Android Cell Phone Tips

Android phones constitute well over 50% of the cell phone market so I assume that many of you have an Android phone. I thought about some key things on using an Android phone that I believe will help you get more out of the phone while enjoying maximum security and communication efficiency.

I've made a list of six things that include security, organizing your data, improving communications, as well as preventing unnecessary data fees. Let's begin with security.

Set Up a Pin Code for Top Data Security

One of the best things you can do to secure your phone is to set-up a pin code so that if you lose your phone, nobody can access your data, or even worse, be a victim of identify theft. To set-up a pin code, go into Settings, then select Security, and Screen Lock. From there it's just a matter of setting up the Pin. 

Installing Anti-Virus Software Can Protect Your Lost Phone

Not only does a good anti-virus program for your Android phone protect it from the usual virus problems, it will also warn you when you’re about to click on a possible dangerous link or inform you about spyware snooping on you.  In some cases, the anti-virus program will even end a process for optimum performance. AVG has an excellent anti-virus app for Android phones that is free and it does a great job in performing the above mentioned duties.  Besides this protection, if you lose the phone, it will lock it down, track the location through the GPS, and can even wipe your data if you feel  there’s no hope in retrieving the phone and you don’t want your phone data compromised. To install AVG you can download from the app store. AVG is also an excellent anti-virus program for your PC, and the download and virus definition updates are free.

Back-up Your Data and Settings 

You can lose data and your settings on your cell phone just like you can lose them on your PC. It makes sense to back-up your data to the Google servers so you can do a restore if you have a problem down the road. To back-up your data, go to Settings, and select Backup & reset.  A new window will open; select the choice, “Back up my data.” To fine tune this process, select the choice Backup account.  The “Set backup account” window will open with a list of any google accounts you’re using. There will also be a choice for adding another account.  If you select that choice, it will ask you if you want to use an existing account or create a new one.  If you select existing account, you will then be asked to login with your username/password. After a successful login, you will see a window, “Account sign-in successful,” along with all of the accounts that are synched. Your specific phone may not have these exact words, but the process will be very similar.

You can also back-up other data such as music, pictures, and videos using 3rd-party software.  One popular program is AirSync from Doubletwist. It costs five dollars but does a great job backing up your data and synching your data with your PC.  You can also use Google Music and Piccasa, which will do a good job backing up your data and it’s free.

Use Folders to Organize Your Apps

I have a lot of apps on my smartphone. I'm sure you have quite a few as well. I got frustrated one evening when I could not locate an app due to the sheer number of them listed on the screen. It was from that experience that I decided to create a few folders and organize my data.

To create a folder, on some phones just simply go into Settings and select folders. However, on many Android smartphones, you don't have a menu for that choice. You create the folder by laying one app on top of another. If you drag an app icon over to another app icon and drop it on top of it, the phone will automatically show both apps in a box with "unnamed folder" below. Just click on the unnamed folder to name it whatever folder title you want and then depress the Done button. 

Clear the App Cache When it Misbehaves

One of the frustrating things with phones is an app that is out of control. It seems to raise havoc with the phone, and crashes frequently. Rather than going to the extreme to uninstall it, first see if clearing the cache corrects the problem. Much of the time, it will. To clear the cache, go to Settings, then Applications, followed by Manage Applications, followed by selecting the misbehaving app. Clearing the cache will not have any effect on your settings so you can do this procedure with confidence. 

Avoid Paying Extra for Exceeding Data Limit

If you’re on a limited data plan, it’s important to know how much data you’ve used. To view your data usage, go to Settings, then select Data Usage. You will see a list of all of your apps that consume data with the amount used thus far. You can also view each app settings but the important item is the choice to limit the app’s usage. Check the box, “Limit mobile data usage.” You can also specify what is the cutoff point. If you only want to focus on limiting one specific app, since each app is listed, select the app and a new window will open for designating what data limit you want to assisgn.  Just check the box, “Restrict background data.” Doing this restricts your mobile network data usage but will allow you to use WiFi if it’s available. Remember, using WFfi does not count toward your minutes or data usage. 

It really only takes a few minutes to implement the above tips. Keep in mind that some Android menus will be worded slightly differently, depending on the manufacturer. I'll provide more Android cell phone tips in future posts.


8 Ways to Conserve Cell Phone Battery Power

Many people have chucked their land-line phone and use only their cell phone now. As a result, cell phones get heavy usage, and if you've got a smartphone, other features add to the mix. The battery is being called upon to do a lot of work, so it pays to eliminate those unnecessary power drains that sap the battery charge. 

8 Ways to Conserve Cell Phone Battery Power

  1. A lot of phones have a power conservation mode; use it if it's available.
  2. Turn display brightness down or use an automatic brightness setting
  3. Lower your timeout settings which reduces brightness after x amount of seconds.
  4. Wifi consumes less power; use it if it's available. However, remember that having Wifi always enabled will also drain your battery more since your device will search for it. If you're traveling or not in a Wifi hotspot, turn Wifi off. 
  5. Turn GPS, Bluetooth, and NFC off when not in use.
  6. If you use a lot of apps, consider paying for them since they will be less draining. Paid apps don't have ads like the free ones do.
  7. Get rid of all extra display widgets and wallpaper.
  8. Go into the Airplane Mode if you're only using the phone for admin tasks. The Airplane Mode kills all send or receive communications but still allows you to use your calendar, draft emails, and other non-communicative phone features.

Keep in mind that a cell phone battery is not cheap. By following the above list, you are decreasing the rate of power consumption, which equates to fewer battery recharging sessions. Remember that a battery can only be recharged so many times and then a replacement will be necessary. 

In the beginning, like any new set of habits, this might seem a little constrictive but over time you will see the positive results. And saving yourself the frustration of your battery going dead while waiting for an important call could in itself be worth the effort!

Benefit by Using WiFi With Your Cell Phone

Does your cell phone bill ever go down? Not in a million years, right? And I know a number of people who have to keep going to a higher tier plan because of all the minutes they consume. One of the best tips I can think of for saving those precious phone plan minutes is using WiFi to make calls. 

2 Good reasons for Using WiFi to Make Calls

  • Using WiFi does not count toward your "on-air" phone plan minutes.
  • If you live in an area where you don't get a good signal, or maybe a completely non-existent signal, going to WiFi could solve the problem since you're not using a cell phone tower.

Get a Router for Home WiFi

Okay, here's the downside, although it's not too down. If you don't already have a wireless router/WAP (Wireless Access Point), you will need one if you use your cell phone frequently at your house. You can get a good wireless router at an electronics or PC store for about $70, along with a Cat-5 cable (a few dollars) to connect the router to your cable modem. 

When you make a call, you are going from your phone to the router wirelessly, and the router sends the voice data over a connected Internet line via your cable modem. Also keep in mind that you can connect to a WiFi public hotspot with the phone, just like you can with your laptop, so if you're in a Starbucks having coffee, you're all set. 

Most of the cell phones now have WiFi capability. Go into your phone's System Settings to locate it. If this is a challenge, your phone manual will tell you exactly how to find it on your specific model. Once you've found it, make sure to enable it. I have an LG Viper smartphone, and it will also keep track of how many minutes I used the WiFi, a great feature that I love. You should not notice much of a difference using the WiFi in terms of call quality; in fact the quality is quite good. 

Other Router Benefits

There's also a non-phone related side benefit to having the router. Now you can compute from anywhere in the house. If you enjoy sitting on the couch in the living room while computing, you can now do it and surf the Web. You can also relocate your desktop PC to a better location if its current spot is not to your liking. If you've purchased a PC within the last few years, it probably has WiFi capability. If not you can purchase an adapter for it for about $30 dollars.

There are a number of benefits to using WiFi and who knows, it just might make the difference in your phone bill so you don't have to buy that more expensive plan. That should definitely put a smile on your face.