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29
Mar

The EnerPlex Jumpr Slate 5k portable battery is incredibly thin (Review)


Portable power is something almost all of us need. Some can get through a full day without needing to recharge their devices, but there are many of us power users who need more. Fortunately there is an almost endless supply of portable power packs to fulfill our power needs. I have been using the incredibly thin 5100mAh

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29
Mar

EpicWin: Add some fun to your chores [Review]


It’s always difficult to keep up with the things you need to do. Worst of all, to-do apps used to work only on one device, so whatever you did on your phone wouldn’t sync with your computer or tablet. Things have gotten better, and services like Todoist and Any.do have made everything easier. However, you

29
Mar

Make your home screen look good, even without an app drawer


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The world isn’t ending. No one is taking away your app drawer.

There’s been a lot of talk about app drawers of late, particularly with more phones not using them by default. But what if you like not having to go to another screen to find all your apps? What if you don’t want to hassle with learning a new launcher? What if you like the themes or features of the one you have, except for not having an app drawer?

Here’s how to handle having all your apps on your home screen.

Folders are your friend

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When you don’t have an app drawer one thing becomes very apparent: all those app icons take up a lot of space. The first thing you can do to start clearing up the clutter is to put some of those apps into folders. In most launchers, dragging one app over another and dropping it adds them both to a new folder. You can drag all the games into a folder, all your work-related apps in another, and a folder for all the apps that came with your phone… the possibilities are endless.

This may seem like you’re swapping one folder for another — and you’re not entirely wrong — but having folders pop up on your home screen rather than going to an entirely different page can save a little time. Also, by using individual folders for categories or personal grouping of apps, there’s less to sort though.

Read more: Folders and better ways to use them

Managing home screen pages

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You don’t need 10 pages for your apps, especially after you stick a lot of them into a few folders. If your launcher doesn’t delete empty pages automatically, pinching in often brings up the edit screen that will allow you to delete them. Press and hold your empty home-screen and drag it to the trash can.

You also don’t want five pages with a single row of app shortcuts on it. Unless you like scrolling and scrolling and scrolling to find your apps, that is. If you want your primary home screen to look a little neater than the pages hosting the majority of your apps, you can also add a primary page for widgets and more important apps, then pinch in and make that the primary screen (usually denoted by a home or star icon at the top of the that page).

Use search instead of hunting for apps

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Because our phones are amazing and all have search engines on them, we have another way to find apps besides digging through pages of icons for them: Google search. By default, Google Now can search through your phone for apps and present them in your search results, but if you somehow turned it off, you can access it in the Google app by selecting Settings in the slide-out menu, and making sure Apps are checked in Phone search.

You can now tap the search bar — or the microphone that’s likely on that search bar — and search for your app by name. You can also use Google Now on Tap to search and open another app without going back to the home screen at all.

The LG G5 — the latest to forgo a traditional app drawer by default — actually recommends this method during setup.

Hide space-wasting apps

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I mentioned having a folder for all the apps that came with your phone before. Some manufacturers even start off their apps in pre-made folders to save you the trouble of rounding them up. And while you can hide them in a folder, you do have other options for hiding the apps you’re never going to use.

Some launchers allow you to hide an app from the app list when you press-and-hold an app as if you were going to move it around on your screen. But even if your launcher does not, we can take another step to hide it: disabling the app completely.

This is for apps you’re not going to use, apps that you do not want to look at, apps you do not need to let run in the background on your device. So we can go into Settings and down to Applications. Here we have a giant list of every single app that’s running on our phone. We do not want to touch any of the ones here we do not recognize, as system apps that don’t have icons on our home screen are here too and disabling them can affect performance.

When you find the app that you don’t want to waste space and resources on your phone, you can tap it to bring up the app’s information. This will display how much memory and space the app is taking up, and it will also give you the option to disable it if you can’t un-install it. There will be a warning pop-up when you tap disable telling you what we said in the last paragraph about how disabling an app can cause other apps to not work properly. Once you tap through that, the app will be disabled, and when you return to the launcher, its icon will be gone.

It’s worth noting that some system apps are not able to be disabled, and for those, if you can’t hide them in your launcher’s setting, you’ll still have to stick them in a folder to get them out of the way. And if you disable an app that actually was being used in some important way, like the myAT&T app, you can always go back to the Applications list in Settings to re-enable it.

Give yourself more space with a bigger grid

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Once upon a time, the launchers that came with our phones wouldn’t let us change the home screen grid size, meaning we were limited in how much we could fit on one page. We’re still limited in a lot of launchers, but some are getting better about offering a large grid option. If it is an option for you, changing your grid size means instead of fitting 16 apps on a page, you could fit 20, or 25. As you can see, that can make quite a difference when having to find space on your home screen for all your apps.

Read more: how to change the grid size on Samsung devices

When all else fails…

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If you still don’t like the way your home screens look with all your apps on them, even with the dreck hidden and your apps organized into folders, you have a few options, and they’re called replacement launchers. However, there are several kinds of launchers that you could switch to for different takes on app organization.

  • Action Launcher has a regular app drawer, but the app drawer its users use most often is the Quickdrawer, which slides in from the left of the screen.
  • Aviate supplants your traditional app drawer with a page of customizable categorized folders between your home screen and the full app drawer.
  • Z Launcher Beta takes the search concept we talked about earlier and takes it to the next level. Instead of having to tap on a search widget or use ‘OK Google’, you doodle a letter on the screen to search for apps with that letter. Swipe and M for Maps and Google Play Music.

Or when all else fails, you can download a more traditional launcher like Google Now Launcher or Nova Launcher with a traditional app drawer. You may lose some of the bells and whistles from your phone’s built-in launcher but there are launchers out there that give you more than enough features to make up for it!

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29
Mar

Latest HTC 10 teaser shows capacitive keys on the ‘fastest and smoothest Android’


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The latest HTC 10 teaser shows off the capacitive keys on the bottom of the phone. HTC is set to debut the phone officially on April 12, and has been teasing different aspects of it using the hashtag #powerof10. The company has already teased the speakers, cameras and more of the phone, and the latest tweet puts the emphasis on the performance.

Not all phones are created equal. The fastest and smoothest Android. You’ll feel it. #powerof10 pic.twitter.com/MA6af4vi9I

— HTC India (@HTC_IN) March 29, 2016

It won’t be long before we officially see all of what this phone has to offer. Are you excited about the HTC 10, or will you be looking at another phone to put in your pocket next? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!

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29
Mar

Google Photos now allows you to undo image edits you don’t like


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The latest update to the official Google Photos app will give people the freedom to edit as much as they want to without having to worry about permanently altering the original images.

According to the Photos Google+ page:

Sometimes it takes multiple edits to get a photo just right – or you change your mind and decide the original was perfect just the way it was. With today’s update for Android, editing is now fully reversible and non-destructive. So you can save your edits or save a new copy of the photo – either way, the original photo will remain untouched.

You can check out the new version that’s rolling out today in the Google Play Store.

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29
Mar

Twitter makes images more accessible for visually impaired people


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Twitter has announced a change for its Android and iOS apps that will make photos more accessible to people who are visually impaired. People who add photos to their tweets will soon be able to add alternative text that describes the images they add for those who can’t see them, and descriptions themselves can be 420 characters long.

From Twitter:

Enable this feature by using the compose image descriptions option in the Twitter app’s accessibility settings. The next time you add an image to a Tweet, each thumbnail in the composer will have an add description button. Tap it to add a description to the image. People who are visually impaired will have access to the description via their assistive technology (e.g., screen readers and braille displays). Descriptions can be up to 420 characters.

Twitter will also be extending this functionality to both its REST API and Twitter Cards, which will allow both publishers and third-party Twitter clients to add this capability to their platforms and apps. Image descriptions are rolling out now, though it could be a little while before you see them for yourself.

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29
Mar

Samsung’s ‘Good Lock’ UI is your Galaxy S7, as seen through a fever dream


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Samsung has an optional ‘advanced’ UI for the Galaxy S7, and it’s kind of a mess.

It’s not often we see a phone maker offering optional, sweeping changes to the UI of one of its major handsets. Yet that’s what Samsung has with the launch of the oddly named “Good Lock” on its Galaxy Apps store.

Described as “the advanced Samsung System UI,” Good Lock completely overhauls the Galaxy S7’s lock screen, while also making sweeping changes to the status bar, notification shade and recent apps menu. It does all this by packaging itself as an update to Samsung’s System UI, a core part of Android.

As the name suggests, most of Good Lock’s changes are focused on the lock screen. Notifications can be grouped into folders, or dismissed until a particular time. Swiping right moves notifications into the “Keep” section for later retrieval. Good Lock also brings its own app tray to the lock screen and Recent Apps menu, which oddly is distinct from the app tray on your home screen. Finally, the new “Routines” feature lets you change the appearance of Good Lock based on where you are, or the time of day.

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The quick settings area atop the notification shade has also been totally re-worked, now looking almost identical to vanilla Android, albeit in an odd light purple hue. Meanwhile the Recent Apps menu now shows applications in an animated scrolling list — without screen previews — along with the apps dock pinned to the bottom of the screen — as radical a change as we’ve ever seen in this area.

If you like colors, profiles, options, and a load of crazy-looking crap on your lock screen, Samsung has an app for that.

Aside from a slightly overwhelming feature set that relies on micro-managing notifications and profiles, the reworked UI brings a bunch of visual changes — and they’re mostly changes for the worse. Bright, vivid colors dominate, in stark contrast to the muted tones of the standard GS7 interface. This mix of colors and animation styles, along with a hodgepodge of Samsung and vanilla Android visuals, make Good Lock a confusing thing to behold. It’s reminiscent of the technicolor explosion seen on Samsung phones of the Galaxy S4 era, complete with all the feature creep that dominated that release cycle. In short, it’s kind of a mess right now.

The morbidly curious can find Good Lock here on Galaxy Apps. We can only hope that this app stays an optional extra, and that we’re not looking at a possible future of Samsung’s smartphone software.

Once you’re done trying Good Lock, you can easily return to the relative sanity of the GS7’s regular UI by finding “Good Lock” in the app drawer and hitting the uninstall button.

Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 edge

  • Galaxy S7 review
  • Galaxy S7 edge review
  • Galaxy S7 edge with Exynos: A Canadian perspective
  • Here are all four Galaxy S7 colors
  • Details on the Galaxy S7’s camera
  • The SD card is back on the GS7
  • Join our Galaxy S7 forums

AT&T Sprint T-Mobile Verizon

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29
Mar

Instagram rolls out support for video uploads of up to 60 seconds


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Instagram is giving people more freedom to express themselves in video form. The social network is rolling out an update that will support video uploads of up to 60 seconds, well above the previous limit of just 15 seconds.

Instagram stated:

In the last six months, the time people spent watching video increased by more than 40 percent. And longer videos mean more diverse stories from the accounts you love, whether it’s Selena Gomez hanging out with friends or beauty star Bretman Rock’s latest makeup tutorial.

The longer video support will be available worldwide in the coming months.

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29
Mar

Factory Reset Protection: what you need to know


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Factory Reset Protection helps keep your data safe if your phone is lost or stolen, but you need to remember to disable it before a new user can set it up and sign in.

Factory Reset Protection (FRP) is a security method that was designed to make sure someone can’t just wipe and factory reset your phone if you’ve lost it or it was stolen. Starting with Android Lollipop, FRP is “standard” in vanilla Android, and most companies making our phones have implemented it in their own models. It’s a good thing — it makes a stolen phone harder to use, which makes it less appealing to thieves, and anything that can protect our data on a phone we’ve lost is welcome.

The problem is that people are selling or trading or even giving away phones with FRP enabled and this makes things difficult for the next user.

How it works explains why. If you reset a phone with FRP enabled, you have to provide the user name and password for the last Google account that was registered with the device. There are random work-arounds on the Internet, but they tend to get patched almost as soon as they are discovered. You’ll pretty much need to know the login details for the last account to use the phone before you can do anything with it if FRP was enabled before you reset it.

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We’ve been bitten by this ourselves. We ship phones all over North America and the U.K., and sometimes it’s easy to forget about FRP when you wipe the data on a phone and stick it in a box. And yes, we end up having to share a password to get past the initial setup — you can’t reset a protected phone for 72 hours after a password change, so “temporary” passwords aren’t going to work. Never (and I mean never) reset a phone without turning FRP off during that 72 hour time period. There is nothing but heartache and pain at the bottom of that hole.

The good news is that disabling FRP is easy. The bad news is that there is nothing to remind you to do it when you’re wiping your phone. I would love to see a reminder about FRP when resetting, much like the one we see now about losing our accounts and data. Until then, it’s up to you to remember to disable it when you’re getting a phone ready to send to someone else. The process:

  • Open your device settings and remove any security you have for the lock screen. This isn’t a required step for all phones, but some want you to do this so we’re including it here.
  • Once that’s done, you need to remove any and all Google Accounts from the phone or tablet. That’s also done in the settings — look for a section labeled Accounts. With an account selected, look for a delete or remove option, usually hidden behind the three little dots in the top corner of the screen.
  • When you’ve made sure all of the Google accounts have been erased, you can then factory reset your phone or tablet through the device settings.

The good news is that disabling FRP is easy. The bad news is that there is nothing to remind you to do it when you’re wiping your phone.

A couple notes need added here. This doesn’t undo Samsung’s (or anyone else’s) version of Reactivation Lock. If you’ve enabled data reset protection through your Samsung account, you’ll need to turn that off in your Security settings. You can find the switch under the “Find My Mobile” section.

If you’ve forgotten to turn off FRP and sent a phone to someone else, you’ll likely need to help them get it setup. This means giving them access to your Google account password. Do that while you’re talking to them, and as soon as they are done you’ll want to reset your account password. This sounds sketchy, but be a good seller and do the right thing. Then change that password ASAP because you never want anyone else to have your Google password. I’m sure you can see why disabling FRP before you send a phone off to someone else is a much better solution.

While we haven’t seen headlines telling us mobile phone theft is down by any measurable percentage since FRP was enabled, it’s still a good way to keep your data safe. And it’s pretty easy to disable when you want someone else to be able to use your old phone.

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29
Mar

Snapchat’s new chat experience centers on audio, video, and stickers


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Snapchat is introducing a new, more robust Chat experience, one that makes it easier to connect with your friends both with audio and video, and which aims to allow conversations to flow more organically. This update also allows you to send stickers in a chat, giving you a wider range of ways to display how you feel.

With the new “Chat 2.0” experience, you can switch between text, audio, and video chat on-the-fly with just a tap, and you can switch back with another. From Snapchat:

Today, we’re excited to introduce Chat 2.0. You can start by sending a few chats, and when your friend shows up, start talking or video chatting instantly with one tap. Your friend can simply listen if you want to sing them a song, or watch if you have a new puppy to show them. If they aren’t there, you can quickly send an audio note to say what you mean. And sometimes, a sticker says it best :)

In addition to these new chatting features, Snapchat is adding Auto-Advanced Stories, which allow you to automatically advance from Story to Story.

Snapchat will be rolling out its new chatting features today, and in the meantime, you can grab the app from the Google Play Store.

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