TWRP is hands-down the best custom recovery out there. Its interface, on the other hand, is... well, let's just call it utilitarian. The guys over at Team Win made sure that their product was robust, functional, and easy-to-use, but they didn't put a tremendous amount of effort into polishing the looks.
In an effort to make things simple and more secure, Google decided to slim down the power menu in Android 5.0. What once provided a quick link to shut your device down, turn on Airplane mode, and toggle volume states, has now been relegated to a simple power switch. Lucky for us, developer Gar Ynych has created a flashable ZIP that will revert these changes and restore functionality to the Nexus 5's power menu. In a few simple steps, you can add the volume toggles and Airplane mode switch rig...
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...
When my Nexus 5 received the Lollipop update, one of the first things I noticed was how subtle and quiet the new lock and unlock sounds were. Sure, this is a minor quibble, but it's also an easy fix.
Emojis are a huge part of communication these days. In fact, I'm beginning to think that in a thousand years, historians will come across our then-ancient texts and speculate that we used a writing system that evolved from hieroglyphics.
By default, any app that requests a certain permission can run automatically as soon as you start your device. Since Android doesn't offer a granular permission control system like iOS, this gets lumped in with all of the other permissions that you have to accept when you're installing an app from the Google Play Store, and you effectively have no choice in the matter.
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.
One of the more talked-about features of Android Lollipop is a new Priority Mode that allows you to mute all notifications except for those coming from starred contacts. As simple as that sounds, this can still be a bit confusing—or at least lead to some unwanted interruptions.
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.
Unless you own a Samsung device, your Android's navigation buttons have probably always been in this order (from left to right): "Back," "Home," "Recent Apps." But depending on which hand you use to hold your phone, this may not be the most ergonomic layout for you.
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.
So you just bought a fancy new Nexus 6 complete with its gorgeous and gigantic display—now what? Unlike Samsung's TouchWiz, stock Android doesn't sport any cool split-screen features, so how do you really take advantage of all that screen real estate?
When on-screen buttons were introduced alongside Android 4.0, it didn't take long before Google added a gesture to these virtual navigation keys. Since then, an upward swipe originating from the home button has always been a shortcut to Google Now on Nexus devices.
Android "Lollipop" introduced a ton of cool new functionality. Unfortunately, the Nexus 5 didn't get all of these features, as some were exclusive to other devices. For example, the Ambient Display function on the Nexus 6 that shows new notifications as they come in with a black-and-white lock screen. Sure, the new Nexus phablet has an AMOLED display that doesn't waste any battery to power black pixels, but it would be nice to have this feature as an option on the Nexus 5, wouldn't it?
At $349 off contract, the Nexus 5 has always been one of the best bang-for-your-buck smartphones on the market. In order to keep the price that low, however, Google had to pass up on some of the minor features that other flagship phones offer.
Android Lollipop's new Material Design interface does its best to strike a delicate balance between intuitiveness, usability, and aesthetics. For some folks, though, the use of a lighter color palette throughout the interface disrupts this balance.
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're someone who likes to customize their user experience, stock Android is a lot like a blank canvas. The firmware that comes preinstalled on Nexus devices is just Android—no manufacturer skins or carrier bloat involved. This simplicity opens up the door for many root mods and flashable ZIPs that can be installed in a custom recovery.
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.
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.
Every so often, we come across an app that makes us wonder "Why didn't someone think of this before?" This is definitely the case with developer Dor Sakal's latest offering, FloatNote.
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.
App-locking apps have been around for a while, but none have had quite the panache of developer Fazil Kunhamed's latest offering, Oops! AppLock. While others use a PIN or password to restrict access to apps that are installed on Android, AppLock uses a stealthy volume button combo.
Practically every kid in the '80s would rush home after school to put in some time on the first-gen Nintendo before their parents got home. Games like Super Mario Bros. and Super Smash Bros. were synonymous with fun times, and to this day, call up a wave of nostalgia amongst Generation-Xers.
A shady practice in place by AT&T and Verizon Wireless—and possibly more wireless carriers—was recently uncovered. Outgoing data requests sent from devices on these service providers are being injected with a Unique Identifier Header (UIDH) that allows websites, the carriers, and potentially even government agencies to track your online activity.
The Google Calendar app hasn't really changed much over the years. As a pre-installed staple on most Android devices, the interface is definitely lacking in some areas. Google knows this, and has plans in the pipeline to completely revamp Calendar's UI alongside Android 5.0's official release.
One of the biggest under-the-hood changes in Android 5.0 is a new, robust Camera API. When Lollipop makes its official debut, this API will allow developers to hook into your phone's camera sensor like never before.
If you're anything like me, you rely heavily on your calendar to keep on track throughout the week, month, and year. While Android's built-in Google Calendar provides an excellent cloud-based solution for keeping our schedules properly maintained, it's not perfect.
Increased battery life is easily one of the most sought after improvements to a device and often drives intrepid users to root their phones, flash new ROMs, and try out experimental kernels.
It's hard enough to keep tabs on the battery life of one device, let alone all of the different gadgets that a typical consumer owns in this day and age. Say your smartphone is running low on juice, so you switch to your tablet only to find out that it's almost dead as well. Better hope your laptop is fully charged, right?
Android's new Material Design language is truly a thing of beauty. Slated to make a full debut alongside the upcoming Android "L" release, the vision and simplicity of this UX design recently won Gold Prize at the annual User Experience Awards.
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.
If you hold your phone upright while taking a video, you've surely seen the horrific end results. When you try to play the video back on any other display, roughly 70 percent of the screen is occupied by black bars.
Broadcasting your gameplay for others to view has recently become a phenomenon with the advent of Twitch.tv. While computer-based gaming is well represented these days, streaming of mobile gameplay has been virtually non-existent.
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.
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 purchased your Nexus 5 from Google Play in the United States, we've got great news for you. In an unprecedented move, Google has started offering customers the chance to exchange their broken or water-damaged Nexus 5 for a new or refurbished unit—free of charge.
If you have a custom recovery installed on your Nexus 5, you're able to flash custom ROMs and lots of other cool Gadget Hacks. But when it comes time to receive and Over-the-Air (OTA) update directly from Google, having a custom recovery installed can be a fairly big hindrance—and for the upcoming Android L release, you're going to want to alleviate that.
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.
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.