Using my Nexus 7 tablet as a flashlight to light my path on the way to my room late at night is difficult, and honestly, useless. It doesn't have an LED flash for pictures, so using it as a flashlight is essentially just me brightening the display as high as it can go.
Being fixated on all of the great additions to Android 5.0 Lollipop, it can be a little difficult to take notice in the features that went missing. For instance, lock screen widgets. It's speculated that the lack of practical use for lock screen widgets and the implementation of the revamped Lollipop lock screen may have lead to their departure, but some of us want them back!
We all have apps that we use most frequently, or system preferences that we're regularly adjusting. Whether it's Netflix or a new game that you're hooked on, there are times when you want quick and easy access versus searching for them, even if they're on your home screen.
Windows 8 may have introduced a new, intuitive touch-based interface, but plenty of Microsoft loyalists were unhappy with the absence of the classic start menu that they were so accustomed to.
The volume is maxed out, but that doesn't stop me from hitting the volume key on my Nexus 7 in hopes that it will magically get louder. This happens to me everyday as I watch videos or play music. The simple fact is that a Nexus 7 tablet just doesn't get very loud. At least, not loud enough for me.
On earlier Android versions, you were able to hold down on an app's icon in the recent apps menu (aka app switcher) and jump straight to the app's info page. From there, you could easily uninstall the app, force-stop its activity, or clear its cache and data.
While chatting in Hangouts on Android, inserting an emoji or animated sticker can instantly make the conversation more fun, but they'll eventually lose their charm, as most things do. Even if you add GIFs to your texting arsenal, things could get stale. That is, unless they're personalize GIFs you actually make yourself (the process is really simple).
Nothing else quite sums up my childhood like Super Mario, the Italian plumber who constantly had to defeat Bowser to save Princess Peach (aka Princess Toadstool) from danger. While it's easy to relive the classic gameplay on your Android with Nintendo emulators, not everyone has time for lengthy quests. Instead, you can get your Mario nostalgia fix with a live wallpaper for your home and/or lock screen.
If you utilize strong passwords—which you absolutely should be—you've probably had to go back and forth between keyboard screens multiple times to input various letters, numbers, and symbols.
While the new Lollipop wallpapers are great, they'll eventually get stale like all of the others. I've covered a bunch of cool Android wallpaper apps previously, including ones that give you psychedelic and shake-to-change options, but this time I was on the hunt for some geometrical-based ones.
Google has already started to roll out the over-the-air update of Android 5.0 Lollipop to older Nexus series phones and tablets, but chances are it will take a long time for the OTA to hit your device.
Unlocking "Developer options" on an Android device is useful for many things. You can limit or stop transition animations for a snappier device, enable USB debugging to run fastboot commands, and more. But of course, the first step to making these tweaks is to unlock the hidden settings menu.
Native screen recording was initially introduced on Android 4.4 KitKat and, although useful, was primarily utilized by developers to showcase their apps. It required either a rooted device and an app or a non-rooted device with some ADB commands, which, while totally doable, wasn't necessarily ideal.
I think it's safe to assume that most of us appreciate a little privacy and security when it comes to our mobile devices, which is exactly why we have lock screens that require unique passwords, patterns, or PINs. Although someone can discretely peer over your shoulder to see what your password is, it's much more difficult for them to duplicate your face to unlock the device.
Notifications sometimes come in bulk on Android—especially after booting up. While some of them are helpful or informative, most can be immediately dismissed as soon as they come in.
Placing widgets on your device's home screen is a quick way to gain instant access to shortcuts or to specific aspects of an app, like music controls or weather forecasts. As more and more developers create various types of app drawers and shortcuts, many overlook widgets and what they have to offer.
Whether if it's to play games or watch Netflix or YouTube, children love using our smartphones and tablets. As an uncle of many, I don't mind my nieces and nephews using my gear, but I do mind them opening apps they have no business being in, like my photo gallery or messaging app.
Rooting is a great way to unleash your device's full potential, but not everyone's comfortable with it. Rooting can void a warranty, cause issues with certain apps, and the process itself can be tricky for older devices. Alas, most of the great apps or mods out there require root access, like the ability to utilize a built-in KitKat feature known as Immersive Mode.
As soon as you plug a set of headphones into a Samsung Galaxy series device, a bar pops up in the notification tray that lets you select from a list of "recommended apps" for earphones. It's a convenient little feature that shows the apps you're most likely to use based on previous activity.
Battery drain. App crashes. Random reboots. All of these issues can be attributed to an uncooperative third-party app on your Nexus device. To be sure that's the problem, rebooting into "Safe Mode" is the way to go.
When it comes to wallpapers, I'm no monogamist. I have a lot of wallpapers that I'm committed to, but they don't always get their fair share of time with me—and that's where the problem lies. I'm too lazy to go out of my way to make sure they all feel loved. I'd rather them to come to me when it's their turn, and thanks to Wallpaper Changer, they can do just that.
When people first learn that their Android device is capable of dual-booting different operating systems, e.g. Linux, they almost universally respond with, "That's so cool." And for those of us ambitious enough to actually try one out, we are typically filled with glee as we see Ubuntu, or something similar, boot up for the first time on our tablet or phone.
It happens to everyone: you set a lock screen password in a hurry and cannot remember it the next day. To unlock your device again, you need to reset the password (or PIN, pattern, etc). There are two official methods of doing this.
On a recent trip to Palm Springs, I found myself navigating with Google Maps and virtually exploring my destiniation using its built-in Street View feature. The thing is, using Street View can make keeping track of your exact location difficult as you zoom in, out, and about. It's a little discombobulating.
Android enthusiasts have their own opinion as to whether you need antivirus software on an Android device. This debate will never end, provided that Android malware is in existence. This guide is not here to say, "Yes, you need antivirus," or "No, you don't." It's to give you all the facts, so that you can make a decision as to whether or not you need antivirus on your Nexus.
One thing I absolutely cannot stand is lag when I'm gaming. Every time I'm about to beat my killstreak record on Call of Duty, my internet connection drops and I'm a goner. It never fails. This usually happens because someone else on my Wi-Fi is streaming a movie or downloading a huge file.
There is no SD card support on the Nexus 7, so managing internal storage can be tricky. There are ways to free up space, but the biggest space hog on my tablet is music, and that's not something I'm willing to delete just yet.
There are two types of bricks ("brick" as in "bricking your phone")—soft and hard. Soft bricks are recoverable—something has probably gone wrong with some critical system partition, causing a bootloop or inability to boot in some way. Fine. Re-flashing everything should fix that instantly. Hard bricks are not recoverable—if you manage to hard-brick your Nexus, you are in trouble.
Android L hasn't made its official release yet, but if you installed the early release using the Windows or fastboot method, you may have noticed some minor inconveniences, like the lack of a battery percentage icon and the absence of a Clear All option in your notification tray.
It is really quite easy to flash a custom recovery to your Nexus, and there are many excellent tutorials on how to do so (see the How-To below): The Easiest Way to Install a Custom Recovery on Your Nexus 7 Tablet « Nexus 7.
When browsing the web, you may not be quite as anonymous as you think, especially if you are using public WiFi. The easiest way to stay as anonymous and safe as you are going to get, is to use a VPN (there are a number of great free ones). In this tutorial, we will show you how to set up a VPN on Android, and how this protects you.
If you want to try out some of the new features in Android L, but can't run the developer preview on your Nexus—or simply don't want to—there's still hope. You don't actually need to be running Android L to try out some of the new improvements.
When a big company (Google) concentrates on big things (Auto, TV, Wear), some of the smaller aspects of their design can be overlooked. Just as we saw in Android KitKat, battery percentage information is absent from the status bar. While we were able to enable a hidden setting to show that all-important number in KitKat, you could see why it was never enabled—the white text on the white battery icon made it nearly impossible to read.
Update, November 12, 2014: Android 5.0 Lollipop is officially out now. If you haven't gotten the OTA yet, check out our new guide on installing the official Lollipop builds on any Nexus for download links and instructions, for Mac or Windows.
Remember the good old days of Winamp? It was one of the first mainstream media players to support music visualizations, graphics with intricate designs that react to the tempo and pitch of the audio playing.
Rooting your Nexus 7 tablet is now easier than ever. Previous rooting methods required connecting your tablet to a computer and using any one of a number of programs and/or ADB commands. Now, it's as easy as downloading an app on your phone and tapping one button.
Unlike the Galaxy S4 and other Samsung devices, the Nexus 7 doesn't have a Clear All option in the recent apps menu. It's a highly requested feature, as it cuts down the time required to go one-by-one swiping each individual app (you can't swipe away multiple ones at the same time).
We don't typically cover games here on softModder, unless they have some special feature to offer like unlocking your device, but sometimes you've just gotta game. When you've only got a few minutes to do so, you've gotta choose the right game, and I've got just the thing for you.
Many of our everyday apps include a menu tab or search bar, like Chrome and Twitter. In fact, a lot of times those are the first things we go for, as search is universal in most apps, and app settings are just about always accessible through the menu.
If you've followed our guide on unlocking KitKat's real full screen capability using the immersive mode mod, then your status and navigation bars will be hidden when not in use, giving you a more expansive full screen experience.