How to: Quickly Disable Bloatware on the Galaxy S5

If you picked up a Samsung Galaxy S5 today from a carrier partner in the U.S., then you are more than likely already overwhelmed by the amount of bloatware installed on your device. For example, on the Verizon variant alone, we’re pushing 20 pre-installed apps that I will never use. From Big Red’s ever-growing list of VZW apps to the pre-loaded suite of Amazon products, it’s a bit much.

Thankfully, Samsung keeps making it easier and easier to disable these bloatware apps, since many can’t be fully uninstalled. Below, we’ll talk about the two ways you can quickly disable/hide those unattractive carrier-branded apps.  (more…)

How to: Setup the Samsung Galaxy S5 Fingerprint Scanner

The Samsung Galaxy S5 has a fingerprint scanner, yep, it does. It’s not as slick as Apple’s on the iPhone 5s, but it’s there in case you want to give it a spin. You can use it to authenticate in your Samsung account, potentially pay for things with Paypal, and even set it up to be used for unlocking your phone. In my brief time with it, I’ve found that it works for the most part, but is indeed a bit particular in where it wants you to swipe, much like other fingerprint scanners that require a swipe. (more…)

Using “Toolbox” on the Samsung Galaxy S5

Samsung is known for tossing all sorts of gimmicky software features into its flagship Galaxy phones. Some are neat tricks that you’ll seldom use, while others look great on a press event stage and almost no where else. But the new Galaxy S5 has one in particular that is actually pretty useful – it’s called Toolbox.

Toolbox is in a way a lot like some of the floating apps we have seen over the last year (Chat Heads or Floating Notifications), in that it displays itself as a circle that floats with you to any screen. It can go transparent if you aren’t using it much and light back up the minute you touch it. It’s useful, though, because you can attach five of your favorite apps to it, making them accessible anywhere.  (more…)

How to: Turn Off HTC One (M8) Voice Dial Gesture, Other Motion Launch Gestures

HTC may be in a neck-and-neck battle with Samsung for king of the gimmicks, but even I can admit that they innovated or at least created something useful in one area – the lock screen with Motion Launch Gestures on the HTC One (M8). Motion Launch Gestures allow you to quickly wake your phone, unlock it, jump to your home screen, launch BlinkFeed, or even activate a voice dialer for making mostly-hands-free calls. Most of the gestures are incredibly useful, especially since the phone is uncomfortably tall with a lock/wake button placed at its very top. With these gestures, you almost never need to press that button.

But what if you find the gestures to be a nuisance? For example, we have found that voice dialing on the M8 is mostly miss, with a few hits here and there. It’s also confusing to dismiss should you accidentally activate it, since there isn’t a cancel button.  (more…)

How to: Change Launchers on the HTC One (M8)

The new HTC One (M8) runs HTC’s BlinkFeed launcher out of the box. It’s not a bad OEM launcher, but if you aren’t a fan of BlinkFeed and also want custom icon pack support in a launcher that carries a much more classic Android appearance, a 3rd party launcher should be installed immediately. Since the One (M8) is an Android device, getting a 3rd party launcher up and running isn’t all that difficult – download one you like, run it, and be on your way.

Should you be the type that often switches between multiple launchers through Android 4.4′s (Kit Kat) new Home toggle, we wanted to make sure you knew where to find it on HTC’s new flagship. It’s not in the typical Settings>Home location that you would see with a stock Android device and is instead tucked into HTC’s Personalize menu.

To access the Home launcher switcher, either follow the video below or cruise into Settings>Personalize>Home screen, and then tap the launcher you want to use.  (more…)

Straight Talk APN Settings for Android Phones [Beginners' Guide]

Apologies on the two APN posts in one afternoon, but we wanted to get them out of the way and into the Beginners’ Guide.

If you aren’t on Aio Wireless and instead went with Straight Talk, we also have APN settings for you as well. Below, you’ll find the official settings pulled from Straight Talk’s site for both AT&T and T-Mobile service, though if you venture into a variety of forums across this wonderful internet, you are bound to find tweaked settings that one user or another claim bring even better performance.

I would suggest that you start with these, and should you run into issues, start tweaking or looking elsewhere. But again, these are the official settings.  (more…)

Aio Wireless APN Settings for Android Phones [Beginners' Guide]

If you joined the world of prepaid wireless (our list of the best prepaid plans), there is a good chance that you have also encountered “APN settings.” Without going into dirty details on what APN settings are, just understand that they are your gateway to have service with your prepaid carrier of choice. In this case, it would be Aio Wireless. By inputting the specific APN settings for Aio into your Android phone, you are giving it the power to connect to their network, send text messages, and utilize data.

Thankfully, Aio provides the exact APN settings for use on their network through their website. We have included them below, along with instructions on how to get into the APN settings of most of the major phone types for Android. (more…)