Phandroid » Tips & Tricks Android Phone News, Rumors, Reviews, Apps, Forums & More! Thu, 23 Oct 2014 01:58:45 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Google posts handy guide for folks switching from iPhone to Android Tue, 21 Oct 2014 12:57:14 +0000 iphone-to-android

With the upcoming releases of the Nexus 6, Nexus 9 and Android 5.0 Lollipop, Google thought it wise to create a nice, simple guide for those compelled to switch from iPhone to Android. It’s no doubt a hard counter to Apple’s similar move when introducing their new bigger iPhones (because bigger iPhones means folks will leave Android in droves, mirite?).

The guide isn’t terribly in-depth, but it does touch on four of the most important things you might want to get situated upon first moving to your new platform. Here’s what it’ll show you:

  • How to bring your photos and music
  • How to transfer contacts
  • How to setup email and messaging
  • How to find your favorite apps

Of course, there is much more to learn in the vast world of Android and all the greatness that exists within Google Play, but if you aren’t sure where to begin then this wouldn’t be a bad resource to use. We have a feeling you won’t be needing Apple’s guide once you get a taste of what Android has to offer.

[via Google]

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13 things every Galaxy Note 4 owner should do Fri, 17 Oct 2014 17:00:53 +0000 note-4-air-command
If this is your first Android phone, see our Android Getting Started Guide

So you finally bought the  Samsung Galaxy Note 4 after reading our glowing review. You’ve gloriously ripped it from the box like King Arthur and the Sword in the Stone, booted it up, and completed the installation steps. Now what? There’s a good chance you don’t know where to start… don’t worry, you’re in good hands. Here are the first 10 things you should do with your Galaxy Note 4.

1) Prepare for disaster

Most people never take the time to prepare in advance. Then down the road, when disaster strikes, they furiously look for ways to find a lost or stolen android phone, praying some evil doer doesn’t capture their device, gain access, and use it for nefarious purposes. This terrible feeling of panic can be easily averted… it just takes a little planning.

We know you want to dive into your new device, but trust us, it’s worth spending a few minutes to protect this expensive little gadget that holds lots and lots of private and sensitive information. Here’s what you should do (right now):

Enable Android Device Manager
This is your #1 tool in moments of crisis, but you have to set it up in advance! Simply download Android Device Manager to your Note 4 and you’ll be able to locate your phone at all times, reset your lock screen PIN, and even remotely lock and erase all data on your account.


  • Open the app on your Note 4
  • Select it from the drop down (listed as SM-N910 or something similar)
  • Tap “Setup Lock & Erase”
  • Make sure “Remotely locate this device” and “Allow remote lock and erase” are both enabled (and activated)


If you lose your phone, simply use your computer to login to the Android Device Manager website where you can force your phone to ring loudly for 5 minutes, lock it up, and/or erase everything!

Add Password Recovery Options
Your Android Phone is tied to a Gmail account. If you get locked out of your device (by incorrectly attempting screen unlock too many times) and/or happen to forget your Gmail password, you’re in trouble. This Google Account is the key to everything. Make sure you’re able to recover or reset your password in an emergency. To do that, visit Google’s Account Recovery Options and enter a phone number, alternate e-mail addresses for recovery, and security question.

Secure your lock screen
Trust us when we say you want to password protect your phone. Head on over to Settings > Lock Screen > Screen Lock and choose one of the options (Swipe, Pattern, PIN, Password, Fingerprint). Keep in mind that you’ll need 2 hands available to unlock with Fingerprint accurately on a consistent basis. I’m a big fan of  Pattern Lock. But if you don’t want to lock your screen every. single. time. adjust the “Secured lock time” setting that will keep it unlocked for up to an hour before it locks again.

We’d also suggest you tap on “Show information”, enable it, and tap on “Owner information” at the bottom. Enter your name and e-mail address here; should a good samaritan find your device, they might just be your savior and shoot you an e-mail to return it. You could also list your phone number and check your voicemail remotely.

2) Update your apps

The new phone you just bought was built months and months ago. Since then it’s likely the apps that come pre-installed on your phone have had important updates. The Google Play Store lets you easily update these in addition to automatically updating your other apps in the future.

Visit the Google Play Store, press the menu at the top left (or swipe from the left), tap settings, Auto-update apps, and choose “Auto-update apps over Wi-Fi only”. Make sure you’re connected to Wi-Fi and watch your system apps, and any you have installed, update all at once!


Once all your apps are updated for the first time, you may wish to adjust this setting:

  • We’d recommend NOT choosing auto-update at any time. If a huge app update happens to become available while you’re out and about, you might find yourself way over the limits of your data plan, costing you a pretty penny. Stick with Auto-update over Wi-Fi only unless you have truly unlimited data.
  • We enjoy seeing when apps have updated, learning what’s new, and then testing those new features in the app. If you like keeping a handle on the latest Android stuff, you probably want to as well. Just select “Do not auto-update apps” and you’ll be notified when new versions of an app are available. If you have lots and lots of apps this could get pretty tedious, but you can always revisit this decision down the road.

And don’t forget to download Phandroid News and Forums for Android!

3) Remove Flipboard Briefing

If you’ve already been flipping through your Galaxy Note 4, you’ve likely noticed the news page on the far left home screen titled “Briefing”. It’s slow, it’s buggy, it’s not very customizable, and we think it’s an all around nightmare. We suggest you remove it, and thankfully that’s an easy thing to do.


To remove Briefing:

  • Hold down the multi-tasking button or pinch your home screen
  • Tap “Home Screen Settings” on the bottom right
  • Uncheck the “Flipboard Briefing” box

Ah, much better.

4) Customize your Home Screen

It seems there are endless options on the Galaxy Note 4, so organizing is of supreme importance, and that all starts with the home screen. This consists of a few key elements that we should talk about separately.


Customize your Dock Apps - the bottom row of icons can hold up to four apps plus your “Apps” tray and these are visible from every home screen. You’ll want to put your most used apps here: for me that’s Phone, Gmail, Chrome, and Voice Search, but for you that may be different. To change these simply long press on any icon and drag it into the dock. If you’ve already got 4 it will swap with the app icon you drag onto.

Put a folder in your Dock – I no longer need Voice Search in my dock (you’ll see why soon) and lately I’ve been messaging like crazy, but with a wide variety of apps. To put a folder containing many apps into your dock, simply create the folder elsewhere on your home screen and drag it into your dock afterwards. You can create a folder by long pressing on an app icon and dragging it to the top left of your screen onto “Create Folder”. Add more apps to the folder by dragging apps on top of the folder or opening the folder and pressing the “+” sign to add them in bulk. Then drag the folder into the dock and you’re practically Otis Redding!

Make S Note and Action Memos easily accessible –  the only way you’re going to learn the magic of the S Pen Stylus is if you put them within the flow of your daily routine. You don’t need to put them smack dab on your primary home screen to accomplish that- if you’re already going through the trouble of unsheathing the S Pen, what’s one little swipe to the left or swipe right ?

We recommend reserving the screen directly to the left and right of your primary home screen for S Note and Action Memos respectively. This doesn’t have to be permanent, but at least try it out for a solid 2 weeks- it’ll help you learn the Note 4 features like a boss.

  • Clear those screens of all their apps by long pressing and dragging to “Remove” in the upper right.
  • Long press on the blank screen and select “Widgets” at the bottom
  • Swipe to and tap on the S Note Widget
  • Long press on the 4×2 S Note List Widget and drag it to the top of your empty screen
  • You’ll see a dot on the top and bottom of the widget- drag the bottom circle to the bottom of the screen and release to make a full page S Note Widget

You’ll now see all of your S Note notebooks in a beautiful bookshelf of sorts and have access to all the S Note features from one screen. But don’t forget those Action Memos! After clearing the other screen for action memos you can:

  • Create an action memo by pulling out your S Pen and tapping “Action Memo” from Air Command
  • Scribble down a note
  • With your S Pen, touch and hold the thumbtack, dragging the newly created widget to your open screen
  • Resize the Action Memo as you see fit

Congratulations, you’ve set yourself up for success. This will help you learn the S Pen and all it’s great features much more easily. Now… didn’t I tell you I’d explain taking “Voice Search” out of my dock?

5) Ok Google Everywhere

If you haven’t been using Android’s voice commands, you’ve been missing one of it’s best features. Like many devices, you can setup your Galaxy Note 4 to respond to “Okay Google”, instantly launching a Google Search with Google Now… but that’s not all. First seen on the original Moto X, the Galaxy Note 4 is one of the only other devices you can set to hear “Okay Google” commands from any screen… even your lock screen!

You can set this up by going to:

  • Settings > Language and input > Voice Search > “Ok Google ” Detection
  • Check all 3 boxes
  • Train the voice recognition by saying Okay Google 5 times (say it a bit differently each time to improve accuracy)

As if Googling stuff by hand wasn’t easy enough!

6) Never lose your S Pen!

If the Galaxy Note 4 didn’t have the S Pen it’d just be… well, a better version of the iPhone 6 Plus. But with the S Pen it’s so much more. The Note 4 has a a safe and snug little place to secure the S Pen, but every time you unsheath the stylus, you risk its demise. Whether misplacing it, leaving it behind at Starbucks, or just outright losing the darn thing, we want to avoid its absence at all costs.


Head on over to Settings > S Pen > S Pen alerts and make sure it’s selected. It’s truly a life saver. If your pen is detached and you walk away from it, you’ll be alerted with a loud noise, vibration, and pop up message reminding you that you’d better fetch the darn thing. We would also recommend checking off “Disable pen detection” because it saves battery and seems redundant.

7) Optimize access to settings

Samsung makes changing settings on the fly a breeze with the Galaxy Note 4 but a few quick changes will make your life even more convenient. Start by going to Settings > Tap the 4 squares icon > Tap the pencil icon > drag and drop the quick toggles you want to appear in the notification try by default.


Note that the main quick toggles, where you see Wi-Fi/Location/Sound/Screen Rotation/Bluetooth above left- that list scrolls horizontally. It’s not obvious, but give it a try.

Two other improvements to settings you’ll want to initiate:

  • Adjust the settings to one long list instead of tabs. It’s much easier to digest. From the Settings screen tap the 3 dots in the top right, “View As” and select “List view”.
  • You can pin your most used quick settings to the top by tapping the same three dots, selecting “Edit quick settings”, and checking the boxes of your favorites.

Now you’ll have quick and easy access to making on-the-fly adjustments to your device whenever the need arises.

8) Enable Tap and Pay

Android devices have used NFC for mobile payments for years, but now that Apple has finally gotten on board with their own version – Apple Pay – we’re likely to see adoption rates by retailers skyrocket. You can already make tap and pay payments at places like Starbucks and 7-Eleven, but we’re guessing it’ll soon spread like wildfire- so get with the program. Start by enabling NFC in Settings > NFC.


You can set up Tap and Pay with ISIS, but we prefer Google Wallet, so first you’ll need to download Google Wallet from the Play Store. You may find it easier to update all your credit card and contact information with a laptop, so if that’s the case, follow the instructions on the Google Wallet website (click sign in at the top right).

Once you’ve successfully connected a credit card and are ready to rock, open the Google Wallet app back up and you’ll see one of the above 4 screens. Just tap “Set up tap and pay”, then press “Tap and pay unavailable”, select “Yes” to make it your default, and BOOM you’re ready to go on a Tap and Pay shopping spree!

If you’ve never used Tap and Pay before, you might be intimidated to try it for the first time in the store with a bunch of people surrounding you. Don’t be… people won’t bite and there is nothing wrong with asking for help and telling people you’ve never tried it before. But it’s really easy. You’ll do it once and be like “Wow… it’s that easy?” Here are the simple steps to actually use Tap and Pay:


Now you’re well on your way to blowing the huge fortune you’ve amassed, all from the convenience of your trusty Galaxy Note 4.

9) Speed up performance

If you’re a stickler for speed, you might get irritated with TouchWiz at times. There just so happens to be a secret hidden option to give your device a little boost. You’ll need to become a developer for the day, but it’s much less scary than it sounds.


  • Go to Settings > About Device > Build Number and tap the “Build Number” row 5 times
  • This will reveal a “Developer Options” setting just above “About Device”- Enable it
  • Tap “Window animation scale” and set to Off
  • Tap “Transition animation scale” and set to Off
  • Tap  “Animator duration scale” and set to Off

The default is usually 1X, so even lowering this to .5x should speed things up a bit.

10) Improve Battery

The Note 4 has a pretty reliable battery, but we’re always looking for ways to extend our battery life. Of course you’ll want to know about the Power Saving Mode found under “Power Saving” and located just below “Battery” in your full settings list. Adjust what does and doesn’t turn off when you enter the mode and then add Power Saving Mode to your quick toggle settings. Now, whenever you’re not actively using your phone, toggle Power Saving Mode on and greatly extend the life of your battery.


This will help you manually trigger your phone to conserve power, but you should also sift through the rest of your phone’s settings to ensure that you don’t have battery intensive features turned on, especially ones you’re not even using… so let’s make sure you don’t.

11) Tweak your settings to perfection

It’ll take you a LONG time to go through all of the Galaxy Note 4 settings, but enabling and disabling certain features could make or break your personal experience with the device. Below we’ve listed a number of settings we feel are rather important, identified how to find them, and provided our suggestion/explanation.

  • Multi Window (ON) – one of the best Note 4’s best features… this is a MUST! We recommend turning “Open in multi window view” off (it gets annoying) but keeping Pop-up view shortcut off.
  • Wi-Fi Smart Switch (ON) – this will automatically switch your phone between mobile networks and Wi-Fi to optimize performance
  • Passport (ON) – when Wi-Fi is enabled, this will automatically search and connect to public networks like Starbucks and Panera without havingto enter a login and password
  • Motions and gestures (OFF) – these aren’t that helpful and suck up battery life. If you’re going to turn any on, make it Mute/Pause and only select “Turning device over”
  • Smart Stay (ON/OFF) – if you’re looking for more ways to save battery, turn this off, otherwise it’s a pretty neat feature to keep your screen on while you’re actively using your phone
  • Touch sounds and Keyboard sounds (OFF) – there is nothing more annoying than hearing someone rapidly texting with every little button generating annoying click sounds. Do the world a favor and turn these off in your sound options
  • Blocking mode (ON) – the mobile equivalent of putting a Do Not Disturb sign on your hotel door knob but giving your favorite people a room key

These are a few of our top choices, but in reality, it would serve you well to take a gander through all of the Galaxy Note 4 settings to see what’s available. It will help you learn your device inside and out, making the next 1 or 2 years you spend with it much more blissful.

12) Download the best Note 4 apps and games

The Samsung Galaxy Note 4 is an incredibly unique device with its multi-tasking capabilities (Multi Window FTW!) and S Pen functionality. There are some apps and games out there that do an especially awesome job at integrating with Note 4’s experience. Here are just a few of the apps you may want to take for a spin:

Have more suggestions for apps and games that work especially great on the Note 4? Let us know in the comments and we’ll add them to the list!

13) Explore Galaxy Note 4 Forums for more

What’s the best place to get help, tips, tricks, support, suggestions, and information about the phone you have? From other people that also have that phone! That’s why Android Forums has become such a great resource and our Galaxy Note 4 Forums are especially awesome. Feel free to browse as a guest or sign up for a free account to begin posting (and you’ll see less ads!).

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Tips & tricks every Moto 360 user should know Tue, 14 Oct 2014 20:55:44 +0000 Moto 360 chris

The Moto 360 has been a roller coaster of emotion since it was announced back in March. First, the hype was insane as we all drooled over the round design. As the wait for official details dragged on the excitement slowly died, but then it ramped back up when the device went on sale and quickly sold out. Early reviews talked about terrible battery life, which killed the excitement once again. But now, after a big software update, all problems seem to have been fixed. There has never been a better time to buy a Moto 360.

Whether you’re just getting on the Moto 360 train, or have been riding it for a while, there are some handy tips and tricks you should know. Are you getting the most out of your Moto 360? It’s time to find out!

Quickly access the Settings


Getting to the settings menu on an Android Wear device can be tedious. If you don’t want to say “Open Settings” aloud, you have to tap the watch face and scroll down to “Settings.” Motorola has built-in a much easier shortcut. Simply press and hold the physical button found on the right side of the device and settings will open.

Swipe to mute, check battery, and hide cards

360 battery date mute

Getting notifications is the main purpose of having the Moto 360, but that doesn’t mean you always want to be bothered. For example, if you’re in a dark movie theater or a quiet church you should mute the device. To do so just swipe down from the top of the display until you feel a vibration. You’ll notice that this is also a nice way to check the date and battery level.

When the 360 is muted all of your notifications and cards are pushed below the watch face instead of overlaying. You can still swipe up to see them. If you want to show off your watch face or keep notifications private this is a handy trick.

Remotely monitor battery life

Moto Connect 360

Battery life has been a hot topic for the Moto 360, so you’re probably keeping a very close eye on it. In the previous tip we told you how to quickly check it on the watch. If you’re charging the Moto 360 you can check on the battery level from another room. Install the Motorola Connect app and pair it with your watch. Now you can see the battery level from inside the app.

Blacklist certain apps from showing notifications

mute apps

As we mentioned above, getting notifications is the main purpose of the Moto 360. Annoying notifications that you get on your phone are much more annoying when they pop up on your wrist. Luckily the official Android Wear app lets you decide what apps can display notifications on your watch. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Install Android Wear from the Play Store
  2. Pair your device
  3. Tap the setting icon in the top bar
  4. Tap “Mute app notifications”
  5. Tap the “+” button and select any app you don’t want to see notifications from

Choose default apps

360 defaul apps

One of the main ways to interact with the Moto 360 is using your voice. In order to make this experience quick and seamless Google asks you right up front to choose default apps for certain tasks. Open up the Android Wear companion app and you will see a list of commands and the corresponding app it will use.

Android Wear will automatically know if an installed app can perform one of the commands. For example, on my device I can “Take a note” with Google Keep, Wunderlist, or Trello. Go through the list and choose the apps you want to use. If there isn’t an app available for a certain command you will see a grayed-out Google Play icon, which brings us to our next thing to do.

Silence phone notifications when watch is connected

With notifications popping up on your wrist you probably won’t want to keep feeling your phone vibrate in your pocket. There is nothing more annoying than all of your devices buzzing and making noises at once. The official Android Wear app has a setting that allows you to silence your phone when a watch is connected. Here’s how:

  1. Open the Android Wear app
  2. Tap the setting icon
  3. Tap “Silence connected phone”
  4. Select “Alert on watch only”

Disable lockscreen when watch is connected

Moto 360 DSC06941

A shocking amount of people don’t use any form of security to protect the contents of their phone. The only reason why is because it takes a few extra seconds to enter a pin or trace a pattern. What if your phone was smart enough to know when it should ask for a password? With a Moto 360 and an app called Delayed Lock you can do exactly that. When your watch is connected you won’t be required to enter a password or pattern to unlock.

  1. Install Delayed Lock and open it
  2. Check “Delayed Lock enabled”
  3. Check “Admin permission granted” and select “Activate” on the next screen
  4. Select which type of lock screen you are using
  5. Swipe to the right and tap “Bluetooth”
  6. Check “Any Android Wear device”
  7. Tap “add all paired devices”
  8. Swipe away any devices you don’t want

Find your phone

find my phone

Everyone loses their phone at some time or another. Find My Phone is an essential Android Wear app that allows you to use your Moto 360 to locate your lost phone. Just make sure you download the app on your phone before it gets lost. Now you can launch it from your watch whenever you can’t find your phone. It allows you to tap a giant button to make your phone ring and vibrate obnoxiously until you find it. Very simple, but very handy.

Make a custom watch face with Facer

One of the coolest things you can do with the Moto 360 is make your own watch face. An app called Facer allows you to create anything you can imagine. We put up a thorough guide for making analog and digital watch faces with Facer. Be sure to check it out for more information, or watch the video above for a quick look at what you can do.

Place hand over screen to turn off

This might be the simplest tip on our list. If you want to turn off the display on your watch just simply place your whole hand on top of the display. That’s it.

Prevent screen burn-in

360 charge

A few Moto 360 users have reported screen burn-in from the charging screen image. The burn-in leaves an outline of a circle from the charging indicator. Obviously this is something you want to avoid, and the ever-reliable Android developers have a solution. Slumber for Android Wear replaces the standard charging screen with a blank black image. You won’t be able to see the charging progress, but we already told you how to check that with your phone.

Protect against dings and scratches

Moto 360 screen

A watch is much more susceptible than a phone to dings and scratches since it lives on your wrist. All day it’s out in the open with zero protection. One door jam or brush up against a wall and you could have a nasty scratch on your precious device. If you want to protect your Moto 360 against these threats you can do so for about $2 worth of screen protectors. It’s a very easy way to prevent something that could ruin your watch. Check out our quick guide.

Hide the Google Fit steps card

google fit

One thing you should do, if you’re easily annoyed like me, is disable the Google Fit steps card. Within the first 10 minutes of using the Moto 360 I swiped this card away over a dozen times. It just won’t go away. Checking steps is cool, but I don’t need to see it all the time. Luckily you can disable the steps card, but the option is buried. Here’s how to find it:

  1. Tap the watch face
  2. Scroll down and tap “Start”
  3. Tap on “Fit” from the list of apps
  4. Scroll all the way to the right
  5. Tap “Show step card” so it says “Off”


With these tips and tricks you will get the most out of your shiny Moto 360. Android Wear devices have a lot of hidden features, but hopefully we’ve uncovered them for you. What is your favorite tip or trick from our list? Let us know if you have found any cool tips or tricks that you use with your Moto 360!

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Pro Tip: how to protect your Moto 360 from dings and scratches Wed, 08 Oct 2014 17:28:41 +0000 Moto 360 screen

Last week I wrote an article about the first 12 things you should do with the Moto 360. One of our fine readers wisely suggested a 13th thing to do: buy a screen protector. We never even considered the idea of putting a screen protector on a smartwatch, but the reader made a very good argument for it. So that is exactly what we are going to do.

A watch is much more susceptible than a phone to dings and scratches since it lives on your wrist. All day it’s out in the open with zero protection. One door jam or brush up against a wall and you could have a nasty scratch on your precious device. The idea of a scratch on my shiny new Moto 360 was enough to make me instantly buy some screen protectors, and you should too.


For about $6 (including shipping) you can get a pack of 6 screen protectors from Amazon that should last a long time. The reason I chose these specific screen protectors is because they are sized to fit the display without overlapping the beveled edge of the glass. Klear Cut also has screen protectors for the upcoming LG G Watch R, but if you have the LG G Watch or Samsung Gear Live you’ll want to check out Spigen.


Repeat after me: “bubbles and dust are not my friend.” Those are the only things that can really screw up the process of applying a screen protector. With that in mind, here are the steps to successfully applying a screen protector.

  1. Wash your hands
  2. Use a clean cleaning cloth to wipe off any fingerprints or dust from the device
  3. Peel the first side of the screen protector
  4. Line up one side of the screen protector and slowly lay it on the display
  5. Use a credit card to work any bubbles out
  6. Done!

You’ll know if you’ve succeeded if you can’t tell the screen protector is there. The screen protector is like Batman. Because it’s not a hero. It’s a silent guardian. A watchful screen protector.

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How to make custom Moto 360 watch faces with Facer Tue, 07 Oct 2014 19:42:32 +0000 Phandroid Facer

The Moto 360 comes with some attractive watch faces, and most of them can even be customized to your liking. Still, you might want something a little more personal. The official watch face API is not available yet, but that hasn’t stopped resourceful Android developers from creating custom watch faces. You can create your own custom watch face with an app called Facer.

With Facer you can create virtually any watch face you can imagine, if you’re willing to put in a little work. Your watch face can be as simple or complex as you want. Facer allows you to make digital or analog watch faces with elements such as weather, battery, date, etc. The first step is to download Facer from the Play Store. It costs $0.99, but if you love customizing things it will be the best dollar you ever spent.

How does Facer work?

Before we dive into making a watch face let’s talk about some basic functions. Facer uses layers to build a watch face. For example, one layer is the background, another layer could be text to display the time. Depending how complex your watch face is you could have anywhere from 2-20 different layers. Once you understand how to make a simple watch face, like we’ll show in this guide, you can easily go more complex.

To display the time, weather, date, or battery info, Facer uses tags. If you want your watch to read “02:30 PM Oct 07″ it’s just a matter of choosing tags from a list. Tags can also determine how a hand rotates around the watch, if you’re interesting in making an analog design. Layers and tags are the two basic principles for using Facer. Be sure to watch the video above for a quick tutorial, and check out the slide shows (from r/facer) below to go more in-depth.

Digital Watch Face

The easiest watch face you can make with Facer is digital. You really only need a background image and some text. Follow the slide show below for a step-by-step guide.

Analog Watch Face

Creating an analog watch face is a little more tricky, but still easily doable. You’ll need to create images for the background and hour, minute, and second hands. Follow the slide show for the steps.

The Easy Way


The cool thing about Facer is you can install watch faces made by other people. has tons of designs for the Moto 360 and other Android Wear devices. Browse the site on whichever device is connected to you watch, download the watch face you want, and then simply tap the “Import” icon. From here you can even edit the imported watch faces, which is a nice trick if you don’t want to design a watch from scratch.

Send Design to Watch

send to watch

The last thing you need to do is send your design to your Moto 360 or other Android Wear device. It’s as easy as 1-2-3.

  1. Long-press your current watch face and select Facer from the list
  2. On your phone, tap the watch face you want to use
  3. Tap the “Send to Wear device” button

You can store many different designs in the Facer app, but only one at a time can be display on the watch. Once you get the hand of creating simple watch faces like the ones in this guide you can start exploring more options. The only limit is your imagination. If you have made a Facer watch face we’d love to see it! Share your creations and favorites in the comments below!

P.S. You can download the Phandroid watch face right here. Enjoy!

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First 10 things every new Moto X (2nd Gen) owner should do Sat, 27 Sep 2014 00:00:38 +0000 Moto X 2014 DSC06991

If you’re in the market for a great new Android device, hands-down, the Moto X (2014) deserves your attention. Earlier this week we detailed many of the flagship phone’s hardware and software features in our full review, making a case for why we believe the all new Moto X could be the best Android smartphone on the market.

With an overall score of 4.6 out of 5, we’re sure many of you know a good thing when you see it and pulled the trigger on a custom Moto X through Motorola’s site. One thing we didn’t have time to cram into our full review was a quick list of the first things you should upon powering up the Moto X for the first time. With devices landing on doorsteps as early as today (and available at Verizon locations), your friends at got ya covered.

1. Make or login with a Google account

Create Google Account

This one is a bit obvious, but if you’re new to this whole Android thing, you’re going to need to make a Google account to take advantage of all the apps and services your phone has to offer. You know, like having universal sign if for Google apps, tracking your phone if it gets lost, or simply downloading applications to your device (unless you go the Amazon route, which is a whole different story). First things first: make a Google account here.

Moto X 2014 Setup Wizard

After that, once you’ve powered up your brand new Moto X, you’ll be taken through the setup wizard which will eventually ask you to sign into your existing Google account, or ask you to make a new one. This can be skipped, but it’s better to do it right now. Once signed in, depending on your model Moto X, you’ll be asked to set up Google Now, which we’d also recommend accepting right there and then.

Soon after, you’ll find a notification asking you to set up a Motorola account. We’d recommend skipping it because many of the benefits of having a Motorola account mimic features of having a Google account. It’s needless and you wont be missing out on anything.

2. Update system apps on Google Play / Adjust Play Store settings

Moto X 2014 Google Play Store apps

Now that you’ve successfully made it to your home screen, the first order of business is to update all the Google and Motorola apps that came pre-installed by diving into the Google Play Store. Since Google and Motorola have been so busy lately, there’s a good chance more than a few of them are out of date.

When open the Play Store, swipe from the left edge of the screen to open up the sidebar menu. From there select “My apps” to see all the apps installed on your Moto X, as well as the ones that are in need of updating. Before selecting “Update all,” you may want to make sure you’re connected to WiFi.

Moto X first Google Play screenshots

While those are all busy updating, you may want to strongly consider jumping into the Play Store settings (located by swiping the sidebar menu again) and turn off app auto updates. At the very least, you can set it to only update when connected to WiFi (recommended), or if you have an unlimited, uncapped data plan, you can always auto-update apps at any time. As for us, we prefer being in full control and love seeing when new updates are available, checking out “what’s new” in the app’s listing, then clicking update.

While you’re in your Google Play Store settings, now would also be a good time to change the duration of how often you have to enter your password when downloading paid apps from the Google Play Store located under “Require password for purchases.” If you have kids who are always on your phone, we’d recommend selecting the option “for all purchases through Google Play on this device.”

3. Setup lock screen with security and contact info

Moto X 2014 screen lock pattern

With that out of the way, we can now get into securing your device. Your Moto X has a variety of ways of pulling this off, whether it be by password (most secure), PIN code (moderately secure), pattern lock, or Face unlock (low security). You can see exactly how to enable lock screen security in the screenshots above.

No matter your preference, you might also want to consider putting your contact info on the lock screen in the event a good Samaritan actually wants to return your smartphone (and not keep it for themselves). It only makes sense to make this as easy for them as possible.

Moto X 2014 Owner Info

Should you forgo all the above mentioned methods of securing your smartphone and end up losing it somewhere down the road, don’t worry. You can still lock your device by visiting the Google’s Android Device Manager from any computer, or downloading the app on to someone else’s phone here. Simply click the “lock” button and you’re good to go. You can even add a full recovery message begging for the safe return of your phone and a number they can call you from straight from your lost phone. Awesome.

4. Setup trusted Bluetooth devices

Moto X 2014 Trusted Devices

We get it — having to unlock your device every single time you want to use it for a few seconds is a huge inconvenience. This is reason many users don’t secure their phones with a lock screen to begin with. Wouldn’t it be great if your phone knew when it was near you or someplace “safe,” and would only use passwords or patterns when you’re out and about or away from you? With the Moto X, this isn’t future stuff — it’s a reality.

In your Moto X’s security settings, you can actually setup “trusted” Bluetooth devices. This means whenever you are connected to these devices, your phone will remain unlocked. It could be anything from a Bluetooth speaker you have in your home, or that fancy new Android Wear smartwatch you have on your wrist. When your phone is no longer connected to the devices you specify, it will remain locked and secure.

5. Turn on (or off) Attentive Display

Moto X 2014 Attentive Display

Your Moto X has been equipped with low power IR sensors on the front that, aside from detecting your when your hand is near, can also detect your face. That’s right, using a new feature called Attentive Display, the new Moto X is “smart” enough to know when the screen should be on, and when it shouldn’t — simply by checking to see if you’re looking at it.

Attentive Display has 2 options, the first — “stay on while I’m looking” — will keep the display on for as long as you’re looking at the phone. This is independent of your screen timeout settings. Hypothetically, this means your screen timeout can be set to something small like 15 seconds, but your phone’s display wont turn off if you’re reading an article, or watching a video.

The other mode — Battery saver mode — can also detect your looking at the phone, turning off the display quicker when it doesn’t see you. This should help battery savings given a powered on display can suck up a lot of your smartphone’s juice.

While it hasn’t been tested, having IR sensors constantly looking at your mug is sure to have some impact on battery life, no matter how minimal. Even if it’ll only get you an extra 5 minutes of battery life, you should at least know where to go to turn these features off.

6. Set up the Moto app to unlock new features

Moto X 2014 Moto_App

Some of the most helpful features of the Moto X are located in the new Moto app. When opened, Moto will give you a quick rundown of its abilities and seeing as how it needs permission special access to your phones hardware and data, will require you to opt in first. Once you select “Yes, I’m in,” you’re on your way to unlocking your Moto X’s true potential.

Moto X 2014 assist actions voice display

Once you’ve agreed to the terms, the first thing the app will do is ask you to set up voice commands. Just find a very quiet place and follow the onscreen directions. After that, opening the Moto will always pull up the Moto Voice function right off the bat (like S Voice or Siri), but the app also acts as a hub for Motorola’s other contextual apps, found after clicking the small gear icon in the upper corner.

There are four main apps that you’ll need to set up, with their names and descriptions down below.

  • Moto Actions: Utilizing the IR sensors located on the front of the device, Actions allows users to interact with the new Moto X using simple gestures (I guess this is why they ditched the name of the Touchless Control app). Wave a hand above the new Moto X to silence calls and/or alarms. You can even launch the camera when the phone is sleeping by flicking your wrist twice.
  • Moto Voice: Essentially audio monitoring for your smartphone, Moto Voice gives users the ability to wake their devices using a simple voice command — totally hands free. New for the Moto X (2nd Gen), you can now create your own custom voice prompt. Anything from “Hi-Yo, Silver. Away!” to “OK, Jarvis.” There’s new actions too, with the ability to post a status updates to Facebook, messages in Whatsapp, or even check your <insert carrier here> usage. It’s limited, but we expect more apps will be supported in the future.
  • Moto Assist: It’s one of those handy features that sounds like it would have found itself already baked into Android by now. Whether you’re driving, in a meeting or back home, Moto Assist can change your phone’s behavior to do your bidding automagically. Driving? Assist will read your text messages aloud. In a meeting? Assist will mute the ringer so you’re not interrupted. Set up your own quiet hours and you can even whitelist certain callers (or anyone calling in rapid succession) for emergency situations.
  • Moto Display: For the all new Moto X, Motorola has rebranded their Active Display app as Moto Display. Like a smart lock screen on top of the normal Android lock screen, Display will “breathe” notifications as they arrive, allowing you to peek at them using only a finger. An improved version of last year’s Active Display, Moto Display can even detect when your hand is near (IR sensors), activating before you even touch it.

One of the best parts about all of these applications is that they’re found in the Google Play Store, so make sure you’re regularly checking for new updates as they can occasionally bring new features and/or bug fixes.

7. Download/activate Google Wallet

Moto X 2014 Google Wallet

Sure iPhone users are all excited about finally making mobile payments and they should be. It’s a feature Android users have been enjoying for years now and while there are a variety of mobile wallet apps you can find on the Google Play Store that allow this, we recommend going with Google Wallet. If you’re buying apps and games on the Play Store already, chances are it has all your info ready to go and set up is a breeze.

Simply search for “Google Wallet” in the Play Store app (or click here) and download. Once installed, open the Google Wallet app and set a PIN code. Then you’ll be taken to the My Wallet section of the app where you’ll see “Set up tap and pay.” Once selected, you’ll have to accept the terms of use and once done, you should now see a card (section) telling you tap and pay is ready to rock n’ roll.

Now, jump into your Settings app, scroll down and select “Tap & pay” and choose Google Wallet. If you’re using a carrier branded Moto X (from AT&T or Verizon or wherever), you’ll notice it came pre-installed with Softcard (previously Isis Mobile Wallet). Just ignore it because nobody wants to mess with that.

8. Use all black wallpaper for battery savings

Moto X 2014 black DSC07129

The Moto X comes equipped with a beautiful AMOLED display that, not only produces more vibrant colors and higher contrast, but brings with it an added power draw benefit as well. Different from traditional LCD displays, AMOLED doesn’t need light up individual pixels when displaying black images, saving some precious battery life as a result. This is a reason why the Moto Display lock screen feature is supposed to be so battery friendly.

To further extend this to your home screen, you can choose to either use extremely dark wallpapers, or if you wanna get real crazy, just go with a completely blacked out one. Since the Moto X doesn’t make any available, you can download a pure black wallpaper for your Android here or check out our post with a handful of dark wallpapers for AMOLED devices.

Moto X 2014 black wallpaper

Once downloaded, you can set a wallpaper by long pressing a blank area of your home screen, then choosing Wallpapers > Pick image > and selecting that dark or pure black wallpaper you just downloaded. Easy peasy.

9. Speed up animations

Moto X 2014 Developer Options

There’s no denying the new Moto X is one of the fastest smartphones on the market. Heck, we’d even go as far as saying in terms of real world speed, there isn’t a faster smartphone on the market (for now). Even then, did you know there’s a way you can make the phone feel even snappier and more responsive? Trust us, you’ll want to try out this next trick.

All you have to do this is to enable super top secret “Developer options” hidden in the Moto X Settings app. Simply open the app, scrolling down to “About device,” then pressing on “Build Number” a total of 7 times (you’ll see a countdown). Once finished, you’ll see a toast appear letting you know that you are now a “developer.” Okay, not really but you now have access to a few new hidden settings.

Return to the main Settings area and scroll down to the bottom where you’ll find a new option for “Developer options.” It’s not as scary as it sounds, we promise. Once inside, locate the window animation scale, transition animation scale, and animator duration scale, settings and set all of them to .5x to speed everything up, or animation off if you’re feeling really balsy. Make sure Developer options are turned “On” at the top of the screen, exit and you’re all set.

10. Apps to get you started

Moto X 2014 DSC07126

We went ahead and compiled a quick list of some of our “must-have” applications we download to every single Android device we ever purchased. Most of these are simply replacing some of the stock Google or Motorola apps already found on the device (like that awful camera), but because we like these better, we think they’re worth checking out.

That’s all, folks!

And that should pretty much cover everything you should do as a brand new Motorola Moto X (2nd Gen) owner. Of course, this is not an end-all-be-all list, but we think it should cover, at the very least, some of the more important stuff.

Should you have any more questions, feel free to drop a comment and/or check out our brand new Moto X (2014) forums on  It’s there you’re sure to find people always willing to lend a helping hand with any questions, issues or just general chatter you have about your shiny new Moto X. Cheers.

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How to run Android apps in any Chrome browser Tue, 23 Sep 2014 19:46:30 +0000 android in chrome

One of the best reasons to use Chrome over any other browser is the wide variety of extensions and apps available. Google makes it so you can do everything you’d ever want right in the browser. For the things you still can’t do in Chrome Google is hoping Android apps will bridge the gap. A few weeks ago they released the first batch of apps, but we’re hungry for more.

Right now you can only run four Android apps and they only work with Chrome OS devices. What if you could run any Android app you wanted? And what if all you needed was a Chrome browser? That would be pretty awesome. Luckily it’s not just something we can dream about. Thanks to some clever hackers it’s really possible. Here’s how you can do it!

Why does this work?

android chrome

First, a little history lesson. The software that makes it possible for Android apps to run in Chrome is called the App Runtime for Chrome, or ARC. This software works in the same way that ART allows apps to run on Android phones or tablets. Using these two runtimes allows developers to make their apps available on Chrome without any rebuilding. A nifty trick.

ARC was designed to run only on Chrome OS. Developer vladikoff created something called ARChon Custom Runtime so it can be used in Chrome for Windows, Mac, and even Linux. In the process he also removed the limit on how many Android apps can be run in Chrome. So before we get started we must tip our caps to vladikoff for making this possible.

Install the ARChon Custom Runtime

The first thing we need to do is get the custom version of ARC installed in your browser. In order to do this you will need Chrome version 37 or higher.

  1. Download ARChon from here
  2. Unzip the archive
  3. Go to your extensions page in Chrome by going to Menu > Tools > Extensions
  4. Enable Developer mode in the top right corner
  5. Select “Load unpacked extension”
  6. Choose the folder where you unzipped ARChon

ARChon is now running as a Chrome extension. You will probably see the warning below, but it’s nothing to worry about. Let’s move on to the next step.


Install Android apps

flappy chrome

We’re ready to install some Android apps now. This is the real tricky part. Getting an Android app to work in Chrome is not as easy as using the Play Store on your Android device. Luckily the Android/Chrome community is already hard at work finding which apps can work in Chrome. This subreddit and Google Drive spreadsheet are a good place to start looking for apps.

But first, a disclaimer. The distribution of modified apps is not strictly speaking legal. Downloading APKs of free apps is probably not going to make the developer too upset, but paid apps are another story. Don’t use this as an opportunity to steal a bunch of Android apps. Only download APKs from free apps or apps that you already purchased.

Okay, once you have a .zip file containing the APK we are going to install it like we did with ARChon.

  1. Unzip the file and place the folder somewhere you will remember
  2. Go back to the Extensions page in Chrome
  3. Click “Load unpacked extensions”
  4. Select the folder with the modified APK you downloaded

The app should now appear in the app launcher in Chrome, with or without the correct app icon. You will likely see another error message on the extensions page, but it’s fine.

What if the app you want to use hasn’t already been modified for Chrome? It’s time to take matters into your own hands. Proceed with caution. These next steps are not for the faint of heart.

What if the app I want isn’t listed?


Getting an Android app to work in Chrome requires some modification. There is a handy tool that can do all of it for you, but first you will need to obtain the APK of the app you wish to modify. You can use Astro File Explorer to pull installed APKs from your device. Here’s how:

  • Open Astro
  • Slide open the menu from the left and tap the tools icon
  • Tap “App Mgr”
  • Tap on the apps you wish you pull
  • Select “Backup”
  • Go to the new “Backups” folder on your SD card and send the APK to your PC

Now it’s time to install the ChromeOS APK Tool to automatically modify the APK. Follow the instructions for the desktop OS you use.


  1. Download the node.js .msi file (not the .exe) from here.
  2. Install node.js.
  3. In a command prompt, run the command: npm install chromeos-apk -g

OS X/Linux

  1. In a terminal, run the command: sudo apt-get install npm
  2. (Ubuntu only): Run the command: sudo apt-get install lib32stdc++6
  3. Download node.js.
  4. Unzip the tar.gz file you downloaded
  5. Open a terminal to the unzipped folder containing node.js. Run these commands in order:
    1. ./configure
    2. make
    3. make install
  6. Run the command: sudo npm install chromeos-apk -g

The ChromeOS APK tool should be successfully installed on your PC. Now it’s time to use it!

  1. Open a command prompt or terminal in the folder where you saved the APK
  2. Run the command: chromeos-apk [NAME OF APK]
  3. Enter the package name of the app if prompted. You can find this in the URL of the Play Store listing. For example: “com.phandroid.droidpress”.

Wrap Up


We can’t guarantee that every app you try will work flawlessly. This is a nifty way to bring some of your favorite Android apps to the desktop. Hopefully Google makes the process easier someday. How cool would it be if the Google Play web store could install apps to Chrome? The line between operating system and browser is getting thinner every day. What apps are you going to put on Chrome? Did you get this to work for you?

[via Lifehacker]

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Moto G (2nd Gen) Tips & Tricks Thu, 18 Sep 2014 16:39:37 +0000 moto-g-back-hero

The all-new Moto G went on sale last week, and the phone is already landing in the hands of the early adopters. We had our own chance to check out the phone, and we were pretty amazed at what this $180 smartphone can do. Here are some of the tips and tricks we discovered that every Moto G owner should know about.

Check out our full Moto G (2014) review

Transfer contacts, photos, and more to your Moto G


The Moto G includes Motorola Migrate, a service that makes it easy to move your precious data from your old phone to your new one, whether that old phone is an Android device, iPhone, or even a feature phone. Motorola Migrate can transfer contacts and calendar events as well as photos, text message history, and more.

  • When transferring from another Android device, you must first download Motorola Migrate from the Google Play Store and install it on the old phone. Then launch Migrate on the Moto G and select “Android” as the device type.
  • To transfer data from an iPhone, open Motorola Migrate on the Moto G and select “iPhone.” Use your iCloud and Google login info to easily move your contacts and more to your new phone (you’ll also want to separately make sure your new phone is playing nice with previous iMessage settings).
  • If your old device is a feature phone, open Motorola Migrate and select “Other phone type.” Follow the onscreen prompts to transfer data via the older device’s Bluetooth connection.

Use voice commands


You can control your Moto G with your voice thanks to Google Now. To access voice commands, simply tap the microphone icon in the Google search widget (or open Google Now and do the same).

Some voice commands to try include:

  • “Open [app name]“
  • “Call [contact name]“
  • “Text [contact name],” then speak the message you wish to send
  • “Directions/Navigate to [location name]“
  • “Set an alarm for [date/time]“

You can also try asking Google Now a question like, “How old is the president of the United States?” For more commands and a full tutorial, see our article on Google Now Voice Commands.

Motorola Alert


Motorola Alert allows you to quickly notify friends and family of your location, whether you are planning to meet up in an unfamiliar location or in case of an emergency. If the latter is the case, Motorola Alert can also sound an alarm or dial an emergency number.

Setup Alert by launching the the app (located in the Moto G’s applications drawer) and following the onscreen prompts. You will be asked to enter information about who to contact as well as how to contact them. You can also choose an emergency contact.

To notify specified contacts when you arrive or leave a location such as work, home, or school, tap “Give peace of mind by sharing your location with family and friends.” You will be prompted to choose a location and contact to be notified.

Motorola Assist


Your Moto G can help to filter out unwanted calls and cut back on distractions thanks to Motorola Assist. Motorola Assist smartly determines when you are in a meeting, sleeping, driving, and more and takes appropriate actions like silencing your phone or reading text messages aloud.

To enable Motorola Assist, launch the app from the app drawer. Then,

  • select “Meeting” to allow your Moto G to use your calendar events to determine when to silence your phone (you can create exceptions to this rule based on favorite contacts or urgent calls as well as enable a text message auto reply);
  • select “Sleeping” and silence your phone during the hours you normally sleep;
  • select “Driving” to enable your Moto G to read text messages aloud and tell who is calling (you can also set your phone to automatically begin playing music when driving);
  • select “Home” to set your phone in “Talk to me” mode when at home.

Unlock your Moto G with a Trusted Device


Have a Bluetooth headset or Bluetooth infotainment system in your car? You can list them as Trusted Devices that will automatically unlock your Moto G when in range. A Trusted Device can be any Bluetooth gadget or accessory, from your laptop to your Moto 360 smartwatch. Here’s how to set one up:

  1. Pair your Moto G with the Bluetooth device you wish to make a Trusted Device.
  2. Navigate to Settings > Security > Trusted Devices. Confirm your password or PIN when prompted.
  3. Choose the devices you wish to enable as Trusted Devices.

Now whenever your phone is paired with a Trusted Device it will not ask for a password to access your home screens.

FM Radio


The Moto G includes a built-in FM radio tuner. A pair of wired headphones is required to use this function. Why? The headphones double as the phone’s radio antenna.

While you must leave the headphones plugged in during operation, sound can be routed to the Moto G’s front-facing stereo speakers or even a Bluetooth speaker for your listening enjoyment.

Camera Tips & Tricks

The Moto G’s camera includes a number of helpful shortcuts to take your mobile photography game to the next level. With several shooting modes and the ability to capture 720p HD video, you’ll never miss the moment.

  • Zoom in and out by pressing anywhere on the display and dragging up or down.
  • Quickly access the gallery by swiping left.
  • Access camera settings and enable HDR, panorama, and slow motion modes by swiping right.

One-Tap Capture


Quickly and easily take a photo by simply tapping any portion of the screen to activate the shutter. Tap and hold to take multiple photos in quick succession (burst mode).

Pro Tip: By default, the camera will auto-focus before taking a photo with One-Tap Capture. To focus on the specific area of an image where you tap, enable the option in the camera settings.

Shutter Button


The Moto G also gives users the option to snap photos using the phone’s volume up or down buttons. Hold the volume rocker in to take photos in burst mode.

Protect your Moto G with Device Management

Motorola is offering peace of mind for owners of their most recent handset releases with Motorola Device Management. Enrolling allows users to remotely locate a lost or stolen phone, ring said phone, lock nefarious users out, and even wipe the internal storage of all personal data.

When first powering on the Moto G, you will be greeted with a notification inviting you to “Protect your phone.” Tap the item and follow the onscreen directions to enable the above mentioned features.

If you have already dismissed the notification but wish to enable device management, follow these simple steps:

  1. Navigate to Settings > Security
  2. Tap “Device Administrators”
  3. Activate “Motorola Device Policy”

If your phone is lost or stolen, simply navigate to from any web browser, sign into your account using your Motorola ID, and select your phone and click “Lost Device.”

Note: for Motorola’s device tracking and remote features to work, you will need to make sure Location Access (found under the main Settings menu) is turned on. You can also follow the above directions to enable Android Device Manager, which provides a similar set of features accessible from your Google web account.

Connect your devices with Motorola Connect


The Moto G comes with Motorola Connect, an app that allows you to easily manage the Motorola devices linked to your phone. These include accessories like the Motorola Power Pack Micro or Moto Hint as well as a smartwatch like the Moto 360.

To pair a device:

  1. Make sure it is powered on
  2. Launch the Motorola Connect app
  3. Tap the “+”
  4. Select the device you wish to pair

Find your keys with the Motorola Power Pack Micro

If you picked up a Motorola Power Pack Micro along with your Moto G, you get a little more than a bit of extra battery power on your keychain should you need a quick charge. The Power Pack Micro can also be used to locate your lost keys using your phone (or vice versa).

To find a lost phone, simply double click the power button of the Power Pack Micro. Your Moto G will begin beeping.

To locate your keys, open the Motorola Connect app, select the Power Pack Micro from the list of connected devices, and tap “ping.” The Power Pack Micro will beep. For the feature to work the Power Pack must be powered on. It also goes without saying that it should be attached to the keys you are attempting to locate!

Take a screenshot


Taking a screenshot with the Moto G is easy. Simply simultaneously press the handset’s power/standby and volume down buttons.

Pro Tip: This shortcut should work with just about any newer Android device with a similar hardware button configuration.

Enable lockscreen widgets


Access your favorite widgets even when your phone is locked. To enable lockscreen widgets:

  1. Open Settings
  2. Navigate to Security
  3. Tap the checkbox next to “Enable widgets”

Access and add lockscreen widgets by dragging your finger from the left edge of the lockscreen and taping “+.”

Extend battery life with Battery Saver


If battery life is running low and you are far from a charge, you extend your uptime by enabling Android’s Battery Saver mode. This mode will restrict background data access and cut back on excessive power drain. Turn it on by navigating to Settings > Battery and switching Battery Save to “On.”

More Tips & Tricks

Have your own Moto G tips and tricks not covered here? Don’t keep them a secret, share them in the comments below. If you can’t find the answers to your specific questions here, you might try your luck over at the Moto G section of our Android Forums. While you’re there, be sure to let us know what you think about Motorola’s latest budget handset.

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Protip: Charge your Moto 360 using a portable charger when away from an outlet Fri, 12 Sep 2014 20:18:11 +0000 Moto 360 portable charging DSC06849

After our post yesterday discussing the Motorola Moto 360’s battery life in great depth, by now you should know the smartwatch’s longevity shouldn’t be a huge concern (unless you plan on being away from a charger for 20+ hours).

But no matter how many hours you get on the smartwatch, there will be a time when you’ll have to charge the thing up. Thankfully, this isn’t a huge chore, as the Moto 360 and its tiny 320mAh battery can easily hit a full charge with little down time. While that’s all good and dandy, what if you forgot to charge the 360 in its dock overnight and have to rush out to make a plane trip?

Moto 306 wireless portable charger DSC06847

For those times when you are away from an outlet, we just wanted to remind you that the 360’s wireless charger can be paired with any old standard portable charger for charging on-the-go. We experimented with the official Motorola Power Pack Micro and sure enough, our Moto 360 charged up just fine. Of course, any old standard portable charger will work just fine, although tiny USB cables might not look at streamlined as the Moto charger picture above but it should still get the job done.

If the odd shape of the official Motorola Moto 360 wireless charger is still too much for you to carry in your pocket (or perhaps you just want to leave it at home), there are several portable wireless charging options available on Amazon, like the Qi-infinity (4,000mAh) for only $35. Simply strap your 360 to that and you should be good to go. We’re all about solutions here at Phandroid.

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From the Forums: The very first thing you MUST do when getting your Moto 360 Thu, 11 Sep 2014 16:24:44 +0000 Moto 360 IMG_1942

Whether you were a Google IO attendee entitled to one or lucky enough to have it shipped on time from the likes of Best Buy and Motorola, many of you are going to be getting Moto 360 units this week. You’ll likely want to rip the thing out of its packaging and immediately slap it onto your wrist for a full day of fun when you first get it, but you should probably hold off on that.

We’ve received reports of Moto 360 units rapidly discharging out of the box even while it’s sitting on the wireless charging dock. Our own Steve Albright watched his watch (pun… sort of not but sort of was intended) trickle down from 4% to 0% even though it should have been receiving a charge. Your Moto 360 is NOT defective — you just need to give it a bit of a kick start before going for the full drive.

We’ve found that charging the Moto 360 while it’s off will give it enough of a baseline current to charge while it’s on. The watch may automatically power itself on when there’s enough juice to last more than a few minutes.

In many of the reports we’ve seen and in the case of Steve’s watch, it’s apparent that the watch may not properly charge while powered on until you go through the full setup process and pair it to your phone. There’s a possibility that an OTA update is performed during this step to make the change needed to get proper charging behavior, but results definitely drastically improve either way.

For that reason, folks should try and charge their Moto 360 up a good amount before they first turn it on and begin pairing it to their smartphone. Most units should have enough of a charge for this to be a non-issue when they first take it out of the packaging, but there’s a chance many units out there are on the brink of battery death.

And that, folks, is why most manufacturers urge you to fully charge your device before first turning it on. Now dealing with that horrendous battery life? That’s another issue altogether. Let’s hope Motorola can get a move on that before the Moto 360’s honeymoon period is over.

[Reddit via]

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How to factory reset your Android phone [Android 101] Wed, 20 Aug 2014 16:53:27 +0000 Looking to sell your phone but want to protect your personal data first? Don’t want your app info, private messages, selfies, videos, and browsing history falling into the wrong hands? The factory reset is your friend, deleting everything on your smartphone or tablet until it’s a clean slate — just like when it came off the factory floor. Here are two easy methods that make formatting an Android device a breeze.

BEFORE YOU PROCEED: Be sure to back up any saved files or data you do not want to lose. Once a factory reset has been preformed, any deleted data will be gone for good.

How to erase all data from an Android smartphone from the settings menu


Erasing your Android device — whatever your reason for doing so — is an extremely simple procedure. You’re only a few taps away from a device wiped free of all photos, video, apps, personal data, and whatever else is lurking on its internal storage media. Here’s the skinny:

  1. Open the settings menu by tapping the gear icon within the notifications pulldown
  2. Navigate to Backup & Reset
  3. Choose whether or not to also erase the contents of any installed SD card (if your device is capable of utilizing expanded storage via memory cards)
  4. Tap “Reset Phone” to confirm and restore the device to factory condition

For older devices or those using custom Android interfaces, the factory reset option might be located within a different subheading of the settings menu. Look under menus with titles like “Privacy” or “Device Storage” if you can’t locate “Backup & Reset”

How to erase all data from an Android smartphone if unable to access the settings menu


If you have lost your Android device or if a broken display is keeping you from accessing the settings menu of an otherwise functional handset, there is still hope for you to perform a factory reset of your smartphone. The catch is that you will hopefully have previously installed Android Device Manager (available at Google Play) and enabled the remote lock and erase option. If so, follow these simple steps:

  1. Log into your Google Play account (the one registered to your lost or broken phone)
  2. Tap the gear icon in the upper right corner
  3. Click “Android Device Manager”
  4. Select the desired device from the drop down menu in the dialog box hovering above the location map
  5. Click “Erase”
  6. When asked to confirm, click “Erase” again.

Google will now do its best to connect to the device and initiate a factory reset via the magical powers of the internet. The result will be the same as if performing a factory reset directly from the phone via the settings menu.

Looking for even more tips and tricks to get the most out of your Android smartphone? Check out our complete archive of Android 101 tutorials.

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Use this trick to check Facebook messages without downloading the Messenger app Thu, 14 Aug 2014 16:30:13 +0000

Recently Facebook decided to require uses to download the separate Facebook Messenger app in order to read and send messages. Facebook Messenger is actually a really nice app, but for anyone that doesn’t send or receive a lot of messages on Facebook this is annoying. You don’t want to download yet another app just for the few random messages you get. Luckily, for now, there is a loophole.

In order to keep your messages in the regular Facebook app there are a few things you need to do. Here’s how:

  1. Navigate to the messages tab from within the main Facebook app
  2. You should see an alert that says messages have moved
  3. Tap the “Get App” button which will take you to the Play Store
  4. Start installing Facebook Messenger, but cancel the download before it finishes

Now when you go back to the messages tab you should be able to see them all. Conversations will open inside of the main Facebook app like normal. This trick worked for us, but it’s not working for everyone. We’re not sure how long this loophole will stay open, but for now it’s a nice little trick. Did it work for you? Do you use the Facebook Messenger app? Do you use Facebook at all?

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So if I die or disappear, what happens to my Gmail and Google account? Fri, 25 Jul 2014 16:11:40 +0000 I hate to sour the mood, but one day you’re going to die. It might be easier to ignore that fact, but all too often that’s exactly what we do, and in our wake we leave a mountain of complications that cause interfamily conflict, legal battles, and obnoxious amounts of wasted time.


We take day-to-day things, like E-Mail, for granted- but what if something were to happen to you? Would your entire account including your pictures, movies, and documents, collect dust and eventually disappear without someone who knows or who can recover your password?

Or perhaps just the opposite. Maybe you’ve got a lot of private facets of your life that you wish to remain private: could family or friends legally gain access to your account, uncovering some secrets that are so embarrassing that you blush in the afterlife?

Not if you use Google’s Inactive Account Manager, a feature I accidentally stumbled upon yesterday.


Here’s how it works:

  • Set a time period after which, if you haven’t logged in for that duration, you’re considered inactive
  • When that time approaches, Google will warn you via TXT and E-mail alerts
  • Once officially deemed “inactive”, Google will notify up to 10 pre-selected contacts that you’re inactive
  • These contacts will gain limited access to your account, based on settings you select
  • You can set an auto-response for incoming e-mail, warning them of your inactivity

It’s a pretty brilliant solution if you’ve got the gusto to set it up- and you should. This tool could be especially valuable if you’ve disappeared without a trace, perhaps giving law enforcement additional information that leads to a resolution. I know, I know… this is a depressingly sinister topic, but a little preparation can go a long way.

You can even customize what Google services each separate contact can access (see above) and have a custom message prepared for each one (see below):


Almost got a little teary eyed typing that… and hopefully it never gets sent, but if it does, could be fun to leave a little custom goodbye to your loved ones. And honestly, having to write them in the first place provides a nice little sense of reflection on your life and what’s important.

The service isn’t perfect and there are two things I’d specifically like to see changed:

  1. The minimum length before you’re considered “inactive” is 3 months. If I haven’t used Google services for 24 hours someone should probably start a search party. I can appreciate the reasons why the longer durations should be the default, but even a 1 month or 2 month option would make a lot of sense.
  2. Certain services should have more fine grained access options. Perhaps I have some private e-mails in my account but they’re relegated to a certain tag or folder, why not allow users to selectively provide or deny access to these specific areas? Access to everything or nothing makes for some tough decision making.

Alternatively, if instead of being worried about giving people access you want to make sure nobody gets access, you can delete your entire account on the spot the moment you’re considered inactive.


Privacy paranoia people, weird fetish folks, cheating-on-your-spouse crapheads, and others take note: you’ll probably want to set this up right now. Or maybe you just don’t want family and friends dragging out the grieving process by hanging on every little word you’ve written, picture you’ve taken, etc…

Now that I’ve thoroughly depressed you, take a few minutes to reflect on the people most important to you, what you’d want to say to them in your absence, and if giving them access to your online identify would help them in any way.

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7 cool tricks every Android phone user should know [VIDEO] Fri, 18 Jul 2014 16:59:14 +0000

Android is pretty cool. There are things you can do with an Android phone that iOS and Windows Phone users can only dream about. With a little imagination the possibilities are nearly infinite. Since there are so many different things you can do with an Android phone it’s inevitable to be unaware of some basic tricks. We’ve compiled a list of seven cool tricks that every Android user should know.

1. Do a Google search from anywhere

google any

One of the best things about having an Android device is the tight integration of Google services. In the latest versions of the Google Search app for Android they have enabled users to do searches from anywhere. All you have to do is turn on your phone and say “Ok, Google.” It’s fast and super handy when you want to quickly find something. Here’s how to do it.

  1. Open the Google Search app
  2. Go to Settings > Voice
  3. Go to “Ok Google Detection”
  4. Enable “From any screen”
  5. Train the app to recognize your voice

2. Make your phone snappy with faster animations

One of the most common complaints about Android is “lagginess.” For whatever reason Google has never been able to get Android on the same buttery smooth level as iOS or even Windows Phone. In the last few versions they have made some serious improvements, but if you still feel like your phone is a little laggy there is a trick for speeding things up. Google has hidden some secret developer options inside the Settings. Inside the secret developer options is settings for animation and transition speed. Here’s how to speed things up.

  1. Open Settings > About phone
  2. Scroll down and tap on “Build number” 7 times
  3. Now go back to Settings and you should see new “Developer options”
  4. Adjust the window and transition animation scales to .5x or turn them off completely

3. Locate and wipe your lost phone

Losing your phone is one of the worst things that can happen. These devices contain sensitive information and private data. If your phone falls into the wrong hands it could put you in a world of trouble. There are apps you can download to help in the event of a lost phone, but in order for them to work you need to have them installed before something bad happens. Luckily there is a built-in way to find your lost phone and even wipe all of your personal data.

  1. Double-check to make sure Android Device Manager is installed
  2. Go to
  3. Select your phone from the menu
  4. Now you can see the location, ring it, lock it, or erase it

Check out our in-depth guide on how to find lost or stolen phones.

4. Scrub through songs on lockscreen

scrub lock

When you’re playing music on your phone the lockscreen gets taken over with beautiful album art and media controls. These controls allow you to go back, play/pause, or skip to the next song without having to fully unlock the device. However, that’s not all you can do with those buttons. A little known feature is the ability to scrub through a song from the lockscreen. It’s stupidly easy to do, but not an obvious feature.

  1. With music playing, long-press on the media control buttons
  2. Scrub through the song with the newly present bar

5. Put widgets on the lockscreen

Widgets have long been a selling point of Android, and remain to be a unique feature of the OS. Most people love to deck out their homescreen with widgets, but you don’t have to stop there. Ever since Android 4.—— the lockscreen can also be a place for widgets. This gives users quick access to pertinent information without even unlocking the device. Lockscreen widgets are not turned on by default. Here’s how to do it.

  1. Go to Settings > Security
  2. Tap “Enable widgets”
  3. Go to the lockscreen and swipe to the left screen
  4. Tap the [+] button and choose a widget

6. Save battery in the GPS settings

If you don’t rely on location data a lot you could be saving some precious battery life. Android has a built-in setting that allows you to determine how you want your phone to find your location. There are three different modes: high accuracy, battery saving, and device only. This trick isn’t for everyone, but if you don’t care about location it’s a nice way to save some juice.

  1. Go to Settings > Location
  2. Tap on “Mode”
  3. Select your desired location mode

7. Change what app launches with the home button shortcut


On devices with software buttons you can launch Google Search by swiping up on the home button. Some devices with hardware buttons allow you to do this with a long-press on the home button. An app called Home Button Launcher allows you to use this gesture to launch any app you would like. This gives you quick access to your favorite apps from anywhere on the phone. Here’s how to do it.

  1. Download Home Button Launcher from Google Play
  2. Swipe up or long press the home button
  3. Tap Home Button Launcher and make it default
  4. Tap the menu icon and select “Add”
  5. Choose all the app you wish to appear in the shortcut

What are your tricks?

We’re sure some of you veteran Android users are aware of all these tricks. Be sure to show them to all your Android-toting friends. Which tricks do you use that are not well-known? Have you discovered any tricks of your own? Share your favorites with us in the comments below!

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Say “Go Go Gadget” to launch Android Wear Apps [VIDEO] Thu, 10 Jul 2014 14:47:04 +0000

Nowadays when someone says “gadget” we think of phones, tablets, or computers, but back in the day it was the namesake of a dim-witted cyborg detective. Inspector Gadget had all the coolest gadgets at his disposal, and all he had to do to use one was simply say “Go Go Gadget _____.” Everyone wishes they could do this themselves, and now with Android Wear you can!

You may be familiar with an Easter Egg in Google Now that lets users launch apps by saying “Go Go Gadget [app name]. Since Android Wear relies heavily on Google Now for voice commands you can also do this on your smartwatch, which is a million times cooler than doing it on a phone. Simple tap or say “Ok Google” and then say, for example, “Go Go Gadget Compass.” Try it yourself!


Bum Ba Dum Ba Dum Inspector Gadget

“Go Go Gadget” is just one Google Now Easter egg that works on Android Wear. Here are a couple other ones you can impress your friends with:

  • What is the loneliest number?
  • What is the answer to life, the universe, and everything?
  • What is the Bacon number of [random actor]?

We love the little Easter Eggs that Google hides in their products. Go up to any little kid and launch on an app on your watch with the “Go Go Gadget” command and watch their amazement. What other Easter Eggs have you found in Android Wear?

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