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First time Android user: What are the must haves?

Discussion in 'Alternatives to iOS and iOS Devices' started by GBR, May 9, 2013.

  1. GBR
    macrumors 6502

    Ok guys, i've been accused of not giving Android a fair shot and want to really give it a go. I currently run a iPhone 5 and a Galaxy S4 and this is my first real experience with Android other than just playing with one at a store. What are the apps/tweaks that a new person to Android really needs? I know several keyboards have been mentioned but I'm curious what else is a 'must have' to really get Android working well and unlock useful functionality. This is a Apple guy opening up and saying please point me in the right direction!

    I do also have a specific question, i utilize push IMAP email for work, is there a way to enable push on my GS4?
  2. macrumors G3


    The number 1 must have thing for me is nova prime. Allows you to tailor the phone exactly how you want it. At first it may seem a little intimidating, but it is really simple and makes any phone looks great. It is a launcher and not an app though. For the most part the apps you use on your iphone will be the same apps you use on your android.
  3. macrumors 68040



    ES File Explorer
    AdAway (if you're rooted)
    Titanium Backup (again, if rooted)
    Google Keep

    Non-essential but fun things I like and you might too:

    Plague Inc

    Nova Launcher is good but you might like TouchWiz so I don't know if it's something you want. Launchers are purely personal preference so I wouldn't call any of them essential.
  4. macrumors 601

    The Game 161

    Avast is good but it is consistently using the battery.. I've downloaded norton virus scanner instead
  5. macrumors 68040


    Avast has never given me issues with battery. I would advise strongly against installing anything by Norton on absolutely anything.
  6. macrumors 601

    The Game 161

    Really? I say this because as soon as I downloaded avast my battery went down quickly and the stats said it was scanning every 10 mins or so... Can't you set it up once a day or something?
  7. macrumors 6502a

    AirDroid and Mightytext
  8. macrumors 68040


    Yeah you can change scan frequency in the settings. Weird it's scanning every 10 minutes, I never get that, it just scans whenever I install an app. I can do a full scan if I want but they don't happen automatically by default.

    It does perform a full scan when you first install it, maybe that was your problem?
  9. macrumors 68000


    I'll definitely second Nova Prime. Be sure to check out gestures, secondary functions assigned to swipe-up from a dock icon, scrollable dock, and organizing your app drawer by hiding not needed app icons and placing apps in categories.

    Also check out HD Widgets. You can make pretty much any kind of widget you want with it, I use the smallest size ones in a near-transparent white for quick settings toggles on my home page: wifi hotspot, flashlight, tilt lock, mute sound, airplane mode. Having direct access to these from the homepage is a joy when coming from iOS :D

    I also use Google Keep a lot. I used to write tons of yellow notes on the iPhone and loved how they updated immediately on my iCloud - this is pretty much the same thing. Except you can organize notes visually in a different way, and use the app as a widget for direct entry from the homepage.

    Lastly there's Ninja SMS for popup quick reply to text messages, and MightyText which lets you receive and reply to text messages on your computer.

    Oh, and OfficeSuite Pro for editing MS Office documents (awesome app), and Fabrik is a pretty good reader (I had some trouble finding one that I like, but this one does the job).
  10. The Game 161, May 9, 2013
    Last edited: May 9, 2013

    macrumors 601

    The Game 161

    Yeah maybe

    Worried about battery life

    Dropped 3% in like 10 mins... Says maps has been used wtf

    How do you set avast to check when you want it to?
  11. macrumors 68040


    It should be set not to scan automatically by default:

  12. macrumors 601

    The Game 161

    But when you go to activity log it says

    Scanned 17 files in 19 minutes 22.04
    On exec scan

    Etc why is that?
  13. macrumors 68040


    It does a scan when you first install it like I told you.
  14. macrumors 601

    The Game 161

    So it doesn't do anything when you don't enter the app?
  15. macrumors 68040


    Not aside from scanning new apps when you install them, no.
  16. macrumors 6502a


    It all depends on what you like, want or need. You can do a lot with Android, but if you don't need it, the only value you would get is just the exploration. What is it about Android that isn't "working well" for you? If you tell us, then perhaps we can point you in a better direction.

    Without any more specific information, I'll give you some things that highlight what I do and use on my phone.

    Usually, a couple of times a day, I adjust the notification volume level on my phone. For instance, when I go to bed, I want to still hear my phone ring on calls and my alarm, but not notifications such as emails or text messages. I use a widget called Volume Widget. It allows me to set 3 different sound profiles. I have one profile for sleep that turns notification sounds off while keeping the ringer and alarm on. I have a second for indoor, quiet environments where all of my sounds are at an average level. I have a third for outdoor, loud environments where the sound levels are all maxed. The widget is 2x1. It has one area for each of the sound profiles where if you tap there, it sets that sound profile. The 4th area on the widget takes you to the setting screen to configure the profiles. When I go to bed, I tap the widget to turn off notifications. When I go out, I tap to max out the volume. When I come home, I tap to set the volume to normal.

    I have an SGS3. I use Nova Prime launcher to make better use of my home screens. For instance, I don't like the app tray that stays when I change home screens. I deactivate it. With the app tray deactivated, I configure my home screens to hold 6 rows and 4 colums of screen objects. That is 24 spots on each home screen for icons and widgets. This configuration allows me to make better use of the screen space and use fewer home screens than with the default TouchWiz launcher.

    I am a fan of large, scrollable widgets. I use Android Pro Widgets. One of my widgets is 5x4 for Twitter. It is a widget that I can scroll down to see the latest Tweets. I also have a 5x4 calendar widget. I normally have it set to agenda mode which lists all of my appointments. I can tap the widget to switch to calendar mode.

    Android allows you to set and change default applications. For instance, I use Chrome as my primary browser. I set it as my default browser, so whenever I tap on a URL, it will launch Chrome instead of the stock browser. You can set default apps for many things. For instance, if you use a mapping app other than Google Maps all the time, you can set that mapping app to launch every time you tap on a location such as an address in your Contacts app. Don't like Gmail or the stock mail app, download another and set it as default.

    You have already mentioned keyboards, but I've just gotta plug SwiftKey and Swype again.
  17. macrumors 6502

    I dislike the stock ringtones on S4 and came across a treasure called ZEDGE. In addition to a wonderful ringtone variety, it has stunning wallpapers, live wallpapers, notification tones and a great selection of games.

    It's free :)
  18. macrumors 65816

    Why are you guys using antivirus on your Android phones? Seems like something that a very uninformed or unsophisticated user would do.
  19. macrumors 6502a


    I just moved the ringtone I had on my old Nokia N97 (Call and Answer by Barenaked Ladies) over to my Android phones. It's just a sound file you can copy.
  20. macrumors 68040


    Because sometimes malware slips through into the Play Store.

    Also Avast lets you choose which apps get internet access and has very good anti-theft features.
  21. Vegastouch, May 10, 2013
    Last edited: May 10, 2013

    macrumors 601


    Avast or any other anti virus isnt neccessary...unless you live in China and use that App store.
    They are a waste of space and time. Ive never had a issue in three years.
  22. Borealis, May 10, 2013
    Last edited: May 10, 2013

    macrumors member

    A list of useful downloaded apps that I use on my GS3
    -Quickpic (Image viewer)
    -AirDroid ( Access the phone through a browser. Kies Air also works just as well, but it's not as slick)
    -BSPlayer (video player for those rare recalcitrant files that don't play on the excellent Samsung stock video player)
    -MXPlayer (Same as above)
    -Google Calendar
    -ColorNote (in Widget form)
    -Note Everything
    -Screen Filter (very very useful for bedtime browsing/reading in the dark)
    -SoundWire (Stream ALL audio from your PC to the phone over WiFi. Needs a fast WiFi connection for best performance in movies)
    -Unified Remote (Awesome app for controlling your PC over WiFi)
    -Zarchiver (for zip/rar files)
    -uTorrent or similar
    -Moon+ Reader (e-book reader. Highly customizable)
    -Adobe Reader or EZPDF reader
    -WiFi Analyzer (awesome!!)
    -Wakelock detector

    I also use a few essential Singapore-specific apps, but don't think they are relevant here. And, I have not listed all the google services/apps I use, either.
    I use the default Samsung File explorer on the SGS3, works well enough for me.

    A few non-essential but nice-to-have apps
    -Firefox with add-ons
    -Exposure Calculator (excellent for photographers, especially when using ND filters)
    Agree 100%.
    Unless you sideload apps from really shady/unknown sources, you shouldn't need an anti-virus at all. It simply wastes resources, decreases battery life, and bogs the phone down.
  23. macrumors 6502

    From an iPhone?? Through iTunes? This is my firstmAndroid device :)
  24. macrumors 68000


    I highly recommend downloading the Android 4.2 keyboard from the Play Store. I use an S4 as well. It's much better than the TouchWiz keyboard.
  25. macrumors member

    Serge N Gin

    I have a HTC Wildfire S & couldn't do without:

    • Astro File Mngr
    • Airdroid (although Astro File Mngr's new Dropbox integration has seen me use Airdroid less)
    • App 2 SD
    • Business Calendar
    • Calendar Snooze
    • Dropbox
    • On Call End (returns your mobile to the home screen when you hang up a call)
    • QuickMark (QR/barcode scanner)
    • Springpad (personal assistant)
    • Save my Attachment


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