5 Tweaks for a Less Annoying Android
If you are here it is because you probably have a liking for Android, perhaps a little more than the average smartphone user. And while Android is a great platform, and offers infinite possibilities for users and developers to do just about anything, sometimes what we want to do is conditioned by Android itself. Because the OS is certainly not perfect, and sometimes the deliberate design decisions or the obnoxious little bugs or glitches can ruin part of the amazing experience that our phones and tablets otherwise provide us.
Sometimes the OS doesn’t want to do what it should do. Sometimes it was not designed to do what it should do. Sometimes Google itself didn’t know how to make it do what it should do. Luckily, because of the previously mentioned “infinite possibilities”, the great developer community of Android has set out to fix Google’s mistakes and shortcomings in the form of various types of mods or tweaks. Some require rooting, some require flashing, and some just simply require you to download an app. Here we’ll take a look at 5 things you can do to fix today’s problems and make them a thing of the past.
One of the biggest Playstore updates brought with it one of the biggest Android headaches: Permissions were now categorized vaguely in the message displayed when you set out to install an application. This isn’t just a mere nuisance, though, as it can effectively render you clueless in front of possible rogue apps, like we covered in this article. To make things worse, 42 permissions are also hidden from the list and unknown permissions defined by apps are hidden in both screens.
This module fixes that by making the Playstore show all of the apps’ permissions, and have you manually update the apps with new permissions. If you care about your data’s security or your system’s integrity, you might want to have this on your side to be extra careful for malware is on the rise.
Credit to GermainZ
I love this app. Now that we got that out of the way, let me just add that thanks to this mod I’ve solved this problem on several ROMs across three devices, something that often pops up and can seriously infuriate you: delayed notifications. Like we previously covered, the app fixes the delay by changing the periodic heartbeat of Android: Apps that use Google’s push service use one TCP connection to connect your phone’s to Google’s servers. The heartbeat keeps the connection alive and prevents it from timing out. By default, it occurs every 15 minutes on wi-fi and 27 minutes on mobile data. But most Wi-Fi routers and carriers automatically terminate the connection after a short period of inactivity; but your phone is not aware that the connection was closed, so it prevents you from getting notifications until the next heartbeat.
With this app you can change the heartbeat interval, to ensure all your notifications arrive instantly. It has no effect on battery life and it does not run in the background.
Credit to andQlimax
With this module you can customize how your media scanner works on your device. The main annoyance you can solve is that on each reboot the media scanner starts running and eating battery, as the device stays awake for as long as it is running. This can be particularly annoying to those developers who need to reboot their devices often. The media scanner executes on every boot, and it can take anywhere from 5 to 20 minutes to be completed. It creates an entry in the Android Media store for each file and directory it finds, and for special file types it also scans meta data. This all uses processing cycles and prevents your phone from entering deep sleep, thus consuming battery life.
This module optimizes the media scanner by making it a foreground service so that the user can monitor it. A notification will also present the user with how long the scan took once it is over. You can also tell the scanner to only scan specific file types, or have it run on a mode where only certain directories are scanned. Finally, you can also prevent it from scanning automatically and you can trigger it whenever you want.
Credit to thomashofmann
Another really useful fix for a deliberate Google annoyance, this time for the way the ROM works. On Android, apps can launch other apps’ activities inside their task, but that makes it impossible to switch back and forth between the two as the new app which had its activity launched is not present in the recents menu. An example would be opening a URL from Hangouts, and have that URL start StackExchange. Without the module, you can go back to Hangouts but that will close the StackExchange instance, not allowing you to go back to it.
With this module, a separate instance is created for the launched activity’s app. It seems like the more logical approach, but it was not the way Google designed it to be. The module features a quick toggle that will make the changes effective immediately, and there is also a blacklist and whitelist to filter activities.
Credit to GermainZ
This is one of those fixes that just makes your experience all that sweeter. It doesn’t fix broken functionality, nor does it correct a taxing background algorithm. It just gets rid of a very annoying message you’ve probably seen many times. It’s one of those “quality of life” tweaks that you desperately miss once you lose Xposed (I’m speaking from personal experience here). For some reason, Google wants to pester you with a “tip”, suggesting you to improve your location accuracy by turning wi-fi on, every time you want to go somewhere – when your wi-fi could naturally be offline, as you are likely to be outside when using navigation. This proves immensely frustrating when you are driving somewhere with your smartphone mounted and you have to reach to it for that last final tap to finally begin smooth sailing.
Not only does this module help you get rid of that (and possibly prevent a nasty car crash), but the way the module is made makes it immune to breaking with subsequent Maps updates. So you can activate it and forget it’s there, and you most likely will. This is definitely one of my most missed modules and another tweak added to the list of reasons for considering downgrading back to Kitkat.
Credit to Kevin M
That’s it for this week folks! Hopefully some of these tweaks will help you fix problems you have, or get rid of unnecessary annoyances. And if they don’t help you today, I suggest you keep them in the back of your head for the day they might become useful (particularly the Push Notification Fixer app).