Tag Archives: play store

How to Change the Keyboard on an Android Device

So it has occurred to me that a lot of people don’t realize the extent of which you can customize an Android device. From the home screen launcher, to the theme, to the phone dialer/messaging/email app, the list is endless. It’s one of the beauties of Android –total freedom to replace what you don’t like with some developer’s better attempt.

It’s the sheer number of people I’ve met that are still using TouchWiz and cursing at it that has brought me to think that it warrants a small series of videos here on the site (if not a PSA blasted across the country) on how to get the most out of the customization options of Android. So here goes.

To start this off, let’s begin with one of the first things I do when getting a new Android device –the keyboard. It’s the fastest way for me to get a sense of familiarity and it is the first thing that annoys me about a lot of manufacturer’s custom interfaces (just like how you’ve come to learn the layout of the keyboard for most computers, I’ve come to get used to a specific way I want my Android keyboard. Thanks, conditioning!).

If you type “keyboard” into the Play Store, you’ll be presented with a lot of interesting options for replacements. There’s ones that allow you to swipe the keys to form words, ones with unconventional keys with multiple letters per key that guess the letter you actually want, ones in crazy colors and styles, and most have a lot more customization options than the one your manufacturer thought you’d like.

Swapping out the keyboard is a lot like downloading any other app; find the keyboard you want from the Play Store and install it. The difference is that you need to set it up after downloading it. And although some will walk you through this process when you install the keyboard, not all do so it’s probably best to know how to do it manually regardless. Here’s how:

I. Download the New Keyboard

1. Open the Play Store.

2. Search for “keyboard”.

3. Choose a keyboard you want to try and install it.

II. Setup the New Keyboard

1. Go to Settings > Language and Input (this might be called something else depending on your device, but look for something that might contain keyboard settings).

2. Check the box next to the new keyboard name to enable it.

3. Tap on Default and then choose the new keyboard to set it as the default keyboard.

4. Open any app that has typing in it, and tap in the text field. The new keyboard should pop up.

Find any amazing keyboards? Share them in the comments below!

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How to Change the Icons/Theme on Your Android Device

Now that you’ve learned to change your Android device’s home screen launcher, you can take the customizing of Android one step further by adding a custom theme for that launcher to change the icons for apps, skin the device, change the wallpaper, etc.

Just like with the custom launcher scene, there’s no shortage of themes (and some are pretty popular). From making your Android device resemble all of the other operating systems (from Windows Phone to Blackberry to iOS), to giving your device a much more cartoony look, there’s no limit getting your device to look the way you really want it to look.

Ready to try a few? Here’s how.

I. Setup a New Launcher

1. Head to my How to Change the Home Screen Launcher tutorial, complete it, then return here to continue. Keep in mind when looking for a launcher to theme, that the more popular the launcher, the more themes will be available for it (as not all themes are compatible with all launchers).

II. Download the Theme You Want

1. Open the Play Store.

2. Search for the name of your launcher followed by the word “theme” (i.e. Apex theme, Nova theme, etc.). Alternatively, you can add other words describing the theme to narrow the search (i.e. Apex flat theme, Apex cartoon theme, Apex iPhone theme, etc.).

3. Once you find one you like, check its description to make sure it says it works for your theme, then click Install.

III. Select the Theme

1. Depending on your launcher, the option for themes might be in a different location, but for the most part, head to your launcher’s settings menu and look for theme there. Alternatively, some themes allow you to open them like a normal app and tap your launcher’s name from inside there to have it install automatically (but I find that this is just a place for really annoying ads most of the time).

2. From there, select the theme you downloaded and hit Apply. To undo a them, simply head to the theme settings in your launcher again and choose the default theme (or another theme).

Enjoy!

Find any amazing themes? Share them in the comments below!

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How to Change the Home Screen Launcher on an Android Device

As part of my new series on getting the most out of customizing your Android device, I figure a big one is changing the Android Launcher (aka the home screen). The easiest way to think of this is that, essentially, the home screen is its own app. Unlike your normal apps that are called by tapping on their icon, the home screen all, called a “launcher”, is called every time you hit the home button. It even stores itself in memory in some cases, ready for when you need it again (which is a lot).

And as with most apps running on Android (we’ll get more into that later in the series), the launcher can be replaced, nay, supplanted, with a better, faster launcher and there are no shortage of alternatives. Simply typing “launcher” into the Play Store will return a ton of results, each with their own customization options, benefits, and themes. Oh, and don’t think these are being used by a minority of people. Some of these launchers have over 100 million downloads, and most have over 1 million.

Ready to give one a try? Here’s how.

I. Download a New Launcher

1. Open the Play Store.

2. Search for “launcher”.

3. Choose one of the launchers you’d like to try and install it.

II. Test Out the New Launcher

1. Tap the home button.

2. When prompted, tap the new launcher’s name from the list and hit Just Once.

3. Try it out and every time you hit the home button tap Just Once.

III. Replace the Default Home Screen with the New Launcher

1. Tap the home button.

2. When prompted, tap the new launcher’s name from the list and hit Always.

3. Now, every time you hit home, it’ll open the new launcher instead of the old one (you can uninstall the new launcher the same way you do any other app and then you’re original launcher will become the default again).

Before reading this, did you even know about custom launchers? After trying this, what’s your favorite launcher so far?

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How to Change the Camera on Your Android Device

Continuing with my new series on getting the most out of customizing Android (since it seems most people don’t realize to the extent you can actually customize an Android device), I’m moving on to something that can change the way you see the world –the camera.

Just like with changing the home screen launcher or the keyboard, there are a ton of camera options to choose from. Some have fun filters and photo features (like the oh-so-popular photo blur effect originally found in the HTC One M8’s camera), while others have a ton of more professional grade settings for the more hardcore photographers out there. Regardless of your level of expertise though, changing the camera can definitely make using your device on a daily basis a more pleasant experience.

Here’s how to change the camera on your Android device and some of the more popular options available.

I. Download the New Camera

1. Open the Play Store.

2. Search for “camera”.

3. Choose one of the many camera options to try and install it.

II. Use the New Camera

Unlike the keyboard and home screen, you don’t need to set the camera as a default right away to use it (but you can select it whenever another app tries to use the camera. It’ll give you the option to use the new camera by default and you can decide if you want to when that happens on your own).

1. Whenever you want to take a picture with the new camera, simply tap that camera app instead of the normal camera app. I also highly recommend putting the camera app icon where ever you had the original camera app icon (i.e. on the home screen or in the dock on the homescreen) so that it’s where you are used to tapping for taking photos.

If you do use a gesture or a button to open the camera normally, simply do that like normal and Android should prompt you to choose what camera app you want to use as the default for that action now that you have more than one suitable option for it to choose from. Simply select the new camera to help make the transition to it a bit more seamless.

You can also always uninstall the new camera to get back to using the old one instead.

That’s it! Try it out and let me know what your favorite camera apps are that you’ve found in the comments below!

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How to Change the Music Player on Your Android Device

Here we have another part of my series on getting the mort out of customizing Android (since it seems a lot of people don’t realize just how much you can change the Android OS). This time I’m going to show you how to change the default music player in Android so you don’t have to be stuck with the one the manufacturer (or Google) decided you should use.

Just like changing the home screen, the keyboard, or the camera as I showed you before, there are a ton of music players out there to choose from when thinking of making the switch. Some of them are entire services in themselves like Spotify, for example, and others are just better music players that can help organize your music (from where ever you downloaded it from) in a way that might be more to your liking. For the music player, it’s just as easy as with changing those other parts of the Android ecosystem I mentioned –download the new player and begin setting it as your default whenever prompted.

Here’s how to find a music player that you might like, some popular options that others use, and how to make sure it’s what Android uses for all your available tunes.

I. Download the New Music Player

1. Open the Play Store.

2. Search for “music player”.

3. Choose from the plethora of options and install one to try out.

II. Set it as the New Default Music Player

Like with the camera, there is no way to set it as the default app to handle music right away, you have to replace the app icon you usually use for music (and the widget if you use one) and tap it instead of the old music icon for now and then whenever you use an action (i.e. a gesture to launch the music app, plug in the headphones to launch a music app, etc.) you’ll be prompted by Android to choose what music application to use for that action and if you want it to be the new default app for that.

You can also always uninstall the new music player to revert back to the old one and undo the defaults you set.

There you go! Let me, and others, know what your favorite music players are and why in comments below!

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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.

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Apple Music for Android now supports saving songs to SD cards

Apple released an update for the Apple Music app on the Android platform via the Google Play Store on Wednesday with a much-needed new feature: the ability to save songs from the app to your Android device’s removable SD card storage…. Read the rest of this post here “Apple Music for Android now supports saving […]

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Apple Music for Android now supports saving songs to SD cards

Apple released an update for the Apple Music app on the Android platform via the Google Play Store on Wednesday with a much-needed new feature: the ability to save songs from the app to your Android device’s removable SD card storage…. Read the rest of this post here “Apple Music for Android now supports saving […]

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Apple Music for Android now supports saving songs to SD cards

Apple released an update for the Apple Music app on the Android platform via the Google Play Store on Wednesday with a much-needed new feature: the ability to save songs from the app to your Android device’s removable SD card storage…. Read the rest of this post here “Apple Music for Android now supports saving […]

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Apple Music for Android now supports saving songs to SD cards

Apple released an update for the Apple Music app on the Android platform via the Google Play Store on Wednesday with a much-needed new feature: the ability to save songs from the app to your Android device’s removable SD card storage…. Read the rest of this post here “Apple Music for Android now supports saving […]

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