Regardless of how steady Android will get, it is nonetheless too laborious to grasp


Google Settings App Lifestyle 2Supply: Andrew Myrick / Android Central

This Sunday morning, I’m hopefully sleeping in my very own mattress once more after three weeks in Texas visiting household and pals. Going house is at all times enjoyable in seeing what’s modified, what hasn’t, and what tech help I can do in particular person as an alternative of over the telephone half a continent away. I obtained some Fredericksburg peaches — that are the very best on the continent, sorry, Georgia — I caught up with pals I have never seen in years, and I obtained a pleasant dose of actuality when serving to my mother and father with their Android telephones and laptops.

I’ve been an Android consumer since early 2012 and have been writing Android how-to guides since 2014, so I wish to assume I’ve obtained a reasonably good grasp on the ins and outs of nearly each core Android function and Google service. However making an attempt to troubleshoot some wonk on my dad’s Pixel 3a XL surrounding Fast Settings and his Golf Pad app — which can be one of many worst app UIs I’ve seen in years — and Google Assistant options on my mom’s telephone jogged my memory of an essential lesson.

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Simply because one thing ought to be straightforward to vary or repair on Android does not really imply that it is. And after being round for 13 years, it is an issue Android ought to have solved way back.

Pixel 4a Quick Settings

Supply: Joe Maring / Android Central

There have been quite a lot of issues that wanted “fixing” on my mother and father’ Pixels after I got here dwelling. My dad was having points together with his flashlight randomly turning on, then as soon as I mounted that, he began having points with the cellular knowledge turning off randomly. This turned out to be his sweaty pants pocket by accident tapping Fast Settings whereas working within the yard or {golfing}.

Once I defined what had occurred, he requested if there was a option to preserve Fast Settings from getting triggered on the lock display screen — and there is a option to not less than preserve some Fast Setting toggles locked when the telephone is locked. Nevertheless, that is solely on Samsung telephones, and it solely applies to the Wi-Fi and Cellular Knowledge toggles. As an alternative, I needed to take away these choices from the primary web page of Fast Settings after wanting by means of the Lock Display, Safety, and Display Lock settings menus to seek out no avail.

Google Assistant on the Pixel 4 XL

Supply: Joe Maring / Android Central

Fortunately, some fixes are simpler. Getting voice dialing arrange so he may use Assistant in his non-Android Auto-enabled Silverado was a easy matter of exhibiting him that you simply press-and-hold the mic button on the steering wheel, then settings Assistant because the default AI service over Alexa. After all, Assistant does not make all the things straightforward.

It took digging in 4 separate sections of the Google and Google Assistant apps to lastly re-enable OK Google hotword detection on my mom’s telephone because of each Assistant being set to the mistaken Google account and the settings menu being three completely different locations relying on if you happen to had been accessing it from the primary Google app, the Google Assistant app, or the Settings app.

I’ve written Google Assistant how-tos for the reason that Google Now days, and even I needed to double-take and remind myself the place all the things was. And that is my job. When all the things modifications based mostly on the producer, particular person apps, and the yearly modifications from new Android variations, mastering Android is like making an attempt to show a desert right into a zen backyard. Regardless of what number of instances you rake the strains, it is simply going to shift once more.

Even among the extra primary upkeep duties on Android can require a decoder ring:

  • Wish to again up your textual content messages earlier than you progress to a brand new telephone? Nicely, Android technically backs up SMS already, besides they do not do MMS backups until you are a paying Google One subscriber, so this is the app you want as an alternative and the best way to use it.
  • Do it is advisable flip off tab grouping on Chrome for Android earlier than you lose your thoughts? You’ll be able to’t even discover that in Chrome’s settings; it’s a must to go digging in Chrome Flags as an alternative, and the flag concerned is not referred to as tab teams; it is referred to as tab grid.
  • Even blocking spam and incoming calls on Android can differ relying on who made your telephone and which Caller ID or Spam Filtering service your producer makes use of.

And the record goes on. On one hand, which means that assist and how-to guides might be in excessive demand for the foreseeable future, and, thus, my job is safe. On the opposite, it is laborious to try to persuade new customers — and even present Android customers — of Android’s ease and high quality when so many Android settings, options, and skills hinge on the consumer both having enthusiast-level data or a spare machine close by to learn the how-to information.

Android Figures iPhone

Supply: Andrew Myrick / Android Central

Now, Apple has far fewer freedoms in its capacity to set default apps, theming your house display screen, and, in fact, Siri retains falling farther and farther behind Alexa and Assistant. However if you wish to change a setting on an iPhone — system setting or app setting — you already know precisely the place to go. Virtually all settings are both straight within the Settings app or simply 1 or 2 touches from a shortcut.

Granted, Android already has an obstacle in that the Settings app is laid out and arranged otherwise on each telephone. The way you Most of an app’s settings are in a menu throughout the app that may very well be positioned in a dozen completely different locations relying on the app sort and the way typically builders assume you will have to entry them. Whereas the search bar within the setting app might help with a few of this, you continue to must know the magic phrases, and even then, until it is a core Android setting or a Google account setting, you will nonetheless must dig by means of menus manually making an attempt to determine the place that silly toggle is being hidden.

Android 12 Hero Quick Settings

Supply: Android Central

Materials You is the largest visible replace to Android in 5 years, however a lot of these modifications revolve round common app and widget look, shapes, and colours greater than shifting the way in which apps are supposed to put out their content material. Take the Fast Settings above: the toggles are larger and simpler to faucet, however we nonetheless have no choices to disable Fast Settings on the lock display screen, and most customers nonetheless do not know they will edit Fast Settings in any respect.

With every Android replace, issues come a little bit extra in line throughout producers. Whereas there are nonetheless many first and third-party apps with egregious UX flaws — I’ve a complete litany for the grief GolfPad has given my father and I throughout months of troubleshooting — most are getting higher and higher about making settings intuitive and straightforward to seek out, and the permission modifications with Android 12 and the brand new transparency protocols for Google Play listings will hopefully proceed that development.

Within the meantime, I will preserve enjoying tech help for my household and for everybody else to cross my path. Listed below are some notes from an exhausting weekend:

  • The Nothing (1) earbuds — oh expensive god, that title — look attention-grabbing, however I am wanting ahead to the Galaxy Buds coming at Samsung Unpacked this month.
  • Talking of the Unpacked occasion, circumstances will not be as horny because the telephones themselves, however the first social gathering case leaks are giving me pause in a great way. Having a strap on the again to each join the 2 halves of the case and extra simply slip it out of your pocket sounds good, given how small among the pockets we’ll be placing it in after it launches.
  • The One UI Watch tease nonetheless does not give us the in-depth take a look at the UI and navigation that I need, however it’s a superb take a look at among the watch faces and among the extra well-liked apps. I am digging the brand new search for the Sleep monitoring, and I am hoping that interprets to the remainder of Samsung Well being. I am additionally hoping that Samsung’s timer app stays precisely the identical as it’s proper now as a result of that timer is a woman’s finest buddy whereas making an attempt to take heed to a gathering and prepare dinner.

— Ara





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