How to download Android APK files from the Google Play Store

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There might be various reasons that you would want to download an APK directly from the Play Store. One might be that an app (especially Google apps) is showing that it has been updated, but you can’t push it to your device. By downloading the APK directly, you can simply sideload it on your device and get the updated version that much quicker. You also might be a tinkerer in that you want to sideload an APK to your Android TV device (or some other device) to see how it works.

Now you can find various sites that host APK files, but they might not have the latest versions, not to mention they could be altered with malware. Grabbing it directly from the Play Store is the safest way, but how do you go about doing that? It’s actually pretty simple, so hit the break to get started.


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How to sideload apps (APK files) on the Nexus Player or ADT-1

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Since Android TV is Android-based, you can sideload just about any Android app you want. Now that doesn’t guarantee that it will work properly. In fact chances are that it won’t. However, if you’re sporting an Air Mouse remote control or a USB Mouse, a lot of apps will be usable. The good news is that sideloading an APK is really easy. You don’t have to connect your Nexus Player or ADT-1 to your computer and fumble around with ADB commands. It’s so easy that my dog could do it. Well, maybe not, but I’m pretty sure you can so hit the break to get started.


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How to stop ‘OK Google’ from displaying over your Android Wear watch face

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You might have noticed that “OK Google” appears every time your watch face lights up on your Android Wear smartwatch. It’s there to remind you that you can say “OK Google” to search for something or start an app. After a week or so, you pretty much get the hint and no longer want it covering your face. How do you get rid of it?


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How to use Motorola Keylink to bypass your lock screen on non Lollipop devices

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Motorola introduced Keylink today, which does a variety of things for $24.99. For starters, it’s a keychain that you can connect to your phone via Bluetooth. Using the Motorola Connect app, you will be able to see where your keys are on a map in the event that you misplaced them. If it’s your phone that you misplaced, you can force it to ring.

All good stuff, but probably the coolest feature is that Keylink will bypass your security lock screen as long as it’s connected to your phone. Motorola says this will work with only the Moto X (2014), the DROID Turbo, or any other smartphone running Lollipop. The reason for Lollipop is that it has a built-in function called Smart Lock,¬†allowing you to set any Bluetooth device as trusted in order to bypass your security lock screen. Does that mean that users on KitKat, Jelly Bean or other versions of Android can’t use Keylink? Absolutely not.


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Watch faces auto shift in ‘Always On’ mode on the LG G Watch R, here’s how to compensate for it

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If you own the LG G Watch R, you might have noticed that your watch faces seem to shift ever so slightly when in the dimmed “Always On” mode. Then when the face fully lights up, it goes back to center, especially with apps like Facer. You’re not alone in that a lot of people have noticed it. It appears to be by design as a way to prevent screen burn in. The only problem is that some faces look horrible as you can see in the image above. You want to utilize the “Always On” display so you can enjoy your watch face, but seeing white around the sides just ruins the experience. There is no way to turn this feature off (you wouldn’t want to), but there is something that you can do to compensate for it.


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How to manually install the Lollipop OTA on your Nexus device, download links included

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There are two methods for manually updating your Nexus device to Android 5.0 Lollipop. You can flash the factory image, but if your bootloader isn’t unlocked, it means you have to do a factory reset. The good news is that there is another method and that is to install the actual Over-The-Air (OTA) update. Even better news….you won’t lose your data!! Oh wait, there’s even better news…..we have all the instructions on how to do it right after the break.


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How to beam files and photos from one phone to another with the new Android Beam in Android Lollipop

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Android Beam debuted in Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, which was kind of cool at the time, but not all that useful. With Android 5.0 Lollipop, Google has upped the game by adding Android Beam to the Share menu and allowing you to send files, documents, or even photos from one phone to another phone by simply touching the two devices together. It will even work for files or photos that are stored in the cloud, as in not physically on your device. Assuming both devices have NFC, and at least the sending device has Android Lollipop or higher, it’s quite easy to do.


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How to lock any app on your phone or tablet for guests and kids in Android Lollipop

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Google has introduced a new feature called Screen Pinning in Android 5.0 Lollipop. I would say it’s most useful for those of you with kids in the house or if your handing your phone or tablet to someone who has zero technical know-how.

Screen Pinning allows you to “pin” any app you want so that the user cannot do anything else but use that particular app. For example, you could start up a game and hand your phone or tablet to your child. He or she won’t be able to exit out of the game (at least easily) and send an email telling your boss to go to hell.


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How to setup Trusted Devices on Android Lollipop to automatically unlock your phone or tablet

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I can’t stress enough how important it is to use a security lock screen on your mobile devices. If you ever misplace your phone or tablet, no one will be able to get into the device. However, constantly entering a code to unlock your device is a royal pain in the you know what.

Finally, Finally, Finally Google has implemented Trusted Devices in Android. With Android Lollipop and a new feature called Smart Lock, you will be able to set any Bluetooth device, NFC tag, or even your face as a way to automatically unlock your device so you won’t have to constantly enter your PIN code or swipe a pattern over 100 times per day.


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