Android

Should I root my Android phone?

Episode 1140

Gary from Buffalo, NY
Android

Gary is thinking about rooting his old Android phone. Leo says that rooting means he can run his phone as an administrator, or "super user." Some companies, like Samsung, make it a bit harder to do, but it can be done.

Gary should check out XDA Developers.com. Two popular boot loaders include Clockwork Mod, and Twerk. But he'll have to use the exact rooting instructions for his specific model phone. And it varies from model to model.

Should I get the Samsung Tab 8 or Acer Iconia tablet?

Episode 1139

Henry from Westminster, CA
Acer Iconia Tab 8

Henry is trying to decide between the Samsung Tab 8, and the Acer Iconia. There's a $130 difference between the two, and Henry says the specs look pretty similar.

Leo says that the Samsung Tab can come in Android or Windows, so that could certainly make a difference. Acer is also known for inexpensive hardware that's very good. Leo says that the Acer is an excellent tablet. The Samsung may give him better battery life, but either will work just fine. Henry should make sure they use at least version 4.4 of Android (Jelly Bean)

Why can't I search through my contacts on my HTC One?

Episode 1139

Gary from San Diego, CA
HTC One with Beats audio

Gary has an HTC One with Beats audio. He has over 5,000 contacts and his phone won't let him search through them. Leo says that's likely because HTC has replaced the Google contacts app with its own, which is a problem. Google has started to release apps like Calendar and Docs on the Google Play store, but hasn't released the contacts yet. They probably won't, since people mostly use the phone's dialer for that.

Why does my phone have nearly 10 GB of contacts?

Episode 1139

John from Lakewood, CA
Samsung Galaxy S III

John has a Samsung Galaxy S III phone, and his contacts are taking up nearly 10GB of space. Leo says that sounds extremely odd. Since it's been quite awhile sine John has reset the phone, he should try doing that. First he should make sure that the phone has been syncing and backing up his data. To do that, he can look at his Backup settings in the Settings menu and make sure it's enabled. He can even manually initiate a backup to make sure it's being done. Then he can do a full reset and that should clear everything up.

Create a "Kids Mode" on Your Android Device

One of the great things about Android is the ability to customize it for kids to use more safely. But if your Android device doesn't support a kids mode natively, there's a simple way you can still add that functionality -- a free launcher called "Kids Place - Parental Control."

This launcher provides parental controls and a child lock to protect your personal data. It restricts kids from using any app that you haven't approved, and there's a timer to limit the amount of time kids can spend on the device. It will also put restrictions on making phone calls and texting, and more.

How can I put my Android phone into Kid Mode?

Episode 1135

Alan from Los Angeles, CA
Kid's Place

Alan has been locking down his mobile phone so his kids can only launch an app that he approves. But it's only limiting the number of apps he can add. He's updated the Note 3 and wants an app that will put his phone into "Kid Mode."

Leo says that there are third parties that offer the kid mode. It's an off the record download though, and could be illegal. There's also Kids Place. That's going to be safer and will let him do a lot more.