How-To: Reset Your Smartphone of Any Operating System : Windows, Android, iOS, or BlackBerry?

There are a few instances when factory-resetting your smartphone is a necessity. Virus attacks, compromised data, device getting extremely slow, etc., are some of the reasons. It goes without saying that factory-resetting should be done only if there is no other go. The reason is that it will completely erase any information you have on your device—your contacts, files, apps, music, videos, settings, etc. In effect, it simply takes the mobile back to how it was when you bought it.

If you are in dire need to reset your device, simply follow these guidelines.

1. If Your Phone Is Android

 

You can simply follow the menu option, Settings->Personal->Backup & Reset. Over there, you will find the Factory Reset option at the bottom. This is for Android versions 4.0 and onwards (Ice Cream Sandwich and later). The devices supporting this include Nexus 4, Samsung Galaxy S3, Nexus 7, etc.

Jelly bean factory reset

 

If you are still using an older version of Android, such as Gingerbread 2.3 or 3.0 Honeycomb, then go to Settings->Privacy Settings->Factory data reset

Gingerbread factory reset

 

Gingerbread factory reset

 

Alternatively, we have been able to verify a specific code that will help you reset your phone. Do not use it if you are not trying to reset your phone. The code is *#*#7780#*#*. In order to do the hard reset (which will reformat the entire internal memory and reinstall the OS), use the code *2767*3855#. Use extreme caution in using these codes.

2. If Your Phone is Apple iPhone

 

You need to connect the iPhone to the iTunes desktop application in order to restore the phone back to factory settings. If you wish to back up the data, you need to do this step. The factory reset can be done on all generations of iPhones.

First of all, connect it to your computer with the USB cable. If you need a backup of the data, sync the device with iTunes software. You can find the ‘restore’ button on the top of iTunes. Click on it.

You will find two options, ‘Update’ and ‘Restore iPhone’. Select the latter to do factory reset.

Alternatively, you can do the factory reset right from within the iPhone interface. Go to Settings->General->Reset->Erase all content and settings.

iPhone factory reset

 

iPhone reset in settings

 

factory reset options in iPhone

 

The Reset settings menu also gives you a number of other options for you to choose from. If you don’t need to erase all the data on your phone, select one of the other options here.

iphone asks for passcode before reset

 

iPhone erase iphone option

 

The phone may ask you for a passcode if you have set one for its protection.

3. If You Are Using Windows Phone

 

If you have a Windows Phone device from Microsoft, something like Nokia Lumia 920 or HTC Windows Phone 8X, then follow these steps.

Go to Settings from App list and tap ‘About’. You will find ‘reset your phone’ option in here.

Windows phone about phone option

 

This will work on both Windows Phone 8 and 7 devices. The devices that support this include Lumia 920, HTC Windows Phone 8X, Lumia 820, Samsung Ativ S, HTC Titan, Samsung Focus, Dell Venue, LG Optimus 7, etc.

4. If You Have BlackBerry 10

 

Recently released BlackBerry Z10 and Q10 devices can be reset to factory settings in this way. Do a swipe-down from the top of the display and select Settings. Go to the option labeled ‘Security and Privacy’. Here, tap the option, ‘Security Wipe’. It will ask you to enter the word ‘blackberry’ before you can reset the phone.

security wipe on BlackBerry Z10

 

Alternatively, you can search for this particular setting within Z10; just search for ‘security wipe’ and you will get the option.

Conclusion

 

Doing a master reset (another term for factory reset) is a slightly extreme thing to do. If you have been using your smartphone for quite a while, you may have a lot of information stored on it, including contacts, apps, multimedia files, personal settings, etc. With a simple factory reset option, you will trash everything irrecoverably. Hence, it is advised that you do this only when it is absolutely necessary.

[Image: IDG, CNET, Brighthub, Gadgethelpline]

How-To: Turn Your Phone Into A Webcam

How inferior are those webcams that come with most computers? Most of them are mediocre 2 MP or less than that, without any good picture quality. Don’t you feel you are missing something while your smartphone with that amazing camera is sitting right there? Well, you are! You can turn that wonderful smartphone into a webcam and wirelessly connect it with your computer so that you can use it for taking pictures and videos or high-quality video-chatting. Here’s how.

Part I: If Your Smartphone Is Android

Android phones

are pretty popular, and you are probably holding one. If so, this section of the article is for you.

First of all, you need to install an app from the Google Play store. There are a few apps that can turn your phone into webcam. Some of them are IP Webcam, DroidCamX Pro, WO Webcam Lite. We will see how it is done with IP Webcam, which is a free offering.

Install the app and open it up for the initial setup. Some settings are given by default, and you can change any that needs to be. Set up the required camera resolution (this article on 4K TVs has a good intro to resolution details), FPS rate (frames per second) (the higher, the better), image quality, and the TCP port (8080 should suffice). It is recommended that you not set resolution higher than that supported by the phone.

IP Webcam settings

Also set up a user ID and password, which is good thing for the phone webcam’s privacy and security.

At the bottom of the setup page, you will see the option to start the server. Do it. Now, you will see the IP address in which the camera is available, with the port that you set earlier. It should be like 192.168.x.x:8080.

IP Address on IP Webcam

At this point, go to your computer and open up your web browser (preferably Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox). Browse to the phone webcam’s IP address. Simply type in the complete IP address (with the port) at the address bar and hit enter. If your Java plugin is enabled, you should be able to view the video immediately. Various options like opening the video stream in a media player, Java plugin viewer, JavaScript viewer, etc., will appear.

IP Camera adaptor settings on Windows

To view and share the camera across various applications, download the IP Camera Adaptor. Install it and set it up matching the settings on your phone webcam. Let the video size by auto-detected, as otherwise it will lead to cropping in the video feed.

Video feed on skype

It is possible that your firewall will block the video feed indicating a false positive. Add an exception for this.

If IP Camera Adaptor doesn’t work or causes any issues, you should try one of the alternatives specified by the developerManyCam, WebcamXP, etc.

That’s it; you have your Android phone as a webcam now.

Part II: If Your Smartphone Is An iPhone

If you are using an Apple iPhone instead of an Android phone, you can set up its camera to work with your computer. The procedure is straightforward just as in Android devices.

You need to use an app called iWebcamera that is available in the Apple App Store for $4.99.

iWebCamera

Go here and download the drivers depending on your operating system (Windows or Mac OS X).

While installing, you may have to open two ports on your firewall. They are UDP Port 10310 and TCP port 8080. If you are using Windows Firewall, here’s how.

Make sure you have the latest version of video-chatting applications installed as some previous versions have reported issues with external webcams.

All right, now you are good to go. Start the iWebcamera app within your iPhone and initiate whichever video chat application you use on your computer. The application should give you a choice to use the iPhone webcam as the video source. Select it.

Part III: If You Have A Windows Phone

Imagine you are using Microsoft Windows Phone device. There is an app that turns your Windows smartphone into a webcam. It is called PocketCam. The app is a 4.99-dollar download from Windows Phone app store.

PocketCam for Windows

Now install PocketControl software for Windows or Mac.

First of all, connect your smartphone to your home network through Wi-Fi, and start the PocketCam app. Enter the IP address of your computer to connect to the device. [to find the IP address, press Windows key+R->type ‘CMD’ within Run window and press Enter->Within the black window that appears, type ‘IPCONFIG’ and press Enter->Find your IP address that most probably starts with 192. For details, go to Microsoft. To find IP in Mac OS X, do this].

Connecting PocketCam to Windows

That’s it. You will have the choice ‘PocketCam’ on any video-chatting application on your computer.

Conclusion

I have tried to make the tutorial as easy as possible for most people. If you run across any trouble, simply post a comment over here, and I will give you with my thoughts. Most of the high end laptops don’t come with a high quality webcam.

Apple MacBook Pro has 720p HD camera of less than 2 MP; Dell Alienware M18X high-end gaming laptop comes with 2.1 MP 1080p HD camera; and On my Dell XPS, I have a 1.3 MP camera, which is worse than terrible. In such cases, it is very useful to convert your smartphone into a webcam.

How-To: Run Android Apps on Your Windows and Mac Computers

750,000 is a large number. It is not only the approximate land area of Mexico in sq mi., but also the total number of available Android apps. It is also the tagline of our product of the day—BlueStacks. BlueStacks is a unique application that can be downloaded to your Windows PC or your Apple Mac computer in order to run any of these 750,000 Android apps. Pretty cool, huh?

Yesterday, BlueStacks released its application to work with MS Surface Pro, which means the application has support for Windows 8 as well. This means, Android cannot boast having such a vast app ecosystem anymore.

It is a pretty big offering indeed. Being able to run any of those 750,000 Android apps is a really nice thing. So, we decided to give it a shot and see how BlueStacks works on a Windows computer.

1. Installing BlueStacks

 

You can download BlueStacks from here, depending on the operating system used. After getting the version, just install the file on your computer. I have installed BlueStacks on a Windows 7 Pro computer.

BlueStacks on Win 7 installation

 

BlueStacks on Win 7 installation 2

 

BlueStacks on Win 7 installation 3

 

BlueStacks on Win 7 installation 4

 

You should enable App store access and App notifications during the installation process, in order for BlueStacks to search on Google Play and other app stores. The important thing is through BlueStacks, you have access to other app stores like GetJar, 1Mobile and Amazon Appstore for Android.

On several forum posts in the BlueStacks support forum, there are issues reported by users running Windows 7 64-bit systems. We haven’t been able to reproduce any issues on my system though. The application installed perfectly and showed us its main window.

2. Associate Your Google Account

 

As soon as you have installed the application, you can associate your Google account with it. This is one of the primary steps in associating Google Play store to the app.

Linking Google account

 

Google Play store set up

 

Successful linking of Google account

 

3. The Interface

 

On my 16-inch screen, BlueStacks looked quite like an enlarged tablet. It has the same user interface features of an Android device. It does have that pull-down menu from the top but there isn’t anything in it other than app notifications. In effect, you cannot use it as an Android emulator on Windows.

BlueStacks Main window

 

The home screen is a well-navigable page containing popular apps and a search function, using which you can search for apps from all of those app stores.

4. Installing Apps

 

When you search for a new app, it will display a window containing app recommendations.

App recommendations

 

From these recommendations, if you select an app and click ‘install’, it will in turn search within the app stores and will find the app.

searching for apps

 

Apps displayed from various app stores

 

If the app is not compatible, it will say so. Otherwise, you will be able to install the app and select automatic update if necessary.

Mozilla Firefox install

 

So, as you can see, I have downloaded and installed Firefox on BlueStacks to test the system. Let’s analyze how the app runs.

5. App Performance

 

After installing Firefox, the system tray notification area on Windows 7 showed the notification of the completed installation. I fired up Firefox and tried to browse a bit. It loaded our home page, albeit slowly.

Firefox displaying BlueBugle

 

Other apps that I tried also worked perfectly without any issues. I tried installing quite a few apps and tested them. Some of the apps include Evernote, Temple Run, the official Facebook app, etc. They all worked pretty well on BlueStacks.

Facebook Android app on BlueStacks

 

Temple Run 2

 

Evernote on BlueStacks

 

The downloaded app data are stored in BlueStacks special folder at "C:ProgramDataBlueStacks".

Conclusion

 

BlueStacks is an amazing application to run Android apps on your PC. It is, as I mentioned earlier, also available for your Macintosh computer. You should note that this is just an app player and not in anyway an Android simulator. It only creates an interface for our computer to be able to run Android apps, and it works pretty well. It can be used to take advantage of your favorite smartphone apps on your PC.

On Surface Pro, this is a very good improvement, as Surface Pro can perform like a notebook, and it runs Windows 8 full version as opposed to the ARM-version, Windows RT. With BlueStacks, Surface Pro will have the unique ability to run all of the applications available for desktop Windows and Android. Windows RT will have to use the fewer number of apps available in the Windows store as it cannot run BlueStacks.

How-To: Save the Battery Life on Apple iPhone 5

BattSaver

Have you been looking for battery saving tips on iPhone 5 quite a lot? Yes, your iPhone has a mediocre battery that gets you going for a day of usage, and if you are lucky, a little more than that. You may really have to work less and keep it locked more often in order to keep the charge.

Have you ever wondered how iPhone 5’s battery which is 1440 mAh delivering 3.8 Volts of power can perform better than iPhone 4S’s 1430 mAh battery giving 3.7 Volts? [Learn about battery parameters]The answer to the question is in the Apple chip used on iPhone 5 as well as the software on the smartphone—iOS 6.

In terms of high-tech hardware and software engineering, nobody comes close to Apple. Remember the first iPhone keynote by Steve Jobs, in which he mentioned a quote by a famous computer programmer, Alan Curtis Kay,

People who are really serious about software should make their own hardware.

Apple has always followed this strategy of making their own hardware and software, so that they get the most optimized products out.

Apple iPhone has obviously medium hardware—dual core A6 chip clocked at only 1.3 GHz, 1 GB RAM, and 1440 mAh Li-Po battery. With such small hardware specs, iPhone gives stellar performance. You can’t even compare it to the competition, where you have Samsung Galaxy S3 with quad-core 1.4 GHz processor and Droid DNA with quad-core 1.5 GHz processor.

Apple makes iPhone’s hardware specifically to run iOS in the most optimized way, and the company makes iOS to efficiently use the available iPhone hardware. This is the main reason why iPhone cannot run other mobile operating systems like Android and iOS cannot be run on devices by other hardware manufacturers.

This is the reason why Apple’s mediocre battery gives such amazing performance on iPhone. Put it in Galaxy S3 and you may drain the same battery in three hours. Let’s find ways to improve the battery life on your iPhone 5.

1. Control the Display

iPhone, just as other smartphones, comes with sensors like the Ambient Light. This means, the phone knows what lighting conditions you are in and can adjust according to that. You should turn on this feature to save more power. You will not notice any difference in the display clarity because your iPhone will increase the brightness when you are in daylight and will dim the screen when you are in darkness, so that the clarity of the display is always even.

If you want to go one step further and keep the display as dim as possible, you can do that too. You probably know the display is the one component that consumes the most of your phone’s battery.

Do it from Settings->Brightness and wallpaper.

Another option you should tweak is the auto-lock time. The smaller the better. Go to Settings->General->Auto-Lock.

2. Tradeoff Between Wi-Fi and 4G

You probably know well that all kind of data connections can easily drain battery. Your iPhone’s data connections come in one of the two ways—3G or 4G LTE and Wi-Fi. While 4G connections are like voice calls—over the cellphone tower—the Wi-Fi connections are through something like a Wi-Fi router at your home or a Wi-Fi hotspot in an airport.

The currently available LTE (in most parts) is not true LTE. It is a combination of 3G technologies like GSM, HSPA, CDMA, etc., and 4G LTE. I won’t bore you with more technical details on this. But the end result is that your iPhone probably needs to be constantly connected to both a 3G network and a 4G network in order to get you that data connection. As a result, it consumes more battery than 3G only phone should, while in fact true 4G LTE should consume much less power than 3G.

In comparison, Wi-Fi always consumes much less power. Hence, it is always better to switch to Wi-Fi for browsing when a hotspot is available. If you are using a jail broken iPhone, you can go with an app called BattSaver that can do this for you.

BattSaver

 

3. Use Airplane Mode During Travel

You know what happens during your travel? iPhone constantly keeps changing the tower it connects to. It is like taking a continuous phone call, and it will drain your battery pretty quickly. It is always better to turn iPhone into Airplane mode during travel to stop accessing the tower altogether. This can be done from Settings.

4. Configure Data Use By Applications

You need to turn off ‘data Push’ option and check for data less often from apps like Mail. To do these settings, go to Settings->Mail, Contacts, Calendar. You can check your email periodically or you can do it manually in order to stop it from running the data connection all the time.

Another important setting you can configure is the location service. Apple iPhone 5 uses Assisted-GPS (A-GPS) to get a location fix on your phone. This is makes use of your data connection in addition to the built-in GPS chip to locate your phone more accurately. On some carriers, this data access is counted toward your total data access and is billable. You should disable location services when you don’t need it. You can do this from Settings->Privacy->Location Services.


[Update]

One important thing to speak about is that you can now have carrying cases that charge your iPhone on the go. One of them is Mophie Juice Pack Air that retails for 99 dollars at Best Buy.

That product not only protects the iPhone, but also recharges it to provide you with additional usage time. However, it adds a slight bulk to the back of the smartphone.


Conclusion

Apple sadly did not include a big battery with iPhone 5, big like the one found in Samsung Galaxy S3 (2100 mAh) or Motorola Droid Razr Maxx HD (3300 mAh). However, that would have increased iPhone’s weight considerably from the current 112 g. Also, it wouldn’t have been so thin.

Battery has never been Apple’s real concern during the design of iPhone 5. They wanted to make the phone as thin and light as possible with better performance. That is why they used a Li-Po battery instead of a Li-ion one. Li-Po batteries can be built thin and light and in the shape you want.

How-To: Show Full Website on Your Android Phones Browser

When you open a website on your PC, you generally get the full website with all the images, videos, sidebar widgets, and others. On the other hand, on your smartphone, most probably you see only the post titles and excerpts, just the basic text content.

This is probably so even if you are using a sophisticated smartphone like iPhone 5 or Samsung Galaxy S3. You may want to see the full website on your smartphone simply because it can show the full website, sometimes at a faster speed than your PC. Heres how you do it on your Android phone.

Hack on Webkit

Most of the Android phones use the built-in browser which is based on WebKit engine. If your smartphone has the default WebKit Androiid browser, heres how you can display the full website on it.

1. Go to the browser address bar and type about:debug and tap Go.

about:debug on android browser

2. You will see various debug settings over here, and the one we need to display desktop websites on mobile browser is the user agent string (UAString).

about debug options

3. Tap on the UAString option and select Desktop in order to get the full website on all page loads.

user agent string on browser

 

Use Another Browser

In order to display the desktop website on your phone, you can also use an alternative browser. Some of them are Chrome, Firefox, and Dolphin browser.

Dolphin browser is the best of all Android browsers with nearly fifty million downloads. In fact, it is more highly recommended than Firefox and Chrome, which are I guess the obvious choices. Dolphin is feature-rich.

In order to get the desktop version of the website on your phone, you need to install an add-on on the Dolphin browser. This add-on is known as Dolphin Desktop Toggle, available in Google Play.

Dolphin desktop toggles

Simply activate the add-on and you will switch to the desktop version of the website instantly.

Dolphin showing desktop version

 

Conclusion

Some of the users are still using the old low-end smartphones with small screens and display resolutions. For them, it is always better to view the mobile-friendly version of a website itself. However, for the majority of high-end smartphone users, these tips are useful in getting the full desktop website on their handsets.