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.
Deep down, Android is a fork of Linux, which is a desktop operating system that started out as entirely command prompt-based. For that reason, many system-level tasks can still be executed within a terminal emulator app.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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 most common complaints about the Nexus line of devices is that they don't have expandable memory.
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.
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.
A rooted Android device means we're on our way to some truly amazing customization options. But there may be a few steps left to completing that journey, and a major one is installing a custom recovery.
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.
In the past few weeks, the internet has been abuzz with nightmarish horror stories of Comcast's questionable decision-making and downright terrible customer service. The central theme of many of these disputes with the nation's largest cable provider is that without evidence, the conglomerate will refuse to acknowledge its mistake and place the burden of proof on the customer.
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...
These days, our smartphones carry some very sensitive data. From banking app passwords to personal photos, there are many things on your Nexus 5 that you might not want other people to have access to.
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.
With Geohot's Towelroot allowing us to root our Nexus devices in under a minute without ever leaving Android, many of you are probably enjoying all of the Gadget Hacks that root access has unlocked.
When you're actively using your phone, a certain amount of battery drain is to be expected. But, if your device is just sitting in your pocket draining its battery, that's when you need to take action.
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.
Most custom ROMs are built from the freely-available source code of AOSP, so they share a lot of common ground with stock Android. The difference, though, is the fact that Google adds many minor tweaks and finishing touches to AOSP while creating the version of Android that ultimately comes pre-installed on Nexus devices.
While the preview images for Android's upcoming "L" release just came out yesterday, the new firmware has already been rooted, as is standard with its openness. So if you were feeling reluctant to try Android L because it didn't support existing root methods, then you might want to reconsider.
The Android lock screen interface is an integral part of our everyday use. For those of us who use lock screen security, it functions as a barrier between the sensitive data contained within our smartphones and potential outside access. Even if you don't use a pattern or PIN to secure your phone, you still interact with the lock screen every time you go to use it.
The level of customization that Android has to offer is insane. You can replace the stock keyboard and home screen with any third-party app of your choosing, allowing core experiences to be tailored to fit your needs.
Google recently updated the camera software for the Nexus 5, and in doing so, made the app available to all devices running Android KitKat. This means that not only do we get a nice new camera interface on our phones, but we also get the benefit of an expanded development community.
Samsung catches a lot of flak for all of the "bloatware" it preinstalls on its Galaxy line of devices. Many users complain that "TouchWiz," Samsung's custom Android skin, causes lag with its overabundance of features. But some of these features can actually be pretty handy, like Multi-Window Mode or Milk Music.
There are so many mods we can apply using a custom recovery. From themes to bug fixes and feature ports, a typical rooted user spends a decent chunk of time in TWRP Recovery.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
Update: June 19, 2014 Android 4.4.4 has been released, fixing a small security bug in 4.4.3. The factory images have already been made available to all current-generation Nexus devices, and I've linked them out below. This does not affect the process depicted, you can still use these same steps to bring your device up to date with this latest release.
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.
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.
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.
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.
If you have a custom recovery installed on your Android device, the first thing you should have done as soon as you finished installing it was to create a Nandroid backup. But if you didn't, I'm not here to judge—I'm here to show you a much easier way.
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.
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.