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Android Tips

[How To] Copy Files From One Android To Another Via NFC

With Android 2.3 Gingerbread and Nexus S, Google added support for NFC in Android. However, it was only a year after Ice Cream Sandwich, and later, Jelly Bean, were released that the company made some use of NFC apart from mainly using it for Google Wallet. In Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, Google introduced Android Beam that allows you to share a Play Store link to an app, or a YouTube video, or a particular location on a Map, by simply tapping two NFC-equipped Android devices together.

The use case scenario was, however, still very limited. Thankfully, Google partially fixed this issue in Android 4.1 Jelly Bean by enhancing Android Beam to allow transfer of files between Android devices. With NFC and Jelly Bean now becoming common even in mid-range Android devices, sharing of files between Android devices can be initiated in a much faster way by using Android Beam, instead of using the traditional Bluetooth pairing way. The only problem is that not many people are aware of such a nifty feature on their phone.

How To Use Android Beam To Transfer Files Between Two Android Devices

Step 1: Make sure that you have not switched off the NFC feature on your Android device. The option is generally located under Settings -> More -> NFC. Generally, if you enable NFC, Android Beam will be enabled automatically as well. You can confirm this, after enabling NFC, by tapping on Android Beam and making sure the toggle switch is in On position.

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Step 2: Now, head over to the Gallery app on your Android device and select the image(s) and/or videos that you want to transfer to another Android device. Once selected, simply touch the back of your Android device to another device.

Step 3: You will now see a message on your device saying “Touch To Beam”. Touch the screen at this point to initiate the file transfer. You can use the same process to transfer other data such as a contact data, or a Play Store link to an app, a YouTube video and much more to other NFC equipped Android devices.

beam

 

Keep in mind that you need to touch the NFC ‘window’ of another device with the NFC window of your device, which is generally located at the back. The NFC tap might not be detected if you are using a cover or casing on your Android device that is blocking the NFC signal like the ones made from metal.

Conclusion

Android Beam makes use of Bluetooth to transfer files, which is a let down since it does not use the much faster Wi-Fi Direct protocol. Even then, the feature allows for seamless pairing of Bluetooth devices and transfer of files, which is a boon if you regularly transfer files between multiple devices. Android Beam might also work on other NFC equipped handsets running an altogether different OS like the Nokia Pure View 808, BlackBerry Z10 and others.

Hopefully, Google will enhance Android Beam in the future versions of Android to allow sending of files over Wi-Fi Direct and add support for other file types as well.

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Android Tips

Remove Lockscreen Widgets on Android 4.2 Jelly Bean Phones and Tablets

While Android 4.2 was just a minor update over Android 4.1, it still brought with it certain new features, lots of bugs and two new Nexus devices – the Nexus 4 and Nexus 10. One of the key new features that Google introduced in Android 4.2 is lock screen widgets.

Sadly, the implementation from Google is really sub-par and defeats the whole purpose of widgets. While users can have widgets for any of the app that has been updated to take advantage of it, they need to actually swipe to the left from the lockscreen to access it.

Instead of having multiple widgets in one screen, users are only limited to adding one widget per lock screen. This kind of beats the purpose of widgets, which is to provide all the relevant information to its users in a glance. In addition to this, if users keep a 4*4 widget on their lock screen, it will be automatically resized to 4*1 when a user tries to unlock the phone.

android4_2_widgets

When I first read that Android 4.2 features lock screen widgets, I was really happy since I had been looking for such a feature since quite sometime. However, Google has failed miserably on the execution part with its lock screen widgets idea. While Google does not provide any way to disable lock screen widgets officially, a simple app from the Play Store does and it does not even require root access to do so.

How To Disable Lockscreen Widgets On Android 4.2 Jelly Bean

Step 1: Head over to the Play Store and download ‘Lockscreen Policy‘ on your device running Android 4.2 Jelly Bean.

Step 2: Start the application after it has been installed, and then select the ‘Activate’ button on the bottom of the screen. Users will then be prompted with a screen asking them if they want to make ‘Lockscreen Policy’ a device administrator. Until and unless users provide the app with administrative access, it will not work.

ls_policy_2

Step 3: Once Lockscreen Policy has been made the device administrator, simply toggle the On/Off switch beside Widgets to disable Lockscreen widgets. 

lockscreen_policy Optionally, users can also disable the Camera widget that can be accessed by swiping to the left from the lock screen.

Conclusion

As an Android user, I really hope Google improves or enhances its lockscreen widgets implementation in future versions of Android.  Until then, I really don’t think I can use lockscreen widgets, and I am pretty sure many people will agree with me on this.

Categories
Android Tips

[How To] Force Enable Developer Options in Android 4.2 Jelly Bean

With Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, Google finally made stock Android as beautiful as iOS, if not better. With Android 4.1.1, Google introduced Project Butter that aimed to fixed the usual lag associated with Android devices. In less than a year, Google fixed two of the major issues with Android as an OS. In Android 4.2, Google has decided to polish the OS and improve its usability by including features like gesture typing on the keyboard, multiple user profiles, and quick controls.

The big-G has also made a rather small change in the Settings menu of Android 4.2. It has removed ‘Developer Options’ from the System sub-menu. Google says that they made this change because a normal user is not really interested in pestering around with something like ‘Developer options’ and all the complex options listed inside it. At worse, they will play around with the options, which might affect the performance and stability of the phone. So to prevent this Google has completely hidden the option in Android 4.2.

But, what if an advanced user or developer needs to enable ‘USB Debugging’ listed under Developer options? Or, if you are an app developer and want to see how some other options affect the performance of your app?

How To Access Developer Options In Android 4.2 Jelly Bean

Step 1: Open the Setting Options on your Nexus 4, Nexus 10 or any other device running Android 4.2 Jelly Bean, and head over to the ‘About Phone’ option.

Step 2: Scroll down until you see the ‘Build Number’ of your device listed. Now, continuously tap seven times on it (Build Number) and you will enable Developer options on your device.

While you are tapping on the Build Number, Android will keep informing you that “You are ‘x’ steps away from being a developer”. After the 7th tap, users will get a message saying “You are now a developer”, after which they can find the Developer Options in its usual place in the Settings sub-menu.

Conclusion

Kudos to Google on hiding the Developer Options in Android 4.2 Jelly Bean. Not only will it make new Android users feel more comfortable with the OS, but also give it a sense of polish and user-friendliness that it generally lacks. All this will definitely help in improving Android’s image as that of a geeky, laggy and ugly OS to an OS that can stand its own against the likes of iOS and Windows Phone 7/8.