Friday, December 15, 2017

Privacy-minded AppLock app for Android gets support for Android Oreo 8.0.

I got my brand-new OnePlus 5T yesterday and I love it. It’s super-fast and best of all, it cost less than $500 and comes with the same specs as high-end and very expensive so-called flagships – looking at you Apple and Samsung. Anyway, this is not the point of this blog post. It’s about AppLock, an app for Android that protects your privacy.

We store all kind of stuff on our devices, but we don’t necessarily want to show them to anyone handling our phones or tablets. That’s where AppLock comes in handy. The app lets you hide your photos and videos from prying eyes or lock apps.

I used the app on my former phone, a Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge. So, I downloaded the app from Google Store to lock some apps. Before you ask, I have my reasons and I do not want to share them with you. This is what privacy is all about and AppLock has been developed just for that. As a side note, my new phone, the OnePlus 5T has AppLock built-in – which is cool.

The standalone version of AppLock has been updated today. The changelog does not say much about the changes. There’s some optimized functions and bug fixes. The fact that the app now supports Android 8.0 Oreo is probably most newsworthy. But again, the changelog does not go into details about it.

If you’re privacy-minded, check-out AppLock in Google PlayStore. It supports protecting your privacy with a password, pattern and even fingerprint. Give it a try. The app contains in-app purchases should you want to unlock advanced features.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Firefox Focus 4.01 for Android lets you create custom search engines and adds sites to an autocomplete list.

A new version of Firefox Focus for Android is out, bringing some useful features. Before we dive into the changes, I want to point out the fact that Firefox Focus presents itself like no other browser on the market. The mobile browser is developed by Mozilla, which claims that Firefox Focus lets you “browse like no one’s watching. The new Firefox Focus automatically blocks a wide range of online trackers – from the moment you launch it to the second you leave.” In other words, Mozilla takes your privacy very seriously and erases your history after use. If you’re a privacy-minded user, Firefox Focus is the browser you should set as the default on your Android device. It also features a minimalistic design with few configurations options.  So much so that it does not even support tabs. Firefox Focus also supports most of the popular search engine that you can set in the browser’s settings.

Version 4 of the browser improves on the search engine features by letting users add their own search engines or remove the ones they don’t want. Mozilla added a new “Add another search engine” button in settings. To add a search engine of your own, tap Settings – the three-vertical bar at the top right of the app. Under Search, tap Add another search engine. Give your search a name and in the search string to use field, enter the link to your query.

Here are some popular search queries you can use:

When done, tap save.

Should you want to remove unwanted search engine, follow the same process and tap remove and put a check mark next to the search engine you want remove and tap the trash icon. Tap the back arrow to save your changes.

Mozilla also added an autocomplete feature to Firefox Focus so users can get to websites with less typing. Autocomplete can be enabled in Settings > URL Autocomplete. Then tap the switch next to the option you want two turn on. These two options are:

Default URL List: Enables autocomplete in the address bar for the most popular websites.

Custom URL: Enables autocomplete for web addresses that you enter yourself.

After you’re done, tap the back arrow to save your changes.

Firefox Focus is a robust browser for Android I strongly recommend you add to your app list. And it is available free for download in Google Play Store.

VLC for Android update brings back 'lost' Artists/Albums in media library.

More than a week ago I blogged about VLC for Android getting a major update, and this week, the popular media player is getting a few fixes. According to the developer, some users have reported they were unable to see some of their artists/albums in the media library. This update will fix that issue and will also “try” to recover playlists from the old database to the new one.

Here’s the rest of the fixes in this update that raises the version to 2.5.13:

·       Fix videos not disappearing after deletion.

·       Restore WhatsApp videos for those who didn’t had it anymore.

·       Add WhatsApp videos to quick access shortcuts.

·       Fix ‘seen’ check on RTL devices.

·       Fix some Chromebooks showing TV interface.

Again, VLC for Android is a powerful media player you should try. It supports just about any format imaginable and it’s cross-platform. Better yet, it is completely free in Google Play Store.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Instagram makes it easier to follow users and accounts with hashtags.

Instagram just made it easier to follow whatever you like on Android, Apple devices and the web. As usual there’s nothing for Windows 10 PCs. What’s a PC anyway? But I digress. As of today, Instagram users on the aforementioned platform will be able to follow whatever they like thanks to hashtags.

According to Instagram, millions of users share photos, videos and tag them every day. With the update rolling out today, users will be able to tap on a hashtag to follow other Instagram users, similar to following a friend. Users can search for a topic of interest or tap a hashtag in a post and they will see related posts. Users will then see a follow button on their screens that they can tap to follow the topic or the account with the ability to unfollow later.

Instagram is also making it easier to find hashtags from other users’ account and Instagram says that “hashtags you follow respect your privacy settings.” Setting the hashtags to private will only be visible to your followers.

Instagram said that the update has started rolling out today. It may not be available to you today, but do check out on Google PlayStore as from now on.

Pocket Casts for Android now lets you switch themes without a restart.

Pocket Casts, my favorite podcast app on Android, got updated with a minor update today, raising the version number to 6.4.6.  Before I list the change log, the developer announced some major changes in version 7.4.7, which is a big jump from today’s update. I can’t wait to see what they have in store.

In today’s update, Pocket Casts brings a new “Extra Dark OLED theme.” Dark themes make it easy on the eyes should you choose to watch a video podcast…in the dark. This is great especially if you have a partner sharing the same room or bed. While this might sound like a minor addition, it won’t necessitate a restart of the app. Currently, changing the theme is already available in the app. But doing so requires closing and re-opening the app. With this update, this is not required. The change will happen on the fly. You would think that the most popular mobile platform on earth would handle such a change easily. But no.

This update also fixes some issue with “download URLs not changing properly when the author updates them.” Picture in Picture features also gets fixed as well as chromecasting. I assume that the former is available only on Android devices that runs Android Oreo or 8.0.

The update is available for download in Google Play Store for your podcast needs.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Google Contacts brings faster bulk merging of duplicate contacts.

Today Google has updated its Contacts app for Android. Yes, Google has a contact management app of its own which has been downloaded over 10 million times in the store. That’s not a lot for a Google app and the reason for this is simple. Contact is not built into Android and must be downloaded in the store. Most Android users do not do this because their phone manufacturers already provide their own apps as default that connects to users’ Google account on Google servers. I like Google Contacts over Samsung’s on my S7 Edge. While Samsung went to great length to make its app simple, I still prefer Google’s version.

In today’s update, users will be able to initiate Google Duo video calls directly from Contacts. With this integration, no need to go looking for Duo on one of your screens or through the app list to make a video call. The change log specifically says “setup and make Google Duo video calls directly from Contacts.” I cannot go deeper into this because nobody I know uses Duo.

This update also brings “faster bulk merging of duplicate contacts.” And for Japanese users, this update will “automatically fill in the phonetic name (furigana) for kanji characters.

If you want to take advantage of the features in this update, head in Google Play Store to download.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Dailymotion for Android lets you view vertical videos in full-screen mode.

Last week VidMe closed down citing inability to compete against Google and Facebook. That news made the headlines last week and that leaves users with one less option to choose from. No doubt YouTube remains the most dominant video platform on the market. Then, there’s Dailymotion, a French owned video platform that’s still available should you want to join a less crowded video platform.

Dailymotion was updated today, offering Android users the ability to display vertical videos in full-screen mode. The update also brings some small improvements to account management and an improved playlist management that lets you “re-order the videos.

If you’re a user of Dailymotion on Android, make sure you download the update in Google Play Store. If, on the other hand, you want to experience something other than YouTube, Dailymotion is the way to go.

Telegram for Android updated to version 4.6 will now show multiple photos from Instagram and Tweets as an album.

Telegram for Android has been updated to version 4.6 with a bunch of new features. The cross-platform messaging app offers fast and secure instant messaging and the developer claims the app “is the fastest messaging app on the market, connecting people via a unique, distributed network of data centers around the globe.

Telegram is indeed quite popular with Android users with over 100 million active users in its two and a half years of existence. Not as popular as WhatsApp which has a billion download. But WhatsApp is owned by Facebook and benefits from the billions of users of the world largest social network. Nonetheless, Telegram has a lot more features than WhatsApp with the same simplicity in terms of use.

As I’ve said above, version 4.6 introduces some new features. Here’s what’s new:

·       New granular settings for auto-downloading media.

·       Link previews for Instagram posts and tweets with multiple photos will now show all the media as an album.

·       Embeddable HTML-widget for messages in public channels and groups (available when viewing links to messages in web browsers).

·       Added support for albums to Secret Chats.

·       Added full support to MTProto 2.0.

Telegram has a reputation for taking privacy seriously and if I’m not mistaken, was the first messaging app to offer end-to-end encryption. The app uses a combination of 256-bit symmetric AES encryption, 2048-bit RSA encryption, and Diffie-Hellman secure key exchange. If none of these stuffs make sense to you, just know that Telegram offers the best in terms of protection.

The update is immediately available worldwide for download in Google Play Store.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

TuneIn 19.0 for Android gets a new icon, a sneak peak into things to come.

TuneIn Radio brings the world's largest collection of radio stations to your Android device, that's over 100,000 stations for your listening pleasure with categories including songs, podcasts, shows and more. The app is also cross-platform, therefore available on Windows Phone, iOS and Windows. TuneIn also has a social touch in that you can share whatever you're listening with your followers and vice-versa. The Android version of the app is also Android Wear friendly and works with Chromecast too.

Today TuneIn has been updated with a new icon which is “inspired by the ON AIR radio signage, it’s a sneak peak into things to come.” Obviously, TuneIn refrains from revealing what is to come, but we can safely assume it’s going to be good. So, this update is more like a placeholder for upcoming new features. As of this writing, Google Play Store still doesn't display the new icon, but you'll see it on your Android device after updating.

The change log does mention an upgrade to Google Play Services 11.4.0. Google Play Services “is an extension of the Google Play ecosystem and Google automatically updates Google Play services on all supported devices via the Google Play Store to ensure API consistency across devices and versions, and to deliver fixes and new features in a timely fashion…

This update also includes the usual bug fixes, crash fixes and improvements.

Check out TuneIn in Google Play Store.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Instagram releases two new tools: Stories Highlights and Stories Archive for Android.

Instagram has been on an update roll lately and today they are introducing two new tools for their users. The first is Stories Highlights. If you’re a serious Instagram user, you know that Instagram Stories are available for 24 hours only. That changes with today’s update. “Now you can more fully express your identity by grouping stories you’ve shared into highlights and featuring them on your profile.” These highlights will appear in a new section on your profile.

To create new Highlights, tap the “New” circle on the left and you will be able to choose stories from your archive. You will even be able to choose a cover and give it a name. Instagram says that your “highlight will appear as a circle on your profile that plays as a stand-alone story when someone taps it.” As I said above, Instagram has removed the 24 hours limit your highlights appear in your profile. However, you have the option to edit or remove them simply by tapping and holding on them.

Instagram will now also let you automatically save stories to your archive. “From there, you can easily switch between your Posts Archive and your new Stories Archive.” The most recent stories will appear at the bottom and tap on any of them to watch and share as a post or “add it to a highlight on your profile.” Before you worry, only you can see your archived stories and you can turn that off at any time in your profile settings.

Instagram is releasing this update to Android and iOS. Sorry for Windows users, as usual there’s nothing for you. Download and update Instagram for Android in Google Play Store.
Source: Instagram