90 articles published since April 14, 2018
About Stephen Perkins
Stephen is a freelance writer at Android Police who primarily covers how-to guides, features, and the occasional in-depth explainer across various topics. He came on board with the team in late 2021, bringing his strong technical background in computers, smartphones, and customer service with him. As a long-time power user who knows his devices from the inside out, he uses that knowledge to tweak and customize them to better fit his specific needs. Stephen previously worked as a freelance how-to guide writer for the Android rooting, modding, and custom ROM section at Gadget Hacks. He has actively followed the Android scene since 2008 with the HTC Dream, known by most as the T-Mobile G1. However, he didn't get his first Android device until 2009 with the original Motorola Droid. After that, Stephen quickly learned about unlocking the bootloader and gaining full root access — both changed his smartphone life forever. He would frequently install custom ROMs, kernels, and recoveries to improve his Android experience beyond what stock could provide. Although not as popular as it once was, he still continues to root his primary devices today using the latest version of Magisk. Stephen has been passionate about writing his entire life and finally turned it into a professional career in 2016. He started out as a lesson plan writer in computer science and IT for Study.com, which allows students to earn real college credits online. That led him to Gadget Hacks, where Stephen got to write educational and informative pieces for Android smartphones. And now, he continues down that same path at Android Police, using his technical knowledge and skills to write how-to guides. His goal has always been to help as many people as possible learn something new about technology.
Start adding new profiles and sharing your account now
Netflix is a recognized and popular name in the media streaming business. Pair that with one of the most affordable Android phones, and you can watch your favorite content without breaking the bank. Netflix recently cracked down on password sharing. You'll now pay an additional monthly fee to share your account. You can only set up this feature on the web. We show you how in the guide below.
Delete your Alexa history and voice recording to help restore some of your privacy
Alexa is Amazon's personal digital assistant, which lets you use your voice to control some of the easiest smart home devices available. It powers Amazon's Echo line of smart speakers and is included in devices made by other manufacturers, such as Sonos. If you use an Alexa-powered device, you might know your voice interactions are recorded and saved by default.
It's a lot easier than you might think to get started
We all know the routine with passwords. You either type them in or use a password manager because they are too complicated. Passwords are annoying to deal with, and they are the weakest point in the security chain when protecting your online accounts. Frequent data breaches put your passwords at risk at any given moment. Whether you have a budget Android phone or a top-of-the-line one, passwords are a problem. Enpass makes it easy to create and manage passkeys on your device, and we show you how in the guide below.
These handy shortcuts can make your life easier
Your phone's home screen may not be something you think much about after you set it, but it's a core part of your overall user experience. The Google Pixel 8, along with other recent Pixel handsets, offers exclusive features you won't find on other Android phones or tablets. If you're upgrading to a Pixel from a different Android brand, you may not be aware of some home screen shortcuts on your phone. The Settings app, for example, provides a shortcut widget that gives you quick one-tap access to the numerous system settings.
You can do more than just manage your emails
Gmail has been the most popular email service for over a decade because it's easy to use and comes with your Google account. We still use email to manage our other online accounts and send event invites. Chromebooks are popular devices that can help you level up your email calendar invite game with its easy-to-use Gmail web app. As long as you have access to the desktop version of Gmail on any device, you can send calendar invites in a few short minutes.
Make a unique pattern for each of your favorite apps or contacts
Remember when custom vibration patterns were a thing? Setting custom notification sounds along with vibrations offers the ultimate customizable experience for calls and messages. There's also a relevant reason for custom vibration patterns if your phone is always on silent. You can use some of the preset vibration patterns included on some Samsung phones, but those options won't get you far. To customize everything to do with your Android phone's notifications, from calls to texts and app alerts, use the BuzzKill app outlined in this guide.
Steam has been the most popular gaming platform for PC gamers for over a decade. The number of games, ease of use, and overall familiarity make Stream the go-to choice for many today. ChromeOS is the lightweight operating system that powersChromebooks and Chromeboxes. It's great for basic day-to-day tasks online, such as typing documents, streaming media, and browsing the web. Even the more premium Chromebooks are not considered high-end gaming PCs, but they can install Steam. In the following guide, we show you how to download Steam on a compatible Chromebook model.
It's fairly easy once you get past the initial setup process
ChromeOS is a lightweight operating system that is great for people who work with cloud-based apps. Typically found on Chromebooks, these are primarily online-only devices that are limited in their overall capabilities. Whether they are the best or even the most affordable Chromebooks, all have one thing in common: less software compatibility than Windows. Many developers make fully featured apps on Windows that you can't get on ChromeOS via a Chromebook. If you're ready to switch from ChromeOS to Windows, we show you how to get started in the guide below.
Give yourself even more freedom to do anything you want on your device
Chromebooks are popular because they are fast, easy to use, and affordable. You'll likely spend most of your time online using web-based apps, but there are some cases where you can use your Chromebook offline. For example, you can edit Google Docs files without an active internet connection and manage your downloaded files offline. You can also turn your budget Chromebook into a fully featured Linux computer where you can run a unique command line environment. In this guide, we cover how to get a Linux terminal up and running on your Chromebook.
Increase your email efficiency and spend less time in your inbox
To increase your efficiency, the web version of Gmail has numerous functions, such as template generation and automatic message forwarding However, few people are aware that many Gmail functions can be accessed using keyboard shortcuts. Many Gmail users are unaware of these shortcuts or how to use them. In this guide, we show you some of the best Gmail keyboard shortcuts you can use on one of the best external keyboards for your Chromebook or tablet to minimize your burden and do more productive activities in a shorter amount of time.
It's easier than you might think but requires some adapting
Windows is an operating system widely used for entertainment, work, school, and gaming. It has a worldwide appeal for offering a user experience tailored to your needs using premade or custom-built computers. At the same time, Windows is synonymous with viruses, malware, and other infections that plague its users daily. And constant Windows updates in the background often go ignored by many, causing more issues in the future. Some of the best Chromebooks on the market can be very appealing, and it's easy to see why some might want to switch to ChromeOS.
The ChromeOS operating system was made popular by Chromebooks, which are web-based laptops that are fast, affordable, and easy to use. However, since ChromeOS is mainly built with the web in mind, you might run into limitations compared to a regular Windows or Mac laptop. For example, you can't install Windows (.exe) files on ChromeOS, so you might have to find new programs when purchasing a budget-friendly Chromebook. In the guide below, we cover the common files you can run on ChromeOS.
It only takes a few simple steps and you're done
Chromebooks have become popular over the years as affordable devices for accessing the web, especially the most budget-friendly ones. Not only that, but they are also well known for being fast, secure, and easy to use for all types of users. Eventually, there will be a time when you need to change or update the password on your Chromebook for security reasons. Changing the password is easy since your Google account and Chromebook are linked. We show you how to do this in the guide below.
Some helpful tips for when things don't always work as intended
Google Chromecast lets you stream video from Android devices and your laptop to your television. Google also makes various Chromecast dongles that are affordable and among the best streaming devices you can buy. Just tap a button and select where you want to watch your content. It doesn't get any easier than this. Still, multiple variables are at play when using a Chromecast, and not everything always works as it should. Here are the common issues you might face when using your Chromecast with your home network.
Changing how you hear your favorite music, movies, TV shows, and video games
There was a time when we all used wired headphones for our smartphones, but those days are mostly gone. Wireless headphones and earbuds have become so good that many of us don't miss the wires. And some of the best wireless headphones you can buy offer excellent quality and convenience that pair nicely with your smartphone. And one new thing that headphone makers and the industry are adopting is called spatial audio. It improves your audio experience by making it more immersive, and we explain how in the article below.
Clean up your mess of an inbox in no time at all
Even the most organized people may occasionally need help cleaning out their inboxes if it gets too cluttered. With Gmail being one of the most popular email clients, you might see hundreds or thousands of emails in your inbox if left unchecked. Google includes an easy way to mass delete emails on the web using any device, including one of the best Chromebooks. You can quickly clean out your inbox and keep things organized with a few clicks. Here's how to delete those emails when you decide it's time to get your inbox under control.
The Android 14 QPR Beta program is in full swing, here's how to become part of it
The Android 14 Beta Program is over. In its place, Google has already started testing Android 14 QPR1, the upcoming big update to Android 14 that will come to all the best phones in December 2023. It offers a ton of fun and interesting features already, no matter if you have the Pixel 7 Pro or another Google device. If you're curious to give it a try on your Pixel device before it launches, there is an easy way to install the pre-release version of Android 14 QPR 1 on your phone that feels almost like getting a regular system update.
Customize your Android phone's home screen by changing the app icons
Customization has always been Android's key strength, from using a custom launcher to changing your device's font and theme settings. Google has continued to build upon this concept, with Android becoming more user-friendly after every major release. These days, you have better control over your device experience than in the past.
A very popular feature used on many modern smartphones
Regarding smartphone photography, these devices continue to impress and produce incredible results as mobile camera technology advances. One of the more challenging aspects of capturing quality images is understanding depth information, which is the distance and how close or far objects are from the lens. This allows even the most affordable Android phones to have improved autofocus, which offers a better camera experience in challenging scenarios. Photography is only one of the many uses a Time of Flight (ToF) sensor can provide a smartphone or mobile device. We cover some other popular examples in the guide below.
It's more than a Netflix machine
A Plex server is a popular method for accessing your media files from almost anywhere as long as you have a compatible device. The key benefit here is viewing your entire media library, such as music, movies, or photos, and streaming them over your private home network. The NVIDIA Shield is one of the best Android TV streaming boxes since it's a powerful yet versatile device. As such, using the built-in Plex server feature on the NVIDIA Shield is one of the easiest ways to stream your media files.