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How to Remove, Change, and Set Default Apps in Android

Chances are that you want certain apps on your Android phone to handle specific actions. This is where default apps come in: they allow you to choose what browser, SMS service, email client, and other apps open when you load related content.

We’ll explain everything you need to know about default apps in Android, including how to adjust your default apps, change how links open, remove default apps, and more.

What Are Default Apps?

If you’re not aware, default apps allow you to choose which apps handle certain actions on your device. For example, you might have multiple Android browsers installed. When you tap on a link without a default set, your phone will ask which browser you’d like to open it with, since you have several apps that can handle it.

There are many categories that work this way, and setting default apps saves you from having to pick which app to use every time. Let’s see what happens when you don’t have a default app set, then we’ll examine how to adjust default apps.

How to Set New Default Apps on Android

When you try to launch something that doesn’t have a default app set, or install a new app that can handle the action, you may see a prompt to select which app to use, as shown below.

If you want to set the suggested app as your default for this action, tap Always to use that app and set it as the default for the future. Choose Just once if you want to use that app without setting it as the default.

To use another app, select it from the list that appears below. That one will appear as the first choice next time you take this action, allowing you to set it as the default if you want.

How to Review and Change Default Apps on Android

On stock Android 10, you’ll find the default apps menu at Settings > Apps & notifications > Advanced > Default apps. This might be slightly different depending on your device or Android version.

Here, you’ll see your current default apps for a variety of categories:

  • Assist app: The smart assistant for voice control, analysis of what’s on your screen, and similar. Examples includes Google Assistant and Alexa.
  • Browser app: Used to open links you tap. Examples include Chrome and Firefox.
  • Caller ID & spam app: Used to identify calls and block spammers. Examples include Google’s Phone app and Truecaller.
  • Home app: Your default launcher that allows you to access and organize apps on your phone. Examples include Pixel Launcher and Nova Launcher.
  • Phone app: Handles making and receiving calls. Examples include Google’s Phone app and Simpler Dialer.
  • SMS app: Allows you to send and manage text messages. Examples include Google’s Messages app and Pulse SMS.

Tap a category to review the apps you have installed for that purpose. If you have more than one installed, select which app you’d like to set as default.

From now on, any applicable content you open will use that app. For instance, if you change your default phone app, it will launch when you tap a phone number on the web.

Keep in mind that there are more categories than these. For example, if you install a third-party camera app, when you use a shortcut to open the camera (like pressing the power button twice on a Pixel phone), your phone will ask you which camera app you’d like to use.

How to Remove Default Android Apps

If you don’t want an app to act as the default for anything, you can clear all default settings for it. To do this, head to Settings > Apps & notifications > See all X apps and select the app you’d like to remove defaults for.

Once you’re on the app page, expand the Advanced section and tap Open by default. If the app is set to default for any action, you’ll see a Clear defaults button at the bottom of the page. Tap this to clear that setting.

The next time you open content that this app used to handle, you can choose which app launches instead.

Choose Default Apps for Opening Links

The above covers the essentials for default apps on Android, but there’s another aspect you should know about: app links.

When you tap a website link and have that service’s app installed, your phone can go to supported URLs in the appropriate app instead of your browser. For example, when you tap a YouTube link, you probably want to watch the video in the YouTube app. This is known as “deep linking” in Android development.

While you can’t change which apps open certain URLs, you can choose whether links open in your browser or the appropriate app.

Change Link Opening Settings

To change how links open in Android, return to the Default apps page you visited earlier. Here, tap Opening links to review these settings.

At the top, you can toggle the Instant apps feature, which allows you to use some apps without actually installing them.

For the moment, we’re interested in the field below, where you’ll see an entry for most apps on your phone. Select one and you’ll see two fields on the Open by default page.

Open supported links allows you to choose whether you want to open compatible URLs in the app. Choose Open in this app to do so, or Don’t open in this app to always open in your browser. Ask every time lets you decide as needed.

If you’re curious which URLS the app can open, tap Supported links to see a list. For instance, YouTube of course opens youtube.com links, as well as youtu.be and m.youtube.com.

Disabling In-App Browsers

There’s one other setting to consider for default link behavior. Many popular apps, including Gmail, Telegram, Twitter, and Slack, include their own in-app browsers. This means that webpages you launch in these apps load in their own browser window instead of the appropriate app or your default browser.

Opening a page using an in-app browser where you’re not logged in to any sites is usually annoying, so we recommend turning these off for best results. The location varies for each app, but you’ll usually find it as a setting named something like Use in-app browser or Open links externally.

For example, in the Twitter app, you’ll find the option at Settings and privacy > Display and sound > Use in-app browser.

Expand Default Apps With Third-Party Solutions

For most people, the built-in default app options in Android are enough. If you’d like to add more functionality, a few apps can help.

Better Open With

This app allows you to set preferred apps that you can override at any time. Launch it and you’ll see a series of categories, like Audio Files, Browser, Dialer, and Emails.

After selecting a category, tap the star next to your preferred app. Use the eye icon to hide any apps you don’t want to use. In the Browser section, you can also use the dropdown box at the top to choose specific settings for sites like YouTube and Twitter.

Now, open a compatible link. When you’re asked to choose an app, select Better Open With and choose Always. Better Open With will show a panel at the bottom with a countdown and list of compatible apps. If you don’t select one before the timer runs out, your preferred app will open.

While this is handy, Better Open With has some issues. At the time of writing, it hasn’t seen an update since June 2018. When launched on Android 10, you’ll see a warning that the app isn’t designed for modern versions of Android. There’s also an ugly black box at the bottom of the app because of this.

Aside from version compatibility, it can’t handle all types of actions either—SMS is a noticeable omission. Still, the app is totally free, so it’s worth a try if you like the idea.

Download: Better Open With (Free)

Open Link With…

Want more control over changing the default app for links? Open Link With… allows you to open links in the proper apps when Android doesn’t do it automatically. This is helpful when a YouTube or Twitter link opens in your browser instead of the corresponding app.

Once installed, launch Open Link With… and walk through the tutorial. At the end, grant the app usage access for best performance. Once that’s done, you won’t need to worry about it again until you want to open a link with another app.

When you do, tap the three-dot Menu button in your browser and choose Share. Select Open Link With… and you’ll see a list of compatible apps for that type of link. Choose Just Once if you want to be asked again next time, or Always to associate that type of link with an app permanently.

While this is similar to the built-in functionality, if you have issues with links opening properly or want to open the same types of content in different apps regularly (maybe you use two different Twitter clients), it’s worth a look.

Download: Open Link With… (Free)

Master Default Apps on Android

Now you know how to take control of your default apps on Android. Most of the time, you should be able to set these and forget about them unless you find a new favorite app. But you have options for more control if the basics don’t get the job done.

Speaking of default apps, why not consider replacing some of the stock apps that came with your phone?

Read the full article: How to Remove, Change, and Set Default Apps in Android

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20 Common Android Problems Solved

Android is reliable, stable, and resistant to malware, but it’s not perfect. When problems arise, you can fix most issues with a few simple Android troubleshooting tips.

This guide covers common Android phone mobile problems and easy solutions for them. Note that depending on your phone and Android version, these steps might vary slightly for you.

Jump ahead to a specific Android issue:

  1. Google Play Store Keeps Crashing
  2. Insufficient Space on Device
  3. Google Play Store Not Downloading Apps
  4. How to Reinstall the Google Play Store
  5. How Do I Install Google Play?
  6. I Need an Older Version of the Google Play Store
  7. How Do I Free Up Memory on My Android Device?
  8. System UI Not Working (Android 9 or Older)
  9. Android Download Manager Not Working
  10. I Can’t Find My Download
  11. I Can’t Play a Downloaded Video
  12. I Installed Android Malware!
  13. Slow Internet Speeds on Android
  14. Can’t Connect to Wi-Fi Network
  15. How Do I Break an Android Password?
  16. Android Device Crashes on Boot
  17. Android Device Won’t Turn On
  18. Android Not Reading microSD Card
  19. Can’t Connect Android Device to a Windows PC
  20. The Nuclear Option: Factory Reset

1. Google Play Store Keeps Crashing

If Google Play crashes after launching it, you might have a corrupt cache. Wiping the cache usually fixes the problem. To do so:

  1. Go to Settings > Apps & Notifications > See all X apps.
  2. In the list, find and tap on Google Play Store.
  3. Open the Storage & cache section, then tap both Clear storage and Clear cache (older versions of Android use Data instead of Storage).
  4. Restart your phone.

If that fails, try wiping the storage and cache for Google Play Services and Google Services Framework using the same steps outlined above. Remember to restart the device after you’ve finished. And have a look at our dedicated Google Play Store problems troubleshooting guide for more help.

2. Insufficient Space on Device

If your phone runs low on space and does not support a microSD card, your only option is to delete files. But how do you find space-wasting clutter?

One of the easiest options is to use Files by Google. It automatically finds common space wasters, like large media files, and removes them when you direct it to. On the downside, it gives Google complete access to the contents of your phone.

Advanced users can instead give DiskUsage a try. It’s free and open source, though it hasn’t seen an update since late 2017.

Download: Files by Google (Free)
Download: DiskUsage (Free)

3. Google Play Store Not Downloading Apps

Sometimes Google Play won’t install applications. You have two major options to fix this. The first is to wipe Google Play’s cache, as demonstrated in #1 above. The second is to erase Google Play’s history.

How to Wipe Google Play History

This method isn’t a sure fix, but it’s worth a try if clearing cache didn’t work. Here’s what to do:

  1. Launch the Google Play Store.
  2. Open the left sidebar and go to Settings.
  3. Choose Clear local search history.

4. How to Reinstall the Google Play Store

You can’t uninstall the Google Play Store without rooting your device. If you think you’ve deleted Google Play, chances are that you’ve actually disabled it instead. To re-enable the Play Store:

  1. Visit Settings > Apps & notifications and choose See all X apps.
  2. At the top of the list, tap the All apps dropdown and change it to Disabled apps.
  3. Find Google Play Store and tap on it. Tap on the Enable icon to activate it again.

5. How Do I Install Google Play?

Some imported tablets and smartphones don’t come with the Google Play Store installed. In this case, you’ll need to locate a Play Store APK file from a third-party source and then manually install it.

To do this you’ll first need to follow our guide to sideloading apps on Android. Once you’re set up, grab the Play Store APK from APKMirror and sideload it.

Download: Google Play Store (Free)

6. I Need an Older Version of the Google Play Store

google play store logo

Sometimes, the newest version of Google Play won’t work on your device. In that case, you can try installing an older version.

Take a look at this APKMirror directory of Google Play Store APKs, which includes links to every major version of the Play Store. You can follow the above steps to sideload it once downloaded. Unfortunately, very old versions of the Play Store may not work at all.

7. How Do I Free Up Memory on My Android Device?

In Android (like most operating systems), “memory” refers to RAM, not storage. The Android OS works best with a minimal number of installed applications. That’s because some apps like to run in the background, even when you aren’t using them

The more apps you have installed, the more likely some will run hidden from view, all the while consuming resources and battery life. The simplest solution is to uninstall all non-essential applications.

We don’t recommend using task killers, as they negatively impact the functionality of your device. On top of that, they don’t adequately address the main issue: apps which consume resources can also start themselves at will. See how to manage memory on Android for more tips.

8. System UI Not Working (Android 9 or Older)

Sometimes the System User Interface (UI) can stop working. If restarting your device doesn’t fix this problem, we suggest wiping the System UI cache. To wipe the cache:

  1. Launch Settings > Apps & notifications and select See all X apps.
  2. Make sure the top dropdown list says All apps, then scroll down to System UI.
  3. Select Storage & cache, then choose to Clear cache.
  4. Restart your device.

On Android 10 and newer, you don’t have access to the System UI service. However, you can attempt to modify the System UI using an app called System UI Tuner. Unfortunately, this app can only change the appearance of some of Android’s user interfaces, such as the status bar. Even so, it’s better than nothing.

Download: System UI Tuner (Free)

9. Android Download Manager Not Working

Sometimes the Android Download Manager doesn’t work. Oftentimes, the files it’s downloading (to a temporary location called a “cache”) become corrupted.

In this case, wiping the cache should fix the problem. However, this doesn’t work in Android 10 or newer. To wipe the cache on older Android versions:

  1. Launch Settings > Apps & notifications and tap See all X apps.
  2. Make sure the top dropdown list says All apps, then find and tap System UI in the list.
  3. Select Storage & cache, then Clear cache.
  4. Restart your phone.

If that doesn’t work, or you have Android 10 or newer, consider using a third-party download manager like Advanced Download Manager.

Download: Advanced Download Manager (Free, in-app purchases available)

10. I Can’t Find My Download

By default, Android stores your downloaded files in a folder called Download. You can locate this directory using a file manager, like Ghost Commander. Once installed, navigate to /Download and you should see a complete list of downloaded files.

If you don’t want to bother with this, Files by Google is an easier choice. It includes a direct link to the Download directory on its main page.

Download: Ghost Commander (Free)
Download: Files by Google (Free)

11. I Can’t Play a Downloaded Video

Problems with a video on your Android device? Try using VLC Player or MX Player, which work with almost every file you can imagine. However, sometimes videos in a proprietary format won’t play. There’s no real solution for this issue other than installing the proprietary video codec.

In the event that neither MX nor VLC Player can play your video, it’s likely corrupted. You’ll need to download it again.

Download: VLC Player (Free)
Download: MX Player (Free)

12. I Installed Android Malware!

When you suspect you have malware on your Android phone, simply uninstall the supposed culprit. If you’re not sure which app is causing an issue on your phone, follow our guide to finding and removing Android malware.

Most of the time, we don’t recommend using any paid anti-malware solution for Android, since you can simply uninstall the malware. In a worst-case situation, a factory reset resolves almost every problem.

Plus, Google Play Protect is now baked into Android to keep your device safe. To make sure you’ve enabled Google Play Protect, take the following steps:

  1. Open the Google Play Store.
  2. Tap on the three horizontal bars in the upper-left corner and select Play Protect.
  3. Tap the Settings gear in the top-right corner.
  4. Make sure Scan apps with Play Protect is turned on.
  5. Tap the Refresh arrow next to the shield icon to run a scan.

If your phone doesn’t have Google Play Protect or you want another opinion, Malwarebytes Security is a good second option.

Download: Malwarebytes Security (Free, subscription available)

13. Slow Internet Speeds on Android

Poor-quality connections are a common issue on both Wi-Fi and mobile internet. You can resolve most Wi-Fi speed issues by restarting your router.

For issues with data connections, see our guide to speeding up mobile internet on your phone.

14. Can’t Connect to Wi-Fi Network

Chances are that your router is at fault for this issue. If restarting your router and phone doesn’t work, take a look at our quick tips for fixing network issues.

15. How Do I Break an Android Password?

google find my mobile website

If you’ve forgotten your Android passcode, first follow our steps to get back into your Android phone. If none of those work, you’ll need to perform a factory reset from the bootloader. This is a pre-boot environment that allows you to restore the operating system, among other tasks.

While there are ways to potentially break Android passwords, no method is as reliable as a factory reset. On the downside, doing so will erase all your data.

The method to enter the bootloader varies among devices. For most models, you can access it by holding the Volume down and Power buttons until your phone goes to the bootloader. Once inside, you factory reset your device using the Recovery Mode option.

Note that if you have a custom ROM, you shouldn’t do this. It can render your device unbootable.

16. Android Device Crashes on Boot

If your phone no longer boots, you can enter Android’s “safe mode”. This allows you to disable all non-essential startup apps that might cause your phone to crash.

Once you load into safe mode, it should be easy to remove the misbehaving app.

17. Android Device Won’t Turn On

If your phone doesn’t turn on, try the following steps:

  1. Remove and reinsert the battery, if possible.
  2. If the battery isn’t removable, hold down the power button for 15 seconds.
  3. Plug the device into a power source, give it a few minutes, then hold the power button down for 15 seconds again.
  4. Failing that, you likely need to either have the device serviced or return it.

For more detail, see our full guide on what to do when your Android phone won’t turn on.

18. Android Not Reading microSD Card

When this happens, you should format the SD card from within Android. To format an Android microSD card:

  1. Go to Settings > Storage.
  2. Scroll down to the bottom and select Format SD card.
  3. Finally, select Format SD card again.

On Android 10, this process is slightly different:

  1. Head to Settings > Storage.
  2. Under Portable Storage, tap on your microSD card.
  3. Tap on the three dots at the upper-right of the screen.
  4. Select Storage settings from the context menu.
  5. Choose Format, then select Format SD Card.

If this fails, you’ll need to connect the SD card to a PC using a card reader and format it that way.

19. Can’t Connect Android Device to a Windows PC

There are two methods that an Android device can use to connect to a computer: Android Debug Bridge (ADB) or Media Transfer Protocol (MTP). ADB lets you interact with Android’s operating system, while MTP only permits access to specifically designated media storage directories.

ADB is much more complicated, which means it runs into problems more often. See how to fix ADB in Windows for help with troubleshooting it.

20. The Nuclear Option: Factory Reset

If all else fails, you’ll need to turn to a factory reset. Remember that this will completely delete everything from your device, so you should back up your Android device first.

On Android 10, take the following steps:

  1. Go to Settings > System > Advanced > Reset options.
  2. Tap Erase all data (factory reset).
  3. Confirm the operation, then enter your passcode to start the process.

To perform a factory reset in older versions of Android:

  1. Go to Settings > Backup & reset.
  2. Choose Reset at the bottom of the window and confirm the operation.

Android Issues Solved

Now you know how to resolve the most common Android problems. You should always start by rebooting your phone before moving onto more specific troubleshooting.

If you want to perform a checkup while you’re at it, take a look at the best apps for making sure your Android phone is functioning properly.

Read the full article: 20 Common Android Problems Solved

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How to Turn On or Off Autocorrect for Android and Samsung Devices

Android’s autocorrect feature can be both a blessing and a curse. One minute, it’ll save you from an embarrassing typo in a message to your boss. The next, you’ll be left blushing as you send something wholly inappropriate to a family member.

It’s time you took back control. If you want to learn how to turn on autocorrect on your Android device, plus how to turn it off autocorrect again, keep reading. We’ll also touch on a few other settings to help you get the autocorrect feature working the way you want.

How to Turn Off Autocorrect on Android

By default, most Android devices come preinstalled with Gboard, Google’s in-house keyboard app. If you use using Gboard, you can follow our instructions to turn off autocorrect.

If, however, you instead use one of the many third-party keyboards for Android, the instructions might differ slightly. Consult with your keyboard developer’s official literature for more information.

The toggle to disable autocorrect on Gboard is hidden deep within your phone’s Settings menu.

To reach it, you’ll need to open Gboard settings. You can do this through the Settings app by going to Settings > System > Languages and input > Virtual keyboard > Gboard. For a faster method, open your keyboard and long-press on the comma key, then tap the gear icon that appears.

Once you reach Gboard’s settings with either method, select Text correction and under the Corrections heading, slide the toggle for Auto-correction into the Off position.

How to Turn On Autocorrect on Android

If you change your mind later, you can re-enable the autocorrect feature at any time.

Simply perform the same instructions as above, tweaking the final step:

  1. Open the Settings app and go to System > Languages and input > Virtual keyboard > Gboard.
    1. Alternatively, open the keyboard, hold the comma key, and tap the gear icon.
  2. Choose Text correction and scroll down to the Corrections section.
  3. Locate the toggle labeled Auto-correction and slide it into the On position.

Again, if you’re using a different Android keyboard, you might find that the instructions vary. Any keyboard you have installed should appear under the Virtual keyboard section of the Settings app. Open it from there, then you’ll need to look for the appropriate setting.

SwiftKey, for example, has autocorrect under Typing > Typing & Autocorrect > Autocorrect.

How to Turn Off Autocorrect on Samsung Devices

If you’ve ever owned a Samsung phone or tablet, you know that the company does not use the stock Android operating system. Instead, Samsung devices run a proprietary skin on Android. This is now known as Samsung Experience, but was previously called TouchWiz.

Stock Android and Samsung’s skin differ in a lot of ways, one of which is how to turn autocorrect on and off.

Below are instructions for disabling autocorrect on Samsung devices running Android 10:

  1. Visit Settings > General management > Language and input > On-screen keyboard.
  2. Select Samsung Keyboard, assuming that you’re using the built-in solution.
  3. Choose Smart typing.
  4. Turn Predictive text off.

To turn off autocorrect on older Samsung phones and tablets, you need to use these instructions instead:

  1. Open the Settings app by heading to Apps > Settings.
  2. Scroll down to the System section.
  3. Tap on the icon labeled Language and input.
  4. Select Default from the list of options available. This may have a different name if you have other keyboard installed.
  5. Scroll down until you find the Auto replace menu item, and select it.
  6. Flick the toggle in the upper right-hand corner into the Off position.

(Note: If you have multiple keyboard languages installed, you can turn on/off autocorrect for each language layout individually using the checkboxes alongside the languages on this page.)

How to Improve Autocorrect on Android

We’ve all seen those funny autocorrect screenshots. When you read some of them, it is understandable why you might have a sudden urge to turn off autocorrect on your Android device.

In truth, however, such drastic measures are rarely required. Android keyboards have a bevy of options that allow you to tweak, refine, and improve the autocorrect feature, thus making it work better for your needs.

Let’s take a quick look at some of the other settings that are worth investigating. These mainly apply to Gboard, but you’ll find similar options on most keyboard apps.

Auto-Capitalization

Android can automatically fix capital letters at the start of sentences and on proper nouns as you type.

In normal circumstances, it is a useful feature. But for some people, it might not be ideal. Lots of words are both proper nouns and regular nouns (for example, “Turkey” the country and “turkey” the bird). If you find yourself using such words regularly, you might want to turn off the auto-capitalization feature.

You can do so by heading to Settings > System > Languages and input > Virtual keyboard > Gboard > Text correction > Auto-capitalization. Slide the toggle into the Off position to disable it.

Spell Check

Rather than relying on the autocorrect feature to fix your errors, you could just use Android’s native spell check feature. It will alert you to typos and other misspelled words using those familiar squiggly red lines under the text.

To turn spell check on or off on Android, you need to go to Settings > System > Languages and input > Virtual keyboard > Gboard > Text correction > Spell check and flick the toggle into the desired position.

(Note: If you wish, you can run the spell-check and autocorrect tools simultaneously.)

Customize the Android Dictionary

You will always come across some legitimate words that are not part of Android’s built-in dictionary. Obscure place names, brand names, and specific jargon related to your job are common culprits.

It gets old really fast when Android continually tries to autocorrect “Sonos” into “sonar” or “Logitech” into “logical.” To prevent this from happening—and save yourself some stress in the process—you should add the words to your personal dictionary.

You can access the dictionary by heading to Settings > System > Languages and input > Virtual keyboard > Gboard > Dictionary > Personal Dictionary. Tap the language you’d like to edit the dictionary for, even if you only have one installed. Then you can use the Plus button to add new words.

Try Voice Typing

Some keyboard (including Gboard) provide you with alternative ways to type on Android. One of these is using your voice rather than an on-screen touch keyboard.

From an autocorrect standpoint, you’re less likely to make a typo when speaking rather than typing. However, you’ll introduce the issue of potentially misunderstood words.

If you would like to try voice typing, go to Settings > System > Languages and input > Virtual keyboard > Gboard > Voice typing and turn the toggle on. Then you can tap the Microphone icon at the top-right of the keyboard to speak.

If you use another keyboard, you can also switch to Google voice typing using the keyboard switch button that appears while typing.

Learn More About Typing on Android

Turning autocorrect on and off is only one small way you can improve the typing experience on your Android device. For example, you can change the keyboard’s theme, install third-party options, and even switch to a non-QWERTY keyboard layout.

To learn more, have a look at ways to type more efficiently with Gboard, or even consider changing your Android keyboard entirely.

Read the full article: How to Turn On or Off Autocorrect for Android and Samsung Devices

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How to Run Linux on Android Devices

If you’re reading this, you’ve probably used Linux before, and know that it works on almost any piece of hardware. Meanwhile, you’ve got a phone in your pocket, and you know it’s versatile. So can your Android phone run Linux?

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Yes, it can. Here’s what you need to know about running Linux on your Android smartphone or tablet.

Wait, Isn’t Android Already Linux?

Well, it is… and it isn’t.

Android is built upon the Linux kernel, a software stack that interfaces with the hardware of a device. It basically enables an operating system to communicate with the device—whether that’s a PC, a smartphone, or other hardware.

The Linux operating system should really be referred to as GNU/Linux. But over time, the word “Linux” has come to interchangeably describe the kernel as well as the various operating systems. These include Arch Linux, Ubuntu, Gentoo, and many others.

So while Android uses the Linux kernel, it doesn’t offer a desktop environment. This is what most people are thinking about when considering ways to install Linux for Android.

Why Install Linux on Your Android Device?

So why might you want a Linux desktop environment installed on your Android phone or tablet?

You may wish to run an app that isn’t available on Android. But in most cases, you’ll simply want to gain access to some sort of desktop environment. Maybe you have a spare Android tablet you want to revitalize, and installing Linux on it is a good way to do this.

Current Android devices have ideal hardware for a PC-like experience, and installing Linux is a great way to enable this.

Of course, you may find that the tasks you want to perform in Linux also work in Android. The only hurdle holding you back might be simultaneous Android app multitasking. Fortunately, this is a feature that many modern Android devices support on the latest OS versions.

Running Linux running on an Android phone or tablet device isn’t easy. If you’re looking for improved multitasking, try upgrading to a recent version of Android instead.

Can My Phone or Tablet Run Linux?

To run Linux on Android, you have several choices. Which you should use is determined by whether your Android device is rooted or not.

In almost all cases, your phone, tablet, or even Android TV box can run a Linux desktop environment. You can also install a Linux command line tool on Android. It doesn’t matter if your phone is rooted (unlocked, the Android equivalent of jailbreaking) or not.

The following options to install Linux on your Android tablet or phone are available:

  • To install Linux on Android without root:
    • Debian Noroot
    • UserLAnd
    • AndroNix
  • For installing Linux on a rooted Android device:
    • Use Linux Deploy
    • Install Kali Linux for penetration testing

Several other methods will give you a Linux, or desktop-like experience, on Android. We’ll look at those, too.

Install Linux on Android Without Root

First, we’ll take a look at three ways to install Linux on your Android phone or tablet without rooting the device.

How to Run Linux on Android With Debian Noroot

The best way to get Linux running on your phone with minimum fuss is with Debian Noroot. You need Android 4.1 or later to run this.

The benefit of Debian Noroot is that it will install Debian Buster on your phone with a compatibility layer. This allows you to run Debian apps without having to root Android. Given how difficult rooting can be for some devices, this is useful.

Performance with Debian Noroot is not great, but it’s usable. For the best results installing Linux for Android, consider rooting your device first.

Download: Debian Noroot (Free)

Get Linux on Android With UserLAnd

An alternative to Debian Noroot, UserLAnd is an Android app from the Play Store that offers a choice of distros. In addition to Alpine, Arch, Debian, Kali, and Ubuntu, this tool lets you install apps.

You can install tools like GIMP, Firefox, and LibreOffice before you install Linux on Android. Simply run the app, agree to the permissions, and select a distro to install. There’s a choice of viewing the installed Linux version over SSH (command line) or using a VNC app (for desktop).

It’s surprisingly simple to set up and use. Thus, if you’re looking for a solution for running Linux on Android, try this.

Download: UserLAnd (Free)

AndroNix Installs Linux on Android

Shipping with eight distros, this useful tool also offers modded versions of some Linux operating systems for improved performance. The standard eight distributions are:

  1. Ubuntu
  2. Kali
  3. Debian
  4. Arch
  5. Parrot OS
  6. Fedora
  7. Manjaro
  8. Alpine

Of these, Ubuntu, Debian, Ubuntu, and Manjaro have modded versions available for Android devices with ARMv8 chipsets and later.

To install a Linux operating system on Android with AndroNix, simple tap the distro you want, then hit Install. You’ll need to follow the steps to copy a command into a Termux terminal window, as well as choose a desktop environment.

The video above outlines the process in more detail. Just be sure to have Termux and a VNC viewing app (like VNC Viewer) installed. You’ll need VNC to use your chosen Linux desktop.

AndroNix is free, but features a premium upgrade which removes ads and introduces additional (non-vital) features. This includes support for offline downloading of operating systems.

Download: AndroNix (Free, in-app purchases available)

3 More Ways to Run Linux on Android Without Root

Desktop mode on Samsung Galaxy devices with DeX

While we’ve covered a few good options to run Linux on your Android device, other methods are available:

  1. DeX: If you own a modern Samsung device, you have the option of switching your hardware to desktop mode with DeX. While not exactly a Linux operating system, this is a desktop environment with a Linux kernel.
  2. Remote Desktop to a system running Linux, using the app Splashtop.
  3. Termux: This self-contained Linux environment based on the command line lets you run Linux apps on Android. Thus, it’s literally Linux on Android!

Root Android and Install Linux

For rooted users, or anyone happy to take the time to root their Android device, installing Linux is simpler and faster.

How to Install Linux on a Rooted Android Device

If you have a rooted device, you can install various versions of Linux on Android using the Linux Deploy tool. This is best done by first connecting your phone to a Wi-Fi network.

Start off by installing BusyBox, which provides some enhanced root capabilities. Next, install Linux Deploy. On first run, tap Start to ensure the root permissions are enabled, then tap Settings in the bottom-right corner.

Use the displayed options menu to select your preferred Distribution. Debian, Ubuntu, Gentoo, Fedora, and many more are available to install. We used Arch Linux.

You’ll need to check the Enable box under GUI to view a Linux desktop on your phone. Also ensure that VNC is selected for the Graphics subsystem. Next, check the screen resolution under GUI settings, and make sure you’re happy with the Desktop environment.

Finally, find the User name and User password entries. Either make a note of them or change them to something more memorable for you.

Back out of this menu, then tap the three dots in the upper-right corner and select Install, then OK.

When this is done, install VNC Viewer from the Play Store. In Linux Deploy, tap Start to run Linux. Then open VNC Viewer and connect to localhost:5900 to view your Linux desktop with the credentials you entered earlier.

Once up and running, you can install Linux software using the terminal in the usual manner.

Congratulations: you now have Linux running on Android!

How to Install Kali Linux on Android (Root Required)

The Linux Deploy method above for running Linux distros on Android is probably the best one you’ll find. It provides a good choice of Linux versions, including Kali Linux.

Want to use your Android phone or tablet as a penetration testing device? While you’ll find various useful Android networking tools, the best option is a portable version of Kali Linux. Simply follow the instructions above using Linux Deploy, and select Kali Linux to install on Android.

Once installed, you’ll have a portable pen-testing solution in your pocket. This will check the safety of any network your phone connects to.

Alternative, Install a Custom Android ROM

Not sure installing Linux on Android is such a good idea, but want more functionality from your phone? You could simply try a different version of Android.

If you’re not sure where to start, read about how to install a custom ROM on Android.

Read the full article: How to Run Linux on Android Devices

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10 Free Mobile Ringtones That Sound Like Real Phones

Changing your mobile ringtone is one of the best ways to personalize your phone, but many people don’t bother to swap out the default ringtone on their devices. How many times have you heard the default iPhone ringtone in public and mistakenly thought it was yours?

Thankfully, you have thousands of free possibilities for downloading a new and better ringtone.

Today we’re going to focus on the best ringtones that sound like actual phones. Whether you’re going for a vintage effect or want to mimic a ringtone from TV, these will do the job.

1. Universal Hollywood Phone Ring

You probably recognize this tone from a plethora of old TV shows. Classics like Leave it to Beaver and Magnum P.I., along with movies like Ghostbusters, used this as the ringtone for phones on screen. It’s recognizable and functional.

2. Classic UK Phone Ring

If you prefer a European flavor to your classic ringtones, try this double-tone ring. It sounds a little classier than the standard ring.

3. High-Pitched Retro Ring

Looking for a can’t-miss vintage telephone tone? This loud ringtone will pierce the ears of anyone nearby.

4. General Retro Ring

This one doesn’t have a particular phone or era attached to it, but features that classic phone sound nonetheless.

5. Austin Powers / Our Man Flint Phone Ring

Want to blend in as a pseudo-secret agent? Here’s the ringtone that Austin Powers answers to.

Interestingly, this originally came from the 1966 movie Our Man Flint, which had a similar vibe.

6. 24’s CTU Ringtone

In the show 24, protagonist Jack Bauer works for the Counter-Terrorist Unit, or CTU. The phones ring a lot in this series, and when they do, you hear this sound.

7. Jurassic Park 3 Satellite Ringtone

Who ever thought a ringtone could be scary? In Jurassic Park 3, one of the dinosaurs swallows a cell phone. Later on, the protagonists are scared silly when they turn around and hear the phone ringing—inside the dino’s body.

You might send a few people running when they hear this one!

8. Geico Boss’s Ring a Ding Dong

Geico is the king of fun commercials, and one of the company’s older spots features a great ringtone. The gecko’s boss shows off his boring ringtone of a guy talking about how great Geico is, then his phone breaks out with a hoppin’ beat.

It makes a great ringtone even today.

9. Paul Blart: Mall Cop’s Ringtone

2009’s Paul Blart: Mall Cop isn’t the funniest movie you’ll ever see, but it does contain a few laughs. In the film, Paul Blart buys a cell phone but doesn’t know how to change the ringtone.

It results in Rasheeda’s “My Bubble Gum” playing whenever he gets a call, which amusingly clashes with his straight-edge good guy vibe.

10. Nokia Tone

We end with perhaps the most classic mobile ringtone of all. For many people, a Nokia phone was their first cell phone. Thus, this short tone alerted thousands to their first on-the-go phone call. That’s pretty neat!

Nokia has released several renditions of this, including a piano and dubstep mix, but the original beep-boop reigns supreme.

More Retro Ringtones

If you haven’t found the classic phone tone you’re looking for in the list above, don’t fret. Beepzoid’s vintage phone ringtones page has over 60 ringtones for your retro pleasure.

Unfortunately, these have generic labels (like “Ringtone #23”) and thus it’s hard to decipher the exact phones they’re emulating. We recommend you take a browse and find which one you like best. You might consider looking on some of the best ringtone sites, too.

How to Add Ringtones to Your Phone

Now that you’ve picked out a new retro ringtone, it’s time to put it on your phone. Start by finding your favorite above, then right-clicking it and choose Save As. Place it somewhere on your computer for safekeeping.

After that, the process differs depending on whether you use Android or iOS.

Android Ringtones

You have several ways of installing a custom ringtone on Android. The easiest way is using a service like Pushbullet to send the files from your desktop to your phone. Alternatively, if you like, you can download the ringtones directly to your phone to bypass using your desktop completely.

Once you’ve downloaded or moved them, you’ll need to use a file manager app to move the MP3s from the Downloads folder to the Ringtones folder. Anything placed in that folder will then appear in the list when you visit Settings > Sound > Ringtone. Have a look there to set your new tone!

If you don’t use Pushbullet, you can transfer files to your phone using cloud storage. Place your MP3s in Dropbox, Google Drive, or a similar service. Then use the app on your phone to export the files to your Downloads or Ringtones folder. From there, follow the same procedure as above.

Finally, to do it the old-school way, connect a USB cable from your phone to your PC. Use a File Explorer or Finder window to transfer the MP3s directly to the Ringtones folder on your phone. Then you can assign one through the Settings menu.

iPhone Ringtones

Unfortunately, assigning ringtones on iOS is a massive pain and requires jumping through several hoops in iTunes. We’ve written a complete guide to creating an iPhone ringtone, so check that out for the full steps.

What’s Your New Ringtone?

Lots of people have a favorite movie soundtrack or song as their ringtone. But you can stand out by using one of these retro tones instead. They aren’t for everyone, and some of the vintage phone sounds can be quite grating. But keeping them on your phone is a fun idea for when you need to step back into the past for a bit.

If you’re a fan of gaming, we’ve taken a look at the best retro game ringtones and notification sounds too.

Image Credit: Mr.Cheangchai Noojuntuk/Shutterstock

Read the full article: 10 Free Mobile Ringtones That Sound Like Real Phones