Tag Archives: phone

How to Hide Photos on Android

Your pictures are important. So is your reputation. Sometimes the reputation you want people to see and the photos saved in your phone don’t quite go hand in hand, which is why you need to learn how to hide photos on your Android phone.

Need more persuading? Humor me by imagining the following:

You’re at a family birthday party. Your phone is stealthily maneuvered out of your pocket by your 3 year old niece, who, with her nimble hands and modern toddler mind, is more adept at navigating technology than you are. Oh crap. You wish you’d deleted those special photos you take a peek at “once in a while.” But it’s too late. Her mind — and your reputation — are corrupted forever.

photo credit: huffingtonpost.com
photo credit: huffingtonpost.com

Before this horrifying scenario unfolds in reality, learn how to hide photos on your Android, STAT. From do-it-yourself steps to smartphone apps, here are simple ways to hide pictures on Android phones.

Get an App to Hide the Photos

photo credit: play.google.com
photo credit: play.google.com

First things first — if you want an app to do everything for you, there are many options to choose from for top security. Built-in passcodes, “stealth modes,” and multiple “vaults” are some of the ways these apps can help you to secure your photos and documents from prying eyes. The following steps in this article aren’t labor intensive, but for those of you who want an app to be able to take care of everything, here are bunches of app options, most of which are Android-compatible. If you want to learn how to do it yourself, though, read on.

Hide Your Photos in a Hidden Folder

photo credit: ubergizmo.com
photo credit: ubergizmo.com
  1. Download a file explorer, such as ES File Explorer, File Expert, or OI File Manager.
  2. Open the file explorer.
  3. Add a new folder which starts with a period (.) followed by a name, like “.hidden data”.
  4. Move your photos into this folder.

These pictures will no longer show up in your main photo gallery — they’ll only be accessible from this hidden folder. They aren’t protected by a password, but in an ideal world, only you know how to get to them.

Hide the Hidden Folder from the File Explorer

photo credit: ubergizmo.com
photo credit: ubergizmo.com

To hide the folder even further within the file explorer, follow these steps (this is specifically for ES File Explorer):

  1. Tap on the main menu in the upper left corner.
  2. Tap “Settings” at the bottom.
  3. In “Settings,” tap “Display settings.”
  4. Uncheck “Show hidden files.”

Now these photos will be hidden within the file manager as well, and in order to see them you will have to uncheck the “Show hidden files” box.

The one glaring problem with any of the above steps is that anyone who knows how to follow these steps can find your photos. Hopefully your 3 year old niece isn’t that insanely awesome, but if you’re worried about needing even more security, say, when you’re showing your mom pictures of your new apartment and you don’t want any sneaky ones to get in there, you’ll need to password protect your pictures. Read on.

Password Protect Photos

If you can’t take the risk of just hiding your photos in a hidden folder, you can password protect them, but you have to use third-party tools. The best option is the free app, Vaulty.

photo credit: ubergizmo.com
  1. Download Vaulty.
  2. Launch the app.
  3. When prompted, enter the password or PIN you want to use to open the app.
  4. Click on “Hide Pictures & Videos.”
  5. Tap each photo you want to hide/lock.
  6. Tap “Pad lock” when you are done.
  7. To access the file again, open the application.
  8. Provide the required password or PIN.
  9. Voila! Here are your secret photos, all in one place.
photo credit: ubergizmo.com
photo credit: ubergizmo.com

Keep Reputation Intact

And there you go, now you can parade those vacation photos around to anyone on the street. I really hope you do, because your other pictures are safe, sound, and out of the way.

Have any other ideas on how to hide pictures on Android phones? Tell us below in the comments!


How to Get the Amazon Appstore on Your Android Device

How to Install the Amazon Appstore

So because the Play Store doesn’t allow other app stores, you have to go about getting the Amazon Appstore a little differently.

  1. First up, we need to allow apps from outside the Play Store to be installed on the phone. Head to Settings > Security > and then tap Allow Unknown Sources on.
    Unknown Sources
  2. Now, we need to get the app store file onto the phone so to do that, head to the link below from your Android phone:
    Amazon Appstore Download
  3. Once there, you can tap Download and it’ll save it to your phone.
  4. After it downloads, tap the download notification in the notification shade and it’ll install.
  5. Once installed, you can click Open to get to the app store and you’ll be able to get to it in the future from your regular app drawer like any other app.
  6. Once you open it, you’ll need to sign in with your Amazon account in order to use it, so do that.

Amazon Appstore Home Page

Now, that that’s installed and ready to go, let’s discuss some of its advantages.

Amazon Coins

First up, Amazon offers Amazon coins, a type of virtual currency that you can purchase from Amazon to then spend on apps, games, and in-app purchases in the Amazon App Store. Essentially these coins help save you money. Every 100 coins is worth $1, so a $0.99 app would cost 99 coins. The difference is, the more coins you buy the more of a discount you get. Sometimes they even run specials that increase these discounts, too. At the moment, you can see that you can get 500 coins for $4.50, 1000 for $8.80 and so on even getting 50,000 for just $375. If you’re a big gamer and spend a lot of money in-app, this can be a great way save a bit without having to do much.

Amazon Coins

In addition to that, Amazon regularly gives coin-back bonuses for specific in-app purchases. So if there’s a 20% Amazon Coins back offer on an in-app purchase of $19.99, you’d get back $3.99 in coins to use on future purchases.

Amazon Underground

Besides coins, Amazon has a unique section of their site that’s devoted to apps and games that are free called Amazon Underground. A lot of these are games and apps from the Play Store that actually cost money there, but in the Amazon Underground section they’re free.

Actually Free Banner

Not only are they free to download but a lot of them have free in-app purchases compared to their Play Store counterparts. You can see the apps that have these special free in-app purchases by a small badge that says Actually Free on the app icon in store.


Make Your Android Lollipop/Marshmallow Device Feel a Lot Faster

People have asked me why my Android phones look so snappy in some of my videos lately and wondering if I overclocked the phones. I haven’t, most of the time, and it’s actually something I immediately do when getting a new Android phone. It’s a quick little tip that anyone with a lollipop or newer Android phone can do.

How to Make Your Android Device Feel Faster

  1. On the phone, head to Settings by pulling down the notification shade and tapping the gear at the top right.
    Android Settings
  2. Then head to about phone and we’re going to enable developer options by tapping build number repeatedly until it tells you that you are a developer.
    Enable Developer Options
  3. Then tap back, then tap on the new developer options that just appeared.
    Developer Options
  4. Then scroll down until you see the Drawing section. In there you’ll see three options that we’re going to change. Window animation scale, transition animation scale, and animator duration scale. Tap each one and change the duration to anything less than one with the lower number being the fastest feeling.
    Animation Scale Settings
  5. Then you can hit the home button and open spots to test his it feels.

Essentially what each of these options does is control how long the device’s animations take between launching apps, loading screens, etc. We didn’t make the phone faster technically but you’ll see that it’ll feel faster since some of the animations take longer than the loading it the app and make it seem to be taking longer to load.

Set these options to 10x and you’ll see an exaggerated example of this.

And that’s it. To undo this simply set everything back to 1x.

It’s funny because after doing this to my phones, it becomes very hard to have to normal animation time again. So, you know, you have been warned.

Anyone find this useful? Let me know in the comments below!


Many iPhone SE users complain about audio issues with Bluetooth phone calls

As evidenced by a growing thread on the Apple Support Communities, many owners of the new iPhone SE smartphone are plagued with various Bluetooth issues. Folks are reporting distorted or inaudible calls when the handset is paired with a car or headset. These issues appear to only affect Bluetooth phone calls, not music playback. Apple had not […]



What is Continuum? (Video)

One of Windows Phone 10’s really great features that sets it apart from the other mobile operating systems is the new Continuum feature. This feature allows you to plug-in to a monitor or a TV via a separate dock accessory, HDMI, or Miracast dongle (to wirelessly cast it) to get a full-blown version of Windows 10 running from the phone.

It’s pretty simple to set up, but unfortunately, it isn’t quite that simple. Nor is it that easy to understand what it can and cannot actually do so I figured I’d put together this video showing what Continuum is and how you can use it.

How to Use Continuum

So there are three ways to use Continuum. Essentially you need a way to project the phone’s screen to another screen (i.e. a monitor or TV) and some input devices, namely a mouse and keyboard. Here’s the options.

Display Dock

Microsoft Continuum Dock

So the most obvious way, thanks to Microsoft’s marketing, is the purpose built accessory, the Display Dock. This small brick allows you to connect your phone to any monitor/TV that has either an HDMI or DisplayPort available. You can then use its other ports to connect a keyboard, mouse, or other peripherals.

Besides the USB-C port that you use to connect your phone to it (that also charges the phone for you, by the way), it includes 3 USB 2.0 ports, an HDMI port, a DisplayPort, and a microUSB port. The downsides to this method, is 1. you need to carry it and it’s power adapter with you if you travel with it, 2. it requires its own power, and 3. it costs $99 to buy (or $97 here on Amazon).


Belkin Miracast

MiraCast is a protocol for beaming a display to another device and, thankfully, Continuum and Windows Phone support it. If you have a TV that has the protocol built-in, you can easily tap on the Continuum app on the phone and tap Wireless Display to connect to it.

If you don’t have a display with that built-in, you can always buy a Miracast enabled HDMI dongle like this one, and that’ll allow you to plug it in to any HDMI port on a display to get it to work.

Benefits of this method include the portability of just needing to carry around the tiny dongle instead of the heavy port

USB-C to HDMI Cable

If you’d rather not use the wired approach, you can actually use a proper USB-C to HDMI cable, like this one, to connect the phone to the display and that works, is much cheaper, but doesn’t allow for charging or extra ports, of course.

Keyboard and Mouse

Surface Mouse

Regardless of any of the above three ways to get the screen working, the best way to get the mouse and keyboard to work on Continuum is to get a bluetooth mouse and keyboard, connect them to the phone, and then use those to control the phone.

After searching around for a while, I ended up getting this mouse because of its super small size, accuracy, and the fact it doesn’t need a dongle and this bluetooth keyboard for the same reasons. Regardless any keyboard or mouse with Bluetooth will work with Continuum.

What Continuum Can and Cannot Do

So now that we have it setup, it is a bit of a misnomer to say that it is a “full-blown version of Windows 10”. While it does feel that way at first glance there are a few things to note that it actually cannot do that an actual Windows 10 computer can.

There is No Desktop

So while it may seem like there is a desktop with a start screen, it turns out that it’s actually a large static image used to just fill up the space in the background. What is the difference between that and a desktop you say? Well, you can’t put anything on it — no icons, shortcuts, files, etc. It’s just a background.


Real Desktop

There is no side by side windows or any windows at all actually. Any time you open an app, it simply takes over the entire screen and opening another replaces it. You can still switch between them like you normally would and jump from one to the other but you can’t use two on the same screen at the same time (and opening the same app on the phone will actually pull it from the desktop and open it on the phone).

Can’t Use Most Windows Apps

Contrary to what most of us were led to believe with the unveiling of Continuum, you cannot run most apps or programs meant for Windows 10. Any program meant for 32 or 64 bit Windows will not work, only ones made to work with ARM processors work –just like the old Surface RT.

OK, So What Can It Do?

With all of that said, however, it still does allow the apps that do work (like the Office suite for example) to show as they would on a computer and, with the help of a Bluetooth mouse and keyboard, allow you to work within them much more efficiently than on the phone.

Even if it feels to me like it isn’t quite what I expected (or wanted) from this feature is still has some value and combined with the above keyboard and mouse I found, it’s a cool way to get a little work done will traveling. Throw in the Miracast dongle to that hotel TV, open up the keyboard and mouse on a book on the bed, good to go.

So what do you guys think knowing all this about it? Is it useful? Is it worth getting a Windows Phone for this?

Read More: What is Continuum? (Video)


Microsoft’s Hub Keyboard now available on iPhone

Microsoft’s Hub Keyboard is now available for the iPhone. No, it’s not the Windows Phone keyboard that’s being ported to Apple’s handset. It’s an iOS version of the Hub Keyboard that landed on Android in February. Like other third-party software keyboards, Hub can be easily installed on your device once downloaded. Just navigate to Settings > […]



Microsoft’s Hub Keyboard now available on iPhone

Microsoft’s Hub Keyboard is now available for the iPhone. No, it’s not the Windows Phone keyboard that’s being ported to Apple’s handset. It’s an iOS version of the Hub Keyboard that landed on Android in February. Like other third-party software keyboards, Hub can be easily installed on your device once downloaded. Just navigate to Settings > […]



Microsoft Build 2016: Everything You Need to Know (Video)

While not the most celebrated or anticipated conference, Microsoft Build is still an important event. As an event for developers on Windows and Windows still being the most popular desktop operating system, the things announced at Microsoft’s Build event have some impact.

While it is a 3 day long event – that can actually be live streamed in it’s entirety – I figured I’d grab some of the most important announcements and condense them into an easier to digest video and bulleted list. From bots and a new age for Cortana, the Microsoft virtual assistant, to big changes for Skype and even Xbox being able to run Windows apps, check it out and let me know what you think in the comments below.

Anniversary Update

  • Biometrics for all apps
  • Windows Ink
  • Comes to Xbox and Holo Lens

Windows Ink

  • Cortana can grab words contextually and then use them to set reminders, edit
  • Rulers from the other hand can be controlled with two fingers to rotate and one to position, then you can use it to straighten lines
  • Ink drawn on a map can calculate distance, can record elevation so it is 3D when rotated
  • Crossing out words or paragraphs will erase them, highlighting can be straightened

Universal Apps

  • New Universal apps that will work on Xbox, Windows Desktop and Windows Phone
  • Bash shell from Ubuntu linux binaries running on Windows
  • Desktop app converter to convert existing desktop app from 32 bit or DotNet to a new universal app


  • Xbox Dev Mode – Convert retail Xbox to Dev Kit with an app
  • Single store for Xbox, Windows and Windows Phone
  • Cortana
  • New Features like Background Music, new features announced at E3 in June

Holo Lens

  • Shipping to Windows Developers Now for $3000

Cortana and Bots

  • Cortana understands more context
  • Bots are apps that can communicate with you through text in a conversational way
  • Cortana can help you communicate with bots by recommending one when you need it and handing you off to it
  • Available on all your devices (Android, iOS, Windows, etc.)
  • Cortana can see emails and help grab documents and send them to contacts with a sentence (“Send Ben the powerpoint I was working on last night”)
  • Cortana wants to monitor your activities to learn how you operate and then preemptively offer help (“Would you like me to add the taxi ride you took last night to your upcoming expense report that is due soon?”)


  • Video mail new look
  • Cortana is in Skype chats
  • She’ll highlight text to try and improve your conversation (i.e. highlight a company name within your chat automatically and have that bring up a card containing info on the company)
  • She can privately message you and broker your conversations between you and bots (like a real personal assistant) with info from bots (“I just received a message from the Cups and Cakes Bot. They have a package and would like to know your location for delivery. Should I share it?)
  • Grabs info from other chats and will use that later to help you (you mention a trip it offers the Westin Bot to help book it).
  • Knows who you talk to so might offer to ask you if you want to reach out to a friend that she knows lives in the location you are about to travel to then prepare a message with info taken from your other conversations about the trip (i.e. she knows you’re going to Dublin from the 1st to the 3rd and asks you if you want to message a friend that lives in Dublin with the message “Hi Janny, I’m going to be in Dublin between the 1st and 3rd. Would love to catch up!
  • Intelligence like this in real time into videos is coming as well
  • Developers can access the Skype Bot SDK right now
  • Skype consumers can access bots right now as well in their Windows, iOS, and Android apps.
  • Skype for Holo Lens released as well

There you go a quick overview of everything announced at Microsoft Build 2016. Let me know what you guys think in the comments below!

Read More: Microsoft Build 2016: Everything You Need to Know (Video)


Samsung and others want to stop Apple from selling refurbished iPhones in India

A month after Apple sought permission from the Indian government to sell used iPhones in the country, the move has ignited backlash from competitors like Samsung and local phone vendors who are now opposing Apple’s move on environmental grounds, reports Bloomberg. The newly formed Mobile and Communications Council has issued the letter to the government […]