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Wired

How to Passcode Lock Any App on Your Phone


You are, we hope, already protecting your phone with a PIN, a fingerprint, or a face (or all three), but sometimes you’ll want to add an extra barrier to particular apps—if you’re lending your phone to a friend, say, or if your kids or partner are always borrowing your phone for whatever reason.

How you want to apply this additional protection is up to you. Some apps come with it built in; in other cases you’ll need to enlist the help of a third-party app. The process is also different depending on whether you’re using Android or iOS, and so we’ve split our guide up into two sections. Read More

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The Next Web

How to set a sleep timer for Spotify on your phone


Welcome to TNW Basics, a collection of tips, guides, and advice on how to easily get the most out of your gadgets, apps, and other stuff.

I got into the habit of listening to soothing music to help me sleep a few months ago. My playlist varies from post-rock tracks to low-fi instrumentals.

When I started this habit, I often woke up after some hours to find the music is still playing. Thankfully, I found a handy sleep timer option in the Spotify app that helps me save my phone’s battery, and prevents it from playing songs all night long. Read More

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Engadget

Samsung is selling a wireless charger that also sterilizes your phone


While it’s not an official Samsung design, the company sells the UV Sterilizer via a partnership with ITFIT, a Samsung sub-brand that seems to be applied to rebadged accessories. In the FCC listing for the device, the documentation includes a “Designed for Samsung” seal. Other ITFIT products made for Samsung include headphones and selfie sticks.

Wireless UV chargers aren’t new, but they’ve seen a huge rise in popularity following the coronavirus outbreak. Samsung doesn’t explicitly state that its UV Sterilizer successfully eradicates SARS-CoV-2, but a recent research study suggests that UVC lamps are capable of killing “more than 99.9 percent of airborne coronaviruses.” Read More

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Wired

How to Take Photos of Fireworks With Your Phone


Fireworks are a touchy subject right now. For weeks, city dwellers have complained about the near-constant eruptions of mysterious origin going off in their neighborhoods. Then there’s the fact that we’re in the middle of a pandemic that has prompted many cities to outright cancel their annual Fourth of July celebrations. The cities that are still going forward with displays have had to change their plans to hold them in ways that discourage crowds from forming. Some have planned to just shoot the fireworks higher so people can see them from farther away. Other places, like New York, have split their normal gigantic blast fest into several shorter, smaller shows that will be launched from undisclosed locations. That way, if you stay put like you should, you’ll be able to catch one show or another from your backyard, fire escape, or stoop. Read More

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The Next Web

The OnePlus Nord phone will go back to the company’s budget roots

OnePlus has consistently made some of the best bang-for-your-buck phones since its inception. But while the company still manages to undercut most of its direct competition in performance per dollar, $900 is for the Pro model is still a lot of money. That’s a far cry from the $300 ‘flagship killer’ price the company flaunted back in 2014.

Now OnePlus has confirmed it’s going back to its roots with the ‘OnePlus Nord.’ Presales will begin tomorrow and the price is expected to come in at under $500, although the device will only be available in India and Europe to start. That said, customers in North America can join a “highly limited beta” to try the device after its international launch. Read More

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Tech Radar

Flagship phones are overrated – these mid-range phone deals are far better value


Flagship phones are great. They’re the most powerful handsets out there, often rocking market-leading screens, batteries, camera lenses and more. But for that level of quality…you really need to go all in on cost.

With the likes of iPhone 11 Pro Max deals or Samsung’s Galaxy Ultra deals, you are putting up way into the £50/£60 a month mark which is a massive investment and is that price really worth what you are getting?

Realistically, you are not going to be making full use of these phones’ processing power, you’re unlikely to notice the fine adjustments the screen provides and many other cheaper devices offer similar camera performances. Read More

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Engadget

Oppo put a 48MP camera and 5,000mAh battery into a budget phone


The affordable smartphone category is heating up, and Oppo wants to ride that wave. It just introduced an entry-level A72 phone that promises some strong features for the money, at least based on the spec sheet. It revolves around a 6.5-inch, 1080p display with a hole-punch 16-megapixel selfie camera, but the star of the show is a 48MP main rear camera joined by an 8MP ultra wide-angle cam and two 2MP portrait-oriented sensors. We’ve found Oppo’s budget camera quality to be merely okay, but it should be acceptable in this price range and will pack an Ultra Night Mode 2.0 to improve low-light shots without overexposing bright spots. Read More

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VentureBeat

How high refresh and frame rates will change phone screens and cameras


Though 2020 will be remembered for many things, one of the year’s noteworthy smartphone device trends — broad availability of “120Hz” screens — could slip under the mainstream radar, mostly because average consumers have no idea what Hz (“Hertz”) means. Displays targeted at gamers and creative professionals adopted 120Hz technology several years ago, sometimes referring to “120Hz refresh rates,” and in 2020, even budget smartphones will include “120Hz display support.”

What that means is that smartphone users at $300-$400 price points are about to have access to the imperceptibly fast display technologies that were once restricted to high-end computers and tablets, right at the same time higher frame rate cameras are becoming increasingly popular on phones. Today, I’m going to simplify this complex topic, and explain why it actually matters when a screen moves from 30Hz to 60Hz or 120Hz refresh rates — as well as when it’s overkill. Read More

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Mashable

Google Phone app gets feature to let you know WHY a business is calling

It’s one thing to know who’s calling or that it’s likely a spam call, but now some Android users on Google’s Phone app will know a lot more about why a particular business is bothering to ring them.

Google recently updated its Phone app to included Verified Calls, which identify who is calling and also a reason for the call when coming from certain businesses. Google’s support site explains that you’ll see the business logo and name along with a call reason, “like ‘Scheduling your internet installation’ or ‘Your food delivery.'” Suddenly, picking up that unknown number isn’t as nerve-wracking. Read More

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Tech Radar

Here’s why your phone might not get all the best Android 11 features

With Android 11 rolling slowly into view, it’s worth remembering that not all of the features that Google adds to its mobile operating system make it into every phone, with each manufacturer taking a slightly different approach.

As XDA Developers reports, Google makes recommendations about which Android features are must-haves for third-party phone makers, and which are only optional – and an early version of those recommendations for Android 11 has just leaked out.

There are three key features that manufacturers don’t absolutely have to include in their own version of Android 11. The first is the selection of smart home controls that pop up with a long press on the power button, letting you quickly turn off your smart lights or whatever else. Read More