How To Back Up and Restore Your WhatsApp Messages with Google Drive

whatsapp-best-location-sharing-apps

WhatsApp is a great way to stay in touch with your loved ones, but you don’t want to lose all the conversations when you change phones. It’s super easy to back up your messages right from WhatsApp. Here’s the skinny.

Start by opening WhatsApp, and then tap the three-dot menu in the upper-right.

WhatsApp's main page

Tap “Settings.”

WhatsApp's menu

Select “Chats.”

WhatsApp's Settings screen

Tap “Chat backup.”

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Here’s When a Dark Theme Can Save Battery Power

Windows 10's blacked out Settings menu.

Dark themes are becoming more and more popular. On some devices, they can even save battery power. It all depends on what type of display your device have—only devices with OLED displays can reap the power-saving benefits.

Devices With OLED Displays Only

You’ve probably heard of OLED displays, especially if you’ve been on the market for a new TV in the last year or so. OLED screens differ from LCD and LED displays typically found in electronics in that OLEDs don’t have a backlight layer: each pixel is individually illuminated. This makes the display thinner, but the main draw is that black pixels don’t get lit up at all.

The result is higher contrast in your favorite films, inky blacks throughout any interface, and battery savings when you’re using a dark theme on your laptop or cell phone.

When a Dark Theme Can Save Battery Power on Your Laptop

Microsoft Edge's dark theme

OLED laptops are starting to appear, with some newer models just announced at CES 2019. There haven’t been any macOS or ChromeOS laptops with OLED screens, but there are a few Windows options. HP’s Spectre x360 15 is shipping with a 15-inch Samsung AMOLED display, while Lenovo is offering its Yoga C730 with an OLED panel. Surface fans will be out of luck—Microsoft hasn’t shipped an OLED screen on its laptops yet.

Changing to Windows’ dark theme is easy, and that will darken all of the built-in applications at the same time. Microsoft Office lets you change to a dark theme, as do a lot of third-party apps. Microsoft Edge, Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome all offer dark themes, but your favorite websites may or may not. Google’s official dark theme isn’t stable on Windows yet but will arrive in the next few months.

You won’t get the battery savings benefits if your laptop isn’t using an OLED display, and you could find the dark theme may harm your battery life—in theory, at least. A dark theme could lead you to crank your laptop’s brightness to read text and see buttons in the interface, and the higher brightness would draw more power from the battery. This will depend on how much light is in your environment, how well your eyesight works, and how efficient the backlight is—so you may not notice any difference. Just keep that in mind when you’re switching to the dark side.

Of course, if you’re looking to save battery power, there are plenty of ways to increase your Windows laptop’s battery life. You could even use Windows 10’s battery saver mode. We’ve covered a lot of tips for saving battery power on your MacBook, too. And the same basic principles apply to extending your Chromebook’s battery life, too.

When a Dark Theme Can Save Battery Power on Your Cell Phone

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How To Personalize Your Android Phone With Themes and Launchers

Android phone showing custom launcher

Android’s customizability is one reason many people prefer it. You can change the look, feel, and function of basically any Android phone with themes, custom launchers, and icon packs. Here’s how to get started.

Some phones allow you to install themes, while all Android phones let you install custom launchers and icon packs. These go a long way to making your phone unique, thanks to the nearly infinite launcher and icon pack customizations.

Step One: Choose a Theme (Some Phones Only)

themes on the play store

Some Android phones let you choose a theme for the phone dialer, messenger, Settings app, and other built-in applications. These are usually as simple as choices between light and dark backgrounds, but it may not be an all-or-nothing affair. For example, the Pixel line doesn’t let users choose between a light and dark theme for the Settings menu, but the Quick Settings menu, phone dialer, messenger, and some (but not all) of Google’s other applications can be individually toggled between light and dark mode.

If you use a flagship Galaxy phone, you get access to Samsung’s awesome theme store. This lets you change the icons used in Samsung’s launcher, the color of the Settings and Quick Settings menus, Samsung’s messaging app, phone dialer, and other built-in applications. It also lets you change the look of the navigation buttons. For example, the theme I’m using (called Material Dark) makes the navigation buttons look like those on vanilla Android phones. Finally, Samsung Themes lets you download different designs for your Always-on-Display, so even if your phone is just sitting on a table, you can show off a little personal flair.

details page for a theme

If you don’t get theming options with your phone manufacturer’s built-in apps, you can always use a different app from the Play Store. You can use Google Messages to send SMS, and Solid Explorer to browse files, and change between dark and light theme inside of those apps.

Step Two: Choose a Launcher

The launcher is where you’ll notice the biggest opportunity to customize your phone. The launcher is the first thing you’ll see when you unlock your phone, and where you’ll go when you’re not using an app. Besides giving you an aesthetic choice, launchers also let you navigate the phone faster with gestures.

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How to Turn an Old Android Phone into a Security Camera

Haven on an Android phone

If you have an old phone lying around, you can easily put it to good use by turning it into a mobile security camera. With the help of an app by Edward Snowden, it’s super simple. Here’s how.

Your phone already has the components of a “real” security camera—namely, a camera lens and an Internet connection. You’ve been able to do this with an Android phone for years, but there’s a newer way that’s even more secure.

We’re going to be using an app named Haven, which was built by NSA leaker Edward Snowden. You can use the app on almost any Android phone or tablet, from your old spare sitting in your drawer to a cheap $50 phone from WalMart. As long as your device has a working camera and microphone, you can use it as a security cam. You can install the Haven beta from the Google Play Store or compile it yourself from its Github repository.

Haven will work whether your phone is connected to Wi-Fi or with a USB-to-Ethernet adapter. If you go the wired Internet route, make sure to get an adapter that also carriers power. The Haven app itself only runs on Android devices, but you can set it to alert your iPhone.

Setting Up Haven on Your Old Phone

Before getting the Haven app set up, make sure your ideal spot has enough room for your phone to be mounted, get power, and where you can run an Ethernet cable or get Wi-Fi. Once that’s settled, open the Haven app. Swipe through the first couple of screens, then select “Configure.”

Haven setup screen

Tap “Allow” on the permission prompts for photo, media, and file access, and to take pictures and record video.

Haven permission prompt on Android

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How to Transfer Contacts to a New Android Phone

The Contacts app on Android.

Android gives you a few options for transferring your contacts to a new device. By default, everything should be synced when you set up a new device, but even if sync is disabled, it’s easy to move your contacts over.

The Easy Way: Sync With Your Google Account

Almost all Android devices sold outside of China come with Google services, including the ability to synchronize your contacts between devices. This should be enabled by default when you sign in with your Google account, but here’s how to make sure. We’re writing this guide using a Pixel 2 XL running Android 9.0, but it should look similar on other Android devices. We’re also using the stock Google Contacts apps, which you can download from the Play Store. These steps may not be the same on other Contact apps, so if you’re having issues, we recommend using Google Contacts.

Start by opening the Settings app and tapping “Accounts.”

Android settings

Tap your Google account.

Google Account settings

Tap “Account Sync.”

Account sync settings

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