Tips for Android Users

Tips for Android Devices

android tips and tweaks

NOTICE: These tips have been tested on the ViewSonic G-Tablet but many (all?) should also work on most other Android devices. Use at your own risk.


Will I lose data if I….?

When should I delete the cache or reset to factory, etc in ClockworkMod Recovery (CWM)? NOTE: Each of these options will increase the boot time the next time the device is turned on – often by as much as 5 or more minutes.

  • Reset to Factory: As long as you are replacing a similar rom it is not generally necessary to reset to factory. If you DO reset, it will delete all of your configuration & settings. It will also clear the INTERNAL SD Card so all the data previously written there is also lost. Regardless, this is a good idea if you are having issues that cannot be identified and repaired any other way.
  • PARTITION the SD Card: You WILL lose all the data on that card. This is the same as formatting a disk. Usually, this will be the INTERNAL SD Card but you should always REMOVE the external card to assure that it is not over-writen or formatted. BTW, when asked, answer the first size, 2048 and the second, 0.
  • Fix Permissions: You will not lose data if you use CWM to “Fix permissions.” This will often fix a problem of a lot of “force closes
  • Cache: You can wipe the Cache partition without any loss of data and is always a good idea.
  • Dalvic Cache: Clearing the dalvik cache does not cause data loss but it will help sometimes.

HoneyComb Specific Tips

  • Touch screen is not responsive (especially around edges): If your screen is not responding to your touches, or is very sluggish at responding, then try these simple steps once you have the Superuser and Terminal apps (from Market) installed. Open the Terminal app and in the window type only the commands in bold (and, don’t touch the screen until the ‘#’ prompt returns):
    Code: (note the SPACES between characters – it is an underbar between the words “tegra_touch”)

    $ su
    # ( sleep 5; echo -n 1 > /sys/devices/platform/tegra_touch/calibration )

    (Note, when the ‘#’ key returns, send the command “exit” twice to return to the homescreen.) If this does not help, try the procedures outlined in this thread. (Thanks to rajeevvp for this tip.)

  • GTab sluggish, locks up – Change (lower) Heap Size: Edit /system/build.prop and change dalvik.vm.heapsize. Start with 32M or 64M. (Thanks rajeevvp). This sometimes helps when memory gets low and your Android device gets sluggish.
  • Cannot add Google Account: Visit Settings > Applications > Manage applications > All, and “Clear data” from these apps, in order: 1. Gmail, 2. Contacts, 3. Contacts Storage, 4. Google Contacts Sync.; After clearing the data for each, try adding an account in Gmail.  (Thanks rajeevvp)
  • Android Market Issues: Download the new IceCream Sandwich Market App here: download the 3.1.5 apk  Note: for force closes, go to settings, applications, (find the market) clear data and reboot.
  • Apps will not fill the entire screen: For those with custom roms, visit the Spare Parts application and turn off compatibility mode.
  • Uninstall Apps: Click the apps button in the upper right corner, then drag and drop app icons to the UNINSTALL icon in the upper right corner and they will be uninstalled.
  • Copy Video to Tablet: Re-encode video using Handbrake and the settings found in this forum post. Play your saved flash video with the “Smart Flash Player.”
  • Bluetooth Tether: Use your phone as a modem. Visit Settings > Wireless & Networks > Bluetooth turn on Bluetooth and pair it with your phone. Now click the spanner icon next to the phone’s name in the list there, and you’ll find an option for internet tethering. (thanks Zetastix) – Note that bluetooth may not work properly with Zyhong’s HC.
  • Battery Life: Go to Settings – Wireless & networks – Wi-Fi disconnect policy: Set to “When screen turns off” to have the radio shut down when the screen goes off. Note that some users report the “Sleep of Death” (sod) problem with this. However, it works fine for me.
  • SCREEN SHOT: Most Honeycomb ROMs allow screen shots without an additional app. Enable it at Settings – Screen – Screenshot. Then when you want to take a screenshot, just long-press the recent-apps button.
  • Disable Capacitive Buttons….php?t=1177174 (These are the hardware buttons. You can disable one or all of them by editing the file /system/usr/keylayout/Generic.kl.)
  • Sideload applications: In order to install applications from sources OTHER than the Android market (like the Amazon Appstore), visit Application Settings  and tic “Unknown Sources.”
  • Netflix: Users should be able to download the version from the Android Market now. 1.3 can be downloaded here: 
  • Delete Widgets: You can click and hold on a widget and you will get the menu of what to do with it. (delete or edit, etc)
  • Add widgets: There are a couple ways. The easiest is to just hold down a clear area of the desktop and get the menu & from there, just add it. The display is different in Honeycomb (and much nicer) but the process is still pretty intuitive. Also, the “+” button in the top right corner will open the menu.
  • “Sidebars on the homepages” are actually thumb control areas. Slide your thumb in them to change pages.
  • Quickoffice Pro does not work with any Honeycomb version. The tablet-enabled Quickoffice HD does work. Not sure if you will have to RE-PURCHASE the new program. (Request a refund at the developer’s site.)
  • SwiftKey (paid) will not work on any Honeycomb version. You have to purchase the Swiftkey Tablet X version.
  • Flash appears to work in the Zyhong Honeycomb native browser if you install Flash 10.3 from the market. It will also work in Opera but I find that Opera is very sluggish on Zyhong’s rom. Be sure to set the browser “user agent” to “desktop.” Neither browser works on ALL embedded flash video. YouTube works in normal resolution. None of the specialized video apps, such as USA Today, will display video properly.
  • Copy Video to Tablet: Re-encode video using Handbrake and the settings found in this forum post. Play your saved flash video with the “Smart Flash Player.”

Android General (all devices)

  • Connect Wirelessly: Use the Wifi File Explorer app to connect to all the files on your Android device. This includes the files on ALL internal & external SD Cards and other attached devices. On G-Tablet (or other devices with USB Host), you can connect to all the files on an attached ThumbDrive.
  • Speed up Tip: Go to Settings >> Applications >> Running and see how much FREE ram you have. The more free ram, the better. My GTab usually has about 190Meg. free.
  • No space to download APP: To make your Android device operate faster, move larger apps to the SD Card. I usually move ALL apps over 10megs and most that are over 5megs. Note that some widgets will not operate if the associated app is moved to the SD CardSettings >> Applications >> Storage Use >> USB Storage. Click on an app and the “Move to USB Storage.” Be patient with large files. It can take a couple minutes. Uninstall apps that you no longer need – especially if they are several megs in size. Note, you can check the amount of each type of storage at the bottom of the page.
  • Overclock: Most custom ROMs will overclock your device automatically. But, if you want more control, you can install the app,  SetCPU (paid) and set the CPU to 1400/1400 min/max to force the GTab to run at 1.4g all the time. Note that this will drain the battery faster than the native control that varies the speed of the CPU.
  • To completely exit a program: Generally, one simply hits the “Home” key to leave the app. It is unclear whether the app was actually closed or, if it is still running. With Android 2.2 and greater, there is no major loss from allowing apps to run in the background. It is difficult to find an EXIT button on some apps. If there is none, then using the back key will usually exit (eventually). One absolute way is to visit Settings – Applications – Running Services, click on the APP in question & press STOP.
  • To REMOTELY install apps: Visit and sign in with your Google account. Click on “My Market Account” (upper right) and the list of your paid and recent free apps will be displayed. Click on an app, click on “Installed” and if it is not installed on your device, you can chose the device and click “Install.” The app will be downloaded and installed on your device remotely.

Some tips gleaned from the site:

  • Speed up the web: You can eliminate flash banners by changing “Enable plug-ins” to “On demand” in Browser > Settings > Advanced. The flash banner will display as an arrow and you can enable it if you want.
  • Sync Bookmarks: If you use Chrome web browser, Honeycomb can synchronize bookmarks with it without using another program like Xmarks. You can synchronize by Google tool in Preferences > Personal Stuff of Chrome on desktop computer and Settings > General in the browser of Honeycomb. This is supposed to work but I have not been able to get it to sync.

Have another tip? Leave a comment below. Be sure to describe it well, include a link (if appropriate), and tell us if it works on all versions or only one.

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