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  1. Thread Author  Thread Author    #1  

    Default [GUIDE] Getting Started with Android (2014)

    Welcome to Android Central!

    You've come to the biggest and best Android forum around. Here you'll find over 2 million members discussing the whole gamut of Android issues and beyond, overseen by a crack team of Moderators, and assisted by your friendly neighborhood Ambassadors (a group of volunteers who share a pathologic urge to help those in need of Android assistance). Before you go any further, please be cool and review the Community Rules & Guidelines, which go a long way towards making this forum a fun and comfortable place in which to hang out. That's ok, I'll wait ...

    All set? Then here we go! The purpose of this thread is to act as a launchpad for those of you who are completely new to Android, whether you've moved over from an iPhone, a Windows Phone, or a Blackberry, or you're a newbie to the whole world of smartphones. It is by no means a comprehensive guide, but I will suggest links here and there for further reading as well as links for apps that may expand your device's capabilities. To a certain extent, I will build upon the massive original Getting Started guide written by milominderbinde back in 2010, so he still deserves a lot of credit. I'll try to keep the terminology pretty basic, but if you start wondering what's meant by terms like RAM, GPU, kernel, or "phone call" (so, people actually talk to each other using these things?!?), then refer to The Android Dictionary.

    To jump to specific sections of this guide, follow these links:

    Keep in mind that there are hundreds of different Android devices in use today, with varying Android versions and manufacturer-specific tweaks to the interface, so a guide like this can't be one-size-fits-all. To make things easier (for me, at least), I will refer mostly to "stock" or "vanilla" Android, which is the pure unadulterated version of Android that Google has on its Nexus devices. Specifically, I have a Nexus 5 and a 2013 Nexus 7, both with Android 4.4.2.


    What Is Android?

    In case you just emerged from a time warp from the 1800s (I say, look at all of the horseless carriages!), Android is Google's mobile operating system based on Linux. Android is open source and free to use by developers, who can make modifications for specific devices and release them as "custom ROMs" (more on that later). The first Android phone was released in 2008, and since then its development and growth have accelerated exponentially. As of mid-2013, the rate of Android device activations worldwide was 1.5 million/day, and there were over 1 million apps available in the Google Play Store. As of late 2013, Android's worldwide smartphone market share was a whopping 81%, while the tablet market share was 60%.


    What's with the Names? You're Making Me Hungry.

    Just as with other operating systems like Windows and Mac OS, Android continues to develop, ever advancing to higher versions. Android version 1.0 and 1.1 were very creatively named Android version 1.0 and 1.1. But each major version update starting with 1.5 has had a nickname based on a sweet treat, because why not?

    • Android 1.5 (Cupcake)
    • Android 1.6 (Donut)
    • Android 2.0-2.1 (Eclair)
    • Android 2.2 (Froyo)
    • Android 2.3 (Gingerbread)
    • Android 3.0-3.2 (Honeycomb)--for tablets only
    • Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich)
    • Android 4.1-4.3 (Jellybean)
    • Android 4.4 (KitKat, originally Key Lime Pie)
    • ???Android 5.0 (Lollipop? Licorice? Lemonhead?)

    Do you sense a pattern? Right, it's alphabetical, starting with C. Google, you cheeky rascals. (Not sure what happened to A and B--perhaps they were considered alpha and beta test versions?)

    These various versions of Android pose a bit of a fragmentation problem, because as more advanced versions of the OS are released by Google, older devices typically get left in the dust. Most devices get system updates for 18-24 months at the most, because after a while it isn't efficient for the phone's manufacturer or the wireless provider to modify the latest Android version to work on an outdated piece of hardware. As Android has matured, though, fragmentation has become less of an issue, since subsequent versions have been more evolutionary steps rather than quantum leaps, allowing more compatibility of apps across OS versions.


    Choosing a Wireless Carrier

    There are, of course, the big carriers like Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile, that require you to pay fairly hefty monthly fees based on 2 year contracts with early termination penalties, effectively locking you in. But there are an increasing number of smaller wireless companies like Virgin Mobile and Straight Talk that offer cheaper plans, often in a pay-as-you-go fashion. These companies typically piggyback off the bigger carriers (e.g., Virgin Mobile uses the Sprint network), but the tradeoff is that they usually don't carry the latest and greatest devices. As this kind of service has become increasingly popular, the big carriers are now offering similar plans (like AT&T's GoPhone or Sprint's AsYouGo). As an interesting aside, one innovative service, Republic Wireless, actually relies on available wi-fi signals to make calls over the web; if no wi-fi signal is available, the phone switches over to the Sprint network.

    Your choice of carrier and plan should be based on several factors, many of which will be unique to you (like financial situation, device preference, and local availability). One of the most important factors will be the quality of the network where you'll be using it most. To see how good voice and data reception are in a particular area, you can check the Sensorly.com online maps, a crowdsourced service which shows the coverage levels reported by users of their Sensorly app (Google Play Store link here). RootMetrics is a similar site (Google Play Store link here). And of course, Consumer Reports is always a good source of information, with their annual ratings of wireless companies both big and small (although I find their smartphone ratings less useful, since they're often a release cycle behind).


    Which Device Is Right for You?

    The huge variety of devices to choose from is one of Android's greatest advantages, but it can also be confusing and present you with too many decisions. There are high end phones, budget-friendly entry-level phones, and varying levels in between. There are different screen sizes, amounts of memory, and levels of processing power. Some allow you to expand your storage memory using a microSD card, although this is rapidly becoming less common, as Google nudges everyone towards cloud storage. Different manufacturers often make minor (or sometimes major) tweaks to the basic "vanilla" or "stock" Android interface in efforts to enhance the user experience as well as to make their devices stand out from others--Samsung has TouchWiz, HTC has Sense, etc. These "skins" or "overlays," as they're often called, can be the source of great enjoyment or frustration, depending on factors like how well the hardware supports them and if the extra features are actually useful to a particular user. So as you can see, the choice of device will end up being very individualized.

    However, there are some basic guidelines to follow, because there are quite a few devices out there that will only give you a subpar experience. If you're considering a particular device, look up its specifications on the web, and check for the following:

    1. RAM: This is where active apps reside. The way Android works, the system prefers to keep RAM mostly full of open apps, to allow for faster and more efficient app switching and opening (see this article). The more RAM a device has, the more apps can be active, and the device will thus run more smoothly. 1 GB of RAM is standard these days, with higher end phones having 2 GB. Try to avoid devices with less then 1 GB of RAM. They'll be slow and clunky.
    2. ROM (also referred to as Internal Storage): This is where apps are installed, and where data generated by apps is stored. Part of this storage (anywhere from 2 to 6 GB) will be taken up by the OS and any preinstalled apps (i.e., nonremovable "bloatware"). So even though a device might be advertised as having 4 GB of ROM, it may only have 1-2 GB available to the user. This can severely limit the number or size of apps you can install, and you can't fully install apps to external SD cards, so don't expect that expanding the memory to 32 GB with a microSD card will help. External SD cards are mostly good for storing media files like music, videos, and photos. Look for devices with at least 8 GB of ROM, preferably at least 16 GB. For more discussion on memory, see this guide.
    3. CPU: It's hard to keep track of the different kinds of processors out there, but as a general rule of thumb, the more cores, the better the performance. Specs aren't always everything, but they still mean something. A quad-core CPU will almost always outperform a dual-core CPU, and no one should be settling for a single-core CPU any more. As for clock speed (i.e., GHz), it's difficult to compare CPUs these days based on only those numbers.
    Last edited by B. Diddy; 06-20-2014 at 11:06 AM.
  2. Thread Author  Thread Author    #2  

    Default Re: [GUIDE] Getting Started with Android (2014) [CONSOLIDATED]

    Your Homescreens

    So you've gotten your happy shiny new Android device and just finished setting it up with your Google account. Now what do you do with that vast expanse of blank screen? This is one of the main ways you can make Android your very own. What you're seeing is a Homescreen, which is akin to the Desktop in Windows. On it, you can place shortcuts to your favorite apps, combine those shortcuts into folders, and set up widgets. You're not limited to just one homescreen--stock Android gives you five homescreens to customize, which can be accessed by swiping left and right from homescreen to homescreen. You can also choose your own wallpaper (either a static wallpaper or a live wallpaper). Let's start discussing these in more detail.

    [GUIDE] Getting Started with Android (2014)-homescreen.jpg

    App Shortcuts:
    These are just like shortcuts on a Windows desktop, in that clicking on the shortcut will launch the app, but removing the shortcut will not uninstall the actual app. In order to place an app shortcut on your homescreen, you need to bring up the All Apps screen (also referred to as the App Drawer) by tapping that circular 6 dot grid icon as seen above. Extending the Windows analogy, consider the All Apps screen to be like the Windows Start menu, where you could bring up all installed programs (at least, until Windows 8 came along). The position and appearance of the All Apps icon may vary from device to device, and on certain tablets, it may be at the upper right of the screen. The All Apps screen displays every app that is currently installed on your device, and looks like this:

    [GUIDE] Getting Started with Android (2014)-all-apps.png

    It's in alphabetical order, and if you have more apps installed than can fit on one screen, you can swipe left and right to see all pages of your apps. To create a shortcut, long-press the app icon (i.e., press and hold until you are able to manipulate it). The All Apps screen will disappear, and the homescreen will reappear. While still keeping your finger on the app icon, drag it somewhere on the homescreen, release your finger, and voila! You've created an app shortcut.

    If you don't like where you placed it, just long-press it again, drag it somewhere else, and release it. If you want to get rid of it, long-press it and drag it to the "Remove" area that appears at the top of the screen. (Some devices might show a garbage can icon instead.)

    The Favorites Tray is where you can place shortcuts for frequently used apps. As you swipe between various homescreens, the Favorites Tray will remain unchanged. Placing or removing shortcuts there is done the same way as anywhere else on the homescreen. You can also create app folders there (see below).

    App Folders: As you can imagine, homescreens can become cluttered pretty quickly. You can organize app shortcuts into folders by simply dragging one shortcut onto another. When you see a circle appear around the shortcut, release your finger, and you will now see a circle that contains a smaller version of the shortcuts you just combined, which is your new app folder. If you tap the folder, a window will appear with all of the app shortcuts contained within. You can also name the app folder by tapping where it says "Unnamed Folder," and then typing a new name. You can easily drag a shortcut out of a folder back onto the homescreen, and if there is only one shortcut left, the folder disappears.

    It can be a little difficult to get one shortcut onto another without the other one moving out of the way. The trick is to move the shortcut fairly quickly--this signals to the system that you're trying to create a folder. If you just want to bump something out of the way, drag the shortcut slowly.

    What the Heck's a Widget?: A widget is something you can place on a homescreen that actively displays dynamic information (like a news or weather widget) or allows you to perform a certain function by simply tapping it (like a wi-fi toggle). Widgets are listed under the Widgets tab of the App Drawer (see it in the upper left corner?)--tap it to bring up all available Widgets.

    [GUIDE] Getting Started with Android (2014)-widgets.png

    Just as with app shortcuts, you can swipe left and right to see more pages of widgets, and long-press the widget you want to drag to a homescreen. Keep in mind that widgets may require a certain amount of real estate on the homescreen, so if there isn't enough room, you may not be able to place the widget successfully. The numbers to the right of the widget name tell you how many spaces on the homescreen are needed (e.g., Google Play Books requires a 2 x 3 grid of spaces).

    Widgets are often a component of an app that you may have installed, but sometimes an app you see on Google Play might only be comprised of a widget. This can potentially lead to confusion if you install something and then can't find it in your All Apps list. Make sure you read the app description carefully on Google Play--the developer will often specify if something is a widget only, and remind the user where to find it.

    On certain devices with older Android versions, a widget might not show up as available in the Widgets list immediately after installing it. You may need to restart the phone for the Widgets list to populate correctly.


    Wallpapers: There are two kinds of wallpapers--static and live (i.e., animated). Static wallpapers can be chosen from the preloaded selection of wallpapers, from photos that you took with your device's camera, or from images you downloaded from the web. Live wallpapers can be chosen from the preloaded selection, or can be installed from the Google Play Store (many of them are free). As you might imagine, live wallpapers tend to use a little more battery than static wallpapers, due to the increased processing power needed for animation. But the effect can be quite striking, and is a unique feature of Android.

    The degree of battery usage by a live wallpaper depends on factors like the complexity of animation, interactive features, and the need to access the web (e.g., to update and display weather information).

    To select a wallpaper, long-press any blank part of the homescreen until the following menu comes up:

    [GUIDE] Getting Started with Android (2014)-lwp1.png

    Gallery and Photos are essentially the same--they just access the photos on your device using different apps (the stock Gallery app and the Google+ Photos app). Simply select one of your photos, adjust the framing to your liking, and accept it. If you download an image from the web for use as a static wallpaper, you will find it here as well (typically in the Download gallery).

    Wallpapers shows the preloaded static wallpapers.

    Live Wallpapers shows the list of live wallpapers. Selecting any will give you a preview of the live wallpaper. Tap the Settings button at the lower left to adjust its appearance and behavior; tap Set Wallpaper when you're done. Here's a list of some of my favorite live wallpapers, all of which are easy on the battery:

    ATOMium 3D
    Blox Pro
    Digital Flux
    Digital Hive
    Light Grid Pro
    Limitless Grid
    Mystic Clockwork FULL
    Mystic Halo
    Neon Microcosm
    Retro Contours
    SwampWater

    You may notice that most of these are the full paid versions. Although they all have free "lite" versions, it's always good karma to pay for the full apps if you like them (or to donate money, if solicited). It supports the developers, encourages them to create more apps, and is rarely more than a buck or two.
  3. Thread Author  Thread Author    #3  

    Default Re: [GUIDE] Getting Started with Android (2014) [CONSOLIDATED]

    Buttons and the Notification Bar

    Let's look at this figure again:
    [GUIDE] Getting Started with Android (2014)-homescreen.jpg
    Back button: This is pretty self-explanatory. Pressing it will go back to the previous screen within an app (or, if you're in the browser, the previous webpage). If you're already back to the initial app screen, pressing Back again will dump you to the homescreen.

    Home button:
    Pressing Home will immediately get you from whatever you were doing back to the homescreen. The app you were just using will often remain open in the background, but not always--it depends on the app. The homescreen you get sent to is the last homescreen you were on; if you press Home again, you will then jump to the main homescreen (which is the one in the middle--i.e., #3 of 5).

    Recent Apps buttons: This brings up a list of apps that you recently used in thumbnail form.

    [GUIDE] Getting Started with Android (2014)-recent.png

    You can switch quickly between apps by tapping them, and you can remove apps from this list by swiping them away (or by long-pressing them and selecting "Remove from List"). It is important to note, however, that this is not a task killer. For example, if you're playing a song on Google Play Music, then go to the Recent Apps list and swipe it away, the music won't stop. But swiping certain apps away can actually close them--once again, it depends on the app. See this article where a Google engineer discusses the issue in more detail. To exit the Recent Apps list, press any of the 3 buttons.

    The 3 main buttons will occasionally change to 3 innocuous dots while certain apps are running, so as not to be too intrusive. For example, here's what happens to the buttons when the camera is active:

    [GUIDE] Getting Started with Android (2014)-button-dots.png

    It's a little hard to see, but the buttons turned into 3 faint dots. To bring the buttons back, just tap anywhere along that lower bar. If you tap one of the dots, it will still correspond to the appropriate button press, though.

    Menu button:
    When Menu options are available, you will see the 3 vertical dot Menu button somewhere on the screen--typically the upper right. For example, here's the Google Play Store:

    [GUIDE] Getting Started with Android (2014)-menu.png


    The Back, Home, and Recent Apps buttons on many newer Android devices are "soft" on-screen buttons--i.e., the device itself doesn't have any physical hardware buttons for these functions, so the buttons appear on screen. If you have an older device, or one of the dwindling number of newer devices that still have them (like the Motorola Droid Ultra, Mini, and Maxx), you may have hardware buttons like this:

    [GUIDE] Getting Started with Android (2014)-capacitative-buttons.jpg
    The 2nd icon is the Menu button while the 4th icon is the Search button. On these devices, you may not see the "soft" Menu button onscreen, since the system knows you have a hardware Menu button.

    On devices with hardware buttons, long-pressing the Home button usually brings up the Recent Apps list, and long-pressing the Search button brings up Google Now.


    Notification Bar: Also known as the status bar, this shows you various icons like the battery indicator, wireless signal strength, etc. If you see an icon that you don't recognize, check your manual or the web for a list of all commonly used icons. Notification messages from apps will also appear in this area, typically one line of text at a time. To see the full notifications, simply swipe down from the top of the screen, and you will drag down the entire Notification Shade. Keep in mind that on tablets, you may have to swipe down from the upper left half of the screen, because swiping down from the upper right half may open the Quick Settings shade (more on that later).

    [GUIDE] Getting Started with Android (2014)-notification-drawer-full.png

    Tapping any of these notifications will open that particular app--so for example, if you tapped the Calendar reminder, the Calendar app would open to that event. With many Google apps, you can actually perform app functions directly from the Notification Shade, as seen above. With Gmail for example, you typically get the option to delete an email without having to open the Gmail app (although that function isn't seen above, since there are multiple emails).
    You can find out which app is responsible for a notification by long-pressing the notification and tapping "App Info."

    Certain notifications can be expanded to show more information. For example, with Gmail, the initial notification will only show the sender info and title of the email; however, if you swipe down on that notification, you can expand it to show the first few lines of text from the email. If there are multiple emails, the initial notification will only tell you how many emails are unread, but when expanded, it will show sender and title of those pending emails (as seen above).

    You can dismiss individual notifications by swiping them to the side--this will only remove the notification, not delete the event or email. You can remove all notifications at once by tapping the Dismiss All button at the top right. Swiping the Notification Shade back up or pressing the Back button will close it again.

    Notifications are usually controlled in an app's settings, so if you're getting bombarded by too many notifications, you can turn some of them off by opening a given app, going to its menu, and seeing if there is an option to turn notifications off (or sometimes, to limit the types of notifications you get). If the app doesn't give you that option, you can still turn them off by going to System Settings>Apps, selecting the app in question, and unchecking the "Show notifications" box.

    [GUIDE] Getting Started with Android (2014)-unchecked_show_notifications-393x700.png
  4. Thread Author  Thread Author    #4  

    Default Re: [GUIDE] Getting Started with Android (2014) [CONSOLIDATED]

    System Settings, Part I

    The System Settings menu is where you can adjust a lot of the nuts and bolts of your Android device. There are two main ways to access System Settings--from the Quick Settings menu and from the All Apps list. The more convenient way is to open the Quick Settings menu (available in Android 4.2 and up) by swiping down from the upper right half of the screen if you have a tablet, or swiping down with two fingers if you have a phone.

    [GUIDE] Getting Started with Android (2014)-quick-settings.jpg

    Tapping the Settings button will bring you to the main System Settings menu. Notice the other buttons that are present in the Quick Settings menu--these either act as toggles or quick access to that particular menu. In stock Android, the Quick Settings can't be modified, so we're stuck with these buttons:

    • Brightness: Tapping will bring up the screen brightness slider.
    • Wi-Fi: Tapping will open the System Settings>Wi-Fi menu. Long-pressing it will act as a wi-fi toggle. When wi-fi is on, the network name and signal strength will be displayed.
    • Auto Rotate: Tapping will toggle between automatic screen rotation and locked screen rotation.
    • Battery: Tapping will open the System Settings>Battery menu, showing current battery stats.
    • Airplane Mode: Tapping will toggle Airplane Mode, which will turn off all radios (wi-fi, Bluetooth, and mobile data/voice). Once in Airplane Mode, you can toggle wi-fi and Bluetooth back on, but the cell radio will stay off until you turn off Airplane Mode.
    • Bluetooth: As with the wi-fi button, tapping will open the System Settings>Bluetooth menu, and long-pressing will act as a toggle.
    • Tapping on your profile picture will bring up selections to go to your Google+ profile or your entry in the Contacts/People app.


    The other way to access the System Settings menu is to open the All Apps list and tap the Settings app (which usually has a gear or slider control icon). If you'd prefer to have the Settings available with only one touch, you could create a Settings shortcut on your homescreen. The following is a quick overview of the important System Settings to be familiar with (but keep in mind that the Settings may differ with each device):

    Wireless & Networks
    • Wi-Fi: You can turn wi-fi on or off by sliding the switch on the right. If you tap on Wi-Fi, you'll see all available networks, as well as those your device has remembered. To connect to a particular network, just tap it. To modify or forget the network settings, long-press it, and then select the appropriate choice. Modifying the network settings will allow you to change the password in case it was entered incorrectly. Forgetting the network will clear its settings from your system, and if you try to reconnect, any password that is required will have to be reentered.

    Forgetting a network and then reconnecting to it can sometimes clear up wi-fi connectivity problems. For more information and tips, see this guide:[GUIDE] Troubleshooting Wi-Fi Connection Problems

    • Bluetooth: Just like with wi-fi, you can turn Bluetooth on or off by sliding the switch. If you tap on Bluetooth, you'll see all paired devices, and you can also Search for Devices by tapping that button at the upper right.
    • Data Usage: Shows how much data you've used over a user-adjustable time period, sorted by app, starting with the one that has used the most data. Tapping on an app will give you a further breakdown of foreground vs background data usage. For devices that use both wi-fi and mobile data, tapping the Menu button gives you the option to display both wi-fi and mobile data usage.
    • Airplane Mode: See above.
    • NFC: Turn on or off Near Field Communications, which allows for data transfer by simply bringing your device into close proximity with another device with the same capability. This option is only available if your device has an NFC chip, and the ability to transmit data with it is app-dependent.
    • Tethering & Portable Hotspot: You can use your mobile data-connected device to broadcast a wi-fi signal that other devices can use as a hotspot. The ability to do this depends on your mobile data plan.

    Since most data plans are not unlimited, it's important to be aware of how much data might be used by tethering. If you're tethering a laptop to your phone and watching a ton of YouTube, you'll use a lot of data very quickly.

    Device
    • Sound: You can separately adjust volumes for Alarms, Notifications, and all other Media. Options for screen touch and screen lock sounds may be found here as well. You can also select a Default Notification Sound, but this can be overridden by an app if there is a separate Notification option in that app's Settings. So for example, if you open Gmail, then tap Menu>Settings>[your Gmail account]>Inbox Sound, you can specify a different notification sound for each of your inboxes.
    • Display:
    • Brightness: Adjust manually with the slider, or tap Auto for automatic brightness. Automatic brightness is regulated by the ambient light sensor, typically located right next to the front-facing camera. If the sensor detects low light, the screen will dim; if it detects bright light, it will increase screen brightness accordingly. Anything that blocks the light sensor (like an ill-fitting case or your finger) may lead to inadvertent screen-dimming.
    • Wallpaper: This is essentially the same as long-pressing a blank area of the homescreen to bring up wallpaper options, as discussed previously.
    • Sleep: Select how long the device will idle before the screen turns off.
    • Daydream: Starting with Android 4.2, this option is like a screensaver. You can choose from a few preinstalled Daydreams, and others can be added (typically as a component of a live wallpaper). You can select for the Daydream to display while charging, while in a dock, or both, by tapping the "When To Daydream" button at the upper right.
    • Storage: A graphical representation of the general categories of stuff stored on your device. You can tap each category to explore them further.

    [GUIDE] Getting Started with Android (2014)-storage.png
    Tapping Cached data will give you the option to clear all app caches, which can temporarily clear up some storage.
    If you tap the Menu button on this screen, you can also select what kind of USB Computer Connection your device will use when you plug it into your computer. Most newer devices will only offer MTP (Media Transfer Protocol) and PTP (Picture Transfer Protocol). MTP is the main one you'll use, but neither will allow your computer to see every single folder on your device. Older devices will have a selection for USB Mass Storage (sometimes called "Disk Drive"), which allows the device to mount as an external hard drive on a computer. This allows the computer to see all folders in Internal Storage and the external SD card. However, in order to accomplish this, these older devices need a separate App Storage partition that is inaccessible to the computer (otherwise, apps would crash if the partition they were in was suddenly mounted to a computer). App Storage is typically small, and limits the number of apps those older devices can have installed at a time, which is part of the reason why most Android device makers have abandoned that practice.

    • Battery: A graph of your battery stats. Tapping on the graph will give you a fullscreen version with additional information along the bottom letting you know when you had wi-fi on, when the device was awake, when the screen was on, and when it was charging. Tapping on the app or process in the list will give you more details for that particular item.

    [GUIDE] Getting Started with Android (2014)-battery1.png [GUIDE] Getting Started with Android (2014)-battery2.png
    For tips on how to prolong your battery life, see this guide: [Guide] Battery Saving Tips

    • Apps: All installed apps are listed here, broken down into 4 categories: Downloaded, Running, All, and Disabled. Swiping the screen horizontally will switch categories.

    [GUIDE] Getting Started with Android (2014)-downloaded.png [GUIDE] Getting Started with Android (2014)-appinfo.png
    • Downloaded & All: These categories display essentially the same information--the main difference is that Downloaded shows only those apps that you have installed on your own, while All shows every app, including the system apps. Tapping an app will give you the screen on the right, which breaks things down further, and shows you the Permissions the app has. There are a few things you can do here:
      • Force Stop: If the app is misbehaving and seems to be bogging the system down, you can force it to close.
      • Uninstall: The same as uninstalling from the Google Play Store. System apps and preinstalled apps ("bloatware") can't be completely uninstalled, but you might see "Uninstall Updates"--this will revert the app back to its factory state, after which you could Disable it (see below).
      • Clear Data: This will erase important app-associated data like passwords, saved games, preferences, etc. It can be helpful if an app is malfunctioning, but it's worth trying the Clear Cache option first, as described below.
      • Clear Cache: The cache is where temporary app data is stored that is not crucial to its operation, but can make the app run more efficiently (e.g., recent webpages visited by a browser). Caches can increase in size over time and take up storage memory, so clearing app caches can reclaim some of that space. It may also correct glitchy behavior, if there's some bad piece of data stuck in the cache. You can clear individual app caches here, or you can clear all of them at once as described above, by going to Settings>Storage>Cached Data. (There are plenty of 3rd party apps that can do this with one touch, like App Cache Cleaner.)


    • Running: These are the apps that are currently open in RAM; available RAM can be seen at the bottom. This list should never be empty or close to empty--remember that Android likes to keep apps open in RAM to allow for faster and more efficient app switching and multitasking. The system manages this on its own, and will often open apps automatically, based on usage patterns and other functions inherent to those apps. Manually closing apps using a "task killer" typically does not help battery life over the long term, and in fact may worsen battery life, because those apps will probably open again soon, which takes CPU and therefore battery. For a more detailed explanation, see this excellent article.

    [GUIDE] Getting Started with Android (2014)-running.png
    • Disabled: Depending on the Android version, this may be a separate column, or might be at the bottom of the "All" list. These are the apps that were manually disabled by the user. On a brand new device, this category should be empty.

    [GUIDE] Getting Started with Android (2014)-disable.png [GUIDE] Getting Started with Android (2014)-disabled.png
    Disabling only applies to system apps or preinstalled "bloatware" that can't be uninstalled (assuming you're not rooted). Disabling an app essentially deactivates it and makes it dormant--it will disappear from the App Drawer, and can only be found in the Disabled Apps list. You won't free up the storage space taken up by the app, but you will free up system RAM for other apps to use. To disable an app, tap the Disable button on the App Info screen. To re-enable it, select it from the Disabled Apps list and tap Enable.
    Be cautious about which apps you disable. As you might imagine, some system apps are very important for normal functioning. For example, disabling the Download Manager will interfere with accessing the Downloads folder, as well as installing apps.


    • Users: You can add additional users if your Android version supports it (on 4.2 and above). If you press the settings button next to the owner, you can enter Owner Info and choose to show it on the lock screen.
    Last edited by B. Diddy; 06-12-2014 at 10:31 PM.
  5. Thread Author  Thread Author    #5  

    Default Re: [GUIDE] Getting Started with Android (2014) [CONSOLIDATED]

    System Settings, Part II

    Personal

    • Location: This is where you can select how your device checks its location and whether or not apps can access your location. This menu may vary in appearance and options, since there were some changes in terminology with Android 4.4, so I won't go into much detail about how the menu is laid out.
      • ​The device can use GPS, wi-fi, and/or cellular signal to determine your location. GPS is the most precise, but uses a significant amount of battery, so unless you need this precision, it's best to keep GPS off until you need it. Determining location using wi-fi (by using the router's MAC address) and/or cellular signal (by triangulating from your nearest cell towers) is less precise, but still reasonably accurate (within about 1000 feet or so).
      • You can turn on or off the ability of apps to access your location here.
      • Location Reporting allows your device to periodically send your location data to Google for use by its various location based apps like Google Maps, Google+, and Google Offers. For example, if you have Location Reporting on and you've selected to share your location with friends on Google+, then they will always know where you are (and hopefully none of them is a stalker). Turning Location Reporting off doesn't affect the ability of apps to use your location--for example, Google Now will still know where you are and report the proper weather. So it's never been entirely clear to me what the real benefit of Location Reporting is. Here's a fairly nebulous explanation from Google.

    ​I have found that Location Reporting can contribute to some battery drain, since it may increase the number of partial wakelocks (where the device is awakened from sleep to perform a task--in this case, checking location and reporting it). I keep Location Reporting off until needed.


    • Security:
      • Screen Lock: Choose how to unlock your device. People love stealing gadgets, so do yourself a favor and pick something besides "None" or "Slide." But please do pick a code or pattern that you know you won't forget. A person who posts about having forgotten the lock pattern/code and wanting to figure out how to bypass it is sure to arouse suspicion.
      • Automatically Lock: Choose how long to wait after the device goes to sleep before the device locks. You can set how long the device idles before going to sleep in Settings>Display>Sleep.
      • Power Button Instantly Locks: Does what it says if the box is checked.
      • Owner Info: You can put your name and contact info here, and choose whether or not to display it on your lock screen. I suggest listing only your name and a contact phone number, but not your home address, unless you want a thief to know where you live.
      • Encrypt Tablet: This will add a layer of encryption for your entire device, which may be important or even required if your device is used at work for sensitive data. However, for the average user, it is unnecessary, and might cause more problems than it's worth. It may slow down your device somewhat, and it's an irreversible process, unless you factory reset it. Read more here.
      • Device Administrators: This lists apps that can be granted increased access to certain core system functions. For example, you should see Android Device Manager listed here, with the function "Allow Android Device Manager to lock or erase a lost device." Checking the box will allow Android Device Manager to do a remote wipe if you were to lose your device. Apps that require Device Administrator privilege will usually let you know and prompt you to go to this menu.
      • Unknown Sources: Very important to check this on if you want to install apps from anywhere else besides the Google Play Store (for most people, this means the Amazon Appstore). This also allows you to install apps manually (aka sideloading) from .apk installer files, but please be aware that downloading .apk files from random filesharing sites may increase your chances of malware, since there will be little or no vetting of files on those sites. In addition, if those .apk files are for apps that are not free, then it's piracy, which is illegal and totally not excellent.
      • Verify Apps: If turned on, then any app you install will be checked by Google. If it is known to be malicious, then installation will be blocked. According to this support page, "When you verify applications, Google receives log information, URLs related to the app, and general information about the device, such as the Device ID, version of the operating system, and IP address."

    • Language & Input: Change language, adjust the Spell Checker, and edit your Personal Dictionary here. Also, you can adjust the settings of your keyboard, and choose which one should be the default keyboard, if you have more than one installed. To adjust the keyboard settings, tap the settings icon to the right of the keyboard in question. You can adjust things like auto-capitalization, keypress sound or vibration, auto-correct, etc.
    • Backup & Reset: Be vewwwy vewwwy careful here, since this is where you find the Factory Data Reset option, which will wipe your device clean. (Don't worry too much, though--if you accidentally tap it, you'll be prompted with warnings and asked if you really want to do it.)
      • Back Up My Data: Turning this on will keep certain data backed up on the Google servers. Information from your Google apps (e.g., Gmail, Contacts, Drive) normally sync with Google anyway, so this feature has more to do with other information, like your wi-fi settings, the list of all apps installed from Google Play, and some 3rd party app data (although there's no clear way to know which 3rd party apps will backup to Google). This article explains in more detail.
      • Backup Account: Select which Google account to backup to.
      • Automatic Restore: If you reinstall an app that was able to backup data to the Google servers, then this feature will restore the settings and data. Again, there's no clear way to know which apps can do this.

    Accounts
    • This is a list of any user accounts that are connected to your device, like Google, Facebook, Yahoo, etc. Non-Google accounts like Facebook will only appear here if you have the respective app installed, so if you only access Facebook using the browser and don't have the app installed, you won't see it in this list. You can also add a new account here.
    • Tapping an account will give you various associated options. For example, tapping Google will give you options to modify Google Search, Google Location Services, and Google+ (see below left). Tapping any of these options will take you to the corresponding Google Settings screen (more on that later).

    [GUIDE] Getting Started with Android (2014)-accounts1.png [GUIDE] Getting Started with Android (2014)-accounts2.png

    • Tapping on your Google account will give you the screen at above right. This is a breakdown of all Google apps that can be synced, along with the time of last sync. If the box is checked, the app will automatically sync, so unchecking it will prevent that app from syncing. Tapping the Menu button at the upper right (shown in the image) will give you the option to do a global Sync Now, as well as an option to Remove Account.
    • If you see a sync symbol like the one next to Drive, that means something has changed that needs to be synced. In this case, I had just uploaded the above image to my Google Drive, which the system recognizes is now out of sync. I could simply wait for the next auto-sync, or I could tap that sync symbol to do it manually.

    System

    • Date & Time:
      • Automatic Date & Time: When checked, the device obtains the current date and time from one of various network servers. If your device is a phone, there should also be an option for Automatic Time Zone, but this option isn't available on wi-fi only devices (like my Nexus 7). On wi-fi only devices, you need to use the option for Select Time Zone.
      • User 24-Hour Format and Choose Date Format: Self-explanatory.

    • Accessibility: Various options for the hearing or visually impaired, including Captions, Magnification Gestures, Large Text, and Text-to-Speech Output. A couple of things to note:
      • ​If you uncheck Auto-rotate Screen here, then the Quick Setting Auto-rotate button will disappear. So if you ever find that the Auto-rotate button is missing, then look at this menu.
      • Adjusting the Touch & Hold Delay might be useful if you find that long-pressing activates too quickly for your preference.

    • Printing: Settings for Google Cloud Print. Learn more here.
    • Developer Options: Since this guide is intended for beginners, I won't discuss this menu. Because there are advanced settings that can really mess with your device's performance, Google usually hides this menu to begin with. In order to reveal it, you need to go to Settings>About Device, then tap the Build Number about 7 times in a row, after which you will be told you are now a Developer, and this menu will be accessible.
    • About Device: You can find various information like the official model number of your device, which Android version it's running, etc. You can also tap System Updates to check for any official updates to the operating system that might be pushed over the air ("OTA") by the device manufacturer and/or wireless carrier.

    To see something fun, tap rapidly on the Android Version until you see something pop up that is related to the nickname of your version (i.e., KitKat, Jellybean, etc). If you have Jellybean, long-pressing it will bring up the "Beanflinger" interactive animation that can then be used as a Daydream. If you have KitKat, long-pressing it will bring up the Android KitKat logo, and long-pressing that will bring up a cool interactive mosaic called the "Dessert Case," representing the history of Android.

    [GUIDE] Getting Started with Android (2014)-beanflinger.png [GUIDE] Getting Started with Android (2014)-dessertcase.png
  6. Thread Author  Thread Author    #6  

    Default Re: [GUIDE] Getting Started with Android (2014) [CONSOLIDATED]

    Installing and Uninstalling Apps

    Ok, so now you have your Homescreens set up and your Settings tweaked to your heart's content. Time to start installing apps! There are 3 basic ways to install an app:

    • From the Google Play Store, originally known as the Android Market. This is the biggest, safest, and most reliable place for apps. It comes preinstalled on most Android devices from major manufacturers, but some devices don't have it (primarily the ones from no-name or little-known companies), since devices have to be certified by Google to be compatible with the Play Store. On top of that, the Play Store still isn't fully accessible in some corners of the world--here's the list of country availability, which is growing all the time.
    • From alternative 3rd party app stores, most notably the Amazon Appstore. Others include GetJar and SlideME. Amazon Appstore is very reliable, but as you get to more obscure app stores, the risk of malware goes up.
    • As a directly downloaded .APK installer file (also known as "sideloading"). This is the riskiest and potentially shadiest method, since an installer file is usually downloaded from a file sharing site that has no vetting for security, and therefore could be chock full of malware. In addition to that, if the installer file is for an app that is supposed to be paid for but was downloaded for free, that is piracy and plain ol' d-baggery.

    Let's go over these three options in more detail.

    Google Play Store
    There are two ways to install an app from the Google Play Store--from the Play Store app on your device, or from the Play Store website on your computer.

    • Installing from the Play Store app is straightforward--just select an app, read the Description to make sure it's what you're looking for, read through some of the Reviews to make sure it isn't terrible or glitchy or potentially unsafe, and then tap the Install button. Let me say again that the Reviews can be quite helpful in alerting you to an app that might come with annoying ads or other sneaky unwanted behaviors.
    • You will then be presented with a list of Permissions that the app will request--these are various functions and accessibilities that the app will have once it is installed. Most apps that connect to the web and provide personalized information for you will require a large number of permissions, which can seem suspicious sometimes, but for the most part, apps that are from well-established companies, have been installed tens of thousands of times, and have many 4-5 star reviews will be legitimate and safe. If you're interested in installing an app that doesn't have as much of a track record, then it's worth looking at the requested permissions more closely, and asking yourself if they make sense for what the app does. A good developer will often explain in the Description why certain permissions are necessary. Although a thorough discussion of all Android permissions is beyond the scope of this beginner's guide, here is a good article about some of the scarier sounding permissions.
    • If you accept the requested permissions, then the app will install automatically. There is no need to find a downloaded file or to delete an installer file afterwards.

    [GUIDE] Getting Started with Android (2014)-apppage.jpg [GUIDE] Getting Started with Android (2014)-apppermit.jpg
    • If the app isn't free and you need to purchase it, you will need a credit card registered with your Google Wallet account or a Google Play Gift Card. For extra security, I recommend going to the Play Store's settings, and checking "Password--Use password to restrict purchases" under User Controls. This will prevent other people (like your kids) from going on an app shopping spree.

    [GUIDE] Getting Started with Android (2014)-playpassword.jpg
    Another plug to consider purchasing the full paid version of free apps that you enjoy. You'll get more functionality, and you'll help support developers, encouraging them to improve their current apps and write more. If there is no premium version, I often use the "donate" option if available. It's usually just $1-2, which is less than the latte you get every day!

    • Also make note of the other options seen in the screen above:
      • Auto-update apps does what it says--you can select whether or not to auto-update at all, to do so on Wi-Fi only, or even when on mobile data. If you're concerned about mobile data usage, select Wi-Fi only or turn off Auto-update completely.
      • Auto-add widgets is a misnomer, since it will automatically add an app shortcut to your homescreen upon installing a new app, not a widget (see Part I of this Guide for a discussion on widgets). If you don't want to clutter up your homescreen, turn this off.

    • If you want to install an app from the Google Play Store website (play.google.com) on your computer browser, you can select which of your devices should be the target. Click on Install, then click on the dropdown "Choose a Device" menu.

    [GUIDE] Getting Started with Android (2014)-webplay.jpg

    [GUIDE] Getting Started with Android (2014)-webplayinstall.jpg
    • Once you select a device, the next time that device is connected to the web, the app will install automatically.

    If you have ever installed a given app, it will display as "Installed" on the Play Store website, even if you subsequently uninstall it. Clicking on the "Installed" button will still give you the option to install the app on any of your compatible devices. This behavior does not occur on the Play Store app on your mobile device.

    • Keep in mind that not all apps are compatible with all devices. Compatibility can depend on factors like screen resolution, internal hardware specs, etc. If the app in question isn't compatible with your device, it simply won't show up if you search for it on the Play Store app on your mobile device. On the website, you'll be able to find the app, but it will tell you that it isn't compatible with some or all of your devices--you can find out which ones by clicking that dropdown menu.
    • Also remember that some apps are widgets only or live wallpapers only. Therefore, when you install them, you won't find them in the App Drawer under apps. If it's a widget only, then you'll find it in the Widgets list, and if it's a live wallpaper, you'll only find it in the Live Wallpaper selection list.


    Amazon Appstore
    For 3rd party app stores, I'll concentrate on the Amazon Appstore, since it's the most popular one (in the US, at least).

    • Assuming you don't have a Kindle (which should already have it preinstalled), you will need to allow your device to install apps from Unknown Sources in order to install the Appstore. Go to Settings>Security, and check on "Unknown Sources" under Device Administration.

    [GUIDE] Getting Started with Android (2014)-unknown.jpg [GUIDE] Getting Started with Android (2014)-amazon.jpg

    • Next, on your device's browser, go to amazon.com/amazonappstoreapp, and follow the instructions. You will need to locate the downloaded .APK installer file in your Downloads. To do so, you can either swipe your Notification Shade down and tap the download notification, or you can open your App Drawer and select Downloads.
    • Once it is installed, you will need to log into the Appstore using your Amazon account. No Amazon account, no entry.
    • On the main page, the Free App of the Day is prominently displayed. This is one of the nice things about the Amazon Appstore--every day, there is a different paid app that is offered for free, no strings attached. Sometimes it's lame, but other times it can be very good (e.g., a premium app that normally costs $15).

    [GUIDE] Getting Started with Android (2014)-appstore.jpg

    • To install an app, simply select one and tap the box that shows the price.

    If you use a screen-dimming app like Twilight or Screen Filter, you might find that the Install button is inaccessible (greyed out). Deactivate your screen-dimming app, and the Install button should become accessible again. I know, weird, right?

    Sideloading
    As mentioned above, sideloading is the process of installing an app manually by downloading its .APK installer file directly to your device, or downloading it to your computer and then transferring it to your device to install. Just as with installing the Amazon Appstore, you have to make sure "Unknown Sources" is checked on, and the installation process is the same (see above). There certainly are legitimate sites where you can download legitimate .APK files for apps that the developer intended to distribute in this way. But still, as mentioned above, you run a higher risk of malware, and are you really sure that's how the developer intended the app to be distributed?

    App Updates
    • The Play Store will let you know in the "My Apps" section when updates are available for apps you installed. App updates can sometimes come with new permission requests, so it's worthwhile to select the app and review the "What's New" section before accepting the update. If there are new permission requests, you will be asked to accept them, but make sure you review them, too.
      • As you can see in the Play Store settings screen earlier in this section, there is a Notifications checkbox. If it's checked, you'll receive notifications of available updates in your Notification Bar.
      • With certain updates (typically major ones), you may notice that the app shortcut disappears from your homescreen. Just add it back again from the App Drawer.

    • In the Amazon Appstore, go to the "Updates" section of "My Apps." You may have to tap the refresh button at the upper right, and be aware that on some devices, the refresh process can take a few minutes. Unfortunately, there is no "What's New" section, so it can be difficult to determine what's in the update. You will still have a chance to review any new permissions.
      • Amazon can also notify you of app updates. Tap the menu button at the upper left, then scroll down to Settings, then Notifications.


    Uninstalling Apps
    You can uninstall apps that you installed a couple of ways--either directly from the Settings>Apps menu, or via the app store from which they were installed.
    • In the Settings>Apps menu, find the app in the Downloaded list, tap it, and then tap Uninstall.
    • In the Play Store app, swipe in from the left (or tap the 3 line menu button at the upper left), then tap "My apps." You should see a list all of your Installed apps. Select one, then tap Uninstall. You can also see a list of all apps you've ever installed from the Play Store under "All."
      • Remember that for preinstalled apps that have been updated, you will only be able to Uninstall All Updates, which will revert the app back to its factory version. You can't completely remove most preinstalled apps unless you're rooted (although you can always Disable them).

    • In the Amazon Appstore, tap the 3 line menu button at the upper left, then tap "My Apps." You will see 3 categories: "Cloud," which contains all apps you've ever installed from Amazon (and can subsequently reinstall); "Device," which shows all apps from Amazon currently installed; and "Updates," which shows apps that have updates available. To uninstall an app, go to the Device list, long-press on the app, and agree to the uninstall.

    Remember, you can always reinstall an app easily after uninstalling it. If you already paid for it, you don't have to pay again.

    Miscellaneous Tips
    • Apps installed through the Amazon Appstore often get updated more slowly and infrequently than the exact same apps installed through the Google Play Store.
    • The Play Store and the Amazon Appstore will usually only list apps that you installed from the respective app store; however, sometimes one store will show an app in its Installed list that was actually installed from the other app store. This can be confusing--for example, I installed the paid ad-free version of Angry Birds from Amazon, but then Angry Birds showed up in the Installed list in the Google Play Store as well, but not as the ad-free version. Since Play Store apps usually get updated more quickly than Amazon apps, I might get a notification for an update through the Play Store. But if I accept that update, then what installs is the free Play Store version with ads, not the ad-free version from Amazon. So it can be useful to keep track of which apps were installed from where.
    • Update alerts don't always show up for preinstalled Google apps, unless you've updated them at least once already. For example, if your device came preinstalled with Google Keyboard, and it has never been updated, then go to the Play Store, and search for Google Keyboard. You will probably see an Update button on the app page. Once it has been updated, the Play Store will start notifying you of further updates down the road.
  7. Thread Author  Thread Author    #7  

    Default Re: [GUIDE] Getting Started with Android (2014) [CONSOLIDATED]

    Managing Media -- Photos & Videos

    Mobile devices have become one of the main driving forces in multimedia creation and consumption, be it photos, music, movies/videos, or traditional print media. Your Android device is, of course, no exception, offering a myriad of ways to create, share, purchase, or rent media. I won't be able to discuss all of the various 3rd party media sources and apps in this guide; instead, I will concentrate on the apps that come preinstalled on most every Android device. Let's start with Photos and Videos.

    There are two main gallery apps that come preinstalled on most current Android devices--the stock Gallery app (below left) and the Google+-based Photos app (below right).
    [GUIDE] Getting Started with Android (2014)-ic_launcher_gallery.png [GUIDE] Getting Started with Android (2014)-photos_icon.png

    Gallery

    • The stock Gallery app is one of the basic AOSP (Android Open Source Project) apps that has been present on devices since the time of the dinosaurs, and it hasn't changed a whole lot either (which is not necessarily a bad thing). It displays all images, photos, and videos stored locally, as well as photos and videos from your Google+/Picasa albums in the cloud. (I got the following image from the web--yes, I know, the person spelled Sydney wrong. All you Aussies out there, please don't hate me!)

    [GUIDE] Getting Started with Android (2014)-android-4.0-gallery.jpg

    • The Gallery's database gets periodically updated by the Media Scanner (a system app), most notably whenever you power on your device from an off state, or when you insert an external SD card. The Media Scanner will scan all folders looking for various media files (photos, music, videos), and populate the appropriate databases.

    Sometimes, the Media Scanner can get hung up on a corrupt file, typically on an external SD card. This can cause it to run constantly, and use up battery. If you notice Media Scanner using an excessive amount of battery, consider unmounting and removing your external SD card, and checking the integrity of the card or its files.

    The Media Scanner will skip folders that contain a file titled ".nomedia". So if you notice that your Gallery is showing a number of unwanted images related to an app (e.g., icons used as onscreen buttons, etc.), you can find that folder and add a blank ".nomedia" file using any file manager app.

    • If you have photos or videos stored in Google+ Photos on the web (formerly Picasa), you will also see them in the Gallery, assuming you're connected to the web, and you have the sync function on.
      • After Google acquired Picasa, they gradually integrated it into Google+ so that now if you try to go to picasaweb.com, you are automatically redirected to Google+. The main remnants of Picasa are the photo editor/organizer software for your computer, and the Picasa logo on the cloud albums displayed in the stock Gallery app.
      • To sync your Google+/Picasa cloud photos and videos with your Gallery, go to Settings/Accounts-Google, select your Google account, then make sure Google Photos is checked (on older devices, it might actually be listed as Picasa).

    [GUIDE] Getting Started with Android (2014)-accounts2.jpg
    As if things weren't confusing enough, there's a difference between syncing Google Photos and Google+ Photos. The former is for the Gallery app, and the latter is for the Google+-based Photos app.

    • The Gallery app has some decent basic photo editing features. Just select a photo, tap the Menu button, then Edit. There are options for Filters, Frames, Crop, and Contrast. The Menu button will also give you options for rotation and setting the photo as a wallpaper or contact photo. (By the way, that's Grace Cathedral in San Francisco, with no special effects, taken with my Nexus 5. The rays of "light" are actually multicolored ribbons hanging from the ceiling.)

    [GUIDE] Getting Started with Android (2014)-cathedral.jpg
    • To delete a photo, simply long press it in the album view, and tap the garbage can icon at the top of the screen.
    • Note that there is no Download option for cloud photos when using Gallery--that function is available for the Photos app (see below).

    Photos

    • The Google+-based Photos app is actually part of the Google+ app, so although you'll find it in your App Drawer, you actually won't find it as a discrete app in the Settings>Apps menu. It performs essentially the same functions as Gallery, with a few added features, as well as the ability to fully integrate with Google+.

    [GUIDE] Getting Started with Android (2014)-gphotos.jpg [GUIDE] Getting Started with Android (2014)-gphotomenu.jpg
    • Above left is the screen that greets you when you open Photos--the Camera Roll, which includes all of the photos and videos you've taken with your device's camera. "Folders" includes the Screenshots folder, and is listed under Camera, because screenshots (like photos) are images captured by the device.
    • Tapping the upper left 3-line menu button or swiping in from the left will give you the selection menu seen above right (the white block was added to obscure the name and email address).
      • Google+ will open the Google+ app.
      • Photos will bring you to the original page as seen above left.
      • Albums will show you all of your Google+ albums (cloud only, not local).
      • Auto Awesome shows you special videos, photo combinations, and other enhancements of your photos that Google+ automatically performs when it detects photos that meet certain criteria. See here for more details. You can turn it on or off by tapping Menu>Settings>[your Google account]>Auto Awesome.
      • Videos shows your videos only (both local and from Google+).
      • Photos of you shows photos where you've been tagged.
      • Trash contains recently deleted photos or videos--Google waits for "a short period of time" (according to their support page) before permanently deleting them.

    • The Highlights tab shows you automatically selected highlights from your Google+ Albums, based on criteria like the presence of smiling faces, how many people are present in a photo, or if the photo is a scenic vista. You can see the whole album by tapping the last frame of the album highlights, which has a big ">" sign in it.
    • Auto Backup will automatically upload any photo or video you take to your Google+ Photos in the cloud, into an album called "Auto Backup." You can turn the function on or off on the Photos screen (see above left), or you can go to Google Settings (in your App Drawer)>Google+>Auto Backup for more options, including being able to specify uploading only when wi-fi is available.
    • As mentioned above, the Photos app allows you to download a photo or video from the Google+ cloud. Select what you want to download, tap Menu, and then Download.
    • Just as with the stock Gallery, there are some basic photo editing functions available--just select a photo, tap the Menu button, then Edit. The editing functions are the same as with the stock Gallery, except that there is no contrast adjustment. Deleting a photo is also accomplished the same way as with the Gallery--long press a photo, and tap the garbage can icon at the top of the screen.

    Remember that these photo editing functions are very basic. If you want more extensive editing options, there are plenty of free and paid apps to try out!

    A common question on these forums is how to arrange photos in a folder structure similar to a PC or Mac. Unfortunately, there is no simple way to do this using the Gallery or Photos apps, but it can be done. You need to have a good file manager app installed (if your device doesn't come with one, a couple of suggestions would be ES File Explorer and Total Commander).
    • First, use the file manager to create a new folder for your photos. It can be anywhere, but a good place to create it would be in the standard Pictures directory (/storage/emulated/0/Pictures).
    • Next, go to the Camera folder (/storage/emulated/0/DCIM/Camera), where the photos you took are located. You can then copy or move a photo to the folder you just created.
    • When you go back to the Gallery or Photos app, you should see the new folder containing that photo.
    • If you want to move photos to a different folder, you will need to do so using the file manager app, not the Gallery or Photos app.
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  8. Thread Author  Thread Author    #8  

    Default Re: [GUIDE] Getting Started with Android (2014) [CONSOLIDATED]

    Managing Media -- Music

    Because of the many varieties of music file formats, music players, and streaming music services that are currently available (and considering that this is a Getting Started guide, not an in-depth treatise), I will focus on managing music locally and in the cloud using Google Play Music, with a few side notes about other solutions like Amazon MP3 and various 3rd party players.

    Google Play Music comes preinstalled on virtually every Android device these days, and may be the default music player on your device. Some manufacturers also install their own music player app (which is often fairly sparse in terms of features), and older devices might still have the very basic AOSP-based Android Music Player (which, like the stock Gallery app, has been around forever and hasn't changed much). My experience with the latter was never very good--I recall that it tended to list album tracks in alphabetical order rather than track order, which makes no sense, especially if you're listening to classical music! Needless to say, Google Play Music is a huge improvement over the Android Music Player, and although it may not have the most comprehensive feature list, it is still a solid piece of software.

    There are 3 ways to listen to music on the Google Play Music app:
    • Streaming your own music that you uploaded into your Google Music Library or that you purchased from the Google Play Store.
    • Playing music files that are stored locally on your phone (either transferred there from your computer by you, or downloaded from your Google Music Library).
    • Streaming music using All Access, which is Google's unlimited streaming access to their entire library for a monthly fee. I won't cover this (mostly because I don't have direct experience with it), but you can learn more here.


    Uploading Your Own Music to Google Play Music

    • One of the most awesome aspects of Google Play Music is the ability to upload up to 20,000 songs (max of 300 MB/track) from your personal library. Unless you're a total audiophile who insists on lossless tracks, the average pop song with CD quality sound runs around 5-10 MB. If we make a conservative estimate, that means you can store around 200,000 MB of music, or 200 GB, absolutely free--and it doesn't count toward your overall Google Drive/Gmail storage limit (which is 15 GB for free, more if you pay).
    • Supported file formats include the usual suspects--MP3, AAC (i.e. iTunes), and WMA, as well as a few others (see this support page). So yes, this means you can upload your iTunes library to Google Music, with the exception of any older DRM-protected iTunes tracks you might still have.iTunes playlists will also be uploaded, but further editing of the playlists needs to be done on Google Music, not iTunes.
    • To upload your music, you need to install the Google Music Manager program on your PC or Mac. Once installed, open it by clicking on the headphone icon in your Windows desktop notification area, which will bring up this window.

    [GUIDE] Getting Started with Android (2014)-screenshot-12-.png

    • Click Add folder and select the main folder where all of your music is located (for me, it's "Music")--this will also include all subfolders. You can add multiple folders if your music is spread around your hard drive.
    • Then click Upload, and leave your computer alone and powered on. The upload process can take a long time depending on how much music you're uploading--maybe even upwards of 2 straight days (so adjust your Power Settings to prevent the computer from going to sleep). The process is sped up a bit when Google recognizes one of your music tracks as also available in its online library, in which case it will simply match it rather than upload it. (All music tracks from Google's own library are at a bitrate of 320 kbps, so the sound quality is as good if not better than CD.)
    • Once your music library is uploaded, you can now access it on any computer browser or any device that has the Google Play Music app.
    • Whenever you add any new music to your computer's hard drive, you can open Music Manager and click Upload again--it will automatically detect the new music and upload those tracks only.

    Keep in mind that this is not a sync program. So any changes you make to your computer's locally stored music library or playlists will not be automatically reflected in your online Google Music library. If you make changes in your computer's library, you won't be able to upload those changes using Music Manager--you'll need to make the same edits in Google Music on the web.

    Purchasing Music from Google Play
    • This is straightforward, whether on the Play Store website or app. There are usually good discounts on selected music each week, as well as a number of free tracks, so it pays to visit frequently.
    • Once you purchase a track, it automatically gets added to your Google Music Library. You can see which songs were purchased or downloaded free from Google Play Music by selecting the "Free and purchased" auto-playlist.

    Transferring Music to Local Storage

    • Although Google highly touts the cloud for music storage and streaming, it clearly isn't always the best option. Streaming requires an internet connection, which means somewhat increased battery usage by the wi-fi or cell radio, as well as the potential for high mobile data usage, which is always important to watch if you don't have an unlimited plan.
    • Storing your music locally can therefore be more efficient--the main limitation being, of course, how much storage you have available. This is where external SD cards can be extremely useful, since the average 16 GB device only has anywhere from 8 to 12 GB of actual onboard storage available to the user.
    • Copying or moving music tracks to your device's internal storage is best achieved by plugging the device into your computer via USB (making sure the device's USB connection mode is set to MTP, or Media Transfer Protocol). Using Windows Explorer (or Finder on a Mac), click on the mobile device icon to display its folders--MTP only allows access to certain folders for media transfer, but one of those should be the Music folder.
    • You can now drag and drop music files to the device's Music folder. I suggest keeping the standard folder hierarchy of Artist>Album>Song.
    • Transferring music files to an external SD card is most easily done if you remove the SD card from your device (making sure to Unmount it first in Settings>Storage!), then insert it into your computer.

    If you're having difficulty transferring music via USB, consider a wireless file transfer app like WiFi File Explorer or AirDroid.

    Editing Music Information
    • If you want to edit album or track information, or change the album art, the best place to do it is on the Google Music website on your computer, not on your mobile device. The app doesn't really have any of that functionality.
    • On the Google Music website, if you place the cursor over any album, you should see the familiar 3 vertical dot menu button appear in the upper right corner of the album cover. Clicking on it will give you a number of options, including "Edit Album Info."

    [GUIDE] Getting Started with Android (2014)-screenshot-18-.png

    • Clicking on "Edit Album Info" will bring up a self-explanatory dialog box, which also allows you to change album art (just place the cursor over the album art, then click on the "Change" button that appears).

    [GUIDE] Getting Started with Android (2014)-screenshot-19-.png

    • You can also edit individual track information by bringing up the song list of a given album, and clicking on the 3 dot menu button to the right of the track name.

    [GUIDE] Getting Started with Android (2014)-screenshot-20-.png

    • Once you have finished your editing, the changes should sync over to your mobile Google Play Music app. (If you don't see the changes immediately on the app, you can tap the menu button, then Refresh.)

    Playing Music
    • Upon opening the Google Play Music app, you'll see the Listen Now screen, which shows your recently uploaded or purchased music, as well as suggested Instant Mixes based on music you've listened to recently (an Instant Mix is an automatically generated playlist of songs from your library that are similar to any track that you choose). "I'm feeling lucky" is an Instant Mix based on your recent listening history.

    [GUIDE] Getting Started with Android (2014)-music2.jpg [GUIDE] Getting Started with Android (2014)-music3.jpg
    • Above left, you see the menu options if you press the soft menu button.
      • Refresh will force a sync with your Google Music cloud.
      • In the Settings, you can find an option for Equalizer, which allows you to tailor the sound to your own personal taste. Keep in mind that this feature might not be available on all devices.

    • Above right, you see the dropdown menu that allows you to display All music (i.e., in your Google Music cloud and locally stored on your device) or On device only. (By the way, the rectangular icon to the left of the Search icon is for Chromecast.)
    • Swiping in from the left, or tapping the headphone icon at the upper left, will bring up the selections seen at below left:

    [GUIDE] Getting Started with Android (2014)-music1.jpg [GUIDE] Getting Started with Android (2014)-music4-1-.jpg
    • Tapping My Library will bring up your entire music library (if you selected "All music"), or just what's on your device (if you selected "On device"), with options to sort by Genre, Artist, Album or Song. Tap on the album you want, then the track you want to hear.
    • Above right is the menu that appears if you tap the soft menu button at the lower right of each album cover.
      • Start instant mix, as discussed above, will generate a mix of songs from your library similar to an album or song.
      • Add to queue will tack on the album or song to the currently playing list of songs (see below).
      • Keep on device will temporarily download the album or song to your device's internal storage. Tapping the pushpin once will make it vertical and turn blue, which means the music is "pinned" or saved to your device--you'll see a notification while the music is downloading that says, "Keeping requested music." Tapping it again so that the pushpin is back at an angle and grey will clear the music from your memory (see below for further discussion on downloading or caching music).
      • Add to playlist will allow you to create a new playlist or add the music to an existing one.

    • The bar at the bottom shows the track that is Now Playing. Tap it or swipe it up to expand it to full screen, which reveals more playback options. Tap it again or swipe it down to minimize it again.

    [GUIDE] Getting Started with Android (2014)-music5.jpg [GUIDE] Getting Started with Android (2014)-music6.jpg

    • Tap the Queue button at the upper right to see all of the tracks that are scheduled to play, which usually means the track list for the album. You can add more tracks to the Queue by using the "Add to queue" option discussed earlier.

    [GUIDE] Getting Started with Android (2014)-music7.jpg

    • The Queue can be cleared either by selecting a new album to play now, or by tapping the menu button while in the Queue screen, and selecting "Clear queue."

    Downloading Music

    • As mentioned above, you can use the Keep on device option to download an album to your local storage. This option only works for albums, not for individual songs, and it is important to understand that you probably won't be able to manipulate those song files. These downloaded files have coded numeric filenames instead of the actual song names, and they may or may not be stored in the obscure directory /storage/emulated/0/Android/data/com.google.android.music (or /mnt/sdcard/Android/data/com.google.android.music). I have seen these files on my old Razr Maxx, but cannot see them on my Nexus 5. So the downloads are not intended for users to subsequently transfer to other devices; instead, they are meant to allow users to listen to selected music without having to stream over wi-fi or mobile data.
    • If you want to download your music and transfer it more freely, there are two better options:
      • Use the Music Manager on your computer and click on the Download tab. You have the choice of downloading your entire music library (which can be ridiculously unfeasible if your library is gigantic) or downloading only your free & purchased music. The main advantage of downloading through the Music Manager is that you can do it an unlimited number of times. Obviously, the disadvantage is that you can't just select one or a few specific songs or albums to download.
      • Download from your Google Play Music Library website. If you press the 3-dot menu button of any album or song, you'll see a Download option. The main advantage here is that you can pick and choose which tracks to download, but the main disadvantage is that you can only download a given track twice through the website. So if you do download a track or an album, keep it safe somewhere on your hard drive.

    Why does Google make it so hard to access downloaded music? Not being a Google employee, I can only speculate, but I believe it is Google's way of gently discouraging music piracy. If a user was able to download music to a mobile device and transfer it very easily, then there might be more chance of "sharing" the track with a friend, who could then "share" it with someone else, etc. Granted, you can download those tracks and transfer them easily using your desktop or laptop, but as discussed above, that download process has limitations as well, and it just isn't as convenient to "share" music when a big computer is involved. In my opinion, this setup is far better than DRM!

    Other Players
    • Amazon MP3 is a decent alternative, especially given Amazon's large MP3 library and frequent good deals on music. Amazon also allows you to store music in their cloud, but you can only store up to 250 of your own tracks for free; you can pay $25/year to increase that limit to 250,000 tracks. Any music you buy from the Amazon MP3 store doesn't count toward that limit.
    • There are dozens of 3rd party music players available in the Google Play Store and elsewhere. Some notable ones include:
      • PowerAmp, widely regarded as one of the best and most fully-featured. There's a free trial version, but afterwards it's $4.
      • MortPlayer Music, which is a little different from conventional music players in that it organizes and displays music based on folder hierarchy rather than ID3 tag. So if you're having a lot of problems with displaying the correct artist or album related to a song, and you're not having any luck with ID3 tag editors, then this might be a good solution. (PowerAmp can also use folder hierarchy, but MortPlayer is free.)
      • doubleTwist can actually sync with iTunes or Windows Media Player, although from what I've read, results are a bit variable. It's free, but the paid app unlocks other features, including AirSync, which allows you to sync with iTunes over wi-fi.
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  9. Thread Author  Thread Author    #9  

    Default Re: [GUIDE] Getting Started with Android (2014) [CONSOLIDATED]

    Managing Contacts

    Entering contact information is pretty straightforward with Android, but there are a couple of pitfalls worth knowing about. Importing contacts from other platforms or programs can be a little more challenging, but the general process is still straightforward as well. Syncing contact information from a non-Google program (i.e., having changes in your Android device reflected in the non-Google program and vice-versa on an ongoing basis) is considerably more challenging, but this is often the case with any platform. In this section, we'll discuss all of these methods, focusing mostly on the first two. As with earlier sections of the Getting Started guide, it's important to keep in mind that different phone manufacturers may have slightly to radically different Contact (aka People) apps, and that for our purposes here, I will be referring to the People app from stock Android, using a Nexus 5 and Droid Razr Maxx to demonstrate.

    Entering Contacts

    You can enter new contacts directly on your device, or on the Google Contacts website using your computer browser (which will then sync with your device).
    • To enter a new contact directly on your device, open the People app and tap the Add New Contact button (usually some kind of person icon with a "+" sign). You'll then see a screen like one of these (Nexus 5 on the left, Razr Maxx on the right):

    [GUIDE] Getting Started with Android (2014)-newcontact2.jpg [GUIDE] Getting Started with Android (2014)-newcontact.png
    • Most of the fields to fill out are self-explanatory, but probably the most important option on this screen is the account selector, which is circled in the above left image. This is where you specify which account the new contact belongs to. It will most likely be your default Google account, but you may have multiple other accounts associated with your device, so make sure you pick the right one. To pick an account, simply tap the selector and choose.
      • Most importantly, some phones can store contacts into a "Phone Account," which is separate from your Google account. You can see an example from the Razr Maxx above right, with the Backup Assistant Plus account being the actual Phone Account. These Phone Account contacts do not sync with your Google account. They are typically meant to sync using 3rd party or proprietary software (like Verizon's Backup Assistant Plus, HTC Sync, or Samsung Kies) to a non-Google cloud service or a desktop program like Outlook. But if you don't sync Phone Account contacts in this way and your phone gets wiped for some reason, then those contacts are lost forever.

    As a general rule of thumb, avoid entering contacts into the Phone Account. If you do, make sure you sync or back them up frequently!


    • To enter a new contact on the Google Contacts website, go to google.com/contacts (or go to the Gmail page, click on the dropdown right under the main Google logo at the upper left, and then select Contacts).

    [GUIDE] Getting Started with Android (2014)-gmailcontact.png

    • Then click on the New Contact button at the upper left. Once you have entered the new contact on the Google Contacts website, it will automatically sync to the same account on your device.

    [GUIDE] Getting Started with Android (2014)-newcontactweb.png
    If you are entering a lot of new contacts, it will be easier to do so from your computer, rather than on your mobile device (unless, of course, you're a champion touchscreen typer or Swyper).

    • When entering a new contact, you can assign it to a particular Group. Google starts you off with "Personal" and "Professional" Groups, but you can create any number of new Groups, and these will also be synced over to any device that is logged into the same account.

    [GUIDE] Getting Started with Android (2014)-group.png

    • If you look back at the Nexus 5's New Contact screen, you'll see a field at the bottom for Group.
    • A contact can belong to multiple groups.
    • Starred is a system Group--these contacts will show up in the separate Starred (or Favorites) section of your device's People or Dialer app. You can quickly mark a contact as Starred by clicking on the star icon wherever you see it (e.g., in the screen above, just under the Name field).


    Importing Contacts

    This is where it starts to get a little trickier. Importing contacts from one program or platform to another is usually a slightly imperfect process, due to differing data fields and other compatibility issues. But for the most part, you can import all of the key information pretty easily from most any platform. The main steps are:

    1. Export the contacts from the source program into a .CSV or multiple .VCF (vCard) file.
    2. Import that file directly into the Google Contacts website, which will then sync to all of your devices, OR
    3. Transfer that exported file to your device, and then import it using the People app.
    4. You can now manage these contacts from the People app as well as Google Contacts on the web.

    Exporting Contacts from the Source
    Here are links to instructions on how to export your contacts from


    When exporting as a .VCF file, make sure you do so as a multiple vCard .VCF file, not as a whole lot of separate single vCard files.

    Import Option #1: Google Contacts on the Web
    • You can import .CSV or .VCF files into Google Contacts on the web. Go to google.com/contacts, then click on the "More" dropdown menu, then "Import."

    [GUIDE] Getting Started with Android (2014)-importweb.png

    • You will then be prompted to pick a .CSV or .VCF file to import. Once the file is imported, the contacts should all sync to your connected Android devices with the next auto-sync.

    Import Option #2: The People App

    • Importing contacts directly into the People app requires the contacts file to be in vCard (.VCF) format.
    • You'll need to get that file on your device first. Here are a few methods:
      • Connect the device to your computer via USB, and use your computer's file explorer to drag and drop the contacts file into any directory on your device--just remember where you put it. I suggest creating a folder on the root directory called "Miscellaneous" and putting it there, just so that it's easy to find.
      • If your device has an external microSD card, unmount it (in Settings>Storage), remove it, and then insert it into your computer using a full-sized SD card adapter. Then drag and drop the contacts file into the microSD card, remove it from your computer, and reinsert it into your device.
      • Upload the contacts file to a cloud service like Google Drive or Dropbox, then download it to your device.
      • Use a wireless file transfer solution like AirDroid or WiFi File Explorer.

    • Once the contacts file is available in the device's internal storage or external microSD card, open the People app, tap Menu, select Import/Export, then Import from Storage.

    [GUIDE] Getting Started with Android (2014)-import.png

    Syncing Contacts

    Remember that syncing is different from what we just discussed above (i.e., importing contacts). Importing is a one-time action, and any subsequent additions or changes to the source will not be reflected in the target. Syncing means real-time synchronization, where any change you make on a given device will be made on any other synchronized device. There aren't any stock or native apps on Android devices that allow you to sync with other platforms. You can set up those other devices to sync with your Google account thanks to CardDAV support (a standardized address book protocol), but this will only bring your Google contacts into your non-Android device, and will not sync your existing contacts on that device with Google. In order to achieve the latter, you'll still need to export and then import as discussed above. Google has detailed steps for iOS devices here; I have not been able to find guides for Windows Phone or Blackberry that are public domain.

    There are also a number of third-party sync solutions out there. Keep in mind that many (if not all) may be imperfect, at least at times. Here are a few examples:

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  10. #10  

    Default Re: [GUIDE] Getting Started with Android (2014) [CONSOLIDATED]

    Bravo! Awesome guide here B. Diddy!
    Paul
    Moderator Team Leader @ Android Central

    I am the Tegra Champ. What this means is that from time to time NVIDIA might send me new products to try out. This will not affect my thoughts, ideas, or opinions about any product that are discussed in the forums. Those are still my own.
  11. #11  
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    Default Re: [GUIDE] Getting Started with Android (2014) [CONSOLIDATED]

    Outstanding! Simply outstanding.

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  12. #12  

    Default Re: [GUIDE] Getting Started with Android (2014) [CONSOLIDATED]

    B. Diddy,

    What a comprehensive guide... members are going to love this! Great stuff.
    James Falconer
    Community Manager, Mobile Nations
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    Twitter: @JamesFalconer
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  13. #13  

    Default Re: [GUIDE] Getting Started with Android (2014) [CONSOLIDATED]

    Excellent work!

    We'll get this linked up on the front page!
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    Default Re: [GUIDE] Getting Started with Android 2014, Part I

    This is a very good thread, thank you. I have been on a BB for 8 years and my Moto X just arrived. I love my BB and am only switching because my company is making me. However, I am impressed with the hardware of the Moto X and am trying to keep a very open mind about moving to Android. I have read this thread, and a lot of others, and have a few questions:

    1) How do I "mark prior read" in the e-mail app? When I first synced my personal email accounts (live.com and comcast.net) I have 100 messages that show up as unread. How do I simply tell the device to mark them all as read? I hope I don't have to go through one by one.
    2) On my home screen, how do I get rid of the big box that says "google" with a microphone? The Moto X is always listening so I don't need that box there.
    3) How do I change my default search to Bing?
    4) Does amazon instant video not have an Android app?
    5) I've already disabled Google + (do not have an account). I would also like to disable Google Play Music, Movies, Books, Newstand, etc. These are all "stock" apps or whatever but I consider them bloatware. Basically I have zero google accounts (besdies a gmail I never use but had to set up) and don't want all this stuff. Will disabling all of these negatively impact my experience?
    6) Any way I can set my default map software to Bing instead of Google?
    7) Can I get internet explorer loaded and set as my default web browser as opposed to Chrome?
    8) Why do I have 5 "homescreens"? I only have enough icons taking up 1, but can scroll left and right to empty screens.

    I am a total rookie, but trying to learn, and am keeping an open mind. I realize it will be different from BB and I'll deal with it. Help on these items will be greatly appreciated.
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    Default Re: [GUIDE] Getting Started with Android 2014, Part I

    Quote Originally Posted by hondaf17 View Post
    This is a very good thread, thank you. I have been on a BB for 8 years and my Moto X just arrived. I love my BB and am only switching because my company is making me. However, I am impressed with the hardware of the Moto X and am trying to keep a very open mind about moving to Android. I have read this thread, and a lot of others, and have a few questions:

    1) How do I "mark prior read" in the e-mail app? When I first synced my personal email accounts (live.com and comcast.net) I have 100 messages that show up as unread. How do I simply tell the device to mark them all as read? I hope I don't have to go through one by one.
    2) On my home screen, how do I get rid of the big box that says "google" with a microphone? The Moto X is always listening so I don't need that box there.
    3) How do I change my default search to Bing?
    4) Does amazon instant video not have an Android app?
    5) I've already disabled Google + (do not have an account). I would also like to disable Google Play Music, Movies, Books, Newstand, etc. These are all "stock" apps or whatever but I consider them bloatware. Basically I have zero google accounts (besdies a gmail I never use but had to set up) and don't want all this stuff. Will disabling all of these negatively impact my experience?
    6) Any way I can set my default map software to Bing instead of Google?
    7) Can I get internet explorer loaded and set as my default web browser as opposed to Chrome?
    8) Why do I have 5 "homescreens"? I only have enough icons taking up 1, but can scroll left and right to empty screens.

    I am a total rookie, but trying to learn, and am keeping an open mind. I realize it will be different from BB and I'll deal with it. Help on these items will be greatly appreciated.
    Hi. Welcome to the forums. I had a Moto X and will try to answer your questions.
    1. Try the 3 dot menu button at the top. There may be an option there.
    2. Different launcher like Nova is required to do that.
    3. I don't think you can. If there is a way it would be in settings in Chrome.
    4. Probably not if it isn't in Play.
    5. Settings>apps>swipe over to all apps>scroll down to each app and click on it. You will see a screen that will disable them. Uninstalling updates may need to be done first.
    6. Map quest may have an app on Play.
    7. I don't think so. MS does not have many apps on Play.
    8. You can delete home screens with Nova.


    From a Sprint Moto X using AC Forums app

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  16. Thread Author  Thread Author    #16  

    Default Re: [GUIDE] Getting Started with Android 2014, Part I

    Quote Originally Posted by hondaf17 View Post
    1) How do I "mark prior read" in the e-mail app?
    I have to admit that I don't use the stock email app, only Gmail, so I can't tell you exactly. On Gmail, there isn't a quick way to mark all read--I think you'd have to do that in Gmail on the desktop.

    Quote Originally Posted by hondaf17 View Post
    2) On my home screen, how do I get rid of the big box that says "google" with a microphone?
    You usually can't remove that search bar on the stock user interface, although you can easily install a 3rd party alternative launcher like Nova Launcher, which allows you to customize your interface much more, including removing the search bar. Nova has a definite Jellybean/KitKat feel to it, but there are other launchers like Action Launcher which are significantly different from the usual Android launcher.

    Quote Originally Posted by hondaf17 View Post
    3) How do I change my default search to Bing?
    Install the Bing app/widget. I don't know if there's a way to make that default for voice search.

    Quote Originally Posted by hondaf17 View Post
    4) Does amazon instant video not have an Android app?
    There isn't an app unless you have a Kindle. I believe there are workarounds--here's a video describing one:


    Quote Originally Posted by hondaf17 View Post
    I would also like to disable Google Play Music, Movies, Books, Newstand, etc
    Disabling those store apps should be fine. I would leave Google Play Services alone, though, because that is becoming increasingly important in the operation of the system.

    Quote Originally Posted by hondaf17 View Post
    6) Any way I can set my default map software to Bing instead of Google?
    What do you mean by default? Do you mean if you click on a map in the browser? There isn't a dedicated Bing Maps app for Android, so you wouldn't be able to open it as an app. I'm not sure if there's a way to open Bing Maps in your browser by default.

    Quote Originally Posted by hondaf17 View Post
    7) Can I get internet explorer loaded and set as my default web browser as opposed to Chrome?
    Sorry, but no. Be very careful about apps that purport to be IE in the Google Play Store--the ones I saw have very few downloads and seem kind of fishy.

    Quote Originally Posted by hondaf17 View Post
    8) Why do I have 5 "homescreens"? I only have enough icons taking up 1, but can scroll left and right to empty screens.
    Some versions or modification of Android allow you to delete empty homescreens or add an unlimited number of homescreens, although the basic Android interface usually doesn't. Again, you could install an alternative launcher like Nova Launcher, which lets you do that.
  17. #17  
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    Default Re: [GUIDE] Getting Started with Android 2014, Part I

    Thank you very much for your responses. I will keep replying here in hopes that 1) I continue to get good suggestions and 2) it might give you more ideas of what Android rookies are encountering, for future guides and to help more people.

    1) I have not found a way to mark prior read with the Outlook app, or the default mail app. I don't understand why this is not a feature, but oh well.
    2) One of the reasons I got a Moto X was that I understand it was close to vanilla android. However, Android is not as "open" or "customizable" as I was thinking it would be. I will consider downloading Nova Launcher. Are there any negatives to downloading Nova Launcher? Worse battery life?
    3) I'm shocked Amazon doesn't have an instant video app for Android. They have one for iTunes. Everyone rips BB for lack of apps so maybe my expectations were too high that I thought a huge app/service like this would be available.
    4) Thanks for the heads up about IE/shady programs. Kind of sticks as I prefer IE, as my bookmarks sync between my desktop, laptop, and hopefully my phone. Oh well, will live with Chrome.

    New frustration / question:

    1) Where the **** is a file explorer? I can download a file from the Skydrive app to my device, and open it in Quick Office. However, Quick Office can't delete any files??? I did some research and downloaded ASTRO File Manager. I have since found out how to delete files, but deleted files still show up in Quick Office. Quick Office doesn't have any settings at all, or a "refresh" button. Also, ASTRO File Manager can't download files from Skydrive? I need to open the Skydrive app, download them, then launch ASTRO to view/manage/delete. The document storage/filing process is woeful, unless I'm missing something obvious.


    TYIA,
  18. #18  
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    Default Re: [GUIDE] Getting Started with Android 2014, Part I

    Quote Originally Posted by hondaf17 View Post
    Thank you very much for your responses. I will keep replying here in hopes that 1) I continue to get good suggestions and 2) it might give you more ideas of what Android rookies are encountering, for future guides and to help more people.

    1) I have not found a way to mark prior read with the Outlook app, or the default mail app. I don't understand why this is not a feature, but oh well.
    2) One of the reasons I got a Moto X was that I understand it was close to vanilla android. However, Android is not as "open" or "customizable" as I was thinking it would be. I will consider downloading Nova Launcher. Are there any negatives to downloading Nova Launcher? Worse battery life?
    3) I'm shocked Amazon doesn't have an instant video app for Android. They have one for iTunes. Everyone rips BB for lack of apps so maybe my expectations were too high that I thought a huge app/service like this would be available.
    4) Thanks for the heads up about IE/shady programs. Kind of sticks as I prefer IE, as my bookmarks sync between my desktop, laptop, and hopefully my phone. Oh well, will live with Chrome.

    New frustration / question:

    1) Where the **** is a file explorer? I can download a file from the Skydrive app to my device, and open it in Quick Office. However, Quick Office can't delete any files??? I did some research and downloaded ASTRO File Manager. I have since found out how to delete files, but deleted files still show up in Quick Office. Quick Office doesn't have any settings at all, or a "refresh" button. Also, ASTRO File Manager can't download files from Skydrive? I need to open the Skydrive app, download them, then launch ASTRO to view/manage/delete. The document storage/filing process is woeful, unless I'm missing something obvious.


    TYIA,
    1. It might be a bug in that app. I am not sure as I do not use Outlook. I would consider emailing the developer and suggesting the feature.

    2a. Android is very customizable. The fact that you can download a different launcher or a different keyboard is one of the defining characteristics of that.
    2b. A second launcher like Nova should not drain the battery any more than not having it.

    3. That is all up to the app developer.From what i understand it is very easy to create an app for Apple versus Android. Part of the reason is consider something simple like different screen resolutions. That has a factor in developing apps.

    4. I used to like IE too, but as I got more and more accustomed to Chrome, especially, since many things you do are integrated. Say you search for Ice cream flavors on your desktop Chrome. Your history will show that search on your device as well. If you search it enough, it will show up on Google Now as a card. Bookmarks between Chrome and your X will be synced.

    1a. File explorers versus Quickoffice: Quickoffice opens documents that are in Google Drive and other apps. Most of the time, cloud storage files need to be deleted on the desktop version of the site.

    Hope that answered some of your questions.

    Phone Timeline
    'If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change.' - Mahatma Gandhi
    Community Guidelines and also here
  19. Thread Author  Thread Author    #19  

    Default Re: [GUIDE] Getting Started with Android 2014, Part I

    Quote Originally Posted by hondaf17 View Post
    3) I'm shocked Amazon doesn't have an instant video app for Android. They have one for iTunes. Everyone rips BB for lack of apps so maybe my expectations were too high that I thought a huge app/service like this would be available.
    I suspect this is more of a way for Amazon to get people to buy a Kindle, as opposed to a Nexus 7. Just as with many issues on Android, there are ways of making it happen. Here's one way: How to stream Amazon Instant Videos | On Android Tablet TeleRead: News and views on e-books, libraries, publishing and related topics

    ES File Explorer and Total Commander are also good file manager apps.
  20. #20  

    Default Re: [GUIDE] Getting Started with Android (2014), Part III: Managing Contacts

    Very helpful for a Noob like me.

    Appreciate it!
    Glas Ot Zalata likes this.
  21. #21  

    Default Re: [GUIDE] Getting Started with Android Reloaded, Part 1 [work in progress]

    I have a LG optimus Dynamic 2 with service provided by TracFone. My question is about the lock screen settings options. One of the options is Random Pin, Random allocation of digits. I get that this would be a more secure option than using the same one all of the time. My question is how do you know which code is being used? Does it show you when you choose this option and where does it show you? I do not want to choose this and not know where to find the current code. I have looked in all of the manuels I can find on the Optimus dynamic and none mention this feature. Can you provide any info?
  22. Thread Author  Thread Author    #22  

    Default Re: [GUIDE] Getting Started with Android Reloaded, Part 1 [work in progress]

    Welcome to Android Central! I've never encountered that feature before, but from a quick web search, it sounds like the "randomness" involved with the Random PIN entry is the arrangement of the numbers on the keypad for entry, rather than a random code that is generated that you have to then enter. So in other words, the PIN keypad won't show the number keys in the typical 1-2-3-... order, but instead they'll be randomly organized. You'll still have a set PIN that you selected, and enter that PIN using the keypad. The random organization helps prevent an obvious fingerprint pattern on your screen that thieves or other nosy people might be able to duplicate in order to break into your phone.
  23. #23  

    Default Re: [GUIDE] Getting Started with Android Reloaded, Part 1 [work in progress]

    Thank you that is exactly what it does. I was just concered it would generate a random pass code.
  24. #24  

    Question Re: [GUIDE] Getting Started with Android (2014), Part III: Managing Contacts

    Hi,
    when I got my new Samsung S5, the guy in the shop actually transferred all my contacts to my device. As a result these never synced to my google account.
    I have reading this article, have exported my contacts as .VFC file and imported them into my Google account on the Google Contacts site. Then they synced, and I have linked the contacts (as they now all showed up twice).

    What I have noticed is that the google contacts do not have any contact images attached but the device contacts have.
    How do I get the images synced across to Google?

    Thanks for the follow up!
    Best regards
    SirBommel
    Thanked by:
    jrankz 
  25. Thread Author  Thread Author    #25  

    Default Re: [GUIDE] Getting Started with Android (2014), Part III: Managing Contacts

    Welcome to Android Central! I haven't had direct experience with this issue, so bear with me if I'm wrong about anything. You mention you linked the duplicate contacts--did this lead to a single contact entry? If so, you're saying that the contact picture is still blank? How do the contacts appear in Google Contacts on the web? No images there either?

    If the images from the "phone account" contacts didn't sync over to Google, then you may be stuck with obtaining those images again and attaching them manually to the respective Google contacts. This would most easily be done on the web, not on your phone. As long as you attach a photo to the contact entry on the web, it'll sync over.
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