Whether you're a secret spy or just a regular person with a few secrets, you may want to keep certain information on your smartphone private, and it's totally possible on Android to do so.
Trust can be a touchy subject in general, and is often required when sharing personal information—especially so when handing our phones over to others. You may not have a ton of secret or nefarious information on your device, but that doesn't mean you want your mom or snoopy coworker having easy access to your messages or Facebook app.
Only scumbags hide their call and message history, right? Wrong. While it may seem like a tactic for the unfaithful, it's still a good thing to do for certain contacts on your phone that you don't want to block outright.
Unless you're sporting an LG G3 or a mod that allows tap-to-sleep and/or tap-to-wake functionality, you're probably hitting the power button to sleep and wake your device. But that button may be awkward to hit, may be worn down, or may just stop working due to a manufacturer's error or a device drop. In any case, it is possible to end reliance on the power button, opting instead for a simple swipe gesture that will instantly lock your device.
When playing a game or using an app, incoming call alerts can be extremely irritating on my Galaxy S4 because they insist on taking over the entire screen. The alert is a little different on other Android phones, depending on the manufacturer's skin, but all are fairly intrusive in one way or another.
Before you head to class, work, or sleep, you're probably doing the same thing over and over again—toggling off system settings like Wi-Fi, sound, data, or brightness, depending on the circumstances. Schedules and routines can help increase efficiency, so while you abide to a particular schedule, so should your Android.
Call it OCD if you will, but I make it a priority to have a clean Notification panel. Like a chalkboard that isn't wiped spotless, I get an unsettling feeling that something in the universe isn't complete when there's unnecessary clutter in the drop-down. For this reason, I loathe the fact that I can't remove the "Wi-Fi connected" tile from my "Notifications."
In previous guides, we showed you how to easily tweak your Google Keyboard by using various colors and shapes, installing an Android L theme, or adding a convenient number row to its main display. And now, you can add another Google Keyboard theme to your arsenal by making it look like your iOS friend's iPad or iPhone keyboard.
While screenshotting a received Snapchat has never been a hard thing to do, saving one without being noticed is a completely different story. Previously, you would have to have either a rooted Android or jailbroken iOS device to save one of those self-destructing messages undetected, but one particular app has opened this trick up to the masses.
Something pretty awesome happened over the last couple of days. George Hotz, better known as Geohot, the infamous hacker known for jailbreaking iOS and exploiting the Sony Playstation 3, has brought joy to owners of just about all Android smartphones and tablets, especially those on AT&T and Verizon.
There are a gazillion app switchers on the market, and some are really awesome, like Edge, GloveBox, Loopr, and Switchr, to name just a few. However, these can all be a little bit more complicated and cumbersome than necessary when I just want to switch back to the last app I was in.
You don't need a study to tell you how beneficial music is to helping you fall asleep. Most of you probably have your soothing playlist and SleepPhones queued up and ready to go before you get into bed and count those Zs.
Unlocking your Samsung Galaxy S4 so you can use a different SIM card isn't the easiest thing in the world. In the states, unlocking cell phones was actually illegal, despite the White House's disapproval, though, a recent bill has making its way to the House floor and has made it legal again.
Unlike the suave 007 that Daniel Craig portrayed, I am not a spy, nor am I that charming, but I do occasionally enjoy taking a stealthy video. Maybe I'm a jerk, but I often catch people doing ridiculous things and just think, "Aren't you embarrassed?"
For new Android users, rooting an Android phone can often be an intimidating process, especially since there are so many different ways to gain root access, depending on your model and firmware version.
Whether you're in a movie theater, driving, or just want to temporarily unplug from the grid, you need to ignore or completely silence your phone. You'll still receive calls and texts during this time, but in a world where people expect instant gratification, you'll end up looking like a jerk who doesn't answer back.
Navigating through the darkness—literal darkness, not the existential variety—is always a difficult task on its own, and my Android doesn't necessarily make it any easier. Many manufacturers offer quick access to a flashlight or torch feature, but my Galaxy S4 doesn't have an easily accessible toggle or button available to turn it on.
April Fools may be over, but any day is a good day to prank someone, and the best time to do it is when everyone's eyes are glued to the television.
With root access, you're granted greater control over your device, allowing you to do things that your Android system wouldn't allow otherwise. Things like installing Xposed mods are made possible with root, but other advantages address performance and security, like stopping your Android logging, which is exactly what we'll be going over today.
While it may be impolite to play around on a smartphone at dinner, having it consume my attention while I'm on a deadline or trying to study can prove disastrous. With Netflix and social media just a tap away, it's a dangerous game of wills, one that the phone usually wins.
Creating interesting photographs used to be more fun, before we all collectively decided that color filters and rotations qualified as "unique" smartphone pics. Scrolling through my Instagram feed only confirms that these supposedly special, filter-laden photos are actually the norm now.
How To: Automate Battery-Saving Mode, Screen Rotation, & Other Custom Tasks on Your Samsung Galaxy S4
Automation is everywhere in our daily lives. Faucets and hand dryers that turn on for you when they detect your presence. Automated teller machines to handle your bank account. Timed sprinklers to water your lawn every morning. DVRs to record your favorite TV shows when you're not home.
Rooting your Samsung Galaxy S4 has many advantages; theming, free wireless hotspots, deleting system apps, and generally being ahead of the curve when it comes to updates. It's also great for simple things like centering your clock or freezing apps.
Silencing my phone always gives me mild anxiety; while my Android is muted, my girlfriend or boss may be trying to reach me with some urgent news or task. On the one hand, I want to enjoy some peace and quiet, but on the other, I don't want to come back to a phone with 100 missed calls and countless exclamatory texts.
Get ready to stop using the stock Contacts app on your Samsung Galaxy S4, because there's something better out there for keeping track of your family and friends—and it looks better too.
If you've seen ParaNorman or Fantastic Mr. Fox, then you have some kind of idea of what stop-motion animation is. Basically, these artists make objects, or small figures, appear to be moving on their own by manipulating and repositioning them in the smallest increments, then capturing each frame after doing so. When all the frames are compiled together, the final product is something spectacular like The Nightmare Before Christmas, which took roughly 109,440 frames in all.
Rooting a mobile device may not be a big deal these days, but not being able to root definitely is. Even the Library of Congress, National Telecommunications and Information Administration, and White House can agree on that.
One draw that Samsung's Galaxy S line has had over the Google Nexus 4 and 5 and the HTC One (though the M8 appears to be following suit) is expandable storage. Pop a microSD card into the slot and you have extra storage for music, photos, and even apps themselves in some cases.
While having a ton of friends on Snapchat does wonders to stroke my ego, sending content to all of them at once becomes a hassle when I have to go one by one, checking each contact individually.
Third-party ROMs like CyanogenMod are the ultimate form of customization for softModders. Hard-working developers offer us alternate Android experiences to replace our often bloatware-riddled stock ROMs.
It's not enough for me to just listen to a mindless EDM song that can be retooled as a torturing method for Guantanamo Bay. As an actual fan of music, I yearn for substance and depth. Artists like Morrissey, Kurt Cobain, and John Lennon impacted lives with not only their music, but the subject matter of their songs.
I'm always looking for the best apps and services for my Android, and that means sticking strictly to the Google Play Store is a no-go. If you're like me and tend to install a lot of APKs (application files), you're probably tired of seeing the "Install" confirmation that always pops up.
UPDATE: The mod discussed below is no longer available for download. We are looking for an alternative and will update this page when we find one.
When you were younger, you probably had your parents bugging you not to have your cassette player headphones up too loud. For all you younger readers out there, it was probably a CD player. The even younger readers likely had an iPod or other MP3 player. Either way, your parents didn't want you to mess up your hearing, blasting that Limp Bizkit in your ears (wow, I'm showing my age here).
Xposed, by XDA developer rovo89, is a framework for your Samsung Galaxy S4 (or other Android device) that lets you add tweaks and customizations to your ROM (either stock or custom) without any real hassle.
With the Power key located on the back of the device, LG included a convenient "double-tap to sleep" function in their G2 and G3 devices. The function allows users to simply double-tap the display to put their device to sleep instead of picking it up and pressing the Power key.
A highly useful, yet unrecognized and under-appreciated feature in Apple's iOS 8 is the ability to seamlessly convert incoming texts regarding future dates into calendar events. Messages like "Let's chill tomorrow" can be tapped on and quickly added to the calendar. It's convenient and easy, but unfortunately, not available on most Android devices. However, it's pretty easy to get using Inviter (SMS to Calendar) from developer Sergey Beliy.
Classic party games like Spin the Bottle and Truth or Dare, immensely popular in the '80s and '90s, seem to have been long forgotten and abandoned by today's youth. Today, new forms of party games are all the rage, a prime example being Cards Against Humanity. Yes, CAH is hilarious and fun, but the classics can still be appreciated, as long as we catch them up to the times.
Security is a priority for many when they first set up their mobile devices. Nobody wants to have a stranger or nosey friend go through their phone and discover risqué photos or embarrassing text messages. These days, the closet is gone—everyone keeps their skeletons in their phones.
There's a lot you can access from the Notification tray on your Galaxy S4. Quick settings toggles, brightness controls, and of course, notifications. However, despite the power this simple pull-down gives you, you're still left with a boring, black background for the shade.