[How to] Manage your Android's memory and applications

Internal memory storage, it's the spot on your Android device that is reserved for data. Once you install an application, take a picture or download something, some of this space gets used up. This week in Android for beginners, we will show you how to manage your applications and your memory.

First off, when the manufacturer announces that you have 16 GB of available memory, you actually only have 12 or 13 at your disposal. Why? Simply because your Android also needs space to operate with too.

To check what's taking up room on your smartphone, take a look at the storage tab in your settings. The important information to take a look at is here: Device Memory.
On the right side, you can see how much space where all of your space is going. There's still time to do some spring cleaning. 

How to recover memory

Everything takes place in the settings. More specifically, the action happens under the applications tab. Depending on your device, its either called application manager or simply, applications.

Once you've made it this far, it's a matter of common sense. The cache is a kind of library, in which the applications will store data that they'll retrieve later.
The application page

To help you, here is a guide on how to use an application page.


There's not too much to explain, it basically removes the app. Don’t do this if you still plan on using the app, obviously.By clicking on the individual app, it will bring you to its main information. 

Move to SD card

This option will allow you to move entire applications to the SD card stored inside of your device. This might get a little complicated, but that's something we will tackle in the near future.

Clear Data

This will clear up all of the data related to an application. If you erase the files for an app like Facebook, you'll have to re-enter the passwords again. This is something to use with precaution. For example, saved games will probably also get erased.

Empty the cache

This is also a domain that requires common sense. In fact, what we are about to do is delete the cache for certain apps that are taking up a lot of room. The cache, like mentioned before, is a type of library where your apps store their files to retrieve later on. It can be emptied from time to time.

Emptying the cache will allow you to deblock an application that doesn't work anymore, like Google Play after its failed update.

In conclusion, you can uninstall apps, empty the cache and completely erase the data for an entire application. This will help your Android device run smoother and free up some space for new downloads.

iOS 7: Here is what's new

 OS 7 has revealed a completely redesigned version of Apple's mobile operating system. Redesigned from the ground-up, iOS 7 boasts some pretty big changes for the way iOS devices will look, including both iPhones and iPads. A new UI design is at the forefront of the new iOS 7. 

iOS 7 boasts some major changes to the operating system all the way from the ground up. Including a complete redesign of the UI, Apple has announced that they've concentrated on ten core points in the latest update. 

Control Center: Apple has enabled an option for users to swipe up and access a bunch of quick settings. This will allow users to quickly turn on and off some popular settings without having to navigate around the device. Airplane mode, Wi-Fi, Brightness, and more are all available from the redesigned control center and will also be available from the lock screen.

Multitasking: All apps will now have access to multitasking controls. Multitasking will now support intelligent scheduling of resources to apps that require them and also prioritize based on network conditions. This means, if you don't have great reception or not in a Wi-Fi area, the OS won't try to prioritize applications that require that to function. As well, if you receive a push notification, the OS will prioritize that application and make sure it's up to date should you use it right after the notification.

Safari: Redesigned to take up more of your screen, providing more of a full screen look. Includes smartsearch fields and a new interface for your tabs (you are no longer constrained to only 8 open tabs). Safari will also be compatible with the new iCloud keychain that was announced in OS Mavericks. 

Airdrop: You can now share files/photos/etc with people who are around you wirelessly. This will be available for current iOS devices (new iPad, iPhone 5, latest iPod Touch, etc). 

Camera: Live photo filters have been introduced, like the Instragram style, and you can easily swipe between camera modes: video, panoramic, normal, and box view.

Photos: This app has been redesigned and allows for a more seamless way to organize and view your photos, using what Apple refers to as Moments.

Siri: New interface with better search results. It has been updated to have both male and female voices in English, German, and French (with more languages being supported later on). As well, Siri can now control more of your device using voice commands, including turning on and off functions as well as changing settings. 

iOS in the Car: Integration of your iOS device with iOS compatible cars (expected in 2014) so that you can use your cars display system as an extension of your device, dictating messages, using GPS maps, and more.

Appstore: Includes new features, such as being able to search for apps based on age relevancy, so you can search for apps specific for your child or toddler. As well, you can search for apps that are popular based on your location. Finally, no more manually updating. The new appstore will update apps on the fly.

Music: Enable iCloud integration for music and videos, allowing you to use these services on the fly as well as providing a new view/organization method of the way your library layed out. iTunes Radio has been announced, allowing users the experience of popular internet radio apps such as Pandora and Spotify, right within Apple's music app. This service will be free for all users with ads, and ad-free for iTunes Match subscribers. iTunes Radio will be available only in the US to begin with.

Furthermore, Apple also announced a new feature called Activation Lock, which provides another layer of security should you have your iOS device stolen. Once activated, this will prevent thieves from doing anything with the device without your Apple ID (even if they turn off Find my iPhone or wipe the device). 

iOS 7 is available as a beta for developers using an iPhone as of today and with iPads getting the rollout in the coming weeks. It will be available for the general public in the fall of 2013.

What do you think about the redesigned iOS 7?

Batteries: what exactly should we be doing to extend their life?


More often than not, our smartphone batteries die long before our devices do.

As more and more smart phones are moving away from having a removable and replaceable battery, I’ve found myself more concerned with how the usage of my phone and my charging habits will affect it in the long term. With my older laptop and cameras, it was never an issue. Battery no longer holding a charge? Buy a replacement and slap it in. 

All I need to do is plug it in, right?

Unfortunately, I was never well versed in proper maintenance and care of battery life until I started noticing a decline in my overall life of my cellphone. From being able to hold a charge for an entire day to having to plug in the phone halfway through the day even with minimal usage, it got me wondering if my charging habits had anything to do with it. 

As with most of my older devices, I was under the assumption that I should always drain the battery, keep the device plugged in to charge, and then rinse and repeat over and over again. Older batteries, such as Nickel Cadium (Ni-Cad) and Nickel Metal Hybride (Ni-MH) batteries required “training” on the battery, charging and discharging to keep them optimal and so, in respect, I thought the same applied universally for new devices currently using Lithion-Ion (Li-ion) batteries. 

Conflicting Reports

And so, I began some research on the internet to see what I could come up with for the care and proper maintenance of li-ion batteries. Soon though, my frustration was solidified in a Popular Mechanics article: “And yet, consumer electronics companies offers no true consensus …. the Internet only deepens the confusion. One article claims that li-ion packs should be drained on a weekly basis; another recommends to drain them once a month; others say they should never be drained.” Amid this quagmire of confusing information and statements, there was however some constants that kept popping up over and over again.
Depending on charging habits, the life cycle of a battery can vary.

Problems and Solutions

One of the most general worrying facts was finding out the damaging properties of completely draining your battery or letting your device run dry as I had previously done. As Wikipedia states: “Deep discharge may short-circuit the cell, in which case recharging would be unsafe. …. This may drain the battery below its shut down voltage; normal chargers are then ineffective.“ Combined with problematic issues arising when temperatures dip below and above certain thresholds (who hasn’t forgotten their phone in their car?) can shorten and damage battery life on your device.

An interesting tib-bit though, is finding out about li-ion safety circuits, internal hardware that is integrated into the battery that helps prevent overcharging, say if you were to leave your device plugged in for overnight. These circuits allows the devices the charge the battery up to 100% before turning themselves "off" and allowing the battery to drain down to a certain percentage before turning back on again. This explains sometimes why you might see the percentage of a battery drop from a full charge to somewhere near 90% of a charge upon unplugging your phone from the charger.

And so, through a bit of wading through conflicting reports about what is best for Li-ion batteries, this is what seems to be the general consensus:
Don’t drain your battery completely on your device and make sure to charge it often. The longer a battery remains drained without being charged, the harder it is to try and recharge it. There are methods to "revive" batteries that are considered dead, but it requires a little knowhow.
Do not worry about over-charging due to built in safe guards in your Li-on battery.
Don’t expose your phone and battery to extreme temperature changes.

While this article has to do with charging and discharging habits for your smart-phone and how it affects your battery, there are other tips and tricks to get more usage out of your battery through apps and usage.

As for now, these are some pretty straight forward guidelines to keep the batteries going on your devices through the entirety of your contract. Keep in mind though, some providers and carriers do offer battery replacements under warranty, so always make sure to check this out with them. 

What's your personal charging habit for your smart-phone?

How to Share Files Between your Mobile Phones and Computers

Your digital data – like files, photos, documents, music, ebooks and videos – is spread across a range of devices including your mobile phone, the tablet and your computer(s).

How do you easily transfer a file from the Android phone to your iPad? Or how do you copy-paste that long snippet of text from the computer to your iPhone? The following guide discusses apps, both web-based and mobile apps, that will help you exchanges files and everything else between your desktop computer and mobile devices easily and quickly.

The popular and most obvious solution for sharing files across devices is email. Send a file to yourself from one device and then download that email attachment on the other device. Alternatively, you may use file storage services like Dropbox, Google Drive or SkyDrive (readcomparison) to transfer files from one device to another via the cloud.

Then there are web-based apps to help you move files between your computers and phones without any software. There’s ge.tt where you can upload files from the browser and download them on any other device. JustBeamIt is another web-based file transfer service where there are no limits as the file content is streamed directly from the source to the destination and not stored on third-party servers.

Google Keep is my favorite service for transferring text snippets from one device to another. You can write, or paste, text inside Keep and it instantly becomes available on all the other devices. Keep is web-based but they also have an Android app. I use Google Keep for transferring URLs from the desktop to mobile browser and also passwords that are too long and complex for typing on the mobile keyboard. Hopper and MoPad are other good web-based alternatives that can again be used for sending links and text snippets across devices.

If you are an Android user, AirDroid is probably the only app you’ll ever need for moving files in and out of your phone. Once you launch AirDroid, you can easily download (and upload) files and folders from the phone to your computer wirelessly via the web browser. The only restriction is that your phone and computer should be part of the same Wi-Fi network.

Mac OS users can consider installing Droid NAS, an app that will make your Android phone /tablet appear in Finder and you can then easily browse or transfer files over Wi-Fi.

SuperBeam is another useful app for transferring files between Android devices. Select one or more files inside any file manager app and choose SuperBeam from the Android sharing menu. It will generate a QR code that you can scan with SuperBeam on your other device and the file transfer will happen automatically. If the two Android devices are not connected to the same Wi-Fi network, SuperBeam will transfer files using Wi-Fi Direct mode.

Unlike Android, Apple does not provide access to the iOS file system except for the media gallery. You can use the excellent Documents app to transfer documents, photos and other files from the computer to your iPad and iPhone over the Wi-Fi network. The Documents app can be mounted as a network drive on your computer and files can be moved across iOS devices via drag-n-drop. The app also has a built-in browser to help you download and store web files including file types that aren’t supported by the default Safari browser.

iOS doesn’t support Bluetooth based file transfer so if you are to transfer photos or videos from the camera roll of your iPhone to an iPad, Dropbox is probably a good choice. For single files, web apps like ge.tt and DropCanvas.com are perfect for the job.

Mobile apps like Bump and Hoccer that let you exchange files between Android and iOS devices, or between your computer and your mobile device, with simple gestures.

In the case of Bump, select a file on your mobile phone, tap the space bar of your computer with the phone and the file will instantly become available in the computer’s browser. For Hoccer, you can place your two phones side by side and drag a picture from one phone to another. If you have never tried these apps before, they’ll simply amaze you.