JR Raphael

About the Author JR Raphael


Android file management: An easy-to-follow guide

When you think about your smartphone, apps and interfaces are probably the first things that come to mind. Beneath all that surface-level stuff, though, our modern mobile devices are filled with files — folders upon folders of ’em! — just like the clunky ol’ computers we’ve relied upon for ages.

We may not come face to face with our phones’ file systems too often, but it’s valuable to know they’re there — and to know how they can work for us when the need arises. After all, your Android device is a productivity powerhouse. It can juggle everything from PDFs and PSDs to presentations and podcasts. It can even act as a portable hard drive and house any sort of important files you might need in your pocket (and not just on some far-away cloud). Your mobile device can carry an awful lot of data, and there may come a time when you want to dig in and deal directly with it.

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What Android’s notification snoozing needs next

I love to snooze.

I’m not just talking about my nightly beauty slumber, mind you (but yes, my skin is looking rather radiant today — thanks for noticing). I’m talking about the new notification snoozing feature in Google’s Android 8.0 Oreo release.

If you’ve been hanging ’round these parts for long, you know notification snoozing is something I’d yearned for ever since I started using Google’s Inbox app a couple years back. Snoozing is a core part of Inbox’s organizational system, y’see: Instead of letting emails pile up and turn into counterproductive clutter, you either deal with messages right away or snooze ’em so they’ll get out of your way and then return when they’re relevant — or when you’re likely to have the time and inclination to think about ’em.

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iOS 11 vs. Android 8.0: Which is better? Well…

With Apple’s magical and revolutionary new iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone X devices now official, the world is about to get its first full look at iOS 11 — the most advanced, beautiful, and amazing software release to emerge out of Cupertino since, erm, the last one.

And you know what that means, right? Whenever we see a major new mobile OS release, we see a flurry of feverishly crafted arguments working to answer the eternally burning question: Which is better — Apple’s iOS or Google’s Android operating system? Who wins this round of the mobile OS battle? Who, gosh darn it, is the best?

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How Android One could complete Google’s grand Android plan

Ahah. It’s all starting to make sense. 

Google, if you haven’t heard, is said to be on the brink of bringing its Android One phone program to the U.S. — for real this time! New rumors suggest the freshly announced Moto X4 could arrive with Android One branding in America practically any minute now. Those reports echo previous rumors from earlier this year and follow word from way back in January that Google was working to launch its first U.S.-aimed Android One phone sometime “before the middle of the year.”

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No Android 8.0? Here’s how to get Oreo features on any phone today

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Android 8.0 in-depth: Oreo’s not-so-obvious security enhancements

When you read about a splashy new software update like Google’s fresh-from-the-oven Android 8.0 Oreo release, you tend to hear mostly about the marquee features — the most attention-grabbing elements and refinements you’re likely to notice when you get the update on your own device.

It’s understandable, since those are the things we all see most immediately and directly. Beneath the surface, though, Oreo has some pretty significant stuff going on in the realm of security — stuff that hasn’t been widely covered but is as important as anything else to understand.

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iPhone to Android: The ultimate switching guide

So, you’re ready to leave your iPhone for greener pastures — specifically, the bright green hue of Google’s Android ecosystem.

It’s a major move, to be sure, but it doesn’t have to be daunting. Beneath the surface-level differences, Android and iOS actually have a lot in common — and with the right steps, you can switch from an iPhone to an Android device without losing anything significant (including your sanity).

Make your way through this easy-to-follow guide, and you’ll be happily settled in your new high-tech home in no time.

All-in-one iOS-to-Android switching tools

First things first: Some Android devices, like Samsung’s Galaxy phones and Google’s Pixel products, ship with their own all-in-one iPhone-to-Android switching systems. These systems may include special software and possibly even physical cables for moving a bunch of data from your iPhone to your new Android device in one fell swoop. If your Android phone offers such a service, it’s a smart place to start.

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iPhone to Android: The ultimate switching guide

So, you’re ready to leave your iPhone for greener pastures — specifically, the bright green hue of Google’s Android ecosystem.

It’s a major move, to be sure, but it doesn’t have to be daunting. Beneath the surface-level differences, Android and iOS actually have a lot in common — and with the right steps, you can switch from an iPhone to an Android device without losing anything significant (including your sanity).

Make your way through this easy-to-follow guide, and you’ll be happily settled in your new high-tech home in no time.

All-in-one iOS-to-Android switching tools

First things first: Some Android devices, like Samsung’s Galaxy phones and Google’s Pixel products, ship with their own all-in-one iPhone-to-Android switching systems. These systems may include special software and possibly even physical cables for moving a bunch of data from your iPhone to your new Android device in one fell swoop. If your Android phone offers such a service, it’s a smart place to start.

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When will your phone get Android 8.0? A data-driven Oreo upgrade guide

With Google’s Android 8.0 Oreo release now officially out in the wild, the question on everyone’s mind is: When will my phone get the upgrade?

It’s a common question here in the land o’ Android — and unfortunately, it’s become a tough one to answer. After years of missed deadlines and broken promises, most Android manufacturers have just stopped making specific commitments altogether. (Hey, that’s one way to handle it, right?) And most of ’em, as I’ve learned from closely tracking upgrade delivery performance since Android’s earliest days, do a pretty shoddy job at getting new software into users’ hands.

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When will your phone get Android 8.0? A data-driven Oreo upgrade guide

With Google’s Android 8.0 Oreo release now officially out in the wild, the question on everyone’s mind is: When will my phone get the upgrade?

It’s a common question here in the land o’ Android — and unfortunately, it’s become a tough one to answer. After years of missed deadlines and broken promises, most Android manufacturers have just stopped making specific commitments altogether. (Hey, that’s one way to handle it, right?) And most of ’em, as I’ve learned from closely tracking upgrade delivery performance since Android’s earliest days, do a pretty shoddy job at getting new software into users’ hands.

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Android 8.0, Oreo: The complete FAQ

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Android 8.0: The complete Oreo FAQ

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How to get Android 8.0 Oreo on your Pixel or Nexus right now

I don’t know if you heard, but that solar eclipse wasn’t the only significant event of the day. Today also marked the official unveiling of Google’s Android 8.0 Oreo release — the software previously known only as “Android O” (oh, yes).

While Google’s own Pixel and Nexus devices are almost always first in line for a fresh Android rollout, this year’s dessert-themed delight isn’t actually quite ready to be served to everyone just yet. Google says it’s in the midst of “carrier testing” with the Pixel, Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P Oreo builds and expects to start sending updates out to those devices soon.

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Find My Device: How Android’s security service can manage your missing phone

Losing your phone is one of the most stressful predicaments of modern-day life. We’ve all been there: You pat your pocket, swiftly scan every surface in sight — then suddenly feel your heart drop at the realization that your Android device and all of its contents are no longer in your control.

There’s certainly no scenario in which losing your phone is a good thing. But with the advanced security tools now built into Android on the operating system level, finding and managing a missing device is often — well, quite manageable. And you don’t need any third-party software to do it.

Android’s native Find My Device system can precisely pinpoint any Android device — phone, tablet, even Android TV box (if you somehow manage to misplace one of those?!). It’ll show you the device’s exact location on an interactive map and give you tools to remotely ring it, lock it or wipe it entirely and send all of its data to the digital beyond.

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The massive Android upgrade you probably didn’t notice

Do me a quick favor, wouldja? Read over this list of smartphone software improvements — using your best jeans-clad, adjective-abusing Apple-exec-at-a-keynote voice in your head — and tell me if it sounds like a significant upgrade.

Specifically, think about if it sounds like the sort of thing that’d result in awkwardly long applause breaks as the presenter emphatically wraps up each point:

This summer’s groundbreaking upgrade includes fresh features, performance enhancements and interface improvements for more than 40 core parts of your smartphone experience.

Some of the significant changes we’ve rolled out to every user around the world within weeks of their release:

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How to back up Android devices: The complete guide

‘Twas a time not so long ago when backing up an Android phone was a massive, migraine-inducing undertaking.

It’s true: A mere matter of years back in our mobile device saga, a proper Android backup required physical computer connections, complicated third-party software and more than a few adult beverages.

But my, what a difference a few years makes. These days, backing up an Android device and keeping your data synced takes little to no actual effort. Most of the work happens seamlessly and automatically, behind the scenes — either without any involvement on your behalf or with a one-time opt-in when you first set your phone up. And restoring your data is typically as simple as signing into a device and letting Google’s systems work their magic.

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When will your phone get Android O? A data-driven guide

With Google’s Android O release expected to arrive any week now, the question on everyone’s mind is: When will my phone get Android O?

It’s a common question here in the land o’ Android — and unfortunately, it’s become a tough one to answer. After years of missed deadlines and broken promises, most Android manufacturers have just stopped making specific commitments altogether. (Hey, that’s one way to handle it, right?) And most of ’em, as I’ve learned from closely tracking upgrade delivery performance since Android’s earliest days, do a pretty shoddy job at getting new software into users’ hands.

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Android file transfer: How to move data between your phone and computer

Your smartphone is a powerful computer in your pocket — and with Android, part of that PC-like muscle means being able to plug your phone into any Windows or Mac system and drag and drop files either way.

Unlike iPhones, Android devices allow you to access their file systems directly, without the need for any cumbersome interfaces or complicated procedures. In fact, transferring files to or from an Android device is basically no different than plugging an external hard drive into your computer and moving data to or from it.

All you need is your phone, your computer and a cable to connect ’em — with micro-USB or USB-C on the phone side and USB-A or USB-C on the computer side, depending on the specifics of your devices. (Most newer high-end Android phones use USB-C, whereas most pre-2016 devices and many current budget-level phones have the older micro-USB standard. USB-A, meanwhile, is the traditional connector port you’re used to seeing on computers, while some newer models like Apple’s latest MacBooks have USB-C.) There’s a decent chance that the same cable that connects your phone to its wall charger will work.

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Google’s turning up the gas on its Android-Chrome OS alignment

The saga of Google’s Chrome OS platform has seen plenty of dramatic twists — but from the get-go, most tech-observers have been too busy scoffing at the software to notice the rich narrative unfolding around it.

Bring up Chrome OS with most pundits — be they professionals or the social-media-dwelling variety — and you tend to hear the same sorts of reactions:

  • It’s just a browser. You could open up Chrome on your Windows or Mac machine and have the same thing.
  • It’s fine if you don’t need to do anything real on your computer.
  • Why hasn’t Google gotten rid of it or combined it with Android already?

Each one of those reactions is equally misguided, as those of us who have actually spent a meaningful amount of time living with Chrome OS know. Chromebooks offer a level of simplicity and security not present with traditional operating systems; they’re capable of handling the full range of tasks the majority of people perform on computers nowadays; and all the “Android-Chrome OS merger” speculation has been off-target from the start.

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8 ways to turn Android into a productivity powerhouse

Android now accounts for the vast majority of commercial smartphone shipments, according to market intelligence firm IDC, with more than two-thirds of all global enterprise-oriented purchases in the first quarter of 2017. Out of the box, though, a typical Android phone is anything but optimized for productivity.

Power up most popular phones, and you’ll find ineffective home screens, mediocre keyboards and all sorts of untapped potential. But all it takes is a little tweaking to go from unrefined gizmo to finely tuned work companion.

Follow these eight steps, and your Android phone will be primed for productivity and ready for business.

1. Optimize your home screen

One of the simplest and most impactful ways to improve your phone’s effectiveness is to focus on its foundation: the home screen. Your home screen is the first thing you see when you unlock your device, and it’s the launching point for practically everything you do. Yet for most people, it’s a cluttered and inefficient mess — and that, suffice it to say, is counterproductive.

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