Top 5 Sites to Identify the Owner of a Phone Number

Top 5 Sites to Identify the Owner of a Phone Number

Phone numbers are a little like fingerprints; they can reveal a lot about a person, for example, their name or where they live. If you received a call from a number you don’t recognize, the following resources can help you identify the caller before you ring them back.

The Limits of an Online Phone Number Search

Several online tools let you reverse lookup and possibly identify who a phone number is registered to.

Unfortunately, you will run into several limitations with any phone number identification:

  1. If someone added their number to the National Do Not Call Registry or had it removed from a site like WhitePages, it will be difficult to trace that phone number.
  2. It’s almost impossible to find out the identity of the person behind a mobile phone number for free. Though with North American numbers, you can at least find where the number was registered.
  3. Moreover, many “free” services will try to sell you their service, even if it is possible to find the information for free elsewhere.
  4. Some countries, including the UK and Australia, have restricted the reverse lookup of phone numbers. So if you’re trying to find a number from these countries, you’re out of luck.
  5. Phone numbers can go out of service or change owners. Since it can take some time for a service to catch up on these changes, you can never fully rely on the information you find online.

With those restrictions in mind, let’s look at the best strategies to check for the origin or owner of a phone number.

Top Sites to Find a Phone Number

1. Google

This is the brute force method of identifying a phone number, but it’s quick, easy, and completely free. If the call is from an official or otherwise public source, a search engine like Google or DuckDuckGo might come up with every last detail about the location and owner of the phone number.

The screenshot below, for example, shows the Google result when searching for the number of the National Do Not Call Registry.

Searching for a phone number on Google.

Your Google search did not amount to much, so what next?

Bonus: Find Out Where the Phone Number Is From

Before you can choose the best service to identify the owner of a phone number, let’s narrow it down to a specific location first. You can skip this step if you recognize the country and area code. For automatic location lookup, you can also skip ahead and try the first online tool listed below.

Generally, a North American phone number consists of 10 digits. The first three digits represent the area code, meaning you can use these numbers to narrow down the location of the number. An easy way to do this is to type the three digits followed by the phrase “area code” into a Google search.

Searching for the area code of a phone number on Google.

It’s a little more complicated if you’ve received a call from an international number. You should see a much longer number, including a country code, which can be anywhere from one (e.g. +1 for USA and Canada) to three (e.g. +506 for Costa Rica) digits long. Just as outlined above, head over to Google, type in the number with the phrase “country code”, and you’ll get an instant answer.

To find out more about the number’s location within a country, you’ll need to learn more about how their phone numbers work. For example, area codes in Germany generally start with a zero and can be three to five digits long, such as 030 for Berlin or 0711 for Stuttgart. In a long distance call from Germany (country code +49), however, the number should show up as +49-711-xxxxxx, i.e. omitting the zero from the area code.

Now that you have a better idea of where the phone number is from, choose a service that covers this location.

2. Whitepages

Location: North America

Whitepages reverse phone lookup service.

Whitepages is one of the most established online services to find people and phone numbers in the US. Use this website to do a reverse lookup for North American landline and mobile numbers. Just enter the number in the Phone search field and hit Enter.

If Whitepages does not have an entry, it will give you some basic details about the number, such as its location and spam or fraud risk.

Note: Whitepages offers monthly subscription packages for users located in the United States. Premium users will gain access to additional information, like mobile phone numbers and full address history. This is one of the more trustworthy services you’ll encounter when trying to look up a phone number online.

3. WhoCallsMe

Location: International, but primarily North America

Reverse phone number lookup database for telemarketers and public numbers.

Do you suspect that you’re receiving unsolicited calls from a scammer, telemarketer, or a pollster? Then this is the service you should try. Enter the number in the search field and hit Search.

WhoCallsMe will tell you everything it knows about this number, including its location and any reports it has collected from other users. Once you’ve entered a number, you can contribute to the service’s database by leaving your own notes about the caller.

A similar page is Who Called Us.

4. Searchbug

Location: North America

Reverse phone number lookup using Searchbug.

This tool can quickly help you look up the location of North American phone numbers. Just type in the phone number, hit Search, and wait for Searchbug’s data on this number.

If they can’t find a public record for this number, you’ll at least learn whether this is a toll-free, landline, or mobile number and possibly where the caller is located.

Note: Searchbug will try to charge you for additional information, like the full name of the owner of the phone number, though you might be able to find it for free online.

5. NumberVille

Location: International

Search international phone numbers and find the owner and location.

This site is similar to Searchbug, but it works with international numbers, too. It appears to offer more information for free, including current and past addresses associated with a phone number; I suspect it pulls this data from Whitepages. I also had the impression it was more up-to-date than its competitors, such as ReversePhoneLookup or SpyDialer.

Note: NumberVille will log and publicly display your IP address, so you better use a VPN if you want to stay anonymous.

Did You Manage to Identify the Phone Number?

It’s not easy to find the owner of a phone number, including their name and location. But hopefully, you have a better idea of who’s given you an unsolicited call.

Have you been on the receiving end of spam calls? Learn how to block those unwanted calls once and for all.

Read the full article: Top 5 Sites to Identify the Owner of a Phone Number

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The Best Smart Watch Phone for Apple and Android Users

best-smartwatches-ditch-smartphone

Smartwatches offer a convenient companion to your smartphone. But what if you want to use your smartwatch throughout the day without carrying your phone? Then you need a smart watch phone.

While many smartwatches require a connection to your phone, you’ll find some standalone smartwatches that can operate independently thanks to cellular support. A watch phone can’t fully replace your phone, but they’re great for those who are always on-the-go. They can also reduce the temptation to use your phone too often.

Here are the best phone watches you can use on their own.

Before You Buy a Standalone Smartwatch

Buying a smart watch phone sounds exciting, but before you make a purchase, you should be aware of how they work. Because they connect to cellular data, like your phone, your carrier has to activate and link them to your account.

This depends on your carrier, but almost always results in additional charges. Most carriers charge a fee for the initial activation, plus a monthly charge for having the device on your plan.

Be aware of this before you decide whether a phone watch is right for you. If you don’t plan to use the LTE functionality all the time, you’re probably better off sticking to the standard model to cut down on cost.

One other note: we’re sticking to only phone watches that include cellular support. While some smartwatches do offer Wi-Fi connectivity independent of your phone, this is less useful because you’re unlikely to stay within range of one Wi-Fi network while out and about.

1. Apple Watch Series 4 (and 3)

Apple Watch Series 4 (GPS + Cellular, 40mm) Apple Watch Series 4 (GPS + Cellular, 40mm) Buy Now On Amazon $ 449.99

The Apple Watch Series 4 is unsurprisingly the best phone watch for iPhone users. Both the Series 4 and Series 3 models are available with cellular support. This allows you to make calls, send and receive text messages, stream from Apple Music, get directions, receive notifications, and more—all without your phone.

Of course, you also get all the features of the Apple Watch. This includes a growing list of compatible apps, customizable watch faces, Apple Pay, and much more. If you don’t need the latest and greatest, you can save some money by getting an Apple Watch Series 3 instead.

While it’s a great choice for the Apple faithful, Android users should of course look elsewhere.

These watches include eSIM technology, which copies the SIM info from your phone. You’ll need an iPhone 6 or newer to set it up, which you can do with Apple’s help page on Watch cellular setup.

See our Apple Watch Series 4 review for more information.

2. Samsung Galaxy Watch

Samsung Galaxy Watch (42mm, LTE) Samsung Galaxy Watch (42mm, LTE) Buy Now On Amazon $ 239.44

The Galaxy Watch is Samsung’s newest smart phone watch at the time of writing. This option is probably the best Android watch phone since the Apple Watch is a no-go on Google’s platform.

With the Galaxy Watch, you get standard smartwatch features like sleep tracking, guided meditation, and workout information. Samsung claims the battery on the smaller model will last for up to three or four days. It’s also built to last, thanks to Gorilla Glass DX+ and IP68 water resistance.

You’ll find a comparable set of cell phone watch features as the Apple Watch. You can call and text, stream music, and get notifications on your watch no matter where you are. If you shop somewhere that takes Samsung Pay, you can even pay with your watch over LTE.

Note that this watch runs Tizen OS instead of Google’s Wear OS.

3. Samsung Gear S3

Samsung Gear S3 Frontier (46mm, AT&T 4G) Samsung Gear S3 Frontier (46mm, AT&T 4G) Buy Now On Amazon $ 181.28

Samsung still sells the Gear S3, which is the predecessor to the Galaxy Watch. It’s similar to the newer model, making it a decent way to get a watch phone without spending a lot.

The older device carries a similar feature set to its successor, despite having a weaker processor, less RAM, and fewer exercise options. The Gear S3 also suffers in the waterproofing department. While the Galaxy Watch is built for swimming, the Gear S3 is only made to survive a drop in water.

Both have a rotating bezel and offer LTE support for calls, texts, notifications, and Samsung Pay purchases. In effect, paying more for the newer model gets you better battery life and a few extra bells and whistles, but the S3 is still a respectable device.

If you opt for this, make sure you buy the model that’s compatible with your carrier. Samsung sells several different versions for the different companies.

4. LG Watch Urbane 2nd Edition

LG Watch Urbane 2nd Edition (LTE , Verizon) LG Watch Urbane 2nd Edition (LTE , Verizon) Buy Now On Amazon

The Watch Urbane 2nd Edition is a few years old, but it’s still available as one of LG’s two standalone smartwatch offerings.

This device features a classy design with three physical buttons and a full-circle P-OLED display. It’s IP67 resistant, which means it will survive a dunk in water but isn’t meant for swimming.

It has the usual smart watch phone features we’ve mentioned in the above models, including calling, texting, and music streaming thanks to LTE. You can also store music on the watch to listen locally. The device also supports health tracking, as well as “OK Google” for getting help with your voice.

Unlike Samsung’s offerings, LG’s smartwatch includes the standard Wear OS. You can pick up the LG Watch Urbane in models for both Verizon and AT&T, so check to make sure you choose the right one.

5. LG Watch Sport

LG Watch Sport (AT&T) LG Watch Sport (AT&T) Buy Now On Amazon

LG’s Watch Sport is another older device, but the company still sells it. It’s notable for being one of the first smartwatches with Android Wear 2.0 and LTE connectivity.

It has a crisp screen optimized for bright light outside, and features the power of Wear OS. This includes Google Assistant support and Google Pay for easy purchases.

Unfortunately, this watch is on the bulkier side and cellular service is only available on AT&T. But if those don’t bother you, this is a solid all-around standalone smartwatch despite its age.

Can a Smart Watch Replace Your Phone?

We’ve looked at five solid smart phone watches to choose from. Unfortunately, this market isn’t as exciting as it could be. Only the Apple Watch S4 and Galaxy Watch are recent devices; many major manufacturers haven’t come out with a standalone smartwatch yet.

This is because cellular smartwatches aren’t quite ready for prime time. Aside from the cost of the device, you also have to pay your wireless carrier a fee to have it on your account. It’s costly and feels like a penalty just for using a new device.

Additionally, battery life while using cellular data is quite poor. The Apple Watch only lasts for around an hour of calling on LTE before its battery dies.

However, if you don’t mind the cost and often need to stay in touch without your phone nearby, it might be worth dealing with these drawbacks. Hopefully, smartwatch technology improves in the near future so we can enjoy a better standalone smartwatch experience.

For more on wearables, check out the best running watches. We’ve also looked at the best phone watches specifically for kids.

Read the full article: The Best Smart Watch Phone for Apple and Android Users

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How to Connect a PS3 Controller to Your Android Phone or Tablet

Mobile games are becoming more advanced all the time, so it’s no wonder that a lot of people are interested in pairing controllers with their devices. One popular option is the PlayStation 3 (PS3) controller.

But doing this is not a matter of plug-and-play. In fact, there is setup and some legwork involved in making sure your pairing dreams come true.

Here are two ways to pair your PS3 controller with your Android phone or tablet, along with their compatibility limitations and other requirements.

Using a PS3 Controller With Your Android Phone

You might choose to pair a PS3 controller with your Android phone because you have a spare one lying around. But because the PS3 controller comes from an older generation of hardware, it has some limitations.

While PS3 controllers do have Bluetooth functionality, they don’t seamlessly connect to other hardware like newer controllers. Both the original Sixaxis and DualShock 3 versions of the PS3 controller are specifically meant to connect to either the PS3 or the PSP Go. Connecting to other devices takes some setup and requires workarounds.

The DualShock 4, which has a wider range of Bluetooth compatibility, is only available with the PlayStation 4 console. This is why you will need to use software and cables to connect your PS3 controller to your Android smartphone or tablet.

Method 1: Use Sixaxis Controller (Root Required)

Compatibility: Most Android devices, but issues with HTC and Samsung
Difficulty level: Moderate
What you need: Rooted phone, USB On-The-Go (OTG) adapter, PS3 controller, PC, and a mini-USB cable

laptop, ps3 controller, and Android phone

Sixaxis Controller is the go-to app for those looking to pair their PS3 controller and Android mobile device. In terms of pairing apps, it has the widest range of compatible devices.

However, the app requires root access. This may be a deterrent for some users, since rooting Android voids your device’s warranty. If you’re not careful, you could also brick your phone or make it vulnerable to security threats. Luckily, there is a variety of software to help you safely root.

If your device has a locked bootloader (such as HTC devices), you will first need to go through the process of unlocking your bootloader before you can root your phone. Once you’ve done this, you can get started with Sixaxis Controller.

Download: Sixaxis Controller ($ 2.49)

Step 1: Check Compatibility

Since Sixaxis Controller is a paid app, it’s recommended that you use the free Sixaxis Compatibility Checker app first to make sure it will work on your phone. In the compatibility checker, you simply need to press Start to check whether your phone is compatible.

The app will also state whether your phone is rooted or not. If your phone is not rooted, it can’t perform the check and the Sixaxis Controller app will not work on your phone.

sixaxis compatibility checker Android phone

If you’ve rooted your phone, the app will do a compatibility check. You will know whether your phone is compatible if the app is able to provide your phone’s Bluetooth address. It also shows a dialog box that confirms compatibility.

sixaxis compatibility success

Keep this Bluetooth address on hand (you will need it later) and proceed to the next step.

Step 2: Getting the Controller Ready

Besides rooting your phone, extra setup is required for your controller too. You need to make your PS3 controller compatible with the Sixaxis app by preparing it using a PC tool. The option suggested by the app’s developers is SixaxisPairTool.

Install this tool onto your PC and run it as an administrator. There is a Windows version, as well as a macOS and Linux controller pairing tool. We will cover the Windows tool.

The simple program provides you with a small dialog box stating the Bluetooth address of your controller’s master device. It also has a space that allows you to change the master device. Type your phone’s Bluetooth address (as provided by the compatibility checker) in this box and continue. The program will then install the correct drivers needed for your controller.

sixaxis pair tool

You may run into issues with this portion of the pairing process. Sometimes SixaxisPairTool does not run, with an error saying that libusb0.dll is missing.

sixaxis pair tool windows error

One workaround for this is to go into the folder where you installed SixaxisPairTool and enter the x86 directory. Here, rename libusb0_x86.dll to ibusb0.dll. Then copy this file, along with libusb0.sys, to the same folder where SixaxisPairTool.exe resides.

You should also access the Device Manager (right-click the Start Button) and uninstall the device named HID compliant game controller under Human Interface Devices. If you can get the program to run, but can’t install the drivers, you can use SCP Toolkit as an alternative driver installer.

Next, move onto the mobile app portion of the pairing process.

Step 3: Pair Controller Through Sixaxis Controller App

sixaxis app phone and controller

You’ll be glad that this step is relatively easier then prior ones. Make sure the app has superuser permissions on your phone before you start.

At this point, it’s as easy as pressing the Start button in the Sixaxis Controller app. The app will then do a series of checks to make sure you have the correct drivers.

By pressing the Pair Controller button, you’ll be able to check that your phone’s Bluetooth address is now the controller’s master address. If you were unable to properly pair the controller with SixaxisPairTool, the Pair Controller function will do this for you—as long as you have the correct drivers installed.

When the dialog in the app says Client 1 connected, the connection is successful. You can check to make sure everything is working by pressing buttons and moving the sticks around—the app should respond by moving its selections according to your buttons.

sixaxis ps3 controller android gif

Now, just start up a game that allows gamepad input and have fun!

Method 2: Use Sixaxis Enabler (No Root Required)

Compatibility: Most Samsung Galaxy phones, but certain other Android devices—especially newer models.
Difficulty level: Easy
What you need: Compatible Android phone, USB On-The-Go (OTG) adapter, PS3 controller, mini-USB cable

Android phone and ps3 controller

Using the Sixaxis Enabler app to connect your PS3 controller to your Android device is certainly the easiest method. So why don’t more people promote it?

Its extremely limited compatibility, especially with older devices, makes this method only usable with certain phones. Since the app doesn’t require rooting your device, your phone or tablet must already have the correct firmware support for PS3 controllers. The brands which most commonly work with the app include Samsung Galaxy and Nexus phones. Some LG flagships are also compatible.

Like Sixaxis Controller, Sixaxis Enabler is also a paid app. So if you’re one of the lucky people who has a device that works with the app, what do you need to do?

Download: Sixaxis Enabler ($ 2.49)

Step 1: Open Sixaxis Enabler

The first step for this method is extremely simple—buy the app, then download and open it. The app doesn’t require you to root your device or need any special permissions.

The app itself is also extremely simple, with a minimalistic user interface. This includes a screen with instructions and a troubleshooting page. At the top of the app, you can see its status. When it says Detecting Sixaxis, please attach controller, you should do just that.

Step 2: Allow the App to Pair

Once you’ve connected your controller and switched it on, you’ll receive a prompt asking whether you want to allow the app to access your device. Simply select OK and the app will begin syncing.

If your device is compatible, the status of the app will change to Sixaxis Enabled. You can then move the controller’s joysticks and press buttons to make sure that the app registers these movements. If it works properly, lines of input code will appear as you interact with the controller.

If your device is not compatible, rooting will not fix this unless you add a custom ROM that has the proper firmware updates. In our testing, an HTC One M7 worked with Sixaxis Controller while rooted, but was not compatible with Sixaxis Enabler.

However, we’ve confirmed compatibility with the Samsung Galaxy S8. We were also able to use the app with the Galaxy S10 and Huawei P20 Pro. Once your controller is paired to your device, you can simply open a game and begin using it.

Other Ways to Pair a Controller to Android

Despite the increasing popularity of using controllers for Android games, there are a limited number of ways that you can pair your PS3 controller with your phone. We’ve outlined the two main methods Android owners can use, so hopefully one of them works for you.

However, newer controllers and dedicated Android controllers have emerged on the market. If you’re looking for an easier method, check out our guide on connecting a controller to your Android smartphone or tablet.

Image Credit: destinacigdem/Depositphotos

Read the full article: How to Connect a PS3 Controller to Your Android Phone or Tablet

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5 Ways to Transfer Data From PC or Laptop to Android Phone

While phones have become the main computing device for many, most of us still use laptops regularly, too. This means we often need to move files from a PC to an Android phone.

But what’s the best way to do it? And does the best method differ if you’re moving lots of small files or a handful of massive ones? Let’s take a look at the best ways to get data from your laptop or PC to your Android phone.

1. Using a USB Cable

The old standard for moving data from your laptop to your phone is via USB. It’s still quick and easy, as long as you’ve got a compatible cable on hand. Unfortunately, the move to USB-C on most modern phones has left a lot of our old cables redundant. They often don’t come with the USB-C to USB-A cable you need for most laptops.

But assuming you have got one, then it’s simple to do. On Windows or a Chromebook:

  1. Connect your phone.
  2. Tap on the notification Android shows labeled Charging this device via USB.
  3. Under Use USB For, select File Transfer.

That’s it. A file transfer window will open on your computer, showing your phone (and SD card if you’ve got one). Then you can start copying your files across.

copy files to android over usb

The instructions are almost the same on a Mac, but you will need to install the Android File Transfer software first.

This method is good for copying large amounts of data. Try it when you want to transfer some movies or your entire music collection. It makes it easy to move files to your phone’s SD card as well.

2. Through Your Cloud Accounts

The Google account you’ve got set up on your phone gives you access to 15GB of cloud storage space through Google Drive. This gives you a convenient way to move files between your laptop and phone.

You need to install the Google Drive app on your laptop. If you’d rather, you can use Dropbox or Microsoft’s OneDrive, as they all work pretty much the same way.

When you set up Google Drive, you need to sign in first. Then select Back up all file types and click Next.

back up all file types google drive

On the next screen, choose Advanced Settings at the bottom. Select Sync My Drive to this computer, then click OK.

sync google drive folder

This creates a Google Drive folder on your computer. Everything in this folder will sync to and from your Drive account. So to upload files to your phone, just move them into the Drive folder. Open the app on your phone and they’ll be there after syncing.

The main caveat to remember here is that the files shown in your Drive app are not stored on your phone. If you try to open one, it needs to download first—and a gigantic file can take a big bite out of your monthly data allowance.

To get around this, you have two options for downloading the files you need to your phone. Select a file, and from the menu choose either:

  • Make available offline. This downloads the file for you to view offline within Drive. Any changes you make to it will sync next time you go online.
  • Download. This saves a new copy of the file to your Downloads folder, and you can open it in any compatible app. However, any edits you make won’t sync—you need to re-upload the file to your Drive account.

download google drive files

A lack of free space is the main limitation for this solution. You can always set up an extra account though, and it is possible to transfer files from one Google Drive account to another.

3. By Email and Messaging Apps

Emailing files to ourselves is hardly the most efficient way of moving data from a laptop to a phone, but we’ve all done it at one time or another. It works for quick sharing of files when you can’t use any of the other methods.

You’re limited to 25MB attachments in Gmail. If you need something larger, check out WeTransfer. That allows you to send files up to 2GB for free, with no registration.

send large email attachments

Head to wetransfer.com, enter your email address, then drag your files into the browser window and send. You’ll then receive an email on your phone containing a link where you can download the files.

Files are encrypted for security, and they get deleted after seven days. If you want to delete your files sooner, or leave them up for a longer time, you need a Pro account.

If for some reason you don’t like WeTransfer, don’t worry. There are many other ways to send large files as email attachments.

4. Using Bluetooth

When you’ve got a few smaller files you need to move to your phone, Bluetooth is a good way to go. It’s pretty easy, too, once you’ve got it set up.

To send a file over Bluetooth from your Windows 10 laptop to your phone, you first need to pair the two devices. Go to Settings > Devices and hit the toggle to turn on Bluetooth. Make sure it’s also enabled on your phone.

set up bluetooth

Now go to Add Bluetooth or other device > Bluetooth to start scanning. After a short delay, your phone will show up. Select it, then click Connect on your PC and Pair on your phone to complete the process.

To share a file over Bluetooth, go to Settings > Devices > Send or receive files via Bluetooth > Send files. Then choose the file you want to share.

send files over bluetooth

For other platforms, the names of the menu options will be different, but the process is the same. First you need to pair, then you can share.

Bluetooth is slower than some of the other methods we’ve listed (especially Wi-Fi, next). It’s best for smaller files and casual use.

5. Using Wi-Fi

When you need to move large amounts of data to your phone on regular basis, you cannot beat Wi-Fi. As long as you connect your phone and laptop to the same network, you can move files quickly and securely.

To copy files over Wi-Fi you need a special app on your phone, but nothing extra on your laptop. We recommend Portal by Pushbullet, which is free and requires no signup. It works with any platform: Windows, Mac, Linux, or Chrome OS. Download and install on your Android device to begin.

Next, open a web browser on your laptop or desktop and go to portal.pushbullet.com, where you’ll see a unique QR code.

set up portal

Now open Portal on your phone and tap Scan. When the camera launches, point it at the QR code to scan it. This establishes a direct wireless connection between your phone and desktop or laptop. It’s only temporary, so next time you run the app you’ll need to do the scan again to re-pair.

Finally, drag your files into the browser window and they will instantly begin uploading to your phone.

share files over wifi

By default, Portal places images and music into your phone’s Photos and Music folders. Everything else goes into the Portal folder. You can leave them there and access them through the Portal app, or you can download one of the best Android file managers and move the files to any other folder (and even to your SD card).

Portal is convenient because you don’t need to install it on your laptop. If you want more features, check out AirDroid, which among other uses lets you send text messages from your PC. There’s also Feem, which makes it easy to share files across all different types of devices.

More Ways to Move Your Data

There are more methods to move files between devices. You can use your SD card or a USB flash drive with an On-The-Go cable if your phone supports them. Or for ultra-techie solutions, try using FTP with the Wi-Fi FTP Server app, or even utilizing Network Attached Storage (NAS). With this option, you share a single hard drive with all the devices connected to your network.

But for most people, the five methods outlined above are the best ways to move data from your laptop to your Android phone. Some are better for quickly sharing small files, and some excel at moving huge amounts of data.

Of course, the more devices we have, the more we need to share files between them. Our guide to the fastest file transfer methods between PCs and mobile devices shows you how to get all your gear working in sync.

Read the full article: 5 Ways to Transfer Data From PC or Laptop to Android Phone

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You Can Now Use Your Phone as a Security Key

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If you’re looking to protect your Google account from hackers, Google has a new 2FA trick up its sleeve. It involves using your Android handset as a security key, and it’s available to anyone who owns a device running Android 7.0 or later.

What Is Two-Factor Authentication?

Two-factor authentication or two-step verification is a key weapon in a fight against phishing. As the name suggests, 2FA or 2SV adds an extra element to the login procedure. This makes it much harder, though not impossible, for hackers to sign into your accounts.

2FA usually involves being sent an SMS text message or employing an authentication app. However, you can also use physical security keys such as dongles. Google’s latest innovation means you can now use your Android handset as a physical security key.

How to Use Your Phone as a Security Key

To use your phone as a security key all you need is handset running Android 7.0 or later, and a Bluetooth-enabled computer running Windows 10, macOS X, or Chrome OS. You must also be enrolled in Google two-step verification program.

Then, all you need to do is:

  1. Add your Google account to your Android phone.
  2. Sign into your account and turn on Bluetooth.
  3. Open Chrome on your computer and visit the Google Security page.
  4. Tap 2-Step Verification and click “Add Security Key”.
  5. Choose your phone from the list of available devices.

If you’re using a Google Pixel 3 you’ll be able to activate the security key by pressing the volume-down button. All other eligible Android devices will need to sign in and tap a button. This currently only works for logging into Google services.

For more detailed instructions, see this Google Support Note.

Fighting Back Against the Best Hackers

This may seem overkill for personal accounts, but with the best hackers using sophisticated methods to bypass security efforts, it’s worth doing. It’s also surprisingly simple to set up, so if you have a phone running Android 7.0+ it’s worth considering.

Read the full article: You Can Now Use Your Phone as a Security Key

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Is Your Phone Display Flickering? Try These 7 Fixes

flickering-phone-screen

Is your phone’s screen behaving oddly? It could be due to a number of reasons. Loose internal connections, buggy software are just some of the issues which might be malfunctioning the display.

Therefore, here are several fixes you can try if your phone’s screen is flickering.

1. Reboot Your Phone

The easiest way to ensure this isn’t a temporary hiccup is to first restart your phone. Doing that kills all the active third-party background services and processes. It will also refresh your phone’s components in case any one of them had crashed during a task.

After rebooting, if the display is no longer failing, you should go ahead and review all the recent apps you’ve installed.

2. Perform a Hard Reset

Rebooting is the most rudimentary troubleshooting method you can execute and for most problems it will do the trick.

However, if it doesn’t fix a flickering display, the next step is wiping your phone entirely by performing a hard reset. That will restore your phone to its factory settings and clear the cache.

So if there’s any unprocessed data hampering your phone’s functions, a hard reset will clear everything right away. Of course, you can back up your phone (here’s how to backup Android data; read this to backup your iPhone or iPad) before proceeding if there’s anything you’d like to restore later.

On Android, you can reset your phone by heading into the Settings > System. There, enter Reset Options and hit Erase All Data. Can’t find it? Search for “factory reset” in the settings menu.

iOS users should go to the Settings > General,tap the Reset button and Erase All Content and Settings. Your phone will take a few minutes to reset depending on the amount of data it houses.

3. Boot in Safe Mode (Android Only)

Alternatively, Android users can also try switching to safe mode for a couple of hours. Safe mode essentially lets you use your phone with the original software it shipped with—without the third-party changes and the apps you downloaded.

Unlike a factory reset, safe mode retains your phone’s data and you can return to the regular experience anytime you’d want. However, safe mode is merely a diagnostic utility and won’t solve the problem.

If the phone continues to operate fine in the safe mode, you will know for sure that it’s a software glitch and you will then have to implement a factory reset.

To boot your phone in the safe mode on Android, press and hold the power key. In the prompt, touch and hold the Power Off button. Your phone will soon restart in safe mode. The flickering should have stopped.

To exit safe mode repeat the procedure, selecting the Restart option.

However, there’s a chance the process might be a little different on a custom Android skin. Therefore, if the aforementioned steps don’t work, try contacting your device manufacturer or head over to their support website.

4. Disable Auto Brightness

The auto-brightness setting is responsible for constantly altering the screen’s illumination based on light sensor data. But a software update or hardware defect could lead to unexpected snags including display flickers. Therefore, another straightforward action you can take is to disable the option from the Settings menu.

It’s present under Settings > Display on Android and Settings > General > Accessibility > Display Accommodations on iOS.

5. Check for Updates

It’s possible that the hitch you’re facing might have spawned from a messy software build. In these situations, your best bet is to wait for updates with fixes or scour the manufacturer’s forums for a temporary solution.

You can even revert to an older firmware which some companies (like OnePlus) allow. Visit your device’s support web page, grab a dated firmware file and flash it using the in-built recovery tool. You’ll typically find instructions for doing this on the support page.

6. Disable Hardware Overlays

To render graphics, your phone dynamically decides whether the job will be handled by the CPU or the GPU. While the transition is usually seamless, a damaged or aged phone can struggle with forming the composites. When that happens, there is a minor delay between tasks which is why the screen fluctuates because it basically doesn’t have anything to show you.

To fix this, you can set the phone to assign all graphics to the GPU. The setting can be found under the Developer Options as Disable HW Overlays. Do note that this will consume extra power since the GPU is usually reserved for relatively more demanding apps.

7. Get It Checked by a Professional

Your last resort is, of course, to get in touch with your device’s manufacturer and have it checked out by a professional. If none of the aforementioned techniques worked, it’s likely a hardware failure. In most scenarios, you will have to hand in your phone for a repair.

There’s no guarantee that any of those steps will be able to save your phone. Even if your OEM has a solution, chances are it won’t be cheap. So, it’s worth giving each one of these a shot before deciding between a paid repair or a new phone:

  1. Reboot your phone
  2. Perform a hard reset
  3. Boot into the safe mode
  4. Disable auto-brightness
  5. Check for updates
  6. Disable hardware overlays
  7. Get it checked by a professional

Since your phone plays such an active role in your life and the fact that it houses a multitude of components in a pocketable form factor, a flickering display is likely. Another such problem is a cracked screen, which costs much more to repair.

But even in that scenario, there are some practical steps for fixing a cracked smartphone display.

Read the full article: Is Your Phone Display Flickering? Try These 7 Fixes

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