Android

Before you get started, make sure your Bluetooth headphones are turned on and in pairing mode. Each pair of headphones will probably be a little bit different, so consult the information that came with your pair before you proceed.

  1. Swipe down from the top of the screen to reveal the Notification Shade. Depending on which Android phone you have, you may have to swipe twice.
  2. Tap on the word Bluetooth.

    Swipe down from the top of the screen to reveal the Notification Shade and then tap on the word Bluetooth.

  3. Tap on More Settings button.
  4. Tap on the name of your Bluetooth headphones.

    Tap on More Settings button and then tap on the name of your Bluetooth headphones.

Your headphones should now pair with your phone automatically.

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1 year ago

How to install and uninstall apps from Google Play

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How to install and uninstall apps on Google Play

How do I get apps from Google Play on and off of my phone?

The best part about using a smartphone is finding and using apps; a phone is just a phone without them.

With millions of apps to choose from on the Google Play Store, you'll want to install and keep the best and uninstall the rest. Fortunately, it's super easy to install and uninstall apps on Android devices.

Whether you're on your computer looking for the best games for Android or in your phone's Google Play Store app looking for the latest trending apps, we'll break it all down for you.

How to install apps from the Google Play Store

There are two ways to download apps to your phone from the Google Play Store: from the Google Play Store app on your phone, or from the Google Play Store site on your computer.

How to install apps from the Google Play Store on your phone

  1. Launch the Google Play Store from your home screen or app drawer.
  2. Search or browse to find an app you wish to download.
  3. Tap on the app you want to download.

    Launch the Google Play Store app, search or browse for an app to install, then tap the app you want to install

  4. Tap Install.
  5. Tap Accept after you review the information provided. If it's a paid app, you will also have to confirm your payment information.

    Tap Install, review the app information and tap Accept. The app will begin to download and install.

How to install apps from the Google Play Store from your web browser

If you're browsing around the Internet on your computer and find a super cool app, you can wirelessly download it to your phone without having to touch your phone. Pretty convenient. You just need to be logged in the Google account linked to your Android phone.

  1. Go to the Google Play Store in your favorite web browser.
  2. Click on an app you wish to download to your phone.
  3. Click Install.

    Launch your preferred web browser and go to the Google Play Store, clock on an app you wish to download to your phone, and click Install.

  4. Click the dropdown menu if you have more than one phone linked to your Google account, and select the device you wish .
  5. Click Install to start the download and installation process.

    Click the dropdown menu if you have more than one phone linked to your Google account and make sure the right device is selected, then click Install to start the download and installation process.

  6. Look at your phone, and you'll see the download and installation has started in the Google Play Store.
  7. Once the game has been installed, you can launch it as you do.

    Switch your focus to your phone, and you'll see the app is now downloading from the Google Play Store app.

How to uninstall apps from the Google Play Store

The way you uninstall games from your Android phone might differ slightly based on the make of phone you own. On the Samsung Galaxy S7, for example, you're unable to uninstall an app from the home screen as you can with the Nexus 6P.

So instead of focusing on those shortcuts which may or may not be available on the phone you're rocking, we'll walk you through the main processes for removing an app from your phone.

How to uninstall apps from the Google Play Store app

  1. Launch the Google Play Store app from your home screen or app drawer
  2. Tap the search bar at the top of the screen.
  3. Type in the name of the app you wish to uninstall.

    Launch the Google Play Store app from your home screen or app drawer, tap the search bar a t the top of the screen, then type in the name of the app you want to uninstall.

  4. Tap on the installed app. It will say "Installed" in the bottom-right where the price is usually.
  5. Tap Uninstall.
  6. Tap OK to confirm the uninstallation.

    Tap on the installed app, it will say installed in the bottom right where the price is usually. Tap Uninstall, then tap OK to confirm uninstallation.

The app will be uninstalled and removed from your home screen and/or app drawer.

How to uninstall apps from the app drawer

Going through the Google Play Store to uninstall apps certainly works, but it isn't the most convenient way to do it. Let's go through a quicker way to uninstall apps straight from the app drawer.

  1. Tap the app drawer icon from the home screen.
  2. Tap the app you want to uninstall. In this case, we'll uninstall Vlogger Go Viral.
  3. Tap and hold the app icon you want to uninstall.

    Tap to open your app drawer from the home screen. It will look slightly different depending on what phone you're using. Swipe through your apps and find the one you want to uninstall, then tap and hold the app icon

  4. Continue to hold and drag the app to the top of the screen to the Uninstall button until it's highlighted, then release.
  5. Tap "OK" to confirm uninstallation.

    Continue to hold and drag the app to the top of the screen to the Uninstall button until it's highlighted, then release. Then tap OK to confirm uninstallation.

And that's how you do it. Some stock apps, such as the Clock app, can't be uninstalled, but can be disabled using the app drawer method if you so desire.

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1 year ago

The HTC 10 monthly security patch isn't missing — it's just hidden

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Here's how to find out whether your HTC 10 has the most up-to-date security patch.

One of the more welcome features of Android 6.0 Marshmallow was the transparency of the new monthly security patches. Starting with the Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P and rolling out with updates to other phones, the "About" section in the settings menu tells the date of the most recently received security patch. It's sort of a badge of honor, really — and an important piece of transparency in the fight to keep our smartphones safe and secure.

HTC has been one of the better manufacturers when it comes to keeping its phones updated — especially when it comes to its carrier-free models. Computerworld's JR Raphael ranked HTC No. 2 (behind Google) in his latest "Android update report card," and while it focuses on major platform updates and not monthly security updates, the point stands — HTC has done pretty when when it comes to keeping current software on its phones.

That's why it's troubling, then, that HTC is hiding the monthly security patch level on the HTC 10. Especially when it's so easy to glean. Here's how you can do it.

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1 year ago

How to restart your Fitbit fitness tracker

How to restart your Fitbit tracker

When it comes to solving problems, sometimes the best thing you can do is restart.

Ideally, you shouldn't have to ever restart your Fitbit. Alas, we don't live in a perfect world. Each model has different method to initiate a restart, and usually the process only takes a few minutes. The following problems could potentially be fixed by restarting your Fitbit:

  • Your tracker won't sync
  • Your tracker doesn't respond to button presses, taps, or swipes
  • Your tracker won't turn on even when it's charged
  • Your tracker isn't tracking your activity

The great thing about restarting your Fitbit is it won't delete any of your tracked activity. So you don't need to be too worried about all the hard work you have put in to reach your goals.

However, it is important to note that if your tracker stores calls, texts, or calendar notifications those will be deleted during the restarting process.

How to restart your Fitbit Zip

Since the Zip has a removable battery the restart process is essentially a battery pull.

  1. Open the door to the battery in the back using the battery door tool
  2. Remove the battery
  3. Wait 10 seconds
  4. Put the battery back in with the "+" facing up and close the battery door.

Your Fitbit Zip will now restart and you should see the version number on the screen followed by a series of smiley faces.

How to restart your Fitbit One

  1. Plug your charging cable into your computer
  2. Plug your One into the charging cable
  3. Press and hold down the tracker's button for 10-12 seconds
  4. Unplug your One from the charging cable
  5. Press the tracker's button.

Your Fitbit One should boot up in just a few seconds and be ready to track once again.

How to restart your Fitbit Flex

  1. Plug your charging cable into your computer
  2. Plug your Flex into the charging cable
  3. Insert a paperclip into the small pinhole on the back of the charger.
  4. Hold down the paperclip for 3-5 seconds
  5. Unplug the Flex form the charging cable.

Your Flex should show some flashing LED lights for a couple seconds and then the restart will be complete.

How to restart your Fitbit Charge

  1. Plug your charging cable into your computer
  2. Plug your Charge into the charging cable
  3. Press and hold the button for 10 to 12 seconds until you see the Fitbit icon and a version number on the screen
  4. Let go of the button

Your Charge should be up and running again. You should probably go do the same slacker!

How to restart your Charge HR

  1. Plug your charging cable into your computer
  2. Plug your Charge into the charging cable
  3. Press and hold the button for 10 to 12 seconds until you see the Fitbit icon and a version number on the screen
  4. Let go of the button

Now, strap on that Charge HR and get that heart rate up!

How to restart your Fitbit Alta

  1. Plug your charging cable into your computer
  2. Plug your Alta into the charging cable
  3. Press the button on the charging cable three times with a slight pause between each press but within 8 seconds. The button is on the end of the charging cable.
  4. After you see the logo on the Alta's screen you can unplug it from your charging cable.

Get that stylish band back on your wrist and start strutting your stuff!

How to restart your Fitbit Blaze

  1. Press and hold the Back and Select buttons - the button on the left and bottom right - until you see the Fitbit logo on the Blaze's screen.
  2. Let go of the buttons

That should turn that dumbwatch back into a smartwatch!

How to restart your Fitbit Surge

  1. Press and hold the Back and Select buttons - the button on the left and bottom right - until you see the Fitbit logo on the Blaze's screen.
  2. Let go of the buttons
  3. When your screen turns off, wait 10 seconds and press the Home button to turn your Surge back on.

Take that GPS tracker for a run you track star!

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1 year ago

How to set up Google two-step verification to protect your Gmail account

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Google Authenticator

Using two-factor verification makes sure that you — and only you — have access to your Google account.

In light of the recent data leak from Cloudflare, we refreshed this content on February 24, 2017.

Security breaches happen. This one saw 273.3 million email accounts — including Gmail accounts — compromised. This is why we strongly recommend enabling two-step verification (or two-step authentication, as it's also known) for your Google account.

This process will put a stop to anyone's efforts to access anything — including Gmail and all other Google services — that uses your Google account credentials when logging in because you need more than a password to verify that you are the account owner.

What is two-step verification?

Two-step verification adds an extra layer of security to your account. Think in terms of withdrawing cash from an ATM — you must insert your card and enter a personal identification number. In the case of a Google account, with two-step verification enabled, you must enter a password and a code that is sent to your phone by call or text, or through an authenticator app on your phone.

Although it will now require extra steps to access your Google account, two-step verification is invaluable. Using two methods to authenticate who you are effectively doubles your account security, and makes sure you're only able to log in if you have both the right password and a valid authentication token. It is still recommended to change your current Google password if you haven't already. Without further ado, let's enable two-step verification.

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1 year ago

Fit more on your Galaxy S7's screen with condensed mode

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Galaxy S7 condensed mode

With a new software update, Samsung lets you increase your GS7's information density dramatically — at the expense of one or two things looking a little weird.

Phones are getting bigger with each release cycle, but new devices don't always let us see more stuff on the screen at once. This is an issue Samsung has attempted to solve with a new addition to the Galaxy S7 series: "display scaling." Simply put, this lets you not only adjust the size of fonts — as Samsung phones have for some time — but the way the entire user interface is scaled.

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1 year ago

Kick ass with our Captain America: Civil War themes

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Let's get ready to watch superheroes fight each other. Again!

Captain America: Civil War debuts this Friday, and chances are you're as excited for it as we are. In honor of the major Marvel smackdown about to begin, our resident themer Ara Wagoner has assembled a team of themes to help us show our #TeamCap or #TeamIronMan pride. Or #TeamUnderoos, to celebrate the return of Spidey to the MCU. So, grab your favorite launcher and your spangly armor and let's get to it!

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1 year ago

6 things to look for in an icon pack

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Icon packs are like graphic t-shirts. You can never have too many.

Want to make your phone look new without completely changing up your home screen layout or trying a bunch of new widgets? Just switch icon packs. Finding an icon pack that perfectly matches your theme is cool. You know what's really cool? Finding an icon pack that'll go with five themes, or 10. Or finding an icon pack that doesn't leave any awkward gaps in your app drawer.

Good icon packs are out there. Here's how I find them.

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1 year ago

How to enable VoLTE on the Galaxy S7

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VoLTE is one of the best ways to make your phone calls sound better.

Increasingly, carriers are rolling out Voice over LTE support on their devices, but the new telephony standard, which increases sound quality by using LTE instead of 3G to connect cellular calls, is still quite uncommon.

If your carrier supports VoLTE, here's how to enable it on the Galaxy S7 or Galaxy S7 edge.

  1. From your home screen, press the Phone icon.
  2. Tap More on the top right corner.
  3. Scroll down and tap on Settings.

    By default, VoLTE should be enabled if your Galaxy S7 or Galaxy S7 edge was first used with a carrier SIM that supports it. If your phone was unlocked and subsequently transferred to a carrier SIM that supports VoLTE, you may have to enable it manually.

  4. Tap on VoLTE.
  5. Make sure that Use VoLTE when available is checked.

Note: Some versions of the Galaxy S7 may show this setting in a different spot. This explanation was performed on a Canadian Galaxy S7 running on Rogers. For a more U.S.-centric version, check out How to enable Advanced Calling features on the Galaxy S7.

Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 edge

Unlocked AT&T Sprint T-Mobile Verizon

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1 year ago

How to set and up and use Sonos for Android

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Set up your Sonos system and get music pumping through every room in your house!

Sonos is a wireless smart speaker system to which you can connect up to 32 components, so that your entire home is literally full with music. Once you've done a little browsing, you'll find you can get the first speakers to build out your system for about $200 each. Once you've got 'em, it's time to get them set up!

The first step is downloading the Sonos Controller app from the Google Play Store and then you're on your way to easily (albeit sometimes painstakingly) setting up your music atmosphere!

How to download the Sonos Controller app for Android

This will be the easiest and most painless part of the Sonos setup process. You can find the Sonos Controller app in the Google Play Store.

  1. Launch the Google Play store app from your Home screen or from the app drawer.
  2. Tap the search bar.
  3. Type "Sonos" into the search field.

    Launch Google Play, tap the search bar, type in Sonos

  4. Tap the search button. It looks like a magnifying glass.
  5. Tap the result by Sonos, Inc.
  6. Tap Install.

    Tap search, Choose Sonos, tap Install

  7. Tap Accept.
  8. Tap Open once the Sonos Controller app has downloaded.

    Tap Accept, tap Open

Boom! You're ready to becoming the music maestro you were always destined to be. Now, you just have to set up your speaker!

How to set up your Sonos speaker(s) using the Sonos Controller app for Android

Now that you have the Controller app, you need something to control. Let's set up your Play speaker!

  1. Launch the Sonos app from your Home screen or from the app drawer.
  2. Tap Set up a new Sonos system.
  3. Tap Next in the bottom right corner of the welcome screen.

    Launch the Sonos app, tap set up a new Sonos system, tap Next

  4. Tap Standard Setup to start the wireless setup process. You can choose Boost Setup, but that's only if you want to create a dedicated Sonos wireless network. Let's just stick with the basics.
  5. Tap Next in the bottom right corner of the Standard Setup screen.
  6. Tap Next in the bottom right corner of the Connect to Power screen, after plugging in your Sonos speaker.

    Tap Standard Setup, tap Next, tap Next

  7. Tap Next on the bottom right of the screen, after you have seen the green light flashing on your Sonos speaker. The indicator or the mute/play/pause button may be flashing. If you don't see the green flashing light, tap I'm unsure about the light; however, it may then prompt you to create a wired setup, which is kind of a pain in the ol' hind-end.
  8. Tap the dropdown menu on the "Player Setup" page, to choose your speaker model.
  9. Tap your speaker model in the menu.

    Tap Next, tap thew dropdown menu, tap your speaker model

  10. Tap Set up this player.
  11. Follow the on-screen instructions.
  12. Tap Next on the bottom right of the screen.

    Tap Set up this player, follow the on-screen instructions, tap Next

  13. Tap Next on the Wireless Setup screen.
  14. Type your Wi-Fi password into the field.
  15. Tap Done on the bottom right of your keyboard.

    Tap Next, type your Wi-Fi password, tap Done

  16. Tap Continue.
  17. Tap Next in the bottom right corner of the screen.
  18. Tap the dropdown menu to choose where you will use your Play speaker.

    Tap Continue, tap Next, tap the dropdown menu

  19. Tap the room in which you'll be using your speaker.
  20. Tap Next on the bottom right of the screen.
  21. Finish the setup process.

    • Tap Add another player if you have another speaker you'd like to set up. Just follow the same steps.
    • Tap Not now to continue on to registration.

      Tap the room your speaker is in, tap Next, finish up the process

  22. Tap Next on the Sonos Registration screen.
  23. Enter your email address and choose whether or not you'd like to receive information from Sonos.
  24. Tap Next on the bottom right of the screen.

    Tap Next, enter your email address, tap Next

  25. Tap the dropdown menu to set your location.
  26. Choose your location from the menu.
  27. Tap Next in the bottom right corner of the screen.

    Tap the dropdown, choose your location from the list, tap Next

  28. Enter your zip or postal code.
  29. Tap Next on the bottom right of the screen.
  30. Tap the check box to choose whether or not you'd like to send your usage data to Sonos.

    Enter your zip or postal code, tap Next, tap the check box if you want to send usage data to Sonos

  31. Tap Next on the bottom right of the screen.
  32. Tap Next on the Registration Complete page.
  33. Tap Set up music services to set up a streaming music service for which you have a subscription. Otherwise, tap Skip to Sonos menu.

    Tap Next, tap Next, tap Set up music services

Now, your Sonos is set up and ready to go. The music service setup process continues straight from here, but you can always do so later.

How to connect to an existing Sonos system using the Sonos app for Android

If you've never connected to a Sonos system before, but there's an existing one to which you'd like to connect, then we have you covered.

This will be the easiest thing you have to do today, since you just have to make sure your Wi-Fi is on and then follow these short steps.

  1. Launch the Sonos app from your Home screen or from the app drawer.
  2. Tap Connect to an existing system.
  3. Tap Next on the welcome screen.
  4. Tap Done once the connection has been established.

    Tao Connect to an existing system, tap Next, tap Done

Quick and painless. Boom.

The next section will detail the music service setup process, so follow me if you want to jam!

How to set up music streaming services using the Sonos Controller app for Android

Sonos supports myriad music streaming services, including Apple Music, Pandora, Spotify, and TONS of others.

It's super easy to add your subscribed services to your Sonos system, so let us not delay!

  1. Launch the Sonos app from your Home screen or from the app drawer.
  2. Tap the menu button on the top left of the screen. It looks like ☰.
  3. Tap Add Music Services.

    Launch the Sonos app, tap the menu button, tap Add Music Services

  4. Tap the music service that you'd like to add.
  5. Tap Add to Sonos.
  6. Sign in to the music service according to the on-screen instructions.

    Tap the music service you'd like to add, tap Add to Sonos, sign in

That's all there is to it! You've got your favorite streaming services wirelessly hooked up so that, so long as you're connected to your wireless network, you can stream all the music your streaming services have to offer!

How to control your music services using the Sonos app for Android

Now you're ready to dive in! Let's learn ya how to control your music service music from the Sonos app.

  1. Launch the Sonos app from your Home screen or from the app drawer.
  2. Tap the menu button on the top left of the screen. It looks like ☰.
  3. Tap the service you'd like use.
  4. Use the music service like you would on any other device. You can use standard media controls to play, pause, skip, etc.

    Tap the menu button, choose the service, use it as you would on any other device

When it comes to volume, play, pause, skip, etc., you can control the Sonos app the way you would any built-in music app.

How to control your own music with the Sonos app for Android

If you already have your phone loaded up with all your own tunes, then you can add those to your Sonos queue.

Here's how:

  1. Launch the Sonos app from your Home screen or from the Home screen or from the app drawer.
  2. Tap the menu button on the top left of the screen. It looks like ☰.
  3. Tap On this Mobile Device.

    Launch the Sonos app, tap the menu button, tap On this Mobile Device

  4. Choose from where you'd like to play audio:
    • Tap Artists to find the artist of your choice.
    • Tap Albums to search for the album of your choice.
    • Tap Genres to search music from a particular genre.
    • Tap Songs to search for a particular song.
    • Tap Playlists to search for a particular playlist that you've created.
    • Tap Podcasts to select podcasts which you have downloaded.
  5. Tap the item you'd like to play.
  6. Choose when you would like to play the song, album, or playlist.
    • Tap Play Now to play the song, album, or playlist immediately.
    • Tap Play Next to play your choice after the current song.
    • Tap Add to Queue to add the song to the bottom of the queue.
    • Tap Replace Queue to do just that.
    • Tap More to Browse the Artist or View All Songs on Album.

You can use standard media controls to play, pause, skip, etc.

Choose from where you want to play a song, tap the song, choose when you'd like to play it

How to find and play music using the Sonos app for Android

You've got a song in your head and you have to hear it NOW. You can search through every music service to which you're subscribed, as well as the music on your mobile device, using the search function.

  1. Launch the Sonos app from your Home screen or from the app drawer.
  2. Tap the search button on the top right of the screen. It looks like a magnifying glass.
  3. Choose a genre to search under:

    • Artists
    • Songs
    • Albums
    • Playlists
    • Stations
    • Genres
    • Composers
    • Hosts
    • Podcasts & Shows

      Launch the Sonos app, tap the search button, choose a category under which to search

  4. Type your query into the field.
  5. Tap the result you'd like to play.
  6. Choose when to play it.

    Type your query, tap the item you'd like to play, choose when to play it

That's really all there is to it. You search up music via the Sonos app just like you would any other music app.

The best part is that Sonos will search everything you have available, so it won't just search the music on your Android device; it'll search all the music services to which you subscribe as well!

How to factory reset your Sonos speaker

  1. Turn it off.
  2. Unplug it.
  3. Plug your speaker back in, while simultaneously holding the play/pause button (on older models, it's the mute button).
  4. Hold the button until the light starts flashing orange.

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1 year ago

Inside Action Launcher's Quicktheme

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Action Launcher has garnered a fair bit of praise from us at Android Central. Some love Quickdrawer and being able to ditch the traditional app drawer. Some love the Covers and Shades, which free up space and get us into apps faster. But as a themer, Action Launcher's got a great trick that can make your home screen feel completely new with one easy step.

Setting a new wallpaper in other launchers just gives you a new image behind all your widgets and folders. Setting a new wallpaper in Action Launcher will change not only that image but will recolor your Quickbar, Quickdrawer, and folders. Quicktheme does this by sampling colors from your wallpaper and using them to color the launcher's other elements in colors it believes it'll match. That beats digging around in Nova Launcher's settings to re-color everything manually.

You can even choose between several tints for your themes, most are pulled from your wallpaper but there will always be two defaults: Material Light and Material Dark. In most instances the algorithm Action Launcher uses to pick these shades will be enough. For wallpapers with a lot of colors, or wallpapers with a very small amount of an accent color you're trying to match, it can sometimes miss. Sadly, the only way to draw new colors is to set the wallpaper again with a different zoom or crop. There are also rare instances when Action Launcher fails to pull colors from a wallpaper.

While the ability to manually set colors when the pre-selected colors fail would be great, the built-in tones work well for most wallpapers and themes. Being able to simply set your wallpaper and watch the rest of your launcher re-theme itself to match is gratifying, instead of having to fuss around in your launcher's settings manually re-coloring your folders and drawers.

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1 year ago

Understanding security options on the Samsung Galaxy S7

7

Make sure only you and the people you trust have access your Galaxy S7 and the data stored within.

Securing your devices and data is more important than ever these days. Just think of the sheer amount of personal information we pour into our phones, not to mention the shift towards using devices to manage finances. Now, think of all of that information falling into the wrong hands. Scary, right?

Fear not. The Samsung Galaxy S7 features a slew of security options to keep your data safe — even if someone really wants to get at it. Some of it is pretty basic stuff, like setting up a lock screen (which you should already be familiar with and using...right?). But you should also know how to encrypt the data on your SD card, how to use fingerprint security, and Smart Lock, which lets you leave your phone unlocked when it's on your body or in a location you've set as a secured space. Also, you'll want to make sure you're getting the latest security updates from Samsung.

If you're overwhelmed at all, don't worry! We've covered it all in this guide.

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