Android 5.0 has a lot of smart features, and battery saver mode is one of them. When your phone reaches a user-defined low battery level, Lollipop will automatically reduce animations, turn off most background data, cut vibration from alerts, and lower the standard brightness on the screen. It's a smarter implementation of the feature than, say, the ultra power saving modes on recent Samsung or HTC phones, which disable all but a few apps. Read More
Sony's international phones have unlockable bootloaders, and the company even encourages users to tinker around with neat extras like AOSP builds. Alas, in markets like the US the carriers are still the keepers of the keys for a lot of customers, and T-Mobile has once again insisted on locking that sucker down for anyone who buys its version of the Sony Xperia Z3. Now users with this lamentable affliction can at least get root access on their phones, thanks to a bounty-winning method from an XDA user. Read More
Most of the news about CyanogenMod over the last month or so has been about Cyanogen Inc.'s very public spat with enthusiast manufacturer OnePlus. But believe it or don't, work continues on CyanogenMod 12, the custom ROM team's version of Android Lollipop. One of the more interesting changes to the new version was spotted over on the Android subreddit: starting with CM12, CyanogenMod will no longer require a separate app to manage root permissions. Read More
Remember the not-so-glory days of home computing, when each and every action taken before your operating system booted up was rendered on-screen in glorious greyscale text? Now you can re-live those days (or I dunno, just install a really useful pre-boot tool) with LiveBoot. This customized boot animation with its own configuration tool comes from prolific developer Chainfire, who released a free version with a Pro upgrade into the Play Store. Read More
Back in March, Justin Case released a root tool called WeakSauce for HTC's flagship lineup on Verizon. Unfortunately, a steady procession of updates to each handset has patched the original exploit, leaving many without root. Now there's a new version of WeakSauce, and it can root just about every HTC phone on Verizon running Android 4.4.4 and below.
Named WeakSauce 2: The Habanero's Revenge, this tool works just like its predecessor, and it's completely free. Read More
So you got that fancy Sonos speaker (or several ones) and you're annoyed that it only streams music via Wi-Fi from your Android device through the Sonos or Google Play Music apps? Cheaper (much cheaper actually) Bluetooth speakers would allow you to play any audio from any app on them, and Macronos unlocks that same functionality on the Sonos.
The app, which has been available for a while, but only came to our attention recently, serves mostly as a Sonos macro creator — something like a shortcut to play this playlist on this speaker at this volume, while lowering that speaker to that volume. Read More
Titanium Backup is well-known among rooted users for its ability to back up just about every aspect of a phone. It actually has the same prestige among non-rooted users too, they just can't get in on the fun.
The latest version of the app adds Bluetooth pairings to the list of things Android users can rarely ever have to set up again. As long as you're running Android 4.2 or higher (including Lollipop, which the app supports following a recent update), Titanium Backup should let you back up and restore your current Bluetooth connections. Read More
Every power user has a favorite file manager. It doesn't matter how many are installed or why, there is always one that takes the lead position. Of course, as new features become popular, it's not uncommon for people to switch out their favorite app to pull up one that offers whatever they need. The new must-have among file managers is support for writing to the SD card on Android 5.0 Lollipop. Read More
Root Checker is a simple little tool that does what it says on the box: it checks whether your phone or tablet (or game console, or set-top-box, or e-reader, or robotic toaster) has root permissions. Those that use it probably only do so for a few seconds once or twice a month. That being the case, it's not a big deal if the app doesn't look good. But that doesn't mean that it can't, right? Read More
As we all know at this point, Google was originally going to include double tap to wake on the Nexus 6 just like it did on the Nexus 9. Then for whatever reason, it was disabled a few months ago. The N6 supports this feature, but it's not turned on by default. If you're willing to root the phone, you can get it back super-easily.