After about six months of testing, Facebook has decided to start rolling out a new feature on mobile that automatically plays sound for videos in your News Feed, thanks to "positive feedback" from test users. As far as I'm concerned, they have been testing with the wrong users, because auto-playing sound is by far worse than auto-playing videos ever could be.
Cell phones—particularly smartphones—are inherently bad for privacy. You've basically got a tracking device in your pocket, pinging off cell towers and locking onto GPS satellites. All the while, the handset's data connection ensures that tracking cookies, advertising IDs, and usage stats follow you around the internet.
Your smartphone is pretty much with you every single day (every single moment for some people), so it's only a matter of time before it slips out of your hand and breaks or you spill coffee all over it. For some of you, it has already happened, perhaps even multiple times.
Video chatting has become an important factor in the overall smartphone experience. Even just a few years ago, 37% of teens were making video calls on a regular basis, and that number has surely grown. 85% of households with infants have used video chat apps to call relatives in other cities, and it's been shown that toddlers can create bonds and learn from visual cues in video calls.
Google's Gboard is by far the most popular keyboard available right now. Gboard lets you search almost anything—from regular Google searches, to emojis, and even GIFs—just by using your keyboard. The app even lets you share search results, saving you a great deal of time, which would've otherwise been spent juggling between apps and programs.
If you've got big plans to lose weight and get healthier in 2017, know up front that it will be an ongoing challenge. It's not easy to break bad habits, and it's even harder to form new and better ones.
There's a great fighting adage that says "Every plan, no matter how great, goes out the window as soon as you're punched in the face." While our lives are (hopefully) not violent, that saying can easily translate to our daily living. That punch in the face can come in various forms, mainly stress-related. It could be a bad day in the office, rush hour traffic, drama in the family, the list goes on.
It's become a routine for many of us to ring in the New Year with pledges to finally get our budgets and finances under control. Unfortunately, it's also quite difficult to to keep those promises. Some of us will just dive into our resolutions and wing it as we move forward, which usually ends in failure. But even for those of us who plan carefully, obstacles along the way can spell doom for New Year's resolutions.
I've seen my fair share of heartbreaks when it comes to used phones. As a repair tech, I often had to try and help out customers who bought used handsets which turned out to be useless, either because it was stolen or not working on their carrier's network. More often than not, there was very little I could do. To help you from being stuck in the same situation, here are some tips to prevent you from getting scammed out of your hard earned money when buying a used handset.
When it comes to busted smartphones, liquid damage ranks right up there with shattered screens as one of the most common issues owners have to deal with—as well as the most embarrassing. Thankfully, though, with the rise of waterproof phones such as the Samsung Galaxy S7 and even the iPhone 7, this is becoming less and less of a worry. But not everyone has a waterproof device.
In my days as a hardware tech, I often came across motivated do-it-yourselfers who watched a video or two on how to repair a phone and thought that they'd give it a go. More often than not, they failed miserably and damaged their phones (and wallets) even more in the process.
We've all been there... admit it. You sent a couple messages, but your friend had the "Read Receipts" option turned off in WhatsApp, so after a few minutes, you start wondering if they're away from their phone right now or just flat-out ignoring you.
How To: RCS Advanced Messaging Is Finally Bringing Next-Gen iMessage-Style Texting to Android—But Only for Some
Google recently announced that they've partnered with Sprint to push forward with RCS, the next-generation standard for text-based mobile communications. This new standard is colloquially referred to as Advanced Messaging, and with any luck, it should finally give us a true iMessage competitor on Android.
An average user's smartphone tinkering doesn't go much further than taking their phones out of the box, signing into their account, and installing apps. But some of us want more functionality and customizability than the basic experience provided by Android and iOS.
Smartphone manufacturers do their best to keep you tied down to their ecosystem, but the reality is that there's not much keeping you from switching. Transfer some files, install a few apps here and there, and all of a sudden, you're knee-deep in a new operating system.
It's always a pain to make sure you have enough storage on your smartphone. Pictures and videos occupy a lot of space, so your music library has to take a back seat—otherwise, you might see that pesky "Storage Full" notification at any time.
When it comes to smartphone screens, there are two predominant technologies—the traditional LCD panel, and the newer AMOLED display. Most phones still use LCD screens, as the tech is more cost-effective due to its longstanding reign as the primary display type in TVs, smartphones, and tablets.
So you're finally ready to head out on that big trip you've been planning for months, huh? It's an exciting time, but there are plenty of things you'll need to prepare before you head out. For instance, it's hard to imagine life without a smartphone these days, and with useful traveling apps like Google Translate and maps, you'll almost have to make sure that you have a working smartphone when you arrive at your destination.
Gmail has been the email standard for quite some time now, and for good reason: it's a free service provided by one of the largest tech companies in the world that offers users an amazing feature set to manage, send, and keep track of all their important emails.
Facebook Messenger has another secret game for you to play in both the Android and iOS versions of its app. This time it's a soccer-themed game to tie in with the Copa America and Euro 2016 tournaments currently underway.
When shopping for a new smartphone, you'll encounter comparisons and spec sheets that are filled to the brim with values like mAh, GB, and GHz. To the average consumer, however, these values are meaningless, so we end up looking at which device has the specs with the highest actual numbers.
Automated bots are growing on Facebook Messenger, and while they can be helpful, they also have the potential to get very annoying, very quickly. That's because these bots are enabled by default to send you "sponsored messages," or, you know, spam.
Google Photos is one of the best photo management services out there. It allows you to back up an unlimited amount of high-quality images without ever paying a dime, the photos and videos sync flawlessly across all of your devices, and its neural network-powered visual search feature seems like something that was pulled directly out of a Sci-Fi movie.
Google seems to be growing tired of the way links appear in its Search results page, because they're currently experimenting with a color change (that's already causing lots of controversy).
When it comes time to buy a new smartphone, the sheer amount of options on the market can make you feel overwhelmed. There are Android devices of all shapes and sizes with different functionalities and price points, and now, even Apple has three unique iPhone models to fit various budgets.
If you're sick of playing chess in Facebook Messenger, there's another little-known game you can play with your friends directly in the app—basketball. This hidden game was originally added to Messenger before March Madness 2016, and still works perfectly to this day.
New technologies in current-generations smartphones allow for much faster charging—Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0, VOOC Flash Charge, and USB Type-C, for instance, can charge a phone up to 4 times faster than traditional methods. However, the majority of phones on the market still don't support these standards. So for the rest of us, I'll go over an easy tip that can charge any smartphone as much as 25% faster.
Navigation app Waze occasionally gives you the option to have a celebrity voice provide directions for your trip, like this famous European with a funny voice, or this decidedly less-famous European with a funny voice.
So you dropped your smartphone and the screen cracked. Again. Just the thought of sending it out for repair or buying a new phone is driving you mad.
In its latest update for both Android and iOS, Instagram is finally rolling out a long-awaited feature that enables users to switch between accounts in the native app.
T-Mobile's "Binge On" service for streaming videos has received mixed reactions so far. On one hand, it gives any T-Mobile subscriber unlimited access to popular streaming video services like Netflix and Hulu without having to worry about going over their monthly data cap. On the other hand, it reduces video quality to 480p, which is 6 times lower than full HD.
There's a feature in Google's Photos app for Android, iOS, and the web that lets you create shared albums with your friends and family. It's really a useful feature that makes it fun and easy to collaborate on an album with a person or persons of your choosing.
When it comes time to sell your smartphone or trade it in for your annual upgrade, you'll have to make sure that all of the sensitive data the device accumulated while you owned it is properly erased so that no one else can access it. This process is referred to as a "Factory Reset," and regardless of if you own an iPhone or Android device, like a Samsung Galaxy model, HTC One, or Nexus, I'll show you how to do it below.
Students have been passing notes in class for decades, so what's the big deal about sending a quick text message? Everybody does it, even your teacher was surely guilty of covertly communicating with his or her peers back when they were in high school.
Star Wars season is definitely upon us. No matter where you turn, you can't go a day without being bombarded by merchandising and co-branding advertisements that attempt to draw a parallel between some character from a galaxy far, far away and a galactic cruiser like the Dodge Viper, or a midichlorian-laden power source like Duracell. Yep, it's kind of annoying, but at least we can get some fun out of it here and there.
If your smartphone is ever lost or stolen, it's a terrible experience. If you file a police report, chances are the responding officer will need your device's IMEI or MEID number if you want to stand a chance of getting it back. Same goes for making an insurance claim on a lost or broken phone, so it's definitely important to have this unique identifier handy.
As we go about our daily grind, our smartphones and tablets take a silent beating. Dirt, dust, oil, and grime that our hands have picked up immediately gets transferred over to our shiny pocket-sized computers every time we check the time or look for new notifications, and over the course of months, this can have a very noticeable adverse effect.
It's truly amazing how far smartphone camera hardware has come in such a short period of time. It took roughly 5 years to advance the image processing capabilities from a pixelated mess to the crisp and clear photos we can take today. This reaches well beyond the megapixel spec race, since camera modules these days sport vastly improved optics, wider aperture, and even larger pixel sensors that capture more light.
T-Mobile's credit-checking system was recently hacked, and this one is about as bad as it gets. The names of 15 million customers, their date of birth and social security number, as well as driver's license numbers and additional information was illegally accessed, meaning the potential for identity theft here is huge.
Cheap Chinese knockoffs have been around for ages, but recently, skyrocketing demand has led to a massive influx of counterfeit smartphones. Sellers on Craigslist seem to have no trouble getting ahold of these fake devices, then passing them off as the real deal and turning a solid profit before vanishing into thin air. This type of scam tends to happen even more frequently after Apple launches a new iPhone or Samsung debuts a new Galaxy.