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Tips & Tutorials

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How to add permanent left/right cursor buttons and other neat keys to nav bar in Android O

One of the many new features in Android O is a revamped UI tuner with control over the navigation bar. If the layout of the buttons isn't right, you can change it. Want more buttons? Oh, it's got that too. In fact, you can add some useful things there, like left and right cursor buttons. Here's how.

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What is 5G? The layman's guide

5G. You're aware of it, probably. You've at least likely whizzed past it unblinkingly in a press release or heard and ignored it in a sound byte from a CEO or analyst, as 5G is increasingly a very hot topic in the biz.

But wait, aren't we just kind of now starting to get 4G everywhere? Isn't it too early to be talking about the next generation of wireless technology? Actually: yes. It kind of is. And that's part of what this piece is about - providing a bit of a reality check on 5G, what it is, what it means for you (or doesn't), and when you can expect it.

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PSA: Chrome Dev allows you to modify recommended sites or articles, sort of

Many weren't happy with the change that shows recommended sites and articles in Chrome 54 - Android Police team members included - and while I personally do not mind them, I can see why you would prefer not to have Google recommend stuff you may not like.

In light of this, Chrome developer evangelist François Beaufort has come to the rescue. A new Chrome internals page, in the latest builds of Chrome Dev, allows modification of the recommended sites and articles, at least somewhat. chrome://ntp-tiles-internals controls what is shown on the page, with an update button to update the popular sites and function to change the region you get sites from (for example, I'm in the UK so I see the UK versions of sites).

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Is your Google Pixel's fingerprint scanner not working well? Try this trick

I love the Google Pixel, but there's no doubt that in the last few weeks I've noticed its fingerprint scanner becoming less and less reliable (I've heard it from others, too). I was puzzled, as the whole idea behind Google's Pixel Imprint is to become more accurate over time as it gets more and more reads of your finger. I tried removing my fingerprints and re-adding them, but that didn't help at all. So I went back to an old trick I used on some of the first touch-to-scan fingerprint reader phones - registering the same fingers more than once.

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[Android 7.1 Tip] Get rid of the Play Store on your home screen and use the 'My Apps' shortcut instead

Odds are you have the Play Store on your home screen for easy accessibility, but have you ever considered not having it? I don't mean you should dig into the app drawer every time you need to open the store, but perhaps the regular Play Store link isn't the most efficient. If you're on Android 7.1, maybe you ought to replace it with the My Apps shortcut.

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Feeling flat, musicians? Google Home can play you a key - just ask it (update: it's really broken)

Here's a Google Home trick we haven't seen really publicized: the Assistant in Home can play you a six-note scale in any key. (Note: This does not seem to work on the Pixel Assistant. Sigh. Correction: See update, this is just really broken in general, unfortunately.) Just tell Home to play you any key - for example, "play me a B sharp" - and the Assistant will respond with an ascending six-note scale. Neat.

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The boot-loop: My smartphone restarts over and over, what do I do now?

One of the most common source of inquiries or complaints we receive from readers is a phenomenon known in the world of smartphones as "boot-looping." After installing an update or patch to a smartphone, the phone then proceeds to attempt to restart itself over and over, endlessly refusing to actually boot up. Phones with "boot loop" problems will attempt to restart endlessly, often until the battery is completely drained. In the event of such a problem, there are a few things you can do, but do note that the "boot loop" is often a fatal condition for a device when common remedies fail to resolve it.

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PSA: You can disable the recommended articles on Chrome 54's New Tab page

The recent Chrome 54 release brought an updated New Tab screen, which replaces the Bookmarks and Recent tabs buttons at the bottom with an 'Articles for you' section. I was not a fan of that change, and judging by some of the comments on that post, neither were most of you. Thankfully, tipster Matt informed us that this can be easily disabled.

To turn off this feature, simply set the two flags below to Disabled.

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Guide: How to set a custom animation speed on Android (works on stock devices)

Changing the animation speed is a little-known trick with Android, and can often make your device feel faster. But if you want to make animations faster than normal, you are left with two options - 0.5x the normal speed, or completely turned off.

What if you want something like 75% normal speed? Well, it turns out you can easily set a custom animation speed. Reddit user quantumsuicide wrote a fantastic guide, which I have made a bit easier for ADB newbies here.

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