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.
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.
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.
Chrome's Incognito Mode is a great feature for folks that don't want their browsing history tracked. When it's enabled, Incognito Mode makes sure that all cookies and cache that are saved while you're browsing are deleted as soon as you leave a webpage.
One of the most common complaints about the Nexus line of devices is that they don't have expandable memory.
For some strange reason, when the Nexus 5 got its Lollipop update, the new stock system sounds were left out. These include updated versions of all of the ringtones and notifications, which Google revamped with a more mature sound that matches Android 5.0's elegant Material Design.
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.
It seems like custom Google Now commands are a dime a dozen these days. With Commandr for Google Now giving non-rooted users their first taste of custom voice commands just a couple weeks ago, you may wonder why we're covering this subject again.
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...
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.
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.
Losing important data is the modern-day equivalent of misplacing your wallet or keys. We have tons of vital information stored in our digital worlds, and losing any of it can be devastating. But if you've accidentally deleted something important from your Android device, there's still hope.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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 finally released the next version of the world's leading operating system—Android 6.0 Marshmallow. This latest iteration isn't as much of a visual overhaul as Lollipop was, but it packs in more new functionality than almost any update before it. Awesome features like Now on Tap, granular permissions control, and a deep sleep battery-saving feature called Doze round out the highlights, but there is far more to it than that.
Some apps have a nasty habit of ignoring your Android's auto-rotation settings and locking the display into either portrait or landscape orientation.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
On-screen navigation buttons offer many distinct advantages over physical buttons—they can change orientation along with your device, they're capable of visually morphing to indicate secondary functionality, and the user experience is more consistent when buttons and app elements require the same amount of force to press. Add to that the fact that they're far less likely to fail and can be themed or even switched out altogether, and it's hard to come up with an argument in favor of physical b...
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.
The Nexus 6 has an AMOLED screen that uses virtually no power to display black pixels. To take advantage of this feature, Google included an Ambient Display notification system that shows a black and white version of your lock screen when you get a new message. As a result, the Nexus 6 doesn't use an LED light to notify you of new incoming messages like most phones.
When you enter the softModder realm by rooting your Nexus 5, you open up an exciting world of possibilities and deep customizations for your device. Among other things, it gives you the ability to flash custom ROMs which, individually, act as entirely different operating systems that can vastly alter your user experience.
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).
As much as app developers would like to simplify things with icons and visual cues, text is still a huge part of a smartphone's interface. Much of our media consumption is text-based, and while Google's Roboto font is a beautiful typeface, a little variety here and there certainly wouldn't hurt.
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'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.
If you're like me, then you've got an incredibly complicated Wi-Fi password with uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters.
The Nexus 6 came with a hidden kernel module that allowed for double-tap-to-wake functionality, essentially letting you turn your screen on just by tapping it. A simple root app allowed us to activate this feature, which meant we were always two quick taps away from waking our device.
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.