All posts by xolo

How to speed up and tweak Chrome browser

Chrome is already a fast and an efficient browser on mobile devices. But if you wish to make it even faster, try these features.

When it comes to choosing a browser for your android device, chrome is a no-brainer. Here are a few tips to make your experience even better:

Preload webpages
Chrome can help you render webpages faster by preloading them for you. It predicts which page you are going to visit and preloads it automatically in the background. This is a good feature to put to use when you are on Wi-Fi which helps pages load instantly when you click on them. To enable this, you need to go to Chrome -> Settings -> (Advanced) Bandwidth management. Then you can select the option to enable/disable it or partially enable it (on Wi-Fi only).

Note that you might want to consider the large amount of data this feature will be using when enabled. So choose your option wisely.

Make pages load faster
Chrome claims to reduce data usage of your device by up to 50% when you enable this feature. This option basically uses Google’s servers to compress images and includes some other optimizations for web page that you request and then delivers them to your device.

Note that:

  • This doesn’t happen to pages that have requested HTTPS versions of websites, neither does it affect the tabs open in incognito mode.
  • You should not use this feature if you are a privacy freak, since an intermediate server is involved. Though it is Google, but it all depends on what you need versus what you trust.

     

     

    To enable it, you can go to Chrome -> Settings -> (Advanced) Reduce Data Usage. Once enabled, you can revisit this page to see a statistical view of the data you saved in the past 30 days

Who doesn’t want more speed?

  • Yes, chrome is the fastest browser amongst all existent ones, but why not tweak it just a bit more to make it even faster? Well we can fix the lagging Chrome at the very least to make it a better experience.

  • Here’s what to do:

You need to enter the flags section of the browser, (chrome://flags) and herein find the “maximum tiles for interest area” flag and from the dropdown menu, change its value to 512 and re-launch the browser. The change is not tremendous, but it is noticeable to say the least.

It is worthy to note here that the 512 here makes Chrome take more RAM and forces Android to allocate more memory. And if you’re on a low-end device, this might mean that Android forces other idle apps to force-close more aggressively. If you don’t want so, you could choose a smaller number like 256 or experiment yourself whichever number suits your needs.

NOTE: Flags is an experimental feature and if you don’t see any improvements, switch back to default behavior. Also, it goes without saying; play with these at your own risk.

Some other features that make browsing on Chrome faster and more accessible:

1. Make web pages accessible offline

Many times when you are traveling and you don't have an internet connection while you’re on the move or enter a zone with no connection. This tweak will allow you to view the page even if you don’t have network, provided you’ve opened the page at least once before. Basically you’ll see a cached version of the webpage.

Note that this will store the webpages on your device in the cache which will eventually take up space on your phone, so you might think once before enabling this.

To enable it, open a new tab, type in chrome://flags in the address bar and press go. In the long list that turns up, search for an option called "Enable offline cache mode." Tap on 'Enable' next to it and restart your chrome for the changes to take effect. You can similarly disable it whenever you need to.

2. Gestures
While Google does not advertise or give a comprehensive walkthrough of how to use all the features that its Chrome browser gives but it is most likely that you would have discovered most of the gesture controls by now. If you swipe from the edges towards the center of the screen, you can move in between the tabs that are open on the device.

Also, if you do so on tabs in tab mode (when you press open new tab, and the open tabs are present in a cascade form, one behind the other), you can swipe on a tab to close it.

1. Sync with tablet/PC

Here's another feature of Chrome that many people do not use this feature to its full extent. You can sync your tabs across multiple devices with ease. Note that your tabs are synced, and not webpages. What is the difference? You ask. Well, your complete tab history is synced, so if you press the back button on your mobile device it will take you to the last page visited on the desktop if the tab was synced via desktop. Also, all your bookmarks and Omnibox suggestions are synced across all devices as well.

Also the “send-to”, which is a little less-known feature, is quite a helpful one. Using it, you can send webpages from your tablet/PC to your android mobile with just a click. And then later, you can read it on the go, even if you are not connected to the internet.

2. Bookmarks bar

I am a person who loves my chrome desktop bookmarks as icon only, hence making them more visual. 

So naturally, I wanted this on my android too, since accessing sites with a touch is far better than typing a URL or a keyword every time. Sadly, we do not have a bookmarks bar built inside chrome for Android. The good news is that you can have a similar set up on your device’s home screen, which is even better in my opinion. Here are a few sites I arranged on my home screen:

Clicking on any of the icons opens the website straight off without the need to open Chrome first and going to the bookmarks section and then tapping on the bookmark icon, or typing in the URL for that matter. Here’s how you can do it:

  1. Open bookmarks on your chrome (the star sign towards the right on the address bar).
  2. Tap the bookmark and hold it for a few seconds.
  3. From the menu that pops up, you can select “Add to home screen”.
  4. And you are done. You can repeat these steps for your favorite websites and then arrange them on your home screen in a row or into a folder or as you wish.
  5. Zoom into pages of every website


Many webmasters decide to have a mobile specific view which prevents you from zooming in or out of the webpage which, sometimes, is very irritating. You can override this demand of the website and let yourself decide if you want stuff bigger or smaller. For this, go to the Accessibility section in your Chrome’s settings and check the “Force enable zoom” option to enable it and zoom wherever you want, whenever you want and on whichever site you want even if the page is not technically supporting it.

 

 

 

 

How to shoot better rain pictures

 

As beautiful as monsoon is, it can often limit photographers. If you have tried taking pictures while shielding your phone from rain and spray, then you know what I’m talking about. And then you can’t even step outside and you are stuck with taking boring pictures through the window. But fret not, grab a raincoat because here are 5 amazing ways to take better photos in rain.

 

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Watch for the raindrops on the windows: Forget your Instagram filters and take photos through the raindrops on a glass window. This makes any scene look pretty – cityscape, greenery or people. You can also alternate between focusing on the waterdrops and the subject behind the window.

 

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Abstracts: When it is raining heavily, the images often get distorted. This can give a painting-like feel to your photos. You can also use wet and metallic surfaces to take these photos. Just keep an open mind and don’t try too hard to capture the real appearance of the subject but rather how it looks distorted.

 

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Umbrellas are beautiful: The roads will be full of people walking around with umbrellas in monsoon. So, go out in the balcony or any other roofed area and take pictures of the colourful umbrellas. This, contrasted with darker surroundings, would create a very professional picture. Try higher altitudes for this shot.

 

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Those puddles are amazing: Small puddles with water give perfect reflections. Use these reflections along with the moving vehicles, people, and buildings to create an interesting perspective. Do not stop yourself from going a little low for the best angle.

How to post 360-degree photos on Facebook

We’ve been seeing 360-degree photos and videos all around us lately. The format allows you to share breath-taking views of your surroundings and the new places you travel to. So how does one upload a 360-degree photo on Facebook? Read on

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What do you need: You can easily take a 360 degree photo from your android phone through a myriad of apps offered by the Google Playstore. One of the easiest to use is the Google Street View  

 

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Taking the picture: Pick a spot in the centre of the area you want to capture. Open the app and guide the camera interface over the orange dots on the screen until the entire area is covered. Once done, confirm by hitting the stop button at the bottom.

 

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Editing: If you want to change the starting point of the photo, you can edit that on a computer while uploading it. Click on the wireframe icon and then select the paintbrush. Now drag the photo to bring it to the section you want it to start from and save it.

You may need to do it a few times before you have that perfect 360-degree photo, but keep trying, and you’ll get it. So, go ahead try it with your phone.

How to keep kids entertained this summer

Summers are here and kids are going to be home for vacations. Given the hot weather outside, you try to stay indoors as much as possible. But it can be quite a task for you to keep the kids involved. And not just that, you also want them to learn and spend their time productively. So, here are some fun activities that will keep you kids entertained and engaged this summer.

 

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Read books: There are so many amazing stories and books for kids that they’ll definitely love and enjoy. You can read it to them if they are too  young or you can encourage them to read it and act it out. What else? You can download e-books for free or at a fraction of the price on your phone.

 

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Indoor treasure hunt: Gather up toys and treats and hide them around the house. You can also add some clues for the older kids. Once everything is in place, ask them to find as many hidden treasures as possible. You can play appropriate music to make it more interesting.

 

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Learn a new language: Learning a new language is not only fun but also very beneficial for a child’s mental development. Being multi-lingual would also help them later in life. So, why not join a language course with them or start learning at home with hundreds of apps available on Play Store.

 

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Photography: Taking photos is the best way to capture memories. You can encourage your kids to take photos throughout the summer break. By the end of it you can help them make a scrapbook out of the photos. A smartphone with good camera could be a good way to start.

 

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Home theatre: You can arrange movie screenings at home for the kids and even invite their friends. Prepare popcorn and other snacks, and your home theatre is ready. Nothing beats movies and snacks on a hot summer day.  

So, why spend boring summer days complaining about the heat outside when there is so much to do indoors??

Need to finish work on the go? Your Android phone will let you do that

Have you ever stood in a corner of the metro, awkwardly holding your laptop because you need to finish an important presentation before you reach your office at any cost? I’m sure you have. But why wait to get to office when the office can come to your phone? Whether you just need to refer a document or edit one, your android phone will let you do all. Let us tell you how you can work on the go with your phone.

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Office on phone:
From just reading and writing emails to creating documents, presentations through apps such as
Microsoft Office Mobile, your phone can do it all. You can even execute complex Excel tasks through the mobile app. If there’s an important video conference you need to be a part of, you can do that too through your phone. Though make sure you find a quieter corner.

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Access anywhere:
With cloud storage and its integration in various apps, you don’t have to worry about switching between devices. You can start a project on your computer and then continue it on your phone. Every change you make is stored on the cloud in real-time and can be accessed on all platforms. So, no worries of duplication.

Use USB

Use USB:
But what if you are carrying some important files in a USB drive? You’ll need a laptop for that, right? Nope! Through OTG cable, you can access the files in your pendrive or external hard disk on your smartphone itself. You can also transfer your documents, presentations etc. from the phone to the USB, so when you reach office, all you have to do is plug and continue.

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Multitask:
You might think that the computer has an advantage that the internet speed is not affected when you’re on call, right?  Well, if your phone supports VoLTE, you can do that on the go too. Whether you have to access files on cloud or need to Google something urgently while on a call, one would not hamper the other.

 

With newer and better mobile technology coming to market, handling almost any task that was traditionally performed on computer can be done on your phone now. As Android smartphones are becoming smarter and smarter, you can use it as a mini desktop with all the apps available.

How to protect your smartphone from malwares?

All of a sudden, everybody is talking about malwares and ransomwares like ‘WannaCry’. But it’s not new, not even for smartphones. Did you know one in ten apps is infected with Android malware? Scary, right? Now, think about how many apps do you have in your phone? Could your phone be infected by malwares? To find that out, we need to understand what they are first.

What’s a malware?

Malware is malicious software that intends to disrupt damage and even gain illegal access to a mobile or a computer. In most cases malwares are attached to software or an app you install on your device.

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What can they do?

Most malwares are designed to illegally steal your personal details. This information can either be held against some sort of ransom or sold to advertisement companies to target you. Another very common type of malware sends out texts to premium-rate numbers from your phone. These numbers charge extra for calls and messages.

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Why phones need better protection

Recent studies show that while more than 50% computers have anti-virus installed, only 5% of phones have the same protection. On the other hand, your phone has more personal information than your PC since there’s an app for everything. So, it only makes sense that your phone should be protected just as well, right?

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How to avoid malwares

There are a few simple things that you can do to avoid malwares:

1> Always keep your phone updated because android keeps sending out fixes for bugs and loopholes that can be exploited
2> Your phone should also have an anti-virus from a reputed company
3> Install apps only from trusted app stores
4> If side-loading an app, make sure it’s from a trusted developer
5> Keep an eye out for apps asking for unnecessary permissions
6> Don’t click on any suspicious pop-up ads, or reply to unsolicited emails or texts

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What to do if infected?

 

If your phone starts draining out of battery faster than ever, heats up without any operation, or your call and data bills are larger than it should be, then that is a sign of a malware. If you are sure your phone is infected, then you should start with uninstalling any suspicious apps (most recent ones first). You can additionally scan your phone for malware with a good anti-virus app. If nothing works, you can always back-up your data and factory reset the phone.

5 Alternate ways to use the finger print sensor on your phone

Data security is the biggest talking point for technology right now. From mega servers to your phones, every storage device is being introduced with the latest security features. Fingerprint sensor is one such line of security for smartphones and it’s catching on quickly. While it makes unlocking your phone much safer and quicker, it’s doing much more than that.

Let’s take a look at 5 alternate ways you can use the sensor:

1. Lock Apps: It’s not much different from locking-unlocking your phone with a tap, but having a fingerprint lock for any app on your phone makes it more secure. Be it your messaging app, photo gallery or something else, a third-party app can put fingerprint authentication between your privacy and the prying eyes.

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2. Make payments: If you use e-wallets/payment apps such as Android pay, then fingerprint sensors can make the process much easier. Instead of having to put a pin every time, you can initiate payment with just a tap. Now you don’t have to worry about others finding out your pin.

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3. Click pictures: What’s worse than trying to take a selfie and finding the capture button at an awkward angle? Well, an app like Dactyl – Fingerprint Camera is what you need. It enables you to use the sensor as the capture button to take photos effortlessly.

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4. Phone Banking: We all have banking apps in our phones but putting in the pin or a complicated password at each step is not something anyone particularly enjoys. This has been made easy with fingerprint scanners since most popular banking apps are integrating it to authenticate the user.

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5. Accessibility: Imagine if you could open the notification panel, put your phone on sleep or launch an app right from the fingerprint sensor. With Fingerprint Quick Action you can do all of that and more. This app allows you to assign an action to your gesture on the sensor, like swipe, tap, double tap etc.

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When there is so much you can do with a simple touch why stop at just unlocking your phone?

Want to hide personal data on your phone? Here’s how

Did your heart stop the last time you had to give your phone to someone? Fearing which folder they’ll open? It’s quite understandable since all your personal data, emails, photographs, and other sensitive information, is saved on it. Your data is not just vulnerable when handing over the phone to someone but also to hacking and theft.

Here are some tips to keep personal data hidden and secure on your phone.

Swiper, no Swiping: Don’t you hate it when you give someone your phone to show them a picture, and they start swiping sideways to see others? Well, apps such as Focus can prevent this as it requests a PIN before showing the next photo.

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Fingerprint scanner: The latest smartphones such as Xolo Era 2X have fingerprint sensors which you can use not only to limit access to your phone, but also to add extra protection to apps related to banking and chat.

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.nomedia file: Hide content from your gallery by simply adding a blank file in the specific folder. A good File Manager software such as ES Explorer is necessary for this. Simply create a file with the name .nomedia and place it in the folder. It acts as an indication for the other apps to skip the folder.

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App options: You can also choose from the many apps on Play Store to secure your phone data. Applocker, for instance, locks folders and apps, and only allows access through a password.

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Antivirus: Hackers can get access to your phone’s content through malwares that come along with some of your favourite apps (and of course the ones you don’t like). Install a good antivirus on your smartphone to prevent information leaks.

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Use any of these tips to better secure your phone, and you will be less stressed about who’s holding it.

Never lose your phone’s content again

Are you reading this on the same phone you were using last year? Going by the rate at which we upgrade phones these days, probably not. But what happens to all the data when you start using a new phone? You can’t just delete all those text messages and photos, can you? Or input all those phone numbers again?

The logical thing would be to save them ‘somewhere safe’, but how does one even do that?

1. Look within: The best way to save all your preferences, app data, and settings including wi-fi passwords, would be through Google backup. You’ll find it in Settings > Backup & reset > Back up the data.

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2. Safe selfie: Though Google backup can help you here too, the sheer number of photos and videos you have in your phone, makes it a tedious task to save them on Google and then download them again. Not to mention the limited cloud storage. So, transferring all the media through USB cable to your laptop works the best.

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3. Call me maybe: You might be relying on importing your contacts to your sim card but what happens when you lose the phone itself? Gmail makes it easy for you. Sync your phone with your Gmail ID and turn the backup option on. You can see all your numbers in the contact tab of your Gmail account. Now simply add the Gmail account to any phone and your contacts will automatically be moved.

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Related Infographic: How to track your last phone

 

4. Text talk: If it’s on Facebook Messenger or Hangout, simply logging in with the same account should do the trick but if you want to save your WhatsApp chats on WhatsApp, you’ll need a few more taps. You’ll have to save it on Google Drive by going to WhatsApp Settings > Chats > Chat Backup.

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Related article: 5 quick tips to spot a WhatsApp scam message

 

Now that you know how to move all your data through different phones, go on, look for a new one.

 

Simple tricks to protect your phone this Holi

Holi is a crazy time. People don’t hold back with colour and water balloons and various other substances that leave you with coloured finger nails, hair and skin- because #BuraNaMaanoHoliHai. But how do you expect your phone to survive the craziness?!

Here are some tips to keep your phone safe while you enjoy the best holi ever.

 

1. Zip lock it: Put your phone inside, zip it, and put it in your pocket. Now you can go take a dip in any ol’ pool and your phone should be fine. You can even pick calls, albeit at the cost of looking a little ridiculous.

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2. Cling film: This easily available kitchen tool has many utilities and it can be of great help to protect your phone on holi. Just wrap a few layers around your phone, secure it in place with some cello tape and you are good to go outside. Put a few more layers and it will give your phone enough protection to handle the over enthusiastic crowd too.

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3. Cover the openings: If you didn’t have time to prepare in advance, you can still do a makeshift waterproofing of your phone with some scotch tape. In most cases water enters your phone through the openings at bottom – earphone, usb, speaker grills. Putting some tape on that can protect it from water splashes.

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But what if you still manage to get some water in your phone? We’ll take care of that too.

 

1. Don’t blow dry: Taking a blow dryer to your doused phone might seem like a logical thing but don’t do it. Along with drying the water, the hot air could also burn the sensitive components inside the phone.

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2. The old rice bowl trick: Remove the battery, pat dry the phone with tissue and put it in a bowl of dry rice overnight. Don’t forget to change the phone’s position every now and then. The rice absorbs all the moisture and your phone should be good to go.

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So, pick whichever option works best for you but don’t forget to protect your phone this holi.