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…)

How to: Quickly Uninstall Android Apps [Beginners' Guide]

uninstall apps

Beginner or not, we are always looking for ways to accomplish tasks faster on smartphones and tablets. One area in particular would be in app management. How often do you install a new app or game only to realize after a couple of minutes that it has no place on your device? As someone that installs multiple apps per day, I can tell you that it happens to me on a regular basis, so uninstalling quickly has become more important. And thanks to updates in Android, this task is now easier than ever to do.  (more…)

How to: Disable Mobile Data Usage [Beginners' Guide]

mobile data android

If you didn’t have a chance to lock into unlimited data back before most carriers killed it off, then you are likely on a tiered data plan that forces you to constantly monitor your usage. With limits as low as 1GB on some carriers, there may be times when you reach your limit and need to toggle data off to save yourself from overages and penalty fees. Thankfully, the Android operating system has made this easier than ever to do with just a few quick steps. Even better, though, they allow you to set data limits, so that your phone will warn you as you approach your monthly data allotment.  (more…)

How to: Disable System Apps and Bloatware on Android [Beginners' Guide]

system apps disable

With the introduction of Ice Cream Sandwich (Android 4.0), Google gave users the power to disable system-level apps on an Android device. At first, you may think, “Why would I ever need to do that?” But if you look at it from a control perspective, you’ll quickly realize that this move could be perceived as a slap in the face to carriers and their need to install bloatware, or apps that they have installed on your phone through partners which cannot be removed. It’s also a way to disable rogue system apps that may be gobbling up battery, are running too often in the background, or that you wish were unavailable to users of your phone or tablet.  (more…)

How to: Enable GPS and Other Location Services [Beginners' Guide]

android gps

When you first turn on your smartphone and you are taken through the setup process, you will undoubtedly be asked if you want to turn on location services. As you read the screen that talks about these location services, one that mentions GPS tracking, locations, and the accessing of information you may not want the world to know on a minute-by-minute basis, you may skip right over it, hoping to reconsider activating them later. And you know what, there is nothing wrong with that. But in case you do that, we figured you should probably know how to turn them back on, as many of the applications you use will be crippled if location services are not turned on.  (more…)

How to: Setup Lockscreen Widgets in Android 4.2 [Beginners' Guide]

lockscreen widgets1

When Google introduced Android 4.2, they announced an old feature, but in a new way. Once you were running this new version of Android, you had the ability to add select widgets to the lockscreen of your phone. In the past, you had always been able to utilize the widget power of Bugdroid on home screens, but expanding to your lockscreen gave you a new world of possibilities. Funny thing is, that third party lockscreen replacements have allowed this for years, so some of us were already used to the idea. For those not, this guide is for you.  (more…)

How to: Scan Your Device for Malware or Potential Threats [Beginners' Guide]

android malware

Depending on who you talk to, Android as an operating system may or may not have an issue with malware, spyware and viruses. We typically operate under the idea that it in no way has a problem, but that there are plenty of security companies out there willing to tell you otherwise. To be fair, though, there have been cases of malware or viruses in Android apps, most simply aren’t found anywhere near the Google Play store. If they are found, it’s usually through alternative 3rd party markets or pirated apps.  (more…)

Backing Up Your Android Apps and Other Phone Info [Beginners' Guide]

app backups

When you first buy a new smartphone or tablet, thinking about installing an app that backs up things like apps, photos, texts, and other information is recommended. Since many new users aren’t 100% familiar with the inner workings of a smartphone operating system and how it handles your phone’s data, 3rd party apps that automate processes like backing up are a great idea. In this mini-tutorial, we’ll tackle the benefits of backing up and some of the apps worth a look.  (more…)