Thursday, March 22, 2018

20 Common Galaxy S8 Problems & How to Fix Them

The Samsung Galaxy S8 is a great phone with plenty to love, but it’s not perfect. After being available for over a year we’re starting to see a lot of complaints about Galaxy S8 problems. And sadly a few more surfaced thanks to the Android 8.0 Oreo update. With that in mind, below is a list of common issues you may experience and how to quickly fix them. These also fix Galaxy S8+ problems as well. 

The Galaxy S8 has seen several updates since the release date in April of 2017. From security patches in August, October, and December, to improvements for wireless charging, bug fixes, and more. Now, Oreo is here delivering new features but causing even more problems. 

Read: 25 Best Galaxy S8 Cases & Covers

They’re still worthy replacements for the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge, and worth keeping over the Galaxy S9, but just know some issues will need attention. We’ll walk you through some of the biggest complaints, and offer fixes or resources to address them. 

How to Fix Galaxy S8 Missing Text Messages

A huge issue over the last few months is missing text messages. Hundreds of users on Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, and with both the S8 and S8+ have voiced frustration over it. Basically, a lot of text messages go missing. And now, after the recent Oreo update, some are missing picture messages too.

Some users have found a fix, while others can’t get anything to work. Either way, these are a few options worth trying that might save your conversations from going MIA.

First, try disabling “Advanced Messaging” in Samsung’s SMS app. If you’re using a third-party app, try uninstalling and re-installing it for a fresh start. I’ve had no problem using Textra. Others suggest turning off WiFi calling or remove Google’s Android Messages from the Galaxy S8’s battery optimization service. As it might be the problem too. These are only temporary fixes that don’t work for everyone, but they’re worth a try.

Lastly, try taking your SIM card out and putting it back in, then reboot your phone. One user put his SIM in another phone, then back in the S8, and texts starting working. Your mileage may vary. Samsung issued a fix for this late last year, but we still see the occasional complaint about it. Make sure you’re running the latest official software.

How to Fix Galaxy S8 Fingerprint Scanner Problems

The biggest Galaxy S8 problem for most is the fingerprint scanner location. It’s placed in a terrible spot. Rear-mounted scanners are everywhere on Android, but never on the side of the camera. Even worse, the Galaxy S8 and S8+ are longer than most, almost putting it out of reach.

Sadly there’s no real way to fix this, owners simply need to get used to the new location. Muscle memory will have you searching for a home button that isn’t there. Our best solution for actual fingerprint issues would be to set it up again for a more accurate reading.

Here is a guide to setup the Galaxy S8 fingerprint scanner correctly. Delete any saved scans and redo them after installing a case, and make sure to follow the on-screen prompts during the process. Changing angles, directions and the tip of your finger will give you the best results.

The scanner isn’t a button that clicks either, so you don’t know if you’re accidentally hitting the camera instead. Also, it sounds silly but clean the fingerprint scanner sometimes. If you’re having a lot of problems, wipe it clean with your shirt, then try again. If you’re having more problems after installing a case or getting Oreo, delete all saved prints and start the process over again.

How to Fix Face and Iris Scanner Problems

Thankfully Samsung provided a couple different ways to secure or unlock the device to offset the poor fingerprint location. Those being facial recognition and the Iris scanner from the Galaxy Note 7.

Read: How to Fix Bad Samsung Galaxy S8 Battery Life

The Iris Scanner works at night, through glasses, and at more angles than other scanners. However, comments everywhere say both of these methods don’t work very well. If you’re having problems we recommend deleting your Iris and saving it again. Open your eyes nice and wide the first time, so it gets the best reading possible.

The facial recognition is even worse. One person loves it, while the next complains its junk and never works. Pictures of your face can even cheat the system. So use caution if this is your only unlock method.

Instead of using your face, we recommend setting up a feature called “Smart Lock”. This uses trusted locations at home or work, your voice and your Bluetooth accessories and can unlock the Galaxy S8 automatically. When I’m home, my phone won’t lock. As soon as I leave, a lockscreen measure goes into place. Meaning you have to interact with the fingerprint or Iris scanner as little as possible.

Head to Settings > Lockscreen & Security > Smart Lock and enable it. Then customize your locations and Bluetooth devices for a better experience.

How to Fix Galaxy S8 Apps that Aren’t Full-Screen

Another big problem we continue to see and read about is apps not being full-screen. With a big 5.8 or 6.2-inch Quad-HD screen that’s long and skinny, some apps don’t use the entire space. This is simply because of the aspect ratio, similar to 16:9 widescreen movies back in the day having black bars. And thankfully, there’s an extremely easy and quick fix.

So far most apps work just fine and scale properly, but some don’t. If so follow these steps to fix the issue.

  • Pull down the notification bar and head into Settings (gear-shaped icon near the top right)

  • Find and select Display

  • Select the option labeled Full-Screen Apps

  • Find any app that isn’t highlighted and switch full-screen mode to on

Now it will automatically scale to the new 18.5:9 aspect ratio and fill your entire display with content. Some may not look right, but almost everything we’ve tried is just fine. Additionally, owners can hit the recent apps button and click the green “expand” icon to instantly toggle full-screen mode for that app.

How to Fix Galaxy S8 WiFi Problems

Countless reports are confirming Galaxy S8 and S8+ WiFi problems. Owners have mentioned poor performance, drops, or speeds so slow they can’t even load a website or Facebook unless they turn off WiFi. We see this with almost every smartphone that gets released.

Read: First 10 Galaxy S8 Settings to Change

If you’re experiencing Galaxy S8 WiFi problems it’s always a good idea to reset any home routers or modem. Better yet, reset your network to default settings. We’ve found unplugging power to the router for 10+ seconds will give it a fresh start, and your phone should now connect. Or try heading into Settings > Connections > WiFi and forget your wireless network. Then reconnect, put in the password, and re-learn the connection.

If you used Samsung SmartSwitch to transfer an old phone, the WiFi password likely transferred and connected automatically. If so, we strongly recommend redoing it yourself. Again, WiFi complaints are starting to surface now that Oreo is here. Check out this list of common Galaxy Oreo problems and how to fix them.

How to Fix Missing Galaxy S8 App Drawer Button

Not only are we missing a physical home button like all devices from the past seven years, but the Galaxy S8 doesn’t have an app drawer button. How do you find and open all of your apps?

Instead of wasting space on the screen with a dedicated white button, Samsung changed it to a gesture. Simply swipe up anywhere on the bottom of your screen to open the app tray and see all apps. It’s a software design change.

We can fix it though. Long press any blank space on your screen. It will zoom out to an edit and layout page, as well as show widget and background image options. Tap the gear-shaped settings button. Next hit the option in settings labeled “Apps Button” and select show apps button. Now hit done and go back. You’ll have that familiar button at the bottom of the screen to open your app tray.

Samsung even added a “Home screen only” option if you want all the apps on your home screen, similar to the iPhone. Try that too, and make folders to keep it clean and organized.

How to Fix Galaxy S8 Performance Problems

If you expected some of the best and fastest performance of any phone from the Galaxy S8, you might be disappointed after owning it for a little while. Apps tend to overload it after months of installs, and performance can sometimes take a dip. Additionally, Samsung’s user interface isn’t known for being the fastest on the market.

There are ways to fix this though. Of course, rebooting the phone once a week or so helps, not to mention uninstalling apps you don’t need. However, we have a few other big tips for users.

Read: How to Speed Up the Galaxy S8 in 3 Easy Steps

First off, try our guide above. This is a little trick that works with any Android device to improve performance, speed, and overall responsiveness. Another option is to disable apps that constantly drain power, like the Briefing news app. Open Bixby and disable some of the apps it pulls information from, to free up resources for improved performance.

On our own Galaxy S8 performance is vastly improved since accepting the Android 8.0 Oreo update. I have an AT&T model, and I’ve noticed an increase overall. So, be patient if you’re still waiting for the update.

How to Fix Galaxy S8 Display Screen Color Problems (Red Tint)

Some users, mainly in Korea, have stated the screen has a red tint to it and the colors aren’t right. This isn’t a hardware problem that will require replacement phones, instead, a software update or tweak should fix it.

As you can see above two have a reddish tint, while the other is a nice white screen. This is a calibration issue in some form, and Samsung has since updated the phone with more options for users to customize it as they see fit. The update is available on T-Mobile and AT&T, and most carriers.

Head to Settings > Display > Screen Mode and choose a new color mode. Alternatively, there will be a fifth color balance option to completely adjust the display colors, tone and white balance. This is the only way to get rid of the red tint on your Galaxy S8 screen. Just keep in mind the phone isn’t bad, you just need to recalibrate the screen to get it how you’d like.

While we’re talking about the screen, a few comments early on suggested some are having what’s called screen burn-in. Where icons like the on-screen keys are ghosting and visible in apps or fullscreen mode. Basically, they burn into the screen and never fully go away. Samsung fixed this by sending out an update where the on-screen buttons move ever so slightly throughout the day. You won’t notice, but it should prolong the life of your device.

How to Fix Galaxy S8 Screen Resolution

Another problem is Samsung’s Galaxy S8 comes with a Quad-HD display and a 2960 x 1440 resolution. Higher than most 1080p HD television sets. However, Samsung lowers this down to 1080p HD for daily use. They did the same thing with the Galaxy S7 Android 7.0 Nougat update.

It’s a move that users barely notice, yet improves performance and battery life. Most can’t tell the difference between Quad HD and 1080p. That said, if you’d like the full Quad-HD you paid for, it’s easy to change.

Just go to Settings > Display > Screen resolution and slide it to the far right for the full WQHD+ for the best possible screen experience. Personally, I’ll keep it at 1080p for the improved battery life.

How to Fix Galaxy S8 Wet Speaker Problems

Like its predecessors, the Galaxy S8 and S8+ are IP68 dust and water-resistant. Meaning they can go in under 5ft of water for over 30 minutes and work just fine. It’s certified against damage without flaps covering the ports or covers of any kind.

If the Galaxy S8 gets wet the speaker may sound funny for a moment, but it shouldn’t cause any long-term damage. Still, we see a lot of complaints about this and more will surface over the summer.


Samsung uses a coating on the inside of the device and surface tension to keep water out. If the speaker isn’t working or sounds bad after getting wet, just let it dry. There’s even a screen behind the speaker grill, but sometimes just a little too much water goes in.

Read: How to Find a Lost or Stolen Galaxy S8

Try shaking it out, blowing (gently) in the grill or tap it against your hand to get leftover water out. Once it dries a bit the speaker will go back to normal. We also recommend waiting a few hours before charging a phone that gets wet.

How to Fix Galaxy S8 Bluetooth Problems

Despite being the first phone with Bluetooth 5.0 which delivers 4x the range, faster pairing times and connecting two devices at once, we’re seeing tons of complaints about Bluetooth.

Multiple users state the Galaxy S8 doesn’t even see their devices, or if it does, it won’t connect. And if it does, it sounds like an old CD skipping. Meaning the connection is very poor. There’s a large thread at the official Samsung complaint forum, but no solution in sight.

One moderator suggests turning off both the Galaxy S8 and your Bluetooth accessory. Turn them both back on, delete any pairing, and repair your headphones, speaker or car. Often times a simple reboot will fix Bluetooth problems too. Users can also head to Settings > Apps > Find Bluetooth and clear the cache. This will erase all pairings, which seems to solve the problem for some.

Samsung’s June software update fixed some critical bugs, improved security, and lightly mentioned Bluetooth, so try our steps again if it still doesn’t work right. That said, Google made tons of changes to Android’s Bluetooth system overall in Oreo, so we might see a few more problems in this area. Drop a comment below if you’re noticing more BT problems on the Galaxy S8 since receiving Oreo.

How to Fix Galaxy S8 Camera Problems

Are you getting a “warning, camera failure” notification on the Galaxy S8? Some are and it instantly closes the camera app. Basically being unable to take photos.

Similar to last year we’re hearing a feature called “Smart Stay” can cause the camera to close. The phone uses sensors on the front to keep the screen on while you’re looking at it. Sadly this seems to once again interfere with the camera. Head to Settings > Advanced Features and turn off Smart Stay.

Our own Josh Smith had an issue we’ve seen reported a few times too. Where the Galaxy S8 camera app closes and displays a warning that the temperature is too high.

This is fairly common in a hot car during the summer, but he was just updating apps indoors. This shouldn’t happen, and we’ll keep an eye out for more details. Are you experiencing anything like this? Let us know in the comments down below.

Another problem is Bixby vision. A big selling point on the Galaxy S8 is the camera can use their virtual assistant, Bixby, to search for information about items you take photos of. For most, it just doesn’t work at all or is spotty at best. I’ve given up on the feature, and hopefully, updates in the near future can make it more useful.

Read: How to Use the Galaxy S8 Camera: Everything to Know

Part of the camera experience is Samsung Bixby, which recently received an update for some users that brings Bixby Voice. Bixby is slowly but surely getting better and better, so give it a try.

How to Fix Slow Charging or Wireless Charging

Is the Galaxy S8 safe and will it explode? Following the Note 7 recall, this question is appearing more and more. Now nearly 7 months removed from the release date, we’re pretty confident saying this phone is safe. Samsung assures the world it is.

However, you may feel the phone get a little warm while it’s charging. That’s not the problem though, the problem is Samsung’s latest October security and bug fixing update (released in November) broke fast charging for millions of Galaxy S8 owners. Reports all over the web confirm some devices are taking 4-6 hours to recharge, instead of around 90 minutes.

Fast charging is extremely important and is what makes the Galaxy S8 one of the best phones on the market. It can charge from 0-50% in just 20 minutes, and to 100% in 90 minutes.

Well, the October security update broke that for some, and Samsung’s currently working on a fix. Complaints are all over the official Samsung product forums, and we’ll update this post once we know more. I’ve noticed my phone won’t use “fast charging” even with the official charger that came in the box. For me, unplugging the phone 2-3 times does the trick, and eventually fast charging kicks in. Look for “fast charging” on the screen when you plug in your phone. Similar to our image below.

You’ll also experience slow recharging times if you’re not using a fast charging wall plug. If you need extras, we recommend buying one of these fast chargers. However, if a software problem broke this, we’re stuck waiting for Samsung to issue an update. There was no specific mention of this in the Oreo update changelog.

Is your phone still charging slow? Let us know in the comment section below.

How to Fix Galaxy S8 Dead After Battery Goes to 0%

This isn’t the Galaxy Note 7, so the battery is totally safe. However, some reports are starting to surface that might have you worried. Multiple comments on forums and the Samsung community state that if you let the Note 8, S8, or S8+ battery go completely dead, to 0%, it might never turn on again. Most reports are for the Note 8, but we’re seeing several for the Galaxy S8+ also.

Mainly, the phone completely dies and when a user tries to plug it in and recharge it, nothing happens. There’s no charging LED notification, and nothing seems to work. You can try a different cable, charger, boot into safe mode and more, but nothing works. The phone never turns on again. Don’t worry though, this is only happening to a very small amount of owners. If you run the battery down, most likely it will be fine.

If your GS8 runs completely out of battery and will not turn on we have a few ideas. Plug it in with the official cable and wall plug, and leave it there for 15-20 minutes. Then, press and hold both power and volume down for 8-10 seconds. This is the same process as rebooting a frozen Galaxy, and multiple users report it saved their dead Galaxy S8.

If this doesn’t work for you, reach out to Samsung and get your defective phone replaced. It’s possible a software update may prevent this from happening, and we’ll update once we hear more from Samsung on this issue. They’ve confirmed the problem is on a very small scale, and are actively investigating.

How to Fix Galaxy S8 Oreo Problems

Now that the official Galaxy S8 Android 8.0 Oreo update is here, a few problems are starting to emerge. So far we’re not seeing anything major, but there are the usual complaints.

A few reports mentioned issues with Bluetooth, WiFi, battery life, installation problems, missing picture messages, and other things, to name a few. Are you experiencing these?

That said, the Galaxy S8 Oreo update is running pretty smooth for most owners. The update just started for the Galaxy S8 on T-Mobile, Verizon, AT&T, and Sprint, so stay tuned for more details. If you’re already on Oreo, we’ve put together a guide of common S8 Oreo problems and how to deal with them. Start there if you need to, or wait for us to gather more information now that the update is here.

How to Reset a Frozen Galaxy S8

If the phone freezes, you can manually force it to restart. Then, other random minor problems may surface. Like screen glitches or rotation, lag, app crashes, or other small things that can often be solved by a quick reboot.

Owners can easily reboot the phone by long-pressing the power button, and hit “restart”. It will quickly turn off and restart and hopefully work as intended.

Read: How to Reset a Frozen Galaxy S8 or S8+

For a hard reset or to fix a frozen Galaxy S8 having problems, check out the link above. Press and hold the power and volume down button, together, for 7-8 seconds until the Galaxy S8 vibrates and reboots. This will fix almost any small Galaxy S8 problem.

Speaking of reboots, it looks like some are experiencing Galaxy S8 random reboots. Where the phone just restarts for no clear reason. Judging by the over 100 comments at Samsung’s forum, it’s a pretty big problem. The company is aware of it, and some users say to remove the microSD to fix it. We recommend formatting your SD card or trying a new one to see if reboots stop. Samsung is still investigating this issue.

Galaxy S8 “DQA keeps stopping” is another thing tons of users are complaining about. Samsung fixed it a few months ago with an update to the Galaxy App Store. If you’re still experiencing that problem, make sure everything is up to date on the Galaxy App Store.

How to Factory Reset the Galaxy S8

Last but not least is a factory data reset. This will erase all user data, apps, messages, and content from the phone. So use it as a last resort. If you’re having any major problems, try this.

This is a good way to start fresh after major software releases, like the new Android Oreo update. Users can then take advantage of SmartSwitch to automatically restore their device. Go to Settings > General Management > and hit Reset to get started.

The entire process will take a few minutes, restore the original software as it was out of the box and delete everything. Galaxy S8 owners can use Samsung SmartSwitch or Google restore to get all their apps back. Again, this is the last resort.

In closing, Samsung’s slow update process may fix some issues, otherwise check back often and we’ll update this post with any problems that surface. Drop a comment below if you’re experiencing any other issues and we’ll do our best to help. We’re expecting a bug-fixing and security update sometime in March, or even a Galaxy Android 8.1 Oreo update. Either way, enjoy the new Galaxy Android Oreo update and check back soon for more information.

While you’re here, take a look at these best official Galaxy S8 accessories from Samsung.

16 Best Official Galaxy S8 Accessories

Samsung ClearView Standing Cover

Samsung ClearView Standing Cover

For the Galaxy S8 Samsung has a few different styles of cases. The first one in our list, the ClearView Standing Cover, has a kickstand built-in. This is a clear case that uses the always-on screen to display information even when the screen is off. The flip cover protects the screen and can fold backward and double as a kickstand. Good for watching YouTube or Netflix hands-free. 

The ClearView Standing Cover comes in four colors and is now available. 

Buy it Now for $59.99

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Facebook Messenger updated with admin privileges and joinable links


With the latest Facebook Messenger update, not only can you create a custom invite link for your group chat, but you can also remove certain members as an admin.

Editor’s Pick

People love to create group chats on the Facebook Messenger app – in fact, the company claims that 2.5 million new groups were created on Messenger every day last year! That’s precisely why Facebook is introducing new and easier ways to add and control group members. With the latest update, you can enable admin privileges, which let you approve new members before they join your group chat. As well, you can create convenient joinable links so that others can join in on the conversation with a simple click.

As for admin privileges, Facebook explains that whether it’s a group chat for a surprise birthday party or a study group, admins will have the ability to remove members and promote or demote any other person in the group chat as an admin. These privileges will be off by default, however, so you don’t need to worry about them if you don’t need that level of control.

As for joinable links, anyone in the group can create a custom link, which can be sent as an invite to the conversation. If admin privileges are turned off, people who click on the links will be added to the group automatically.

Facebook also points out that now you can have real-time voice and video chats in groups with up to 50 people though I’m not sure why anyone would ever need to do that – who has that many friends, anyway?

Recent updates

Facebook Messenger ads are rolling out globally

July 12: Facebook Messenger ads are rolling out globally. These will be found in the Home tab in Messenger, between your conversations, giving brands access to Messenger’s 1.2 billion-strong user base. “People already spend time on Messenger interacting and conducting commerce with businesses and brands they love,” wrote Facebook, on its Messenger blog. “Now with Messenger ads, they have an opportunity to discover experiences directly on their home tab.”

Messenger Discover tab now live

June 28: The new Discover tab in Messenger is now available to all users in the US. This basically lets you connect to the businesses you like, while at the same time allowing companies to promote their services to you. There are a number of different categories available including News, Entertainment, Finance, and others that can narrow down the search and help you find what you’re looking for faster. You’ll also find popular bots from brands like CNN, Nike, and the NBA, among others.

Filters and reactions for video chats

June 26: With this update, Facebook added color filters, animated reactions, and even more masks and effects to Messenger video chats. You can now react while video chatting with someone with each emotion you choose popping up on the screen for a short period of time. There are five emoji icons available: love, haha, wow, sad, and angry.

You can also tweak the lighting or even the color of your entire screen with the new filter feature, and take a screenshot of your video chats and share them with others. Additionally, the update added more masks, which are essentially Facebook Messenger’s take on Snapchat’s face filters.

Facebook Messenger getting a UI change

May 19: With the latest update, the company has reorganized the Messenger interface to make it easier to connect with friends and catch up on what you’ve missed. Across the top of the landing page, you’ll now find tabs for your “active” friends, messages and groups, while at the bottom, you’ll see buttons for the home screen, calls, camera, games and contacts. Essentially, all of the main areas are now just a tap or swipe away.

Facebook Messenger Instant Games

May 2: Facebook begins rolling out Instant Games globally, including the ability to weave in leaderboards/tournaments, add players via threads, use Game Bots and more. Words With Friends is among the first games to take advantage of these features. EverWing will also be updated with the new capabilities, and 8 Ball Pool will soon be added as a new title.

Facebook Messenger gains chat extensions, M improvements and more

April 18: Facebook’s F8 developer conference brought plenty of news and Messenger obviously didn’t stay behind. The social network announced a new Discover tab, Messenger Codes, Chat Extensions and M improvements. One can now do things like share songs, order food from a chat, find business information with a QR code and more.

Group payment support

April 11: Facebook Messenger now lets you make and receive group payments. To get started, open the Messenger app, pull up a group chat, then tap the plus sign button in the bottom left corner of the conversation. Find the payments icon ($), then tap it. After that, you can then choose who to send or request money from. You can easily select everyone in the group, or select only a few members. Then enter the amount of money you’d like to send or request, specify what the money is for, then tap Request. Easy, right?

“M” comes to Messenger

April 7: Facebook has announced the launch of suggestions in its Messenger app, delivered courtesy of its AI assistant M. This is a big step for the company: M has itself has been in development since 2015, and though all of its features haven’t been finalized yet, its suggestions component is now live.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Galaxy Tab Oreo Update: 6 Reasons to Get Excited & 3 Not To

The Samsung Galaxy Tab Android Oreo update isn’t rolling out yet, but we expect it to start rolling out to select models sometime in the next few weeks.

Samsung’s Android Oreo roll out is starting out with the Galaxy S8, Galaxy S8+, and Galaxy Note 8 but we expect it to expand to other devices April.

Samsung still hasn’t released a list of Android Oreo upgrades, but we’ve pieced together its plans using leaks, information from carriers and credible rumors. Android Oreo is headed to popular phones like the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge and it’ll also come to Samsung’s Galaxy Tab line of tablets.

The Samsung Galaxy Tab Oreo update is confirmed. T-Mobile recently confirmed an Oreo update for the Galaxy Tab E 8 and Samsung Turkey and Samsung Canada have confirmed additional Galaxy Tab updates.

Samsung’s Android 8.0 Oreo update for the Galaxy Tab still hasn’t leaked out which means we’re in the dark when it comes to the features, fixes, enhancements, and patches on board. That said, we can draw some logical conclusions based on the company’s Oreo updates for the Galaxy S8/Galaxy Note 8 and Samsung’s standard Android release protocol.

The Galaxy Tab Oreo update is going to be a big one and today we want to take you through some of the features you can start looking forward to. We also want to take you through some potential disappointments.

This guide will help you set proper expectations as we push toward the first Galaxy Tab Android Oreo release.

Bug Fixes

Bug Fixes

There’s a very good chance your Galaxy Tab Oreo update will cure whatever’s ailing your tablet.

Loads of Galaxy Tab users are dealing with Android Nougat problems. These issues range from odd battery drain to problems with Bluetooth connectivity to smaller bugs and general annoyances. 

Major Android updates like Android Oreo typically come with bug fixes for lingering issues. Some of these come from Google, some come from the manufacturer (which in this case is Samsung), and some come from the device’s carrier, if there is one. 

There’s also a chance Android Oreo will improve your tablet’s performance. Many Galaxy S8 users are seeing performance boosts in key areas after upgrading to the new operating system.

Potential improvements include better battery life, more reliable connectivity and GPS, faster user interface, and less frequent lockups and freezes. 

If you’re struggling on Android Nougat, there’s reason to get excited for Android Oreo. It could have a significant impact on your Galaxy Tab’s performance. 

Sunday, March 18, 2018

How to Completely Disable Bixby on the Galaxy S9

This guide explains how to completely disable Bixby on the Galaxy S9 and Galaxy Note 8. In fact, we’ll show you how to disable the button but still use some of its features, or get rid of it completely. Bixby is Samsung’s virtual assistant similar to Siri, Alexa, or the Google Assistant. And while it’s pretty useful, some will want to turn it off.

Read: 175 Awesome Things Bixby Voice Can Do

While Bixby has a lot to offer, the dedicated button on the side of the phone gets in the way. It’s too easy to confuse the Bixby key for the volume button, or simply hit it by accident. The other problem is we can’t reconfigure that button to do something else, like open the camera. Follow our instructions or video below to get rid of Bixby once and for all.

How to Disable the Bixby Key

To prevent Bixby from automatically popping up every time you accidentally hit the button, follow these steps.

  • Press the Bixby Key on the middle left side of the phone

  • At the top right corner, tap the 3-dots menu button (or settings icon)

  • Tap Settings from the menu

  • Scroll down and select Bixby Key

  • Set to Don’t Open Anything

Keep in mind that once you do this the button still works, but you have to long-press the key to open Bixby. That means those accidental taps won’t do anything, but you’re not losing functionality either.

However, if you want to completely get rid of Bixby, you’ll need to disable Bixby Voice too.

How to Disable Bixby Voice

While you’re in the Bixby settings menu, hit back and scroll back up near the top. Instead of disabling the key, uncheck Bixby Voice like you see in our screenshot above.

  • Press the Bixby Key on the middle left side of the phone

  • At the top right corner, tap the 3-dots menu button (or settings icon)

  • Tap Settings from the menu

  • Flip the Bixby Voice switch to OFF

Once you disable both Bixby Voice and disable the button on the side of the phone using our instructions above, you’re almost done. Take note that the button does absolutely nothing now, even if you hold it down. You’ve successfully completely killed the frustrated Bixby button for good.

Disable Bixby Home & Other Details

However, Bixby is still all over your homescreen, but we can get rid of that too. If you want to completely disable Bixby on your phone this is the last step. When you swipe all the way to the left you’re greeted by a Bixby landing page full of information.

Push and hold any blank area on your home screen. The screen will zoom out to an edit mode, where you can change wallpapers and such. Swipe to the far left until you land on Bixby. Now, just disable Bixby with the slider at the top of the screen. Hit the home button and we’re all done. You’ve now successfully killed Bixby throughout the Galaxy S9.

If at any point you want to bring back Bixby simply follow these steps in reverse. Long-press on the screen and enable Bixby Home, then open the app and turn the button back on. While you’re here, take a look at these best Galaxy S9 screen protectors. Or, read our Galaxy S9 problems and fixes guide.

Alcatel 1X and 3V confirmed for the US in the coming months

  • Alcatel announced that its 1X and 3V smartphones will launch in the U.S. in the coming months.

  • The two phones were announced during MWC 2018 alongside the Alcatel 3, 3X, and 5.

  • The Alcatel 1X will likely launch for under $100.

Alcatel confirmed that the Alcatel 1X and Alcatel 3V will launch in the U.S. in the coming months. The two phones were announced alongside the Alcatel 3, 3X, and 5 during MWC 2018 in February.

To recap, the Alcatel 1X is the most affordable of the bunch, due to it running Android 8.1 Oreo (Go Edition). The phone features a 5.3-inch display with a 960 x 640 resolution and 18:9 aspect ratio, MediaTek 6739 processor, 16 GB of native storage, and a 2,460 mAh battery.

The Alcatel 1X comes in either 1 or 2 GB of RAM variants. The 1 GB version sports an 8 MP rear shooter, while the 2 GB variant bumps the camera resolution up to 13 MP. Both versions feature a 5 MP front-facing camera.

Interestingly, the U.S. version of the Alcatel 1X also features a fingerprint sensor. This differs from the version we saw at MWC 2018, which did not include the sensor.

The Alcatel 3V, meanwhile, has more meat on its bones relative to the Alcatel 1X. The former features a 6-inch display with a 2,160 x 1,080 resolution and 18:9 aspect ratio, MediaTek 8735A processor, and 2 GB of RAM. You can expand the 16 or 32 GB of native storage by up to 128 GB through the microSD card slot.

The Alcatel 3V packs dual 12 and 2 MP cameras and a fingerprint sensor around back, as well as a 5 MP camera up front. Even though the 3,000 mAh battery is charged through a microUSB port, at least the phone retains the disappearing headphone jack.

Finally, the Alcatel 3V runs Android Oreo out of the box.

Alcatel did not say how much the 1X and 3V will cost or when exactly the phones will be available in the U.S. The company said that the 1X would sell for under $100, which is usually code for $99.99.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

The surprising growth of used smartphones

Used smartphones

While the global smartphone market saw a steep fall in sales in the last quarter according to all major research agencies, the used smartphone and refurbished market is gaining traction at a surprising rate.

This is important because the numbers show that the smartphone market declined by between 5 and 9 percent in the last quarter of 2017 (depending on whose report you’re reading). This is a significant drop. But that was just the new smartphone market — research from Counterpoint’s refurbished smartphone tracker shows a 13 percent leap year-on-year. That’s 140 million units changing hands, which is close to 10 percent of the entire market.

Second-life devices now represent close to 10% of the entire smartphone market

These “second-life” devices include repaired smartphones, “rejuvenated” models, or just those collected and sold as is. Combined with the fact we’re holding onto phones longer, the increasing sales of second-hand phones is reducing new smartphone demand, as Counterpoint research director, Tom Kang, confirms:

“The slowdown in innovation has made two-year-old flagship smartphones comparable in design and features with the most recent mid-range phones. Therefore, the mid low-end market for new smartphones is being cannibalized by refurbished high-end phones, mostly Apple iPhones and, to a lesser extent, Samsung Galaxy smartphones.”

Apple and Samsung devices in the refurb market, Counterpoint says, hold close to 75 percent of the second-hand market, with Apple “leading by a significant margin.”

Apple says it doesn’t mind this at all, and I’ve previously talked about how Tim Cook’s philosophy that the “more people on iPhone the better” is exactly right for Apple’s ecosystem approach: get people in early via hand-me-downs and lock them in. In fact, Apple even tried to get a foothold in India by attempting to convince the government it could sell used iPhones to Indian consumers. India’s government disagreed.

The refurb market is further boosted by other factors too. Third-party-repair store fronts and guides from iFixit make it cheaper and easier to replace a broken screen or put in a fresh battery than ever before. Meanwhile, the right-to-repair movement is gathering steam in its attempt to make this far easier than it is now, with a lack of easy access to a device’s innards still a problem.

Editor’s Pick

Another big factor for the improving fortunes of our old phones is that new phones just aren’t as tempting as they once were. Rob Triggs made a strong point recently that innovation saturation has occurred in the smartphone market, where multiple brands are embracing a safer “tick-tock” mobile strategy, replacing the need for annual upheaval.

The Samsung Galaxy S9 is the perfect example of refinement over the earlier S8 — small design improvements, better specs, and a handsome RRP, for those that just want the latest. Similarly, the iPhone 7s represents only incremental improvement over the iPhone 7, but it’s still a better device. And, as Rob mentioned, these small steps allow companies to bide their time on introducing the Next Big Thing. This approach favors perfecting tech rather than rushing new devices. Sony and OnePlus, on the other hand, are playing the much tighter six-month cycle, while LG is one example of a major shift in the industry: an end to yearly upgrades:

We plan to retain existing models longer by, for instance, unveiling more variant models of the G series or V series.

“We will unveil new smartphones when it is needed. But we will not launch it just because other rivals do,” said LG Electronics vice-chairman Cho Seong-jin.

“We plan to retain existing models longer by, for instance, unveiling more variant models of the G series or V series.”

While cameras, processors, and screens are all getting better, the vast majority of premium smartphones from the last two years are eminently capable.

There’s a growing level of sophistication to the second-hand market, where resale values are well understood. Counterpoint’s research director, Peter Richardson, added in their report that it’s a truly global phenomenon:

“Regions seeing the highest volume include the U.S. and Europe. While the fastest growing markets for refurbs include Africa, SE Asia, and India. All have been seeing initiatives from the major operators (e.g. Verizon, Vodafone etc.), OEMs (e.g. Apple), and major distributors (e.g. Brightstar) who are adding full life-cycle services.

“The industry uses data analysis to predict future resale values of devices, which means consumers can be given a guaranteed buy-back value at various points during their ownership […] Overall, we expect this trend to continue gathering pace.”

We had a detailed look at which smartphones retain their resale value best:

Used smartphones

The key takeaway is that grabbing a phone from a well-known and trusted brand is important — Apple, Samsung, and the Google range have held up best. We also found resale price drops on 2016 smartphones were around 25 to 30 percent, while 2017 showed drops closer to 20 to 25 percent, implying that as the used smartphone market grows, resale value increases as well.

As the used smartphone market grows, resale value increases as well.

A look at indicates that retail value on a 64 GB iPhone X has fallen approximately 17 percent since launch. The Samsung 64 GB Galaxy S8 has only fallen around 18 percent since launch, which isn’t bad considering the S9’s subsequent debut. (It is worth noting that there have been a number of sales pushing the total discount up to 21 percent.)

Overall, while we can figure out some good reasons behind this, it’s still surprising. Only 25 percent of devices are making it back onto the market, which is still low. We hear a lot about planned obsolescence in our devices preventing enjoyable usage beyond the 18-24 month mark, and that may be one reason that 75 percent of devices don’t get put back on the market, along with hand-me-downs to family and friends not being tracked.

Used smartphones Shutterstock

But with the sector growing, it might be time to consider the resale value of your current device, and how your next device’s value will hold up. It’s a safe bet to say that if the industry continues to struggle to create real innovation, and important elements like cameras and screens only go from very good to very very good, we’ll continue to see second-hand smartphones as genuinely good options.

For the industry that needs to keep selling premium devices, the pressure is on to make the high-end market continually enviable for those with last year’s models, and convince the mid-range community not to simply buy those used flagships instead.

Friday, March 16, 2018

Get a top VPN service for just $1.91/month

AAPicks has teamed up with PureVPN to bring you an amazing deal on their 3 year service. During this promotion you can sign up for the equivalent of just $1.91 per month. That’s a cool 82% saving.

If you’re already a fan of PureVPN then no time to waste, hit the button below to find the deal. If you’re new to their offerings then read on.

Not familiar with VPNs yet? You might be wondering why you need one. You can check out our handy guide to VPNs here.

If you’re not in the mood to follow a link, we’ll summarize the perks for you: privacy and security. With a VPN you connect to the internet through a remote server rather than your ISP. This hides your location and IP address. The connection is encrypted, making it very difficult for hackers to target you with malware or viruses.

In an age in which high-profile online security breaches are weekly occurrences, Using a VPN is by far the best way to protect yourself. It might sound a bit techy, but they’re super easy to use. However, the quality of VPNs varies greatly, which is why we love feedback on your faves.

Why PureVPN?

PureVPN brings outstanding speed test results for the second year in a row, making it the fastest virtual private network we’ve tested – PCMag Editors’ Choice

What they said. VPNs can slow down your connection, which is obviously a big factor if you’re going to be torrenting or streaming video. PureVPN consistently excels in speed tests.

Also, unlike many providers, PureVPN don’t keep logs of your activity. That means there’s no way anyone, and we mean anyone, could know what you’ve been doing online. Browsing doesn’t get much more private.

PureVPN has top-notch encryption software, and 24/7 support if you have any queries. You can connect up to 5 devices at any one time and your bandwidth isn’t restricted. It’s clear to see why our readers make such purring noises.

You’d usually be paying $11 per month for PureVPN, which is reasonable for a premium service. That’s why the equivalent of $1.91 per month is a deal you don’t want to miss out on.

There’s a 7 day money back guarantee if you’re not happy, so what have you got to lose? Hit the button below to find the deal.

The AAPicks team writes about things we think you’ll like, and we may see a share of revenue from any purchases made through affiliate links. To see all our hottest deals, head over to the AAPICKS HUB.

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