Do you need that app

If you have a newer Android phone, you may find that an app you used before is now baked right into Androids OS so you don’t need it anymore.  Here is a list of some common apps that you should delete right now!

  1. Flashlight app – These apps are very common and many of them have very invasive permissions to your phone.  In addition to this, almost every phone purchased in the last two years already has a flashlight available as a standard feature.
  2. File Browser –  In the past this was a needed feature, but has now become integrated into most new phones.
  3. Anti-Virus – Unless you are downloading apps and side loading (If you do not know what side loading is then odds are you are not doing it) then you do not need an antivirus.  Google makes it a top priority to keep malicious apps out of the play store.
  4. Cleaner Apps – These apps are very common but provide very little benefit.  They often come with annoying ads in the lock screen and constant reminders to scan your device.  If you feel that you need such an app the only one I have found that is not invasive and annoying is ccleaner.
  5. Any other app you have not used in the last few months.  If you are not using it and you have no intention to use it, remove it! Your phone will thank you.

Apps can make your phone great! They can add functionality and fun. However, when an app becomes redundant or invasive, it needs to be removed.  Every app uses system resources. You may just find that the 5 minuets you will spend removing bad or unused apps will make your phone run longer and faster.  As always please feel free to respectfully disagree or add anything that I may have missed in the comments or via the contact page.

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Don’t get fooled by your carrier

Having control over your data seems like it should be simple process, but because of the amount of options available it can be tricky to know which service to use. Android is a great operating system, but sometimes knowing how to properly configure its services in order to maximize the benefit to you can be overwhelming. My hope is to address some of these problems in an effort to make your smart devices serve you better.

The first problem lies with the carriers. Any carrier’s main goal is for you to stay with them so they make if difficult for you to leave. By default, your data will be set to back up to their servers. You may think, “That’s great! Verizon is backing up my data for me. Thanks Verizon!”  There are two problems with having the carrier do this for you.  First of all, your storage is limited and they will often charge you for backups over a certain amount. In contrast, Google will back up almost everything on your phone through their services for free, with very few exceptions. Another issue with running your backups through the carriers is that it’s more difficult to access your data, especially if you want to switch phone companies. Just try it. Tell AT&T you are switching to Tmobile and see how happy they are to transfer your data to the other carrier. With google, it’s simple since everything is attached to your gmail account. Just sign in to your account on your new phone and all of your pictures, contacts, settings, and much more will automatically transfer to your new device.

The second problem is with the manufacturers.  They, like the carriers, want you to stay with them and continue purchasing their devices. Because of this, most of them will provide themselves as a primary or secondary option to store your data. As I stated before, don’t fall into this trap. You may like LG now, but your next phone could be a Samsung. If that’s the case, good luck contacting them to transfer your data!

The final problem also has to do with the manufacturers. Continuity between devices can be difficult when dealing with each manufacturer’s unique user interface.  It is likely that you and your family have multiple devices. If each device has a different manufacturer then you will find that even though they all run Android, they can look very different.  In this case, you can solve the problem by using one of Androids many custom launchers.  Doing this will allow you to have more control over the way that your phone looks. You can set everyone in the house to have a similar look and feel to each other or change and customize your user experience to something more uniquely suited to you.

Android is the most widely used operating system in part because it allows huge freedom of choice in all aspects of its design. However, this great strength can also present a problem.  Keeping control of your data is one of the best ways to keep yourself free and not let a company lock you into staying with them.  If you are not able to access and move your data easily, you will feel stuck and be unlikely to change (even if you want to).  Don’t get tricked. Take control of your device! Know how to easily access your data, and make it look and feel the way you want.

Services referred to in the article

Photo backup – Google Photos

Contacts – Gmail

Files – Google Drive 

These apps are already on most Android devices they just need to be updated and activated/opened

Android Launchers – phandroid.com has a good article about diffrent launchers

Use google services – Even on your Samsung phone.

Having control over your data seems like it should be simple process, but because of the amount of options available it can be tricky to know which service to use. Android is a great operating system, but sometimes knowing how to properly configure its services in order to maximize the benefit to you can be overwhelming. My hope is to address some of these problems in an effort to make your smart devices serve you better.

The first problem lies with the carriers. Any carrier’s main goal is for you to stay with them so they make if difficult for you to leave. By default, your data will be set to back up to their servers. You may think, “That’s great! Verizon is backing up my data for me. Thanks Verizon!”  There are two problems with having the carrier do this for you.  First of all, your storage is limited and they will often charge you for backups over a certain amount. In contrast, Google will back up almost everything on your phone through their services for free, with very few exceptions. Another issue with running your backups through the carriers is that it’s more difficult to access your data, especially if you want to switch phone companies. Just try it. Tell AT&T you are switching to Tmobile and see how happy they are to transfer your data to the other carrier. With google, it’s simple since everything is attached to your gmail account. Just sign in to your account on your new phone and all of your pictures, contacts, settings, and much more will automatically transfer to your new device.

The second problem is with the manufacturers.  They, like the carriers, want you to stay with them and continue purchasing their devices. Because of this, most of them will provide themselves as a primary or secondary option to store your data. As I stated before, don’t fall into this trap. You may like LG now, but your next phone could be a Samsung. If that’s the case, good luck contacting them to transfer your data!

The final problem also has to do with the manufacturers. Continuity between devices can be difficult when dealing with each manufacturer’s unique user interface.  It is likely that you and your family have multiple devices. If each device has a different manufacturer then you will find that even though they all run Android, they can look very different.  In this case, you can solve the problem by using one of Androids many custom launchers.  Doing this will allow you to have more control over the way that your phone looks. You can set everyone in the house to have a similar look and feel to each other or change and customize your user experience to something more uniquely suited to you.

Android is the most widely used operating system in part because it allows huge freedom of choice in all aspects of its design. However, this great strength can also present a problem.  Keeping control of your data is one of the best ways to keep yourself free and not let a company lock you into staying with them.  If you are not able to access and move your data easily, you will feel stuck and be unlikely to change (even if you want to).  Don’t get tricked. Take control of your device! Know how to easily access your data, and make it look and feel the way you want.

UPDATE –  I have had some messages asking me to link to the services in the article

Photo backup – Google Photos

Contacts – Gmail

Files – Google Drive 

These apps are already on most Android devices they just need to be updated and activated/opened

Android Launchers – phandroid.com has a good article about diffrent launchers

Quick Look – Do not disturb

Have you ever turned your phone on silent and forgotten to turn it back on? Did your girlfriend call you ten times then rush over to make sure you weren’t dead?   This can be solved by using “do not disturb” mode.

Just swipe down from the top to reveal your quick settings and click on the button that looks like a circle with a line through it (it also says do not disturb under it).

screenshot_20170212-152152

Then, set the timer for how long  you would like your phone to be silent.

screenshot_20170212-152203

Once the time is up your phone will automatically go back to regular volume.

You can also set automatic rules, for times when you all ways want the phone not to disturb you. Just click on the “more settings” link at the bottom of the screen. It’s very simple to set up and comes in handy daily.

 

Delete that app!

If you have a newer Android phone, you may find that an app you used before is now baked right into Androids OS so you don’t need it anymore.  Here is a list of some common apps that you should delete right now!

  1. Flashlight app – These apps are very common and many of them have very invasive permissions to your phone.  In addition to this, almost every phone purchased in the last two years already has a flashlight available as a standard feature.
  2. File Browser –  In the past this was a needed feature, but has now become integrated into most new phones.
  3. Anti-Virus – Unless you are downloading apps and side loading (If you do not know what side loading is then odds are you are not doing it) then you do not need an antivirus.  Google makes it a top priority to keep malicious apps out of the play store.
  4. Cleaner Apps – These apps are very common but provide very little benefit.  They often come with annoying ads in the lock screen and constant reminders to scan your device.  If you feel that you need such an app the only one I have found that is not invasive and annoying is ccleaner.
  5. Any other app you have not used in the last few months.  If you are not using it and you have no intention to use it, remove it! Your phone will thank you.

Apps can make your phone great! They can add functionality and fun. However, when an app becomes redundant or invasive, it needs to be removed.  Every app uses system resources. You may just find that the 5 minuets you will spend removing bad or unused apps will make your phone run longer and faster.  As always please feel free to respectfully disagree or add anything that I may have missed in the comments or via the contact page.

Basics – Google Pixel

Getting a new phone is exciting but for many people it can be overwhelming to figure out how to utilize it’s features. Here are 10 things to help you settle in to your new Google Pixel Phone.

  1. Unlimited Backup.  Did you know that your phone will back up all your Photos and Videos in full original quality for free?  Just open the google photos app, log into your account, and your photos and videos will start backing up when you are connected to wifi. screenshot_20170214-110356-01
  2. Shoot in 4k.  By default your phone is set to shoot video in 1080p but your camera can shoot in 4k, meaning higher definition, more detailed, better quality images.  Make sure you go into the settings to change this so that you make the most out of your camera.screenshot_20170214-105816
  3. Stay secure.  Register your finger print with the phone so that others who pick it up don’t have access to your personal information.  Once registered, just touch the reader on the back of your phone and in less than a second your phone will be on and ready to use.screenshot_20170214-105851
  4. Be Organized.  Don’t have apps icons everywhere, know where they are when you need them.  Drag an icon over another icon and it will make a folder. You can have as many folders as you like and name them and organize them in a way that works best for you. screenshot_20170212-151515
  5. Long Press.  In Android 7 you now can access quick actions for an app by long pressing the icon.  This allows your to accomplish tasks in less clicks.screenshot_20170214-105909
  6. Let Google Assist you.  Google Assistant is baked right into your pixel ready to help you with anything from turning on your lights to setting a timer.  Just long press the circle at the bottom middle of your phone, and ask her a question.screenshot_20170214-130105
  7. Do not disturb.Have you ever turned your phone on silent and forgotten to turn it back on? Did your girlfriend call you ten times then rush over to make sure you weren’t dead?   This can be solved by using “do not disturb” mode.Just swipe down from the top to reveal your quick settings and click on the button that looks like a circle with a line through it (it also says do not disturb under it).Set the timer for how long  you would like your phone to be silent.  Once the time is up your phone will automatically go back to regular volume (you can also set up automatic rules).screenshot_20170212-152152
  8. Swipe Down.  The fingerprint reader on the back of your phone is also a way to access your menu without shifting your hand.  Swipe down on the reader and it will show you your notifications, swipe again and you will see your quick settings.nexus2cee_swipescan_loop1_thumb
  9. Personalize.  Change your background image. This has been a feature for a long time but it is worth a mention.  Just long press anywhere on the screen where there is no icon, click on wallpapers, and choose one that matches your style.screenshot_20170214-105943
  10. Don’t get spammed.  Google has integrated spam phone call protection into the pixel. Any call that it thinks is spam will show up in red and is labeled suspected spam caller under the phone number.  If you get a spam call and its not labels as such just go into your call history and long press the phone number, choose “block number” and from then on it will be blocked from your phone and it will be reported back to google as a spam caller.screenshot_20170214-093756

Hope this helps you settle into your new Pixel phone and allows you to get the most out of it!