Losing your phone is a much bigger ordeal today than it was just 10 years ago. Our smartphones carry with them lots of sensitive data that, in the wrong hands, is capable of being used for identity theft and fraud.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The flexibility within Android is pretty amazing. Unlike iOS, you can make a lot of modifications with nothing more than a download from Google Play, but to really step up your softModder game, you'll need to go a little further.
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.
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.
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.
Some apps have a nasty habit of ignoring your Android's auto-rotation settings and locking the display into either portrait or landscape orientation.
When I got my first smartphone, it didn't take long before my friends and I created a game that we liked to call "Paste-Send." You see, instead of having to use T9 to type out text messages, the touch-based interface made copying and pasting incredibly easy. So that meant we could copy a piece of text, then paste it into text messages in rapid succession to text bomb the annoyed recipient. It was all in good fun, of course, and it usually evoked a stream of swear words from the guy on the oth...
Emojis, smilies, emoticons—whatever you prefer to call them, these fun little guys can bring a text-based conversation to life. If you're worried that someone's sarcasm meter might be broken, just toss in a wink at the end of your message. Or perhaps you can't quite put your sentiment into words, but one of these little graphics suits the moment perfectly.
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.
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.
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.
Deep down at the core of Android lies the system kernel, which serves as a bridge between software and hardware. Custom kernels can be installed in place of the stock offering, and these are generally optimized for better performance or increased battery efficiency.
During initial reviews of the Nexus 6, the "double tap to wake" feature was something originally slated to be present on the device, since Motorola built it and it's been a key feature of the Moto X. However, the feature was scrapped for Ambient Display, which wakes up the screen when the device is picked up or a notification arrives. So while having both could be seen as overkill, it doesn't mean we shouldn't have the option.
It's really amazing how much you can do with root access on an Android device. From various themes to porting exclusive funtionality from other devices, the power of Superuser privileges is truly awesome.
For some reason, when you're typing in landscape mode, Android extends the text input field to cover every bit of the screen that the keyboard's not occupying. This gets pretty annoying sometimes, especially with messaging apps where you might need to reference what the other person just said in order to properly form your response.
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 you're an Android fan, you probably made your choice in mobile operating systems based on the insane level of customization options that Google's software offers. Don't like your home screen app? Simply replace it. Not a fan of a particular app's sharing system? No big deal, just share through a third-party app.
Back in March, Samsung partnered with Slacker Radio to create a streaming service called Milk Music. For those of us who don't own a Galaxy device, this news was a non-starter, as it was exclusive to Samsung's flagship line of phones and tablets.
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.
All Android web browsers are not created equal. Some, like Chrome, have slick interfaces and quick rendering, but are not very robust. Others, like Firefox, boast tons of functionality and support add-ons, but are lacking in the interface department and could use a boost in performance.
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.
Let's say you're watching a video and everything's going great, but you feel the need to raise the volume a tiny bit. You hit the volume button on your Nexus 5, and all of a sudden, a giant volume slider appears that obscures half of your video for 3 seconds.
There's a known issue affecting some Nexus 5 users where the speaker volume is fairly low. This could be attributed to a manufacturing defect, which you could possibly fix with a hot needle, but if your built-in speakers and headphones seem muted, don't take your Nexus apart just yet.
If you've ever attempted to report a bug to a developer, no doubt you've heard the response, "Get a logcat." This is infinitely important to a developer because of the fact that a logcat captures a full report of every command that was recently executed on your Android device, and it allows them to see exactly where something went wrong.
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.
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).
Okay, so you're rooted and need to return your Nexus 5 to its stock firmware. Whether it's because you need to send your phone in to the manufacturer to fix a defect or you just want to use the device's over-the-air updating feature, unrooting and returning your Nexus 5 back to its fresh-out-of-the-box state is a fairly simple process with the right tools.
One of the more talked-about features of Google's new flagship device is the fact that all of the data on the Nexus 6 is encrypted by default. At face value, this certainly seems like an added bonus for the 6-inch phablet, especially in this day and age with growing security concerns abound. It's definitely something that the FBI is none too pleased about.
One of Android's strengths when compared to other mobile operating systems is its ability to set third-party apps as the default handler of certain file types. Instead of being stuck with pre-installed system apps when it comes to opening files and links, you're free to choose a better-fitting alternative.
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.
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.
There are so many things to love about the Nexus 5, from timely updates to newer versions of Android to a terrific blend of price and specs. But while mobile phone tech keeps churning along, battery technology isn't quite up to snuff yet, and I find myself wishing that my phone's battery lasted longer on a single charge.
You probably already know by now that a custom Android ROM can change your user experience and give you what feels like a new OS on your device, and there's no shortage of them out there to try out.
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.
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.
Google's latest Nexus device is big, bold, and beautiful—and now it's got root. Thanks to some quick work by legendary Android developer Chainfire, the Nexus 6 already had a clear-cut root method before most stores even had it in stock.