Android Police

Tips & Tutorials

176

How to back up your SMS text messages on Android

Much of the world has moved on from SMS, but it's still one of the most popular methods of sending messages in the US. It's an unfortunate requirement here for many, and it probably will be until RCS gets off the ground. And if you're the data-hoarding type, then you might want to keep those SMS messages around for later reference — either in cold storage or an easily accessed format. But even bringing them with you from device to device isn't actually that hard, and we're glad to walk you through the different ways to do it.

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13

How to add a homescreen shortcut to your Google Assistant reminders

A few weeks ago, Google rolled out an update to reminders that switched the interface from a native in-app one to a web-based UI (presumably only for the English language). As a result, we've been discovering several related changes, some of them good like the unbundled notifications, others bad like the reliance on Assistant and lack of support for G Suite users. Today's discovery falls on the positive side of the scale: reminders can now be accessed through a browser and can thus be pinned to your homescreen.

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87

Tip: If you still don't have the new Android Auto, check your app settings

Google started rolling out the new Android Auto earlier this month, and it's an overall improvement. You should have the updated interface already, but we've heard from a number of Android Auto users who haven't seen the update appear automatically. Luckily, there's a quick fix.

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106

How to make your own personal VPN in under 30 minutes

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.

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64

How to block spam notifications and rogue ads on Android

Many mobile apps and games include advertisements, which is perfectly fine — the developers have to eat, after all. However, some malicious applications go a step further by sending push notifications containing advertisements, or taking over your entire screen when you don't even have the app open. In a few cases, apps have even been caught pushing ads when the phone is asleep or on the lock screen.

Malicious apps like those shouldn't have been allowed onto the Play Store in the first place, but if you're dealing with annoying spam notifications or full-screen popups, you've come to the right place.

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147

Google is getting rid of Android Auto's smartphone UI — here's why

The new Android Auto started rolling out today (and it's pretty good), but unfortunately, all of its various improvements are only coming to in-car displays. The version of Android Auto you can run on your phone's screen standalone won't be getting the same face lift — and as a matter of fact, it's eventually going away entirely (though we're not sure exactly when). Here's what's happening.

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37

How to disable battery optimization for Google Photos and other system apps on OnePlus devices

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.

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27

How to Google all the streaming services that have a movie or TV series

It's been over a year since the Google Play Store added a handy — and selfless — feature where it would tell you which online streaming services had the movie or TV series you were looking for. Perhaps you didn't want to buy them on Play Movies and preferred to watch them on Netflix for which you already have a subscription, or perhaps you wanted to watch something but didn't know which services had it. That same feature began surfacing inside Google Search a few months ago, but seems to now be rolling out more widely and to many more countries.

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22

Here's how to delete those 'Ok Google' training recordings from Google's database

Remember when you first used Assistant and had to repeat "Ok Google" and "Hey Google" a couple of times to train it to recognize your voice? Well, there's a way to delete these recordings entirely from Google's database, in case you've decided to part ways with the search company.

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