Get ready for app stores claiming 'update ownership' over the software they install
Most people with Android phones get all their apps from Google Play, but Google’s app store is not the only repository of Android apps. There are a handful of great alternatives to Google Play, such as APKMirror (run by Android Police founder Artem Russakovskii). While downloading Android apps from outside Google Play is easy thanks to sites like APKMirror, there is a greater risk of things going wrong. If you choose the wrong APK, for instance, you could unintentionally install the wrong version of an app for your device, or an update that removes some functionality. That’s why, in Android 14, the OS will warn you when you try to sideload an update to a core Google app.
Moving between your personal and work profiles is becoming as simple as a swipe
Android’s work profile makes it possible to separate your personal and work life on a single device, and Google’s done a lot to make the work profile feel as integrated as possible. For example, when you have a work profile enabled, the Android launcher adds a separate tab (shown above) that contains all your work apps. In Google’s own apps, you can easily switch between your personal and work profiles by tapping your avatar and then selecting a button in the pop-up dialog. Now, Google’s making it even easier to switch between your profiles.
There are 108 new additions in total
Emoji are the de facto standard for emoting in conversations (and wallpapers) without using words. Thanks to the Unicode Consortium, the body dedicated to maintaining the international standard for symbols used in conversations, we now have an adequate selection of emoji to pick from. The catalog keeps expanding annually, and this year’s draft with 108 new emoji is now under consideration.
Try Android 13, it has a lot of great features, we're sure it'll be great
There are two kinds of Android phone owners out there. We have the kind of people who eagerly take an update to the next Android version as soon as it's available, and then we have the kind that will just ignore the update until it becomes too hard to ignore. There are an awful lot of people in the latter crowd, and if you don't have a friend or relative who does this, then it's probably you. Android's distribution numbers are already bad enough because of uncommitted OEMs, and these people definitely drag the stats even lower. Good news, though — Google is coming up with ways to entice them into updating, and this latest one is looking great.
Turn any old computer into a sleek fast Chromebook
E-waste is a problem as people buy and replace more devices for themselves and their families. Keeping devices for longer is a great way to reduce e-waste, but that can be difficult when your Windows or macOS device feels underpowered and laggy. You could replace it with one of the best Chromebooks, but Google created another way to make your old computer new again. This operating system, called ChromeOS Flex, can help breathe new life into your old device. Let's look at what ChromeOS Flex is, how to use it, and how it compares to normal ChromeOS.
Update Google Play Services to experience new features firsthand or fix the existing bugs
Google Play Services is one of the core components of the Android operating system that is crucial to the whole experience. It handles everything from allowing you to manage your Google accounts to ensuring your Google apps work together. It provides specific functionality between your installed Android apps and the operating system. Google's apps and many third-party apps rely on them to offer unique cloud services, targeted user ads, and more. And like smartphones, the best Android tablets also benefit from Google Play Services.
Iterative improvements refine the big update that was Android 12
As we all look forward to this year's big next release, Android 14, we shouldn't forget about what's currently running on our phones in a stable version. Android 13 came out in August 2022, and only shortly after, the Google Pixel 7 Pro and the smaller Google Pixel 7 were the first phones to launch with the new OS.
It’s no Space Impact but hey, you can nerd out all over your spacecraft stats
The fourth Android 14 beta landed yesterday mainly to clean up any remaining bugs as it nears its stable release. But along with a long list of fixes, there is a little surprise hiding in this beta update that many Android devotees eagerly wait for every year — the Easter egg. Android 14’s new space-themed game is a big departure from Android 13’s Easter egg and will keep you occupied as you hunt for a nearby star.
The Android 14 Beta Program is almost over, so here is your last shot to install it on your Pixel
The Android 14 Beta Program is currently underway, with at least one more release full of fun, testing, and discovering ahead of us, no matter if you have the Pixel 7 Pro or another Google device. It won't take long until it goes stable, and the last beta before the big release seems to be as good as ready for everyone out there. If you're curious to give it a try on your Pixel device just before it launches, there is an easy way to install the pre-release version of Android 14 on your phone that feels almost like getting a regular system update. In this guide, we'll also walk you through the manual installation process, though. Just keep in mind that if you have another great Android phone that isn't a Google Pixel phone, you might have to wait a little longer.
All the details we have on Android 14 so far
The Android 14 beta program is well underway, with Google preparing for its big release at the end of summer in 2023. Right now, we're looking at Android 14 Beta 4, which is the latest available release. We're still at least one month away from the final version, and in the meantime, there are tons of new features to dig through and discover before the stable version will come to all the latest and greatest Android phones. If you want a full rundown of what's new and what's to be expected in Android 14, read on — there is a lot, and it's certainly a bigger update than Android 13, though it still doesn't compare to Android 12, which introduced Google whole new Material You design language.
No more tapping 'enter' after punching in your PIN
We're getting down to the wire now with Android 14 developments, and today's Beta 4 release means we've got just a couple more builds left until we're ready for it to go official. Understandably, that means that Google's not so much interested in introducing bold new features right now, and what we're seeing is more along the lines of polishing up stuff we've been following for a while. That's exactly what's happening on Android 14's lock screen, as Beta 4 finally implements a user-accessible "auto-confirm unlock" toggle.
We’re now in the last month of Google’s development timeline
Google's Android 14 beta program is nearing its end, with July being the last month in the development timeline ahead of a potential stable release in August. What started five months ago with the first developer preview has evolved into a fairly polished build after countless bugs were squashed. Now, Android 14 Beta 4 has arrived with its own hefty list of bug fixes.
Adaptive Brightness is awful, but a quick reset may save your from dreaded screen blasts
The Adaptive Brightness feature can be found on smartphones and the top Android tablets. It automatically adjusts your screen's brightness based on the ambient lighting conditions. Ideally, it makes reading on your phone in different lighting conditions easier, and as a bonus, it can help you conserve the phone's battery life.
Downloads are now available, just a few days behind the rest of the Pixel family
Google's currently in the middle of maybe its biggest summer for new hardware in years, welcoming devices like the Pixel 7a, Pixel Tablet, and Pixel Fold to the party. Those new models all hit the ground running, and Google was quick to show them the same solid software support the Pixel name is known for. Last week marked the arrival of the July update for Pixel devices, and while we saw it land for the vast majority of hardware, the Pixel Fold was curiously absent. Today Google finally sets things right, releasing the Fold's July patch.
Using a password manager makes this easier
If you're like most people, you probably kept the random password on the bottom of your home router.While that random password is pretty safe, it's not so easy to remember. If you already have your login details on your Android phone or tablet, there's no need dust off and flip over your gateway.
A small update following the big June Feature Drop
Google only published the big June Feature Drop with tons of new capabilities a few weeks ago, and now, the company is back on track with the regular security patch schedule. The July security update has been published, and it’ll roll out to Pixel phones soon. We’re looking at the usual few bug fixes, but don’t expect any big new additions until Android 14 launches in stable later this year.
With Android 12, Pixels gained the ability to share links from the Recents menu — now it's time for Asus devices to join the fun
Google's Pixel hardware leads the pack of the best Android phones around, and part of that success rests on loads of software features that you can’t find on other devices. Pixel-exclusive features like Now Playing, Live Translate, Call Screen, and more are so nifty that people jump through hoops to install ported/modded/replicated versions of them — or even custom ROMs that enable them. As a consequence, we're always happy to see when an effort is made to bring some of that functionality to other Android devices — and that seems to be what's happening right now.
ChromeOS is testing an option to change square corners to rounded corners
ChromeOS has had a clean and straightforward design for some time, but a big Material You-focused makeover is standing by for a stable release later this year. One missing piece in this redesign are ChromeOS's hard and pointy corners, which stand in contrast to both the browser's own tabs but also the design the company brought to Android in recent years. The latest ChromeOS Canary update offers a glimpse at what to expect with a flag that allows users to activate rounded corners at various pixel radius options, ranging from 8 to 18 pixels.
It's closed, though — so closed you need to sign an NDA
The TicWatch Pro 3 was launched all the way back in 2020, while the TicWatch E3 and Pro 3 Ultra were launched a year later, in 2021. Owners of these watches have been awaiting an update to Wear OS 3, Google's current watch experience, for a very, very long time. We got news about updates for Mobvoi's older range of smartwatches back in April, saying that users should expect to see Wear OS 3 in the third quarter of this year. Just as we're about to step into that third quarter, Mobvoi is officially opening a (restrictive) closed beta for those who are interested in seeing how well Wear OS 3 runs on their watches.
All the details on Samsung's latest software
One UI 5.1, Samsung's newest Android 13-based software experience, debuted on the Samsung Galaxy S23 series and has since made its way to phones in the Galaxy S22 and S21 series, among others. Samsung has become something of a software update hero in the Android world. Samsung's previous mobile software, One UI 5, wasn't a big change coming from One UI 4.1, and One UI 5.1 is an even more iterative update. Given that, you might be wondering what's changed. Here's everything you need to know about One UI 5.1.