85 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.
It's fairly easy once you get past the initial setup process
ChromeOS is an excellent and lightweight operating system that lets you stay secure while browsing online. 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.
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.
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.
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.
Your wireless carrier has more control over your device than you might think
Smartphones and tablets play a massive role in our daily lives for entertainment, work, or communicating with others. That also means they are always on, and services constantly run in the background, both good and potentially harmful ones. Certain system apps are necessary, but DT Ignite can be seen as intrusive since it can add unwanted apps to your device. Many Android phones and the most affordable Android tablets from your wireless carrier come preloaded with DT Ignite. In this guide, we go over what DT Ignite is and why it's there in the first place.
Experience that strange mix of excitement and frustration that comes with moving your data to a new phone
Do you have one of our favorite foldable phones? Or a new budget Android phone? Irrespective of how many phones you have used so far, nothing beats the joy of setting up a new phone. You might dread the initial setup process. However, if done right, you can have your phone set up and ready to use within a few minutes. Here's how to set up your new Android phone.
It's frequently found on mobile wireless carrier devices
Smartphones are considered multimedia devices. They allow us to stream shows, play games, and surf the web at a moment's notice. However, many background services that may or may not be vital to your device experience are running. Some of those services are controlled by a Mobile Services Manager (MSM), a preinstalled app that manages your device silently without your knowledge. Even the most affordable Android phones aren't immune to these preinstalled apps. In this guide, we discuss what a Mobile Services manager does and why it's used in the first place.
Its presence can be found on many of our devices right now
A term that's casually thrown around these days is artificial intelligence (AI). AI continues to grow in popularity for multiple reasons. It can improve our lives by helping us in ways that go beyond hardware capabilities or increasing overall device efficiency. For example, you can grab one of the most affordable Android phones and benefit from many of the same AI features found on premium devices. In this guide, we mention certain aspects of AI and give examples of how it's used on our devices.
Manage your computer files or games on the go with ease
Many of us still use our Windows PCs daily for work, gaming, and storing various file types locally on the device's internal storage. But what if you want to check on or manage your PC from where you are? Anything is possible using one of the budget-friendly Android phones and an active internet connection. You can connect to your PC from your phone in multiple ways, but we show you the most popular methods in the guide below.
Sometimes you might run into issues during your web browsing experience
In 2015, Microsoft Edge debuted and shipped as the default browser with Windows 10. When it launched, the browser didn't make a splash and struggled to keep up with its counterparts like Chrome and Firefox. Later, Microsoft switched gears and embraced the Chromium project, an open source web browser project developed by Google. It's also the same framework on which the best Chromebooks are based. The switch to Chromium appears to have paid off since the Edge browser has slowly emerged as a popular alternative to Chrome.
Capture and organize your notes like a pro
Nothing beats the convenience of jotting down your flashes of inspiration when they hit you, and a note-taking app is the perfect place to store them. For a better big-screen experience, pairing your notes with a budget Android tablet won't break the bank. Whether you're looking for a simple way to replace the sticky notes plastered around your desk or a cross-platform solution with multiple features, we have you covered. There's something for everyone, from cloud storage and voice recordings to efficiently organizing your notes. We list them all in this article.
They're pretty easy to manage once you know where to look
Traditional text-based passwords will likely stick around for a while despite the emergence of newer, fancier ways to log in, like fingerprint and facial recognition. This means Android phones, even the best Google Pixel phones, can only do so much to protect our online accounts. The goal is to ditch passwords, but we're not there yet. In the meantime, Google has a Password Manager to secure our passwords, and it does an excellent job of saving online account passcodes and automatically filling them on different websites. It's like a personal assistant for logins.
Modding your device without root access just got a lot better
In the earlier days of Android, modding a device was a popular hobby that offered more user control and new features not found in stock Android. However, with every new major release of Android, we get more options and features that make modding even less likely for the average user. Today, you can customize one of the most affordable Android phones without jumping through extra hoops. You can still mod your device for more power using Shizuku, and we show you how in the guide below.