67 articles published since April 14, 2018
About Stephen Perkins
Stephen is a freelance writer at Android Police who primarily covers how-to guides, features, and the occasional in-depth explainer across various topics. He came on board with the team in late 2021, bringing his strong technical background in computers, smartphones, and customer service with him. As a long-time power user who knows his devices from the inside out, he uses that knowledge to tweak and customize them to better fit his specific needs. Stephen previously worked as a freelance how-to guide writer for the Android rooting, modding, and custom ROM section at Gadget Hacks. He has actively followed the Android scene since 2008 with the HTC Dream, known by most as the T-Mobile G1. However, he didn't get his first Android device until 2009 with the original Motorola Droid. After that, Stephen quickly learned about unlocking the bootloader and gaining full root access — both changed his smartphone life forever. He would frequently install custom ROMs, kernels, and recoveries to improve his Android experience beyond what stock could provide. Although not as popular as it once was, he still continues to root his primary devices today using the latest version of Magisk. Stephen has been passionate about writing his entire life and finally turned it into a professional career in 2016. He started out as a lesson plan writer in computer science and IT for Study.com, which allows students to earn real college credits online. That led him to Gadget Hacks, where Stephen got to write educational and informative pieces for Android smartphones. And now, he continues down that same path at Android Police, using his technical knowledge and skills to write how-to guides. His goal has always been to help as many people as possible learn something new about technology.
Start accepting voicemails on your smartphone within minutes
Voicemails came from the earlier days of landlines and answering machines but are helpful for smartphones. Because you may not always be around to take a call when you receive it, having someone leave a recorded message to view later is beneficial. Even the best budget Android phones give you access to all the voicemail features you'll need. You can use various methods to check and manage your voicemails after you create your dedicated voicemail number. In this guide, we go over how you can access the voicemail feature on your Verizon Wireless smartphone.
Managing your downloaded files has never been easier
Throughout the day, we download several photos, videos, and other files on our Android smartphones. While Android does a great job of showing us the file when it finishes downloading, it's hard to find them later if you don't know how to locate downloads on your Android device. Also, while you might want to keep some of the downloaded files for the long term, you should delete most downloads when you no longer need them. But you can't do that if you don't know where Android saves these downloads.
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.
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.
Late orders, missing packages, or tricky returns are a few reasons it's better to talk with Amazon's customer service team in person.
Amazon's customer service and support teams are among the best in the world. They can help you resolve missing orders, fix payment issues, and walk you through common problems with products like its Amazon Echo smart display, and more. Most of the time you can easily deal with issues by using Amazon's Customer Service support hub, but you may need to talk with a live representative when faced with more tricky issues.
Tweet up a storm with our favorite third-party Twitter apps
Twitter is a unique social media platform where everyone coexists under one roof, including celebrities, politicians, big-name brand businesses, and the everyday user. You can use one of the best budget Android phones to access Twitter without breaking the bank. With Elon Musk taking over the platform, changes are coming swiftly, such as the recent policy change for third-party clients that has shut down the API for such access. This stricter enforcement caught many off guard, but it means most of the best Twitter apps out there are now less functional or broken.
Perfect if you don't trust any of the usual providers
A virtual private network (VPN) can secure your online browsing activity, which is beneficial in this modern era of always-connected devices. A VPN encrypts the network traffic to and from your device and funnels that information through an external server. It hides your unique home internet protocol (IP) address for increased privacy from outside threats. And pairing one of the best Chromebooks with a VPN protects you while online; not even your internet service provider (ISP) can keep tabs on you. VPNs can also bypass blocked websites or services, allowing you to watch content from other countries.
The popular smartphone chat app can now be accessed directly from the web
The Snapchat messaging app has millions of users across the globe, allowing anyone to share content with others instantly. As a bonus, messages disappear 24 hours after being read by the recipient. Keeping the chat thread clear of previous messaging clutter helps increase user engagement.
Bots can help take your Discord server experience to the next level
Discord is one of the largest social apps that's entirely community-driven. Moderating growing community Discord servers can be a daunting task. Still, it's necessary to improve the quality of our social spaces on our favorite Android phones, which is why we call on the aid of handy Discord bots. Adding bots to your Discord servers reels in some fantastic benefits; these include comfier security, additional server features, and free entertainment.
From simple and intuitive to complex and powerful, there's something for everyone
Our smartphones have various uses, from playing high-quality mobile games and surfing the web to helping us complete daily tasks. Keeping track of your list of chores or errands on a digital screen is much easier than having sticky notes all over your home. You can also use one of the best cheap Android tablets for a big-screen experience, perfect for handwritten notes. Whether you need a basic to-do app to organize your grocery list or a task manager to handle large projects, the Google Play Store will certainly have what you're looking for.
Wirelessly debug your Android phone!
The Android Debug Bridge, or ADB, is a utility that can debug your Android device, sideload apps, and install custom ROMs. You can use ADB commands on your Android device with a computer that runs Windows, macOS, Linux, or even one of the best Chromebooks. ADB also lets you remove bloatware on any Android device to make them snappy and recover some storage space from unwanted apps. And when running Android 11 or higher on your Android smartphone, you can use the ADB wireless feature for a more convenient on-device experience.
No emulators were harmed in the making of this guide
Gone are the days when you needed an emulator to run Android apps on Windows. The latest Windows release, Windows 11, ships with Windows Subsystem for Android, which allows you to install Android apps on your PC easily. Unlike some of the best Chromebooks that come with the Google Play Store preinstalled, installing Android apps using Windows Subsystem for Android isn't that easy if you live in an unsupported region. However, a clever way to install Android apps on any Windows 11 PC exists, and we show you how in the guide below.
You can quickly manage your data and search activity preferences
As a data-driven company, Google relies on some of the data from its users to help it build better products and services for the future. The information it gathers could be anything from your unique advertising ID to your web searches or interactions across its platforms. Even the best 5G phones on the market are tracked this way since they're powered by the official Google Play Services. To create a custom-made experience, you'll need to give up some of your data to make it work correctly.
Who needs Google Play when you have APK Mirror?
Getting Android apps without using the official Google Play Store can be a mixed bag, depending on where you get your apps. While Android lets you install any app you want, you must be cautious about where these files come from. Also, some popular devices, like the best Amazon Fire tablets, aren't preinstalled with the Google Play Store.
Customize your Android phone's homescreen by changing the app icons
Customization has always been Android's key strength, from using a custom launcher to changing your device's font and theme settings. Google has continued to build upon this concept, with Android becoming more user-friendly after every new major release. These days, you have much better control over your device experience than in the past. It's now just as easy to tweak and customize your fancy new tablet's icons to match your smartphone. In this guide, we focus on how you can change your app icons to fit your custom theming needs better.
Clean up your mess of an inbox in no time at all
Even the most organized people may occasionally need help pairing down their inboxes if it gets too cluttered. With Gmail being one of the most popular email clients, you might see hundreds or thousands of emails in your inbox if left unchecked. Google includes an easy way to mass delete emails on the web using any device, including one of the best Chromebooks. You can quickly clean out your inbox and start fresh again within a few clicks. Here's how to delete those emails when you decide it's time to get your inbox under control.
You don't actually need root access to do batch restores
Back in the early days of Android, Titanium Backup was considered the go-to backup solution for those with full root access. Its impact on the power user community over the years is undeniable. However, Titanium Backup's days are numbered because the original developer no longer updates the app. This means smartphones and the best Android tablets are out of luck since new device support is nonexistent. You now have other options that are nearly as good. This guide covers how to tap into the power of Shizuku to back up your device.
There's always more than one method to find the Wi-Fi toggle
Your Google Account page hosts all the settings you need to manage your Google Account. You can use the Google Account page to update your personal information, change your general preferences for the web, download and delete the data Google has on you, manage usage history for your Google apps, and more. That's why it's essential to review your Google Accounts settings periodically to ensure your data is safe and secure.
Everything we do now revolves around being online at all times
In today's digitally connected world, online privacy has become a growing concern for many. As you browse, stream, and interact online, keeping your information and data secure is crucial. One effective solution to protect your online privacy is using a virtual private network (VPN) on your favorite Android phone or tablet. But how exactly does a VPN work on a phone, and why do you need one?
Your devices will finally work together as they should
The massive growth of the smart home market has led to problems with competing standards and protocols. The World Economic Forum estimates that more than 130 million households owned a smart home device in 2022. These issues have grown exponentially. Matter solves these problems by establishing a new smart home standard that allows smart home devices to be controlled by one app, improves security, and creates more reliable connections. Today, the best smart home devices that support Matter include devices from Google, Apple, and Amazon.