Phandroid » Tips & Tricks Android Phone News, Rumors, Reviews, Apps, Forums & More! Wed, 05 Aug 2015 05:29:31 +0000 en-US hourly 1 PSA: removing the Google Photos app from your phone doesn’t disable photo backups Tue, 14 Jul 2015 13:25:34 +0000 google photos

Google Photos, if you haven’t heard, is a great new photo backup and sharing service that complements Google+. It’s the Flickr replacement Google fans have been waiting for, and it’s certifiably awesome.

But it also comes with a couple of quirks for those who don’t actually want to use it. One of those quirks is that uninstalling Google Photos from an Android phone doesn’t necessarily mean you’re not using Google Photos for backup, as the setting exists in the Google Settings app that should be installed on your phone.

So how do you turn it off? Simply find “Google Photos Backup” in Google Settings and select whether you want photo backups enabled or disabled. This is where you can also set upload size/quality, as well as determining when you want backup to perform its duty (such as only when you’re on WiFi). Keep this in mind if you’re not keen on Google automatically backing your photos up, or if you simply decide that you’d rather use something else.

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Did you know Google stores a history of your voice searches? (and how to delete them) Fri, 03 Jul 2015 18:00:06 +0000 google search voice history

Google Voice Search is awesome, and you probably use it a lot more than is humanly healthy. But did you know that Google stores a history of all the queries you make on their servers? No, really, you can head right here and listen to every single search you’ve performed.

Don’t worry, we’re sure Google doesn’t use these recordings for anything malicious or ill-mannered, but in case you’re feeling a bit weird about it you’ll be glad to know that you can not only delete that history, but also opt out of saving future voice searches to your account. To delete, click this link and check the boxes next to all your audio recordings. At the top right, press delete. Done.

Opting out is just as easy. Click here, flip the switch to off. Boom. Keep these tips in mind if you ever search for something embarrassing and want to make sure you scrub every digital bit of its existence from the internet.

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How to listen to Apple Music’s Beats 1 radio station on Android Wed, 01 Jul 2015 12:31:11 +0000 apple music beats 1

So, Apple Music is out as of yesterday. Whether it’s better than Google’s homegrown option Google Play Music All Access or fan favorites like Spotify is still to be determined. But it’s here, and if you’re curious about it you’ll soon be able to jump into it for yourself on Android.

Why not get an early taste today, though? It’s possible to experience at least one facet of Apple’s new service on Android, that being the Beats 1 radio station that features a never-ending broadcast of music — new and old — hosted by famous DJs such as Zane Lowe and even artists like Drake and Pharrell.

So how do you jump in? Simple: click this link, press play and enjoy. This was made possible thanks to Beats 1’s standard live stream URL being discovered by this crafty Twitter user. This certainly wasn’t Apple’s intended way of getting you to listen to their broadcasts, so don’t be surprised if this hole ever gets closed. In any case, we should have more official ways of gaining access to Apple’s music service as we inch closer to its Fall 2015 release.

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You might be able to use Project Fi on a Nexus 5 (and other devices) with one simple trick Mon, 29 Jun 2015 13:22:19 +0000 Nexus 5 shortcuts DSC05742

Want to try Project Fi (more invites are rolling out!) but don’t want to shell out for the Nexus 6 required to use it? One user on XDA reportedly found a way to get Project Fi activated for use on their Nexus 5.

The skinny of the story is that they simply used a Nexus 6 to activate Project Fi service, and made use of a nanosim-to-microsim adapter to use the SIM card inside of a Nexus 5. Service was said to be perfectly functional for incoming and outgoing calls, as well as full LTE data, but the user was unable to verify whether Google’s hand-off technology (to automatically switch between Sprint, T-Mobile and WiFi) was working.

There’s also the issue that there haven’t been many other reports of success. Most people who have tried (and failed) to activate Fi for use on a Nexus 5 tried to activate service on the Nexus 5 itself, but to our knowledge this is the first and only report of someone using a Nexus 6 to give the initial activation a go.

There are a couple of issues to note for anyone whose ears suddenly perked up at the thought of not having to own a Nexus 6 to use Project Fi:

  • It’s unlikely Google’s network hand-off technology will be supported, as Google originally confirmed there’s a mixture of software and hardware components needed to facilitate it.
  • Your device could be limited to use on T-Mobile’s network only as Sprint’s network requires an MEID number that’s been approved for service.

So, all of that is to say that using Project Fi on anything other than a Nexus 6 would be akin to using a smartphone on any standard MVNO carrier. Unless you’re a huge fan of how Google runs the administrative side of the service — such as pricing (which isn’t even the best value you can find) and plan features — then there’s really no real current benefit in using Fi on other devices.

But if all of that is OK with you then, by all means, be sure to give it a go if you can borrow a friend’s Nexus 6 for activation. Information is still being gathered so there are still a lot of questions as to the specifics of how Fi service would work on different devices. If you happen to try this approach be sure to report back with your results — whether that’s here or over at the original XDA thread — to help contribute whatever information you can.

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How to shoot photos in RAW on the Samsung Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge with Android 5.1 Mon, 22 Jun 2015 14:07:29 +0000 Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge Camera DSC09314

We’d heard the Samsung Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge would be getting Camera RAW support with their Android 5.1 update (which is currently going out on T-Mobile variants), but there was no option to use it in Samsung’s camera app. Thankfully the update did bring proper support, but you’ll have to go about accessing it a different way.

That different way is a simple download of an alternate camera application. Users have reported downloading Snap Camera HDR or Camera FV-5 and being able to enable Android’s new Camera API 2 through simple menu settings, which then allowed those apps to shoot photos in full RAW goodness.

What are the benefits of shooting in RAW?

You’ll get a full image that has been unprocessed. The effect it has on the image might seem bad at first — particularly in the areas of notable noise and artifacting  — but the result is a file that has 100% accurate color information, which in turn allows you to make a very wide range of tweaks to get your image just right.

You would usually mitigate those effects in your post-processing routine. OEM camera apps tend to do this by default with a built-in post-processing engine, but they tend to be very limited, drop a lot of non-recoverable color information and offer up one-size-fits-all results.

Who’s this useful for?

Shooting in RAW is mainly for anyone who likes to process and edit their images on their own in apps like Adobe Lightroom or Photoshop. It’s more for serious photography than anything else.

For instance, you’d want to use it on some vacation shots of the Grand Canyon, but it’s probably overkill for that one-off selfie you’re planning to put on Instagram. It’s up to each user to decide whether they want to shoot in RAW or go the default route, as well as to decide what’s appropriate for whichever situation they’re using it in.

For more on shooting and editing in RAW you can read up here. If you’re convinced it’s for you then be sure to download the aforementioned camera apps (here or here) for use on your Samsung Galaxy S6 or S6 Edge. Let’s hope Samsung offers the goods up in their own camera app in a future update.

[via XDA]

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35+ LG G4 tips & tricks Thu, 11 Jun 2015 16:12:59 +0000 LG G4 quick circle

If you’re the proud owner of a shiny new LG G4 you’ve come to the right place. First of all, you picked a great phone (it made our list of Best Android Phones). We were very impressed with the G4 in our full review, and it keeps getting better the more we use it. LG has packed a lot of great features in the G4, but many of them are hidden away. If you’ve already done the “10 things every LG G4 owner should do” we’ve compiled a list of many more tips and tricks you need to know. Let’s go!

Get Started

Unlock your phone with just a tap

One of the first things you should know about the LG G4 is you can wake or sleep the phone without pressing the power button. To wake the phone you can simply double-tap anywhere on the screen. Putting the phone to sleep works the same way. If you’re using the stock LG launcher you can double-tap on any blank space, but if you’re using a 3rd-party launcher you have to double-tap the status bar.

Unlock your phone with a unique knock pattern

Security is important when it comes to smartphones. This device holds a lot of personal information, and it’s with you all the time. Android phones come with a bunch of different ways to lock your device, but the G4 has one you’ve never seen. KnockCode allows you to set up a pattern of taps to unlock your phone. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Go to Settings > Lock screenSelect screen lock
  2. Tap on Knock Code
  3. Tap the square 3-8 times in a pattern you can remember
  4. Tap Continue and then confirm the pattern again
  5. Next you will create a backup PIN number in case you forget the KnockCode

When you wake up your phone you will see a square area on the lock screen for you to enter your KnockCode, but there is an even better way to do it. When the display is off you can perform your KnockCode and the display will wake up and unlock automatically, bypassing the lock screen altogether.

Settings that learn your habits

LG G4 smart settings

The G4 comes with a new feature called Smart Settings. This feature allows your phone to automatically adjust settings based on your location or connected devices. When you’re at home you can have WiFi and Bluetooth automatically turn on, or switch to vibrate when you leave the house, or have your favorite music app open when you plug in headphones. It’s very handy.

  1. Go to Settings > General tab > Smart Settings
  2. (you may need to turn on My Places in Settings > General > Location first)
  3. Adjust the toggles and options to your liking

Use Smart Lock to disable the lock screen when it’s not needed

It’s a good idea to have a layer of security on your device. The only problem with using a password or pattern lock is that it ends up slowing you down more than anyone else. A new feature called “Smart Lock” lets you tell your phone when it’s safe to disable lock screen security.

  1. Go to Settings > Lock screen > Select screen lock
  2. Choose one of the ways to protect your phone
  3. Once you have a screen lock selected you can go back to the Lock screen settings and you’ll see Smart Lock

Currently, there are 5 types of Smart Lock you can use, and you can use more than one at a time. Each one will explain how it works when you tap on it. We recommend Trusted devices and Trusted places.

Change how the Settings page is displayed

LG G4 settings

By default the G4 Settings page is organized into four tabs: Networks, Sound & notification, Display, and General. We find that these tabs actually make it more difficult to find stuff. To go back to the more familiar list view simply tap the three-dot menu icon in the top right of the Settings and select List view. We’ll be using this view for the remainder of this guide.

Find a lost or stolen LG G4

Losing your brand new phone would be a terrible thing, but it can happen. Luckily Android has great built-in tools for that exact situation. The G4 comes with something called “Android Device Manager” pre-installed. If your phone is lost or stolen you can simply go to this website, log in with your Google account, and locate your phone. You can also remotely ring, lock, and erase the device.

Check out our full, detailed guide on finding a lost or stolen Android phone.

Take a screenshot

Taking a screenshot is one of the most basic functions of a smartphone. The LG G4 has a couple of different ways to perform this task.

  1. Press and hold the power and volume down buttons simultaneously

– or –

  1. Swipe down to show the Quick Settings toggles
  2. Find the QMemo icon and tap it
  3. This will take a screenshot and allow you to draw on top of it


Quickly jump into apps from the lock screen

LG G4 lock

Adding shortcuts to the lock screen can make it easy to quickly open your favorite apps. LG allows you to add five shortcuts to the lock screen. The shortcuts will only appear on the lock screen if you use the None or Swipe screen lock methods, or if Smart Lock is currently active. In order to set up the shortcuts you will need to disable any form of screen lock.

  1. Go to Settings > Lock screen
  2. Scroll down to Shortcuts
  3. Simply tap on a shortcut and choose the desired app from the list
  4. Just swipe up on the shortcuts from the lock screen to quickly launch

Change the lock screen animation

LG G4 lock screen

LG allows you to customize how it looks when you swipe to unlock your phone. There are five different animations to choose from. These animations only work with the Swipe screen lock method, or if Smart Lock is currently active.

  1. Go to Settings > Lock screen
  2. Select Screen swipe effect
  3. You can choose from Hula hoop, Circle mosaic, Light particle, Vector circle, or Soda.

Personalize your phone with a wallpaper

Changing the wallpaper is one of the easiest ways to instantly personalize your LG G4. It’s super easy to do. Simply press and hold on any empty space on the home screen. Select the Wallpapers tab in the bottom left of the screen. You’ll be able to choose from installed apps and pre-loaded wallpapers. Go crazy!

Get real-time info without opening apps

LG G4 customize

Widgets are one of the last things that truly make Android unique. No other mobile operating system has such an abundant selection of awesome widgets. With a screen full of widgets you can get quick information without opening apps. They’re very handy, and you should use them.

Once again, simply press and hold on any empty space on the home screen. Select the Widgets tab in the bottom center and scroll horizontally through the widgets. To put a widget on the home screen press and hold then drag and drop it on the desired spot.

Pinch to add and reorder home screen panels

To further customize your home screen you can add and reorder the panels. Pinch your fingers on the home screen to zoom out and see all the panels. Here you can choose which panel is the main panel by tapping the house icon and add panels by tapping the empty panel with a + icon. You can also press and hold a panel to drag it into the trash.

Turn off Smart Bulletin

While zoomed out on the home screen panels you probably noticed the left-most “Smart Bulletin” panel. LG uses this area to place widgets and other things that they think you’ll want to use. Smart Bulletin is mostly useless unless you’re the rare person that loves LG’s own apps. Luckily it’s easy to turn off.

  1. Go to Settings > Home screen
  2. Toggle off the switch next to Smart Bulletin

Customize the app icons without an icon pack

LG G4 app icons

There are many ways to change how icons look in Android. Most people download a 3rd-party launcher and an icon pack from the Play Store, but LG made it even easier with their stock launcher.

  1. Press and hold on an icon on the home screen until you feel a vibration
  2. Release your finger and you should see a purple paint brush badge on the app icon
  3. Press the badge and you’ll be brought to the Icon change screen
  4. You can choose from LG’s pre-loaded icons, or add your own

Organize the app drawer with folders

LG G4 folders

Creating folders on your home screen is a good way to organize apps, but LG takes that idea one step further. With the default LG launcher you can create custom folders inside the app drawer. The app drawer is the area that shows all of your installed apps. Folders can really make it easier to find apps if you have a lot installed.

  1. On the home screen tap the app drawer icon (looks like a circle with 6 dots inside it)
  2. Tap the three-dot menu icon in the upper right corner
  3. Select View apps by and choose Custom
  4. Still in the app drawer, tap the three-dot menu icon again
  5. Select Edit/Uninstall apps
  6. Now you can drag apps on top of each other to create folders
  7. Tap the check mark in the upper right corner when you’re done
  8. Tap on the folder and tap “Folder” to rename and choose the color

Customize the Quick Settings toggles

LG-G4 quick settings

When you swipe down to see your notifications you’ll notice a bunch of toggles across the top. These toggles are called “Quick Settings,” and you can scroll left-to-right to see more. All of these toggles can be customized to your liking.

  1. Swipe down to show the Quick Settings and scroll all the way to the right
  2. Select the Edit toggle
  3. On this page you can enable or disable any toggle, and drag to re-organize the placement

Adjust the keyboard to fit your style

LG G4 keyboard

The default LG keyboard is one of the manufacturer keyboards we’ve used. One of the best things about it is how much can be customized. Everything from the size, themes, and suggestions can be adjusted to your liking.

  1. Go to Settings > Language & input
  2. Scroll down and tap the gear icon to the right of LG Keyboard

Keyboard height and layout – You can put a number row on top of the keyboard, adjust how it looks in landscape, split the keyboard, and enable one-hand mode.
Keyboard theme – Choose white or black
Smart input – Enable the swipe input, toggle word suggestions, and adjust the auto-correction aggresivness.

Customize the navigation buttons and color

LG G4 nav bar

The G4 has software navigation buttons across the bottom of the display. The benefit of software navigation buttons is the flexibility they provide. Unlike physical buttons they can disappear to make room for fullscreen apps, or in this case, be customized to show more buttons. You can rearrange the existing buttons, or add up to two extra buttons.

  1. Go to Settings > DisplayHome touch buttons
  2. Select Button combination
  3. You can drag and drop the buttons in any order you like, but there can’t be more than 5 in the bar
  4. Changes will show up in the navigation bar immediately
  5. You can also choose the color of the buttons on the previous page


 Double tap the volume buttons to launch apps

LG G4 back buttons

One of the most iconic features of LG phones has become the infamous buttons on the back of the phone. No one else is putting buttons on the back of phones, and it really does make a lot of sense. LG takes advantage of these buttons to perform a few tasks besides just adjusting the volume. You can use them to quickly launch the camera or take notes, when the display is off.

  1. Go to Settings > Shortcut key
  2. Switch the toggle to On

Double tapping Volume Up will launch the QMemo app for taking notes. Double tapping Volume Down will quickly launch the camera. On that same page in the settings you can choose to have the camera automatically take a photo as soon as it’s launched from the shortcut.

Get a quick peek at the clock and notifications

LG G4 peek

Here’s a simple tip for getting a peek at the time and notifications. When the display is off you can slide your finger from the very top of the screen to about halfway down to show the clock and status bar.


Simplify the camera, or turn on advanced controls

LG G4 camera mode

The LG camera app can be as simple or as complicated as you want. Simple mode removes all buttons from the screen so you can just tap to focus and take a photo. Auto mode adds a few quick settings for flash, HDR, timer, and more. Manual mode is only for advanced users. It has settings and sliders for things like focus, ISO, shutter speed, and more.

  1. Open the camera and tap the three-dot menu icon
  2. Choose the desired mode from the drop-down

Get the perfect shot every time with guidelines

Auto mode is the best mode for most people. When you’re in auto mode you can turn on a few handy features, such as guidelines. The guidelines will show a very light grid over the top of the camera. You can use the grid lines to center your shot perfectly every time.

  1. In Auto mode tap the gear icon
  2. Tap the grid icon from the drop-down menu

Use your hand to take selfies from far away

LG G4 selfie

One of the coolest camera features on the G4 is called Gesture shot. You can take a selfie by holding your open hand up to the camera and then closing it into a fist. The feature actually works really well, and it can come in handy quite often. Gesture shot is enabled by default, so all you have to do is use it.

  1. Hold up your open hand to the camera until brackets appear around it
  2. Make a fist once to take one photo (a 3 second timer will count down to the shot)
  3. Make two consecutive fists to take 4 burst shots

Say “cheese” to take a photo

Another thing you can do in Auto mode is enable the voice shutter. With this feature enabled you can say “cheese, smile, LG,” and more to snap a photo with your voice.

  1. In Auto mode tap the gear icon
  2. Tap the face icon from the drop-down menu

Security & Performance

Use Smart Cleaning to clear out space

LG G4 cleaning

Over time the free space on your G4 will start filling up with stuff you might not even know about. Stuff like temporary files and junk in your download folder. By cleaning up this stuff you can reclaim storage to use for more important things. LG has included a way to clean all of this up right in the settings.

  1. Go to Settings > Smart cleaning
  2. You’ll see how much storage is in use and how much is free
  3. Tap on the files you wish to clean and press CLEAN

Expand your memory

The LG G4 is a member of a dying breed: phones with microSD card slots. Samsung and HTC have dropped physical storage from their flagship devices (to the dismay of many Android fans), but LG is sticking with what the people want. You can easily upgrade your storage capacity without buying any cloud storage subscriptions and relying on a data connection.

Get better battery life in a bind

LG G4 battery saver

Everyone has their own tricks for squeezing out extra time when your battery is low. Some people use airplane mode or manually turn off everything that’s not important. The LG G4 has a built-in setting for getting every last drop of juice when your battery is low. Battery Saver mode turns off all non-essential features when your phone reaches a certain low battery percentage. It works great and only requires a short set up.

  1. Go to Settings > Battery & power saving
  2. Tap on Battery saver
  3. Toggle the switch on and select Turn Battery saver on
  4. Select when you want Battery saver to automatically turn on

Protect your photos and videos from prying eyes

If you’ve got some sensitive photos or notes on your phone you can use Content Lock to keep them safe. This feature will allow you to put photos and notes behind a wall of security, and hidden from prying eyes.

First, you have to enable it in the settings.

  1. Go to Settings > Security
  2. Tap on Content lock
  3. You’ll be asked to set up a security measure. Follow the steps.

Once you’re done with that you can lock photos or QMemo notes.

  1. In the Gallery or QMemo app select an item
  2. Tap the three-dot menu and select Lock
  3. Top show locked items tap the three-dot menu on the main page and select Show locked files/memos

Give guests limited access to apps

LG G4 screen pin

A smartphone is full of personal information and sensitive content. This can make it difficult to let people use your phone without your supervision. Screen pin is a new feature that lets you lock your phone to one app. You can “pin” a specific app so the user can’t do anything else.

  1. Go to Settings > Security > Screen pin
  2. Toggle the switch on

To use Screen pin open the app you would like to pin, press the Recents button in the nav bar, scroll up and tap the blue thumb tack icon in the bottom right corner of the most recent app. To unpin an app simply long-press the back and Recents buttons simultaneously.

Add another user account

LG G4 user accounts

Android tablets have had user accounts for a while, but now phones are finally getting them too. By adding more user accounts you can allow multiple people to use your phone with their own apps and settings. They won’t be able to mess up anything in your own personal account.

  1. Swipe down on the status bar to show the notifications and Quick Settings
  2. Tap the little profile icon in the top right corner
  3. Tap Add user
  4. It will automatically switch to the newly created “Friend” account
  5. To switch accounts simply perform step 1 and tap the account

More Cool Stuff

Use the G4 as a TV remote

LG G4 remote

More and more phones are coming with IR blasters built in, and the G4 is one of them. An IR blaster is what remotes use to communicate with a television to turn it on, adjust volume, change channels, etc. Why fumble for a remote when you already have your phone on you at all times?

  1. Open the QRemote app
  2. Tap the + icon
  3. Choose the type of device you’d like to control
  4. Find your device from the list

Some devices work better than others. If you find that some buttons on the remote don’t work correctly you can tap the three-dot menu icon and select Learn remote. This will allow you to program the button by using the real remote.

Turn off the LED notification

The LG G4 has an LED indicator light that is used to show when you have notifications. Some people love this, other people hate it. There’s nothing more annoying than a blinking light from your phone in the middle of the night. Thankfully, LG allows you to turn of the light altogether.

  1. Go to Settings > Sound & notification
  2. Toggle off Notification LED

Set up Downtime

LG G4 downtime

Are there certain times of day when you don’t want to be bothered with notifications? Downtime is a feature that allows you to set certain times and days for your phone to automatically go into silent mode. It can be incredibly useful, and you should definitely use it.

  1. Go to Settings > Sound & notification > Interuptions
  2. Select Downtime
  3. Choose the days of the week you’d like it to be enabled
  4. Choose the start and end time
  5. Choose if you’d like No interruptions or Priority interruptions during this time

Use floating apps with QSlide

LG G4 qslide

QSlide is a place where you can quickly launch apps in windows that float above whatever you’re currently doing. The QSlide apps can be re-sized, made transparent, and dragged around the screen. When you’re trying to perform multiple tasks at once the QSlide apps can be incredibly useful. There are a couple of ways to access these apps.

  1. Pull down on the notification shade and scroll through the toggles
  2. Tap on the QSlide toggle and the available apps will appear below
  3. To edit which apps appear here you can scroll to the right and tap Edit
  4. Select the app you wish to open and tap it
  5. Now you can drag it, resize by pulling the corner, and adjust transparency with the slider.

If you find yourself using these apps a lot you may want to use the second method.

  1. Go to Settings > Display > Home touch buttons
  2. Select Button combination
  3. Drag and drop the QSlide button into the navigation bar

Use two apps at once with Dual Window

LG G4 dual window

If you want to take multi-tasking to the next level you can use Dual Window mode. You can run two apps at the same time on each half of the display. Dual Window mode doesn’t work with all apps, but new for the G4 is Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides. Other apps include YouTube, Chrome, Hangouts, Gmail, Messaging, and more. Here’s how to use it.

  1. Long-press the Back button
  2. Select the app to display on top
  3. Select the app to display on the bottom

Another way to do this is to press the Recents button and select Dual window. When Dual Window mode is active you can drag the divider between the apps to resize the windows. To close one of the apps you can simply drag the other app to full screen.

Simplify the user expirience with Easy Mode

If you’re giving the LG G4 to someone who’s not very tech suave, or you are not tech suave yourself, Easy Mode is a nice feature. In Easy Mode the icons on the home screen are simplified, the text is bigger, and it’s easy to create speed dial shortcuts. This mode isn’t for everyone, but we all know someone who could use it.

  1. Go to Settings > Home screen
  2. Tap Select Home
  3. Choose EasyHome

Get help and join the G4 community on

nexus 6 forum

Now that you know everything about this awesome phone you can join the LG G4 forum over at Android Forums. You’ll find conversations about customization, troubleshooting problems, accessories, and much more. It’s the best place to go to ask questions and learn more about your new phone. Here are a few threads you may be interested in:

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How to install Android M on the Nexus 5, 6, 9, and Player Wed, 03 Jun 2015 14:40:28 +0000 Android M Dev Preview


  • Common understanding and experience using tools that are provided with the Android SDK such as Fastboot and ADB.
  • Fastboot and ADB installed on your system and PATH variables updated accordingly.
  • Understand that this will wipe all of your device data and that you will first need to backup any files, apps, etc that you do not want to lose!
  • You will also obviously need a Nexus 5, Nexus 6, Nexus 9 or Nexus Player.  Do not try any images on devices they are not intended for as it will cause issues and not work!
WARNING Installing a system image on your device will remove all data from the device. Please make sure that you backup your data before you proceed. Also, keep in mind that these images are not final releases and may have bugs or unfinished features. These are Developer Previews and not meant for the average consumer.

Step 1 – Unlock your bootloader in Developer options

Please continue to the next step if you already have your bootloader unlocked. If not, or you forget whether or not it’s unlocked, I will walk you through the process.

Enable OEM unlocking (aka unlock your bootloader)

  1. Go into Settings -> Developer options on your device.
    If you do not see Developer options listed in this list, please click on About phone and keep tapping on Build number until you see “You are now a developer”. What this means is you now have a Developer options in your main Settings list. Please go to Settings -> Developer options now.
  2. Once you are in Developer options, look for OEM unlocking. This is a simple switch or checkbox that you need to enable.  It will prompt you to Allow OEM unlocking and give you a warning message. Please click the enable to accept and continue.

Step 2 – Download your Nexus specific image

Below are direct links to download the Android M preview images. Please make sure you download the correct one to avoid any major issues.

Step 3 – Decompress the image file

All of the necessary image files that you will need are located in this “tgz” compressed file.

Windows Users

You will need to install a third-party tool to extract this gzip tar file and we recommend 7-zip. It’s free and works great but does NOT treat .tar.gz extract as one atomic operation. You will first extract the main .tgz file and the result will be a .tar file.  Use 7-zip again to extract one more level and you will now see actual files.

If you already setup 7z as a system path variable, you can use one command in command prompt (aka cmd.exe) for this (obviously update the path and names as needed):

7z e volantis-MPZ44Q-preview-d15ad483.tgz && 7z x volantis-MPZ44Q-preview-d15ad483.tar


Mac and Linux Users

Using tar which is built in to OS X, open the terminal and you can extract using one command:

tar -zxvf volantis-MPZ44Q-preview-d15ad483.tar.gz

Below is what you should see once you have files extracted.

Nexus 9  "volantis" extracted image

Please Note

Depending on which device you are flashing, you may see slightly different files.  For example, the Nexus 6 (shamu) will contain a zip file and an extra radio file.  The batch script will also have a few differences from lets say, the Nexus 9 (volantis). On Windows if you are flashing the Nexus 6… please pay extra attention to the Update for Windows users below.

Step 4 – Reboot bootloader and flash

Assuming that you have fastboot and adb already set up and ready to use, just follow the commands below in order.

adb reboot bootloader

This will restart your phone into the bootloader mode. This will only work if your phone is connected and you have USB debugging turned on.

fastboot oem unlock

If your phone is already OEM Unlocked, you would not have to do this, but it wouldn’t hurt if you are unsure.


This will run all of the fastboot commands needed for the complete image flash. If you are using Windows, rather than a bash script you will use the flash-all.bat (batch) file. One common issue of this not working is that you do not have fastboot setup properly and is not set as an environment variable (a variable that works system wide).

Update for Windows users

There are reports from some Windows users that the flash-all.bat fails. It seems that it’s a bug with the fastboot.exe and how it inefficiently allocates memory. Some users say to try a different usb port or different usb cable, which they claim doing so solved their issues. If this works for you, please let us know in the comments below. Otherwise, please follow the workaround below that KingofPing has provided that will most likely solve your issues.   What this does is break down each step manually that the batch file should have automatically done for you.  (if you open the batch file in a text editor, you will see these same commands)

Make sure that if you have an extra zip file in your directory that you extract it and place it’s contents in your working directory.

After flash-all.bat errors out, please follow these instructions:

—Don’t “press any key” – that will close the window – just hit Ctrl-C.—

fastboot flash boot boot.img
fastboot flash cache cache.img
fastboot flash recovery recovery.img
fastboot flash system system.img
fastboot flash userdata userdata.img

That’s it!

Once the scripts finish it will do a final reboot and the only thing left is to complete the normal Android setup wizards and enjoy. If you have any issues feel free to comment and we will help you out as needed!

Get Involved

If you are testing on your device make sure you help the Android community out and post any bugs you find.  You can share your experiences over at, or join the Dev community over on G+ to stay involved.

Report Android M Issues      > Android M Developer Community

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How to enable the Light or Dark Theme on the Android M Developer Preview [VIDEO] Fri, 29 May 2015 14:35:44 +0000 android m theme options

One of the cool things that popped up in the Android M developer preview was the ability to switch between a light or dark theme. It’s nothing drastic — system UI elements and menus become either light text on dark background or dark text on light background — but it’s a nice little added bit of customization for those who can’t stand one or the other.

So how do you enable it? It’s very simple, and a quick 2 minute viewing of the video above shows you exactly how. Can’t watch it? Here’s a quick rundown of what you need to do to get going:

  1. Make sure you enable the Developer Options menu. This can be done by going to Settings > About Phone. From there, scroll to the build number and tap it really fast until the phone tells you you’re a developer.
  2. Head back to Settings > Developer Options and find the Theme option.
  3. In the resulting dialog box, select between Light, Dark or Automatic.

And there you have it. We’re still a bit unsure on what the “Automatic” setting does. It’s possible this option will choose between Light or Dark depending on factors such as time of day or a reading from the ambient light sensor. We’re still testing it out, and we’ll be sure to let you know if we find anything.

Of course, it’s entirely possible that this setting does not yet do anything as this is a developer preview and things aren’t guaranteed to work 100% the way they’re meant to. In any case, give it a go if you have the Android M developer preview on your Nexus device!

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How to customize the Quick Settings Panel on the Android M Developer Preview [VIDEO] Fri, 29 May 2015 14:02:29 +0000 android m quick settings customization

Yesterday it was revealed that you can now rearrange the quick settings toggles in the Android M developer preview. It’s not a groundbreaking feature, but people have different tastes and needs so it’s certainly something we’ll all come to appreciate.

If you happen to have the developer preview loaded on one of your Nexus devices and want to try this out, here’s a quick and easy guide. You can follow the video above, or take heed to the following steps:

  1. Make sure you enable the Developer Options menu. This can be done by going to Settings > About Phone. From there, scroll to the build number and tap it really fast until the phone tells you you’re a developer.
  2. Head back to Settings > Developer Options and find the Show SystemUI Tuner option. Make sure the toggle is set to on.
  3. Now go to Settings > System UI Tuner, and you’ll see an option called Quick Settings. Select it.
  4. Here you can remove and add tiles as you see fit. To remove a tile, perform a long-press on it and drag it down to the bottom. To add, press the “Add Tile” button at the bottom.

And once you’ve gotten everything the way you want it, head to notifications to see your Quick Settings panel exactly the way you want it. Unfortunately the Android M developer preview is still a bit buggy, so trying to rearrange tiles in the exact order you want doesn’t seem to work just yet, but we’re hopeful all of that will be squared away by the time this thing is ready for production.

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5 tips to take great photos with the LG G4’s camera by photographer Colby Brown [VIDEO] Tue, 12 May 2015 15:34:21 +0000 LG_G4_16

LG and Colby Brown are continuing their informative series on the LG G4’s top notch camera (which we gave some pretty good marks in our LG G4 review).

This time, the professional photographer is dishing out 5 tips to take great photos with the device’s 16 megapixel f/1.8 lens. Here’s a recap of everything covered in the video:

1. Make good use of the f/1.8 aperture

A wide aperture (f/1.8 is as wide as it gets for a smartphone camera) means more light gets to the lens. More light means more clear photos. Since it isn’t possible to change the camera’s aperture, this “tip” is more of just to say: go out there and shoot without any fear, because there’s no other smartphone camera out there that can capture as much light as the LG G4’s.

2. Use Manual mode for advanced control

You can use manual mode to adjust shutter speed, ISO, white balance and other exposure controls to your liking. Here’s a general breakdown of the exposure triangle (the trio of settings — ISO, shutter speed and aperture — that determine a photo’s lighting):

ISO: How much image noise is used to fill in color spots to make for a balanced image. The lower the ISO, the less noise, but if you lower the ISO you will need to make sure you have adequate lighting as it will lower the overall exposure of your image. The trick is to get your ISO as low as possible without underexposing your image.

lg g4 shutter speed

Shutter speed: The speed at which the shutter snaps determines a couple of different things. A slower speed lets more light into the image, as the shutter is opened longer to allow more light to get in. The downside is that slow shutter speeds might not be appropriate for fast shots such as taking photos of children playing sports, otherwise it’s bound to come out blurry. That said, using a slow shutter speed can be used to do some pretty neat stuff if you’re creative, so just play around with it.

Aperture: the third spoke on the exposure triangle is typically aperture, but since it’s not possible to adjust this then you will always have to maintain a constant of f/1.8. That means you’ll need to primarily tweak ISO and Shutter Speed appropriate to your situation and liking.

White Balance: this extra variable determines the type of color temperature you want for your photo to make sure lighting is accurately depicted. It’s often fine to stick with basic white balance presets, but it’s worth brushing up on the various temperatures and which situations they’re appropriate for. The folks at FStoppers have a pretty good breakdown.

The learning curve for using manual mode is obviously more steep than setting the camera mode to auto and letting the software pick your settings, but if you understand these concepts and commit to practice you’ll find yourself to have a lot more control over the way your images turn out (and you’ll know exactly what to do to avoid bad ones).

3. Embrace the Color Spectrum Sensor

The LG G4’s camera has something called a “Color Spectrum Sensor” that can accurately identify both infrared and RGB spectrums of light. What this will allow it to do is get an accurate reading of the sort of colors that are in your shooting environment and make sure the camera captures those colors as nature intended.

4. Use Optical Image Stabilization

This one should be a no-brainer — use optical image stabilization whenever possible. If you don’t know what it is, optical image stabilization uses hardware to diminish the shaky camera effect that can often ruin a photo or video. It’s much preferred over software-based image stabilization which can often times do more harm than good.

It’s a feature that you shouldn’t take for granted considering there are still an alarming amount of flagship devices that don’t implement it. Know it. Use it. Love it.

5. Don’t shun the selfie

lg g4 selfie

The LG G4 comes with an 8 megapixel selfie camera, which is a whole lot of camera for something that will only be used in limited situations. Still, when the need to take a selfie arises you’ll be glad it’s there. Like tip #1 above, this is less of a tip and more of a PSA: don’t let anyone tell you it isn’t cool to take a selfie. It’d be a shame to waste 8 megapixels of front-facing goodness over principle.

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Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge: How to stop text messages from displaying a preview in the notification bar Mon, 11 May 2015 20:48:20 +0000 Samsung Galaxy S6 DSC09327

There’s nothing more embarrassing than receiving an inappropriate text message while your boss is going over the company’s latest expense reports. Whether it’s a meme or just a “sensitive” topic of discussion, some things are better left not blasted all over your phone, especially in a professional work environment or church setting.

Samsung Galaxy S6 popup notification messages ticker

On the Samsung Galaxy S6 and Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge, receiving text messages through the default Messages app will display its contents on your lock screen, in a popup message, and inside your notification bar via ticker. Pretty much all over your phone. While this can be convenient, it leaves the contents of your messages in plain view during times when you may not want them to be.

Because some of Android’s newer users may have difficulty finding an easy fix, we’ve decided to give you the full rundown on a few solutions with some help from our friends at Check it out.

Turn off the Pop-up display (Easy)

Samsung Galaxy S6 turn off popup messages

If it’s only the popup messages from the Messages app that are posing a problem, you can easily turn them off in the stock app’s settings. Simply open the Messages app and select “More” in the upper right corner. From there select Settings, Notifications, and Pop-up display to turn off the popup.

Keep in mind that while this will turn off the popup message from displaying while you are in other apps or watching full-screen video, it wont do anything to stop your messages and all their contents from being displayed in the lock screen or the notification bar. Don’t worry, we’ll tackle those next.

Turn of all lock screen notifications (Overkill)

Samsung Galaxy S6 lock screen notifications

When dealing with the lock screen, it’s possible to disable all notifications from appearing on there. This may sound perfectly fine to some of you, but for others this overkill as you will no longer see notifications from any of your other apps as well (Facebook, Email, Hangouts, Snapchat, etc.).

If you’re okay with that, simply open your Galaxy S6’s Settings app (it’s the gear icon in the upper right corner after pulling down the notification shade), scroll down to Sounds and Notifications, then Notifications on the lock screen and select Do not show notifications. Simple as that.

Use a 3rd party app to hide all content inside text messages (Best)

Samsung Galaxy S6 text messages notification bar Chomp SMS

The easiest — and best way — to stop text messages from showing a preview of its content on your device (lock screen and in the notification bar) is to simply download one of the many 3rd party apps found in the Google Play Store. There are plenty to choose from, but Chomp SMS is one of our personal favorites as it features a handy option to hide content from displaying in the notification bar and lock screen, but still notify you when a message is received.

Simply download the free application from the Google Play Store and upon opening the app, you’ll see the option to “MAKE DEFAULT APP” along the top. Tap it, and a popup dialog will ask if you’d like to set Chomp as your default messaging app. Select yes, then go to Settings > Notifications > Show Ticker and un-select it.

Now, whenever you receive a new text message, Chomp will only display an an icon in the notification area — not the ticker with the entire message contents. Why every messaging app doesn’t have this option is beyond us. You can find a link to Chomp SMS via the widget down below. Enjoy.

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10 things every Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge owner should do [VIDEO] Tue, 05 May 2015 19:10:44 +0000 When the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge launched we posted 10 tips every Galaxy S6 Edge owner should know. This guide was in addition to the 50+ Samsung Galaxy S6 tips and tricks, but with a focus on the Edge Screen features. Now we’re back with a video version of these essential tips. If you own a Galaxy S6 you need to watch this video.

For the full step-by-step instructions:
10 Tips every Galaxy S6 Edge owner should know

If you’re looking for even more tips and tricks be sure to read the guide for the Galaxy S6. The Galaxy S6 Edge can do everything the regular Galaxy S6 can do, but not vice versa. Be sure to share any of your own personal tips and tricks for the Galaxy S6 Edge.

Check out the list below for even more Galaxy S6/Edge resources:

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Watch 40 Samsung Galaxy S6 tips & tricks in 12 minutes [VIDEO] Mon, 04 May 2015 16:06:44 +0000 A few weeks ago we posted our massive collection of over 50 tips and tricks for the Samsung Galaxy S6. It’s a great resource for anyone who has a Galaxy S6, but we recognize that some people prefer to see things done in video form. So, to go along with our original list, we’ve created a video to show off 40 of the best tips and tricks in just under 12 minutes. Fasten your seat-belts.

For the full step-by-step instructions: read the complete Galaxy S6 Tips article.

Keep in mind that all of these tips and tricks will also work with the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge, and we have a special guide for all the Edge Screen features, too.

Check the list below for even more Galaxy S6 resources.

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Change the touch key light duration on all Samsung Galaxy S6 or S6 Edge models using this app Wed, 22 Apr 2015 01:25:44 +0000 Samsung Galaxy S6 Touchlight keys

We can’t for the life of us figure out how Samsung came to the decision to hack up TouchWiz for US versions of the device, giving carriers exclusive fundamental options others didn’t get. For instance, only the AT&T Samsung Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge models have an option to change the touch key (capacitive nav buttons) light duration. Yes, that very same option you’ve had on Galaxy devices for years now.

Well, the clever minds on XDA found a workaround, one that didn’t involve root, but involved enabling USB debugging and executing a few commands via ADB just to change it on non-AT&T S6 models. Not exactly convenient, or probably even worth the hassle. That is, unless these lights were bothering you when using your device in the dark (they can be a little bright).

Samsung Galaxy S6 Touchlight keys duration app

Thankfully, some beautiful soul on Google Play has created an app just for this purpose. Simply put, it allows you to change the duration of those backlit back and recents buttons on the Galaxy S6 (all versions) — even turn them off completely if you’d like. Not sure why Samsung didn’t enable this “feature” on all models, but we’re glad someone out there was able to step up. Link provided below.

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Quick Tip: You can now type “Find my phone” into Google Search to locate it Thu, 16 Apr 2015 12:39:44 +0000 google find my phone

Google’s Android device manager is a great way to locate your phone after it’s been lost, and we consider it a primary option to turn to whenever you suffer the unfortunate fate. The only issue is that it’s never been a great experience finding the Android Device Manager on the web — some folks don’t even know that the Android Device Manager is.

To make things easier, Google has created an interface that will show up whenever you type “find my phone” into their search engine (typing “how to find a lost phone” works just as well). You’ll see a map as the service begins automatically locating your device.

You’ll have to be signed in, of course, and you should have Android Device Manager enabled at all times, but once you’ve taken care of all that you can remember this handy search query the next time you’re frantically searching for your phone instead of having to remember a long URL or rely on a bookmark.

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