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3 weeks ago

How to use Alexa's to-do list

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Echo Dot

The brains behind your Amazon Echo can also manage your to-do list.

The beauty of using something like Alexa to manage your to-do list at all is the voice interaction. You suddenly think of something that you need to take care of later, but where's your phone, or even a pad and pen?

Alexa can take down that note for you, and here's how you use the to-do list feature.

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3 weeks ago

Unknown Sources: Everything you need to know!

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The Unknown Sources setting isn't the mystery — or the demon — it's made out to be if you know a little bit about it.

To install apps that you downloaded from somewhere besides the "official" app store from Google or the company that made your phone, you need to enable the "allow unknown sources" setting. There has always been a bit of confusion about what it is exactly and how things work. We're going to remedy that and talk through everything you need to know about unknown sources. Don't worry, it's gonna be fine.

What are 'Unknown Sources'?

No, not people who leak government stuff to the press. The Android kind of unknown sources. It's a scary label for a simple thing: a source for apps you want to install that is not trusted.

Unknown = not vetted directly by Google.

When we see the word "trusted" used this way, it means a little more than it usually would. In this case, trust means the same as it does for a web certificate and everyone involved on all sides will vouch for the source. Google says you can trust Google Play and Samsung Apps (for example) because they don't require you to enable the installation of unknown (not in the circle of trust) sources to install apps from either. Samsung feels the same way and so does your carrier.

In short, a trusted source is one that the company you gave your money to, the company who built it, and the company who wrote the software all have vouched for.

Why is there even a setting for this?

Half the people reading this will think that no company should allow us to install apps they do not trust. The other half will think that nobody should be telling me what apps I can and can't install. Having a setting in place is the only real solution.

It's not really a good idea to just let any app from any place get installed on your phone. When you block app installs from places not in that trusted circle, random drive-by downloads can't happen. Full stop. It's insanely difficult to find an exploit that can force you to install an app you don't want. It should be, because that sort of trickery is never done for a good reason. Going one step further and just outright blocking the darn things is the type of over-the-top phone security Google loves.

And Google doesn't claim that apps from other places are a bad thing. It has a whole page that tells app devs how to go about offering apps without putting them in the Play Store. All Google has to say about the Unknown Sources setting is:

User opt-in for apps from unknown sources

Android protects users from inadvertent download and install of apps from locations other than Google Play (which is trusted). It blocks such installs until the user opts in to Unknown sources in Settings > Security on their device. Users need to make this configuration change before they download your apps to their devices.

Note that some network providers don't allow users to install applications from unknown sources.

Google is cool with developers doing it and cool with you downloading and installing them. But they make sure you opt in for it before you do.

Are unknown sources a bad thing?

Nope. But enabling the setting for no good reason or leaving it on all the time is.

The internet is a big place. There are plenty of places to get apps that are as trustworthy as Google or Samsung or LG or any other company with their own on-device app store. You just need to do a tiny bit of poking around to make sure a place is trustworthy before you grab an app from it.

The Unknown Sources setting is like the stove: turn it off when you're done using it.

Reading this article is a good start. Read other Android websites, too. We're not afraid to tell you when you can trust something or some place. Here are two places I trust as much as anything from Google: Amazon and F-Droid. I use them both and am not afraid to tell you to use them if they have something you want. And everyone else here would say the same thing. In essence, Android Central trusts Amazon and F-Droid and thinks you can, too. But because of Google's definition of trust, in this case, they can't. Knowing that both Amazon and the folks running F-Droid scan all their files and are diligent about how they are distributing them isn't enough for Google because they need to do those things themselves before they trust a source.

What is a bad habit is leaving the unknown sources box checked if you don't need to. If an app you installed will run with the setting disabled, disable it until you need it again. If an app won't run without it enabled, find out why before you install it.

You're still protected

Google wants to scan every single app you install right before you install it. It will ask you to let it do so and to let it do it in the future the first time you try. At Google I/O, we were told that Google scans 50 billion apps per day to ferret out any with malware, including the ones you are installing. And this doesn't depend on having the latest version of Android. Every single phone with access to Google Play running Android 4 or higher has these protections built in through Google's Play Services feature. While no type of scanning is going to be 100% foolproof, chances are someone else has installed that app before you and Google has looked at it, and they will look harder if it does anything fishy. Or has a hidden ability to do anything fishy.

Fifty. Billion. Every day. That's a helluva lot of apps.

Google, Apple, Samsung, and every other company takes the integrity of their app store very seriously. Nothing makes them look worse than me telling you about bad apps that slipped through, so they do everything they can to keep it from happening. In this case, that benefit rolls over to apps you installed from elsewhere. Win all around!

Why don't companies just put their apps in Google's Play Store?

That's a question with a big, convoluted answer that no two people will agree on. Let's just say that Google places some restrictions on ways developers can make money. Not everyone is willing to accept those restrictions.

Of course, test apps and beta apps and project apps are better off being hosted locally and set to whoever needs them. But for big production ready apps, not everyone wants to use Google Play.

How do I turn Unknown Sources on?

  1. Open the device settings. Look for a gear icon in the notification shade near the top left corner and tap on it.
  2. Scroll down to the Security section and tap to open it.
  3. Scroll down to the entry labeled Unknown sources and read the subtext because you should always read any and all subtext in a "security" section of settings.
  4. Read the pop-up box that tells you Google isn't responsible if you install apps from places they do not explicitly trust and click OK to enable the setting.

You disable the setting the exact same way. Toggle the switch off and installation is once again blocked for apps downloaded outside of trusted app stores.

So should I enable the setting?

If you want to install an app that you trust — you know the source and are sure they aren't pulling a fast one and that the app is exactly as the developers have written it, then you can enable it when you need it.

There are a lot of different ways to define trust, but we think that word of mouth is one of the best ones. Your friends, people in forums and comments, and your favorite Android blog can tell you whether or not they think you should trust a thing or place, and whoever is saying it should be willing to tell you why.

Most importantly, you don't have to worry about temporarily enabling Unknown Sources if you trust a place that has an app you want to install.

I trust Amazon because it vets every app in its store and it is a popular source. That means if an app slips through, it will get caught quickly. I trust F-Droid because every app it offers has the full source code available and provides a checksum to make sure you're downloading a verified copy that it compiled itself. Not everyone wants the source code. You don't necessarily have to know either of these things because someone else has looked into it and the information is available. You should still do any personal vetting that you need to feel comfortable, but generally, a site that's not trustworthy is going to be talked about even more.

Do a little bit of homework and you're golden. Just be sure to turn the setting back off once you're done installing your apps.

Wrapping it up

This is a simple breakdown to make sure everyone can understand what's going on when asked to enable the Unknown Sources setting or when you see people warning against it. There are other more nerdy things like signing keys and heuristic scanning that could be talked about, but we feel that will muddy the water a little. If you're the type of person interested in the minutiae, the Android Developers site has plenty of information about how Google Play works and what else Google does to make it safe. It's great reading if you're inclined.

For everyone else, just know that the Unknown Sources setting isn't really a mystery or anything to be afraid of if you need it. And when you don't make sure it's turned off.

Stay safe!

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3 weeks ago

Should I run a VPN on my Android phone?

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If you want or need to use a VPN, the pros outweigh the cons when it comes to using one on your phone, too.

With recent news of privacy-eroding deregulation and the ever-present threat of online data theft, VPNs are in the news more than ever. While the merits of which one is the best and why is a hot subject, little attention is paid to the obvious question — should I use one on my phone?

We're here to talk about if you should and the reasons why!

More: The best VPN services of 2017

What is a VPN?

A VPN is a Virtual Private Network. That's a technical term for what's essentially a welcome middleman between you and the internet at large.

A VPN is a service you connect to that sends and receives data across the internet on your behalf. When you set up and enable a VPN, all of your internet traffic goes through it, both ways. Ideally, this traffic is encrypted and only the two parties who should have access to the information are able to use it.

A VPN is a gateway that sends and receives data on your behalf.

There are a lot of different ways to set up a VPN and some are used for specific reasons. VPNs make excellent ad-blockers and companies like AdGuard offer a free VPN service that filters out ads from a known list of servers. Your work may use a VPN that can encrypt data on your machine before you send it and it can only be decrypted by the server at work while leaving other traffic untouched. Or you might want a U.S. based VPN to try all the services Google hasn't rolled out the rest of the world yet.

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But mostly what people are talking about when we mention a VPN is a service that is designed to protect your identity on the internet by intercepting all the traffic so that it looks like it's not coming from or going back to you or your location.

What advantages does a VPN offer?

In the broad sense, a VPN only does one thing: direct internet traffic. But directing internet traffic has a lot of advantages!

As mentioned above, you can block ads or create a private session between you and your work network or you can even have a VPN that directs traffic to a different server depending on your login: Paid users of a service can have more perks and a faster connection than non-paid. But there are two reasons most people use a VPN:

  • Access to an otherwise restricted source. There are a plenty of things like media streaming services that can't or won't let you use them if you're not in the right place. We see this a lot with professional sports streams. Depending on distribution rights, you might not be able to stream a Tigers game if you live in the greater Detroit area. You can use a VPN that's hosted somewhere with geographic access and the service will work because that's where it thinks you are.

  • Security and privacy. A VPN is not foolproof, but using one with wholly encrypted connections from a reputable company creates what's called a tunnel that acts as a one-stop connection between you and whatever you're doing on the internet. This makes the data difficult to intercept by anyone or any service (except the VPN company itself) and if it were grabbed, almost impossible to decipher. While a lot of people think of this as a way to hide who you are, it can also be used to verify who you are. Both are strong reasons to use a VPN, and people like journalists and investigators can see or say things in private. And so can everyone else. Privacy is not just for the select few.

Of course, people with bad intentions can use a VPN to have the same privacy and security. Like encryption, we shouldn't let this fact make us think that they are a bad thing overall.

The downsides of using a VPN

Like everything else, there are downsides to using a VPN. And we shouldn't gloss over them because we want to tout the privacy factor.

Operating a VPN is difficult so make sure you choose a good company.

The biggest is the technical hurdle. Effectively operating a VPN requires an understanding of network security issues and a way to make sure it is effective against them. All the privacy and security of using a VPN goes out the window if the administrator doesn't know exactly how things like the Same Origin Policy or CORS work and what they need to do to work around the issues they present where cookies (small files a website uses to "remember" you) are involved. This stuff is pretty complicated.

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That's why you have to know you are using a VPN service you trust. The company must be honest and open with their policies in relation to privacy and be fully competent and up-to-date on how computer networking is constantly evolving. Don't try to rent an online server and run your own VPN if you don't know what you're doing and don't jump on a friends home-brewed VPN unless they know what they are doing. Stick to recommend companies that have been scrutinized and audited by the pros.

A couple of other things that might not be great about using a VPN:

  • The connection can be terrible. You might have great internet service and all the things you like are fast, but when you place a VPN in the mix you probably will see things get slower. Sometimes, too slow. The good news is that another VPN may not be too slow.
  • You share an internet address with others. A VPN masks your internet address (I.P.) and replaces it with their own. That means if I get blocked from a service while using that address and you get it the next time, you're blocked, too. An otherwise excellent VPN company may end up being blocked at your favorite website, or your bank, or the IRS site you file your taxes through. This can also add extra scrutiny by law enforcement when you've done nothing wrong: The person using that address before you may have been doing something sketchy.

So, should I or shouldn't I?

Sure!

While not everyone wants or needs to use a VPN if you do there's no reason not to use it with your phone. Most VPN companies have an easy to setup app you can install that gets you connected and has an easy way to turn things on and off. Some even have extras for things like bandwidth monitoring so you know how close you are to any data limits. And a properly configured VPN (we go back to those technical hurdles) should work for all data that moves in and out of your phone, whether you're on Wi-Fi or using your data connection.

A VPN works with your web browser and every app on your phone.

You will have a little bit of extra overhead, as an app that encrypts and decrypts the data and properly routes it through the VPN is running in the background, but the impact is minimal with a properly coded VPN app or a manual setup. You won't notice a proper VPN app when it's running unless you look for it. Google themselves use a VPN for Project Fi users who connect to public Wi-Fi hotspots. You'll literally not know anything extra is happening.

The downsides still remain, but as long as you're using a recommended company who has a safe and secure VPN service, you'll probably never run into any of them. We hate to say "probably" as much as you hate hearing it, but it's true. Customers who would cause themselves to be blacklisted from a service or draw the attention of law enforcement usually aren't using consumer VPN services.

Look for a company that's recommended by other people who share similar interests, has a great app for your phone, and has a clear and concise set of policies (and read them). If you want or need a VPN, there's no reason not to use it on your phone!

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3 weeks ago

Best mobile plan add-ons for international travel

Don't let your wireless bill spoil your summer vacation!

With summer just around the corner, you've likely finalized your travel plans before you set for a summer vacation.

If your travels are going to take you out of the U.S., you'll want to know your carrier's international roaming plans and policies before you accidentally rack up a massive bill. We've broken everything down in terms of the Big Four carriers.

This article is limited to comparisons of the Big Four U.S. carriers, which comprise the majority of cellphone subscribers in the U.S. For information about Project Fi and how it compares to the Big Four in terms of roaming, check out our dedicated roaming portal.

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AT&T

AT&T offers plenty of great options for traveling throughout North America and internationally as well. There are two separate options for the Americans and crossing the ocean.

For travel to Canada and Mexico

If you're planning a trip to Canada or Mexico, AT&T gives you unlimited talk and text along with access to your plan data with no roaming charges. This unlimited roaming within North America is a feature included with all AT&T Unlimited Plus and AT&T Unlimited Choice plans, but you may be able to add it to other plan types before you embark on your trip.

Learn more

For overseas travel

If you travel plans will see you leaving the shores of North America, AT&T has a few different plans for international plans that are worth your consideration

Your best bet is probably the AT&T International Day Pass. For just $10 a day, you'll be able to take your domestic talk, text, and data plan to over 100 countries, including unlimited calls within any qualifying country. You're only charged for days you make a call, send a text, or use data — which means you'll want to be aware of any and all apps that use data in the background.

Either prepare to pay $10 to enjoy the full features of all your apps, or spend some time turning off background data updates on your phone so you don't get dinged.

Learn more

Not looking to piecemeal your mobile plan together as you travel? Then you'll want to consider the AT&T Passport, which allows you to pay up front for 30 days of service in over 200 countries. You pay a flat fee per device that gives you unlimited texting (both SMS and MMS), unlimited Wi-Fi access at participating hotspots, and then tiered data amounts and cost per minute of talk based on the pricing plan you go with:

  • $40 for $1.00 per minute to any country and 200MB of data ($0.25 per MB for overage)
  • $60 for $0.50 per minute to any country and 300MB of data ($0.20 per MB for overage)
  • $120 for $0.35 per minute to any country and 800MB of data ($0.15 per MB for overage)

Obviously, the same advice applies regarding apps that use data in the background, but if you're planning to use texting as your primary way of communicating with your friends and family back home, it's a great option.

If you end up traveling without an international travel plan, you'll have to abide by AT&T's pay-per-use rates which differ depending on the countries you're visiting.

Learn more

As previously mentioned, AT&T offers Unlimited Wi-Fi in select countries. You'll need the AT&T Global Wi-Fi app, however, we wouldn't recommend you plan your travel data solely around this service — the most recent app reviews in the Google Play Store claim the app doesn't work as advertised, and the latest app update came back in January 2017.

Learn more

Sprint

Sprint offers Global Roaming for all its LTE/GSM capable phones, which offers free texting and free data (at 2G speeds) in over 100 countries. Calls are available for a flat rate of $0.20 per minute.

For your high-speed data needs, Sprint offers data passes that give you up to 4G speeds — get a 1-day speed data pass for $5, or a 7-day data pass for only $25. Which pass you go with will depend on the length of your stay — if it's a short trip five days or under, you may be better off sticking with day passes as needed, but the choice is yours. There's no need to decide before you travel, as you're able to opt in or out of high-speed data at any time while traveling.

For travel to Canada and Mexico

If you're traveling to Canada or Mexico you get the same free texting and free 2G data, but a discounted rate on the 4G data passes — available for just $2 a day or $10 a week. Just another reason to consider visiting our neighbors to the north and south.

For overseas travel

Sprint customers are best off going to Sprint's International Roaming calculator, which asks you where you're going and which device you plan to travel with and then the site gives you a breakdown of the available coverage in the area along with available data speeds.

Most international destinations qualify for the $5 a day/$25 a week high-speed data passes, though China's rates are doubled to $10 a day and $50 a week.

Learn more

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T-Mobile

T-Mobile is generally good about offering some form of free roaming to its customers, whether they're in Canada or Mexico, or further abroad.

For travel to Canada and Mexico

Customers on T-Mobile ONE or Simple Choice North America plans get free, unlimited calls, texts and data while traveling in Canada or Mexico. Calls and texts can be made back to the U.S. or within the country they're visiting. Data speeds while in Canada or Mexico are limited to 128kbps on T-Mobile ONE or, for $5 more per month, speeds can be increased to 256kbps on T-Mobile ONE Plus. Higher speeds can be obtained using an On-Demand Data Pass.

T-Mobile also offers Mexico + Canada Unlimited, which lets you use your 4G LTE data while in Mexico and Canada just like you do in the U.S., a feature that's available for just $5 a month on T-Mobile ONE Prepaid plans.

For overseas travel

If you're traveling abroad, you may want to consider the T-Mobile ONE Plus International add-on to your T-Mobile ONE plan for just $25 a month. Doing so gives you unlimited international calling to landlines in over 70 countries and mobile numbers in over 30, and unlimited in-flight Wi-Fi on Gogo-enabled flights (although the Gogo option is added on the regular One Plus plan, which is an additional $5 per month).

Find out T-Mobile's international calling rates or for specific coverage and rate information for the countries you're visiting, click the link below.

Learn more

Verizon

Verizon was one of the first carriers to offer a TravelPass that lets you take your domestic talk, text and data allowances with you wherever you're traveling for a daily fee.

For travel to Canada and Mexico

TravelPasses for Canada and Mexico are only $5 a day per device, and allow you to bring your talk, text and data allotments with you as you go. If you're on the Verizon Unlimited plan, Mexico and Canada coverage is included without needing to pay any extra fees.

For overseas travel

Verizon offers TravelPasses for $10 a day, that allow you to take your domestic Verizon plan with you to over 100 different countries. You're only charged on the days you use your device abroad, so you'll want to be sure to turn off any app features that use background data.

Learn more

Which should you get?

Every carrier approaches roaming differently, and some are more generous than others when it comes to including roaming privileges in regular plans.

  • If you're looking for simplicity, go with Verizon. The company makes it super easy and straightforward to add international roaming if you're on an older postpaid plan, and if you're on a new unlimited plan, it's included if you're traveling to Canada or Mexico.
  • If you never want to pay a cent extra for roaming, go with T-Mobile. On a T-Mobile ONE plan, roaming is included practically anywhere in the world, albeit at slower speeds. Still, if you just want to connect to the internet, you can't go wrong with T-Mobile.

Your turn!

What are your picks for the best carrier for international roaming? Let us know in the comments below!

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4 weeks ago

How to customize Hello Bixby on the Galaxy S8

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Make the most of Hello Bixby with a little customization.

Bixby is Samsung's take on the virtual assistant, offering a similar experience to Google Now on the Galaxy S8 and S8+. You can access Bixby either by swiping right on the home screen or by pressing the Bixby button (on the left of the S8, below the volume buttons) at any time.

But Bixby is only going to be useful if you make it your own. Here's how to customize your Bixby experience.

How to customize your Hello Bixby cards

Feeling overwhelmed by all the content displayed when you check Bixby? It's set to display content from all supported apps by default to showcase everything it can do. Fortunately, it's quick and easy to customize your Bixby experience

  1. Press the Bixby button or swipe right to access Hello Bixby.
  2. Tap the settings icon in the top right corner.
  3. Tap Hello Bixby cards.

  4. Tap the switch next to all Apps
  5. Tap the switch next to the apps you want to see on Bixby.

Bixby only currently supports a limited number of apps, and as you might expect, they're mostly Samsung's stock apps. If you use Google apps such as Gmail or Google Photos, you're out of luck for the time being.

How to re-organize Hello Bixby cards

Want the weather card or any other card to be at the top of your Hello Bixby menu? You can customize the order of your cards to fit your needs.

  1. Press the Bixby button or swipe right on the home screen to launch Hello Bixby.
  2. Tap the menu button on the card you want at the top. It looks like three dots in a vertical line.
  3. Tap Pin to top.

It's just that easy. You can pin multiple apps to the top, but just know that the last card you pin will go straight to the top, so order your cards accordingly.

How will you customize Bixby?

Personally, I decided to turn off almost everything, even mostly useful features like Flipboard briefing. While I generally liked the content it was providing, I always find that Bixby cuts off the full headline and that's really annoying.

What do you think of Hello Bixby so far? Love it? Hate it? Let us know in the comments!

Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+

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Verizon AT&T T-Mobile Sprint Unlocked

About

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

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

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

Specs

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

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1 month ago

How to set up Samsung's Secure Folder on the Galaxy S8

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Secure Folder makes it easy to keep your stuff where only you can get to it.

Secure Folder is a component of Samsung Knox that gives you a "compartment" to hold apps and files that is separate from the rest of the phone. You don't need to create a new user or go through any hoops to get it up and running, and once you're all set up you can not only keep private files private but you can also use apps with a separate user login, or add apps that you only use through your secured profile.

Secure Folder is one of those awesome things Samsung offers on every Galaxy S8 or (Galaxy S7 with Android 7.0) so you don't have to go looking for an app that tries to do the same thing.

As mentioned, it's easy to get started.

Set up Secure Folder

Secure Folder uses your Samsung account, so you'll need to have that setup and running. If you downloaded anything from Samsung Apps you're already set up. If not, the easiest way to do it is to open Samsung Apps and check out some icon themes. You'll be walked through the setup process. Don't worry, it's easy. Once that's done, here's how to set up Secure Folder.

  1. Open the device settings by tapping the gear icon in the upper right corner of your notification shade.
  2. Scroll down until you see the Lock screen and security section. Tap to open it.
  3. Scroll down until you see the Secure Folder entry and tap it to open the setup process.
  4. Log in with your Samsung account.

A few apps are part of Secure Folder by default, but you can add or remove most any app you like.

You'll see a short tutorial about what Secure Folder is and what it can do that you should look at. The setup process itself is simple. You sign in, agree to the terms and conditions, and set an unlocking method. you can use the same options you use to unlock your phone: Pattern, PIN, Password, Fingerprint or Iris. This sets up Secure Folder with a few apps already there (Gallery, Calendar, Contacts, Email, Camera, Internet and My Files) ready for use. You can also add more, and any app you have installed on your phone can be copied to Secure Folder. You can also copy any file to Secure Folder's storage.

This adds a Secure Folder icon in your apps list. To get inside, you tap the icon and you're prompted to sign in with whatever method you used during the setup. You can customize the icon and name of the Secure Folder app, and if you go back to the Secure Folder section in your device settings you'll now find other options. Be sure to take a look at them and set things up the way you like them.

Using Secure Folder

This is the cool part. When an app is copied to Secure Folder, it's a completely separate installation. That means it doesn't share any data with the "regular" version of the app and you can log in with a different username. Things you download or save while using an app from Secure Folder aren't available through the regular version of an app, and you can even manually move files like photos or documents to Secure Folder to keep them private.

To install an app to Secure Folder

  1. Open the Secure Folder app from your app drawer by tapping the icon.
  2. Log in with the method you chose when you set things up.
  3. Look for the Add apps button and tap it.
  4. Choose an app from your phone or download an app through Google Play or Samsung Apps.

Data you save from an app in Secure Folder isn't available to a 'regular' version of the same app.

Now your new app will be inside the Secure Folder app, ready to use and completely private. You use the apps the same way you would have before, but remember that you can't share data between the secure version and the regular version. That means if you do something like add a calendar appointment through Secure Folder it won't show in the normal calendar.

You can also edit the apps you have put in Secure Folder by tapping the Edit apps button instead of the Add apps button. Choose any apps you want to remove from Secure Folder or apps you want to place a direct shortcut to the secure version of on your home screen and make the corresponding choice.

To manually move files to Secure Folder

  1. Open the Secure Folder app from your app drawer by tapping the icon.
  2. Log in with the method you chose when you set things up.
  3. Look for the Add files button and tap it.
  4. Choose the file you want to be placed in the Secure Folder storage area.

You can copy files to Secure Folder or move the originals. Remember that they will still be visible outside of Secure Folder if you copy them.

You can add any file to Secure Folder by choosing the My Files button when you add a file. This opens the file browser, and from there you just choose it like you normally would. You can also filter for just pictures, music, documents and videos by using the shortcuts when you tap the Add files button.

You have a choice to move or copy files from the regular storage to the Secure Folder. If you choose to copy them you'll still have the original that is available through any app. If you choose to move them, you'll only be able to access them through Secure Folder.

This is awesome

Privacy is pretty important. Secure Folder gives us an option to hide files and apps from view even if we lose or phones without having to encrypt the entire SD card. The concept isn't exactly new, but Samsung native implementation is great and it's something you should have a look at!

Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+

Main

Verizon AT&T T-Mobile Sprint Unlocked

About

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

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

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

Specs

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

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1 month ago

Top Kodi Tips and Tricks

6

Get the most out of your Kodi experience on Android!

Kodi is king when it comes to media centers.

Whether you've just installed Kodi from the Google Play Store on your Android phone or have it set up on an Android TV box such as the NVIDIA Shield, we've got some tips and tricks to help you get the most out of your Kodi experience.

It's all about the add-ons

Kodi is a great option for organizing and accessing all your media: from photos and music, to your favorite movies and videos. However, the really interesting stuff comes when you start diving into the addons.

There's a bustling community of developers who have created a whole slew of add-ons for Kodi which allow you to stream content from all sorts of places. You'll find add-ons for popular sites like YouTube, twitch.tv and much more in the repository included within Kodi — but that's just the tip of the iceberg.

Independent parties have created their own repositories of Kodi add-ons that you may be interested in. Some of them offer illegal streams of content, so you'll need to use your own discretion to keep things legal and safe You can find communities dedicated to Kodi addons which offer plenty of resources and support for new users just starting out using Kodi.

Add your favorite shows and add-ons to your favorites

Kodi is really great for storing and organizing your media, but having to navigate through the menus to find specific content can be a bit clunky.

Fortunately, there's the Kodi Favorites menu, which lets you add quick links to your favorite stored media, as well as your favorite add-ons and even content from your addons. What you add to your favorites menu is entirely up to you — to lets you quickly access not only your favorite media stored on your device, but also lets you add not only your most used addons as well.

Screencast your phone to watch Kodi on Chromecast

Kodi doesn't currently include native support for streaming from your phone to a Chromecast-enabled TV, but the screencasting function built into the Google Home app offers a quick workaround for streaming content from your phone to your TV without needing to buy a separate Android TV box or dealing with wires and adapters.

The benefits are that you'll be able to keep touch controls for your media literally in-hand while streaming to your TV using only your phone and a Chromecast. This setup works even better if you're able to dedicate it to an older Android phone you have laying around.

Explore the deep audio settings

Kodi offers deep audio settings for your media playback, and it's something you're definitely going to use if you're streaming content or using the screencast tip above.

On top of letting you crank up the audio amplification if you need that extra oomph, the menu also includes subtitles also the option to fine tune the audio offset if you find the audio is out of sync with the video. These audio settings are easily available to you while you're watching a video, simply tap or select the settings gear then select Audio Settings.

If you find the perfect audio settings for your home theater setup, you can choose to save them as the default for all media so you don't have to continue to tweak them every time.

Change the skin

Kodi is open-source, which means you're able to control nearly every aspect of your Kodi experience. Now, you may enjoy the default look and feel of Kodi, but you should know you have plenty of different skins to choose from, which offer different menu layouts and themes depending on how you intend to use Kodi.

For example, if you've installed Kodi on your phone or tablet, there are skins that are optimized for touch controls. With the Kodi 17.1 app for Android, the default skin is much easier to control on a touchscreen, however, there's still a skin specifically for touchscreens that makes it even easier to use.

Use your phone as a Kodi remote

Kodi runs great on an Android TV box, but the remotes that ship with most of those devices are notoriously simplistic and cheap. You do have another option — you can use your phone to control Kodi.

Kore is the official remote app for Kodi which lets you control your Kodi media center using your phone. It works with Kodi 14.0 and includes a slew of smart features: it will show what's currently playing including any relevant information, let you change and download subtitles, manage your playlists and more.

Arguably the best feature here is the ability to use your phone to enter text — a huge time-saver if you're using an addon with a search function because using the on-screen keyboard for Android TV is brutal.

Kore will walk you through the setup process, which requires your two devices to be on the same wireless network and go into Kodi Settings > Services > Control and enable Allow remote control via HTTP.

Download: Kore (Free)

Other Kodi Resources

While our guide will help you get Kodi set up on most of your devices, there's a wealth of great Kodi resources out there that are worth checking out:

  • Kodi.Tv is the official home of Kodi on the internet. Its where you can learn about the latest releases, search for add-ons and connect with the forums for answers to any specific issues you may be having.
  • The Kodi subreddit is another great resource for Kodi discussion and troubleshooting, although if you have questions regarding Kodi Add-ons, you'll want to check out /r/Addons4Kodi
  • TVaddons.ag is a good resource for unofficial Kodi add-ons.
  • PureVPN has put together a handy guide for using Kodi with a VPN.

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1 month ago

How (and when) to clear app cache or data on Android

29

Apps sometimes can misbehave. If it happens to you, here's something to try.

Update May 2017: This post has been updated to be in line with newer versions of Android.

Every Android smartphone has an application manager that you can get to through the settings menu. It's usually in the top level somewhere, though it can vary a little by phone. But once you get to it, you're at the heart of the matter. This is where you can see every application that's installed on your phone or tablet. And it's a handy place to clean things up a bit should they go wonky. Here's what's up:

Clearing the app cache

As you use applications, they start storing files for reference later. These files are stored in an app "cache." For instance: When you're using the Android Central app, it'll save images and other pieces of the stories you've read so that they don't have to be downloaded each and every single time the app needs them. This saves you time and data.

But maybe you want to clear an app's cached data, either to regain some used space or to try to fix a misbehaving app. This is where you can do it. Just tap into the app, and then tap the "Clear cache" button.

The next time you use the app it will download everything it needs from the internet like it did the first time you used it. Clearing cached data does not clear other data like logins or saved games.

This often fixes things, especially when an app pulls its content from a website that always changing and adding more content. If this doesn't work, move to the next step.

Clear app data — or resetting an app

Clearing app data is a little more drastic. You're wiping the cache, but also clearing any and all settings that go along with that app. You're basically starting that app over, from scratch, and it'll behave as it did the first time you installed it. This is generally a last resort type of thing. If you clear app data on, say, the Facebook app, you'll need to log back in. If you clear data on a game you've been playing, you'll be back at the beginning, as if you'd never played it. (And let's hope that game is properly saving your place to the cloud.)

Next, open the app and sign in or do anything else you need to get started using it. With no "old" data in place — either stored settings or cached — you're essentially running the app for the first time again. See if your problem is resolved and if so you're golden.

One nice thing to do if this fixes any weirdness with an app is let the developer know. It's mighty hard to keep track of versions and data conversion and everything else about making and publishing a great app and they'll appreciate the heads up if you found a bug that affects everyone.

When to clear cache or data ...

So when should you clear an app's cache manually? Chances are you'll never need to. But should an app start to "feel" sluggish or otherwise start misbehaving, this is where I'd start. Clear the cache.

And should an app really go haywire — or if you just want to start it from scratch — you can go all out and clear its data and start over from the beginning. Just tap the "clear data" button. You'll get a warning asking if that's really what you want to do. Confirm that, and you've reset the app to scratch.

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1 month ago

How to enable iris scanning and face unlock on the Galaxy S8

11

How do I unlock the Galaxy S8 with my face?

The Galaxy Note 7 (RIP) was the first Samsung device with biometric unlock, but along with iris scanning, the Galaxy S8 brings back an old trick: face unlock. Both are fast and secure, and make up for the awkward placement of the fingerprint sensor. Here's how to use them to unlock your phone.

Biometrics on the Galaxy S8 explained

How to enable iris unlock on the Galaxy S8

  1. From the home screen, swipe down on the notification shade.
  2. Tap the settings icon (cog shape).
  3. Scroll down and tap on Lock screen and security.

  4. Tap on Iris scanner.
  5. Enter your password, PIN or pattern.
  6. Tap Register irises.

  7. Agree to the disclaimer.
  8. Tap continue.
  9. Look at the front-facing camera to register irises.
  10. Tap Turn on if Face unlock is already enabled.
  11. (Optional) Enable Iris unlock when screen turns on to speed up unlock process.
  12. (Optional) Enable Samsung account to use iris to unlock Samsung account.

How to change the screen mask you see when unlocking the phone

Samsung has included a number of interesting (and a few child-friendly) masks that you can use to spruce up the iris unlocking feature. Here's how to change to one of them from the default.

  1. From the home screen, swipe down on the notification shade.
  2. Tap the settings icon (cog shape).
  3. Scroll down and tap on Lock screen and security.

  4. Tap on Iris scanner.
  5. Enter your password, PIN or pattern.
  6. Tap Preview screen mask.
  7. Select new mask pattern.

How to enable Face unlock on the Galaxy S8

  1. From the home screen, swipe down on the notification shade.
  2. Tap the settings icon (cog shape).
  3. Scroll down and tap on Lock screen and security.

  4. Tap on Face recognition.
  5. Enter your password, PIN or pattern.
  6. Tap Register your face.

  7. Tap continue.
  8. Look at front-facing camera to register face.
  9. Tap Turn on if iris scanner is already enabled.
  10. (Optional) Enable Face unlock when screen turns on to speed up unlock process.

That's it! But there are a few things to keep in mind.

How to improve your iris scanning or face unlock experience

Even though the iris scanner and face unlock on the Galaxy S8 are fast and secure, there are ways to improve the experience.

  • When registering irises, take off glasses or remove contacts. This makes it easier for the system to see the real you. You know, inside.
  • Make sure your eyes are open fully — if you're in the sun, move to a shady area so you don't have to squint.
  • Don't try to unlock with your iris in direct sunlight. If you're going to be outdoors for a long period of time, switch over to face unlock, which is faster in good lighting conditions.
  • Don't try to use face unlock in low-light situations. If you're going to be indoors for a long period of time, switch over to iris scanning.
  • This seems obvious, but don't smudge up the front-facing camera or any of the front sensors.
  • If you're getting a lot of failures on either iris scanning or face unlock, remove the registered data, move to a better-lit area (indoors, with good light) and try again.

That's it! Hopefully your biometric unlocking experience is great, but if it's not, there's always the rear fingerprint sensor to fall back on. You have set that up already, haven't you?

Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+

Main

Verizon AT&T T-Mobile Sprint Unlocked

About

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

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

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

Specs

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

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1 month ago

AMBER Alerts and Android: What you need to know

184
Android emergency broadcast alerts

Emergency alerts on your Android smartphone are a good thing — even if they are a bit annoying sometimes!

Every so often — or frequently, depending on your tolerance level — you get an emergency alert on your phone. That horrible blaring of the emergency tone, the buzzing the vibration motor, and then the grim news. Someone's missing. Or there's a severe weather alert headed your way. Suddenly and without warning, your phone's scaring the hell out of you. It's bad enough during the day, and downright dreadful in the dead of night.

And that's the idea.

The U.S. carriers have worked with the federal government to come up with a way to push alerts to your Android smartphone to warn you about dangerous weather, missing persons or other matters of grave national importance. The point is they want you to see this information in hopes that it could save your life — or someone else's.

Here's what you need to know about these emergency alerts and how you can control them on your Android phone.

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1 month ago

Want the best Galaxy icons on your S8? Try these icon packs!

9

The icons on the Galaxy S8 are unique… and really mismatched.

The squircle icons with the incomplete wireframe logos are very interesting, and there is a very real appeal to that look… but it doesn't cover all of the apps that come on the Samsung Galaxy S8 — it doesn't even cover all the Samsung apps on the Galaxy S8 — and it covers none of the apps that come from Google Play or Samsung Apps. That's a bummer, but never fear!

Icon packs are here, and just as icon pack developers have put out "tribute" packs for every previous Samsung flagship, they have taken the new Samsung icon style to its logical extension. These are the ones that do it best.

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1 month ago

MetroPCS Buyer's Guide: Everything you need to know

 Everything you need to know

Here's everything you need to know about the T-Mobile MVNO.

MetroPCS is a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) or "alternative carrier". MVNOs lease coverage from the Big Four networks (AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon) and sell it to customers for less. The benefit of an MVNO is that you experience the same level of service as a customer on one of the larger networks, but you can often find talk, text, and data plans for a fraction of the cost.

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MetroPCS is owned by and leases coverage from T-Mobile. If you go with MetroPCS, that means you get T-Mobile's fast 4G LTE service, as well as unlimited data plans.

If you like T-Mobile's coverage, but you'd love a cheaper cell phone bill every month, then consider an MVNO. Here's what you need to know about MetroPCS.

Individual plans

MetroPCS offers simple talk, text, and data plans in four tiers. There are no annual contracts required and all plan pricing includes taxes and regulatory fees. Every plan comes with unlimited talk, text, and 2G data, as well as tethering (at 3G speeds), voicemail, Wi-Fi calling, and caller ID. Prices differ based on the amount of 4G LTE that comes with each plan.

Its base plan is $30 per month, which includes 2GB of 4G LTE. For $40/month, you get 3GB of 4G LTE data, and $50/month gets you "unlimited" 4G (up to 30GB). For $60/month, you get unlimited data and you get tethering at 4G LTE speeds.

Learn more

 

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Family plans

MetroPCS offers discounts on multiple lines depending on your monthly data allotment for up to 5 lines.

If you go with the $30/month 2GB plan or $40/month 3GB plan, you get $5 off per line, so you can get 2 lines for $50/month, 3 lines for $75, and so on. If you mix any of the four plans, you can get a $5 discount on all of them.

If you go with the $50 or $60 plans, you get a $10/month discount per line, so long as all lines are on an unlimited plan.

Learn more

Best MetroPCS phones

Since MetroPCS is on T-Mobile's network, you can bring just about any smartphone over, but if you'd rather buy from MetroPCS, pickin's are somewhat slim for top-notch devices, though they do have Samsung's latest and greatest, as well as Apple's.

Samsung Galaxy S8

Samsung's latest flagship is the best Android phone around, with it's awesome camera (front and back!), smooth software experience, gorgeous infinity display, and lightning-fast fingerprint sensor, as well as an updated iris scanner and its Snapdragon 835 processor.

If you love Android and want to stick with it, then the Galaxy S8 should definitely be on your list. It's $729 from MetroPCS.

Learn more

iPhone 7 and 7 Plus

The latest iPhones bear Apple's fastest processors and some of the best smartphone cameras available. MetroPCS offers the iPhone 7 in 32GB and 128GB and the 7 Plus in 128GB. If you're a fan of Apple, then the iPhone 7 or 7 Plus are the best of the bunch. If you're into photography, you'll love the iPhone 7 Plus' dual camera setup, which makes for some cool effects with Portrait Mode.

Learn more

How to cancel MetroPCS

Since there are no annual contracts, you can just cancel whenever you want. Know that if you cancel in the middle of your month, you'll have to pay off the rest of the month and anything you might owe on any devices.

Call 1-888-863-8768 or *611 on your MetroPCS phone or head into the nearest MetroPCS store to talk to a customer service rep.

How to unlock a MetroPCS phone

To unlock your MetroPCS phone, the phone must have had active MetroPCS service for a minimum of 90 consecutive days from the phone's activation date. Most MetroPCS phones come with a Device Unlock app that lets you simply request a code. For all other phones from MetroPCS phones, you'll have to contact MetroPCS customer service either by phone (1-888-863-8768) or at a MetroPCS store.

Learn more

 

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Finding another MVNO

If you like T-Mobile's service and are considering MetroPCS but want other options, then you might want to consider another MVNO that uses T-Mobile's network or one that uses multiple networks.

There are over 20 MVNOs that piggyback on T-Mobile's network, so you have your pick of the litter. Major players include Mint SIM, Straight Talk, and TracFone.

Learn more

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1 month ago

How to make a custom icon for Android

19

Theming icons with a pack is pretty awesome. But they can't do everything.

Icon packs have holes. Icon packs sometimes miss. And when you're theming your phone, maybe what you need isn't in an icon pack at all. That's OK. We don't need no stinkin' icon packs. We can edit together our own custom icons! It's easy. All you need is some kind of photo editor — be it the latest Photoshop or free cloud-based editors like Pixlr — and a little creativity.

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1 month ago

How to mount network storage to the NVIDIA Shield TV

5

You don't have to just use storage either inside or physically attached to the NVIDIA Shield TV.

This wonderful media box can also hook into network attached storage, perfect if you've got a NAS at home that's crammed full with your personal media files. Making it so your NVIDIA Shield can see this drive is a pretty simple process.

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1 month ago

How to manage accessories, goals, and more with Samsung Health

3

Samsung Health offers you everything you need to get started on the right track to a better, more healthier version of yourself. However knowing how to manage everything this app delivers is absolutely crucial. While there are a lot of moving pieces, it's easy to stay in control.

Stay in control with Samsung Health

As you may have guessed by now, there are a lot ways to control your Samsung Health experience. Once you have gotten rolling with your fitness routine using Samsung Health to build those great new habits, you may find yourself wanting to tweak things to better suit your fitness goals.

This could involve anything from dropping a workout program when you realize it isn't the right fit for you currently, to adjusting what your daily goals are. While Samsung Health will automatically set certain goals for you, these are fully adjustable so you can have it reflect your personal goals.

Staying in control of your health is a personal journey, and not really something that anyone else can help you with unless you're committed. Using this app may help keep you motivated and track all the details of your workouts, but you will, of course, need to know how to access them.

How to drop a program

  1. Open Samsung Health.
  2. Tap on Manage items with the plus icon.

  3. Tap the program you are currently tracking.
  4. Tap drop program.

How to set your daily step goal

  1. Open Samsung Health.
  2. Tap the step counter.

  3. Tap the overflow icon that looks like three vertical dots in the upper right corner.
  4. Tap Set Target.
  5. Drag the slider to set your new daily step count goal.

How to switch between the device tracking your steps

  1. Open Samsung Health.
  2. Tap the step counter.

  3. Tap the box below the step counter.

  4. Tap the source of step count data you want to use.

How to cancel a goal

  1. Open Samsung Health.
  2. Tap a goal.
  3. Tap the overflow icon in the upper right corner that looks like three vertical dots.

  4. Tap view goal details.
  5. Tap cancel goal in the bottom right corner of your screen.
  6. Tap cancel goal.

How to export tracked data

  1. Open Samsung Health.
  2. Tap the tracked data you want to export.
  3. Tap the overflow icon that looks three vertical dots in the upper right corner.

  4. Tap export data.
  5. Tap the period of time, and file type you want to export.
  6. Tap export.

How to view a weekly summary of activity

  1. Open Samsung Health.
  2. Tap the profile icon in the upper right corner of the screen.

  3. Tap weekly summaries at the bottom of the screen.
  4. Tap the weekly summary you want to view.

Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+

Main

Verizon AT&T T-Mobile Sprint Unlocked

About

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

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

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

Specs

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

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