How to wake your screen for important notifications on Android

Notifications tend to make for a lot of noise on our devices. Every app you install wants to send you notifications and you obviously have to be picky about which one can, and cannot light up your screen with an alert. Android has a sort of Do not disturb mode that lets only important notifications through however, if there are one or two apps that you simply cannot afford to miss notifications from, you can use Pixel Pulse. It’s an that can wake your screen for important notifications.

The app is meant for the Pixel 3 phone hence its name. The Pixel 3 doesn’t have an LED light anymore so this app is supposed to be a stand-in. It will ‘pulse’ or light up your screen periodically when you have notifications.

Wake screen for important notifications

Download Pixel Pulse and run the app. It needs access to your notifications, and you need to select which apps can show you these pulse notifications. We strongly recommend that you keep this list tame and that you manage how often your display lights up to remind you about the notification.

By default, your display will light up every minute which is a lot even if you’ve only added two apps to it so tap the Pulse Interval option, and customize the interval or your battery won’t last long.

You can choose to hide the content of a notification. This is what it looks like when it lights up your screen.

The app is free and in beta but it also has paid features. If you decide to pay for the premium features, make sure that the app works well enough on your device to make the purchase worth it.

As a paid user, you will be able to choose the color of the notification, and the icon. With the free version, you don’t see which app a notification is from. You only see the Pixel Pulse’s own icon telling you there’s a new notification. The color may not be worth the upgrade but the icon definitely is.

Pixel Pulse may have been built with the Pixel 3 in mind but nothing about it restricts it to select devices. You must be running Android 8.0 or above and that might be somewhat of a problem. Most mainstream devices have already received Android 8.0 which, at this point, is a little over a year old. There are still some devices that haven’t received it and if you own one of them, this app will not work.

Read How to wake your screen for important notifications on Android by Fatima Wahab on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter

How to check if bootloader is unlocked or locked on Android

The great thing about an Android phone is that you can root it and make it work the way you want it to. If you’re on an older version of Android that isn’t getting any more updates, you can find a custom ROM to flash and get the next version, or at the very least, add some of its features. You can customize almost anything on a rooted Android phone but you can also tweak it a bit if your bootloader is unlocked.

Unlocking the bootloader takes very little skill and you can do a lot with it. If you need to check if your bootloader is unlocked or not, it’s pretty easy.

Android Phone

You can check if your bootloader is unlocked or not from your Android phone. This method should work on most mainstream, and a good number of obscure phones. There will be some exceptions and if this doesn’t work on your Android phone, you can always go with the PC solution.

On your Android phone, open the Phone/dialer app, and enter the code below.

*#*#7378423#*#*

This will open a new window. On this window, go to Service info>Configuration. If you see a message that says Bootloader unlock and there is ‘Yes’ written in front of it, it means the bootloader is unlocked.

PC

If you don’t get a window when you enter the code given in the previous section, you can check your bootloader’s lock status from your PC. It’s pretty simple but you need to download adb and fastboot tools  from Google first.

Download and extract the folder and then open Command Prompt in that folder. You can do this by typing cmd in the location bar on Windows 10.

Next, you need to put your phone in Fastboot mode. To do this, turn your phone off. Then, hold down the Volume Down and Power buttons until your device starts again. Once it turns on, release the Power button but keep holding down the Volume down key until you see the bootloader screen. It’s the one with the little Android bot on its back.

Connect your phone to your PC via its data cable. Once connected, run the following command. If it returns a code, that means your device has been detected.

fastboot devices

Once your device has been detected, run the following command and look for bootloader information. The bootloader for the Nexus 6P that I ran the command on is locked.

fastboot oem device-info

It’s relatively easy to unlock a bootloader if the device manufacturer allows you to. If it doesn’t, it can get pretty tricky.

Read How to check if bootloader is unlocked or locked on Android by Fatima Wahab on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter

How to get Samsung Edge panels on any Android phone [No root]

Samsung’s flagship phones come with a modified version of Android. Samsung installs a number of proprietary apps on these devices and it also modifies Android to add additional features that compliment the hardware it’s running on e.g., the Bixby button. One popular feature on Samsung phones is Panels. Panels are basically drawers you can open by tapping the edge of your screen on a supported Samsung device. It’s a quick way to access app, contacts, and quick tiles and settings, among other things. Here’s how you can get Samsung edge panels on any Android phone.

Get Samsung Edge panels

In order to get Samsung Edge panels on an Android phone, you need to install an app called Edge Actions. This is a free app that offers additional features for a nominal price of $5.

Download Edge Actions from the Google Play Store and run it on your phone. You can run this app alongside almost any other app launcher that you’ve installed. You need to first grant it permission to access your apps. Once you grant it the permissions it needs, you will see the panel added to the right side of your screen.

To activate the panel, simply tap the little tab that you see and it will reveal the panel. The panel has additional pages that give you access to apps, contacts, quick settings, your calendar, the calculator, and a few additional tools.

You can change the order of the panels inside Edge Actions. To do that, open the app and tap Edge Manage. It will take you to a screen showing the various panels in the app. Drag & drop the panels to arrange them however you like.

Since this app is meant to work on all phones, and there are a lot of different phones with different screen sizes, you might need to adjust the thickness of the panel tab. To do that, open the app and tap the Handle Settings option. From there, you can change which side of the screen the panel appears on, its color, its width and height, and its transparency.

There’s also an Offset option that lets you position the tab as close to the edge of your screen as you want. It should automatically stick to the edge of your phone’s screen however, if it doesn’t detect the edge correctly, you can help it.

Edge Actions has ads and if you don’t want any of the other features that it offers via in-app purchases, you can pay a smaller amount to have the ads removed.

Read How to get Samsung Edge panels on any Android phone [No root] by Fatima Wahab on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter

How to create Emoji Mini in Google Keyboard

Personalized emoji, whether you call it memoji, or something else, are becoming a thing. The little yellow heads are still popular but users like to see themselves as these little cartoon characters. Maybe it has something to do with how popular Bitmoji have been. Google has released something called Emoji Mini. They’re basically emoji created from a photo of you and they’re pretty good. Here’s how you can create emoji mini in the Google Keyboard app.

Emoji mini is available for both iOS and Android versions of the Google Keyboard app. Update to the latest version of the app to create your own Emoji mini.

Emoji Mini in Google Keyboard

Open an app that lets you access Google Keyboard. A messaging app is always a safe bet if you want to access a keyboard app and its features. Tap the arrow button at the left to reveal the various items you can insert via the keyboard, and select the sticker button.

There are various types of stickers that you can create but you want to tap the one with the cartoon face indicated in the screenshot below. Allow Google Keyboard to access your camera and position your face inside the frame. Take a photo and allow Google Keyboard to create your mini emoji.

The Emoji mini are fairly accurate however, you’re not stuck with whatever the keyboard creates. Tap the Customize button and you can change any aspect of the emoji that you want.

For some odd reason, black isn’t a hair color but other than that, the customization options are great.

To use the Emoji mini, tap the sticker option in Google Keyboard and it will show you your emoji, and its many variations that you can use.

The emoji are basically stickers so you can send them over any app that you want. You probably can’t send them over SMS but all other messaging apps will be able to send these stickers. More importantly, it won’t matter if the person you’re sending the sticker to is on Android or iOS, or if they have the Google Keyboard app installed or not. The stickers will appear the way they should.

The feature appears to have rolled out to everyone but if you don’t see it just yet, give it a day or two. If you’re worried whether or not the feature will be available on your phone, don’t be. It’s not device specific and it doesn’t require special hardware, other than a camera, to work.

Read How to create Emoji Mini in Google Keyboard by Fatima Wahab on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter

How to share trip progress in Google Maps

Much like a watched pot never boils, a friend you’re waiting for takes forever to arrive. If you’re going to meet a friend some place, and you’re driving there, chances are you get quite a few messages asking how much longer before you arrive. Google Maps has a new feature that lets you give your ETA to a friend so that you aren’t stuck answering texts about your current location. You can share trip progress in Google Maps with any friend and they will be able to tell, without messaging you, where you are.

Trip progress in Google Maps

Google Maps already has a feature that allows you to share your live location with friends however, it’s not the same as sharing your ETA which takes into account traffic conditions as well as your mode of transport.

To share your trip progress in Google Maps, make sure you’re running the latest version available and then open the app. Search for your destination and then use the Directions feature to start navigating to it. Once you’re in navigation mode, swipe up and a menu will appear. On this menu, tap the Share trip progress option.

Select a contact to share trip progress with from inside Google Maps, or use your preferred app for sharing your location.

This feature isn’t novel. In fact, ride sharing apps have this so that people can share a ride’s progress. It also gives you an ETA so you can tell when you will reach your destination. Google Maps gives you those same features for when you’re driving yourself, or if you’re taking public transport, or if you’re walking the whole way.

Using this feature will consume your battery and of course, Google Maps will need to access your location constantly and that is a sort of bump in the road with this feature. The feature is great if you’re driving and can connect your phone to a power source in the car but if you’re using any other means of transport where a charging point isn’t available, this battery hungry app will drain your device.

Ride sharing apps aren’t different but they tend to drain your battery less than Google Maps does. If you have an older phone, you might just be better off using other apps to share your location. If your friends are also iPhone owners, you can share your location over iMessages and it will not drain your battery as much.

Read How to share trip progress in Google Maps by Fatima Wahab on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter