How to Find Hidden Apps on Android

Although Android phones are quite popular and used by many, there are still things that baffle novices and seasoned Android owners alike. And no, we’re not talking about gaining root privileges over your Android device or re-packing operating systems to remove bloatware.

One of the most pressing matters you can find on select places on the Internet and online Android forums is whether or not you can see hidden apps on your phone, and how exactly you can do that.

We understand the urgency of mastering the ancient art of detecting hidden apps on your phone, therefore we’ll teach you how to unveil any piece of hidden software that may be installed on your Android device, whether it’s running in the background or is inactive and simply sitting there for no reason.

How to Find Hidden Apps on Android

Why does Android hide apps?

First of all, you need to understand that every Android phone has a set of hidden apps it comes with. The reason why you can’t see all apps is the very same reason why you don’t have root privileges on your Android phone, to begin with: to protect your device from being mishandled.

Many apps that are hidden by default are just running in the background and interacting with them in any way, much more so disabling them or deleting them altogether, could turn your entire device into a very expensive paperweight. Meaning you can brick it or render it unusable without flashing a fresh OS on it.

However, it’s worth mentioning that aside from these apps that are vital to your phone’s and operating system’s well-functioning you may also find malicious apps such as keyloggers or remote access trojans (RATs).

Another thing worth being aware of is that essentially Android phones are quite similar to one another, with slight particularities that vary from one manufacturer to another. Basically, it’s the Android version that matters most.

Therefore, a Samsung phone that runs on Android 10 will be quite similar to, say, an LG device that runs the same OS. As we said, you may find some particularities, but it shouldn’t be anything out of the ordinary.

How to Find Hidden Apps on Android

Although some Android versions are more strict regarding the way you interact with hidden or system apps, you should be at least able to see what’s running on your device, even if you can do little or nothing about it.

Some Android manufacturers let you perform some actions on system apps such as force-closing them or clearing their cache, for troubleshooting purposes. That being said, try the following methods to check if there’s any hidden app running on your system:

1. Using the Settings app:

  1. Open the Settings app
  2. Head to the Apps or Applications section
  3. Click the three-dot button somewhere in the upper-right corner of the screen
  4. Tap the Show hidden apps button

Note that sometimes the Show hidden apps button is available as Show system processes or something similar. Tapping this button should expand the list of apps that are available on your device, so that you may also see hidden ones or system processes.

Show system processes on Android

2. Using the app drawer

  1. Open the app drawer (swipe up on your home screen or tap the app drawer button)
  2. Tap the three-dot button in the upper-right corner of the screen
  3. Select the Hide apps option

If you’re not able to find the Hide apps button, you may be able to see a Home screen settings option instead. Try going to the home screen configuration screen and press the Hide apps button once it becomes available.

Depending on your device, you should now be able to see one of two things:

  1. A screen where you can manage hidden apps by either making hidden apps visible or adding new apps to the list so that they can be hidden
  2. A new tab at the top of your app drawer holding a bunch of apps that were previously not visible. In this scenario, you can remove hidden apps by simply dragging them from there and dropping them on your default app drawer or clicking the – button next to their icon to remove them from your phone altogether.

3. Using a custom launcher

We already explained that Android devices can act differently from one another, and most of them offer their own personalized version of the Android operating system. However, this doesn’t mean that we can’t mess around and find a way to bypass limitations if we find any.

One great example, in this case, is app drawer customization. Your Android’s default app drawer may not include the Hide apps option we’ve talked about in our previous section. However, Android does offer this function, so we’re going to trick your phone into letting us access it.

In this situation, you may want to install a custom launcher and try accessing hidden apps on your device through it. Here are some of the most popular Android launchers that support the Hide apps feature:

  • Nova Launcher
  • Microsoft Launcher
  • Poco Launcher
  • Evie Launcher
  • U Launcher
  • Lawnchair 2

After you install the new launcher on your Android phone or tablet, make sure to run the initial configuration steps and replace your default launcher with the newly installed one to avoid any compatibility problems and action key conflicts.

Note that each launcher has its own set of options, so what works with one launcher may not work with the others. Here’s how you can hide apps on the Nova Launcher, for instance:

  1. Open the Nova Launcher settings screen
  2. Tap the App & widget drawers button
  3. Scroll down to the Drawer Groups section
  4. Tap the Hide apps button
  5. Select the apps you want to hide from the list

Knowing this, you can easily browse the list to check if some of the apps on your phone have been already hidden. Note that although the apps have been hidden, they’re not inaccessible, as you can easily get to them by using your app drawer’s Search feature.

4. Using the Play Store

For obvious reasons, this applies only to Android phones that support Google Mobile Services and have Play Store functionalities. If you’re worried that you might’ve installed a fake app on your phone, you might want to check it on the Play Store.

Note that there are many apps that promise to do one thing when in reality they serve a different purpose. For instance, you can find a calculator app that works just like any Android calculators unless you type a pin number and hit the ‘=’ sign.

After doing so, it prompts you with an interface where you can manage hidden files on your device, and if your device is rooted, you can also use it to freeze or unfreeze apps.

To check if an app is really what it seems to be, tap and hold its icon, then select App Details once the context menu becomes visible. This will bring you to the app’s page in the Play Store, where a full description of the app and its purpose should be available for you to read.

5. Perform a scan

Last, but not least, if you’re worried about sketchy apps installed on your devices such as keyloggers or RATs, you might want to perform a full scan of your device using an antivirus or Google Play’s built-in scanner.

Google Play frequently scans its store for sketchy content and removes any app that goes against its Terms and Conditions. Fortunately for us, this includes keyloggers or any apps that can be used to spy on others.

If you tried doing that and you’re still suspicious about sketchy apps on your device, the last thing you could do is to perform a factory reset on your Android phone, which will remove any and all apps that the device didn’t have when it left the factory.

However, it’s worth mentioning that on rooted phones it’s possible to make certain apps persistent (even root), which means they might still be there after you perform the factory reset. To solve that, you’ll need to un-root your phone and flash a fresh OS image on your Android to remove any sign of malicious apps.

CONCLUSION on How to Find Hidden Spy Apps on Android

All in all, if you want to find hidden apps on your Android phone, there are many ways you can go about it. Since each Android manufacturer has a set of particularities, you may have to explore your phone’s options before you can find this feature.

It’s even possible to use custom launchers to unblock some of your device’s limitations in regard to hiding apps or managing hidden apps.

However, if you’re worried that someone is messing with your phone using hidden malicious apps, you may want to perform a scan, do a factory reset, remove root privileges (un-root your device), and even flash a new firmware if you’re still suspecting foul play.

The post How to Find Hidden Apps on Android appeared first on AddictiveTips.

Is Bluestacks Safe (And Legal) To Use?

Android games are becoming more and more complex, to the point where today’s mobile games rival PC games from 5 years ago.

However, there are still plenty of users out there that don’t like mobile gaming, either because they hate looking at a small screen, or because mobile gaming kills your battery’s life expectancy.

Whichever the cause, those of you that still love the titles but not the console can always use an Android emulator as a compromise, such as Bluestacks.

Is Bluestacks safe?

Unfortunately, there have been those that have questioned Blustacks’ reliability, and that’s precisely what we will be discussing in the article below.

What is Bluestacks?

Is Bluestacks legal?

Bluestacks is one of the most popular Android emulators in the world, with very few competitors even coming close to its market share.

It is completely free, it doesn’t take up too much space, and if you set your PC to support virtualization, it will run any Android game as if it were a native PC game.

While not officially labelled a gaming app, that’s what most users install it for, since a small 1GB game will run incredibly fast on an average PC.

So, if you’re running resource-intensive games such as Wild Rift or RAID: Shadow Legends, might as well run them on your PC and spare your phone the death sentence.

Is Bluestacks Safe (for PC and Mac) to Use?

For starters, we need to discuss why so many users are concerned about the security of their PCs when it comes to using Blustacks.

Bluestacks triggers false-positives

Apparently, Bluestacks has a habit of triggering false-positives during antivirus scans.

What this means is that whenever you run a full system scan using your antivirus, usually McAfee or Avast, both the install kit and the Bluestacks process running in the background will be detected as potential threats.

Bluestacks asks you to disable your Antivirus when installing it

Another reason why people have trust issues with installing Bluestacks is that it asks you to disable your antivirus protection when you first install it.

However, that’s merely to avoid the issue mentioned earlier, since some antiviruses might prevent you from installing it entirely.

We’ve taken the liberty of testing Bluestacks on our PCs and found nothing malicious, neither in the installation kit nor in the Bluestacks process.

As far as we are concerned, Bluestacks is safe to download, install, and use, but remember that this can only be said about the clients that you download from the official Bluestacks website.

Bluestacks can be resource-intensive on low-end PCs

One common symptom of malware infections is usually high CPU use, and this translates into a slow PC.

Well, because Bluestacks uses virtualization, it can be quite taxing on low-end computers, so when users see that Bluestacks is slowing down their PC, they naturally think that malware is to blame.

Another well-known theory is that Bluestacks may be hiding crypto-mining software, which would explain the high CPU and RAM use.

However, our antivirus scans revealed no such thing, so that’s yet another theory that we consider debunked.

The real reason why Android emulators are so taxing, even on high-end PCs for that matter, is because Android and PC operating systems such as Windows or macOS have a very different architecture.

Because of this difference, a lot of hardware resources are lost during conversion.

Unfortunately, if your PC does have issues like the ones described above, there’s nothing you can do but uninstall Bluestacks, or simply use an alternative Android emulator.

Past versions of Bluestacks encouraged app rating and reviewing

Yet another reason why Bluestacks was not so well-seen is that it had a very bizarre way of sustaining itself in the past.

More precisely, you either had to pay the Bluestacks developers or download apps and rate them.

While the second option may sound innocent enough, the problem with those apps was that they contained a lot of adware, so Bluestacksended up being associated with malware, and thus the negative image. 

Original Bluestacks versions came without an uninstaller

One of the biggest signs that a program may contain malware is that it is made to be difficult to remove.

That’s yet another that past versions of Bluestacks had since they didn’t provide you with an uninstaller.

Additionally, the Bluestacks install folder was made read-only, so manually deleting the files was out of the question as well.

Fortunately enough, this dark phase in the history of Bluestacks lasted for just a few months. Bluestacks now comes with a fully-functional uninstaller, and the install folder can be easily deleted manually.

Some users consider it piracy, like Nintendo emulators

Is Bluestacks legit?

Users love freebies, but they know that there’s always a catch, so they end up questioning whether Blustacks is legal or not.

This is because they associate Android emulators with Nintendo, Gameboy, or Gamecube emulators, and these are officially known to be illegal.

However, users need to remember that the only reason why they are illegal is because they include software copies of physical games, which is basically piracy.

This isn’t the case with Bluestacks, since all you download is the program itself, and the games you run are already available on the Google Play Store.

More so, remember the following:

  • The Android OS is open-source
  • BlueStacks doesn’t violate any Google Play policies
  • The platform comes with Google Play Store built into it
  • The Google Play Store will treat your BlueStack platform as a typical Android device

That being said, Bluestacks is 100% legal, so don’t worry if your PC is ever inspected and you have it installed.

VERDICT: Is Bluesctaks Legit?

All things considered, Bluestacks is safe and legal to use. Whatever issues it may have had in the past stayed in the past, and current-day tests proved that it is very reliable.

In fact, here’s a list of why you should trust Bluestacks:

  • The install kit contains no malware
  • It may slow down your PC, but for unrelated reasons
  • Whatever antivirus alerts it may trigger are false-positives

In conclusion, go ahead and download Bluestacks, because it is safe, legal, and the best way to bring your favourite Android apps to the big screen.

The post Is Bluestacks Safe (And Legal) To Use? appeared first on AddictiveTips.

How to install Android Studio in Ubuntu

If you’ve switched to Ubuntu from Mac OS or Windows to do Android development, you’ll need to know how to install Android Studio. In this guide, we’ll show you how to do just that. Follow along as we go over how to install Android Studio on Ubuntu.

install Android Studio in Ubuntu

How to install Android Studio in Ubuntu – Manually install via download from the website

Google distributes a downloadable version of Android Studio that is Linux distribution agnostic. This version is ideal for Ubuntu users.

To start the installation of Android Studio via the download version, open up a terminal window. You must install the required 32-bit libraries. These libraries enable Ubuntu 64-bit Android Studio to function correctly.

sudo apt install libc6:i386 libncurses5:i386 libstdc++6:i386 lib32z1 libbz2-1.0:i386

These libraries won’t take too long to install. Once they’re done, you’ll need to download the Android Studio package to your Linux PC. Head over to the “Download” section on the Android developer website.

On the “Download” page, there are several options to choose from. Select the “DOWNLOAD ANDROID STUDIO” button on the page. After selecting the download button, your browser will download “android-studio-ide-201.7042882-linux.tar.gz” to your “Download” folder.

The “android-studio-ide-201.7042882-linux.tar.gz” file will take a bit of time to download, as it is roughly 800 megabytes. When the download is complete, return to the terminal window opened earlier. Then, use the CD command to move into the “Downloads” folder.

cd ~/Downloads

Once inside the “Downloads” folder, use the tar command to extract the Android Studio Linux archive contents downloaded from the Android developer website.

tar xvf android-studio-ide-*-linux.tar.gz

After running the above tar command, everything will be fully extracted inside a new “android-studio” folder inside the “Downloads” directory on your Ubuntu PC. You must now start up the Android Studio installer.

To start up the Android Studio installer, use the CD command and move into the “bin” folder inside of the “android-studio” folder.

cd bin

Inside the “bin” folder, execute the “studio.sh” shell script. This shell script will open up a GUI installer that you will need to use to install the Android Studio software on your Ubuntu Linux PC. 

./studio.sh

Upon running the “studio.sh” shell script, a “Data Sharing” window will appear. In this window, the Android Studio installer will ask if you want to allow Google to collect Android Studio usage data on your PC. Select either “Send usage statistics to Google” or “Don’t send” if you value your privacy.

After selecting your data sharing option, the Android Studio Setup Wizard will present a welcome message. The welcome message says, roughly, “Welcome! This wizard will set up your development environment for Android Studio.” Click on the “Next” button to continue.

Past the welcome message, the installer will ask what type of Android Studio setup you prefer. Select the “Standard” option, and click the “Next” button to continue.

Following choosing the type of installation for Android Studio, you will be required to select a theme. Select from either “Darcula” or “Light,” then press the “Next” button to continue.

When you’ve chosen the theme, you’ll see an overview of what Android Studio is going to install. Read through the summary. Then, press the “Next” button to begin the installation process.

How to install Android Studio in Ubuntu – Flatpak installation 

If the standalone downloader doesn’t suit you on Ubuntu, another way to get the Android Studio working on Ubuntu is via Flatpak. The Flatpak installation method is excellent, especially if you’re the kind of person that doesn’t like to tinker with the Android Studio installer.

To start, open up a terminal window and configure the Flatpak runtime. It is required to install Flatpak packages. Unsure about how to configure the Flatpak runtime? We can help! Follow along with our in-depth guide here.

After you’ve set up the Flatpak runtime, the next step in the installation process is to set up the Flathub app store. This app store has the Android Studio package. To get it working, enter the flatpak remote-add command below.

flatpak remote-add --if-not-exists flathub https://flathub.org/repo/flathub.flatpakrepo

Once Flathub is set up, you’ll be able to install the latest Android Studio on your Ubuntu PC using the flatpak install command.

flatpak install flathub com.google.AndroidStudio

How to install Android Studio in Ubuntu – Snap package installation

Aside from being available on Flathub, Android Studio is also available for installation via the Ubuntu Snap Store. So, if you want an easy way to get Android Studio but don’t like Flatpak, this is the way to go.

To start the installation, open up a terminal window. Once the terminal window is open, you can install the Android Studio app with snap install.

sudo snap install android-studio --classic

The post How to install Android Studio in Ubuntu appeared first on AddictiveTips.

How to send Disappearing Messages in WhatsApp

Whatsapp is quite a feature-rich messaging app. It offers end-to-end encryption which few mainstream messaging apps do, and it allows users to forward messages, make audio and video calls, send files, and send voice messages, among other many impressive things.

Whatsapp even has business accounts and because it is so popular all over the world, you will find many companies integrate a Whatsapp business account into their on-site customer support.

Disappearing Messages in WhatsApp

If you use Whatsapp a lot, chances are you have quite a few active threads with hundreds, if not thousands of messages. The messages and media sent over a single conversation thread or over all threads can be cleared easily enough but it has to be done manually.

If you’re not interested in hanging on to messages in a particular thread, you can enable disappearing messages to delete them automatically.

Enable disappearing messages in Whatsapp

Disappearing messages is a somewhat new feature. It is available on both iOS and Android. Make sure you’re running the latest version of the app.

  1. Open Whatsapp on your phone.
  2. Select the conversation thread that you want to enable disappearing messages for.
  3. Tap the contact’s name at the top.
  4. Select Disappearing messages.
  5. Select the ‘On’ option.
  6. Disappearing messages will be enabled.

Limitations

  • Disappearing messages cannot be enabled for a group chat. It is exclusive to one-on-one conversation threads.
  • When you enable disappearing messages for a conversation, the other person is informed that it has been enabled. They know the messages sent over the thread will be gone.
  • The messages disappear after 7 days. Disappearing messages are NOT the same as archived messages. Once a message disappears, you won’t be able to get it back
  • 7 days is plenty of time for anyone to take a screenshot of a message so while a message may be gone, proof that it was sent may still exist. 
  • A message sent over a thread with disappearing messages enabled can be forwarded. The original message will disappear but the forwarded message will not.
  • Any media that has been saved from a message cannot be purged from the device. As long as media hasn’t been saved, it will be removed but Whatsapp cannot delete a video, audio, file, or image that has been saved to a phone’s storage.
  • Messages sent before disappearing messages is enabled will not be removed. The feature works only on messages that have been sent after it has been enabled.

Conclusion

Disappearing messages in Whatsapp are a good way to keep the app from bloating with messages. If you’re not in the habit of cleaning the app regularly, this is a good way to automate it. Of course, you will have to enable the feature for chats one-by-one. It’s a shame that it doesn’t work for group chats since that’s where files and messages tend to build up the most.

The post How to send Disappearing Messages in WhatsApp appeared first on AddictiveTips.

How to set custom wallpapers for chat in Whatsapp

Whatsapp is an exceptionally popular messaging app. In some countries, it is the go-to messaging app for a large chunk of the population and many carriers offer specialized data plans that cater to its use.

Whatsapp normally is used for both work and for personal messaging and calls. Unfortunately, you cannot run more than one Whatsapp account on a phone since it is linked to a phone number. Having a dual SIM phone doesn’t help the situation since the feature to add two accounts isn’t there in the app.

To keep work and personal messaging threads separate, you can use wallpapers as visual indicators that will give away what sort of chat thread you’ve selected if you happen to miss the name.

Custom wallpapers for Whatsapp chat 

Whatsapp has always allowed users to change the chat background i.e. chat wallpaper but the change applies uniformly i.e., everyone used to get the same wallpaper. Not anymore though. 

Whatsapp now allows users to set a custom wallpaper for each chat thread. This feature has rolled out to all users via the last app update and it is available on both iOS and Android versions.

Change Whatsapp chat wallpaper

To change the chat wallpaper for a particular chat thread on Whatsapp, follow these steps.

  1. Open Whatsapp.
  2. Select the chat thread you want to change the wallpaper for.
  3. Tap the contact or group name at the top to go to the chat thread’s settings.
  4. Tap Wallpaper & Sound.
  5. Tap Choose a New Wallpaper.
  6. Select an image from your device’s storage.
  7. Use the slider below the preview to make it brighter or darker.
  8. The wallpaper will be set. 

Change default wallpaper for chat

If you’d like to change the default wallpaper for all chats on Whatsapp, you can still do that. You do not have to change the wallpaper one chat thread at a time.

  1. Open Whatsapp.
  2. Go to the Settings tab.
  3. Tap Chats.
  4. Tap Chat Wallpaper>Choose dark/light mode Wallpaper.
  5. Select a wallpaper and it will be applied to all chats except the ones that have a custom wallpaper set.

Conclusion

Whatsapp allows users to set a different wallpaper for the dark and the light theme. You will have to change the theme on your device and then access the default wallpaper settings to set a wallpaper for that theme. If your device is running an OS version that doesn’t have light and dark themes, Whatsapp will appear only in the light/default theme and there is only one default wallpaper for you to set.

The post How to set custom wallpapers for chat in Whatsapp appeared first on AddictiveTips.