How easy would it be for someone to assume your identity if they had control of your smartphone? Depending on how elaborate your internal defenses are, they would be able to text people as you, post to your Facebook account, maybe even access your bank accounts or make purchases in your name.
Technology has made these strange little devices a part of our identity. The idea that smartphones have become an extension of the self is not a new one. Just as you disclose parts of yourself to some people yet hide them from others, the desire to tuck away files, photos, or applications on your smartphone is a popular one.
Maybe you’ve got some pictures that you’d really prefer your mother not stumble across if she needs to borrow your phone. Maybe you have some private documents that contain sensitive personal information. Maybe you have apps that aren’t quite ‘child friendly’ enough for you to feel safe handing over your phone to your nephew so he can play Angry Birds.
Whatever the reason, there are plenty of options when it comes to hiding content on your phone. We’re going to look at a few of them here and discuss the benefits and risks of each.
How to Hide Files
Most Android devices don’t actually have a stock ability to hide stuff, so no matter what you’re looking to do, you’re probably going to have to resort to third-party apps. Let’s start with the basics and learn to hide some files in general.
A solid app for this task is File Hide Expert. It’s a free app, and it lets you hide and unhide any file on your phone with ease. To get this up and running, first download the app from the Google Play Store. When you open the app, you’ll receive a message indicating that the hidden file list is empty. Tap the folder icon in the top-right of the screen to begin hiding files.
The app works like a basic file management app. As long as you know where the file is located, you can hide it regardless of type. Check off any files you want to hide, and then head back to your main screen.
From here, hitting “Hide All” will spirit away all of your files, making them inaccessible to snooping phone borrowers. They’ll no longer appear in other file managers or galleries. To bring them back, simply open File Hide Expert again and tap “Restore All.”
Of course, this hardly keeps your content safe. After all, anyone can just open up File Hide Expert and see all the files you don’t want them to see in one easy-to-access list. A smart idea will be to use File Hide Expert’s password capabilities.
Tap the Menu button and then Settings. The very first option will be to enable a password. Check that box, and you’ll be prompted to enter a password to use. Be careful not to forget this, because you’ll need to use it every time you boot up File Hide Expert. You don’t want to get into a situation where you can’t restore the files you’ve hidden!
How to Hide Photos
Now, although File Hide Expert technically works for any kind of file you can imagine, it’s not really the most efficient way to hide photos. If you’re the kind of person who like snapping the occasional risque pic every now and then, you might have a better experience with KeepSafe.
KeepSafe basically creates a digital vault on your phone where you can toss anything that you don’t want showing up anywhere else. You have to create a PIN to use every time you want to access your app, and it keeps all of your sensitive files in one location. There is also an option to back your private files up on the cloud, if you feel comfortable doing so. That way you can recover your lost pics if your phone gets lost or broken.
KeepSafe is rapidly becoming one of the most widely used privacy apps, and the current version is free to use with premium features available for unlocking at $4.99 a month. The cloud backup service is free, but the premium version gives you additional features like snazzy PIN theme, a fake PIN that lets users think they’ve gained access to your hidden files if they use it, and a “secret door” that disguises KeepSafe as a utility app unless you long-press on the icon. Premium members also get a “Break-in Alert” system that logs failed access attempts so that you can see if someone else has been trying to get at your private files. In addition to hiding pictures, KeepSafe can also be used as a repository for sensitive data such as passwords and ID cards.
Setting it up is a breeze. Simply download the app from the Google Play Store and the setup guide will walk you through setting up a PIN.
That accomplished, you can add any photos to KeepSafe by opening a folder and tapping the ‘add picture’ icon at the bottom right. Use the browser to select the photos you want to hide.
Alternatively, you can add files to the vault by accessing your phone’s normal gallery, tapping the “Share” button on the desired picture, and selecting KeepSafe from the list of options. This will move the photo to your private collection and remove it from the gallery. Easy peasy.
How to Hide Apps
Ever get tired of seeing that damn NFL Mobile app that came with your phone and which you can’t uninstall without rooting? Is your app drawer getting crammed with apps that you rarely use, making it a headache to get to the ones you want? Hiding apps is a good way to clean up your app tray and keep guest users from stumbling across any apps you’d rather keep your own business.
Some stock launchers offer this functionality right out of the box. Most Samsung users, for instance, have the ability to hide apps without leaning on third party apps. If your launcher doesn’t support app hiding, give Nova Launcher a spin. It’s an excellent launcher all around, and it gives you the ability to hide apps with a simple and intuitive option.
Install Nova Launcher and open the app drawer. Navigate to Nova Settings > App & widget drawers > Hide Apps. Select the apps you want to hide, and they won’t show up on your app tray anymore.
To reveal an app again, simply return to the same menu and uncheck the desired app.
A Stock Fix
There’s a crazy easy way to hide whole folders without using third party apps. This simple fix will prevent photos from showing up in galleries, audio files from showing up in players, and documents from showing up in editing apps. However, the files aren’t particularly hidden, because all you’re doing is renaming the folder in such a way that Android ignores it.
Using any Android file manager, simply add a “.” to the front of the folder’s name. If you want to get super sneaky, try renaming the folder something boring like “.simdata” or “.systeminfo” or whatever.
Remember that these apps were created to keep files out of the hands of casual guest users. If someone with the right knowhow is really serious about getting at your private data, they’re going to be able to circumvent the methods these apps use to keep your files and pictures out of sight. The best security is to make sure that such people don’t get ahold of your device, and to make sure you’re using a secure lock screen. Consider hiding very sensitive content on a non-mobile device.
These are our suggestions for hiding files, photos, and apps. Do you have privacy methods that you prefer over these? If so, let us know which ones and why in the comments!
OnePlus has been a huge supporter of the new USB Type-C standard. Their latest smartphone (OnePlus 2) is one of the few devices touting the new port, and their cables seem to be very well made, as well as affordable. Should you go with these nifty accessories, though? At first sight it would seem OnePlus has the best options for USB-C accessories, but Google employee Benson Leung claims that is not always the case.
In fact, depending on your device, OnePlus’ USB-Type C adapter and charging cable may damage the charger, hub or PC USB port. Up to Benson’s knowledge, owners of the Chromebook Pixel, Nexus 6P and Nexus 5X should be the ones worried. Keep in mind other devices might also be affected, but Bendon Leung can only speak for Google’s. We are sure these will work well with your OnePlus smartphone, though.
The reason behind this issue is that these cables don’t seem to be spec compliant. Leung states the Chinese startup is using the wrong identifier resistor; these cables utilize a 3A identifier resistor instead of the “Default USB Power” one. This discrepancy may prove to be damaging, and very expensive to the consumer.
While not many of us have heard of Benson Leung, he has been really busy trying to make USB Type-C accessory manufacturers stay true to the standard. In fact, he warned us about cheap USB Type-C cables recently, and he has been called the “USB Vigilante” by PC Mag. What some of these cable makers are doing won’t only make your device act weird, it could be downright dangerous!
In addition to telling us about these bad cables through his Google+ account, he has been reviewing other cables on Amazon and is even contemplating starting a blog where he can document all his tests. What do you guys say? I would definitely follow his website!
Nearly two weeks ago, Vivo sent out a teaser of the Vivo X6 that was rumored to launch on November the 11th. Most of the device’s specifications were leaked and now we have some added details regarding the design thanks to TENAA’s certification.
The device will likely sport a 6-inch QHD display, a deca-core Helio X20 processor, 4GB of RAM, a 21MP rear-facing camera, a 12MP front-facing camera and Android 5.1 out of the box and a beastly 4000mAh battery. The device will also include support for 4G connectivity and have a fingerprint scanner, which will be mounted on the rear side of the device.
The design is made of nearly all aluminum metal and is only 4mm thick, which is incredibly thin. It’s expected to launch in a variety of color options including the silver pictured, gold, and rose gold. The device could see a release any day now.
Come comment on this article: Vivo X6 obtains certification from TENAA
If you’re like me, you’ve made a trip to the grocery store with a list full of items only to return frustrated. You forgot toilet paper. Or soap. Or laundry detergent. Whatever it may be, we’ve all arrived back at home to realize we neglected to pick up an important item. Thankfully, Amazon’s Dash buttons help you order items the moment you run out so that you’re not forced to make a second trip. Heck, you don’t even have to make a first trip. The handy buttons pair with Amazon’s mobile app to give Prime members an easy way to purchase the goods they use most. In fact, they make placing an order so easy it’s kind of scary. Slideshow-341309
When T-Mobile first announced their new double data plans and the new Binge On service this past Tuesday, people were rather disheartened by the fact that not only was T-Mobile upping the prices on three of their four Simple Choice plans, but the lowest tier (2GB) plan would not include the new Binge On service (it also wasn’t included on Data Stash).
Today, however, it appears as though T-Mobile may have heard the angry screaming all over the internet and slightly modified their original policy. When the original press release came out, we learned that only 3GB and up would qualify for Binge On but their new plans went live today and the small print at the bottom of the page now says “2GB and more includes Binge On™ video streaming that lets you watch 3x more video with your high-speed data”
After reaching out to T-Mobile, there seems to be a little bit of confusion as to whether they are offering this on Simple Choice or on their “Pay-In-Advance” plans, but as you’ll see in the screenshot above, it definitely says Simple Choice on the same page as where it says it will include Binge On.
Here’s the catch: On the 2GB plan, you can still opt-in to Binge On, but the data still counts towards your data allotment. The difference is that they will still scale down all of your video streaming to 480p, so your data goes “3x as far” by comparison to watching 1080p video. On one hand, it’s better than nothing. On the other hand, T-Mobile seems to be trying to continue to pull one over on us.
What do you think of this new offering? Is T-Mobile turning back into a normal carrier (as opposed to “Un-Carrier”)? Tell us your thoughts in the comments section below!
The post [About Face?] New T-Mobile Plans Now Live, All Simple Choice Plans Include Binge On appeared first on AndroidGuys.
Google has updated Android Wear yet again. However, this one doesn’t just bring performance tweaks and minor improvements. Version 1.4 is a significant upgrade over the last version because of its ability to pick up calls.
That’s right! Android Wear has finally added support to take advantage of your watch’s speakerphone. With the new update, users can play music directly out of the loudspeaker on their smartwatch. In addition, select smartwatch owners will be able to answer incoming calls directly on their watch. But hang on, there’s only a select few who will get this functionality due to the required hardware speaker. These include the LG Watch Urbane 2, Huawei Watch and Asus Zenwatch 2. One can expect a whole new lineup of Android Wear powered smartwatches with built-in speakers to hit the market soon to take advantage of these new enhancements.
Version 1.4 will also bring some significant battery improvements along with support for additional languages such as Polish, Mandarin, Cantonese, Dutch, Indonesian, and Thai. Lastly, the update brings a new way of flicking through your cards. Instead of the wrist flick, users can now tilt their wrist away to view a new card and tilt the watch towards oneself to go back to the prior card. The same tilt gesture can be used on the watch face (main screen) to open up the apps menu, another great shortcut. However, enabling these gestures will come with the cost of precious battery life due to the tracking of movements.
Google says the update will be rolling out over-the-air very shortly. In the meantime, if you’re still hesitant on buying a smartwatch, check out our latest guide on the best smartwatches right now.
Come comment on this article: Android Wear version 1.4 adds call support and more
It’s Sunday, the time of the week when Talk Android brings you a report on some of the very best applications we’ve been using over the course of the past seven days. Today we’re focusing our attention on a great festive countdown app, an incredibly fun game, an ultra-reliable music discovery tool and last, but not least, a must-have Netflix companion service.
Google Santa Tracker
With Christmas a little more than five weeks away, it’s time to get back into the festive spirit. Thankfully, Google’s ‘developer elves’ have once again updated and released their annual Santa Tracker application, giving us the resources to start counting down the days until Santa arrives.
As this app is primarily aimed at the younger market, it’s filled to the brim with Christmassy entertainment, including short animated movies as well as engaging games. There’s even support for Android Wear and Chromecast — so you can display a large countdown on your TV or view a slightly smaller one on your wrist.
With over 26,000 5-star reviews on the Play Store, it’s pretty clear that this is a popular application. I personally like the animation of Santa flying around the globe on Christmas Eve, which brings a unique sense of enjoyment to younger children. It really is a pleasure to watch with kids. Just seeing their little faces light up is truly a picture to behold.
Cut The Rope 2
I’m a bit of a sucker for puzzle games, and Cut The Rope 2 is by far the most enjoyable title I’ve installed this year. The overall concept is simple. All you have to do is swipe across the screen which cuts the rope so that individual pieces of wrapped candy can drop right into Om Nom’s mouth. Miss and you lose a star. Get the candy on target and you gain a star.
As you progress through the game, the levels get significantly harder. Completing the more difficult sections will earn you rarer medals, which, of course, you can show off on your Play Games profile. There are even comprehensive leaderboards to display the times the levels were completed in — so you can challenge your friends.
What makes Cut The Rope 2 stand out for me is that it actually follows a storyline. All the levels merge together to showcase Om Nom’s journey through lush forests, busy cities, junkyards and underground tunnels to obtain his beloved candy.
On Monday, I got into a friend’s car to the sound of a catchy song playing on the radio. Unfortunately, my buddy couldn’t recall the name of the song or the artist either and we’d both missed the presenters announcement, so I had no way of knowing what it was. Consequently, I decided to head over to the Play Store to look for a nifty music discovery tool, and that’s when I re-discovered Shazam.
I say re-discovered because I used to be an avid user of this application back in 2013, but for some reason, it got uninstalled on my device, and I completely forgot about its existence. Anyway, it’s safe to say that I’ve fallen back in love with it again. It’s faster and more gorgeous than ever, with it’s Material Design overlay and floating discovery button.
Within a couple seconds of opening Shazam and instructing it to listen to the track, it had discovered the song I was looking for. The app then offered me the facility to purchase the track through Play Music or stream it live through Spotify. In this instance, I decided to save it to my account, so that I could access it at a later date.
Shazam also bundles support for Android Wear, so if a song you like comes on the radio and you can’t get to your phone, you can easily start listening from your wrist and receive an ID there, too. If lyrics are available, you can even view them on your watch. And as if that wasn’t enough, you can share the track to your social platforms to let your friends know about the awesome song you’ve discovered.
If you’re a frequent Netflix user, then the last application up this week is a must-have. Upflix is a unique tool for Android handsets, which pushes, in real time, all of the new movies, series and documentaries arriving on the service to your device.
It also has a fun Roulette Mode on board, which selects random films for you to watch. Just create your filters, such as Comedy, Action or Adventure, and input the ratings that you’d like to see. Upflix will then compile a list of the best titles suited to your preferences. I’d recommend searching by Action and Adventure showing ratings above 7 on IMDb.
Previous Apps of the Week editions:
Come comment on this article: Talk Android Apps of the Week: November 15, 2015
Samsung’s smartphone market share is up to 40% in the Netherlands. Following the Korean tech giant is Apple with a 23% share and Nokia with 10%. This only goes to show how smartphone brands differ in popularity based on location. HTC’s 5.3% share, Sony’s 4.4% share and Huawei’s 3.8% share round out the top six. This is an incredible accomplishment that the company must be very proud of. Let’s see if Samsung can keep the momentum rolling with its upcoming Galaxy S7 flagship(s).
Come comment on this article: Samsung’s smartphone market share in the Netherlands reaches 40%
Welcome back to Android Apps Weekly! Let’s get to those headlines:
- Cyanogen has released a fun little bundle of Cyanogen OS applications for CyanogenMod users. These apps, referred to as C-Apps, are a collection of six applications that you can optionally install, but only if you run CyanogenMod. Everyone else will have to either install at least CM12.1 or not get them.
- Last week, Google acquired Fly Labs which was known for its photo and video editing applications on iOS. The reigning, and likely correct, opinion is that this tech will eventually help make Google Photos image editing work better. Of course, it’ll likely take some time before we see any changes.
- We received some official news on Nintendo’s first Android game this last week. DeNA, who is partnering with Nintendo, announced that the game will be free-to-play which means free with in-app purchases. Even I’m disappointed about that.
- After what we assume was a massive success, Amazon has boosted the number of paid apps available for free in their Amazon Underground service by three times what it used to be. If you haven’t checked out the Amazon Underground service yet, now’s a good time to do it.
- Xposed Framework, the popular modding, root app may be coming to Marshmallow sooner than later. Some reports indicate that it should be out in the next week or so and the entire root community rejoiced!
For even more Android apps and games news, don’t forget to check out this week’s newsletter! There you’ll find the complete list of news that we didn’t have time for here. If you want, you can sign up for the newsletter with your email address and we’ll send it to you every week.
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Fallout 4 is out now so it only felt appropriate that we have something about the game to take part in the celebration. Fallout C.H.A.T. is a simple little keyboard released directly by Bethesda. It features a bunch of Fallout inspired elements including gifs, emojis, and a Fallout-themed keyboard for your use. It’s not the best keyboard ever and we’re sure you’ll end up switching back to your usual one, but it’s fun to play with.
Get it now on Google Play!
Lost Echo is a new game that was released this last week. It’s a mystery-adventure game where you play as a man named Doug who is looking for his girlfriend Chloe. The catch is that she seems to have been lost in time and no one can remember she existed except for him. The game features really good looking graphics and the story-driven narratives are interesting and fun. The game had some wicked bad early bugs but most of them seemed to have been cleared out.
Get it now on Google Play!
[Price: Free / $9.99 subscription]
YouTube Music is the latest entrance into the fiasco that is YouTube Red. It is technically a YouTube application that removes all non-music related content. The application was meant to be used with YouTube Red as you can listen to music with the screen off, save stuff for offline playback, no advertising, and there are personalized playlists for you. It’s a good app and it works well, even if there’s no point for it to exist.
Get it now on Google Play!
This War of Mine is an adventure-survival game that takes place during a war. Instead of playing the part of the soldiers, you instead play the part of some civilians who are just trying to survive the harshness of war. During the day, you’re pinned to your location by snipers and at night you go adventuring for supplies to keep you alive. Every decision can mean life or death and it’s a surprisingly deep game. It’s on sale for 50% off right now.
Get it now on Google Play!
[Price: Free / $9.99/month]
Apple Music finally hit the Google Play Store this last week to the usual array of unwarranted vitriol from the more aggressively loyal members of the Android community. Controsvery aside, the application actually looks pretty good and Apple did well with the design elements. The service itself is pretty decent as well, boasting 30 million songs, radio stations including Beats 1, playlists, recommendations, and more. You can get a free trial for checking it out if you want to.
Get it now on Google Play!
If we missed any great Android apps or games news, tell us more about it in the comments!
Google’s Inbox is like an experimental Gmail, offering a more active (or laborious) way of tackling your inbox bloat, delaying and reminding you to respond at a later time. Its latest trick involves harnessing deep neural networks to offer a trio of (short!) auto-responses to your emails — no typing necessary. Does it do the trick? Can a robot truly express what I need it to, or at least a close enough approximation that I’m satisfied with? I tried it this week to find out.