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How to make your samsung galaxy phone feel more like stock android

Cameron Summerson is ex-Editor-in-Chief of Review Geek and served as an Editorial Advisor for How-To Geek and LifeSavvy. He covered technology for a decade and wrote over 4,000 articles and hundreds of product reviews in that time. He’s been published in print magazines and quoted as a smartphone expert in the New York Times. Read more.

Now is arguably the best time in the history of the platform for Android users—the OS is getting better, updates are getting (slightly) quicker, and there are several excellent handsetS to choose from. If you’re not into the whole “manufacturer skin” that most are offering these days, however, it can be slightly less exciting to buy a non-Nexus phone. But giving your phone a “stock Android” look and feel isn’t as hard as you think.

If you’re rooted, of course, you could just flash a custom ROM based on stock Android, but most people don’t want to go through that hassle these days. If you have a Samsung phone, we recommend checking out our Samsung-specific guide–there are a few extra things Samsung has in place that let you make your phone feel like stock. For all other phones, read on.

Change Your Launcher

This is the first thing that I do on any phone, because it easily makes the biggest different right out of the gate. With Android, basically everything is managed through the launcher—the app that handles your home screens—so it’s one of the most dramatic changes you can make to your phone’s look and feel.

Even better, there are several really good launcher replacements out there. If you’re looking for a one hundred percent stock experience, you can get that on the home screen with the Google Now Launcher—the same one that you’ll find on stock Android devices.

However, if you’re looking for an experience that’s more customizable and still very close to a stock look and feel, I vote for Nova Launcher. It’s powerful, insanely customizable, and fast—what more could you possibly want? You can even change your icons in Nova to match those of stock Android, so you’re not stuck looking at Google’s Launcher with LG or Samsung’s icons. It’s a win-win all around.

Switch to Google Keyboard

Touch keyboards on Android have come a long way over the last few years, and Google’s own offering is now one of the best out there. Like most other things Android, it’s clean and minimal, not full of “fluff” features that no one ever uses, but rather has a focus on accuracy and meaningful settings.

Like Now Launcher, this is the same keyboard that you’ll find on stock Android devices out of the box. Grab it from the Play Store, install it, and enjoy your next step toward stock.

Use Google Camera

There’s a good chance that the stock camera app that comes with your phone is robust and full-featured, which is nice, but sometimes you just don’t need all that. If you want something simple and easy to use, Google Camera is the app for you. It does a good job of keeping the picture taking process a clean one, as it doesn’t have all the bells and whistles that you’ll find on most other cameras—just hit the button and snap the picture. The idea here is that Google Camera will do most of the heavy lifting for you, automatically setting exposure, ISO, shutter speed, and all that other good stuff.

But there’s one catch: it’s not available directly from Google Play. If you want to install the official Google Camera, you’ll have to grab it from APK Mirror and sideload it. Keep in mind that there are two different versions of Google Camera—one for 64-bit phones, and one for 32-bit phones—and you’ll also have to enable “Unknown Sources” in your phone’s Security menu. Honestly, your phone’s default camera app is probably just as good, if not better–but if you want a truly stock experience, grabbing Google Camera is worth the extra work.

Drop the Stock SMS App and Switch to Messenger

There is no shortage of messaging apps in Google Play, and even Google now has a bunch to choose from. But I think Google really got it right with Messenger, the new(ish) stock SMS app for Nexus devices. It uses Google’s Material Design user interface for a clean, sharp look, but it’s not just a pretty face—it works exceptionally well, too.

But really, I just mostly love how good it looks. I don’t understand why so many other messaging apps can’t seem to get this right. Messenger is my jam.

Give Google’s Other Apps a Shot

Your phone probably ships with the manufacturer’s choice of various apps—Calendar, Gallery, Clock, etc. The thing is, Google’s stock offerings are probably better (or at least a lot cleaner), and you can use those instead:

While that won’t get you a perfectly stock phone, it’s definitely several steps in the right direction. Switching to Google’s own apps will give your phone a much more stock-like look and feel, which can be a big improvement on many handsets out there. And really, if you don’t like it, you can always switch back. That’s the power of choice, baby.

Some things were never meant to be changed.

By Whitson Gordon | Updated Mar 5, 2022 5:56 PM

I’ve been a diehard user of Google’s pure Android phones—like the Nexus and Pixel lines—for years, preferring the unadulterated stock Android experience to the tweaked version manufacturers provide. But Samsung has some of the best hardware you can get today, plus a few handy features that Pixel phones don’t have. Samsung’s powerful processors and great cameras have constantly tempted me to switch and try one of their smartphones, but there was always the interface problem.

Once upon a time, manufacturer-skinned versions of Android were considered blasphemy. These days, that’s changed: Samsung’s One UI is a huge improvement over their older software, but after years with Google’s version, it’s still hard to get used to some of Samsung’s changes. So when I finally caved and bought a refurbished Galaxy S10e, I just couldn’t go without making some software alterations to make my new phone look and feel more like Google’s simpler offering.

This guide should get you the best of both worlds: Google’s simpler, more usable interface with all the extra features Samsung packs in to the OS itself.

Install Google’s Stock Apps

Before doing anything else, replace some of Samsung’s built-in apps with Google’s equivalents if you don’t have them already. These I feel are better designed or more feature-filled:

  • Chrome
  • Gmail
  • Contacts
  • Calendar
  • Messages
  • Gboard
  • Photos

If you want, you can go even further and replace some of the smaller apps, like Phone, Calculator, and Wallpapers, but they aren’t strictly necessary unless you want that consistent Google-feel across your device. Google’s Camera app is an exception as well: you can technically install community-tweaked builds that’ll work on the latest Samsung phones, but they can be buggy, and in my experience the Samsung camera app just worked more reliably. If you’re unhappy with the quality of the photos Samsung’s camera app takes, you may want to tweak the “Scene Optimizer” and other features in the Camera’s settings before you try switching to the Google app.

Replace the home screen with Nova Launcher

Samsung’s home screen is pretty customizable if you dig into the settings, but it still can’t match a third-party home screen like Nova Launcher. The sheer amount of options, customizable shortcuts, and compatible icon packs is unmatched, and you can even get the Google Now feed that comes with Google’s standard launcher (instead of the “Samsung Daily” feed that comes with Galaxy phones). Grab Nova Launcher and start playing around with some settings—I recommend paying $5 for the Prime pack as well to get the full suite of features.

Look through everything Nova has to offer to find what you like best, but there are two things I definitely recommend tweaking. First, from Nova’s settings, head to App Drawer and then Hide Apps. From here, you can hide all of Samsung’s preinstalled apps that you aren’t using (like the aforementioned Internet, Calendar, and Contacts, which you can’t uninstall) plus any other bloatware that came with your phone. It’ll free up space and make you forget those apps are even there.

Next, go to Look & Feel and tap on Icon Style, where you can pick the more Google-esque round icon shape instead of Samsung’s Rounded Square. On that same menu, I also recommend grabbing a Pixel-focused icon pack, like Pixel Pie Icon Pack, which will generate Google-style round icons for a ton of third-party apps to make your home screen look just like stock Android.

If you don’t want to download Nova and just want to stick with Samsung’s home screen launcher, you could also head to the Galaxy Themes app and grab a “Material” designed theme, which will mimic the look of stock Android on Samsung’s home screen.

Remap the Bixby button to Google Assistant (or something else)

Ah, Bixby—the voice assistant nobody wants, but Samsung shoves in front of your face as often as they can. While I’m no fan of it, I actually like the Bixby button found on the side of Galaxy phones because nowadays it’s extremely customizable—just head to Settings, Advanced Features, and then Bixby Key. There you can change Bixby to a double-press while using a single press to open whatever app you want. For the most Pixel-like experience, remap this to the Google Assistant (almost mimicking the “squeeze” gesture on Pixel phones), though I find the button unnecessary since I can use the “Hey Google” command. I prefer to map it to the camera, or some other app I might need super-quick access to. It’s up to you.

Tweak the lock screen and navigation bar

Finally, I changed a few other minor settings for a more stock-like experience. First and foremost, lock screen notifications. Samsung hides your notifications behind an extra tap, which drives me absolutely bonkers, but you can turn this off by heading to Settings, Lock Screen, and then to Notifications, and changing the View Style to Details. You may also want to go to the Lock Screen settings and change the Clock Style to the more centered, Pixel-like option they offer.

If you’re used to stock Android phones, you’re probably also thrown off by the button order along the bottom—Samsung has always put the back button on the opposite side as Google. I used to hate this, but I have to admit that with today’s larger screens, I actually find Samsung’s right-oriented back button easier to reach with one hand. But, if you want it back the way Google does it, head to Settings, Display, and Navigation Bar, to change the button order from there.

Note that if you want to go above and beyond what both Samsung and Google offer by default, check out Good Lock. It’s a piece of Samsung software from the Galaxy Store that isn’t installed out-of-the-box, but offers a boatload of options for customizing your lock screen, navigation bar, quick settings panel, and more. It may be a bit overkill for some, but if you’re the kind of person that likes to tweak every corner of your phone, it’s a great alternative to the above tips.

Customize the Quick Settings panel

When you drag your finger down from the top of the screen, you’ll see your notifications along with a few “quick settings” along the top. Drag down again, and you’ll get the full Quick Settings panel, which allows you to customize your screen’s brightness, toggle certain settings on and off, and more.

Samsung’s Quick Settings panel looks a bit different from Google’s, but it’s actually a bit more customizable—if you want something both customizable and Pixel-styled, check out Power Shade. After installing the app and giving it Accessibility and Notification permissions, your Quick Settings panel will look exactly like the Pixel’s, only with far more options for customizing the layout, colors, icon shape, carrier name, and other features.

One of the best parts of Android is the customization it allows for, and your Galaxy S7 is no different.

Contributing Writer, ZDNet

Jason Cipriani is based out of beautiful Colorado and has been covering mobile technology news and reviewing the latest gadgets for the last six years. His work can also be found on sister site CNET in the How To section, as well as across several more online publications.

While Samsung has spent the last two years toning down the amount of changes it makes to Android with its proprietary TouchWiz interface, it can still be a little too much for some.

Whether you love Samsung’s hardware but hate the software, or you simply want a stock Android experience on the S7 or S7 Edge, it only takes a few minutes of your time to put Google’s Android design flair on your device.

Keep in mind, however, you won’t be able to replace every aspect of Samsung’s interface with a stock Android design, but you can get pretty close.

Material themes

Samsung’s Galaxy line has a Theme store where users can go to find themes that suit their personal tastes. Whether it’s a random robot theme, complete with robot-inspired app icons, wallpapers, sounds and fonts, or a theme that mimics Google’s Material Design the company uses in its own apps and on stock Android devices.

Open the Themes store on your Galaxy S7, and search for “Material.” There are a handful of Material-inspired themes available for free. Install each one, tap around and find one that works for you.

Google Now Launcher

The easiest way to make your S7 feel more like a stock Android device is to install the Google Now Launcher.

Once you’ve installed the app, open it and follow the prompts to select the Google Now Launcher as your default Home screen app.

With Google’s launcher active, you can find quick access to Google Now by swiping to the right on the main home screen. You’ll also notice the app icons are a tad bigger, and the app drawer itself now scrolls vertically, instead of horizontally. Additionally, there’s the option to search through the app drawer at the top of the drawer.

Google Apps

Stock Android is naturally full of Google’s own apps, whereas the Galaxy S7 is a mixed bag of Samsung and Google apps. Replace apps such as Samsung’s Calendar and web browser with Google’s offering. Here’s a list with Play store links of some apps you may want to install:

For apps such as Calendar, Messenger and Photos you’ll need to set them as the default app. You can do that in Settings > Device > Applications.

With a few apps and tweaks, you can turn your Galaxy S7 or S7 Edge into a device that closely mimics one of Google’s Nexus phones, rather than Samsung’s TouchWiz interface.

Your Android phone much like your car, requires regular maintenance to identify problems, prevent future problems and keep it running at its best.

At the beginning you can Thoroughly clean the outside of your phone , since you probably hold it close to your face every day. Dust, dirt and grime can quickly accumulate in the charging sockets and speakers and is not only bad for your hygiene, but can also shorten the life of your smartphone.

But the main maintenance is under the hood, including phone settings you might never have touched before.

An investment of just a few minutes can turn yours around Android phone into something that looks and feels new—at least until you&#821

You can also uninstall apps from the Play Store.

Delete all your forgotten apps

Take a few minutes to go through your home screen or app drawer and delete any apps you no longer use. Not only do these apps take up valuable storage space, but they may also have access to the personal information or permissions that you approved when you first launched the app.

How you delete an app depends on who makes your device, though I’ve covered all the basics in this post . Read it if you don’t see an uninstall option after long-pressing the app’s icon.

Left: Files app on a Pixel 3. Right: My files on a Galaxy S10 Plus.

Screenshots by Jason Cipriani/CNET

Get rid of old files to free up disk space

After removing all old apps, free up more storage space by browsing files stored on your Android phone. It’s far too easy to forget all those files you accidentally downloaded – like the takeout from the new place down the street or a GIF a friend sent. And those files add up. The fastest and easiest way to manage your phone’s storage is to use the pre-installed Files app.

In fact, some phones use a variation of the same app. On Samsung , for example it says My files. On the pixel Lineup, it’s just files. On the OnePlus 10 Pro it’s the file manager – you get the gist.

I recommend opening the app drawer on your phone and reaching for “Files”. Chances are, it reveals whatever your phone manufacturer calls the app.

Start by checking the Downloads Folder where you can either delete the files you no longer need or move them to any location you want Google Drive .

Most file apps will also show any large files stored on your device. For example, the OnePlus 10 Pro’s file manager app has a dedicated section within the app for files that take up a lot of space.

Your home screen design options are endless.

Tweak the home screen settings for a new look

One of the best parts of Android is how much you can customize the overall look of your phone. From installing app icon packs to completely replacing the launcher your phone is using, there are numerous options to personalize your phone.

While you can definitely get into launcher tweaking and app icon installation, start by digging into the home screen settings your phone already offers. I do this every now and then and it’s surprising how subtle changes to aspects like the app layout can make it feel like an entirely new phone.

Long-press an empty area of ​​your home screen, then select Home Settings (or a variation of it). This will open your home screen options where you can adjust various settings.

Continue reading: These are The best features of Android 12 and some hidden functions we found

Settings like app grid size. Going from a grid of 4×5 apps to 5×5 might seem like a small change, but that extra column can make a world of difference (same goes for shrinking the grid).

You’ll also find settings for things like swiping down on the home screen to see notifications instead of having to swipe from the top of the screen.

Go through your phone’s appropriate settings and experiment with setting up your home screen.

Device settings are easily ignored, but they are important to properly set up your device.

Optimize your device settings

Speaking of settings, now is a good time to go through and change any settings that have been bugging you. I have a Summary of settings You should change and customize it on any android phone to get the most out of it.

For example, turning on dark mode not only makes the app look better, it also saves battery life. And yes, I even show you how to stop app icons from automatically appearing on your home screen.

Use Permission Manager to control which apps have access to your data.

Screenshots by Jason Cipriani/CNET

Adjust your privacy options

Before you take a break, do yourself and your Android phone one last favor — double-check your privacy settings.

open that settings app, and then tap privacy > Permission Manager. Browse through each category to see which apps currently have access to which pieces of your personal data. Find an app that you don’t want to have access to your location? Turn it off. The same applies to contacts, calendar or camera.

It doesn’t take long to go through each section, and even if you do, it’s worth the effort.

After giving your Android phone a tuneup, check them out hidden features that you are sure to love . There is also a document scanner this makes it easy to make digital copies of paperwork. And look all the reasons to consider buying a Pixel smartphone .

Cameron Summerson is ex-Editor-in-Chief of Review Geek and served as an Editorial Advisor for How-To Geek and LifeSavvy. He covered technology for a decade and wrote over 4,000 articles and hundreds of product reviews in that time. He’s been published in print magazines and quoted as a smartphone expert in the New York Times. Read more.

The Samsung Galaxy S7 is probably the best Android phone available right now, but that doesn’t mean it’s perfect. There are things that can easily be added to improve not only the look of TouchWiz, but also the functionality. Good Lock, an app from Samsung, does just that, giving users a way to easily tweak the notification tray, quick settings panel, and recents menu–not to mention get a more stock Android-like appearance.

It’s not just available for the S7 and S7 Edge, either—Good Lock is also available for the S6, S6 Edge, S6 Edge+, and Note 5.

To get started with Good Lock, the first thing you’ll need to do is jump into the Galaxy Apps Store on your phone. This is a place for Samsung to distribute apps that are available exclusively for Galaxy devices—you won’t find Good Lock in the Play Store.

Once you’re in the Galaxy Apps Store, go ahead and tap “Search,” then type “Good Lock.” Tap the first option, then install the app. There’s a chance it’ll say “Update” instead of “Install” here, which is fine. Go ahead and tap that.

Once the app is finished installing, the phone will reboot and launch the Good Lock tutorial. This will provide a quick overview of what the app does—pay attention here, because there are a lot of neat features under the hood.

Once you’ve finished the tutorial, you can start customizing how Good Lock will work for you. To make changes, head into the app drawer and find the Good Lock icon.

There are four options here: Routines, Lock Screen, Advanced, and Uninstall. Here’s a quick and dirty look at what each option does:

  • Routines: Change the clock widget, color scheme, and app tray contents. While initially this seems like little more than a theme section, Routines can actually be customized according to where you are or what time of day is. Basically, you can set a custom theme according to particular variables if you want.
  • Lock Screen: This is where you’ll customize the lock screen’s functionality, including wallpaper, clock color, and unlock effect. The color effects will use the same scheme you set in the Routines section, so everything matches. Clean.
  • Advanced: This is probably the most important part of the app, because it’s where all the functionality is. This is where you can change the recents menu to a list instead of the card view, adjust which icons show up in the quick settings panel, and toggle various functions, like showing Good Lock’s app tray in the recents menu, blur effects, shortcuts, and all sorts of other stuff. This is definitely a section you’ll want to spend a good amount of time in to really customize how Good Lock works for you.
  • Uninstall: It uninstalls Good Lock in case you don’t like things that are awesome.

Dig around in Good Lock for a while and you’ll see how powerful it really is. It not only gives your Galaxy phone a more stock-like experience and look, but adds a ton of additional customization and functionality to an already-great phone. If you have a modern Galaxy device, this app is a must-have.

When it comes to the user interface, you’re pretty much limited to the stock one that comes on your Samsung Galaxy Gear smartwatch—a carousel of large black and white icons representing the features and applications on the watch.

In the world of Android devices, this doesn’t seem right, considering you can pretty much customize the UI however you want on most devices. You could install something like Nova Launcher on your Samsung Galaxy Note 3 and get a whole new home screen.

Well, you can actually get a new look on your Galaxy Gear, only it’s not as simple as just installing a third-party launcher on an Android phone or tablet and setting it as the default. But it isn’t really hard, either, and in today’s softModder guide, I’m going to show you how to do it.

Step 1: Set Up ADB on Your Computer

For this guide, we’ll be using Nova Launcher, since I mentioned it earlier. Nova Launcher isn’t available on the Galaxy Gear, so you’ll need to use Android Debug Bridge (ADB) to sideload it onto the watch.

For instructions, check out our softModder guide to installing and setting up the ADB utility on your computer for help.

Step 2: Install the Samsung Driver

Since the Galaxy Gear is run by Samsung, you’ll need to have the appropriate software installed on your computer. Download, unzip, and install this Samsung Driver onto your Windows PC.

Step 3: Enable USB Debugging on Your Gear

In order to connect the Gear to your computer, you’ll need to enable USB Debugging on the device. To do so, go to Settings on your Gear, then Gear info and make sure USB debug is checked.

Step 4: Test the Connection

In order to test if your Galaxy Gear is connected with ADB, first connect your Gear (via USB) to your computer. Next, open up a Command Prompt and type in the following, followed by the Enter key.

  • adb reboot

If your watch reboots and CMD looks like it does in the picture below, then you’re fine.

If your Gear doesn’t reboot, either your watch is not USB debugged, or ADB is not properly installed.

Step 5: Download the Nova Launcher APK

Like I previously said, Nova Launcher isn’t available in the Gear Store, so you’ll need to download the Nova Launcher APK file onto your computer.

You can find it on the internet (pro tip: type in “Nova Launcher apk” into Google)—if not, try this direct download link.

Once it’s downloaded, rename it to something easy, like nova.apk (this will come in handy in the next step).

Step 6: Use CMD to Install Nova Launcher

Now, place the Nova Launcher file on your desktop to make the process easier. Right-click on it, tap on Properties, and copy the Location, which should be something like:

  • C:\Users\username\Desktop

Now, open a Command Prompt and type in the following command, with the copied location pasted and the Nova Launcher file name at the end, and hit the Enter key.

  • adb install C:\Users\username\Desktop\nova.apk

At first, it may not seem like anything happens, but that’s just the application downloading onto the Gear. Once it’s done, it should say Success.

Step 7: Use Nova Launcher

From the application drawer on your Gear, you should now see a color icon for Nova Launcher. Tap on it and you’ll be given the option to either have this as your stock launcher (Always) or for just this specific time (Just once).

Now you’ll see that your Gear has a whole new setup, with multiple small icons on each page. If you swipe to the side, you’ll have several pages to fill up with any applications you’ve downloaded.

Note: The Google search bar doesn’t work, as the device doesn’t come with internal internet capabilities.

If you tap on the circle at the bottom of the screen, it will take you to where you can add applications and widgets to your home screen.

Note: None of the widgets work, but if you download them you can potentially use them.

If you tap on the three-dot menu, you can then go to Nova Settings to mess with things like the launcher size, icon size and color, icon placement, and more.

Overall, a much better launcher than the stock one, giving it more of that Android feel.

If you know of any other launchers that work with the Galaxy Gear, let us know below.

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Mobile Filmmaking 101:
How to Shoot Like a Pro

Filmmaking tips from the crew of The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon.

There was a time when a stellar video production couldn’t be achieved without breaking the bank (or our backs) on bulky high-end studio equipment. The good news is that times have changed.

Case in point: the production crew of The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon shot an entire episode throughout the streets of New York City on the Galaxy S10+. Here’s how you can shoot your own broadcast-ready videos from your phone with cues from the pros themselves.

Use size to your advantage

First, take a load off – literally and figuratively. If you have a quality smartphone camera, you’re already set to start shooting. Since you don’t need to worry about navigating hefty camera gear, expand your shot list to consider cozy locations where it would otherwise be difficult to shoot. You could even grab your friends’ phones to use as additional cameras for varied angles and more intimate storytelling. The portable nature of the Galaxy S10+ allowed Fallon’s crew to shoot in a cramped taxi, and prop their phones up on the kitchen counters at Italian restaurant, Rao’s, to get in on some behind-the-scenes meatball making.

The size of the Galaxy S10+ helped to film the entire kitchen scene at Rao’s

Get creative with perspectives

Point of view – or how your audience experiences your visual project – is essential in filmmaking. Switching up your camera lens can change the POV to take your observer on a ride into other characters’ journeys or even show the same scene in an entirely new way. For instance, built-in smartphone lenses like the Ultra Wide Camera lens helped the Late Night crew make the most of their favorite locations in the city by capturing the whole scene exactly as it appeared in person, even in tight spaces.

For regular personal use, the sound capabilities of most Android devices are usually perfectly adequate.

But sometimes, you might want to increase your Android device’s volume beyond its usual maximum.

Check out the products mentioned in this article:

Samsung Galaxy S10 (From $899.99 at Best Buy)

JBL Flip 4 (From $79.99 at Best Buy)

How to make your Android device louder

Fortunately, there are a few different ways to make your Android louder.

Here’s what you need to know.

Adjust your Android device’s position

If you don’t want to mess around with your Android device’s settings, a simpler way to increase the volume is to adjust the device’s position so that you can better hear it. It’s similar to placing a phone’s speaker closer to your ear to better hear the person on the other line.

Here are some tips for increasing your Android’s volume the old-fashioned way.

  • Rotate your Android device until you find the angle at which it sounds loudest, then lay your device to rest in that position. Having it lay on a flat surface away from any edges will usually do the trick.
  • If you aren’t currently using earbuds or headphones, plugging in a pair of high-quality ones can improve your Android device’s sound quality and volume.
  • Place your Android device inside a bowl or other curved object. While it won’t change anything to your Android device itself, the shape of the dish will act as an amplifier, creating a quick and affordable speaker system.

If you’re tired of the live wallpapers that shipped with your Galaxy phone, Samsung might have a simple solution: create your own. The company has released a Good Lock app and module called Wonderland, which lets you create your own Samsung live wallpaper with relatively little fuss. The process is relatively simple, and today we’ll walk you through the process.

How to make your own Samsung live wallpaper

  1. First, download the Good Lock app on your Samsung Galaxy phone via the Galaxy Store and launch it.
  2. Next, tap on the Family section at the bottom of the Good Lock app.
  3. Then tap on the Wonderland option and install it on your phone.
  4. Open the module and allow it to access your images.
  5. Next, find the image you want to use for your live wallpaper. You can use an image from your own phone’s image gallery or one from the Wonderland module itself.
  6. Tap on the effects you want to use on your image. You can also tap on the Motion effect option to edit how the image moves when your phone moves.
  7. Finally, save the image after the edits and install it as your live wallpaper.

The wallpaper app is currently available through Samsung’s Galaxy Store in English, Chinese, and Korean, although it’s simple enough that you may not need translations if you prefer another language.

Wonderland isn’t the most sophisticated live wallpaper creation tool. It’s free, however, and it makes live wallpaper more accessible to people who might otherwise be content with their phone’s included backdrops. This may be what you suggest to friends and family who are new to wallpapers, or something you use yourself if you’d rather spend more time using your phone than tinkering with it.

Recently, iPhone users have been bragging that they can set Live Photos as their lock screen wallpaper. While this is a great way to spice up a boring lock screen, Android users shouldn’t feel left out in the cold. The highly customizable and feature-rich OS has a few tricks up its sleeve too, and it’s really easy to set any GIF as your Android’s home screen and/or lock screen background.

Using GIF Live Wallpaper, it’s never been easier to set a GIF as your wallpaper and/or lock screen. However, the app’s myriad of options can feel overwhelming at times — you might be unsure of how to do exactly what you want to do. Well, that’s what we’re here for.

Step 1: Download a GIF

If you’re anything like me, you’ve probably seen thousands of GIFs, but you likely haven’t downloaded a single one. Luckily, it’s simple enough. Go to the website that has your GIF of choice (GIPHY has a great selection). Long-press on the GIF you want to download, then tap “Download image.”

Step 2: Install GIF Live Wallpaper

Next, you’ll need to install GIF Live Wallpaper on your Android phone. To do that, either search for “GIF Live Wallpaper” on Google Play or use the link below to jump right to it. Tap on “Install” to download and install it, then open it up.

Step 3: Read the Privacy Policy & Grant Permissions

When you first open it up, the app will ask you read the privacy policy. You can either tap the link to read the full policy, or you can do like I did: Lie, say you read it, and tap “Yes.” You’ll also need to give GIF Live Wallpaper access to your media, so tap “Allow” on the permission request that pops up next.

Step 4: Choose Your GIF

First, you need to select the GIF you want to set as your home and/or lock screen. Tap the picture icon in the top-left of your screen. Your pictures will appear here. If you recently downloaded the GIF you meant to set, then it should appear towards the top of this list. You may, however, need to tap the hamburger menu in the top-left corner and sort by “Downloads” if it’s not there.

Step 5: Resize Your GIF

Before you set your GIF as your home and lock screen, you need to customize some settings first. The GIF will likely appear really small at first, surrounded by black. Unfortunately, this is an issue you’ll have with GIFs in general, as they don’t usually mimic your phone’s aspect ratio. Luckily, GIF Live Wallpaper gives you the opportunity to resize your GIF. Remember, the way your screen looks after you’re done editing is how it’ll look on your home and lock screen.

You can move the GIF around manually by tapping it and dragging it. You can resize it with the pinch-to-zoom gesture. You can also utilize the four arrows in the top-left portion of the screen. The arrow facing upwards will immediately snap your GIF to the top of your screen. The same goes for the left, right, and downward-facing arrow. The plus sign in the center will center your GIF.

Step 6: Change the Background Color of Your GIF

If your GIF doesn’t fill out the entire frame, or if you simply chose not to resize it, you’ll see borders around the image when you set it as your background. There are two ways to change the color of these borders. One, you can tap the dropper icon in the top of the screen. Next, tap on any spot in the GIF and it’ll match that color perfectly.

You can also manually change the background color by first going to the hamburger menu in the top-right corner. You’ll see three sliders (for red, green, and blue). Adjust these sliders yourself, and the sliders will change color to reflect the background color you’ll set. Confirm the color by tapping the dropper icon in the top-right. Go back to the edit screen by tapping on the hamburger menu in the top-right.

Step 7: Preview Landscape Mode

By tapping on the hamburger menu in the top-right corner, you can enable a setting that will allow you to see how your GIF will look in landscape mode. Most launchers don’t allow rotation, nor do most lock screens. So odds are, you won’t have to worry about this step.

But if your home screen or lock screen rotates when you turn your phone, tap “Landscape preview,” and your GIF will appear in the edit screen in landscape in a preview window at the bottom. You can make adjustments here to ensure that things still look good while in landscape mode. Return to edit mode by tapping the hamburger menu in the top-right corner.

Step 8: Change the Speed of Your GIF

If you want to speed up or slow down your GIF, then use the tool in the top-right portion of the screen (with the running person). Tap on the plus arrow to speed up the GIF, and the minus arrow to slow it down.

Step 9: Rotate Your Gif

To rotate your GIF, tap the 90° in the circle on the left. As implied by the 90°, the GIF will be rotated clockwise by 90° at a time.

Step 10: Undo Your Changes (Optional)

If you make some mistakes along the way, you can easily undo them by tapping the clock icon in the bottom-left corner. Be careful, as this will undo all the changes you made (other than selecting a GIF and background color).

Step 11: Confirm Your GIF

When you’re satisfied with the changes you made, tap the check mark in the bottom-right corner. A message will appear asking you where you want to set the GIF, but this will vary depending on the type of phone you’re using.

For most phones, you’ll be presented with 3 options: “Set as Home Screen,” “Set as Lock Screen,” or “Both.” Some phones will offer to set the GIF as your home screen by default, but also provide an option to set it as your lock screen.

Either way, it should be fairly self-explanatory — with the first scenario, just choose the screen (or screens) where you want to use this GIF as the background. With the second scenario, if you don’t tap the box that says “Set on Lock screen,” then it will only set the wallpaper on your home screen. Either way, after making this choice, be sure to tap “Set” to post your GIF.

From now on, the GIF will loop endlessly on your home screen and/or lock screen. What GIF did you choose to make your home and lock screen wallpaper? Let us know in the comments below.

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The best thing you can do is to root the Samsung Galaxy J7 – not because the J7 isn’t a good smartphone, but because rooting opens up so many doors. But to do so, you need to know how to root the Samsung Galaxy J7.

The J series has been offering some compelling mid-range smartphones for a while now and the latest Galaxy J7, the 2017 edition, is no exception, but this mid-range smartphone is made to be rooted and used to its full potential.

Don’t get us wrong, the smartphone along with Samsung’s own Android skin is very well made. However, if you want to extract some more out of the hardware, it is best that you root the Samsung Galaxy J7 2017.

Now if you want to root the older 2015 Samsung Galaxy J7 the steps are a little different, but you can check out the handy guide we have written about that as well.

Before we start rooting the Samsung Galaxy J7 2017, you should learn everything you need to know before rooting your phone. Also take a look at common problems faced during rooting to clear all the doubts and misconceptions.

Warning: It is recommended that you backup your smartphone’s data before continuing on the rooting process. Joy of Android is not responsible of any damages that may occur to your device while rooting or flashing recoveries.

Method 1: Installing a Custom Recovery

Rooting the Samsung Galaxy J7 becomes a lot easier when you install a custom recovery on the smartphone. Usually the smartphone already comes with an unlocked bootloader so you don’t need to unlock it as well. While you can install any custom recovery on your device, we recommend you try TWRP first.

The Team Win Recovery Project (TWRP) has been around for a while and are reliable. Here is what you will need to have when installing a custom recovery on Samsung Galaxy J7 2017:

  • Windows based PC, Mac or Linux computer.
  • USB cable that comes with the J7 or any other quality one that works.
  • The TWRP tar file.
  • Odin installed on the system.
  • SuperSU rar file.

Step 1.

Go to TWRP website and locate your smartphone. Or you can go straight to the Galaxy J7 download pages, depending on the variant. For the Qualcomm version head over here, for the Exynos international version check here.

Get the latest files with .tar and .img files. You won’t be needing them both but it is better to download regardless. This will only take a few moments.

Step 2.

This nifty piece of software will help you in the rooting process by giving easy access to root. You can do almost everything with this app installed on your device. Once it is downloaded, move it to the internal storage of your device.

Step 3.

After all of that is done, you need to download Odin on your PC. You can download it from their official website.

After it is downloaded and installed on your PC. You are ready for the process, well almost.

Step 4.

Now you need to download the auto root file from Chainfire’s website. Once you are on the website, type in the model of your smartphone. If you don’t know the model number, check in the settings of the phone under the About Device section.

Once you have located your smartphone, download the package. It usually comes with the latest version of ODIN as well so if you want, you can skip step three altogether.

Step 5.

On your smartphone head over to the Settings > About Phone > Build number.

Tap on the build number 7 times to enable Developer Options. Now go back to the settings and you will find a new menu option called Developer Options. In that new menu, check the USB Debugging option.

Step 6.

  • Now enter download mode on your smartphone. Make sure the device is not connected to your PC.
  • Turn it off.
  • Press and hold the Volume Down + Home + Power buttons for several seconds.
  • The phone will vibrate and turn on.
  • It will show you a message about entering download mode. Press the volume up key to access it.

Step 7.

  • On the PC, open up Odin.exe
  • Connect your smartphone to the PC using the USB cable.
  • Your phone will show up. Now press the AP button.
  • Navigate to where you downloaded and saved the TWRP.tar file. It will be named something like twrp-x.x.x.x-J7.
  • After it is selected, press the START button.
  • Now you have installed a custom recovery on your smartphone.
  • Press and hold Volume Up, and HOME buttons for a couple of seconds.
  • Let go of the buttons when the Samsung logo appears on screen. You are now in the custom recovery.

Method 2: SuperSU

If you have TWRP installed, now all you need is the custom recovery and SuperSU file to root the Samsung Galaxy J7 2017.

  • Place the downloaded SuperSU.zip file at the root director of your smartphone’s internal storage. It’s the place that shows up when you attach the phone with the PC.
  • Go into recovery mode by pressing and holding Volume UP, Power, and HOME buttons for a while.
  • Once in the recovery you will see the TWRP interface.
  • Tap on the install button and navigate where you placed the SuperSU.zip file.
  • Select the file and confirm.

The SuperSU will be flashed and you will see an option to reboot your device. Wait a while after rebooting the smartphone. After it starts, you will have a rooted Samsung Galaxy J7 2017 smartphone.

Method 3: ODIN

  • Place the files you downloaded from Chainfire’s website at a convenient location on your PC.
  • Go to download mode on the phone.
  • You can do that by pressing and holding the Volume Down, Power, and Home buttons for a few moments.
  • The smartphone will show you a message that you can accept by pressing the volume up button.
  • Now on the PC start ODIN.
  • Connect your smartphone to the PC using a USB cable.
  • On ODIN, select the AP button and navigate to where you placed the Auto-root file.
  • Select it and press confirm.
  • Press the Start button on the bottom of the ODIN interface.
  • The rooting process will start. It will take a few seconds only to complete.
  • If it goes smoothly, you ODIN will display a PASS message in green. The device will automatically reboot and once it boots back up, you will have a rooted phone.

Concluding Thoughts

Now you know how to root the Samsung Galaxy J7 2017 smartphone. The rooting process for all Samsung devices is more or less the same these days. All you need to be careful about is the model number of your device and make sure the files you download are for your smartphone model. You also need to make sure that you have the appropriate Android Root software.

Just like always, if you hit a snag and need a helping hand, feel free to talk to us in the comments below. We love to help.

Jagdish is an Android troubleshooter who loves talking tech and discussing technology’s impact on humanity. He is passionate about writing and fond of technology—with a zeal for Android problem-solving. When Jag isn’t writing or discussing tech and marketing, he’ll be smashing cricket balls or shooting hoops on the basketball court.

When it comes to theming your Android device, it’s the little things that matter most. Whether you’re tweaking your navigation buttons or changing the color of system menus, no theme is complete until even the smallest element matches the rest of your color palette.

As a staple ware, Android’s default clock widget often goes unnoticed in this regard. But developer Beat_Slayer has finally shown it some love with his latest Xposed module, which allows you to theme Android’s analog or digital clock widget in almost any color imaginable.

Requirements

  • Rooted device with stock Android or AOSP custom ROM installed
  • Xposed Framework installed
  • Unknown Sources enabled

Step 1: Install Colored Clock Widget

To begin, head to the Download section of your Xposed Installer app and search Colored Clock Widget, then tap the first result.

From here, swipe over to the Versions tab, then hit the “Download” button next to the most recent entry.

Android’s installer menu should come up within a few seconds, so tap “Install” here.

When that’s finished, you’ll get a notification from Xposed telling you that the module hasn’t been activated yet and that a reboot is needed. Tap the “Activate and reboot” button on this notification to take care of both requirements at once.

Step 2: Choose Your Custom Clock Color

When you get back up, go ahead and open the “Colored Clock Widget” app that you’ll now find in your app drawer.

From here, you’ll notice that there are 3 different aspects of the clock widget that you can theme—the digital clock widget, the analog version, and the alarm portion of the digital widget.

Select the aspect that you’d like to theme, then you’ll see a full-RGB color picker. Use this menu to find the perfect color, then tap the preview color in the bottom-right corner of this popup to apply your changes.

You can repeat this process for the other widget types or elements, and if you get carried away, there’s always the “Reset Colors” option. Additionally, you can hide Colored Clock Widget from your app drawer by enabling the “Hide Module” option.

Step 3: Reboot to See Your Changes

When you have everything set up to your liking, reboot your device so that the changes will take effect. When you get back up, your clock widget will now be the perfect color.

The same goes if you opted to change the color of the other widget type, so both the analog and the digital clock widgets can be themed.

Is your Android theme absolutely perfect now, or are there any small elements that still need to be tweaked? Let us know in the comment section below, or drop us a line on Facebook, Google+, or Twitter.

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You can ring it, lock it, or erase it

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Share All sharing options for: How to locate your Android phone with Google’s Find My Device

Photo by Vjeran Pavic / The Verge

Phones have become so much a part of our daily lives that it can be immediately traumatic if you suddenly can’t find your phone — whether you’ve left it in a cab, accidentally dropped it out of your pocket, or lost it under your bed. If you have an Android phone, you can use the Find My Device feature to (hopefully) locate your phone.

Find My Device depends on two things being enabled: the feature itself (of course) and Google’s Location services. In addition, the phone also has to be turned on and signed in to a Google account.

The Find My Device feature comes as part of the standard OS on Pixels and several other Android phones and is usually turned on by default. Be aware that some Android models may offer a different app; for example, Samsung phones have their own Find My Mobile app.

If you want to use Google’s Find My Device, you can check to see if it’s part of your phone’s version of Android.

  • Go to Settings >Security and look for Find My Device.
  • If the app is listed but is turned off, tap on it and use the toggle to turn it on.

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Go to Settings > Security and look for Find My Device.

Toggle on Use Find My Device.

If you don’t have the Google app but would like to use it instead of the app that your manufacturer has installed — or if you want to use an Android tablet rather than a computer to find your phone or watch — you can go to the Play Store and install Google’s Find My Device app as well.

Next, you can check to see if Location is enabled:

  • Go to your phone’s settings and find Location. It will say right underneath the header whether it’s on or off.
  • If it’s off, tap on Location and toggle it on.
  • You can also check which apps have access to your location and which have used it recently. If you want to take this opportunity to fine-tune this setting, tap on App location permission to tweak location permission settings.

To use Find My Device, location services must be enabled.

Once Location is enabled, you can tweak the settings of various apps.

Find your phone

Now you’re set. If you can’t find your phone, simply go to Google’s search page and type “Find my device.” You will get a list of the devices you’ve registered with Google; choose the one you want to find. Pick one.

You’ll be taken to the Find My Device page, which will name your phone, the last time it was pinged (and the name of the Wi-Fi network it was using), and the current battery power. A Google map will show where your phone was last located.

Once you’ve located your phone, you have three options: ping it, lock it, or erase it. (The Google map on the right has been blocked out for privacy.)

Once you’ve located your device, there are three options that are listed on the left side of the screen. Which you choose depends on whether you feel the device is in a safe place or not. You can:

  • Have the device play a sound (usually, the ringtone) for five minutes so you can locate it.
  • Lock the device and sign out of your Google account, so that your data will be safe while you go to retrieve it (recommended if, say, you’ve left it in a cab or restaurant).
  • Erase the device. This is for times when you’re reasonably sure it’s been stolen and is not retrievable; you won’t be able to locate your device after that, but your content will no longer be on it.

Meanwhile, the phone will show a notification that it’s been located.

Update March 15th, 2022, 3:35PM ET: This article was originally published on August 13th, 2021, and has been updated to account for changes in Android.