How to replace Google Assistant with any app on Android [No Root]

Google Assistant is a popular Android feature that is trying to rival Siri. It does some things that Siri can’t but it lacks in other areas. The great thing with Google Assistant is that since it’s on Android, you can teach it new tricks. A rooted Android device will be able to do a lot more however, even if your phone isn’t rooted, you can replace Google Assistant with any app.

Replace Google Assistant

Download Assist Mapper from the Google Play store. Before you can use this app, you need to set it as the default app for Assist & voice input. Open the Settings app and go to the Default App setting. Tap Assist & Voice input, and tap the Assist app. From the list of installed apps that can serve as the Assist App, select Assist Mapper.

Once you’ve done that, tap and hold on the home button on your Android phone. When you tap it, you will get a long list of apps and services that are running on your phone. They’re accompanied by the icon for the app that they’re from so if you need to, for example, open YouTube when you tap the Google Assist shortcut, you should select any one of the YouTube services in the list. It will set YouTube as the Google Assist app.

Android doesn’t prevent apps from taking over the Assist & Voice input function. Any app that wants to, can support it. The thing is, not many apps will. Apps that aren’t app launchers or virtual assistants will not want to replace Google Assist. Users on the other will want a quick way to access an app and there’s no better way to do it than to activate it the same way you open Google Assist.

Assist Mapper bridges that gap. It can replace Assist & Voice input and it can redirect users to any app of their choice so while YouTube may not want to ever support the feature, this app will still let you replace Google Assist with it.

The app opens pretty quickly. You won’t notice that another app is bridging the connection. If you have an older phone, or your phone doesn’t have the greatest or even mediocre hardware, it might be slow but no slower than Google Assist is on your device. You must be running Android 6.0 or later so it’s going to work on most phones. There are few devices that are still running anything older than Android 6.0.

Read How to replace Google Assistant with any app on Android [No Root] by Fatima Wahab on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter

How to host a Facebook watch party

The conventional way of sharing anything, whether it’s a video, a photo, or an audio file, is to share it on social media. You post it and your friends will eventually see it if it isn’t lost with everything else in their timelines. Facebook has a new way to watch videos; watch parties. A Facebook watch party is basically you creating a playlist of videos that are available to watch on Facebook and allow other people to join you as you watch it.

This is a new feature and it’s available on both the web version and the apps. If you don’t see it yet, give it a day or two. Make sure your apps are up to date.

Facebook watch party – web

Visit Facebook and click inside the new post field. You should see a Watch Party option with the video, photo, feeling, activity, etc., options. Click it.

The first thing you should do is give your watch party a name. You can change the name later if you want.

You can then add videos to your watch party. You can view your recently watched videos and pick from them, you can search for videos, and some suggested videos from Facebook. You don’t have to add videos. You can skip this part and add videos later. You can also tag people in it if you want. Once you’re done, you can start the party.

After the party has started, you can add videos and invite friends. The watch party will be posted on your timeline and your friends can join it too.

Facebook watch party – app

Open the Facebook app and tap the new post button. There will be a Watch Party option there. Tap it, and give your party a name. You will have the same video options to pick videos from though again, you can skip this for later. Post the party to your timeline.

Once it’s live, your friends can join it. You can also tap the more options button and get a link to share your watch party, or invite your friends.

You can leave your watch party temporarily or just end it.

Watch party is a way to get people to watch more videos. It’s a type of online activity that you can engage in with your friends. It’s something like the games you can play in Facebook Messenger but it lets you include more people in the activity. This feature might be more suitable for YouTube where people watch more videos.

Read How to host a Facebook watch party by Fatima Wahab on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter

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