Android phones: Tips, tricks?

Handruin

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I actually did a full factory reset last night after reading similar information on the how 5.0 changed from dalvik to art and many have benefited from either clearing the cache or doing a full reset and letting the apps rebuild themselves. On my specific device it was recommended that one disable the newer NuPlayer which was labeled as experimental. There were issues reported of how this conflicts with the facebook app when processing sounds. The downside for many is that the facebook app can't be uninstalled because it was part of HTC's Sense customization.

Overall my phone is feeling more responsive so far but I've only had a day to play around with it after the changes. I'm still unsure of the battery life changes yet because I haven't had enough time with the reset. One other item that plagues the AT&T edition of my phone is a bug in their software which constantly uses the GPS. The GPS light flicks on many times a day for long periods of time. I've read of many others with the same complaint and AT&T has yet to fix the issue.
 

timwhit

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I had pretty much no issues after upgrading my LG G3 to 5.0, on the other hand my wife's phone had a bunch of issues. Factory resetting a phone is a PITA, having to do that to upgrade the OS is ridiculous.

Why isn't /tmp being wiped by cron?
 

Chewy509

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Factory resetting a phone is a PITA, having to do that to upgrade the OS is ridiculous.
While I agree resetting a phone is a PITA, there are not too many OSes that upgrade cleanly between major component upgrades. Just look at going from Vista to Win7... Both are very similar, but have not heard anyone being able to upgrade from one to the other without issues... And it's similar in the Linux world as well... (remember modern day smart phone OSes are just as complex as most desktop OSes).

Why isn't /tmp being wiped by cron?
NFI. I guess it's poorly written applications and services that don't clean up after themselves when using tmp files...
 

Chewy509

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One other item that plagues the AT&T edition of my phone is a bug in their software which constantly uses the GPS. The GPS light flicks on many times a day for long periods of time. I've read of many others with the same complaint and AT&T has yet to fix the issue.
That's a problem that has affected some of the Telco edition phones here as well... (IIRC Telstra branded HTC One M8 is one affected). But having been burnt by Telco "enhancements" in the past, was one reason my wife and I insisted on and purchased phones direct from Sony. (They have no carrier related software on them, are completely carrier unlocked and easily rootable). (That sounded rude). ;)
 

Mercutio

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An amusing discovery for me. I bought a an LG G4 and I've discovered that while my left hand has no difficulty reaching the width of the phone, my right thumb is a bit too short to comfortably tap anything on the left edge.

The auto brightness level on the G4 is rather more conservative than the GS4 and I sufficiently dislike LG's notification sounds that I actually broke broke down and downloaded Zedge to get some better options. I'm also not sure about visibility in sunlight, something my GS4 handled very well.

The G4 has a bit of heft to it that my old phone didn't. It's not a bad feeling. I can tell I'm carrying it. It also has a curved back that makes the phone a bit easier to hold, bit also a bit suspect for resting on a table.

Battery life is a little better than the GS4, based on how much charge I have at the end of a day. I wouldn't be surprised if I could get away with an overnight without charging it.

There's no root procedure for this phone yet. I'm looking forward to being able to ditch my carrier apps and some unwanted BS that Sprint loaded like Facebook and Instagram (which were not in the software load before I activated it). Right now ditching that bloat is my biggest concern.
 
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Thanks for the quick review Merc. The LG G4 is my next phone I think. Just wondering if the cracked screen on my S5 will hold together long enough to let me upgrade (Sept?) or if I'll need to buy it.
 
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I must have missed or forgotten this - what happened?
My phones live a pretty hard life. I pretty regularly replace the glass/LCD on my units (as I do for others in the company). In fact, I have a spare S5 glass/LCD unit sitting right next to my phone now. Of course, this break was clearly my fault*, so I'd need to pay for the $200 part myself. If I'm going to do that, I'm very tempted to upgrade instead.

*Company policy (that I wrote) states that if your phone wasn't in the company-issued case when it broke it is on you. I refuse to turn my phone into a brick and take my chances.
 

Handruin

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What do you guys do with your old phones when you want to change phones? Do you keep the old one or try selling it? I'd like to try a different phone and sell my HTC One M8 if it's worth some reasonable amount of money.
 

mubs

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Since it's difficult to completely erase flash memory, isn't there a risk of the buyer being able to undelete? Factory reset options are known to not work properly.
 

Striker

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Encrypt it first, then factory reset seems to be the solution to that particular problem.
I tend to keep my phones for too long for them to be worth anything after. They usually end up in a drawer after.
 

Mercutio

Fatwah on Western Digital
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If nothing else, smartphones can be repurposed as media players or used for experimentation. We probably all know a kid who wants to play stupid mobile games and listen to their music even if they can't be trusted with a $50/month cellphone bill.

I really wouldn't know much about messing with phones if I hadn't loaded ROMs and rooted old devices.
 

Santilli

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I sold my old phone for 80 dollars on ebay, after pulling the chips. Kind of amazed it went for that much.

One mans' trash can be anothers' prize.
 

time

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I have family and friends where my old phone is considered an upgrade, they go there.
Even with a cracked screen?

mubs said:
Since it's difficult to completely erase flash memory, isn't there a risk of the buyer being able to undelete?
I'm not sure what sort of information on most people's phones would be valuable enough to attempt a recovery from an integrated flash device ...
 

mubs

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Besides, I'd hate for my contacts' personal details (name, phone #, address, etc.) to be available to someone else. I've read that for phone repair shops with the appropriate cables to connect the phone to a PC and appropriate sw, it's easy as pie to retrieve all the info on the phone.
 

LunarMist

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An amusing discovery for me. I bought a an LG G4 and I've discovered that while my left hand has no difficulty reaching the width of the phone, my right thumb is a bit too short to comfortably tap anything on the left edge.

The auto brightness level on the G4 is rather more conservative than the GS4 and I sufficiently dislike LG's notification sounds that I actually broke broke down and downloaded Zedge to get some better options. I'm also not sure about visibility in sunlight, something my GS4 handled very well.

The G4 has a bit of heft to it that my old phone didn't. It's not a bad feeling. I can tell I'm carrying it. It also has a curved back that makes the phone a bit easier to hold, bit also a bit suspect for resting on a table.

Battery life is a little better than the GS4, based on how much charge I have at the end of a day. I wouldn't be surprised if I could get away with an overnight without charging it.

There's no root procedure for this phone yet. I'm looking forward to being able to ditch my carrier apps and some unwanted BS that Sprint loaded like Facebook and Instagram (which were not in the software load before I activated it). Right now ditching that bloat is my biggest concern.
Is it right that they have a removable battery? That might be worthwhile. Which carriers sell that phone?
 

Mercutio

Fatwah on Western Digital
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Is it right that they have a removable battery? That might be worthwhile. Which carriers sell that phone?
Removable battery and support for microSD up to 200GB (for some reason, there's a 200GB card now). The G4 is on every major US carrier. I have no idea about regional and pay as you go carriers like Virgin or Cricket or US Cellular.
 

Mercutio

Fatwah on Western Digital
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Battery life on my G4 is wildly inconsistent. An hour streaming a podcast over LTE to bluetooth headphones inside a metal building? Use 1% my battery during the whole time. Ten minutes of short Instant Messaging while on a strong 802.11 signal? 10 percent of the battery.
 

LunarMist

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Which carrier is the best, or does it depend on the exact location? I will not be streaming or using any 802 signals very often. Typically I only use about 500-600GB/month of data.
 

Mercutio

Fatwah on Western Digital
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Verizon has the most towers. It also has LTE service in more places, but in places where it hasn't upgraded its towers, it also has the worst voice quality. Verizon also charges more than any other service. Verizon's coverage advantage is especially huge in those states west of the Mississippi and east of California. Verizon's phones aren't portable to any other American network.
AT&T uses GSM (Sim-card compatible) devices and has a reasonably wide coverage area in most inhabited parts of the USA. It's the second most expensive network.
Sprint's most compelling argument is offering truly unlimited data plans, but coverage away from arterial roads and big cities is spotty. It's less expensive than the other two. Sprint uses CDMA tech like Verizon but Sprint phones are sometimes portable to small carriers because a lot of small carriers (Cricket, Freedom Wireless, Family Mobile et al) lease service from Sprint towers.
Tmobile is the least expensive major US carrier. It also offers quasi-unlimited data, but data plans will throttle to basically dialup speeds past a certain threshold. Tmobile phones are also GSM so it's possible to use an AT&T or non-US phone on their network. Tmobile no longer offers subsidies on new phones for a contract, so moving to Tmobile means paying full retail price on a phone.

There are a lot of minor carriers that either serve a regional market, offer 802.11-only service (i.e. you have a phone and it works like a phone but only as long as you're near a wireless access point) or they're pay as you go providers.

Honestly, given Lunar's needs and disinterest in mobile tech generally, I'd probably steer him toward a high end Lumia rather than an Android phone. You'll get a certain amount of integration with Windows 8+ and a very good camera. I don't really know if Nokia's durability is present in Windows phones or not but it's probably at least on par with Apple and Samsung in that regard (that's damning it with faint praise, mostly).
 

LunarMist

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I thought Windows phones were awful? Do they still have the funky icons? My Andorid devices are all of the Samsungs.
 

Mercutio

Fatwah on Western Digital
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I thought Windows phones were awful? Do they still have the funky icons? My Andorid devices are all of the Samsungs.
Windows phones definitely aren't awful. They're just not Android. The biggest problem is that they don't have enough developers building apps for them because their market share is tiny. This means that well known internet services might not have official apps on that platform, or perhaps that it isn't easy to get data from a Windows phone to some internet services. You're also going to be limited on games. These strike me as things you would not care about. The basic Windows Mobile OS and core apps are really nice and have a very consistent UI. Since Windows phones do internet browsing and messaging and personal information management just fine and don't have some of the limitations of iOS (no ability to organize files at all, terrible keyboard, no way to get constantly updating info on the home screen), I think they're the smartphone a lot of people who wind up with low-end Android devices should have purchased instead, and that's what I tell my students.

High end Samsung devices certainly are nice but I've met way too many people who own one and have no idea how to work it even after 18 months.
 

LunarMist

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Windows phones definitely aren't awful. They're just not Android. The biggest problem is that they don't have enough developers building apps for them because their market share is tiny. This means that well known internet services might not have official apps on that platform, or perhaps that it isn't easy to get data from a Windows phone to some internet services. You're also going to be limited on games. These strike me as things you would not care about. The basic Windows Mobile OS and core apps are really nice and have a very consistent UI. Since Windows phones do internet browsing and messaging and personal information management just fine and don't have some of the limitations of iOS (no ability to organize files at all, terrible keyboard, no way to get constantly updating info on the home screen), I think they're the smartphone a lot of people who wind up with low-end Android devices should have purchased instead, and that's what I tell my students.

High end Samsung devices certainly are nice but I've met way too many people who own one and have no idea how to work it even after 18 months.
I don't have a lot of apps, but does that mean I would have to main some kind of MS version of the Play stores linked to credit card, etc.?
 

Mercutio

Fatwah on Western Digital
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Both Android, so yes. Although that can be complicated and misleading, since carriers and OEMs frequently replace stock apps for versions of their own. So for example you might find that the Contacts or Calendar apps you're used to are nothing like the ones you had on your last device.
Because of that, I don't really use any stock apps any more. I'd rather use tools that are fully portable between devices.
 

Santilli

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I'm getting the urge to root my Samsung Mega again, after the new laws this year. It's on Sprint.
Experiences? Ideas?

How do you backup your data prior to rooting?

Also what is an "unlocked Verizon phone?"

I see then new HTC phones listed that way all the time.

What would be the best way to get a decent, big phone, read about 6" screen, android, for someone that pretty much never uses it?
I'm thinking buy an unlocked phone, and either go TMobile, or some other prepaid option.
 

Mercutio

Fatwah on Western Digital
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Samsung supplies a tool for unlocking their phones. The tool is called Odin. You run Odin, then you flash an alternative boot loader on to your phone, boot while doing gymnastics on the power and volume buttons and run SuperSU or something to get your root access. It takes about two minutes if you have the files you need.

In cell phone parlance, Unlocked means that a phone is network-portable. It means that you can take the phone to whatever network you like. But Verizon doesn't use a SIM card, so you're limited to MVNOs that use Verizon's network, or a device that can only be used on networks where LTE service is available. I have a friend who uses a Verizon Galaxy S3 on Walmart's Family Mobile service (which IIRC uses Sprint's network) for LTE only and it does work, but not very well.

I have no idea what carrier options you have in California. If I didn't have the sweetheart service agreement I have with Sprint, I'd probably go with Virgin or Cricket if I felt like I needed LTE service or something like Freedom Pop or Republic Wireless if I decided to live with just 802.11. Those plans are as cheap as $5/month.
 

Striker

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It's not any more hacked than any other version of android except perhaps on the Nexus.
It is a decent value for a phone, but I would probably wait to see what the OnePlus Two specs and price are before I bought a One.
 
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