How to: Track Your Phone If It’s Stolen or Lost [Beginners' Guide]

find phone

When you first turn on your new phone, one of the last things you want to entertain is the idea that there may be a time when it becomes lost or stolen. As much as we cherish our smartphones and keep them by our sides at all times, there is always a chance that it gets left behind somewhere or that someone grabs it while you aren’t paying attention. Thanks to a number of Android applications, you can help reunite yourself with your phone in a matter of minutes.

If you head into the Google Play store and search for “find my phone,” you will be flooded with more options than you can probably digest. The good news is that most of them are simple, free, and work incredibly well. Let’s talk about the service and how it works.  (more…)

Quick Tip: Use Nova Launcher to Access Google Now [Beginners' Guide]

Nova 1

For owners of a device with hardware keys instead of onscreen buttons (Galaxy S3, Note 2, DNA, etc.), accessing Google Now with a simple swipe up from the “Home” button just isn’t possible. Some people either have to long press their Home button or access it from the up-top Search widget. This quick tip will help anyone using Nova Launcher or other third party launchers to assign a simple swipe gesture to their app drawer button for easy access to Google Now. (more…)

How to: Enable Pinch-to-Zoom in Gmail [Beginners' Guide]

With Google’s update of Gmail today, everyone running Ice Cream Sandwich and above can take advantage of the new pinch-to-zoom and swipe-to-delete features. The feature does not come automatically enabled and must be turned on manually in order to be used, which seemed to confuse a few people who were trying to pinch on every email in their inbox.

Don’t worry, it’s an easy process and we have detailed it below so even our new Android-using readers can take advantage of this.  (more…)

How to: Disable Android Application Notifications [Beginners' Guide]

We have received a few requests to create a post explaining how to disable a certain application’s notifications. Lately, some apps that are downloaded from Google Play utilize a certain type of advertisement that appears in our notification bar. For some, this is inexcusable and is a complete eye sore. Like them, I feel the same way. Down below we go over just how to get rid of those pesky notifications.  (more…)

How to: Quickly Access Google Now From Any Screen [Beginners' Guide]

When Google introduced Jelly Bean (Android 4.1) at Google I/O this past summer, the most popular new feature was Google Now, by a landslide. Google Now, combined with Search, turned your phone into an automated and incredibly intelligent tool. There were the beautiful cards for weather, sports, travel, and appointments, plus the knowledge graph displayed in a crystal clear way. With Google Now on your phone, you instantly became the best trivia night cheater in the building. But how can you access it?  (more…)

How to: Set Data Limits on Android [Beginners' Guide]

With the introduction of Ice Cream Sandwich and Jelly Bean, Google has enabled Android devices to notify their owners that the device has reached a set data limit. You as the owner can set this limit anywhere from 0.0MB all the way to whatever your plan is set at. If you’re unlimited, then this feature is probably something you won’t be using anytime soon.  (more…)

How to: Apply Icon Packs With a 3rd Party Launcher [Beginners' Guide]

One of the cool things we can do with our Android devices straight out of the box is download a custom launcher and then apply icon packs that will drastically change the way an application’s icon appears. Take the above screenshot for example – I have Nova Launcher installed and have Kovdev’s Tersus icon pack applied. It gives each icon a uniformed square and minimal look. It’s clean, pretty, and super easy to do.  (more…)

Managing Notifications in Jelly Bean [Beginners' Guide]

When Google introduced Jelly Bean at this year’s Google I/O event in San Francisco, one of the features that struck as us as really cool was Jelly Bean’s new notifications. With Jelly Bean, some applications are able to show interactive notifications and also expandable notifications that allow you to take certain actions straight from the notification bar.

For now, only certain applications support expandable notifications. But if anything is for certain, it’s that Google will be adding more and more of these interactive notifications as time goes by. Here’s a quick rundown of the specific apps that support the new system and what they look like.  (more…)