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.
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.
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."
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.
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.
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.
Android's beauty is in its customization; you can have widgets for anything, launchers that look and feel completely different from one another, and fonts you can change at any time. And it doesn't stop at aesthetics—you can go much deeper than looks.
Aside from being able to change the wallpaper and add shortcuts, the Galaxy S4's lock screen doesn't offer much in the department of personalization. The lock screen is efficient and practical, but it's also a little bland.
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.
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.
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.
With a 5-inch screen, it's possible that the Samsung Galaxy S4 can be a bit large for our hands. While my grubby hands let me navigate the phone pretty easily, the same can't be said for everyone. A lot of us use two hands to type on the phone, play games, and perform tap or swipe gestures.
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.
My stock alarm clock does exactly what it's supposed to—it wakes me up. But for those really tough mornings when I just need to hit the snooze, getting my head out of the sheets is a no-go. This leads to trying to find my phone with an outstretched arm, which means knocked-over water glasses and my phone falling under my bed—even more out of reach. Ugh!
I've been told numerous times that I listen to music way too loud, to the point of potential hearing damage, especially when I have my headphones plugged in. Not only do my friends tell me this, but my Samsung Galaxy S4 likes to nag me as well. Once I pass a certain volume threshold (nine steps) with my headphones, I get that annoying high volume alert. Sorry, my hearing isn't as good as it once was, so let me jam in peace!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I'm the type of person that rarely has an audible ringer enabled on my phone. Haptic feedback (vibration) is enough for me... most of the time. When my phone isn't in my pocket, I become the type of person who frequently misses calls and texts—and no one likes that person.
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.
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.
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.
The stock weather widget preloaded on your Samsung Galaxy S4 is really great, but there's one thing that's missing—options. The weather widget shows just the right amount of information at a glance, and it's not too shabby looking either, but for us softModders, it'd be really nice to have more options. Well, today I'm going to provide you with a couple. Interestingly enough, this is a topic I first covered on the Samsung Galaxy S3.
Adjusting the brightness on your Android device is a simple but highly utilized action. For the most part, aside from the Sprint LG G3 variant, the brightness slider can be conveniently found nestled in your notification panel. And though it is easy to access, there is a small drawback to this feature.
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.
The new Samsung Galaxy S4 has something no other phone has ever had before—weather sensors. Older devices like the Galaxy Nexus, S3, Note, and Note 2 do have a atmospheric pressure sensor, aka a barometer. However, they do not have a thermometer or hygrometer like the GS4 does, which measures ambient temperature and humidity.
Purchasing an actual book from a brick-and-mortar store is becoming increasingly less common for people to do, but it hasn't completely gone out of style just yet. There's something about entering a bookstore and viewing all the potential great stories and epic tales just sitting on the shelves, waiting to be discovered.
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.
Reading articles on an Android phone using Chrome Browser can be a little bit of a battle; it often times requires adjusting the page to fit the screen in order to make it easier to read and scroll through. I sometimes lose this struggle and give up trying to read on my device, saving the article for a later time when I'm on my laptop.
Scrolling through my Instagram feed, I inevitably come across an image or video that I genuinely like amongst the countless selfies and plates of food porn. Naturally I want to save this image before it's buried under new posts from the heaps of people I follow, but I'm left stranded with only the ability to take a screenshot.
Many reminder apps offer various bells and whistles that make them overly complicated to use when all you want to do is one or two things. If the only things you care about doing are setting quick reminders and adding timers, you probably don't care about cloud syncing or calendar integration features.
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.
There are those who hold their phone or set it down when they're not using it, and others, like myself, who pocket it. If you're like me and are rocking the pants pocket fade, then you'll love the new Android app I found.
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?"
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.
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.
With Google's latest version of their mobile OS, Android L, the most notable aesthetic difference is the newly introduced Material Design concept that will soon be ever-present through the interface. The objective of this bold design is to create "hierarchy, meaning, and focus," as described by Google, and the deliberate choices of color and white space "to create immersion and clarity."
Windows 8's interface was met with criticism when it was released, mainly directed at the tiled Start screen, a departure from Windows versions of old. Many felt that this new home screen style was better suited for mobile devices like Microsoft's Surface tablets and Windows Phones.