Tip: Changing the Default SMS App in Kit Kat [Beginners Guide]

Shortly before Google released Android 4.4 “Kit Kat” into the wild, they announced that a change was coming to how the OS tolerated SMS apps. In the past, you could have any number of apps on your phone set to receive SMS messages. From the stock messaging app to third party beauties like Sliding Messaging, the whole SMS world was wide open and a free-for-all of sorts. So with Kit Kat, Google has tried to tighten that all up by limiting the OS to allowing one app to essentially send and receive SMS and MMS messages.

As is the case any time a change like this happens, we want to make sure you know how to handle it going forward. Google has actually built in a system setting for Android 4.4 that allows you to toggle between SMS apps that are installed on your phone, you just need to know where to find it. Let’s open the beginners’ guide and take a look!  (more…)

How to: Remove Galaxy Note 3 SIM Cards (Updated)

galaxy note 3 sim

This morning, I attempted to remove the SIM card out of my international Samsung Galaxy Note 3 variant and struggled mightily until giving up and going with a pair of pliers to snatch the little guy out. You see, Samsung chose not to spring-load their SIM slot on the Note 3, so you can’t use a nail to press the SIM in to release it. It’s a weird move, since almost every other phone on the planet has a spring-loaded SIM Slot. It definitely threw me for a loop, causing way too much stress over something as minuscule as a SIM card.

As it turns out, I’m not alone in struggling with the Galaxy Note 3 SIM removal process. I took to Twitter to see if there was a personal lack-of-SIM-removal-DNA on my part or a wide-spread dealio and was told that many have struggled to remove the SIM from their Note 3. Some used paper clips, others used mighty amounts of pressure from their now-purple fingers, and a couple worked with extra sticky tape. As much as it makes me feel better than I wasn’t alone in the process, I need to point out that we are all fools. Samsung had us covered from day 1, we just needed to dig a little deeper in the boxes that our phones arrived in.  (more…)

How to: Factory Reset a Chromecast

chromecast

The Chromecast, Google’s new HDMI dongle, is largely thought to be nothing short of a bundle of awesome, especially at its $35 price point. But there still may be times when it has issues and needs troubleshooting. Since there isn’t much of an interface outside of a “Ready to Cast” screen and the help of an Android app, performing tasks like a factory data reset could be somewhat confusing. So if you ever run into a point of no return and are completely frustrated, this is how you can start over from the beginning.  (more…)

An Overview of Android Lock Screen Security Options [Beginners' Guide]

android lockscreen

Since your phone is with you at all times, the likelihood of it getting left behind at a bar, restaurant, gym, or other location that you previously visited is probably pretty high. And since we live in a world that isn’t always filled with angels, the chances of that left-behind-phone getting stolen and fondled deeply without your approval is probably even higher. Your first line of defense against evil doers is your lock screen.  (more…)

How to: Set an Alarm on Your Android Phone [Beginners' Guide]

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(Samsung alarm)

Does anyone actually own a physical alarm clock anymore? You know, one of those big boxes with glowing lights, the worst radio speaker in history, and that likely has a broken limb thanks to being knocked off your night stand a time or two? For many, you could put these in the same category as dinosaurs as most have switched over to their phone full time as an alarm replacement. After all, your phone is with you every step of the day, including during times of travel, so why not make it your bedside and morning companion?

In this quick guide, we’ll look at setting up an alarm in the simplest of ways. This isn’t rocket science, but it’s definitely something you should all know how to do. The only tricky part depends on the type of device you have. Motorola, stock Android and Samsung all do things slightly different, so we’ll take a look at each.  (more…)

How to: Setup and Use Mobile Hotspot [Beginners' Guide]

hotspot1

One of the most important features to Android smartphone owners, especially for those who travel regularly or want to take full advantage of high-speed LTE networks, is mobile hotspot. It’s also called “tethering,” but carriers have done their best to move away from that word for the most part and onto “hotspot” which is much more marketing friendly. With a mobile hotspot, you can turn your phone into an on-the-go WiFi router for your other WiFi enabled devices to connect to. No longer are you stuck with fingers crossed, hoping that you next location has free WiFi or a password available. With your phone, and hotspot enabled, you can be connected from anywhere.  (more…)

How to: Factory Reset Your Phone [Beginners' Guide]

Reset

Whatever the circumstances may be, sometimes we need to wipe our phones of all of their content. Maybe you are getting ready to sell it through eBay or Craigslist, and whoever is buying your phone certainly doesn’t need to see all of your stuff on their new phone. So, how do you factory reset an Android device? This guide will serve as a brief look into how to rid your phone of all of your personal pictures, documents, contacts, and more with the help of the built in reset option that Android offers.

Let’s get to it. (more…)

How to: Quickly Kill Off or Switch to Recently Used Apps [Beginners' Guide]

android task killer

When the Android team first unveiled Ice Cream Sandwich (Android 4.0), one of the flagship features shown off was a new way to quickly switch between recently used apps or remove those same apps from running. On stock Android devices, or devices that use on-screen navigation keys, the button to access this new app switcher menu looks like two rectangles on top of each other (see image above). On devices like the Galaxy S3 which utilize a physical home button, a simple long press on that button will bring up the same menu.  (more…)