Secure Settings is a complex Tasker/Locale plugin for rooted and non-rooted security conscious users alike. Version 1.3.5 of the app has gone stable, bringing with it a beefy changelog that should help the software play nicely with modern devices and give older handsets new perks as well.
Update: We've heard from a source close to Digital Turbine that the software is not supposed to re-install bloat apps after they have been removed by the user. Once they're gone, they should stay gone, barring a factory reset of the phone (at which point they will reinstall, but again, only once). Digital Turbine was also not able to reproduce this behavior in its own testing on the T-Mobile Note 4, so it's not clear what went wrong for this particular user.
AirDroid is one of those indispensible tools that goes on a new phone or tablet the minute I set it up. And it's only gotten better in the years since it debuted: the second version of the web-based management app allowed users to access their Android device for files, contacts, photos, and other functions from any browser with a login system. With version 3, just published as a beta app, the developer has added a stand-alone desktop manager for Windows and OS X.
Kodi (formerly the Xbox Media Center) isn't the only piece of software attempting to find a new image. One of the most popular Android remote control apps for the media manager, Yatse, is getting a major visual overhaul. Version 5.0, now available in a Google+ beta, is showing off a shiny new interface that takes more than a few pages out of the Material Design playbook. Check out some comparison shots below.
Since the recent update to MX Player, many users are running into a new problem: there's no sound in certain videos. It turns out the latest release of the popular video player removed support for two audio codecs: AC3 and MLP. Unfortunately, it seems this is a result of licensing issues, meaning MX Player will no longer ship with built-in support to play these audio formats. However, there is a simple workaround that will get things working again with relatively little hassle.
Plume is one of the more long-standing "power user" options for Twitter on Android, thanks to a ton of built-in features, a customizable scrolling widget, and solid notification support. It's also one of the better apps in terms of visuals, even before the latest update. But the new beta available on Plume's Google+ community brings the app into the Android 5.0 era with some noticeable changes to the app's visual layout.
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?
Root Explorer is one of those apps that has been on each and every one of my Android devices for years, and part of the reason why is that developer Speed Software has kept it relevant with near-constant useful updates. The latest, version 3.3, takes advantage of the revised SD card management on Android 5.0. Those with Lollipop devices can once again write to an external SD card even without root.
The best thing you can do for Black Friday is nothing: those discounts aren't worth the indignity of getting clobbered by an octogenarian's purse while she hunts for a Frozen doll. But if you swing by this promotional page for Amazon's Appstore, you can pick up no less than 40 free apps and games, worth a combined $130 at full price. Amazon does these promotions on a regular basis. There's no reason not to get them all, but if you'd rather not clutter up your Amazon account, here are some notable picks:
- Bejeweled 2 ($3)
- Sonic Jump ($3)
- Perfectly Clear ($3)
- Angry Birds Seasons ($1)
- Photo Editor+ ($1)
- WiFi Explorer Pro ($1)
- Docs To Go Premium ($10)
- Quell Memento ($3)
- A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving ($5)
- Alarm Clock Pro ($2)
- Symphony of the Origin ($3)
- Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary ($24)
- EDGE Extended ($3)
Some of the apps are duplicates, like the Kindle Fire-only Angry Birds (the one above is fine for non-Fire devices).
Lollipop users, you can now download the popular SuperSU tool from the Play Store. Not that you couldn't before, but version 2.35 is particularly notable: it works with a lot more of the usual root apps, after both SuperSU and the apps that use it were having trouble on Android 5.0. You can flash 2.35 via the usual ZIP in TWRP (and probably other custom recoveries), with updates coming via the Play Store after that.