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Archive for the ‘How to Guides’ Category

Best third-party iOS 8 keyboards

Wednesday, October 8th, 2014


iOS 8 includes a lot of new features, but third-party keyboards have got to be near the top of the list. Now it’s possible to download new keyboards from the App Store which have clever gesture typing, improved suggestions and radically different looks. Here are five of our favourites.

1. SwiftKey – free

SwiftKey is perhaps the most popular third-party keyboard on Android, thanks to an excellent auto-correction feature, handy gesture typing and the ability to learn words and phrases from your email, Facebook, messages and more. Everything works really well; the gesture typing is accurate, the auto-correct seems as good as on Android and there are even a few themes to customise the look of the keyboard. Swiftkey recently released an update to improve the speed and stability of the keyboard, so even if you’ve tried it before it’s not a bad idea to check out the new version.

2. Fleksy – £0.69

The big draw of Fleksy is that uses gestures to hasten common tasks. You can swipe right to add a space, left to delete, and up or down to cycle through suggested auto-corrections. This leaves a large, simple layout that’s a pleasure to use. A nice range of themes in different colours and dictionary personalisation complete the package.

3. Swype – £0.69

Swype popularised the idea of gesture typing on Android, although the keyboard became much less popular as the feature was added to Google’s own keyboard and competitors like Swiftkey. Swype’s still around though, and their gesture typing keyboard remains one of the better options on iOS. The layout is particularly nice, as it includes both a comma and period key on either side of the space bar. The keyboard’s accuracy doesn’t seem to be as good as it is on Android though; some further updates may be required for the keyboard to hit its full potential.

4. PopKey Animated GIF – free

Here’s one that’s a little different. The PopKey Animated GIF keyboard provides easy access to a large database of animated GIFs, allowing you to add a bit of levity to any conversation. Unfortunately, adding GIFs isn’t as simple as it could be. You have to sign up for an account first, then find your GIF or upload your own in the keyboard. Once your GIF is found, it has to be downloaded by clicking on it. Then it’s copied to your keyboard, and you have to paste it into your app. It’s all a bit convoluted, and the obligatory popkey.co watermarks don’t help matters either.

5. Minuum – £0.69

Our final app is an intriguing one: Minuum. This keyboard looks fairly ordinary to begin with, but can be set to a unique minimal mode that reduces the keyboard area to a single row. Clever auto-correction keeps the keyboard working, and you’ll get much more screen space while you’re typing as a result. Still, don’t expect your accuracy to be the same as on full-size keyboards.

Conclusion

We hope you have fun with your new keyboard. I’m using Swiftkey at the moment, which is definitely a big step up over the default keyboard.

Thanks for checking out the article!  If you have any questions, please leave a comment below or reach us on Twitter @mobilefun. Stay tuned for more iOS 8 tips and iPhone accessories.

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How to bypass a forgotten Android lock screen PIN, password or pattern

Monday, September 29th, 2014

Maybe you’re using an old phone for the first time in a long time, and you can’t remember that unlock PIN. Maybe your foolish friend tried to guess your pattern unlock, and kept trying longer than they should have done. Either way, you’re stuck – you can’t log into your phone. Thankfully, there is a surprisingly easy way to bypass the unlock screen, and it works on basically any modern Android device that’s been registered with your Google account.

The control panel in Android Device Manager

Here’s how it works: Access the Android Device Center online. This website shows all of your Android devices and their last known locations. That part isn’t helpful right now, but you also get three options: ring, lock and erase. The middle one, lock, is what we’re going to use. The locking system is intended to prevent a third-party from fooling around with a found or stolen phone, but it also handily resets whatever PIN or other security is currently set on your Android phone.

Re-locking your device with a new password

Simply type in a new password, and hit ‘Lock.’ Your current PIN / gesture / password will be erased, and the password you set will be used instead. From there, you just have to enter that password onto your device, and you’re in!

Reset success!

From there, you can enter the security or lock screen settings menu to change your unlock code back to whatever you want.

That was easy, huh?

Let me know if this worked for you in the comments below. You can also reach us on Twitter @mobilefun and at Love Your Mobile on Facebook.

Note: This isn’t guaranteed to work on all phones, but it does work for many models and it’s definitely worth a try. It’s also worth noting that isn’t at all useful for phone thieves, as they won’t know your Google username and password… so rest easy!

10 tips and tricks for Android Wear on the G Watch and Gear Live

Wednesday, July 9th, 2014

Google’s Android Wear debuted this week in the LG G Watch and Samsung Gear Live smartwatches. We’ve gotten to grips with the new OS, and we’ve found some cool tips and tricks that’ll help you get the most out of your device – including ways to extend battery life, take screenshots, find apps and even install custom ROMs. Read on to see what we’ve discovered!

10. Switch watch faces quickly

 

            

When I first started using the Gear Live, I was disappointed with how long it took to change watch faces… You have to tap the watch, scroll all the way down to settings, and then find ‘Change watch face’… it just takes forever! Later, I learned I was an idiot – you can just tap and hold the screen when the time is shown, and you’ll go immediately to that same setting.

9. Clean up your watch face

 

        

By default, your dimmed watch face will include a card at the bottom of the screen, below the time. That’s convenient for glancing at the weather or how many steps you’ve walked without turning on the watch, but it can block you from seeing the bottom of some watch faces and makes for a more visually complex look. You can turn off this card from the Android Wear app on your phone – just change the ‘Hide cards on dimmed screen’ option to ‘always hide’.

8. Check your pulse

 

            

The Samsung Gear Live includes a heart rate sensor on its backside. To check your pulse, just say “OK Google… Show me my heart rate.” You’ll be asked to ensure that the watch strapped fairly tightly around your wrist, with the face on the front or back of your arm. Hold still, and your pulse will be measured. The result is a bit variable in my trials, but it’s certainly a fun party trick.

7. Turn on silent mode

 

        

Sometimes it’s nice to take a break for a while. Thankfully Android Wear includes an easy-to-toggle silent mode. Just pull down and hold from the main watch screen and the watch will vibrate, showing that you’ve entered silent mode. When you’re ready to be notified again, just repeat the procedure.

6. Find Wear-compatible apps

 

Google have made it quite easy to find apps that are compatible with Wear on the app store, with the creation of an Apps for Android Wear category on the Play Store. We’ve also recommended a few apps that haven’t yet appeared on the list in our blog of top 5 Android Wear apps.

5. Extend your battery life

 

Want to easily extend your battery life on Android Wear? One easy way to do it is to completely turn off the display when the watch is idle, rather than just dimming it. You can do this through the Android Wear app; just untick the ‘Screen always on’ option. You can also change this setting in the watch’s own setting menu. There are other ways to extend your battery life too; we’ll cover one of the most effective options in our final tip (#1).

4. Take screenshots

 

Taking a screenshot is quite useful for bragging about your new smartwatch on Twitter and writing articles about smartwatches… and probably there are other uses as well! However, taking a screenshot is a bit tricky.

You’ll need to enable developer mode on the watch by tapping repeatedly on the build number in Settings -> About. Next, go into the Developer Options and enable ‘ADB debugging’. Then connect the watch to its charging box, and a USB cable from the charger to your PC. Download the Android SDK and run the commands shown here in the command line to take the screenshot and then transfer it back to your PC. A slightly more convenient method is to use the Nexus Root Toolkit, then use the ‘screen capture’ option in the Advanced window.

You may find you need to install Android Composite ADB drivers, find the ‘Gear Live’ or ‘G Watch’ option in Device Manager, then manually select the drivers you installed.

3. Control stuff with IFTTT

 

IFTTT (If That, Then That) is a cool service that links triggers (you did something) with actions (it does something). The IFTTT team has added Android Wear as a channel on the site, letting you make your own recipes or use other people’s. So far I’ve found the ‘share a map of my location on Facebook‘ recipe quite useful, as well as the ‘preview photos taken on your phone on your watch‘ one.

2. Run Wear apps

 

        

The G Watch and Gear Live don’t just show notifications – they can also run full-blown apps like Tinder, a Flappy Bird clone, a compass and many others. To run these apps, you’ll need to tap on the main screen that shows the time, scroll all the way to the bottom of the list and select ‘Start…’ Then you’ll find a list of all apps that can run on Android Wear. Don’t fret if an app you just installed doesn’t appear immediately – it sometimes takes a few minutes for the new app to make its way to the list.

1. Install a custom ROM

 

Want to go off the deep end? You can become the ultimate Android Wear fan by installing a custom ROM. The first such ROM is called Gohma, and boasts improved battery life, reduced lag and other beneficial tweaks. You’ll need to download the ROM, unlock your watch’s bootloader and root… but at the end of it you’ll have a custom ROM installed. If you’re willing to take the risk, check out the full thread on Rootz Wiki to get started.

Conclusion

I hope you’ve found these tips useful! Feel free to share your own pro tips in the comments below or on Twitter @mobilefun. Thanks for checking out the article and have a great week!

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Try these secret dialer codes on your HTC or Samsung Android phone

Tuesday, July 8th, 2014

Did you know that you can enter codes into many Android phones in order to access hidden features? These range from looking at information, accessing testing menus, or even resetting your phone. These are simple to enter to – just go to the dialer app, and type in the codes below.

Remember to read and understand the description of each code before you input it, as it is possible to reset your device and cause data loss using some of these codes. Please use responsibly!

We have three lists of codes here for Samsung and HTC phones, provided by a community effort on Reddit. One list of Samsung codes is for later phones like the Galaxy S5 and S4, while the other is for older phones. You may find some codes on both lists.
 

Samsung (for Galaxy S4 and later)

 

Code Description
*#1234# to check software version of phone.
*#12580*369# to check software and hardware information.
*#0228# Battery status (ADC, RSSI reading)
*#0011# Service Menu
*#0283# loopback test
*#06# imei
*#03# nandflashheaderread
*#0808# usb service
*#9090# service mode
*#7284# FactoryKeystring
*#34971539# camera firmware standard
*#1111# servicemode
*#0*# Testmodus

 

Samsung (for Galaxy S3 and earlier)

 

Code Description
*#*#4636#*#* Display information about Phone, Battery and Usage statistics
*#*#7780#*#* Restting your phone to factory state-Only deletes application data and applications
*2767*3855# It’s a complete wiping of your mobile also it reinstalls the phones firmware
*#*#34971539#*#* Shows completes information about the camera
*#*#7594#*#* Changing the power button behavior-Enables direct poweroff once the code enabled
*#*#273283*255*663282*#*#* For a quick backup to all your media files
*#*#197328640#*#* Enabling test mode for service activity
*#*#232339#*#* OR *#*#526#*#* Wireless Lan Tests
*#*#232338#*#* Displays Wi-Fi Mac-address
*#*#1472365#*#* For a quick GPS test
*#*#1575#*#* A Different type GPS test
*#*#0283#*#* Packet Loopback test
*#*#0*#*#* LCD display test
*#*#0673#*#* OR *#*#0289#*#* Audio test
*#*#0842#*#* Vibration and Backlight test
*#*#2663#*#* Displays touch-screen version
*#*#2664#*#* Touch-Screen test
*#*#0588#*#* Proximity sensor test
*#*#3264#*#* Ram version
*#*#232331#*#* Bluetooth test
*#*#7262626#*#* Field test
*#*#232337#*# Displays bluetooth device address
*#*#8255#*#* For Google Talk service monitoring
*#*#4986*2650468#*#* PDA, Phone, Hardware, RF Call Date firmware info
*#*#1234#*#* PDA and Phone firmware info
*#*#1111#*#* FTA Software version
*#*#2222#*#* FTA Hardware verion
*#*#44336#*#* Displays Build time and change list number
*#06# Displsys IMEI number
*#*#8351#*#* Enables voice dialing logging mode
*#*#8350#*#* Disables voice dialing logging mode
##778 (+call) Brings up Epst menu

 

HTC

 

Code Description
*#*#3424#*#* HTC function test Program.
*#*#4636#*#* HTC Info menu
*#*#8255#*#* launching GTalk Service Monitor
##3424# Diagnostic mode.
##3282# for EPST.
##8626337# for VOCODER
##33284# Field trial menu.
##786# Reverse Logistics Support.
##7738# Protocol Revision.
##775# Unknown
##2539# Unknown

 

Thanks for checking out the lists, and be sure to let us know if you find these helpful! You can reach us on Twitter @mobilefun.

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How to identify your Kindle model

Thursday, July 3rd, 2014

Amazon have released quite a few Kindle e-readers and tablets over the years, and sometimes the differences between models can be hard to spot. It is important to know which Kindle you have, as you want to be sure you are getting the right cases and accessories. If you’re not sure what Kindle you have, then you can use the strategies below to answer the question “What Kindle do I have?” and identify your Kindle.

Check the Serial Number

You can find this sixteen digit code in the box your Kindle came in or when you click on Settings and go to Device Info. Find your specific generation or type based on the first four characters.

  • Kindle 2: B002, B003
  • Kindle DX: B004, B005, B009
  • Kindle 4: B00E, B023, 9023
  • Kindle 5: B012
  • Kindle Keyboard: B006, B008, B00A
  • Kindle Paperwhite (2012): B024, B01B, B01C, B01D, B01F
  • Kindle Paperwhite (2013): B0D4 or 90D4
  • Kindle Touch: B00F, B010, B011
  • Kindle Fire (2011): D01E
  • Kindle Fire (2012): D026
  • Kindle Fire HD 7(2012): D025 and D059
  • Kindle Fire HD 7(2013): 00D3 and 00D2
  • Kindle Fire HD 8.9: B0C9, B0CA, B0CB, and B0CC
  • Kindle Fire HDX 7: D0FB, 00FB, 00FC, 0072, 00FD, 00FE, 0073, 006C, 006D, 006E
  • Kindle Fire HDX 8.9: 0018, 0057, 005E, 00F3, 0019, 0058, 007D, 007E, 007F

Note the Appearance and Size of Your Kindle

Inspect the keyboard and interface. Another helpful indicator would be the size of your Kindle. Here are a few key traits.

  • Kindle 2 & Kindle DX - While both look very similar and have a keyboard, the Kindle DX has a larger screen, 9.7” diagonally compared to the Kindle 2’s 6” display. The Kindle DX also supports simple PDF files.
  • Kindle 2 & Kindle Keyboard - Refer to the serial number by selecting Settings > Device Info. The Kindle 2’s first four digits will be B002 or B003. The Kindle Keyboard’s will be B006, B008, or B00A.
  • Kindle 4 & Kindle 5 - Both the Kindle 4 and Kindle 5 have a 5 way controller, as opposed to the keyboard of the earlier versions.
  • Kindle Paperwhite and Kindle Touch - While both don’t have the same 5 way controller that other Kindle models have, the Paperwhite’s defining feature is its built-in light that can be adjusted manually.
  • Kindle Fire & Kindle Fire HD - The Kindle Fire HD has a micro HDMI connection and its headphone and charging ports are located on the bottom of the device. The original Kindle Fire HD from 2012 also has a front-facing camera. The updated 2013 version of the Kindle Fire HD does not have a front-facing camera.
  • Kindle Fire (2011) & Kindle Fire (2012) - While they look the same on the outside, one main thing to look out for is the operating system that the Kindle runs on. The Kindle Fire 2011 runs on an Android 2.3-based operating system, while the 2012 version runs on a 4.0-based operating system.
  • Kindle Fire HD (2012) & Kindle Fire HDX (2013) - Released in 2013, the Kindle Fire HDX looks very similar to HD but it’s smaller, 5″ wide compared to the older HD’s 5.4″ width. The HDX 8.9, also released in 2013, differentiates itself from the HD 8.9 by having a rear-facing camera.

We hope this information is helpful! If you have any questions not solved by following the steps above, then please let us know in the comments below or by writing to us on Twitter @mobilefun.

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Index of How to Guides