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Android Tips

How To Get Android 4.0 Like Lock Screen On Your Android Device

With Ice Cream Sandwich, Google introduced major UI changes to Android in a bid to polish the OS, and bring a common design guideline – Holo – across all apps. Matias Durate’s touch on Ice Cream Sandwich was clearly visible, and for the first time, Android looked as good as iOS and Windows Phone, if not better.

One of the key changes that Google made in Ice Cream Sandwich was the new lock screen. Gone were the old sliders from Gingerbread era, and instead users were now greeted with a simple lock icon that could be dragged to the left to unlock the device, to the right to open the camera and up for Google Now. With Jelly Bean, Google further tweaked the lock screen to introduce lock screen widgets and removed the camera and Google Now shortcuts from the lock screen.

Most Android OEMs ditch Google’s lock screen implementation for a simple swipe to unlock anywhere, or an iPhone inspired unlock slider. If you are lusting after the simple ICS/Jelly Bean inspired lock screen or are just bored with your current lock screen and looking for a change, you can easily get the ICS/JB inspired lock screen on your Android device now.

How To Get The Ice Cream Sandwich Lock Screen On Your Android Device

Step 1: Head over to the Play Store and download Holo Locker. The application will replace the default lock screen on your Android device with an Ice Cream Sandwich look alike one that also offers some additional features.

holo_locker

Step 2: Holo Locker will automatically replace your stock lock screen without starting the app. To customize Holo Locker, fire up the Locker settings from your app drawer. You can assign an emergency unlock pattern from General Settings -> Emergency Unlock. This option can be useful if for some reason Holo Locker is not stable on your device and freezes constantly. The default emergency unlock pattern is the Back+Volume Down button combination.

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Step 3: If your Android device has a physical Home button, you can select the “Home key helper”option to disable the Home button from waking up your device. You can also disable the vibration when unlocking the device by removing the tick from the “Enable Vibrator” option.

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Conclusion

The Plus (paid) version of Holo Locker allows for greater customizability including the ability to place app shortcuts directly on the lock screen. You can even get direct unread counts on the lock screen for your messages, emails and other apps such as K-9 mail. Other features of the paid version include the ability to set alternative wallpaper and background tint for the lock screen.

Do keep in mind that since Holo Locker does not requires root functionality, there might be times when your old lock screen comes up instead of Holo Locker. If available, disable your lock screen from the Settings so that Holo locker can work without any issues.

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Android Tips

Pair Android Device To Nokia Play 360 Speaker In One Tap Via NFC

NFC may have taken its own sweet time to become mainstream in smartphones, but slowly and steadily it is getting there. Nearly every major Android handsets released in the last one year or so features NFC. Another OS and OEM that has embraced NFC is Nokia’s “burning platform” – Symbian. Nokia has equipped nearly all of its last-generation Symbian devices with NFC, and even released some NFC-featuring accessories to go along with it including the Play 360 portable speakers.

In theory, you can simply touch any NFC equipped smartphone to Nokia’s Play 360 portable speakers to initiate a Bluetooth connection and start playing music. However, for some unknown reason, the NFC pairing feature of the Play 360 does not work with Android devices. Considering that one-touch pairing is one of the highlights of the Play 360 feature, it can be quite a deal breaker for a lot of people.

How To Connect Android Devices To Nokia Play 360 Speaker In One Tap Via NFC

Step 1: By default, most Android devices are able to detect the NFC tag inside the Play 360 portable speakers. However, the NFC tag has been written in such a format that it is not readable by Android devices, due to which they are not able to initiate a Bluetooth connection with the Play 360.

Head over to the Play Store and download Play 360 connector. Open the application, and specify which music application you want to open whenever you tap your Android device with the Play 360.

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Step 2: When you first tap your Android device with the Play 360, you will get a pop-up asking which app you want to open – Play 360 Connector or the inbuilt NFC tags application. Select the Play 360 connector app to allow your Android device to connect with the speaker over Bluetooth.

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This pop up only comes for the first time when you tap your Android device to the Play 360 speakers. On the taps after this, your Android device will automatically connect to the Play 360 and start playing music.

Conclusion

The Play 360 Connector app will work fine only with Nokia’s Play 360 speakers. It is not yet confirmed whether they will work with the JBL speakers that Nokia released with the Lumia 920.

If you are looking for a portable speaker, then definitely check out the Nokia Play 360 with NFC. Otherwise, Sony also offers some portable speakers with NFC capabilities that you can purchase.

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Android Tips

[How To] Make Apps Enter Sleep Mode on Android In Background

Multitasking has always been one of Android’s key strength. Compared to iOS and Windows Phone 7/8, Android is the only mobile OS that provides true multitasking. However, the downside to this is the extremely poor battery life. By keeping apps running in the background, the battery life of Android devices are adversely affected. Most Android apps will keep a process running in the background even if you don’t use them, which costs some precious resources and drains battery life.

Since there is no task manger in Android and the processes are handled at a system level, there is no way to stop these processes from running the background and preserve battery life and resources along with it. Using a task killer does not help, since these processes automatically restart again.

Greenify, a recently released app on the Play Store, allows you to hibernate apps from running in the background thus saving you precious resources and battery life. The only downside to Greenify is that it requires root access and only works on user installed apps, and not on system/pre-installed apps.

 How To Hibernate Apps In The Background On Your Android Device To Preserve Resources

Step 1: Download Greenify from the Play Store, if you have not already. When you first start the app, make sure you provide it with root access.

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Step 2: You now need to add apps that constantly run in the background to Greenify. Pressing the + button on the top-right will display a list of apps that are currently running in the background, along with apps that may slow the system down.

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Step 3: You can now select any app that you want to hibernate, and it will be successfully added to Greenify’s list. To hibernate the app though, you will need to once again tap on it and then press the pause button on the top.

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Step 4: To add more apps, you will need to repeat Steps 2 and 3 again. If you want to hibernate an app that is not listed by Greenify, you can tap the 3-dots menu button and select the ‘Pick an app to greenify’ option. You can now select any app from your app drawer, and then tap the Greenify notification in the notification drawer to hibernate it.

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Conclusion

Greenify will only work for user installed apps, and not system apps. This can be a big downer if your phone comes with lot of bloat pre-installed, and you want to hibernate them. Also keep in mind that if you hibernate an app, you will stop receiving background/push notifications from it when the app is in the background. So don’t hibernate IM clients, email applications and other such apps like Whatsapp etc.

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Android Tips

How To Install Paid Android Apps For Free Using Getjar Gold

Before the iOS AppStore and the Google Play Store took over the world, Getjar was a very popular third party unofficial “app store” for Java and Symbian devices. While Getjar is not as popular as before now, the company does come up with incredible deals from time to time. Last year, the company gave away some of the paid Android apps for free on its Getjar Store.

This year, the company has launched a new Getjar Rewards system, that give you access to exclusive deals, in-app purchases and paid apps for free. To download paid apps for free from Getjar Rewards, you will need to install some free apps from the Getjar Store to earn free Getjar Gold. Using the gold that you have earned, you can purchase any app that supports Getjar Gold, or get some amount of discount.

How To Use Getjar Rewards To Get Android Apps For Free Or At Discounted Rates

Step 1: Download the Getjar Rewards app from the Play Store. When you first start the app, you will be prompted to sign in with the Google account that you have synced with your Android device.

getjar_rewards

 

Step 2: After you have signed in, the Getjar Rewards app will show you a list of apps that you can download and earn gold. Pressing the Download button will take you directly to the Play Store from where you will install the app. Keep in mind that only installing the app will not get you Getjar Gold. You will need to use the downloaded app as well to get free Getjar gold.

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Step 3: Once you have collected enough gold, you can purchase any of the games or apps from the “Paid App Deals” or themes from the “Paid Themes Deals” section in Getjar Rewards. The paid app is first downloaded on your device, after which you can unlock it using Getjar gold.

Conclusion

The whole method of earning Getjar Gold is pretty easy, and since the application is ultimately downloaded from the Play Store, the user does not need to worry about privacy breach and his or her data. Getjar Gold is also supported by quite a few popular applications including Cut The Rope, Go Launcher and others.

The only problem is that the Getjar app will spam your notification bar from time to time suggesting you apps to download so that you can earn free gold or about a paid app that you can purchase using Getjar Gold.

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Android Tips

How To Get Money Refund For Paid Apps on Android Play Store After 15 Minutes

One of the few advantages that the Play Store has over the iOS App Store is that it has a 15-minute refund window for paid apps. Once a user purchases an app from the Play Store, he has up to 15 mins to refund the app, if he does not like it. Earlier Google allowed refunds for up to 24 hours, but later on reduced it to a mere 15-minutes.

While the 15 minute refund window is enough for apps, it is definitely not enough for games that generally weigh in several of GBs nowadays. By the time the user is done downloading the game files, the 15 minutes refund window is generally over, which means that he cannot refund the game even if he does not like it.

The good news is that Google actually offers refund for apps and games for up to 48 hours. It is just that the first 15-minute refund window is automated. To get refunds for apps and games after the first 15 mins of purchasing them, users need to just send an email to Google’s Play Store customer support within 48 hours to get a refund for the app. However, this refund policy is not valid for live wallpapers and ringtones, for which the 15 minutes preview window time is more than sufficient. Also, it is not necessary that sending an email will get you a refund for granted, that decision is up to Google.

How To Get Refund For Paid Apps/Games From Play Store After 15 Minutes

Step 1: Head over to your Play Store account. Here all the apps that you have installed on your device will be listed, including the purchased app for which you want a refund.

Step 2: Navigate to the app for which you want to request a refund, and then press the ‘Report a problem’ button. From the “Select your issue” drop down list, select the “I would like to request a refund” option.

report_issue

Step 3: In the text box below, mention in detail as to why you are requesting a refund for a refund. Do elaborate your issue, otherwise Google won’t refund you the money. If there is bug or issue with the purchased app or game, email the developers first before requesting Google for a refund.

refund_48_hours

If your reason for a refund is genuine enough, you will soon receive an email from Google stating that your refund has been approved and the transaction cancelled.

Conclusion

As I have stated above, the above 48 hours refund option is only for some rare scenarios. Don’t abuse it or think about getting a refund for every other app that you buy. Google will then simply decline your request to refund and you will be left sulking.

If there are any bugs with the game or app that you have purchased, contact the developer first. Only if he does not reply, use the above steps to get a refund for the app.

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Android Tips

[How To] Auto Update All or Specific Apps On Android Phone, Tablet

Google’s Play Store might be lagging behind Apple’s iOS AppStore in terms of quality apps and games, but in terms of features and usability, it simply blows the latter out of the water. Unlike the iOS AppStore, Play Store features automatic updating of apps, the ability to refund apps within 15 minutes of purchasing them, delta updates and much more.

Delta updates is a big life and data saver because when a developer updates his app, users are not forced to download the whole installation file of the app again. Instead, the Play Store only downloads and installs the relevant or the updated part. For example, you download a game whose APK size is 48MB, and which then downloads additional files of around 1GB in size.

The next time the developer updates the game, instead of downloading the whole 1GB of game data or the 48MB APK, Play Store will only download certain ‘updated’ parts of the APK, thus saving users precious amount of mobile data usage. Delta app updates, along with automatic updating of apps, means Android users will never have to worry about manually updating apps on their Android devices.

Automatically Update Applications On Android

Users can either decide to automatically update all their apps in the Play Store when an update is available, or only selected apps.

To automatically update all your apps, open Play Store, and press the ‘Menu’ button on your Android device or the 3-dots at the top right corner of the screen.

From the drop-down menu, select ‘Settings’ and then select the “Auto-Update Apps” option. If you don’t have an unlimited 3G or 2G data plan, it would be recommend to auto-update apps only on Wi-Fi so that you don’t cross your monthly mobile data limit. Select the third option from the Settings menu i.e. “Update over Wi-Fi only” to make sure that your apps are only updated when you are connected to a Wi-Fi network.

If you don’t want to be notified about app updates, since you have turned on auto-updates for all your apps, disable the “Notifications” option from the Settings menu.

Auto Update Selective Apps On Android

If you only want to auto-update certain apps, open the app listing from Play Store and then select the “Allow Automatic Updating” option.

Conclusion

If you never want to be bothered about updating your Android apps or devices, the Play Store options will duly fulfill your wish. With features and options like delta updates and the ability to update your apps only via Wi-Fi only, Google clearly knows that mobile data is precious and costly affair.