A couple of weeks ago, Google announced a new and very useful Assistant feature: the ability to set reminders and assign them to someone else in your family or household. The option is now live for some users in English (US, UK, Australia) and works just as expected. You can assign a time or location reminder to someone, change it or delete it, check on their progress, and more. So let's take a look at how this works. Read More
VPNs, or Virtual Private Networks, are a popular way to stay safe online. When you connect to a VPN, all outgoing network traffic is funneled through an external server. Your internet service provider can't tell what sites you visit (only that you're using a VPN) or inject content into webpages. They're also commonly used to bypass blocked websites and to stay safe on public Wi-Fi networks.
Unfortunately, using certain VPN providers can be just as dangerous as going without a VPN in the first place. Many popular providers will log connection details of users, which can then be sold to third parties. Read More
Amazon's Fire tablets are unique, not just because they're extremely cheap, but also because they don't come with the Google Play Store. Instead, you get access to the Amazon Appstore, which might not have the exact app you're looking for. For example, Chrome and YouTube aren't available.
Thankfully, the Play Store can be installed on Fire tablets in around 10 minutes, and you don't even need a separate PC. This is the ultimate guide to installing the Play Store on Fire tablets, with detailed instructions for every model produced since 2014. Read More
With the introduction of Doze in Marshmallow, app developers and users had to find the perfect balance between battery life and background activity. Granular options for battery optimization exist on most Android devices, allowing you to single out apps you'd like to give free rein to. This can be crucial for backup apps (Google Photos), companion apps for wearables (Fitbit, Wear), and smart home security apps that require your location to arm or disarm (Nest, SmartThings).
However, some phones like the ones from OnePlus limit your access to battery optimization settings for system apps, specifically, meaning you can't give Google Photos the freedom to run whenever it needs to, which usually results in stalled backups. Read More
One of the most exciting new features in Chrome OS is the ability to run applications designed for Linux. Most software that can run on Ubuntu, Debian, or other Linux distributions will work. This is the first time it has been possible to (officially) run traditional desktop software on Chromebooks, and the possibilities are endless.
Unfortunately, the feature is a bit tricky to figure out if you don't already have experience with Linux. In this guide, we'll show you how to set up the Linux container on your Chromebook and how to install applications. Read More
I love Google Photos and I keep recommending it left and right to anyone I know. But Photos isn't perfect and there's still a lot that the service could do to improve the user experience. For example, the ability to order photos in different ways is missing — you get reverse chronological and that's it. If you're only backing up recent images as you take them, that's not an issue, but if you're uploading older photos, it becomes near impossible to find those images and edit, share, or make albums of them. You might scroll and scroll, try to search for the date if you remember it, and sometimes nothing works. Read More
It's not a huge stretch to say that without the domain name system, the internet as we know it would be practically unusable. With domain names being as important as they are, the servers we use to look them up form a critical part of our internet experience. For users who would like a little more control over how their phones resolve domain names, we're here to talk about what you can do to configure Android to work with the domain name server of your choice. Read More
One of Android Oreo's best features is Picture-in-Picture mode for phones and tablets. When you press the home button while playing media (on an app that supports PiP), the video collapses to a floating window that you can move around the screen. YouTube is one of the few apps that support this feature already, but it's only enabled if you pay for YouTube Red. Thankfully, there is a way to force PiP mode for any app that supports it, including YouTube and Google Maps. Read More
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. Read More
This is a guest post by Ricardo "arcee" Cerqueira who takes things apart for sport, on a quest to understand how they work. He currently works on Android devices at Cyanogen.
As people started receiving their Nexus 6Ps, some began freaking out over a new message that comes up on the screen when booting into fastboot mode: “QFUSE: ENABLED,” with wild speculative theories coming up regarding what it does and doesn’t do, what kind of limitations it’s imposing, and wondering if and how it can be “disabled.” So... what’s this qFuse thing, anyway?
Think of an eFuse as the mind’s eye representation of a bit that only flips one way, or something that can only be done once on a piece of writeable flash. Read More