When you have some form of lock screen security enabled, Android makes sure that you don't have to fumble around to enter your pattern, PIN, or password before you can call 911 in an emergency. It does this by adding an "Emergency Call" button to the bottom of the screen—but as handy as this may sound, most of the time it's more trouble than it's worth.
A few weeks ago, Bluebox Security uncovered a bug that could potentially effect 99% of Android devices. Bug 8219321, dubbed the Master Key bug, works by allowing applications with modified code to pass Android's signature verification system, thereby bypassing security measures that normally wouldn't allow these apps to be installed.
Back when 4.1 Jelly Bean came out (boy, how time flies), Android introduced expandable notifications. Depending on the notification, a simple swipe down with your finger could expand it and show extra content, like Delete and Reply buttons for Gmail messages.
Allowing us to easily get features that would otherwise be available only through flashing mods and custom ROMs, Xposed Installer has been a godsend since its development, simplifying the sometimes tasking and potentially harmful process of changing the core components of Android's operating system.
For some reason, when you're typing in landscape mode, Android extends the text input field to cover every bit of the screen that the keyboard's not occupying. This gets pretty annoying sometimes, especially with messaging apps where you might need to reference what the other person just said in order to properly form your response.
For any multitude of reasons, some apps require you to be connected to Wi-Fi in order to function properly. This could be because they would rather you have a stable connection to enjoy their content, or that they don't want users complaining about the amount of data being guzzled from carrier data plans.
The Google Now Launcher that was introduced with the Nexus 5 seems to have a lot of folks torn. On the one hand, having a home screen page dedicated to Google Now, as well as the always-listening voice search, are killer features. On the other hand, its lack of customization options like home screen gestures and variable grid sizes has some people considering switching to third-party launchers.
Some apps have a nasty habit of ignoring your Android's auto-rotation settings and locking the display into either portrait or landscape orientation.
A new API in Android Lollipop allows apps to color the status bar to match their overall theme. Google billed this as a more immersive user experience that allows app developers to extend their color branding even further. It certainly seems like a win-win on the surface, but unfortunately, not many apps are using this feature yet.
Battery life is extremely unpredictable on an Android. Finding the right ROM and kernel combo can make or break having the kind of battery that will last you all day long. Even if you do find the perfect pair, you then have to worry about apps, widgets, and other processes constantly waking your phone and draining your juice. While your media scanner isn't the biggest battery hog out there, it can definitely take a chunk out of it.
I love getting notifications for every email received on my Samsung Galaxy S3 and whenever a download finishes, but there are some alerts I could definitely do without.
When you were younger, you probably had your parents bugging you not to have your cassette player headphones up too loud. For all you younger readers out there, it was probably a CD player. The even younger readers likely had an iPod or other MP3 player. Either way, your parents didn't want you to mess up your hearing, blasting that Limp Bizkit in your ears (wow, I'm showing my age here).
A great aspect of using Android is having the ability to change and tweak aspects of the user experience to your liking. You can easily change things like home screens, widgets, and icons on your Nexus 7 tablet, but also core system settings if you want, like volume settings. Most stock systems come standard with a "15 step" volume control. That means simply that you have 15 levels from mute to the loudest volume settings. Whether your an audiophile or just someone who wants a little more con...
One of the coolest features of the Galaxy S5 is its IP67 certification. This means that the S5 is internally impenetrable to dust and can be submerged in water for thirty minutes at a depth of one meter. It's definitely a handy feature for folks who've lost a phone to a toilet in the past.
There aren't many complaints I can think of when it comes to the Instagram interface, and finding one would just be nitpicking. But like with most things in life, if given the opportunity, why not take advantage? "When in Rome," as they say.
As smartphones become increasingly integral parts of our lives, so does data throttling. Personally, I try to save data any way that I can, so to stave off unnecessary usage, I use the GoogleOfflineVoice to limit the amount of data consumed by voice typing.
As Matias Duarte and the team over at Google's Android Design department ready their wares, they've given us a preview version of the upcoming "L" release of Android to try out.
Android 4.4 KitKat has begun rolling out for the Galaxy Note 3 in India, Poland, Russia, Switzerland, and several other countries, and an unofficial build for AT&T customers has been leaked for all of us stateside.
We may all have a Nexus 7 tablet, but we don't all want to have the exact same look and feel, which is why we softMod for a more personalized vibe. There are hundreds of cool mods you can perform on your Nexus 7, whether stock or rooted, but one of my favorites in Android 4.4 KitKat was unlocking the hidden battery percentage icon in the Status bar.
These days, everyone's snapping selfies, taking pics of their latest meals, or sharing pet trick videos on Instagram for the whole world to see. It's not only fun to shoot photos and videos for Instagram, it's inspiring to look at everyone else's creativeness in your feed.
Most hardcore Android fans loathe carrier or manufacturer additions to the Android operating system. Whether it's bloatware or changes to the user interface, many enthusiasts prefer the clean look of stock Android.
One of the things I hate most about Android's alarm clock is that you get the alarm icon in your status bar way ahead of time. Regardless of whether the alarm is in five minutes, five hours, or five days, that icon just sits in your status bar.
While we wait for our chance to get our hands on Android Lollipop, Google has already released Material Design updates to most of their apps. I love the new direction of the updated UI, but something just seemed to be lacking in tying everything together.
YouTube makes money hand over fist every year selling ad space to companies, but unless you're reaping those benefits, they can be pretty annoying. Luckily, there is a simple way to get rid them on your rooted HTC One with Xposed and YouTube AdAway.
Android's main UI is looking so good these days that you hardly ever see developers spend time creating themes anymore. But even with the beauty of Material Design working in our favor now, there's always room for improvement, right?
When it comes to passwords, the longer and more complex they are, the better the security. Even professional hackers say so. But if you've ever tried to type in such a password, you've surely noticed that it can be a bit of a pain. Mistype one character, and you're probably going to have to clear the field and start all over again.
Stock Android has come with lock screen widget support for a couple of years now, ever since the days of the first Ice Cream Sandwich build. But for some reason, Samsung decided to remove this feature in the Galaxy S5.
Snapchat's self-destructing nature is the perfect way to send funny and potentially embarrassing photos and videos (something Anthony Weiner wishes he knew about). That's why there are currently 150 million Snapchats sent each day. While it may be used for fun, many fail to recognize that there's a dark side to every good thing. While Snapchat claims that the pictures and videos on their application are completely obliterated—not only from the phone, but from the Snapchat server—there are oth...
How To: Disable the "Clear Defaults" Popup Alert When Setting Default Apps on Your Samsung Galaxy S4
Customization is one of Android's popular selling points, and going hand-in-hand with that is being able to set default apps for different actions. Whether you want to play a song, navigate somewhere, or send a text, you can set a go-to app for each of those tasks.
There are many reasons to root Android, but for me, the most important one is to have the Xposed Framework. Xposed gives you access to hundreds of modules, which take away the need to manually modify core system files to add new features and functionality to your Android device.
While the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 is sure to get an Android 5.0 Lollipop update, there's no official confirmation on when exactly that will happen (rumors state January). In the meantime, there are a number of ways to get some of Lollipop's features on your KitKat device right now, but today I'll be focusing on the looks with a Lollipop-themed launcher.
WhatsApp recently updated their emojis (or emoji, depending on your preference), but it wasn't exactly a welcome change. Many users have complained that the new smilies are just way too big, others aren't too fond of the shinier appearance, and countless folks have been venting their frustrations on Twitter.
In an attempt to keep things simple, Snapchat has a limited amount of editing features, made up of "smart" photo filters, drawing pens, and special text captions. If you want more editing capabilities, you'll be pleased to know there's a way, no thanks to Snapchat, but you will need to be rooted.
The little black status bar at the top of your screen is great for at-a-glance info, but let's face it—it's pretty ugly. If you want to hide it completely, only showing it when you need it, check out our guide on using Immersive Mode in KitKat. However, if you want to keep the at-a-glance convenience and have it blend in with your apps, try out Tinted Status Bar.
The Xposed Framework was just recently made available for Android Marshmallow, but everything isn't quite back to status quo just yet. Sure, some Xposed modules function properly, but others are a bit buggy, and several don't even work at all. This is mostly a result of changes to the Android system that Lollipop modules relied upon, and such modules will need to be updated for Marshmallow compatibility.
While browsing the internet on your Samsung Galaxy S4, you've probably scrolled to the bottom of a very long webpage, Twitter feed, or down into the abyss of some other app. Depending just how far down you've scrolled, it can be a test of your patience (and fingertips) scrolling back up to the top.
When Android N is officially released sometime later this year, it will bring a lot of cool new features along with it. We've already had the chance to play around with some of these, thanks to a preview build available to Android beta testers, and one change that we like in particular is a revamped Settings menu. Among other things, each settings entry now has subtext beneath it that shows relevant info at a glance.
If you're looking to customize your Android beyond its stock options, things can get confusing quickly. One of the best places to get into developer mode is the XDA forums.
Android Lollipop promises tons of new features and functionality when it comes to a device near you, but as we wait, it's almost painful to see the screenshots and demo videos from Nexus devices and how downright pretty the new operating system looks.
The Galaxy S5's screen is truly a feat of modern technology. It uses what is known as an AMOLED display—an acronym for Active-Matrix Organic Light-Emmitting Diode. In short, this technology means that every individual pixel on your phone's screen emits its own light. This is a break from the traditional LCD technology that requires a backlight for any pixels to be visible.