Author: JR Raphael

How to stay smart about Android app permissions

Drop, crack, d’oh! My broken Android phone epiphany

Man, I had one hell of a streak.

All these years — approximately 7,967 since I first started using and writing about Android — and somehow, rather miraculously, I’d never outright broken a phone.

Impressive, I know. But don't let yourself get wrapped in awe yet, my fellow drop-dreading denizen: My streak of impeccable Android phone protection has officially come to a crashing halt.

Now, I didn’t technically drop my phone, mind you. And I didn’t technically break it myself, either. But it was definitely broken. And it happened on my watch.

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The best privacy and security apps for Android

Let's get one thing out of the way right off the bat: If you're looking for recommendations about Android security suites or other malware-scanning software, you've come to the wrong place.

Why? Because, like most people who closely study Android, I don't recommend using those types of apps at all. Android malware isn't the massive real-world threat it's frequently made out to be, and Google Play Protect and other native Android settings are more than enough to keep most devices safe.

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12 Android settings that’ll strengthen your security

You might not know it from all the panic-inducing headlines out there, but Android is actually packed with practical and powerful security options. Some are activated by default and protecting you whether you realize it or not, while others are more out of the way but equally deserving of your attention.

So stop wasting your time worrying about the Android malware monster du jour and which security company is using it to scare you into an unnecessary subscription, and take a moment instead to look through these far more impactful Android settings — ranging from core system-level elements to some more advanced and easily overlooked options.

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Android 12 Upgrade Report Card: What a weird year

In the world of software, six months is an eternity.

Heck, look at how much has happened over the past six months since Android 12 came into the universe. Google started and then finished a hefty 0.1-style update that lays the groundwork for significant large-screen improvements to the Android experience. And it's now well into the public development phase of its next big Android version, Android 13 — which is the rapidly forming release on most folks' minds at this point.

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10 easy steps to make Chrome faster and more secure

Gather 'round, kiddos — 'cause it's time for a story.

Once upon a time, Chrome was a lean, mean browsing machine. It was the scrappy lightweight kid in a block filled with clunky old blobs of blubber. People had never seen a browser so fast, so thoughtfully constructed! It stripped everything down to the essentials and made the act of browsing the web both pleasant and secure — qualities that were anything but standard back in that prehistoric era.

Chrome was "minimalist in the extreme," as The New York Times put it — with "extremely fast" page loads and a "snappy" user interface, in the words of Ars Technica. Its sandbox-centric setup and emphasis on supporting web-based applications made the program "the first true Web 2.0 browser," as some other tech website opined.

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Test your outrage over Google’s new Topics advertising system

Google sure has taken an awful lot of heat over its advertising practices lately.

But why, exactly? Today, I'd like to explore that. I've concocted a four-question quiz that'll gauge your rage and help determine whether it's aimed at the right source or perhaps misplaced. But first, we need to catch up on what exactly is happening right now and how we reached this point.

The whole recent Google advertising debacle started with the crumbling state of the digital cookie, y'see — the pressure for Google to move away from its age-old practice of using tiny (and rather tasty-sounding) tidbits of data provided by websites to see what sort of stuff you're interested in and then show you ads that match those subjects.

To read this article in full, please click here

Test your outrage over Google’s new Topics advertising system

Google sure has taken an awful lot of heat over its advertising practices lately.

But why, exactly? Today, I'd like to explore that. I've concocted a four-question quiz that'll gauge your rage and help determine whether it's aimed at the right source or perhaps misplaced. But first, we need to catch up on what exactly is happening right now and how we reached this point.

The whole recent Google advertising debacle started with the crumbling state of the digital cookie, y'see — the pressure for Google to move away from its age-old practice of using tiny (and rather tasty-sounding) tidbits of data provided by websites to see what sort of stuff you're interested in and then show you ads that match those subjects.

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7 smart steps to get your Android phone in tip-top shape for 2022

Happy New Year! I don't know about you, but I find the start of a fresh voyage around this shiny ol' sun of ours to be a fine time for tidying up, optimizing, and getting good and organized for the months ahead. And while I'd love to pretend I'm the type of person who has one of those disgustingly pristine, clutter-free desks you see on the internet, let me be brutally honest: The physical space around me tends to resemble a half-abandoned hog parlor.

But my Android phone? My Android phone is as orderly as can be, gosh darn it. And if you ask me, that makes far more of a difference than the state of the physical space around me.

Our mobile devices are where we do so much of our actual work and contemplation these days, after all — and yet it's all too easy to overlook the importance of maintaining an optimal arrangement for both productivity and security within 'em. So now, as we gaze ahead at the promise-filled 2022 calendar, join me in taking 10 minutes to get your own trusty Android phone fine-tuned and fully ready for the coming year.

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Android security checkup: 16 steps to a safer phone

Android security is always a hot topic on these here Nets of Inter — and almost always for the wrong reason.

As we've discussed ad nauseam over the years, most of the missives you read about this-or-that super-scary malware/virus/brain-eating-boogie-monster are overly sensationalized accounts tied to theoretical threats with practically zero chance of actually affecting you in the real world. If you look closely, in fact, you'll start to notice that the vast majority of those stories stem from companies that — gasp! — make their money selling malware protection programs for Android phones. (Pure coincidence, right?)

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