10 Popular Android Tips From 2015

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Android 6.0 was the highlight of 2015 for Android users. The new OS came with a file manager, better Google Voice integration, Google Now on tap, smarter battery management features, and more. Alongside the new Android version, apps for the platform kept coming and we reviewed the best, most productive ones. Here's our yearly round-up of the top Android posts of 2015. Read More

Add A Map To Offline Areas In Google Maps & Use It When There Is No Internet

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Cell phones have become exceptionally powerful but you are still warned against relying on them in an emergency. Where the devices themselves aren't going to just fail for no reason, the service that powers most of their features might. You may suddenly find yourself in a place with no cell phone reception and unable to call for help. It's more a failure on part of your carrier than it is on the part of your phone manufacturer but the bottom line is your phone isn't always going to be there for you. You don't just need reception to make a phone call but also to access the internet. If you're ever heading out to a place where you think you might have bad coverage and you're relying on Google Maps to get you to your destination, it's a good idea to save a section of the map under 'Offline Area' so you can look at it even when there isn't an active internet connection. Here's how. Read More

Send Location Triggered Messages To A Contact [Android]

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It's common practice to check in with someone, or to have someone check in with you when they've reached home. You might be going home alone, or you might be worried about a friend or family member reaching home safely. In either case, people will send a quick message or make a short phone call to reassure whoever is waiting that they've arrived at their destination safely. Buzzer is an Android app that automates that. You can save different locations to it such as work and home, and each time you arrive at the location, a message can be configured to be sent out to one or multiple contacts. Read More

How To Play Local Audio Files Over Chromecast [Android]

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Android 6.0 has built-in support for the Chromecast making it easy to play videos and show photos from your device on your TV or monitor. The built-in support even lets you cast your Android screen to your TV without needing to install any additional apps, and without you having to purchase a smart TV to do it. That said, there isn't any support for Chromecast as far as the default music player is concerned meaning you can't stream your audio to your TV. If you use services like Pandora and Spotify, their apps might have built-in support for casting audio. If however, you have music files stored on your device's storage that you want to cast, the default music player cannot cast them to your TV. If you're looking for an app that does cast local audio files, Rocket Music Player is the answer. Read More

How To Clear The Google Play Store Cache In Android 6.0

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The Google Play store is prone to generating odd sorts of errors. Sometimes it will fail to connect with the right service while other times it might fail to download, install, or update an app. The errors come and go on their own and for some users, the only thing they can do is wait for it to fix itself. That said, a lot of the errors that Google Play Store encounters can be mitigated by clearing the app's cache which is simple enough to do unless you're using Android 6.0. In prior versions of Android, resetting and clearing the data and cache of an app was obvious. All you had to do was go to Settings>Applications>Manage Applications, tap on the Google Play store and tap the 'Clear Cache' and 'Clear Data' buttons. In Android 6.0, these buttons aren't there any more and the process is now slightly different. Read More

Use The Home Depot & Walmart Apps To Find Which Aisle An Item Is In

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A single trip to Home Depot can take hours. The stores are large and you can literally find anything and everything there provided you're willing to invest the time in finding them. The staff is of course always there to help; they'll point you in the right direction, guide you on what tools and material you might need for a project, and more. That said, if you're going in knowing what it is you intend to buy and fully aware of your needs, the only help you might need is in locating the item you want to purchase. Home Depot and Walmart both have apps for the iOS and Android platform. These apps can guide you to which aisle an item is located in so you can find it easily with just a simple in-app search. Read More

How To Turn On/ Off Google Now On Tap [Android]

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Android 6.0 Marshmallow came with a new feature called 'Google Now On Tap'. It's basically just Google Now but more powerful and more easily accessible and context aware. You very likely enabled it when you upgraded to the new Android version. If you decided to defer the decision to turn the feature On, you might be wondering how to get it now. Or, you might have turned it On and decided it isn't all that great to use since it's tied to your home button and want to turn it Off. Here's how to do both. Read More

Sync Windows 10 Reminders To Your iPhone & Android Phone With Cortana

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If you're a Windows user and have either upgraded to Windows 10 or at the very least heard of the new features in it, you know that Cortana is part of the product offering. Cortana is Microsoft's virtual assistant and as of Windows 10, it is integrated into the Windows search feature. The general consensus about Cortana in Windows 10 is that it is far from perfect, quite far. Up until yesterday, Cortana was useful for anyone with a Windows Phone but Microsoft has released Cortana as a stand alone app for both iOS and Android. The apps are far from impressive. 'Work in progress' is perhaps a better way to describe the apps. It's actually still in testing for Android. There is only one reason for anyone to use it; Reminders. If you use Windows 10 and have created Reminders in Cortana, you can sync them to your iPhone and Android device by installing the Cortana app. Read More

Find The Noise Level Of Your Surroundings With Your Android Phone

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If people have ever complained that you play music too loudly or you sometimes find yourself wondering if the noise level in the baby room is too high for an infant to enjoy a good nap, or you just randomly wonder how loud a particular place is, Deciber is a free Android app you might want to try out. The app is a simple, one screen utility that can measure the noise level of your surroundings and report the highest and average levels in decibels. It connects with your camera so that you can screenshot your screen to include your location. The noise level readings are superimposed on the screenshot that you can share with perhaps a noisy neighbor and make a compelling case for them to quite down a bit. Read More

Track Habits Like Calories To Develop & Reinforce Them [Giveaway]

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Weightloss and dieting are considered one the hardest things to stick to. For anyone wanting to lose weight, or bulk up, it's hard to follow a taxing new exercise routine and watch what you eat. Those who are beginning to take their first steps towards fitness will find that there are a slew of services, apps, and communities that they can turn to for help, support, and advice. For other habits that get less attention, there isn't much out there in terms of a helpful app. Meet HabitBull, an app dedicating to helping you track your habits and stick to them. The app has been available on Android for well over a year and we reviewed it back in May 2014. HabitBull has a whole new look is now available for iOS. The developers are generously offering a free upgrade to premium to our readers. Details at the end. Read More

Check Who’s Received & Read A Message In A Whatsapp Group

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The great thing about text messages is that they don't send a 'Seen' report back to the original sender. You can always ignore a text message and if your carrier has the right kind of bad reputation, you can even get away with saying you never got a message. Just about any messaging service that sends messages over the internet has a 'seen' feature; iMessages, Facebook Messenger, Whatsapp, Viber, etc all make it hard to avoid conversations. It's hard to ignore a message in a one-on-one conversation though it is much easier to do so in a group chat. If you use Whatsapp and often have long conversations in groups, you might want to know if certain messages were read by all members of the group or not. Here's how you can check. Read More

Get Android Marshmallow’s Doze Feature On Older Android Versions

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Battery life is one of the major factors that we take into consideration when buying a smartphone. All smartphones, as far as the marketing for them goes, boast a ridiculously long battery life on a single charge but it's always far from the truth. Battery life depends on what apps you use on your phone and how long you use them. It also depends on which apps you allow to run in the background and how much they tax your battery while they are in the background. Android Marshmallow introduced a new feature called 'Doze' that helps conserve battery life by turning off background app refresh. The feature is fully automated and you can't decided when to turn it On or Off. All you can do is exclude certain apps from the Doze feature. If you're running an older version of Android, anything older than Marshmallow, and would like to use the feature, Doze is a free Android app that does the trick. You do not need to have  a rooted device for the app to work. Read More

Use The Mono Audio Channel For Better Sound When Using One Earbud

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Music helps us concentrate on work but with you can't always have your earbuds in when you're working. It annoys anyone who needs to talk to you. Simply getting your attention while you work and listen to music turns into a chore for people and it impedes work. The safe way to go about it is to perhaps only listen to music through on earbud. Listening to music with just one earbud doesn't make for a great experience but it doesn't have to be that way. Simply switch to the Mono audio channel and you will have an infinitely better listening experience through just one earbud. Here's how to switch to the Mono channel on iOS, Android, and Windows. Read More

How To Add A Custom Action Button To Quick Settings In Android 6.0

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The quick settings added to the Notification Panel in Android 5.0 were very popular but they came with no customization options. As of Android 6.0, an experimental customization option has been added that lets you add custom tiles to it as well as remove and rearrange the default ones. For the average user wanting to add a custom setting using the experimental option requires an app. Meet Custom Quick Settings, a free Android app that lets you add a custom quick settings option to the Notifications panel in Android 6.0. Since the app is a one-size fits all solution, and it is geared towards making the process of adding a custom setting as simple as possible, it is limited. The setting you add can launch an app, open a URL, and add toggles for data connection, the volume panel, and sync. Read More

How To Exclude Apps From The Doze Feature In Android 6.0

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Android 6.0 comes with a brand new feature called Doze that preserves battery life. It turns On by itself and you can neither opt-in nor opt-out of it. If Android thinks your battery charge needs saving, it will step-in and take measures to preserve it. One of the things Doze does to preserve the battery is to stop background notifications. You will continue to get background notifications from Hangouts but most if not all apps will not make the cut. If you have a different app that you want to rely on for important messages, or just have a few you would like to exclude from the Doze feature, you will have to explicitly tell Android 6.0 to leave it alone when it turns Doze On. Here's how. Read More

Have Your Phone Call Out To You Every Hour So You Don’t Lose It

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We've all misplaced our phones at some point. They're super thin and as each millimeter of their thickness is shed with a new model, they get easier to lose. It's getting so you don't have to let the phone slip between the crack in the couch and cushions to lose it. You can instead lose it by accidentally shutting it in a book. We once reviewed an app called Marco Polo for the iPhone that allowed you to call out to your phone if you had lost it but the app had one downside; it taxed your battery. Butterfingerz is an app for both iOS and Android that calls out to you after every hour so that if you can't find your phone, you can follow the sound to it. Read More

Find Which App Uses The Most Memory On Your Phone In Android 6.0

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You have no doubt observed that some apps, mostly those that are games, consume more battery life than others. This is true for just about any device whether it's a laptop or a mobile phone. Android phones are no different. Games will obviously tax your battery but apps also consume a device's memory i.e RAM. How slow or quickly an app runs, how good multi-tasking is on your device depends on the available RAM on said device. As of Android 6.0, users can now simply look up which apps are taking up the most memory on their device and optimize how they use the app so that the device runs more smoothly. Here's where you can look at the RAM usage for all running apps on your Android phone. Read More

How To Configure Do Not Disturb Rules In Android 6.0

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Android 5.0 introduced Do Not Disturb; a feature that allowed you to silent all notifications on your phone for a specific time on certain days. The feature at the time was called Interruptions. As of Android 6.0, it has been renamed to Do Not Disturb and it now comes with configurable rules. The rules allow you to create multiple scenarios that will trigger Do Not Disturb. These rules may be based on time, or an event in your calendar. The feature is very basic but exceptionally useful nonetheless. Here's how you can create rules for the Do Not Disturb feature in Android 6.0. Read More

How To Set Up App Links In Android 6.0

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Apps like Facebook and Twitter come with their own built-in browsers so that you can open links in your feed without having to switch to your browser. It makes it easier to return to your social media feed of choice and lately, these apps have been making improvements to their in-app browsers so that users have a better reading experience. That said, nothing opens a Facebook link like the Facebook app, and the same can be said of Twitter links. Android 6.0 makes opening these links in their respective apps much easier. You can set Twitter and Facebook (and just about any app that can open links) as the default app to open certain links from the more actions menu. This new feature is called App Links and here's how you can use it. Read More

How To Revoke Individual Permissions For An App In Android 6.0

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Security, especially when it comes to apps, has always been a huge concern for Android users. Every now and then you will see new reports of malicious apps being present in the Google Play Store. Malicious apps exist and they do make it to the Play Store and on to our devices. Unfortunately, a malicious app is only discovered after it's been around for a while. One way to keep ourselves safe is to limit what permissions an app has. Some apps might ask for additional permission as you continue to use them, or after they have been updated. If you ever feel an app is asking for too much access to your device you can always revoke it and as of Android 6.0, you can individually manage app permissions for any app and revoke them selectively. Here's how. Read More