Droid Support - Get Your Settings Under Control (Part 2)

10/17/2012 2:29:48 PM

It seems to me that I spend most of my time playing around in the Settings menu on my Android phone. There are some basic widgets available to manage Wi-Fi and other connectivity options, but few seem to be configurable.

A This is a difficult A™ question to answer because each person will have a different opinion on what makes a widget useful depending on the shortcuts they use the most. After much searching we found Power Controls on Google Play which offers a very good balance between efficiency and flexibility for the average user. You can select from a large range of controls including Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and Airplane Mode and even better, you can customise the look so that it blends in perfectly with your current setup. The ability to choose a custom application shortcut is an added bonus and you can even add the widget to the notification bar. There are thousands of widgets available for Android phones and tablets, but few offer the simplicity of setup and efficient performance of Power Controls.

Description: Settings can be managed in the blink of an eye

Settings can be managed in the blink of an eye

Why am I seeing adverts?

All of a sudden I am seeing adverts pop up in my notification bar. They look like normal notifications until I pull the bar down and then I am faced with some, at times unsavoury, advertisements. Is this part of the Android operating system and if so, how do I stop it?

A Good news Colleen, it is r most definitely not part of the Android operating system and will never happen unless you have downloaded an app that is forcing the adverts to pop up. We have seen this before with an app called YouTube Downloader which looks harmless enough from the main description. However, when you look at the permissions it requires, another story is told.

Description: Why am I seeing adverts?

Why am I seeing adverts?

For example, it requests the ability to read the state and identity of your calls, browser history, bookmarks and crucially the ability to write your browser history and bookmarks. This should not be needed for an app like this and so we go back to our old mantra - always read the permissions a new app is asking for. In your case, you can look at the apps you have installed and investigate which one is at fault. Apps that put ads in the notification panel usually get pretty short shrift from users so a quick look at its reviews will no doubt reveal the offending item. Uninstalling it will make the problem go away, and it's worth adding a disgruntled review of your own to let the developer know what you think about their strategy. We appreciate ads are vital for developers to get revenue from their apps, but in our opinion this is far too intrusive, and raises privacy and performance concerns as well.

A new launcher, a fresh new experience

"I quite like the default launcher on my phone, but see lots of entries for alternatives on Google Play. Are they merely there to offer a new look or do they offer any benefits to me. I would like to experiment a little with the way I use my phone, but don’t want to spend lots of money doing so."

A The world of Android launchers is a big business and for good reason. Besides letting you customise the way your device looks, you can add multiple extras to each of your home screens, which look inconsistent and can be more difficult to manage on the default launcher. One of the true benefits of Android is the ability to make it completely personal to you and third-party launchers are the easiest way to change everything about the interface without delving too deep into the system and causing instability. You have a few to choose from, but one that is great for testing is Go Launcher EX; it can be as basic or as complex as you like and there are many extras available for it, such as widgets and mini-apps that effectively work like a mask over default Android. We will get you started with some simple steps to follow.

Description: Do I need a new launcher?

Do I need a new launcher?

1.    Get the free app

Go to Google Play and search for Go Launcher EX. It is free and quite low on memory requirements. You will see many more widgets and other references to Go Launcher, but at this stage it makes sense to just install the launcher and the rest can follow in logical order.

2.    Make it your launcher

Once installed, press your Home button and a screen will pop up asking which launcher you want to activate. If you tick the Use by default for this action option at the bottom and then choose Go Launcher, it will be used in future when you press the Home button.

3.    So clean and simple

When Go Launcher EX pops up, you will notice that everything looks clean and simple. A row of apps at the bottom, a couple of widgets at the top to highlight the capabilities and that’s it. If you hold your finger on the screen, a row of options will appear for you to choose from.

Description: 3. So clean and simple

4.    Start with the widgets

Tap the Go Widget icon and some coloured widgets will appear. If you scroll to the right, monochrome widgets appear which denote that they are not installed. Tap one of these and you will be offered the opportunity to install it. Follow the steps to download the ones you want.

Description: 4. Start with the widgets

5.    Apps within a launcher

Once installed, you will be given the opportunity to place the widget on the home screen of your choice. Other widgets are shown with Download tags which let you tap them and install. The majority of the best Go Launcher widgets act like full apps and are mostly free.

Description: 5. Apps within a launcher

6.    Choose settings

Now that you know how to deal with widgets, tap the Menu button and explore the huge number of settings available. Everything from themes, the Go Launcher Store and preferences are available to you with the tap of a button. It is a powerful, yet easy-to-use launcher.


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