Android Q&A -Android Questions and Answers

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The Following questions are taken mostly from questions asked in Amazon product reviews. The answers are generally mine.

General Usage

Q- Do I need a Google Account to use my Android Tablet or Smart Phone?

A- No but if you don’t have one you wont be able to install Apps from the Google Play Store. See Accessing and Using the Play Store


Q- Will My Tablet get upgraded automatically?

This depends on what type of tablet you have. High end tablets like the Google nexus range have automatic updates.

Lower end devices don’t. See cheap vs expensive tablets


Q- What is an External SD card?

A- Many android phones and tablets have a micro SD card port. This lets you expand the storage of your device using a micro SD card. This extra storage is known as external storage. See understanding and managing android storage for more details



Q- What is the Android Device Manager?

A- The android device manager is a web based application that works with the android device manager on your phone/tablet. It allows you to manage your device from the website. You can use it to reset a lock screen,located your device and even wipe the device clean.


Q- Do I need a credit card to purchase Apps from Google Play store?

A- No you can purchase Google play gift vouchers from many offline stores and use those to purchase online.


Q- Can I restrict Access to Apps and the Internet?

A- Yes you can install Apps that allow you to apply controls. These are normally marketed as parental control Apps but can be used for Work tablets. You can also restrict access to the Play store.


Q- How to I reset my Tablet

A-This article takes you through it, and explains what happens.

Q- Turning off when screen freezes

A -Hold down power button until it shuts down.


Q- How to Stop Apps from Running

A– If you navigate away from and Android App in keeps running in the background.

If you want to close an running App click the running apps icon (bottom right) and hold finger on the App and drag it right or left off the screen.

running-apps

Clicking on the App and using the remove from list link also works. See managing Apps for more details.


Q- Can I Watch YouTube videos on my TV using Android.

A- Yes from Android version 4.4.2 support for casting was introduced. Casting requires Google chromecast device (around £20) which plugs into an HDMI port on your TV. Once setup you just press cast located in settings>display>cast and your Android screen appears on your TV. See this Google video


Q- Whats the Difference between a Apps and a Widget

A- My understanding is that Widgets and Apps are applications or programs, but Apps are applications that need to be started from the screen by clicking an application icon whereas widgets are always running in the background.

Because Widgets are always running they are always consuming resources, and so you should be careful how many are running at once.

Here is a video from android central that may make it clearer.


Q- I’ve lost my phone/tablet is there a way of finding it?

A- Yes you may be able to find it and remotely erase the data to protect your privacy see Android location and tracking.


Q– How do I turn Caps lock on and off.

A – Long press on the shift key in the bottom left corner of the keyboard and you should see the shift button change colour to indicate that caps lock is on. Do it again to turn caps lock off,

Android-Caps-lock


Q– Can I use it to access my Email?

A- Yes accessing email is the number one use of tablets and smart phones. See Acccessing Email on your tablet and Using the Gmail App to access a Gmail Account.


Q-Do I need to install a virus checker on my tablet/phone?

A- According to Google then no you don’t. See this article for details.


Q- I’ve forgotten my lock screen password how can I access my Tablet?

A- If you have configured a google account on the device and it is on then you can use the Android device Manager. See reset lock screen password using the android device manager.


Q- Can I Connect my Tablet to my Bluetooth Speakers?

A- Yes provided your tablet has bluetooth – Note: not all do. See Understanding bluetooth and cheap and expensive tablets.


Q- How do I find out What version of android I am Using?

A- Go to Settings>System>About Tablet

android-about-tablet


Q- I’ve read that Google have released a newer version of Android. Will my tablet be automatically updated?

A- It all depends on the make of your device. Automatic updates are done by the device manufacturer and not Google (unless you have a google device i.e. Nexus).


Q – Is the Samsung Tab 3 older or newer than the Tab 4?

A- The Samsung Galaxy Tab Series – is supposedly for the budget end of the market and come in a variety of screen sizes (usually 7,8,10 inches). There have been four generations of Hardware so far:

  • Tab is the original released in 2010
  • Tab 2 second generation
  • Tab 3 third generation – released 2013
  • Tab 4 fourth generation -released 2014
  • Tab 5 fifth generation -Expected in 2015

There are also Samsung Galaxy Tabs aimed at higher end market segments.

  • Tab Pro – Aimed at high end of market
  • Tab S -Aimed at ultra high end of market

Notes:

Most use ARM processors but some like the Tab3 10 inch use Intel processors. This shouldn’t normally cause a problem with most Apps except some high end games.


Q- Can I read books on Galaxy Tab4 etc… (any android tablet/phone)?

A – All android devices let you read books in a variety of formats. Not all devices come with a pre-installed reader, so you may need to download one from the APP store.

You will need an Adobe reader for pdf reader and the kindle App for Kindle books.


>Q- Can I download and read Kindle Books?

A- Yes you will need to download and install the free KIndle App and set up an Amazon account. See Using the Kindle reader on Android


Q – Can you print from it ?

A- Yes but it is not easy See How to print from your Android-tablet

Q- Can I read Word Documents?

A – Yes if you have a suitable App installed like Google docs or Microsoft Word. You can download them from the play store.


Q- As I am new to tablets is it possible to write emails and send them using a tablet.

A – Yes most tablets come with an email client App and you install service specific Apps fro your email provider e.g the Gmail App for gmail. See Setting up email on Android


Q- Can you use it as a sat nav ?

A- Yes if it has GPS. A permanent Internet connection via the mobile phone network isn’t necessary as there are many Sat Nav Apps that don’t need a permanent Internet connection, See Using Android as a Satnav.


Q- What Happens to files I download?

A-They are stored in a folder on your tablet. You may find that you have a download icon on your home screen or in your apps folder.

android-downloads

If you click on this you will open the downloads folder. If not then you will need to use a file explorer like the Astro file manager.

See Accessing downloads


Q –Will it work abroad ?

A –Yes all you need is a Wi-Fi Internet connection. If you have a 3G/4G capable device then that will only work in countries that support 3G/4G. Some Apps that use country specific content may not work.


Q– How do I get into developer mode?

A- If you want to enable developer features they have been hidden in jelly bean 4.2. To enable them go to settings>about and tap 7 times. Here is a video that shows you how to do it.


Q- Can I disable notifications?

A- You can turn off notifications for individual Apps by going to the settings for that APP. See Understanding Android Notifications


Q- Can I play Videos on Android?

A- Yes- Android doesn’t support the AVI video format by default and so you will need to install an App or convert the videos to a supported format (mp4). One of the most popular and the one I’ve tried is VLC.


Q- Can I stop the Screen from Rotating?

A- To stop the screen switch between landscape and portrait mode when you change the the orientation of the device go to Settings>Accessibility and uncheck Auto-rotate screen.

autorotatescreen


Q- Can I make the text on the screen bigger?

A- Yes- For those of you (like me) who have difficulty seeing the screen without glasses then the large text option is very handy. Go to Settings>Accessibility and enable Large-Text (screen shot above)

Q- How do I reset my device?

A- This article takes you through it.


Q-I visit several websites on a regular basis what is the quickest way of doing this ?

A- You can create short cut on your home screen that automatically opens your browser and connects to the website. The shortcut looks just like an app.

Networking and Connectivity

Q- What is Airplane Mode?

A – This disables radio transmissions from your device and allows the device to be used on aeroplanes (when in this mode).


Mobile (3G/4G) ,,Wi-Fi ,Bluetooth and GPS will be disabled in this mode but you can normally enable Wi-Fi and bluetooth. See this article


Q- Can I use WhatsApp on my Tablet?

A- Officially No as What’s App uses a mobile phone number for addressing messages,and tablets don’t have one. If you go to Google play on your tablet you won’t find WhatsApp, as the App is only applicable to phones.

You can however download the APK files from What’s App and install it,then with a little fudging you can make it work. This article takes you through the steps.


Q – Can I use it as a Phone Using a Sim Card-

A- Tablets can’t really be used as phones even with a SIM card. The SIM card just lets you connect to the Internet via the mobile phone network. However you can use SKYPE on it which does let you talk to others even those not on SKYPE. See Android Tablets and Mobile Data Using 3G/4G


Q- Is internet access always available with this or do you need to be at a HotSpot?

A- Most tablets use Wi-fi only and so you will need to be able to connect to a Wi-Fi network either public or private. See Public Wi-fi Hotspots .

You can also use the mobile phone network even if your tablet doesn’t have 3G/4G support using a variety of techniques- see Connect Tablet to 3G/4G Network Via Wi-Fi


Q – How do you get on line while Traveling?

A – You can use a public Wi-Fi Hotspot or the mobile network using a 3G/4G dongle or a Wi-fi/3G Hub


Q- Can I use it as a remote control for my TV?

A – It depends on your TV and on the android device. Most old TVs (non smart) use infrared (IR) for the remote control. You will need an android device with infrared support (not common ) .

If you have a smart TV then you will probably be able to use a remote control App from the Google play store that works over Wi-fi.
This is a fast evolving area you may find this article useful.


Q- How does an Android smart watch connect to a android phone or tablet?

A- Bluetooth is the most common connection method, but some more expensive devices are equipped with Wi-Fi. When using bluetooth you will need to pair the watch and phone/tablet. See Google support. and android smart watches and tablets.


Q- Can I disable/enable Wi-fi?

A –Yes -You can toggle your Wi-fi connection on/off by pressing on the system status area and dragging down.

systen-status-area

This shows you the quick settings bar and notifications.

Now press in the quick settings area and drag down to open the quick settings screen. Now press on Wi-fi to turn on or off.

android-toggle-wif-fi-on-off


Q – How Do I Find my Mac and IP Address

A- Go to Settings>Wi-Fi and click the options icon and then the Advanced link

advanced-wifi-android

The Mac and IP address are displayed at the bottom. Notice we have an IPv4 and IPv6 address.

ip-mac-address-android


Q- Can I edit the Hosts File and How do I do it?

A- You will need to have a rooted device as it requires access to a part of the system that is restricted. There are Apps like host edit that make editing the file simpler but the device still needs to be rooted.

Q- Can someone track my location using my phone/tablet?

A- Yes they can, but they need to have access to your Google account to do it. See Tracking and Location Reporting.


Storage and Files

Q- How do I manage Files on my Tablet?

A- You will need to use a file manager. They come as standard on PCs but not on Android Tablets and phones. Generally you are meant to use the share feature but I prefer a file manager. If your device doesn’t come with a file manager then there are many to choose from on the Google Play store. I use the Astro file manager


Q- Can I transfer movies from my PCto the tablet and play them?

A- Yes you can. There are a variety of ways of transferring the movies.See

You will also need to download and install a media player to pay the movies. One of the most popular and the one I’ve tried is VLC.


Q – Do I have to buy a micro sd card for this product to work?

A- No the micro sd card is used to expand the available storage but not essential for the tablet to work. See Android storage


Q- How do I move files from internal storage to external storage?

A- I find the easiest to use a PC and a USB cable. However you can use a file manager on Android. I have had problems with the Astro file manager moving files to an external SD card but could do it easily with the simple file manager that came with my Tablet. ES File  explorer is is also a very good file manager that you can try


Q – Can You Expand the memory (RAM)?

A – No


Q – Can you tell me the difference, in lay terms, between the 16gb and the 32gb?

A –The 32GB has twice the storage than the 16GB. This storage is used for storing your files,pictures etc. just like your hard disk on your computer. See Android Storage


Q – What is the Difference between dual core and Quad Core?
A – Early PCs had a single core known as as CPU (central Processing Unit).

You can equate this to the engine of your car. Modern PCs,Tablets,Phones have multiple CPUs or Cores.

Generally the more cores (CPUs) the faster the device. A dual core device has 2 CPUs (cores) and a Quad core has 4 CPUs (cores)


Q – What is an APK file?

A- An Apk file is the android equivalent of a .exe file on windows. If you click on an apk file it installs an application. See Installing the Amazon App store on android.

Normally you don’t need to worry about apk files as the google play store app will download the app from the play store and install it automatically.

This article has more details.


Q – Can I change The Application Associated with a File?

A- Yes.Just like in Windows Android will use a particular application particular file type e.g. It will use Adobe reader when accessing a pdf file. You need to change the association by going to the APP settings see this quick guide.


Q – I Get an Insufficient Storage Message When Trying to Install an App from the play store?

A-This message can be very misleading as in my experience the real cause in a lack of memory.

I get this message often on a cheap tablet that has only 500MB of RAM. The Android Storage article will show you how to check your memory and what types of memory you have as well as how to resolve it.