Open Google Maps (online) and search for your desired location.
Once you’ve found the location/area you want, there are three ways you can save it for later:
Type ‘OK Maps’ in the search bar,
Tap the microphone icon and say: “OK maps”
Tap the search bar, scroll all the way to the bottom, then and hit ‘Save a new offline map’.
You will be asked if you want to save this map. Pan or zoom the view so that it displays all of the information you require. Unlike a mere screenshot, the offline maps can be zoomed into and display information such as street and building names as you get closer.
Once you have saved the map to your device, to access it, tap the ‘hamburger’ menu icon at the top left of Maps app, then ‘Your places’.
Scroll to the bottom of the new screen, then you should see all your saved maps under ‘Saved places’. Just tap the map you want to to view offline.
A downloaded map doesn’t require a huge amount of space. New York, for example, took up only 13 MB when completely downloaded. However, if you’re wary of your data allowance, you might want to be connected to Wi-Fi before downloading all the maps you want.
Here’s a video for you more visual types:
Limitations of offline maps
There are some limitations to the functionality of the offline maps, mostly regarding the size of the location you’re looking for. For example, New York and surrounding areas would be a bit too much for just one cached file and you will receive a message saying it can’t be saved. In this scenario, it would need to be broken into smaller, surrounding areas.
Also, offline navigation is not available, nor is the ability to conduct a search within the offline map file. The maps you download will be stored for 30 days and after this they are automatically deleted, so don’t assume they will last forever.
Has using Google Maps offline come in handy for you? Let us know in the comments.
What we’re going to do is disable the transitions and animations on your phone. These are the settings that control what happens when you swipe from one screen to the next, or one app to another. They also control how quickly popups appear.
If you want more information on what these features do, there’s an explanation at the bottom of this article, but if you just want the solution to a faster smartphone, read on.
1. Go to your smartphone’s Settings, scroll down to About Phone and tap it.
2. Find Build Number and tap it seven times until you see that Developer Options have been enabled.
3. Go back up to Settings and tap Developer Options.
4. Scroll down to Window Animation Scale and tap it. Set it to ‘Off’.
5. Tap Transition Animation Scale and set it to ‘Off’ as well.
6. That’s it.
Want to know what’s in the secret sauce? Here’s an explanation of these two settings, along with a mysterious third setting that no one seems to understand.
What is Window Animation Scale?
Window Animation Scale is the length of time that Android takes to animate a popup window. If it is set to ’10x’, for example, it will take a long time for a popup window to appear.
To see it for yourself, set Window Animation Scale to ’10x’, go back up to Settings and then go back into Developer Options. You should see a very slow popup window warning you about messing with things. Now, go back and set it to ‘Off’ and try again. Much faster, right?
What is Transition Animation Scale?
Transition Animation Scale is basically the same thing, but for transitions between screens, such as between one app and another, or when launching an app from your home screen.
This one is super easy to understand. Set it to ’10x’ and press the home button. Takes a while, huh? Now, set it to ‘Off’ and enjoy instant transitions.
What is Animator Duration Scale?
This is the third option in the list that nobody seems to understand properly. Changing the settings here doesn’t seem to make any visible difference to speed and that’s because it doesn’t. So what is Animator Duration Scale?
It basically just controls the speed of ‘loading’ animations. To see it in action, set it to ’10x’ and launch YouTube (or any other app that takes more than a second to load). See how slow the little circular loading animation is?
If you set Animator Duration Scale to ‘Off’ and launch YouTube again (be sure to clear it from your Recent Apps list so it isn’t saved in cache), you’ll see that there is no circular loading animation at all. Setting it anywhere above ‘Off’ just makes that animation faster or slower, but it doesn’t actually speed anything up with regards to the operation of your phone.
Stop WhatsApp images appearing in your camera roll
If your friends send you loads of stupid pictures on WhatsApp, and you don’t want them mixed in with all your amazing photos, it is possible to keep WhatsApp images separate so they don’t appear in your camera roll.
Download a file explorer, such as ES File Explorer
Navigate to sdcard/WhatsApp/Media
Enter the folder you don’t want shared (in this case, WhatsApp Images)
Tap the plus button at the bottom of the screen
Name the new folder .nomedia
That should stop any media in that folder from showing up in your camera roll.
If you’re keen to keep your WhatsApp private, you can use any number of security apps to set a passcode for the app. AppLock is a popular choice.
Switch your WhatsApp chat history between phones
If you haven’t received the update that allows Google Drive backups yet, and you need to move your WhatsApp history over to a new device, it’s a pretty painless procedure. All you need is a microSD card and a few minutes to spare.
Insert a microSD card into the device that has WhatsApp on it
In WhatsApp, go to Settings > Chats and calls > Back up chats
Remove the SD card and place it into your other device
Install WhatsApp on the other device
WhatsApp should detect the backup and prompt you to restore it, which you should do
If you need to move the backup, use a file explorer to find ‘/sdcard/WhatsApp’ and move it to the correct folder.
Get desktop notifications for WhatsApp chats
You’ll need the WhatsApp Web Chrome extension to get WhatsApp desktop notifications. Then, all you need to do is install a simple add-on called WAToolkit.
After installing it, you will see a new icon in your browser toolbar. Hover your cursor over it to see the most recently received message, or right click for more options. You’ll also notice the WAToolkit options button in your WhatsApp Web tab. The best part? WAToolkit will notify you of messages on your desktop even when Chrome itself isn’t running.
Install WhatsApp Web on PC
In the WhatsApp Web browser window, go to Options > Notifications and ensure that Desktop Alerts is ticked
Install the Chrome browser extension WAToolkit
Make sure the background notifications box is ticked, like in the image below
Send private messages in bulk, BCC-style
Privacy on the internet is a hard thing to hold onto, but even the famously unprivate WhatsApp has a few features that let you do things on the down-low. Want to send out a group message without everyone in the group seeing who else received that message, and then seeing every subsequent response to the message? That’s what the Broadcast feature is for, and using it is simple:
Tap the Options icon at the top right (three dots).
Tap New broadcast
Enter the names of all the contacts you want to send your private message to.
Tap Create, write your message, then send it.
Hide ‘Last seen’, profile photo and status
Getting thrown into a big group chat filled with party guests and people you don’t know can be bewildering. Suddenly, your profile picture is staring back at a chatroom full of strangers, who can also see your status and when you’re reading messages. If I wanted a whole flock of strangers ogling and judging a photo of me, I’d have gone on Tinder. Here’s how to have better control over who sees this information on WhatsApp:
Tap the Options icon at the top right of WhatsApp
Go to Settings > Account > Privacy
Go through the Last seen, Profile photo, and Status options, then set their visibility to ‘Everyone’, ‘My contacts’ or ‘Nobody’, depending on how much privacy you want.
Mute annoying WhatsApp group chats
We’ve all been in that position where we’ve somehow been dragged into a group chat that we either didn’t really want to be in in the first place or just don’t want to receive notifications from every couple of minutes. Rather than just leave the chat, which may be offend some people, you can simply mute the chat so you stop receiving notifications from it.
In WhatsApp, tap the Chats tab
Tap the group you want to mute.
With the group open, tap the Options icon at the top right
Tap Mute, then select the amount of time you want to mute the group for. You can also untick the Show notifications box so that you never hear from the group again until you decide otherwise.
Create a homescreen shortcut for your favorite chats
Do you have certain friends with whom you have constant stream-of-consciousness conversations, where you’re non-stop WhatsApp’ing all day, every day? If so, then you can create a shortcut icon to those conversations, which will appear on your Android homescreen. This means you can jump straight into chats with your BFFs and important groups.
In WhatsApp, tap the Chats tab.
Tap and hold the conversation you want to create a shortcut for.
When the list of options appears, tap Add conversation shortcut
A shortcut displaying your contact’s profile picture will now appear on your homescreen. Tap it to jump straight in and start chatting to them.
Recover deleted messages
By default WhatsApp backs up your messages every day at 4am. This means that if you’ve deleted any messages since then, but before the next auto-backup, you can still recover them. To do this:
Uninstall WhatsApp from your device (Settings > Apps > WhatsApp > Uninstall).
Type your phone number into WhatsApp, then it should notify you that it’s found a backup of your chats.
Tap Restore to get your deleted messages back.
What’s your best WhatsApp tip? Let us know in the comments below.
First of all make sure you’re running the latest version of Gmail by opening up the Play Store app and checking for any recent updates — we’re going to assume that you already have your email accounts up and running. We’ve also got a few troubleshooting tips to share with you as well.
Merge your inboxes
The latest version of Gmail for Android includes a helpful unified inbox view that lets you look at messages from several Google accounts at once. If your workplace email is hosted by Google, for example, you can now see your personal and office emails together in one place on your Nexus 7.
To take advantage of the feature, add new accounts via the drop-down menu on the left directly below your avatar. Once you’ve entered the correct login details, a new All Inboxes entry appears in the left-hand panel, enabling you to see everything together. You can still switch between your various individual accounts using the drop-down menu above All Inboxes (or by swiping left and right on the picture banner).
Take quick actions
Everywhere you look in the Gmail app for Android you can find quick ways of performing tasks that make it easier to work your way through an email backlog. Try swiping emails to the left or right to archive them, for example, or tapping the profile picture (or letter) to select several messages at once.
When messages are selected in this way (the profile picture will become a check mark), a number of actions appear at the top of the screen — archive, delete and mark as read/unread. More options (like label changes) are accessible via the More menu (three vertical dots). Go into a particular conversation to find the Reply and Reply All actions on the right.
Solve sync problems
You’re not going to get very far through your inbox if your messages aren’t syncing correctly. If you head to Settings and tap through to Accounts you can see which Google accounts are associated with the device — tap on one to make sure Gmail syncing is enabled.
From within the Gmail app itself you can choose Settings from the menu and tap on your email address to check your messages are set to sync. From the same screen you can also configure how many days of email are cached and which labels are included. If you continue to have problems, try disconnecting and then reconnecting your Gmail account, or uninstalling and reinstalling the Gmail app.
The search function inside the app looks simple, but don’t let appearances deceive you, because it’s almost as capable as the one on the web. For example, try entering “older_than:1y” or “older_than:1d” in the search box to find messages more than a year or a day old in your Gmail.
Google provides a handy list of search operators and just about all of them work in the Gmail app as well as Gmail on the web. The “is:important” can bring up all priority messages, while the “is:starred” operator lets you quickly jump to any messages that have been starred for further attention.
When you’re on the go, you want to make sure that only the most important messages show up inside Gmail. The Android app, like Gmail on the web, includes a Mute feature: Any new messages in threads that are muted are automatically archived so you don’t see them (they’ll still be marked Unread).
To do this from the Gmail app for Android, tap inside a conversation then tap on the More menu (three vertical dots). Choose Mute from the list that appears and your action is applied. You can always pull the conversation up from the archive through a search or label filter if you need to find it again.
Auto-advance your way through
Auto-advance is a really useful feature to take advantage of if you need to work through a lot of emails at once — it saves you having to head back to the inbox page when you’ve archived or deleted a message thread, because the app automatically takes you to the next email in the pile.
If you want to activate it in the Gmail app for Android then tap Settings from the app menu and choose General Settings. Select Auto-advance and the dialog box that shows up on screen lets you choose whether you want to jump to a newer message, an older message or back to the conversation list.
Train Gmail to sort your mail
Gmail has a few different inboxes to make your life easier: Priority Inbox, Inbox, Spam and so on. However, it’s possible that unimportant emails can end up in your Priority Inbox or important emails can end up in Spam. It’s just a matter of training Gmail to know what is what.
For example, if you find an unimportant email in the wrong place, just select the Settings in the top right hand corner and select ”Mark as not important”. If you find an important email in Spam, simply hit the overflow menu and select ”Mark important” or ”Report not spam”. The same goes for moving certain emails to particular folders: Gmail will learn what goes where.
There’s often a trade-off between privacy and convenience when it comes to technology. The same location sensing that tells you there’s a good coffee shop nearby or that automatically displays your boarding card at the airport can also be used for ill. Here’s how to turn off Android location tracking if you no longer want it.
What sort of location tracking does Android do?
The very first time you set up an Android device, you’ll be asked if you want to share your location data. If you say yes, then Google automatically adds your movements to your Location History, which you can look at in the Timeline section of your Google Account.
As Google puts it, location history “helps you get useful information – for example automatic commute predictions or improved search results – by creating a private map of where you go with your logged-in devices.”
If the map is private, what’s the problem?
We didn’t say there was a problem! But not everybody is entirely comfortable with every step they take being tracked. If you lose your device then that data could be seen by somebody with malicious intent. If you were a burglar, wouldn’t it be great to see not only where somebody lives, but when they leave for and return from work?
It’s also possible that location data could one day be used against you in court, especially if it showed you going somewhere you shouldn’t. And of course, some people just aren’t comfortable with private organizations such as Google knowing every aspect of their lives.
What’s the downside to turning off Android location tracking?
You’ll lose some of the things that make Android so good. Google Now is more like Google Meh if it doesn’t know your favorite places, and some apps aren’t much use without location services enabled. On the upside, less GPS use means less drain on your battery.
How to turn off Android location tracking
There are two ways to stop Google looking at where you’re going. On a computer, go into https://www.google.com/settings/accounthistory > Places You Go > Manage Activity and then tap on Pause Location History; a pop-up tells you what you are and aren’t disabling, and provides a link to where you can delete your location history altogether.
On an Android phone it’s even simpler.
Scroll down to Location
You’ll see an on/off switch in the top right. Use this to turn location services on or off altogether.
Tap on Location > Google Location History
Once again there’s a button in the top right that lets you turn your location history on or off
If you also want to delete your location history, you can do that here too: under Location History tap Delete Location History. Once deleted this information can’t be recovered.
How to turn off location tracking on an iPhone or iPad
If you have an Android phone and an Apple tablet or an Android tablet and an Apple Phone, you’ll need to check the iOS location settings too: Apple can store your location data and give it to apps too. To turn that off, go into Settings > Privacy > Location Services. Assuming Location Services are on, you should now see a list of apps with two bits of information: a button showing whether access to Location Services is on or off for that app, and a little arrow if it’s used your location data recently.
There’s another screen in here, System Services, and that enables you to turn off system-level use of your location for features such as location-based ads, web browser search suggestions, setting the time zone and so on. Simply turn off any services you want to shut down.
How to turn Android location tracking back on
If you find yourself missing Google Now or you decide your movements aren’t interesting enough to worry about other people seeing them, it’s easy enough to re-enable Android location tracking. This time all you need to do is:
Scroll down to Location
Tap on Location > Google Location Settings
Tap on Location Reporting and use the on-screen button to turn it on
Tap on Location History and use the on-screen button to turn it on
It’s a similar process with Apple devices: go back into Settings > Privacy > Location Services and use the buttons to switch services back on.
What do you think? Does the usefulness of Android location tracking outweigh the potential privacy issues, or should we limit how much information we share as a matter of course? Let us know in the comments below.
No matter which phone I use, I always seem to run out of storage. Updates from the Play Store, offline map data, huge games, photos, music – you name it, it’s on my phone taking up space. I know I’m not alone, so I thought I’d create this guide on how to end storage problems once and for all.
Besides making your phone slower, your storage being full to the brim can also stop your phone updating apps and taking new photos, among other things. Follow these steps and you’ll never reach that point again.
1. Spring clean your internal storage
Internal storage on a smartphone is mainly used up by three things:
Cached data (system cache, app cache)
User data (music, photos, videos, etc)
Fortunately, we can control all three of these. Take a little time to work your way through unused apps, bloated caches and unnecessary files, and delete what you don’t need. Or use an app to do the hard work for you. SD Maid automates a lot of the process and ES File Explorer scours your Android file system and will prompt you to clear out the remaining files from the apps you uninstall.
SD Maid – System Cleaning Tool ES File Explorer File Manager
You won’t want to just delete your user data, but you can move it to another device to free up some storage space. For example, the DCIM, Music and Videos folders can be saved onto your computer for safekeeping. To do this, connect your phone to your computer with a USB cable and unlock your phone. Move the folders or files you don’t especially need on your phone to your computer. Don’t forget to check all folders – even your WhatsApp folder can be full of forgetten saved images.
2. Reinvent the microSD card
Despite Google’s efforts to limit the use of microSD expansion, expandable memory is just as popular as it has always been. And even if your phone doesn’t have a microSD slot, you can still use microSD to get more storage space.
Using a microSD card for additional additional storage space is not seamless, but it will help save space in your phone’s limited internal storage. If your phone has a slot for a microSD card, you can save photos or music to it, leaving the internal storage for apps or essential files.
If your phone doesn’t have a slot for a microSD card, you can use one via USB OTG or with a microSD card adapter. You can then attach the adapter to your keys to carry it with you. Android 6.0 Marshmallow will allow you to once again treat a microSD card like internal storage, and even Android Lollipop lets you pop a microSD card into an adapter and transfer your photos or music to it.
You can push some apps to external storage, but it’s a pretty hit and miss affair (after all, how will your Android do when sync an app that’s stored on an adapter in your pocket?). Storing music, videos, photos and documents on a microSD card makes a lot of sense though.
3. Try life in the cloud
If photos and music are the biggest memory hogs, simply kick them to the cloud. Google’s new Photos app offers free unlimited storage for your photos for life, as long as they’re 16 MP or lower. Photos will also let you store unlimited 1,080p video for free. There are plenty of other cloud backup options, Photos is just one option.
Google Play Music also lets you store your collections online, although it’s not so simple to upload music you’ve acquired outside of Google’s service. You can stream music via Spotify, SoundCloud or iHeartRadio too, but playing back your tunes through these apps will consume a lot data.
If you want to upload your music collection to Google Play Music to clear up some space on your phone, you’ll need a companion app or a Chrome extension for your PC. You can get the instructions for uploading your library to Play music in the app itself by going to Music > Add Music. You can then upload up to 50,000 tracks from your MP3 collection to retrieve via the Android app. You can make selected albums playable offline by ‘pinning’ them.
No matter what device you have, over time your Android operating system may start to do things you don’t want – like crashing, running slower than you’d like or killing your pets. We can’t do much about that last one, but for everything else a factory reset might do the trick. Here’s how to factory reset Android.
Here’s why a factory reset doesn’t delete all your data, and what to do about that
What to do with your Android phone before selling it
How to factory reset Android: the obligatory warning about backups and stuff
A factory reset is designed to return your device to factory fresh condition (with a few exceptions: if you’ve upgraded Android itself you won’t travel back in time to the version your device shipped with), and that means without apps, data or your settings.
Your Google, Samsung or other account should enable you to get all your stuff back after a factory reset with the minimum of fuss, but from time to time things can go wrong. If anything is important, make sure you have a backup you can rely on, and if it’s really important, make sure you have more than one backup. There’s no sadder sound than the howl of someone who now has a device that’s shiny and new but none of their data.
How to factory reset Android: the quick and easy way
In the majority of cases you’ll be able to perform a factory reset on your Android device through the Settings menu, and that’s far and away the easiest way to do it. The actual design of the screens may vary a little bit from device to device, especially when manufacturers have put their mucky fingers on stock Android to add their own artistic interpretations, but the basic procedure is the same. Here’s how to do it:
Go into Settings
Go into Personal > Backup and Reset
Enter your password or PIN if requested
Make sure Automatic Restore is checked
Tap on Factory Reset Data > Reset Phone
Again, you might be prompted for your password or PIN here
Tap Delete Everything
And that’s it. Your phone should now reboot in sparkly new condition. You can now use your Google account (or Samsung account, or other manufacturer-specific account) to get your apps, data and settings restored.
How to factory reset Android when you can’t get into the Settings screen
Resetting your device via the Settings screen is all well and good if you can access it, but if the device has frozen solid or the touchscreen refuses to accept your taps, it’s time for plan B. The good news is that Plan B isn’t much more complicated than Plan A. It just involves a little bit of fiddling with the device’s buttons.
To do it:
Turn off your device
Press and hold Volume Down and Power while the device turns itself on
When you see the options screen, use Volume Down to move down and highlight Recovery Mode
Press the Power button to confirm your selection
Wait for the image of the sad Android, then hold down Power. Keep it held and press and release the Volume Up button.
Once again, use the Volume Down button to navigate. This time you want Wipe Data / Factory Reset. Use Power to confirm the selection.
Use Volume Down to highlight the Yes — Delete All User Data option. Use Power to confirm.
Wait a bit for the reset to do its stuff and then choose Reboot to restart your device.
Once again, the next step is to use the appropriate cloud account to restore your information.
What does the Android backup service back up and restore?
If you used the Android Backup Service to backup your device, it can restore some settings and data for you automatically after you’ve reset your device. It can backup and restore:
Google Calendar settings
Stored Wi-Fi networks and passwords
Apps you’ve installed via Google Play and backed up on the Play Store app
Display brightness and sleep settings
Language and input settings
Date and time
Some third-party app settings and data
The reason we’ve said ‘some’ third party apps is because the Android Backup Service can only back up apps that actually use it, and it’s up to the app developer(s) whether a particular app uses it and, if it does, what settings and data are actually backed up.
When it comes to backing up important data, documents, files or settings it’s always a good idea to assume the worst and ensure you have a backup copy of absolutely everything. Don’t assume that your favorite app uses the Backup Service and then discover the hard way that it doesn’t!
Have you had happy or unhappy factory reset issues? Does it cure all known ills, or did you find problems started to come back again? Let us know in the comments!
These cell phone codes and tricks seem really cool, as they have some magic functions, especially for feature phones. You may run into them elsewhere, but I do not think anyone has tried them. So do not take them too seriously.
1. Type **21*999999# and press the answering key will enable you to block any call. If someone tries to call you, he or she will be hearing ‘the number you called does not exist’. Type ##21# and press answer key to disable it, your phone will resume to normal condition.
This does sound cool, especially for feature phones which does not have apps to help achieve this feature. However it does not work, at least does not work in my case. Since more and more people own Smartphone, many apps will do the same job. If you do not have a Smartphone, go get one.
2. Have your car keys locked inside, and the remote control are also left at home? Place your phone somewhere one foot near your car and call and ask your family to press the unlock button.
I do not have a car and could not try it, but I really doubt it.
3. Phone is running out of battery? Enter *3370# and your phone will reboot, and it will see a 50% increase in battery life. It’s said that this code only works for Nokia phone. How it works? Someone says there’s hidden battery.
This is really shit, does not work in any phone, and ridiculous.
4. Your phone goes missing? Enter *#06# and your IMEI number will show up. Give this number to your mobile operator and ask them to blacklist it. Even someone get your phone and change the SIM card, the phone will be denied of service.
This code does work, but it’s nothing magic and everyone knows it. In fact, if you are afraid of losing your phone, install some cell phone tracking app and it will help you get it back.
If you are looking for some magic codes, these may let you down. But come back later and we have many useful service codes that could help you know more about your phone and save time.