62 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.
Put this often unused key to use with your own custom actions
With the rise in the popularity of smartphones, the demand for digital assistants to help us throughout the day has also risen. Many device manufacturers now offer their assistants for you to try, each with different and unique features. This can include launching apps or actions using your voice, asking questions, or identifying objects with your camera. On the best Samsung Galaxy phones, you get Bixby, and Google Pixel phones have Google Assistant, for example. However, even though Samsung continues to enhance Bixby each year, it has yet to persuade many to use it as their default assistant.
On-device machine learning can make smartphones even better
You may have heard a lot about artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) in recent years as the demand for each continues to rise. These two terms in the technology world have been tossed around for one specific reason: They take our device hardware beyond its physical limitations. For example, the best Android phones rely on an AI or ML model to achieve even more impressive photos from the camera. This guide discusses Google ML Kit and how it uses efficient on-device processing to improve our smartphone experience.
They're pretty easy to manage once you know where to look
Traditional text-based passwords will likely stick around for a while, despite the rise in passwordless and biometric authentication options. Because of this, the best Android phones can only do so much to protect our online accounts. The goal for the future is to remove old-school passwords, but it will take some time before this trend becomes sufficiently widespread not to worry about passwords anymore. In the meantime, Google offers an updated Password Manager feature to keep our passwords safe and secure.
The popular social payment platform is getting even bigger
If you've ever wanted to quickly send funds to someone without jumping through hoops, Venmo is a popular option. As a mobile payment platform, you can use Venmo on your smartphone to securely send and receive funds with a few quick taps. You also don't need a high-end device to use the service. You can easily send funds from one of the best Android budget phones. In this guide, we go over how to set up your first Venmo account and highlight some of its core features you can check out.
There are multiples ways to keep your data safe and sound
You have multiple options when backing up your Android phone, from the official first-party methods to some well-known third-party alternatives. If you get one of the best Android budget phones, you'll want to back up your files from the old phone first. To keep this process as simple as possible, you might use a cloud-based solution with automatic backups that manage themselves. At the same time, you can also create local backups and manually store them offline somewhere for extra ease of mind. In this guide, we cover various examples of how to back up your Android phone.
Explore the world around you without ever leaving your house
Google Maps is a popular tool that has existed for many decades, allowing us to view live satellite images of the world. It enables us to learn about or explore our local community. It also helps us navigate to different locations via detailed travel directions. You'll never worry about getting lost again when you pair Google Maps and GPS with one of the best Android phones. This guide discusses the various ways to view satellite imagery of Earth from your smartphone or desktop computer.
And should you be planning on an upgrade when routers that support it are released?
With our world revolving around mobile and always online devices, Wi-Fi has been the go-to wireless technology to keep all our gadgets connected. And with every passing generation, the Wi-Fi standard continues to improve while offering new features that appeal to the modern smart home user. Wi-Fi 7 is the next generation of this popular wireless technology that promises a giant leap forward over the previous two standards, Wi-Fi 6 and Wi-Fi 6E. Although Wi-Fi 7 isn't quite ready for public use, you can check out the best Wi-Fi 6 mesh routers if you need an upgrade today.
Finding new modules might look a little different from now on
Magisk is one of the best tools to tap into when customizing any rooted Android device. You install modules that do just about anything you want systemlessly, allowing you to make changes without permanently overwriting your system files. Once you uninstall them, you'll return to stock settings. If you want to take one of the best Android budget phones and tweak it with Magisk, you could customize it to your liking. Specific module-related properties have changed in later versions of Magisk, so we go over everything you need to know in the guide below.
It's helpful to know when you're selling or trading in your device
To get the most out of your Android smartphone experience, you must sign in with your Google account to access much of what makes Android great. Without it, for example, you can't rely on the Google Play Store for your apps or Gmail for your emails, and you won't be able to sync your online contacts. Staying signed in with your Google account on the best 5G Android phones allows you to enjoy everything it offers. However, there may come a time when you want to remove at least one or more Google accounts from your phone.
Create your own custom shortcuts and become a Gmail master
Gmail is a powerful tool that allows you to view and interact with all the emails you get from your various online accounts. Since you likely spend extra time each day navigating your inbox, this routine should be as efficient as possible to increase your productivity. Getting an external keyboard for your Chromebook or Android tablet gives you more control and flexibility over your inbox. And when you combine some of the top Gmail keyboard shortcuts with your own custom actions, you'll improve your Gmail experience even more.
The Android 14 Beta is here, so install it on your Pixel today
The Android 14 beta program has arrived, which means there is a lot of fun, testing, and discovering ahead of us. It will still take a few months until Android 14 will go live in stable, but you don't have to wait for that if you have a Pixel phone. There is an easy way to install the Android 14 Beta on your phone that feels almost like getting a regular system update, but we'll also walk you through the manual installation process. Just note that if you have another great Android phone that isn't a Pixel, you might still have to wait a little longer.
There might be a few methods that you didn't know about
The Windows command prompt is a valuable and dedicated tool that some might use to sideload the latest version of Android using ADB or Fastboot. You can even sync one of the best Android phones with your Windows computer to enhance your experience by adding new functionality. But you don't have to treat the command line interface as something you only use to run code. The Windows command prompt has other hidden uses. This guide covers some examples of unique ways to use the Windows command prompt with features that might be useful to you.
An easy way to find reliable and trustworthy local community data
Many of us visit the Google search engine daily to find answers to our questions and gather information for independent research. And in a world powered by mobile devices, the best Android phones allow us to access this vast knowledge database anytime we need it. In our quest to find the relevant information we seek, we often visit multiple websites and decide just how accurate their claims are. Worse yet, finding specific data points on a hard-to-research topic can take time and effort, often not giving you the results you were likely hoping for.
It can be tricky, but these steps might just work for you
These days, most Android devices come preloaded with the Google Play Store installed and ready to be used. That gives users access to millions of apps and games — the vast majority are available as a free download — by logging in with their Gmail account. Still, there will always be a handful of popular gadgets that bypass Google Play Services. Whether it's Amazon's lineup of the best Fire Tablets or a random Android tablet you found through a deals site, finding out a device you were excited about lacks the Play Store can be a real headache.
They're helping push us closer to a truly passwordless future
Passwords are annoying to keep track of manually and are the most vulnerable link in the security chain. Even the best Android phones can only partially protect us from weak passwords. Proper cybersecurity protocols must be in place since we rely on the internet more now than in the past. In comes password manager services with features such as safely storing our passwords, one-tap logins, and unique password generation. When you use everything they offer, you'll never want to go back to trying to remember or writing down your passwords.
We go over how to tell and prevent it from happening to your cameras
Smart home security cameras are great tools that many of us use daily to keep an eye on the surrounding goings-on in the world. They offer motion detection capabilities and can alert us when a package has been delivered. Their benefits are worth the effort. Many of the best security camera systems have features and a price that should fit the needs of everyone. However, hackers trying to snoop on your private video feeds can exploit those benefits. We show you everything you need to know about this situation.
There might be times when you actually need to contact support
Amazon has become the place to shop for almost anything you want online, including the best Amazon Echo smart displays. However, orders can get lost during shipping or you may experience issues processing the payment. The number of things that can go wrong is endless. The app or website typically redirects you to Amazon's support hub page. But what if you need something more specific?
Managing your downloaded files has never been easier
Since web browsing is a way of life, downloading files is a regular daily activity many of us do. Be it music, photos, or videos, the best Android phones can get cluttered with random files. In the blink of an eye, you can collect multiple downloads without thinking twice about them.
reclaim some of your privacy with open source software
Software is a set of codes and instructions behind the scenes that make up an application or program on a computer or smartphone device. The software tells the hardware what to do and how to do it. This is half of the user experience while interacting with any device. When comparing the best Android phones on the market, each manufacturer offers a different and unique software experience catered to its specific users. This guide covers what makes open source software sought after and how it compares to other available options, such as closed source software and freeware.
You might be surprised by at least one of these options
Let's be honest, the LED light on the back of your smartphone works far better as a flashlight than a camera flash. Dedicated low-light camera modes produce far better results than a small light ever could. That said, that tiny light is a great replacement for the bulky flashlight hiding in your kitchen cupboard.