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42

Google releases 3 new experimental apps to help cut down your phone usage

Google has been on a roll recently with its digital wellbeing initiatives, releasing Family Link for parental controls, various apps to view and manage your usage, and a Focus Mode for pausing apps you find distracting. Now it's continuing the trend by releasing 3 new apps, the most notable of which asks that you literally put your phone in an envelope so you can't use it.

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14

Digital Wellbeing adds 30-minute pause to Wind Down (APK Download)

Digital Wellbeing is excellent for keeping track of your smartphone usage. As well as recording how much time you spend in each app, the number of notifications you receive, and how many times you unlock your phone, the software's Wind Down feature helps ensure you get some me-time by limiting distractions and turning the display grayscale so you can focus on more important things. In the latest beta version of the app, Google is adding some flexibility by allowing you to pause Wind Down briefly.

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29

YouTube Music v3.47 prepares reorganized Library tab (APK Teardown)

YouTube Music received quite a few improvements during 2019, but it may not have been obvious since many of updates have been fairly subtle or only relevant to small audiences. Let's be honest, most of it is easy to ignore when some big features are still missing. Regardless, the service and app maturing, and that will be important when Google Play Music eventually fades into the aether and YouTube Music is all that remains. With the latest update, preparations are being made to improve the Library tab so it's easier to use and doesn't get in the way of playing music the way you want.

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7

Galaxy Store update brings dark mode and One UI design (APK Download)

The Galaxy Store began as the black sheep of the Android store family, offering little incentive to use it and existing as almost entirely bloatware. As with most of Samsung's first-party efforts, that's slowly changed over the last few years, with One UI's rollout being extremely well received and One UI 2.0 just around the corner for most. Samsung has brought its flagship store's design up to date with the latest version release, introducing a One UI-themed storefront along with dark mode and a few aesthetic changes that bring it in line with the rest of its apps.

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29

Google Messages rolls out Verified SMS to protect you from spam and phishing (APK Download) (Update: Official)

Earlier this year, our APK guru Cody discovered signs of Verified SMS coming to Google's Messages app. At the time, we didn't know what the feature was exactly or how it'd work. With it starting to go live now, we've discovered that it doesn't work for all numbers, just businesses, and specifically those registered with Google.

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66

Google Camera 7.2 brings back H.265 video recording to the Pixel 4 (Update: Back again after being removed)

The Pixel 4 officially launches tomorrow, though many people have already received the phone a little early. Just in time for the official release, Google has published an update to its camera app, bringing it up to version 7.2. It adds back H.265 video to the Pixel 4 and improves the new Social Share feature by adding Slack as another option.

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6

Google and Santa are teaming up to bring the festive spirit to your devices (Update: APK Download)

Christmas Eve is only 20 days out, and as such, Google has teamed up with Santa's Elves just in time to spread the festive spirit around the world. Google Assistant will offer you fresh broadcasts from the North Pole Newscast every day, and the Elves have polished up the Google Santa Tracker, which lets you explore Santa's village starting today.

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9

WhatsApp finally adds call waiting, but without call holding (APK Download)

When you're already talking on the phone and another person tries to call you, most phones and operators let you know that you've got a call waiting. Very few VOIP services support that, though, and WhatsApp wasn't among them until now. The service has rolled out call waiting on Android, but it didn't include the fancy call holding addition.

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14

Android Auto tests two new UIs for Google Assistant, launcher customization and weather are live (APK Teardown)

Changes to the UI of Android Auto are few and far between, but that doesn't mean there aren't a few things in testing from time to time. There are (at least) two interfaces in the works right now, one of which appears to be rolling out to some people, and we have screenshots of both. Also, for those waiting for the ability to customize the apps in your launcher or get the temperature in your status bar, both appear to be live for everybody now.

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2

OnePlus Gallery adds zoom for video playback, photo sorting by date added (APK Download)

OnePlus' Gallery gets lots of frequent updates, though they're usually bug fixes and stability improvements. This time, though, the app is getting two interesting features: video zooming and another way to sort photos.

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