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.
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.
Not too long ago, we told you about a new feature within Android KitKat that allowed for video recording directly from the screen of your Nexus 5. Though functional, the method was a bit clunky and involved hooking your phone up to your computer and sending over an ADB command to start the recording.
Over the years, we've probably all complained at some point about Android's lack of an "Undo" feature. When you're typing something out, there are times when you might want to go back a step.
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.
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.
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.
One of the most common complaints about the Nexus line of devices is that they don't have expandable memory.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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...
With limited storage options available on the Nexus 5, cloud storage can definitely come in handy. But sometimes, with the seemingly endless options of cloud services for us to choose from, our online data can get a bit disorganized.
If you're like me, then you've got an incredibly complicated Wi-Fi password with uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters.
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'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.
If you've ever used the automation app Tasker, then you know exactly how powerful the tool can be. If you haven't, suffice it to say that there's virtually nothing on your Android phone that Tasker can't automatically do for you.
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.
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.
As a parent, navigating smartphone usage with your children can be a perilous journey as you hand them that new device they've always wanted, or even your older hand-me-down phone or tablet.
Desktop users have taken advantage of dual-booting operating systems for decades now. If your core system software is lacking in any regard, dual-booting a secondary OS can give you access to those features that you're missing out on.
When it comes to theming your Android device, it's the little touches that count the most. That's why developer SArnab created the Android Theme Engine, an Xposed Module to theme those hard-to-reach corners of the Android System that often go untouched with other themes.
Ever since developer bponury created his TouchControl app for the Galaxy Nexus back in 2011, manufacturers and modders alike have been racing to re-implement the "Double-tap-to-wake" functionality it brought to the table. We've seen LG do it with their "Knock On" feature, we've seen Motorola put a twist on it with "Active Display," and we've even seen Google implement the feature in their Nexus 9 tablet.
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.
Currently, all Nexus tablets running Jelly Bean or higher can enjoy multiple user accounts. With tablets often migrating between various people in the same household, there’s no reason for Dad’s finances to mingle with little Tammy’s candy crushing. Multiple users, each with separate profiles, just makes sense on an Android tablet.
A while back, Facebook released a killer feature called "Chat Heads" to its Facebook Messenger app. Messages from users would "pop up" in small bubbles that floated on the screen that could be seen, accessed, and moved around from within most apps.
The Nexus line of devices consistently offer the most bang for your buck. It's why many of us purchased a Nexus 5—at a $350 entry price, it's half the cost of any other phone with similar specs.
The new preview build of Android is out, and it looks good. But if you're not quite ready to install Android L on your phone, there's still another way to enjoy some of these new visual elements on your Nexus device.
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.
Ask a thousand Nexus owners why they chose their device over an iPhone, and after getting an earful of Apple hate, you will likely hear a clear pattern in their responses, namely, the freedom to customize their phones.
When we look back on it, 2014 may be remembered as the Summer of Android Wear. With two new flagship smartwatches due out soon, Google's been readying its mobile OS for the wearables sector.
With Android 5.0, Google introduced a new "Heads Up" notification system for incoming calls and messages. While the new incoming call interface seems to be a rousing success, the rest of the Heads Up system has been met with much less enthusiasm from users.
One of the lesser known features brought along by the roll-out of Android 4.4 KitKat is the ability to screen record from within the device. This features isn't overtly obvious, nor is its implementation the most streamlined, but if you were ever looking for a way to capture video of what's happening on your screen, this is now the best way to do it.
The original implementation of Android's face unlock feature was a mess. It took too long to unlock (when it worked), brought up a huge interface that overpowered the lock screen, and maybe most egregiously, was able to be "hacked" by someone holding up a picture of your mug.
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.
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.
Google has already issued a few updates to Android 7.0 Nougat. There aren't many headlining features, as these minor updates are mostly bug fixes and performance improvements. But there's a few security enhancements as well, so staying up-to-date with the latest patches is important for a number of reasons.
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.
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.