Basics Overview Updated November 2, 2021

Basics

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453 'Basics' stories

June 2016 - November 2021

If you’re new to Android, Chrome, or anything related to Google, it can sometimes be a little difficult getting yourself familiar with the platforms. That’s why we created Basics!

Whether you’re looking for help changing your wallpaper, adding apps to your home screen, removing apps from your home screen, or just want to know how to set an alarm, we’ve got you covered.

All of our Basics guides can be found below, in the order they were published.

Basics Stories November 19

How to install the Android 12 Beta on Samsung Galaxy smartphones

Android 12 brings a lot of exciting features to the OS, even in Samsung Galaxy devices. With the beta release of One UI 4, Samsung devices are able to take advantage of new color-theming options and privacy features. Fortunately, Samsung is making the beta available to a few select devices before Android 12 is completely released.

How to get ready for a road trip using Google’s travel site and Maps

Due to the pandemic, travel has been slow this past year, and you might be a little rusty when it comes to picking up and traveling somewhere to visit friends and family or just planning a getaway. Whatever the case, Google has a few helpful tools in Google Maps and Google’s travel site to help you get started on making those plans and staying safe along the way.

Basics Stories November 17

How to set Google Chrome as your default browser on Windows 11

Google Chrome is an extremely powerful web browser. It becomes even more capable once you start adding extensions to make tasks easier and faster. Though, if you’re switching your default browser to Google Chrome on Windows 11, there are a few things to keep in mind.

Basics Stories November 12

How to check your heart rate with the Google Pixel 6 and 6 Pro

Earlier this week, Google pushed a feature that could check your heart rate on the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro without the use of a smartwatch. By reading the minute details in your index fingertip using the Pixel’s camera, Google Fit can identify your BPM. This allows anyone with a Pixel 6 or 6 Pro to check their heart rate on the go in seconds without external hardware.

Basics Stories November 10

Making the most of Android 12 widgets with customization

Android not only offers a lot of new AI-driven processing capabilities, but it also adds a little flare to the quality of life department. With the addition of Material You, wallpapers mesh well with the UI adding a cohesiveness that many people love about their Pixel 6 and 6 Pro. In addition, Google’s widgets play along well and are easy to customize, allowing you to tailor the Android 12 experience even better.

Basics Stories November 9

How to use/customize Android 12’s new Quick Settings

Android 12 is chock full of useful features. Features like focus mode and digital well-being functions stand out as building blocks of the new iteration of Android. Fortunately, all of these features are accessible with quick settings in Android 12, putting them within reach at any moment.

Basics Stories November 8

Google 2-Step Verification: How to set up and manage your account security

Google recently announced that going forward, accounts would need to have 2-Step Verification (2SV) enabled. According to the company, the first wave of accounts are already being transitioned into this security measure. Many companies already employ this feature, though under the name 2-Factor Authentication (2FA). Fortunately, Google’s 2-Step Verification is easy to set up, and just as easy to use.

Basics Stories November 6

How to use Google Drive for desktop app to backup files and photos

Google Drive is a powerhouse of a file storage system. It makes it easy to save documents and other data that can be transferred to other Google apps as well. Fortunately, Google makes it easy to access Drive straight from your desktop – whether Mac or PC.

Basics Stories November 5

How to save any WebP image as a PNG or JPG in Google Chrome

The internet is full of incredible photos, and there are endless reasons you’d want to save them to your device. In some cases, you may think you’re looking at your new wallpaper when you realize the image only saves a WebP file. Fortunately, an extension for Google Chrome can be added that will allow you to save any image, including WebP images, as a JPG or PNG file.

Basics Stories November 4

How to create custom Gmail profile pictures with Google Illustrations

Having a Google Account means customizing it to your heart’s content. That truly becomes the case when choosing a profile picture, since that picture is the face of your account and the thing that everyone sees. Google Illustrations is a tool integrated into Gmail for Android that lets you create custom profile pictures and really spice up your account.

Basics Stories October 21

How to downgrade from Android 12 to Android 11 on Google Pixel [Video]

If you are not content with Android 12 on your Google Pixel, it’s probably music to your ears knowing that you can downgrade your OS to a stable version of Android 11 if you encounter any major problems or just don’t like the substantial overhaul.

Basics Stories August 30

The Google Pixel 5 and 5a will soon no longer be the latest model in the Pixel family, and that means it’s time to check your trade in values. Whether you’re looking to sell your Pixel 5/5a to upgrade to the upcoming Pixel 6, you’ve come to the right place. First, let’s find out how much it’s worth and how to get the most value for your trade-in.

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Basics Stories August 24

With the fall 2021 consumer hardware announcements — read: Pixel 6 — set to arrive sometime in the coming weeks, there are likely some Googley phones coming up that you’re interested in! So what are you to do with all your old Pixel 2? Or Pixel 3? You should trade it in, and we’ve put together all the best trade deals for Google Pixel, Samsung Galaxy, and more below…

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Basics Stories November 26, 2020

If you have a large display on your smartphone, did you know you can enter split-screen for most of your apps and even some games? The split-screen process changed with Android Pie and has remained the same through to Android 11 now that gestures are the main UI input method.

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Basics Stories October 28, 2020

How to download a YouTube video

You can find just about anything on YouTube. For one reason or another, you may need to download some of that content and, luckily for you, there are a number of ways to download a video from YouTube based on what you need to do with it.

Basics Stories August 7, 2020

If you are not content with the most recent Android 11 Beta build on your Google Pixel, it’s probably music to your ears knowing that you can downgrade your OS to a stable version of Android 10 if you encounter any major problems.

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Basics Stories July 28, 2020

Chrome OS tablets aren’t everywhere, but the platform has been preparing for them for quite some time. In one of its latest updates, Google has added a new “Bordered Key” style to the on-screen keyboard in Chrome OS to give it a better style.

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Basics Stories July 20, 2020

In the age of smartphones, screenshots have become an essential way to quickly share, as they allow others to see exactly what you’re seeing. That said, the way to take screenshots on your Chromebook or Chrome OS tablet isn’t exactly obvious, so here’s a quick how-to.

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Basics Stories July 6, 2020

How to clean up Google Chrome when it’s slow: Notifications, search engine, more

These days, you can’t get hardly anything done without a good, working web browser, but what do you do when Google Chrome starts acting up? Here’s a guide for how to clean up some of Google Chrome’s most common issues including slow loading, excess notifications, using the wrong search engine, and more.

Basics Stories June 8, 2020

Google Play Music is being put out to pasture later this year, which means that you might want to transfer your library over to YouTube Music to keep all of your audio content.

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Basics Stories March 31, 2020

How to use a USB mic with Android

Can you use a USB mic with Android? Using an external microphone with your Android smartphone used to be pretty straightforward. All you had to do was plug one into the headphone jack. Now, however, that very jack is going the way of the Dodo. So if you want to use an external mic with your Android phone, what are your options?

Basics Stories March 30, 2020

How to mute coronavirus-related content on Twitter

It’s great to stay informed about what’s going on in the world, but it’s also very much possible to be over-informed. As the novel coronavirus wreaks havoc on the world, one of the easiest ways to control your level of information intake is Twitter mute filters. I needed them, so I thought you might too. Here’s how to cut down on coronavirus content on Twitter…

Basics Stories March 18, 2020

How to adjust vibrate setting on Samsung Galaxy S20

Our smartphones deliver hundreds of notifications and often many phone calls on a daily basis, but always having an audible ringer can sometimes be inappropriate. If you’ve got a Samsung Galaxy S20, you’ve of course got access to a vibrate setting, and here’s how you can adjust the strength of it.

Basics Stories March 12, 2020

Now seems about the best time to teach you how to properly clean and sanitize your Android smartphone, as the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus heightens our awareness of personal hygiene. While the best way to prevent the spread of germs, bacteria, and viruses is still washing your hands vigorously, it’s not quite as obvious how best to clean your tech.

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Basics Stories March 8, 2020

How to use gesture navigation on the Samsung Galaxy S20

Android 10 introduced a new system of gestures to the platform, and they’re pretty great! These new gestures can be found on any phone shipping with Android 10, including Samsung’s Galaxy S20. Here’s how to turn them on.

How to turn on dark mode on the Samsung Galaxy S20

Dark mode is a popular way to ease eye strain, save on battery life, and frankly, it just looks cool, too. If you’ve got a Galaxy S20, you’ve also got access to a system-wide dark mode — here’s how to turn it on.

Basics Stories March 7, 2020

How to turn on battery percentage on the Galaxy S20

Samsung packed all of its Galaxy S20 models with pretty huge batteries, but they don’t have crazy endurance, unfortunately. If you want to keep better track of the endurance on the Galaxy S20, S20+, or S20 Ultra, here’s how to turn on the battery percentage in the status bar.

How to turn off your Samsung Galaxy S20

In a departure from how most Android smartphones work, Samsung has made it slightly more difficult to turn off your phone with its Galaxy S20 lineup. Whether it’s just time for a disconnect or you need to turn it off and on again to troubleshoot an issue, here’s how to turn off your Galaxy S20 using the power menu.

Basics Stories March 6, 2020

How to take a screenshot on Samsung Galaxy S20

Want to capture a screenshot on Samsung’s Galaxy S20? It’s a pretty easy process as it is on any smartphone, but if you’re switching from another device or perhaps the S20 is even your first smartphone, it’s not something that’s very obvious. So, here’s how to take a screenshot on the Samsung Galaxy S20.

How to disable Bixby on the Samsung Galaxy S20

In a world of voice assistants, Samsung has had its own option in Bixby since the debut of the Galaxy S8 a few years ago. The assistant is still a core part of Samsung’s software, but it’s not something all users will actually want to make a part of their routine. Here’s how to disable Bixby completely on the Samsung Galaxy S20.

Basics Stories March 3, 2020

How to share your trip with someone using Google Maps

Google has added a feature to Maps that lets you share your trip with someone else, simply by sending them a link. It’s a feature that users of services like Uber have enjoyed for years. This super-useful feature is also pretty easy to use, so let’s recap the basic steps.

Basics Stories February 15, 2020

How to play Apex Legends on your Android smartphone [Video]

Apex Legends is one of the most popular battle royale games on the planet, yet we still await an official launch on Android and iOS.

Basics Stories February 7, 2020

Both Microsoft and Sony are getting into the video game streaming business. Google Stadia and Xbox Project xCloud both look like rather similar offerings on the surface, but are they?

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Basics Stories February 2, 2020

Super Bowl LIV takes place later today, Sunday, February 2. This year’s game sees the San Francisco 49ers taking on the Kansas City Chiefs in Miami. Here’s how to watch Super Bowl LIV live at 6:30pm ET/3:30pm PT on Android, Chromecast, and other platforms.

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Basics Stories January 15, 2020

How to check your Android version

As I write this, Android is currently in its tenth iteration. However, which version of Android is your device currently running? Do you know how to check your Android version?

Basics Stories January 6, 2020

Since Android Pie, being able to put applications split-screen has changed. So this may be why you might be wondering how to enable split-screen now that you have updated to Android 10.

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How to view the data that Google has collected on you

It’s hard to imagine using the internet without at least one of the many services that Google provides, but they do come at a cost. While Google may not charge users directly for the likes of Gmail or Google Docs, they do collect data on users to create value in other ways. So what information is being harvested from you? How can you view your Google data?

Basics Stories December 27, 2019

How to connect your Stadia Controller to a different WiFi network

So, you received a Nest Wifi as a gift or maybe picked a new router from a Black Friday sale, to help improve your connection to Google Stadia. Now you need to connect that controller (and all your other devices) to your new network. Here’s how to change the Stadia Controller’s WiFi settings to connect it to a new network.

Basics Stories December 16, 2019

How to get a refund on Google Play Store

It happens to all of us. You buy an app on the Google Play Store only to realize that it’s not what you wanted. The good news is that Google is pretty lenient with refunds, so if you want your money back, here’s how to do it.

Basics Stories December 8, 2019

Are cheap Android phones worth it?

In a time of thousand-dollar Android flagships, it’s easy to forget that there’s a phone for every budget. However, are cheap Android phones actually worth buying? What sacrifices are you really making by opting for the most affordable smartphone options?

How to transcribe speech using Google’s Live Transcribe app

Speech-to-text technology has come a long way since the days of slowly droning into a microphone, hoping that the dictation software gets it at least half right. These days, applications like Siri or the Google Assistant can understand natural speech in real time, with high levels of accuracy. Using your voice to write or control your tech is pretty convenient, but that same technology can be pretty useful for people with hearing problems or anyone who needs live transcriptions of spoken language. That’s where Google’s Live Transcribe comes into the picture.

Basics Stories December 2, 2019

Can you use an Apple Watch with Android phones?

The Apple Watch is one of the most coherent and attractive wearables on the market, so there are sure to be plenty of Android users tempted by its sleek lines and genuinely useful functionality. However, do you need to give up your Android phone to embrace the Apple Watch? Can you use an Apple Watch with Android phones?

Basics Stories November 29, 2019

In this Android Basics guide, we’re going to show you how to transfer your data from your iPhone to your shiny new Android phone.

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Basics Stories November 27, 2019

Do AirPods Pro work with Android?

So you’re a happy Android user, but you’ve been eyeing Apple’s new AirPods Pro with a little envy. “Do Airpods Pro work with Android?” you think to yourself. Well, there’s good news and not-so-good news.

How to get a refund on Google Stadia games

Google Stadia’s library of games isn’t huge, but if you purchased one that you’re not happy with, you can get a refund. Here’s how to request a refund on Google Stadia and the qualifications you’ll need to meet.

How to use Google Chrome’s built-in password manager

Passwords are the bane of our internet existence. It’s impossible to remember them all. It’s even harder to come up with good ones. A password manager is highly recommended, but did you know that Chrome already has one built-in?

Basics Stories November 25, 2019

How to update your Google Chrome autofill settings

One of the perks of using Google Chrome on all of your devices is the ability to sync your autofill data such as your address and credit card number between all of your devices. But what if you move or your card’s expiration date changes? You’re in luck because you can quickly update Chrome’s autofill information. Here’s how…

Where is the Google Docs download for Windows?

Google Docs and the rest of the Google cloud suite is super-useful, but what happens when the internet goes out? Where is the Google Docs download for Windows?

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