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How to use your Google Maps offline

Posted by wicked August - 27 - 2015 - Thursday Comments Off

Google Maps is offline

Last week on our Android customization series we took a look at using YouTube TV, that is, using your Android device to remotely control YouTube. We are sticking with Google apps again this week, bringing you another tutorial for the beginning Android users in the crowd. Specifically, we are diving into the world of using your Google Maps offline.

Note: I say again, this piece is designed for new Android users or those looking for a little refresher. The following info and functionality has been around for a long time now, we will not be introducing anything new here, I don’t think.

Before we begin

Maps on Google PlayThere are few requirements to follow along today, obviously you’ll need a newer Android phone with a fairly recent copy of Google Maps installed. Google Maps likely came pre-installed on your Android device, but if you need, you can grab a fresh copy for free from the Google Play Store.

The ups and downs of Google Maps

Google Maps is a solid navigation tool, on top of being a popular mapping application. Thing is, Maps works best when there is a solid internet connection, leaving you almost completely lost if that connection goes away. Many years ago Google built in a tool to overcome this, allowing you to download all of the info needed to navigate an area. This next image is the exact same location before and after saving the area offline.

Google Maps online offline

The map download feature lets you cache an area about the size of a typical North American city, or the area of a pretty hard-core day hike.

Before I show you how to save a map area for offline use, let’s discuss some of the difficulties you may experience with the process.

First and foremost, Google offers the offline maps for an unpredictably limited amount of time. As the actual world changes, so do the maps – perhaps a street has been added or removed from your area, or maybe just a few new business have come online in Maps, either way, when Google updates their Maps, you will need to re-download your saved map areas. Plain and simply, if you are headed for a month long adventure offline, Google Maps offline will likely not work for you.

Case in point, I saved Portland as an offline map for this article, you see screenshots below saying I have 30 days remaining until the map expires, but look now, with 29 days remaining, Maps tells me an update is required. (If I were already on the road, I’d be without maps until I can reconnect, making this tool somewhat useless, thanks a lot Google.)

Google Maps update offline area

From there, offline maps have limited functionality for searches and navigation, as you might have expected. You can certainly load directions to your offline destination and the cached navigation directions will get you there. However, even with the map area downloaded ahead of time, you won’t be able to reverse your trip, I hope you know your own way home, or at lease can follow the map without navigation.

Finally, you can only download six offline areas at this time. With the idea of downloading exactly what you need in the hours before setting off on your adventure, this is about all you’d need for most situations. However, it does mean, if on a road trip, you may have to stop half way through to remove your first set of maps and load the remaining maps to get to your destination. I’ve been there, not fun.

That’s really the extent of the difficulties, and unfortunately, this means that if you are like me, you’ve given up trying to use Google Maps for any significant offline use. I just hope you don’t learn the hard way like I did, that is, in the middle a major hike with no internet in sight and misplaced paper maps to find my way out of the mountains. Good times.

How to use your Google Maps offline

Now to the point of our topic today, here is how you use the offline functionality in Google Maps.

To get started, make sure you have a solid internet connection, preferably WiFi, as you may be downloading 80MB or more per saved map area.

Google Maps Offline save area1

Open maps and navigate to roughly the area you wish to save for offline use.

Tap the search box at the top.

Scroll all the way to the bottom of the list that just popped up to find Save for offline use. (Or, you can enter the text “ok maps” and hit enter.)

You will now need to zoom and scroll to the exact area you would like to save, making sure it is a small enough area to allow the save, then hit the Download button.

Google Maps Offline save area2

Provide a name to your saved area and hit Save.

The map area will download, this is usually about 80MB for a fully zoomed out map of a big city, less for the sparse information of the open country.

There you have it, your chosen map area is now available for offline use, go ahead, go into airplane mode and give it a try.

What’s next

Once your maps are downloaded, Google now gives you 30 days until they expire. It is a simple task to re-download the map area when you need it again, head into Your Places and click on the expired map area listings at the bottom.

Google Maps Offline settings

Taking a quick trip offline, but don’t need the entire area saved? Navigation works offline just by simply setting up your route when you have a connection. Maps will automatically download the info you need to get to your destination. This is completely independent of your manually downloaded map areas, as discussed today. Once your route is configured, Maps will hold the data at least until you arrive at your goal, or until Maps is turned off on your device.

Please remember that you still cannot initiate navigation with Google Maps offline, the downloaded map areas are simply there to look at. As long as your device is equipped with GPS, you still have a powerful tool on your hands for finding your way, you’ll just have to do it without traffic data or any of the many other tools tucked into this powerful Google service.

Next week

I know this week’s Android customization post was an old topic, that most of you already know how to use your Google Maps offline, but for those that did not, I hope this helped you out. Next week we will shift gears for you, let’s look at a true customization project, not just a ‘how-to’ article, let’s go absolutely crazy with the customization apps, we will use IF, Pushbullet, Tasker and Zooper Widget to bring our podcast, or any notification, to your Homescreen. The project is a little crazy, but stick with it, it’s a good refresher on integrating the services.

What do you say, is Google Maps your travel partner, or do you entrust your whereabouts to another mapping service?

How to remotely control YouTube with your Android phone

Posted by wicked August - 20 - 2015 - Thursday Comments Off

YouTube TV Android

Did you follow along last week’s Android customization post to figure out the details of screen pinning in Android Lollipop? I know, you likely already knew what it was all about. This week we’re diving into YouTube – specifically, using your Android phone to remotely control YouTube. This includes the Chromecast, sure, but also an old, little known and often forgotten feature of the streaming service, YouTube TV.

YouTube is predominantly known as a video streaming service on the web with access through any web browser or through mobile apps on our favorite Android devices. Smart TVs came along and brought the experience to the living room, but Google’s Chromecast really paved the way for using the video service on your television by using your Android phone as a controller.

Before we begin

First and foremost, there is nothing new here today, folks. The YouTube TV features we are about to look at are older than the Chromecast, and the Chromecast isn’t exactly new either. But these are still great features worth taking a quick look at. Enjoy.

To follow along everything today, you will need a fairly modern Android device, I think Android 4.0 and up is supported, and it will need to have the YouTube app installed. Don’t worry, it’s totally free in the Google Play Store. You will also need a Google Chromecast and a connected TV.

If you do not wish to deal with the Chromecast portion of today, you will still require an additional computer or mobile device that is capable of connecting to your television, or a smart TV with a web browser.

Remotely control YouTube using Chromecast

I will keep this one short, the Chromecast has been around for a while and there are plenty of great tutorials floating around for it. Not to mention that the procedure has great explanations along the way.

chromecast

Fire up your TV with connected Chromecast, make sure everything is setup for your network. You may need to use the Chromecast app on your Android device to get configured.

Now, fire up the YouTube app on your Android device.

With the Chromecast configured, you will see a Cast button in the YouTube interface, simply tap that and your next video will play through the TV.

You can now navigate videos on your Android device, then either play them instantly or build up a playlist for viewing on the TV. Others may connect with their own Android devices as well, adding to the queue or hijacking the screen for their own casting purposes.

Remotely control YouTube with your Android phone

Did you know, before the Chromecast was announced, YouTube had its own feature for handling both the home theater experience and the multiple connected devices functionality? That’s right, it was very easy to use, looked great and is live and well today.

YouTube.com/TV

To get started, head into your favorite browser on a computer or mobile device connected to your TV.

Navigate to youtube.com/tv and hit F11 to go full screen.

YouTube/TV AA

Look at that, a nice and clean home theater software experience. YoutTube TV is still a streaming service for their online video, there is no way to play local files that I am aware of, but one must admit that the interface is a lot more friendly than the default YouTube experience.

You may stick with using your computer or connected mobile device to navigate the interface, but this is really made to be controlled by your Android phone, just like the Chromecast.

YouTube TV Settings Pair device

Head into Settings on the computer, and click into Pair Device.

Open the YouTube app on your Android phone.

YouTube Settings Pair device

Head into Settings.

Select Connected TVs.

Click Add a TV.

Enter the code that appears on your TV and click Add to continue.

If you are familiar with the way YouTube operates on your Android device when you are connected to a Chromecast, things will look and act nearly identical now.

Navigate your subscriptions or search for a new video to enjoy, tap on it and you will be asked if you wish to play videos immediately or add videos to the queue.

You can also control the volume of the YouTube player on your TV by simply using your device’s volume buttons.

YouTube TV Queue

As with the Chromecast, you may connect multiple Android devices, so that multiple users can play videos and add to the queue. So do keep your device connection code private, this functionality does not rely on proximity, like the Chromecast, nearly anyone with an internet connection can play videos on your device if they’ve got your code.

What’s next

As I hope you imagine, if the only streaming you wish to do is through YouTube, this functionality is a great alternative to purchasing a streaming stick like the Chromecast. Do remember that the capabilities of your device connected to the TV will determine the quality of your experience (i.e. your playback resolution,) so make sure your connected device is capable of playing YouTube 1080p or higher video to get the most out of your HD TV.

Next week

I hope this little YouTube feature finds a practical use in your online world, it is certainly a fun Android customization that I put to use frequently. Next week, we will be dive back into some Google settings, taking a quick look at how to use Google Maps offline.

Do you use YouTube TV, or do you prefer a dedicated streaming device like the Chromecast?

Xiaomi officially unveils MIUI 7

Posted by wicked August - 19 - 2015 - Wednesday Comments Off

xiaomi_logo_wallChinese manufacturer Xiaomi took its official wraps off its new MIUI 7 earlier today. The new interface aims at bringing more customization features along with a large boost in responsiveness. MIUI 7 will set out to replace MIUI 6 on previous handsets.

MIUI 7 will hit many of Xiaomi’s handsets in the near future beginning with the Xiaomi Redmi Note 2. The new skin includes dozens of new features. Here is a list including some of the major additions:

  • New built-in themes and theme creator
  • MUSE toolkit
  • New fonts with larger sizes
  • Newly designed MIUI gallery with new searching feature
  • Battery consumption improvements
  • Auto DND mode switch
  • Faster animations and better responsiveness

Xiamoi plans to release MIUI 7 around the world starting on August 24th. The roll out will begin with Xiaomi’s newest handsets and will eventually hit older handsets at a later date. If you missed anything, you can watch Xiaomi’s whole presentation in the embedded video below.

Click here to view the embedded video.

Source: MIUI

Come comment on this article: Xiaomi officially unveils MIUI 7

Here are 6 high-resolution stock wallpapers from the Galaxy Note 5

Posted by wicked August - 17 - 2015 - Monday Comments Off

samsung_unpacked_2015_galaxy_note_5_display_on_lockscreen_TA

The Galaxy Note 5 might not be launching outside of Asia and the United States anytime soon, but you can still make your current handset look superficially similar (if that’s your thing) with this batch of official stock wallpapers from Samsung’s newest Note device.

The six wallpapers come courtesy of XDA Forums member, Gabri™, with a resolution of 2560 x 2560, which means they can be used as scrollable wallpapers. You can snag the 11MB download directly from here (Mega) or from the forum post here.

Galaxy_Note_5_Stock_Wallpapers (1)
Galaxy_Note_5_Stock_Wallpapers (2)
Galaxy_Note_5_Stock_Wallpapers (3)
Galaxy_Note_5_Stock_Wallpapers (4)
Galaxy_Note_5_Stock_Wallpapers (5)
Galaxy_Note_5_Stock_Wallpapers (6)

Source: Gabri™ (XDA Forums)
Via: PhoneArena

Come comment on this article: Here are 6 high-resolution stock wallpapers from the Galaxy Note 5

Android Lollipop screen pinning

With your mobile hotspot under control from last week’s Android customization post, it’s time we move to a new topic. This week we will look at a handy feature in Lollipop called screen pinning.

It’s a pretty simple thing, for when you need to hand your phone over to a friend or family member for a second, but you only want them to use one app, and only one app. Android 5.x Lollipop has a feature to help, screen pinning is exactly what the name implies, allowing you to pin an app to your display, blocking use of other apps.

Let’s look it over and see what Lollipop screen pinning is all about.

Before we begin

It is not often I get to share a project or trick that does not have specific requirements, but today is not one of those days. You will need to have an Android device with at least Android 5.0 Lollipop installed in order to follow along, but that’s it.

Prevent unwanted access to your device using screen pinning

I painted a picture above of locking your device to your child’s favorite game, or locking your friend to just your image gallery, these are great uses, but there are other uses that can be great for business and marketing equipment as well.

lock screen lockscreen security

There are a couple levels of security available in screen pinning. The first thing that screen pinning can do for you is provide a full screen immersive mode, of sorts. While it does hide the notification bar, it does not hide the navigation buttons, at least it all but disables them. Pressing the nav buttons provides a message reminding you that screen pinning is active. Much better than accidentally jumping out of your favorite game in the heat of battle.

The first level of use does allow the user to long press the Overview button (recent apps button) to exit screen pinning. This may work for your toddler, but not your friend. To really lock things down, you can require your lock PIN or passcode to exit screen pinning. This effectively secures your device and data from browsing when you need to hand your device over to someone.

How to enable screen pinning

Things should be enabled by default, but let’s dive into the settings first, then pin a screen after.

Open your device Settings.

Android Lollipop screen pinning settings

Go to Security.

Scroll down and click on Screen pinning.

If it is off, simply tap the toggle to turn screen pinning on. Then, make the choice now if you are going to require your device lock PIN or passcode to disable screen pinning once started.

Good stuff, now to use screen pinning.

The process is pretty easy, you may have already noticed the icon but weren’t sure what it was for.

Android Lollipop start screen pinning

Open up the app you would like to pin.

Tap the Overview button (I’ll never get used to that name, it’s the Recents list button, who’s with me?)

Your app will be the first tile in your recent apps list, scroll it upward to reveal a small pin icon in the bottom right hand of the tile. Tap on the pin.

You will be notified that you are entering screen pinning mode, and reminded how to get out again.

Hit Got It to continue.

Hand your device over to your friend, colleague, customer, teacher or family member with no worries of them snooping around.

How to turn off screen pinning

I almost feel like I don’t need to say this, again, so I’ll make it really quick.

Android Lollipop stop screen pinning

Long press on your Overview button.

A message pops up to tell you you have exited screen pinning. Unless you have it locked down with PIN or passcode, then just enter that and you are free to resume your day.

What’s next

Despite the convenience factor, screen pinning was not really designed to be a bulletproof security measure for your device. The user can, for example, still hit the power button to shutdown and restart your device, and this offers little to no defense against USB connections to a PC or other data collecting tools. Basically, you’ll still need to monitor the person using your device if you really can’t trust them.

This, sadly, means that screen pinning, even when password protected, is not enough to protect a tablet for many business applications, like in an unmanned kiosk setting, for example.

digital insurance card review

Also, if you are one of the few that have your automotive insurance card as an app on your device, please check your local law before handing your phone over to law enforcement. Even though you may now think to use a PIN or passcode protected pinned screen, in some jurisdictions, the act of handing your phone to an officer for any reason at all grants them legal permission to perform a full search of your device.

Please take the time to learn your local laws before handing your phone over to law enforcement, and do be smart about who you hand your device over to aside from the police, just because your phone is locked to a single app, doesn’t mean it won’t up and disappear on you. At least you’ve created our Tasker project to identify intruders attempting to use your device, right?

Next week

I hope you learned a little and have great ideas on how to use screen pinning to protect your data and info the next time you hand your device over. Next week on our Android customization series we will look at something completely different – did you know that you can use almost any internet connected device as a sort of Chromecast for YouTube, controllable from your phone? We’ll dive into it.

Do you use screen pinning at all, or is it just one of those great features that you forget to use when the time arises?

Chris Lacy’s Link Bubble gets an update to v1.5 along with a change of ownership

Posted by wicked August - 5 - 2015 - Wednesday Comments Off

LinkBubble

Link Bubble users will be happy to note that the app has received a substantial update to version 1.5, with features such as drop down elements, domain redirects as well as a Material Design overhaul making an appearance. Link Bubble’s creator, Chris Lacy, has also taken the opportunity to announce that Link Bubble and another of his apps, Tap Path, along with all related assets, have been sold to an as yet unnamed buyer. Join us after the break for the update’s changelog as well as more information on the change in ownership.

Let’s deal with the changes brought about in Link Bubble version 1.5.

Changelog:

  • Support for drop down elements
  • Added ability to colour the toolbar with a website’s theme/ favicon colour (Settings/ Colour Toolbar)
  • Added ‘Domain redirects’ customization, allowing you to define domains which, when loaded, will always be referred to your fallback browser
  • Updated appearance for material design
  • Use Lollipop themed Snackbar prompt
  • Translation support for 6 new languages

Regarding the change in ownership, if you have previously purchased Link Bubble Pro or Tap Path, those purchases are still connected to your Google Account, and you will receive updates via the Play Store as normal. Chris Lacy states that the transition will be ‘entirely seamless‘. As for the mysterious entity that purchased Link Bubble and Tap Path, Lacy says that the new owner is a US startup that is currently in ‘Stealth mode‘, but that users should trust him when he says it will become obvious why he is so excited by both the sale of the apps and their future.

For those asking why Chris Lacy sold the apps, he says that his indie company just doesn’t have the resources to make the most of Link Bubble’s potential. Which is fair enough.

You can download the floating browser app, Link Bubble, either by scanning the QR code or by clicking on the Play Store link below.

 

qr codeGoogle Play Store Get it Here

Source: Chris Lacy (Blog)

Come comment on this article: Chris Lacy’s Link Bubble gets an update to v1.5 along with a change of ownership

Google shows off Android M’s Auto Backup for Apps function in video

Posted by wicked July - 30 - 2015 - Thursday Comments Off

Google_Auto-Backup_for-Apps_Android-M

One of the great things about flashing a custom Rom on your Android device is being able to backup and restore your apps via the custom recovery or by using an app such as Titanium Backup, it’s especially helpful if you’ve had to factory reset your device or if you’ve swapped over to a new device. Now it seems like un-rooted users will also be able to automatically backup and restore their apps thanks to a feature called ‘Auto Backup for Apps’ that is present in the latest Android M Preview.

Google’s Matthew Jav Williams takes us on a video run through of the Auto Backup for Apps feature, telling us that the apps user data will be automatically backed up and stored in Google Drive with a 25mb limit. The app backups will not count as part of your Google Drive quota. If you’ve installed apps on your device either from a third-party app store or by side-loading, don’t worry, they will also be backed up because the Auto Backup for Apps function isn’t directly tied to the Google Play Store.

Backups will occur when:

  • It is night-time
  • The device is charging
  • The device is connected to WiFi

Developers can include this feature into their apps by re-building their apps with version 23 of the SDK, they can also choose to opt out of including the auto backup function as well as choosing not to back up sensitive data or device specific tokens. Matthew gives some coding examples in the video below which show how easy it is for developers to include the Auto Backup for Apps function.

 

Click here to view the embedded video.

Source: Google Developers Blog
Via: Phandroid

Come comment on this article: Google shows off Android M’s Auto Backup for Apps function in video

How to re-enable Chrome tabs on Lollipop – Android customization

Posted by wicked July - 23 - 2015 - Thursday Comments Off

Reenable Chrome tabs

I hope that last week’s Android customization post has helped you keep your data safe, walking through the setup to automatic backups of your SMS and more. We’ll keep things light this week as well, for those of you that are using Chrome on the new Android Lollipop, this is how you re-enable Chrome tabs, instead of treating each tab as a new entry in your recent apps list.

Remember, this is a short tutorial for Lollipop users, and one that many of you will consider to be a beginners topic.

Before we begin

No apps are required today, provided you have an Android 5+ Lollipop device and the Chrome web browser installed. We are simply diving into the settings menu of Chrome today.

Re-enable Chrome tabs on Lollipop

Here’s what’s up, you’re plunking along enjoying your favorite Android Authority posts on your favorite Android phone or tablet, when you come across something that deserves to be opened in a new tab. You go ahead and long press on the link to get the option to open it in one of several ways other than in the same tab, and just like that, you’ve created what many Lollipop users consider to be a problem. Your tabs are no longer treated as one app in the Recent apps list, instead, each new tab acts as its own entry.

For many of us, having each tab as a separate Recents list entry is a slick thing, dramatically speeding up our device navigation. If you do not like this, and would like Chrome to be a single Recents list entry, regardless your open tab count, follow along, we will show you what to do.

From within almost anywhere inside Chrome, tap the three dots menu icon.

Enable Chrome Tabs

Choose Settings.

Tap on Merge tabs and apps.

Turn the option off.

You will be asked to confirm that you want your tabs to be controlled through Chrome and not by the Recent apps menu. Tap OK to confirm.

Chrome will restart now, just give it a moment to come back up with the most recent tab you were using.

You will now see a little square icon in the top right corner, I hope it looks familiar, it is the Chrome Tab count from before Lollipop.

Chrome tab management

What’s next

Do play around with the setting, you may find that Google’s new approach in Android Lollipop is the tool you’ve been needing. If you do not like Google’s new approach, you now have the skills to revert back to what you are comfortable with.

This setting exists independently in Chrome, Chrome Beta and Chrome Dev. Be sure to figure out who is who and which you want to take advantage of the new tab management features.

Next week

We hope you now have a cleaner Recents list thanks to this simple Android customization in Chrome on Lollipop. Next week we will continue with Chrome, how would you like to save some mobile data with one simple setting?

Do you like Google’s new approach of having all your Chrome tabs open in the Recent apps list, or have you already turned it off using the steps above?

Backup your SMS, MMS and call log automatically – Android customization

Posted by wicked July - 16 - 2015 - Thursday Comments Off

SMS Backup plus Play Store

Judging by your overwhelming response to last week’s Android customization post, many of you have strong feelings either for or against Google Now. Either way, I hope that you found value in the ability to swap out the functionality of the swipe up gesture to a task better suited to your needs.

This week, we want to make sure that everyone is looking after their data, specifically we want to make sure you are backing up your SMS. I know at least our Canadian readers prefer the term ‘text messages’ here, which is possibly more accurate, but I’m going to stick with SMS, sorry guys.

Join us as we explore an app called SMS Backup+, and another app you’ve already heard of, Tasker.

Before we begin

Get SMS Backup+Many SMS and messaging apps and services have the ability built right in to backup or otherwise prevent loss of your messages should you lose your phone, but that is not always the case. When in doubt, or if you are using a messaging tool that does not have backup capabilities, we will point you towards SMS Backup+, a free app in the Google Play Store, that syncs your messages to your Gmail account for safe storage.

Get TaskerAs a completely optional addition to the project today, we will use Tasker to fine tune the controls a little. If you do not yet have Tasker installed, prepare to drop $2.99 in the Google Play Store to follow along.

Tasker in the Google Play Store

Use SMS Backup+ to keep your messages safe

There is a good chance you’ve got a SMS message or two on your Android device, and there is a good chance one or more of those you’d rather not lose if you happen to misplace your phone. If for no other reason, perhaps you should look at backing up your SMS messages on a regular basis.

Straight out of the box, SMS Backup+ is super easy to use and looks to backup not just your SMS, but also your MMS and call log. The idea is to dump these items into your Gmail account with a custom Gmail Label to keep them under control.

Now, if you are a Google Voice and/or Google Hangouts user, have a look for the ‘SMS’ Label in your Gmail. If you see the Label, and it is packed full of your messages, today’s tasks are not really for you, your messages are secure and you may go on with getting ready for your weekend.

The general setup of SMS Backup+ is pretty near all of the input this app requires to keep your messages rolling to Gmail. Install the app, fire it up and let’s walk through it from there.

SMS Backup plus setup1

First, you will need to connect to your preferred Gmail account. Not to worry, this app uses OAuth, like all good apps should, so you can block access at any time from within your Google account settings on the web.

Tap the Connect check box.

Choose your Google account.

Decide whether or not to begin a full backup of all existing messages on your device, or to skip and only backup messages received from this point forward.

If all you desire to do is backup everything to a Label called SMS in your Gmail, turn on the Auto backup checkbox and enjoy your day. However, if you’d like to tune things a little, please continue along.

SMS Backup plus setup advanced

Next up, head into Advanced Settings.

Tap on Backup settings.

Choose which types of messages you would like to backup to Gmail. I usually do not backup MMS myself, but that’s just a personal preference.

Click on SMS near the bottom of the list to change the name of the Label that will be created in Gmail. You don’t have to do this, but remember that your Google Hangouts and Voice also backup to the SMS Label. I called mine “SMS+“, nice and simple.

Tap the system Back button to save and exit back to the SMS Backup+ home screen.

SMS Backup plus setup frequency

Tap into Auto backup settings.

Tap on Regular schedule to set the frequency with which SMS Backup+ backs up your messages. It is set to 2 hours by default. I like to save juice and risk the loss, I choose 24 hours.

Tap on incoming schedule to set a time in which SMS Backup+ is triggered to run after a new message arrives. It defaults to 3 minutes, which is where I leave it, but you might want to bump that to 30 minutes or more if you regularly have extended SMS conversations.

Tap the system Back button to get back to the main screen again.

Now, tap that Auto backup check box to make sure the backups are turned on and you may call it a day.

If ever the scheduled backup frequency is not to your liking, or you do not want auto backups at all, there is a big Backup button at the top of the screen just waiting to be pushed.

If you do like the auto backup, but the Regular schedule times do not work for you, it is time to use our favorite customization app, Tasker.

Backup SMS using Tasker

To use Tasker to trigger SMS backup, we will use SMS Backup+ as a Third Party extension to Tasker.

First, head into SMS Backup+ to enable the integration.

SMS Backup plus enable 3rd party

Tap into Auto backup settings.

Turn on 3rd party integration.

Exit SMS Backup+ and head into Tasker.

Create a new Tasker Task and name it appropriately. I’ve named mine “Smsbackup“.

Tap the “+” button to add an action.

Tasker Task SMS Backup plus

Choose 3rd Party.

Choose SMS backup+.

That is really all there is to the Task, hit the system Back button to save and exit the Task creation.

Now, you need to decide how and when Tasker should run the backup. For our purposes, let’s setup a Profile that runs the backup every Sunday.

Head to the Profiles tab of Tasker, create a new Profile and name it appropriately. I’ve called mine “Sundaysmsbackup“.

Tasker Profile SMS Backup plus

Choose Day.

Tap the Month Day drop down and change it to Week Day.

Choose Sunday.

Tap the system Back button to save.

Choose your backup Task, I had called mine “Smsbackup.”

That’s it, you are done.

Tasker Profile Sunday SMS Backup plus

What’s next

While I am sure you have far different ideas than mine when it comes to backup frequency, I hope that you see all of the available ways and times that you can use SMS Backup+ to fire your data over to Gmail.

We used a Day value in our Tasker project, be sure to think outside the box for your needs. Perhaps backup your SMS when you connect to your home WiFi router. Maybe put a 10 minute delay after receiving a message – that’s too easy, I know, create a few Tasker Profiles and Tasks that add 1 to a variable every time you receive a message, then fire the backup when you get to 10 messages. Don’t forget to then reset the variable back to 0.

Zooper Widget Gmail SMS Count

Finally, SMS Backup+ sends your messages to Gmail, what are you to do if you do not want to use Gmail? You know it, there are well over a million apps in the Google Play Store, I am sure a few of them can help. Might I suggest SMS Backup & Restore, also free in the Google Play Store, which saves your messages as a text file (XML, to be more accurate,) on your device. Make sure to pull the files from the device for secure backup.

Next week

I hope that SMS Backup+ and Tasker helped you to save your data from a loss, or at least we hope today’s Android customization allowed you to use your data in a different way. Next week we would like to take a look at a new feature available in Chrome for devices running Android 5+ Lollipop, specifically, how to control the new tab management.

Do you care to keep record of your SMS, MMS and call log history, what tools do you use to manage things?

Motorola may expand the Moto Maker club to include the upcoming Moto G (2015)

Posted by wicked July - 14 - 2015 - Tuesday Comments Off

Moto_G_2014_2nd_Gen_Back_Slanted_Camera_Lens_Motorola_Logo_TA

One of the great things about the Android operating system is being able to customize the software to our hearts content. There is absolutely no reason the layout on any two phones should appear the same unless it’s by design. Motorola offered even more freedom of choice when it released its Moto Maker customization tool allowing Moto X owners to customize their phones on the outside as well. Now it seems that Motorola is getting ready to expand Moto Maker to cover the upcoming Moto G (2015 edition).  

This is according to that semi-retired serial leaker, @evleaks (Evan Blass), who tweeted the above message. While it isn’t concrete proof that the Moto Maker will cover the Moto G (2015), he does have a solid reputation when it comes to leaks. What do you think? If the leak is confirmed, would being able to customize your phone’s outward appearance draw you to the Moto G (2015)?

 

Source: @evleaks (Twitter)

Come comment on this article: Motorola may expand the Moto Maker club to include the upcoming Moto G (2015)

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