It's time. You've experimented with apps from the Play Store, you've switched your lock screen, and maybe you've taken different launchers out for a spin. If, throughout your tinkering, you've found yourself chanting, "More. More. Give me more!" then now is the time. It's time to root.
Android uses a set of permissions that apps can request to perform certain actions, and you're notified of these permissions each time you install an app. The problem here is the fact that you aren't given any built-in way to deny apps these permissions (although Danny just showed a workaround for this).
Google's new camera app has a highly innovative and unique feature dubbed Lens Blur, and the most interesting thing about it is not necessarily what it does, so much as how it does it.
Stock Android is a great experience, and it's probably one of the biggest reasons that people purchase a Nexus device over other Android phones. Without carrier or manufacturer modifications to the core software, the entire user interface feels a lot more clean and snappy, and this also means that developers encounter fewer compatibility issues when creating flashable ZIPs and custom ROMs.
Android Lollipop has an awesome feature called "Battery saver" mode that reduces power consumption through various tweaks in order to squeeze in an extra hour or two of standby time when your battery is running low. It does this by disabling background processes as well as location services and transition animations, so the phone is essentially running at half-throttle.
For many people, the two main advantages of buying a Nexus device are prompt updates and the ability to root without much hassle. But in a cruel twist of fate, these two features are almost mutually exclusive, since OTA updates will refuse to run on rooted devices.
You know what's awesome? You own a Nexus. That means, with Google's blessing, you have easier access and control over your device than other manufacturers allow. You can really dig in and do some interesting things if you root.
Google has a habit of starting on new projects for Android, then hiding them away if they didn't quite complete them in time for a major release. We saw this with multi-window mode last year (which is now an official Nougat feature), and this year, there was the hidden night mode setting that was easily activated.
Every phone has its issues and quirks, and the Nexus 5 is no exception to this rule. One of the most common troubleshooting questions asked by its owners is "Why does my Nexus 5 keep shutting off or restarting?" where the device suddenly decides to reboot or power off randomly on its own.
You may not always be connected to the internet, but if you're anything like me, your thirst for web content is insatiable. Whether you're on an airplane or stuck in an area with no reception, having some offline content stored on your Nexus can definitely save the day.
Google Play Music is one of the best cloud music services out there. Without ever paying a dime, you can upload as many as 20,000 songs to Google's servers, then use the app on your smartphone to stream these songs without taking up any of your storage space. And if you're willing to shell out $9.99 a month, you can even play songs from the massive All Access library.
Back in August, Google introduced Android Device Manager. This new service allowed you to locate, lock, or wipe a lost or stolen Android device from either a companion app or a web interface. Effectively, this is the "kill switch" that legislators are clamoring for.
The Nexus 6 is one of the few devices on the market that sports a 1440p "QHD" display. This means that the amount of pixels displayed is higher than almost any other smartphone, which sounds great on the surface, but is not without its drawbacks.
Android 5.0 has a killer new feature that should make securing your device easier than ever. It's called Smart Lock, and it essentially lets you bypass your secure lock screen when you're in a "trusted environment." This means that if you're connected to a known Bluetooth device or near a pre-programmed NFC card, you don't have to bother entering your pattern, PIN, or password.
Just about every softMod requires some kind of reboot. Whether it's because something in the System UI was changed, or because a ZIP needs to be flashed in custom recovery.
The Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P have identical camera hardware—in fact, both use one of the highest-end camera sensors ever put into a smartphone. The only real difference between the cameras on Google's latest flagship devices is that the 6P natively supports electronic image stabilization (EIS) whereas the 5X does not.
We got a fairly extensive look at the newest version of Android at Google I/O yesterday. The "L" version, which we're betting stands for "Lollipop", brings Google's new design philosophy to Android, and one of the main aspects of that design are new "heads up" notifications. Allowing you to continue using whatever app you're currently in without interuption, this new type of alert borrows from Apple's iOS, but does it the Android way. These notifications can be dismissed with a swipe away, ex...
The majority of Android web browsers carry a "desktop mode" feature that makes mobile websites look like normal computer versions. Mobile versions are designed to work faster and more efficiently on smartphones, but sometimes the desktop version looks better on large displays or has additional features not included in the mobile one.
Many Nexus 6 owners, myself included, have already started to experience the dreaded burn-in issues that often come with AMOLED display technology. These displays are different than your typical LCD screen in that each pixel emits its own light instead of using a backlight, so this leaves AMOLED screens more susceptible to issues with dim or unresponsive pixels.
When it comes to theming your Android device, it's the little things that matter most. Whether you're tweaking your navigation buttons or changing the color of system menus, no theme is complete until even the smallest element matches the rest of your color palette.
Here's one of those modding must-haves that's basic, yet easy enough to forget about. If you're going to install apps that don't live in the Google Play Store, like the Google Experience Launcher, the OnePlus One lock screen, or something that needs root privileges like the Xposed Framework, you need to turn on this setting.
Straight out of the box, the Nexus 5 is an awesome device, but even it can be faster with better battery life. Luckily, one of the things that makes it so awesome is that there are tons of developers creating mods for it, since it runs stock Android by default. When it comes to gaining speed and better battery life, flashing a custom kernel is the way to go.
If you find yourself switching between Android devices frequently—for instance, your Nexus 6P and a Samsung tablet—you've probably noticed how the button placement can be different. Normally, it's back, then home, then the recent apps button, from left to right. But Samsung devices have this backwards, which can lead to frustration when muscle memory kicks in and the back button isn't where you expect it to be.
As Nexus owners, we love our device's operating system, and it's probably the reason we went for a pure Google experience in the first place. But that doesn't mean there's not room for improvement in Android, especially when the OS has so many freely available softMods to tinker with.
If there's one gripe I have with Android Lollipop, it's the new volume menu. When Priority mode was introduced, the stock volume panel was revamped to accommodate it, and somewhere along the way a bit of functionality was lost.
Google Keyboard, which comes pre-installed on Nexus devices (and is available for all others from the Play Store), is one of the most functional keyboards currently available for Android. With features like gesture-based typing, next-word prediction, and even text expansion macros, it's a very capable form of text input.
Surely you've heard of the wildly-popular custom ROM CyanogenMod, right? As the longest-tenured third-party firmware for Android devices, CM has been able to maintain its popularity by supporting a wide array of devices and offering many customization options.
For my money, one of the greatest improvements brought about from the smartphone revolution is the advent of visual voicemail. No longer do we have to slog through dial menus or trudge through every single message to get to the next. We can just look at our messages, right there on our screens, organized neatly like emails or text messages.
If you're like me, things just seem to look better when they're symmetrical. While Android's status bar icons are indeed weighted against the notifications that show up on the left side of this area, the balance still seems skewed to the right.
If you've been keeping up with anything Android these days, you've no doubt heard about a little dandy called Xposed Framework kicking around. Xposed, by XDA developer rovo89, is a framework for Android devices that lets you easily modify your stock or custom ROM.
One of the best things about the Nexus line of devices is the ease with which one can achieve root. Plug your phone into your PC, download a couple files, type a few commands, and you can be rooted within 30 minutes. No muss, no fuss, no carrier-locked bootloaders.
Android automatically clears entries in your call log after 30 days. While this might be fine in most cases, sometimes you need to find a number that called you more than a month ago. Or perhaps you want to keep detailed records for business purposes, and 30 days just isn't long enough.
There were over 1.2 million changes made to Android when the OS got updated from KitKat to Lollipop, but a minor front-facing modification has many users in an uproar.
Android Marshmallow was recently released, and as we've grown to expect, a root method was quickly made available to devices running the brand new operating system. Legendary root developer Chainfire has stated that he's working his way towards retiring from the scene, but he still had enough left in the tank to quickly publish an update to his popular SuperSU root method.
It used to be easy to hack tethering—root your device and install a third-party or modded tethering app. But snuck in amongst the changes in Android 4.3, a new data-monitoring service of sorts made its debut. There used to be a time when your data connection was yours. You paid for it, so you were free to use it for whatever you wanted. Unfortunately, those days are long gone.
On most Android devices, the various volume levels are comprised of either 7 or 15 steps between minimum and maximum. For voice-call volume, alarms, and notifications alike, 7 presses of a volume button will bring you all the way from silent to full-blast. With media controls, you get 15 steps between mute and max.
One of the many perks of being a Nexus user is that Google bakes in all sorts of goodies for use on its dessert-themed OS. From an easily unlocked bootloader, to a smooth and well-crafted "stock" UI experience, to being one of the first devices to receive updates straight from Mountain View—team Nexus is the team to beat.
It didn't take long at all for developer Chainfire to sort out a root method for the new Android 5.0 Lollipop. After handling a few issues with changes to the SELinux kernel module, Chainfire pushed out an update to his popular SuperSU root app.
Android's auto brightness feature was recently updated, and as of version 5.0, a new "Adaptive brightness" feature was added. This allows users to set a preferred overall brightness level, but still have the ambient light sensor adjust the backlight accordingly.
Smartphones like the Nexus 6 and those in the Samsung Galaxy Note series border on being called tablets due to the sheer size of their displays. They are essentially "phablets," i.e., devices too large to be a typical smartphone, yet too small to be a tablet.