Tips – Droid Life https://www.droid-life.com An intense Android news community bringing you the latest in phones, rooting, apps, and reviews. Thu, 14 Dec 2017 23:51:21 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Cool Trick: Google Lens Can Directly Import Handwritten Notes to Keep, Remember for Later https://www.droid-life.com/2017/12/04/cool-trick-google-lens-can-directly-import-handwritten-notes-keep-remember-later/ https://www.droid-life.com/2017/12/04/cool-trick-google-lens-can-directly-import-handwritten-notes-keep-remember-later/#comments Mon, 04 Dec 2017 20:50:36 +0000 https://www.droid-life.com/?p=209304

Google Lens is well into its full rollout to Google’s Pixel and Pixel 2 devices, which means that most of you should have it by now. Because of that, we’re starting to see specific uses pop-up that are worth calling out. As you can imagine, since this is a Google product, Lens will likely do … Continued

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Google Lens is well into its full rollout to Google’s Pixel and Pixel 2 devices, which means that most of you should have it by now. Because of that, we’re starting to see specific uses pop-up that are worth calling out. As you can imagine, since this is a Google product, Lens will likely do much more than the basics Google lays out when promoting it.

For example, a reddit user noticed that when pointing at a handwritten note, Lens not only asked if it could save the info for later, but if they wanted to directly import it to Google Keep. The “Remember this” option isn’t necessarily new to Assistant, yet is still cool in this situation because you can ask Assistant to pull that information up later, which it’ll do as an image.

google lens google keep google lens google keep

For the Keep stuff, we’re talking about instant note creation, with an image of the text. Now, I know you could take a picture of something and then share it to Keep or open Keep and start a note with an image, but this could be much easier if you think about. Assistant can be fired up quickly by voice or with a squeeze on the new Pixels, followed by a tap on Lens to read out the note, followed by another quick tap to “Import to Keep.” Of course, it could translate text for you that might be something you’d want to remember for later too, which your camera or Keep wouldn’t do before saving.

Also, while importing to keep, you get to name the note, add tags, and even choose a different Google account, assuming you have multiple on your phone.

Just a cool Lens trick. Anyone finding others?

// reddit

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The Little Things: Pixel 2 and 2 XL Screens Don’t Light Up When You Charge or Unplug https://www.droid-life.com/2017/12/02/little-things-pixel-2-2-xl-screens-dont-light-charge-unplug/ https://www.droid-life.com/2017/12/02/little-things-pixel-2-2-xl-screens-dont-light-charge-unplug/#comments Sat, 02 Dec 2017 17:21:04 +0000 https://www.droid-life.com/?p=209271

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve cussed out my phone just before falling asleep. Typically, when I’m ready to pass out for the night, I reach for the charging cable next to my bed and plug in whichever phone I’m testing at the moment, only to have its screen (which I just turned … Continued

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I can’t tell you how many times I’ve cussed out my phone just before falling asleep. Typically, when I’m ready to pass out for the night, I reach for the charging cable next to my bed and plug in whichever phone I’m testing at the moment, only to have its screen (which I just turned off in my dark bedroom), light up the heavens as that USB cable touches home. Or, in the morning, when it’s still dark in this NW wet hell of winter, I unplug the phone from charging all night and the same thing happens – BLING! GOOD MORNING EVERYONE ELSE STILL ASLEEP AND YOUR CRUSTY EYES THAT WEREN’T READY FOR MY SHINE!

Google, because they clearly understand my frustration in this charging department, changed how this works with the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL. Instead of your screen turning on with each plug, Google has the Pixel 2 phones use their ambient display to simply confirm to you for a moment that they are indeed charging (see image above). Rather than firing up all those pixels, Google instead uses the tools at their command to simplify the process and not blind you in the dark.

And when you unplug, well, the phone doesn’t do anything but stop charging. You don’t need the screen to turn on to show you notifications, because you have an always-on display that is already showing you what’s in-store for the day.

I know this may seem like a small thing, but that’s kind of the beauty of it. As Android matures and these companies all realize that there are only so many features to pack into their skins, it’s these subtle changes to the experience that can make or break a phone. OK, that’s a ridiculous overstatement, but come on, how awesome is this?

Enjoy your weekend.

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How to: Connect to Google Home Over Bluetooth https://www.droid-life.com/2017/08/18/google-home-bluetooth-pairing-how-to/ https://www.droid-life.com/2017/08/18/google-home-bluetooth-pairing-how-to/#comments Fri, 18 Aug 2017 19:00:55 +0000 http://www.droid-life.com/?p=204779

Back at Google I/O, Google announced that Bluetooth pairing was on the way to Google Home, leading way to more flexible music control. Rather than needing Google’s built-in Chromecast support or for your favorite apps to get onboard, you could instead just pair your phone to Home over Bluetooth and play as you would with … Continued

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Back at Google I/O, Google announced that Bluetooth pairing was on the way to Google Home, leading way to more flexible music control. Rather than needing Google’s built-in Chromecast support or for your favorite apps to get onboard, you could instead just pair your phone to Home over Bluetooth and play as you would with any other Bluetooth device. It’s a feature that probably should have been there from day 1. That argument aside, Bluetooth pairing is now available on Google Home.

Because the setup for Google Home Bluetooth connections isn’t the most straight forward thing at the moment (we can’t find a voice command to get this going), we thought we’d walk you through the somewhat tedious process. It involves the Google Home app, finding a semi-hidden setting, putting your Home in pairing mode, and then connecting through your phone’s Bluetooth settings.

Instructions – Pair Bluetooth to Google Home

1. Open the Google Home app (install it if you don’t have it).

2. Tap the Devices button in the top right corner of the app’s main screen.

3. Find the Google Home you want to pair over Bluetooth.

4. Tap its menu button and choose “Settings.”

google home bluetooth pairing google home bluetooth pairing

5. Under “Device info” choose “Paired Bluetooth devices.”

6. Tap “Enable Pairing Mode” in the bottom right corner.

google home bluetooth pairing google home bluetooth pairing

7. After that, you’ll go into your phone’s Bluetooth settings and look for your Google Home device. It should be there available as a Bluetooth connection option.

8. Tap on it to connect and allow whichever permissions it asks that you are comfortable with.

google home bluetooth pairing google home bluetooth pairing

9. And that’s it! You are connected over Bluetooth.

10. To remove a connected device, you’ll head back into Google Home “Paired Bluetooth devices” and tap the “X” next to devices you want unpaired.

google home bluetooth pairing

11. Going forward, as you disconnect and want to reconnect, just look for your Google Home in your Bluetooth settings. It should always be there for connection once you have previously connected.

Here’s to hoping a voice command to take the place of this arrives soon.

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Google Home Calling: Everything You Need to Know https://www.droid-life.com/2017/08/16/google-home-free-calling-setup-assistant/ https://www.droid-life.com/2017/08/16/google-home-free-calling-setup-assistant/#comments Wed, 16 Aug 2017 19:04:08 +0000 http://www.droid-life.com/?p=204643

You now know that Google Home calling is starting to rollout and should be on your units within a week if it isn’t already. As fun as that sounds, blasting out Google Home calls to friends, family, and random businesses after an evening full of drinking, I’m sure you have some questions too. In this … Continued

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You now know that Google Home calling is starting to rollout and should be on your units within a week if it isn’t already. As fun as that sounds, blasting out Google Home calls to friends, family, and random businesses after an evening full of drinking, I’m sure you have some questions too. In this post, we’ll try to answer as many as we can with a little help from Google.

When is Google Home calling arriving?

Again, it started rolling out today! Google expects that to continue “over the coming week,” so you should have calling on your Google Home within a few days if it hasn’t already arrived.

How to place a call on Google Home

1. With a Google Home in house and connected to WiFi, just say, “Hey Google, call <insert person or business>.” If calling is live on your devices, it should fire right up and walk you through any additional steps needed. If it’s not available yet, you’ll be told so.

2. You can specify businesses by name to have them called, be more vague and suggest something like “Call nearest liquor store,” call individual people on your contacts list, ask Home to “redial,” or spell out a full phone number.

3. If you call someone who has multiple numbers listed, Google will read out the numbers and ask which you’d like to call.

4. To end a call you can tap on the top of Google Home or say, “Hey Google, hang up/stop/end call.”

5. That’s seriously it. If your Home is updated with the feature, you just make calls by asking it to call people or businesses.

Use Google Assistant while on Google Home calls

While in call, you can place people on hold and ask the Google Assistant info. You do this by either pressing and holding the top of Google Home (the touch sensitive part) or by asking for help with the “Hey, Google” command. During that Assistant session, the other person on the line can’t hear the Assistant nor can you hear the person on the other end. It’s very much a private Assistant session that ends once Google gets you your requested information.

Also, you can’t use all Google Assistant features on a call. Here is the list of stuff that won’t work while on a Google Home call:

  • Listen to music, news, or podcasts
  • Listen to My Day
  • Use Apps for the Assistant
  • Make another phone call
  • Play games

Using Google Contacts with Google Home calls

Google Home uses your Google Contacts list to help it place calls to individuals. In order to get that synced up properly, you’ll need to head into the Google Home app, make sure you are on the same WiFi network as your Google Home units, then run through Menu>More Settings>Devices and choose the device you want to have access to your Google Contacts. For each device you want to give access, you’ll then toggle the “Personal results” option on.

google home calls

Additionally, to sync contacts everywhere, make sure you head into the Google app on your phone and follow through Settings>Accounts and Privacy>Google activity controls>Device information. Turn that on if it isn’t.

Caller ID for recipients

When you place Google Home calls, they’ll show up as “unknown” or “No Caller ID” on the other end to the recipient. Google says that they will allow you to show your mobile number later on this year, but not right away as the option isn’t ready for prime time. However, if you are a Google Voice or Project Fi user, you can have your number show up from day 1.

To set that up, head into the Google Home app, slide out the side Menu>More settings>Calls. Once in there, you’ll see the screen below and can choose your Google Voice or Project Fi number. If you’d rather your Home calls remain unknown, there is an “Unlisted” option too. My guess is that when the option to show your mobile number arrives, it’ll be found in this exact spot.

google home free calling

Google Home calling multi-user access

Since Google Home supports multiple users by voice, Google Home calling does as well. Google will use each person’s own contacts list when placing calls to individuals. This, of course, only works properly if you’ve setup multiple users.

Can you call 911?

Nope! At this time, 911 is not supported.

Can you accept incoming calls?

Nope! Google says that this option isn’t currently possible nor do they have details to share at this time. This also means you can’t block people, which makes sense since…they…can’t…call you anyway.

Does Google record your calls?

Nope! Google records the “OK Google” or “Hey Google” command each time it is said, but then stops recording once that has finished. So should you ask Google Home to call someone, it won’t continue recording as you talk – it’ll stop the minute you finish the “Hey Google, call Bob” line.

For more info on Google Home calling, head over to Google Support.

Buy Google Home: Best Buy | Walmart | Target

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How to: Setup Google Allo on Web https://www.droid-life.com/2017/08/15/how-to-setup-google-allo-web/ https://www.droid-life.com/2017/08/15/how-to-setup-google-allo-web/#comments Tue, 15 Aug 2017 14:49:19 +0000 http://www.droid-life.com/?p=204524

Need the quick and easy instructions on how to setup Google Allo for Web on your Android phone and Chrome browser? It’s super simple and I’m sure you can do this on your own, but for those who need some visual aides, we’ve got them. Let’s walk you through it! Setup Allo for Web: 1. … Continued

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Need the quick and easy instructions on how to setup Google Allo for Web on your Android phone and Chrome browser? It’s super simple and I’m sure you can do this on your own, but for those who need some visual aides, we’ve got them. Let’s walk you through it!

Setup Allo for Web:

1. Install Google Allo on your Android phone (iOS pairing not yet supported).

Google Play Link

2. Setup the app by confirming your phone number, adding a profile picture and your name, choosing a Google account for backups, etc.

3. Once done, slide out the side menu in Allo to find the “Allo for Web” option

4. Tap that and you’ll then be asked to open allo.google.com/web on your desktop Chrome browser.

5. You’ll also be asked to scan a QR code on that page with your Allo app.

6. Once scanned, you should immediately see Allo sign-in on Chrome and be ready to chat with your synced conversations from the Android app. It’ll look like this.

setup google allo for web

7. And yep, Google Assistant is there! You can bring it into conversations or you just have your own individual help session with the Assistant.

8. Additionally, you’ll see options within chats for emoji, stickers (and downloadable sticker packs), and attachments. Allo, like in the app, will show you quick response recommendations too.

9. You have access to some settings, which you’ll find by clicking on your profile picture on the web.

10. You’ll get desktop notifications too, along with sounds and message previews if you allow them.

11. Keyboard shortcuts!

allo keyboard shortcuts

12. Need to remove your Chrome connection? Easy, just go back into the Allo Android app, swipe out the navigation menu, tap again on “Allo for Web,” and you’ll see all of the instances that you’ve signed in. Tap the trash can next to each one individually to sever that connection. Or you can “Sign out of all computers.”

13. And that’s all for now!

// Google Support

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OnePlus 5 Tips and Tricks: 20+ to Make You a OP5 Pro https://www.droid-life.com/2017/07/03/oneplus-5-tips-and-tricks-video/ https://www.droid-life.com/2017/07/03/oneplus-5-tips-and-tricks-video/#comments Mon, 03 Jul 2017 19:53:18 +0000 http://www.droid-life.com/?p=202693

A decent list of OnePlus 5 tips and tricks is finally here and we’re sorry for the delay. We know that a good bunch of you picked up the latest premium phone from OnePlus and need to be the OP5 master immediately. In this OnePlus 5 video, we dive into the $479 phone to show … Continued

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A decent list of OnePlus 5 tips and tricks is finally here and we’re sorry for the delay. We know that a good bunch of you picked up the latest premium phone from OnePlus and need to be the OP5 master immediately.

In this OnePlus 5 video, we dive into the $479 phone to show you not only the basics, like setting up the fingerprint reader and quickly launching the camera, but we also run through some of the advanced settings. We’re talking about the Gaming Do Not Disturb mode, scheduled power off and on, where your default app settings are, which gestures are the best, and how your alert slider can be customized.

If you haven’t already, you may want to start off with our First 10 things video for the OP5, though some of those are covered again here. Our OnePlus 5 review should be along shortly.

Enjoying your OnePlus 5? And other tips you want to share? Drop those below.

OnePlus 5 Tips and Tricks

Buy OnePlus 5: OnePlus Store

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LG G6 Tips and Tricks: 20+ to Make You a G6 Pro https://www.droid-life.com/2017/03/01/lg-g6-tips-and-tricks/ https://www.droid-life.com/2017/03/01/lg-g6-tips-and-tricks/#comments Wed, 01 Mar 2017 20:15:17 +0000 http://www.droid-life.com/?p=197492

We’re still a ways from the official launch of the LG G6 in the US, but if you want to master that phone straight out of the box once it’s available, we’ve got just the video for you. Below, you’ll find our LG G6 tips and tricks showcase.  The G6 brings a plethora of changes … Continued

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We’re still a ways from the official launch of the LG G6 in the US, but if you want to master that phone straight out of the box once it’s available, we’ve got just the video for you. Below, you’ll find our LG G6 tips and tricks showcase. 

The G6 brings a plethora of changes over the G5, including water resistance, a funky-yet-cool 18:9 aspect ratio, plus a set of changes for LG’s custom skin. With all that said, there are a lot of settings that you will want to enable and disable, plus shortcuts you will want to learn to help become the best G6 owner out there.

In the below video, we go over customizing your lockscreen, all of the various camera options, setting up Smart Lock, utilizing LG’s secure folder settings, plus a whole lot more. In total, there’s a solid 20+ LG G6 tips and tricks.

For this one, grab some popcorn, sit back, and let’s go.

LG G6 Tips and Tricks

LG G6 Deal: Best Buy

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Tip: When Setting Up a New Android TV, Use the Android TV Remote for Quicker Logins https://www.droid-life.com/2017/01/19/tip-setting-new-android-tv-use-android-tv-remote-quicker-logins/ https://www.droid-life.com/2017/01/19/tip-setting-new-android-tv-use-android-tv-remote-quicker-logins/#comments Thu, 19 Jan 2017 18:42:53 +0000 http://www.droid-life.com/?p=195962

If you’ve ever used an Android TV-equipped box, like the new SHIELD, Nexus Player, or Mi Box, you have probably had to go through the painful process of logging in to all of your apps using an included control. Depending on the app, there is a chance that you had to type out an email, login, … Continued

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If you’ve ever used an Android TV-equipped box, like the new SHIELD, Nexus Player, or Mi Box, you have probably had to go through the painful process of logging in to all of your apps using an included control. Depending on the app, there is a chance that you had to type out an email, login, and password letter-by-letter using a d-pad, which I would argue with anyone is one of life’s most frustrating experiences.

Thankfully, Google has a free option available to help you get through these steps in a much more efficient manner. By using the Android TV Remote Control app, you can pop-up an input box from your phone to type out logins, passwords, etc. on your Android TV without having to use the remote that came with your box. Trust me, you’ll want to do this. 

To get started, all you need to do is install the Android TV Remote Control app. My suggestion is that you do this before you ever power on your new box. Then, once you fire up the Android TV Box and the home screen loads, open the Remote Control and follow the steps to get it connected. You do that by letting the app search for nearby available devices, tapping on the box you need, and then potentially entering a code to confirm the pairing. That’s it.

Once paired, you open the apps you need to login to, place the cursor in the text boxes for logins and passwords, and you should then see an input box arrive on the Android TV Remote Control app. If you don’t, you can always tap the keyboard button at the top right corner of the app to manually open an input box. From there, type out your logins and passwords from your phone in seconds and be on your way.

I should point out that many apps now use a web login to make this process pretty simple, but there are still apps that require you to type out full logins and passwords. Now that we should all be using passwords that feature numbers, letters, upper and lower case characters, and symbols, typing these out with a d-pad is beyond frustrating. Should you stumble upon an app that requires any of this on your Android TV, install this app immediately.

Play Link

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Google’s Switch-To-Android Site Helps Sad iPhone Users Get Tech Happy Again https://www.droid-life.com/2016/12/13/how-to-switch-iphone-to-android/ https://www.droid-life.com/2016/12/13/how-to-switch-iphone-to-android/#comments Tue, 13 Dec 2016 23:52:47 +0000 http://www.droid-life.com/?p=194630

If you are currently using an iPhone, chances are you are sad. Why do I assume that you are sad? We all know that you’d rather be on Android, yet you keep hesitating to break free because all of your out-of-touch friends who still think iPhones are a status symbol and that they’ll be left behind without iMessage, … Continued

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If you are currently using an iPhone, chances are you are sad. Why do I assume that you are sad? We all know that you’d rather be on Android, yet you keep hesitating to break free because all of your out-of-touch friends who still think iPhones are a status symbol and that they’ll be left behind without iMessage, won’t join you. And look, they probably never will, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t time to find happiness. You deserve this, my friend.

To help your transition over to a smartphone world filled with diversity, openness, and less “courage,” Google has put together a simple set of steps on a newly revamped Switch website. The steps to get you easily over to Android from iOS are pretty easy and basically involve installing Google Drive. I’m not kidding, it’s that easy. 

In the tutorial, which you can find here, Google shows you that migrating to Android is as simple as installing Google Drive, telling it what you want backed up (contacts, calendar events, photos & videos), letting it finish backing up, and then signing in to your same Google account on your new Android phone to let everything restore. Oh, don’t forget to kill iMessage too.

To get started, install the Google Drive iOS app.

 

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Quick Look at Android 7.1 App Shortcuts on the Pixel https://www.droid-life.com/2016/10/18/quick-look-android-7-1-app-shortcuts-pixel/ https://www.droid-life.com/2016/10/18/quick-look-android-7-1-app-shortcuts-pixel/#comments Tue, 18 Oct 2016 22:14:50 +0000 http://www.droid-life.com/?p=192774

Within the next week or two, Android 7.1 will move outside of the Pixel phones and onto the Nexus 6P and Nexus 5X, through the Android Beta program. Google is calling the update “incremental,” which is an accurate way to describe it since there aren’t any massive changes. Still, there is at least one new … Continued

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Within the next week or two, Android 7.1 will move outside of the Pixel phones and onto the Nexus 6P and Nexus 5X, through the Android Beta program. Google is calling the update “incremental,” which is an accurate way to describe it since there aren’t any massive changes. Still, there is at least one new feature included that adds some new functionality – App Shortcuts. Let’s take a look at them.

What are App Shortcuts? They are shortcuts that take users to a specific spot or action of an app that are revealed with a long-press on a app icon within a launcher or on the home screen. That’s a long-winded explanation I know. For example, long-pressing on Google Maps from your home screen or app drawer brings up App Shortcuts for Home and Work navigation, assuming you have those set. You could long-press on Chrome to see shortcuts for opening new tabs or incognito windows. You can also long-press the camera to find a shortcut for taking a selfie. My favorite might be the long-press on Google Play to see a shortcut that jumps you directly into My Apps.

To see what these look like, we have both screenshots and a video for you below.

android-7-1-app-shortcuts-3 android-7-1-app-shortcuts-4 android-7-1-app-shortcuts-5 android-7-1-app-shortcuts-6

One of the underrated aspects to App Shortcuts is the fact you can grab these shortcuts and drop them on your home screen for even quicker access. Take a look at the screenshot above to the far right. That is an entire folder of App Shortcuts that could get me into often-used features of those specific apps. Pretty cool, right?

Wait, so how do you move icons around? Simple. App Shortcuts are activated with a long-press and release. If you want to move an icon, you long-press and drag, even as the Shortcuts attempt to appear. (If that doesn’t make sense either, just watch the video.)

Now, while this is a cool addition to Android 7.1, it won’t be that cool unless developers start adding App Shortcuts to their apps. As of right now, Google is about the only one supporting them. Of course, that could change once 7.1 goes public and starts arriving on more devices.

Oh, did I forget to mention that people will try to compare App Shortcuts to Apple’s 3D Touch? Well, these aren’t really anything like 3D Touch. This is Google using the Android long-press to extend functionality in the launcher experience. That’s it.

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Video: Google Assistant on the Pixel https://www.droid-life.com/2016/10/18/video-google-assistant-pixel/ https://www.droid-life.com/2016/10/18/video-google-assistant-pixel/#comments Tue, 18 Oct 2016 17:53:46 +0000 http://www.droid-life.com/?p=192757

Google is really going to push the Google Assistant on its Pixel phones. You know that already, of course, because Google started off its October 4 Pixel event by talking about the Assistant and AI for a good 15 minutes before ever announcing a thing. This is the future of Google’s software advancements and with … Continued

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Google is really going to push the Google Assistant on its Pixel phones. You know that already, of course, because Google started off its October 4 Pixel event by talking about the Assistant and AI for a good 15 minutes before ever announcing a thing. This is the future of Google’s software advancements and with it front and center on their new phones (soon Google Home too), it’ll only get better, smarter, and more valuable the more you use it. 

Now, even though Assistant is still very much in the early stages of its life and potential, there are a few basics to learn if you want to get the most out of it right away. Below, we put together a short video to show off some of those basic Assistant capabilities. You won’t find it all in here, but you will get a general overview of the types of things you can accomplish. From setting location-based reminders using only your voice and deciding if you have time for one last beer at the growler shop, to adding an alarm for tomorrow, a timer for 10 minutes, and Cheetos to your shopping list, you should be able to get started after watching this.

Think you’ll use Assistant?

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Google Shares a Bunch of New Voice Commands for Your Next Google Maps Adventure https://www.droid-life.com/2016/09/29/google-shares-bunch-new-voice-commands-next-google-maps-adventure/ https://www.droid-life.com/2016/09/29/google-shares-bunch-new-voice-commands-next-google-maps-adventure/#comments Thu, 29 Sep 2016 15:14:36 +0000 http://www.droid-life.com/?p=191902

Through a new blog post, Google is doing its best to make sure you are always getting the most out of one of its greatest apps, Google Maps. The post talks about using voice commands to get you to that next destination, tweak settings, avoid tolls, and even get out of navigation if you just … Continued

Google Shares a Bunch of New Voice Commands for Your Next Google Maps Adventure is a post from: Droid Life

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Through a new blog post, Google is doing its best to make sure you are always getting the most out of one of its greatest apps, Google Maps. The post talks about using voice commands to get you to that next destination, tweak settings, avoid tolls, and even get out of navigation if you just want to look at a map.

All of this voice magic can happen within both navigation and driving modes because each contains a UI with a little white microphone. So in reality, anywhere you see that microphone within Google Maps will open up voice capabilities. Not familiar with driving mode? Open up Maps, swipe out the side menu, and tap on “Start driving.” I think you’ll like it. 

Once in either of these modes, you can fire up voice commands by saying “OK, Google” or by tapping on that microphone icon. After the 3-dot animations starts, you are free to begin controlling Maps with things like “Mute voice guidance,” “Show traffic,” “What road is this,” “What’s the weather like,” “Enable tolls,” “Find restaurants,” “Play some jazz,” or “What’s the closest hotel?”

And those are only a few examples. Google has a full cheat sheet of commands at this link.

Got any other good Google Maps tips? Drop them in the comments.

Via:  Google Maps Blog

Google Shares a Bunch of New Voice Commands for Your Next Google Maps Adventure is a post from: Droid Life

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How to: Setup Google Play Family Library https://www.droid-life.com/2016/07/27/setup-google-play-family-library/ https://www.droid-life.com/2016/07/27/setup-google-play-family-library/#comments Wed, 27 Jul 2016 22:30:54 +0000 http://www.droid-life.com/?p=189575

The Google Play Family Library that was announced this morning by Google is already going live some users, including us! Because there is a lot to learn here, we thought a quick “how to” post was needed in case you have any questions on how this all works. This is how to setup the Google Play … Continued

How to: Setup Google Play Family Library is a post from: Droid Life

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The Google Play Family Library that was announced this morning by Google is already going live some users, including us! Because there is a lot to learn here, we thought a quick “how to” post was needed in case you have any questions on how this all works.

This is how to setup the Google Play Family Library. 

Step 1: Sign up!

All you need to do to get started is hit up this link either on your phone or desktop. If the option for a Family Library is live for you, you should be taken to a page that looks like the one below (on desktop) that will allow you to walk through the entire approval process for signing up. You may even seen a prompt in the Google Play app to sign-up as well.

Screen Shot 2016-07-27 at 2.42.28 PM

The process includes information about who can be a part of your Family Library, how they can pay for stuff, and how you can limit the buying of apps, games, movies, TV shows, and books by family members.

Screen Shot 2016-07-27 at 1.03.20 PM

You will then get to decide if you want to make all of your previously eligible purchases available immediately or if you would like to go through and hand-select them 1-by-1. If you choose the “Add all eligible purchases now” option, Google Play will do just that. If you don’t, you will then half to go to individual apps or games or movies or shows or books listings and toggle on Family Library.

Screen Shot 2016-07-27 at 1.03.27 PM

And that’s the sign-up process!

Step 2: Setup a family payment method

In order to allow you and your family to buy items on Google Play, you will need to designate a “family payment method.” There is a chance that Google will walk you through setup of this option during step 1, but in case they don’t, this is how we get one active.

To do so, you will need to swipe out the Google Play side menu, choose Account, and then Payment Methods. In here, you will see a list of your currently available cards, along with an option at the bottom to “Change family payment plan.” If Google hasn’t automatically assigned a payment method or let you choose one during the sign-up process, this screen will let you. Once you tap on “Change family payment plan,” a pop-up box with all eligible cards will appear. Tap the dot next to the payment method you want and then “OK.”

Your current family payment method should then have the Family Library icon attached to it like the middle image below.

google play family plan screens-14 google play family plan screens-12 google play family plan screens-13

Step 3: Setup a Family Group

In order to share stuff with family members, you’ll need to setup a Family Group, which is the group of people you have given access to. You can access the Family Group screen by swiping out the Google Play side menu, choosing Account, and then Family. You should see two options here and you want the “Manage family members” category. From within there, you should see that you are the “Family manager” along with a “+” button to “Invite family members.”

google play family plan screens-9 google play family plan screens-7 google play family plan screens-11

You can invite up to five people to join you and the process is exactly how it was when we showed you how to sign-up for the Google Play Music family plan.

Step 4: Decide if you want to auto add new purchases or not

Once you have gone through the sign-up process, chosen a family payment method, and setup a family, you then need to decide which content is going to be available. If you swipe out the Google Play menu, head into Account>Family>Family Library settings, you should see options for Apps & Games, Movies & TV, and Books. In each of these sections, Google is allowing you to decide if all newly purchased items are made available to the Family Library or not.

To keep it simple and not have to worry about it, the auto choice is probably a good one. If you buy a lot of R-rated films or comics or play games your little children shouldn’t have access to, then maybe go with the “Don’t add automatically” option.

From within these screens, you can also tell the Family Library to remove all items as well, in case you want to do a clean wipe and start over. To re-add everything, a prompt asking to do so will happen if you re-select the “Add items automatically” option.

google play family plan screens-7 google play family plan screens-6 google play family plan screens-8


That’s pretty much it for the setup process. As for how it all works in practice, let’s take a look at some screenshots.

As the “family manager,” you’ll see toggles in app listings for items that you have purchased to make them available or unavailable to the Family Library. It really is that simple.

On the far right, you can see that not all purchases are available, though. If you bought an item before July 2, 2016, developers do not have to make those available for Family Library. Any app bought after that date will be eligible.

And again, you will notice that the Family Library icon is everywhere.

google play family plan screens-15 google play family plan screens-10 google play family plan screens-5

If you are a “family member” and not the “family manager,” this is what your experience will look like. In your “My apps & games” page, you will find a FAMILY LIBRARY tab that includes all purchased apps and games that are available to you. Also, as you browse around in app listings, you will see notes like in the images below that mention who it was that purchased the item for the Family Library.

If you go into your Google Play Movies & TV, I’m not currently seeing a FAMILY LIBRARY section, but am seeing all of the movies and TV shows listed in My Library.

google play family plan screens google play family plan screens-2 google play family plan screens-3

And that’s about everything. Enjoy sharing!

How to: Setup Google Play Family Library is a post from: Droid Life

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Buying an Unlocked Smartphone https://www.droid-life.com/2016/04/26/buying-unlocked-smartphone-how-to/ https://www.droid-life.com/2016/04/26/buying-unlocked-smartphone-how-to/#comments Tue, 26 Apr 2016 21:37:14 +0000 http://www.droid-life.com/?p=185600

I buy a lot of unlocked smartphones. In fact, as I type this, in front of me, there are eight smartphones on my desk and every single one of them is “unlocked.” Why do I buy them, you ask? For a number reasons, all of which I mentioned in this lengthy piece written about a year … Continued

Buying an Unlocked Smartphone is a post from: Droid Life

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I buy a lot of unlocked smartphones. In fact, as I type this, in front of me, there are eight smartphones on my desk and every single one of them is “unlocked.” Why do I buy them, you ask? For a number reasons, all of which I mentioned in this lengthy piece written about a year ago. The basics are this, though – they give me flexibility to test different networks, they often get faster software updates than carrier phones, they tend to be less expensive, and have far fewer bloatware apps than their relatives who are attached to carriers. They are the phones I will continue to choose time and time again.

With that in mind, I get the feeling that many of you are still confused as to what an unlocked smartphone is and may even need help in buying one. So today, let’s take a few minutes to talk through some of the things to look for when buying an unlocked smartphone. 

What is an unlocked smartphone?

An unlocked phone is a phone that is not locked to a particular carrier or network and is somewhat of a free spirit that can come and go from networks as it pleases. The idea here is that most smartphones tend to have the ability to connect to a number of different wireless networks and their accompanying wireless bands (frequencies they use to talk to wireless devices). If a phone is “unlocked,” it should be able to connect to different bands and networks and jump between each without hassle. If a phone is “locked,” then that means it has been locked or limited to connecting to specific networks or bands.

Phones sold through carriers (like AT&T or T-Mobile) are often sold as “locked” and will only work on AT&T or T-Mobile’s networks unless you follow a bunch of guidelines from each carrier in order to get them “unlocked.”

Samples of unlocked phones would include Google’s Nexus phones (like the 6P and 5X), the Blackberry Priv if bought directly from Blackberry, or the HTC 10 if bought directly from HTC. These phones do not have specific carrier ties and are capable of connecting to a variety of different networks.

You may also hear unlocked phones referred to as “SIM unlocked” or “SIM free.” That’s in reference to the phone being sold without a SIM card. Why do you need a SIM card? Well, a SIM card allows you to communicate with a wireless network. When you buy a prepaid SIM card from Walmart or walk into a carrier store to setup service, the SIM card is what gets you connected.

buying an unlocked phone

How do I know if a phone will work on a particular network?

Ahhh yes, wireless bands and compatibility, what is arguably the most important piece to buying an unlocked phone. After all, you shouldn’t buy an unlocked phone unless you know that it will work with your carrier of choice. Let’s see if we can’t help you figure that out.

There are a bunch of things to look at here, but the majority of all questions can be answered with our US wireless carrier bands cheat sheet, which is also included below. Take a look.

CARRIERNETWORK3G BANDS3G FREQUENCIES4G LTE BANDS4G LTE FREQUENCIES
AT&TGSM/HSPA+2, 51900, 8502, 4, 5, 12, 17, 301900, 1700/2100, 850, 700, 2300
VERIZONCDMA0, 1850, 19002, 4, 5, 131900, 1700/2100, 850, 700
T-MOBILEGSM/HSPA+2, 41900, 1700/21002, 4, 12, 66, 711900, 1700/2100, 700, 600
SPRINTCDMA2, 101900, 80025, 26, 411900, 850, 2500
US CELLULARCDMA2, 5850, 19002, 4, 5, 121900, 1700/2100, 850, 700

Still confused?

When buying an unlocked phone, you need to know which carriers it can work on. That cheat sheet above does so in about the simplest way. To use it, you first find a phone that you might want to buy. In that phone’s listing (probably in the specs section), you will want to find mentions of network compatibility, wireless bands, wireless frequencies, and anything else related to GSM, UMTS, HSPA, CDMA, and LTE. Because if you can find mentions of any of these things, there is a good chance you can take the information there and match it up to this cheat sheet to see if the phone works.

Take a look at Google’s listing for the Nexus 6P. Thankfully, Google says at the bottom of its network list that the 6P is an “unlocked phone and works on major carrier networks.” But if it didn’t say that, you could at least look at each bullet point in that section to decide if it works on the network for you.

Nexus_6P_-_Unlocked_Android_Phones_-_Google_Store

Let’s say you want to take the Nexus 6P to Verizon. Well, you can see here that it supports CDMA bands/frequencies 0 and 1, along with LTE bands 2, 4, and 13. So, yep, it’ll work on Verizon!

Now, here is an example of an “unlocked” Galaxy S7 Edge over at eBay that’s up for sale. If you wanted to use this on Verizon, you can see right away that it doesn’t mention “CDMA” anywhere and can then rule it out as a possible option. But if you wanted to use it on AT&T, you can match up with the cheat sheet the fact that it supports GSM/HSPA 850 and 1900, along with LTE bands 2, 4, 12, and 17.

Screen Shot 2016-04-26 at 1.06.50 PM

Make sense now?

Where should I buy unlocked phones from?

Another good question that thankfully has a bunch of answers. Unlocked phones can be purchased all over the place! Many are often cheaper than what carriers will sell you a phone for, too. For example, I bought an unlocked Galaxy S7 the week it launched for $599 as an unlocked phone. That’s almost $100 cheaper than most US carriers were selling it for at full retail.

For general unlocked phone browsing, the best places to look are eBay’s daily deals section for phones, Amazon’s unlocked phones section, B&H PhotoExpansys USA, and Best Buy. eBay and Amazon almost always have the best pricing, but those others are reputable enough to take a look at for special deals.

Of course, all of Google’s phones are unlocked, so the Google Store is a good place to go. Motorola sells unlocked phones through it’s online store as well, as does HTC and Blackberry.

buying an unlocked phone

How do I sign-up for service with an unlocked phone?

If you already have active service with a carrier or prepaid outfit, you may not need to sign-up for anything. If you bought an unlocked phone and it is compatible with your current network and you have an active SIM card from your old phone, all you will need to do is slap that SIM card in your newly purchased unlocked phone and be on about your way. That’s the beauty of unlocked phones!

But let’s say you are starting fresh. With an unlocked phone, you are going to look for plans through carriers that involve BYOD (bring your own device) or are prepaid. Unlocked phones and prepaid plans are often synonymous with one another, but some carriers will allow you to bring over an unlocked phone and sign-up for non-prepaid service.

At this point, almost all of the major carriers offer some sort of BYOD or prepaid plan. Verizon does. AT&T does. T-Mobile does. And let’s not forget that there are dozens of prepaid services out there, like Cricket, MetroPCS, Tracfone, Ting, and Republic Wireless, to choose from.

You need to find the carrier that gets you the best coverage or the best value, or hopefully, some combination of both. Once you decide and have verified that your phone works with their network (cheat sheet to the rescue again!), you sign-up and order a SIM kit, because again, you need a SIM card in order for your phone to communicate with a wireless network.

When you SIM card arrives, most include instructions on how to get your phone up and running.

What are the downsides to buying an unlocked phone?

Honestly, I don’t think there are many, but here are a few things to keep in mind. When you buy an unlocked phone, you aren’t necessarily going to get much carrier support. Sure, you may find a service rep that will help you dial in the APN settings to get the phone attached to their network, but they won’t be there for hardware issues since they didn’t sell you the phone. That means if your phone does have an issue, you can’t just walk into AT&T or Verizon or T-Mobile stores and expect their service reps to make things right. That then means you will need to take up any issues through the online support of the phone’s manufacturer, which can certainly be a hit or miss situation depending on who made the phone.

You will need to read up on the warranty for the phone you are buying. That Galaxy S7 Edge listing I referenced above says that the phone comes with a 12-month Samsung warranty, but there isn’t a guarantee that all will. You want to make sure there is a warranty there should you run into issues down the road.

Finally, unlocked phones often have quirks because they are often times imported from other parts of the world. You may turn on a Galaxy S7 for the first time and see a greeting in a language you cannot understand. The “4G LTE” icon you are used to seeing on carrier-tied phones might say “4G” or “LTE” and look basic. You may find that your phone is missing apps or services that carrier-branded phones have (like Samsung Pay on imported Galaxy S6 and S7 phones).

buying an unlocked phone

Questions?

If you have other questions, feel free to shoot those below and we’ll do our best to answer them!

Buying an Unlocked Smartphone is a post from: Droid Life

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Tip: Not Seeing Podcasts in Google Play Music App? Hit the Refresh Button. https://www.droid-life.com/2016/04/25/tip-not-seeing-podcasts-google-play-music-app-hit-refresh-button/ https://www.droid-life.com/2016/04/25/tip-not-seeing-podcasts-google-play-music-app-hit-refresh-button/#comments Mon, 25 Apr 2016 15:40:25 +0000 http://www.droid-life.com/?p=185500

If you have yet to see the Podcasts section show up in your Google Play Music app, a simple tap on the “Refresh” button in settings should force it to arrive. Seriously, just pop into your app, slide out the side navigation menu, tap on Settings and then “Refresh” and you should then see the … Continued

Tip: Not Seeing Podcasts in Google Play Music App? Hit the Refresh Button. is a post from: Droid Life

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If you have yet to see the Podcasts section show up in your Google Play Music app, a simple tap on the “Refresh” button in settings should force it to arrive. Seriously, just pop into your app, slide out the side navigation menu, tap on Settings and then “Refresh” and you should then see the option for Podcasts just under Music Library. 

This same trick worked for the family plan when it arrived as well.

If that trick doesn’t work, then maybe you need to update your Google Play Music app first. You can grab the newest version here (v6.7.2712Z.2783167).

Also, have you subscribed to the Droid Life Show through Google Play Music, yet? You can right here.

Tip: Not Seeing Podcasts in Google Play Music App? Hit the Refresh Button. is a post from: Droid Life

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