Spotify is easy to grasp and difficult to master.

Spotify is a music service that is built on simplicity and convenience. You can start up a radio station and it will play for as long as you need it to, be that minutes or hours. You can find massive playlists that will keep you jamming out all day, and you follow playlists that will evolve and change as newer, better music comes out.

Spotify may be easy to pick up, but once you have it, getting the most out of your Spotify subscription can take a little know-how. Here’s how to make sure that you can make the most of Spotify on your Android phone.

1. Set your audio quality wisely

Spotify offers a range of audio qualities to users who may be looking for the clearest audio possible or audio that sips data rather than gulps it. Unfortunately, you can’t separately set the audio quality while streaming on mobile data — it uses the same audio quality setting as streaming on Wi-Fi. So before you crank your streaming audio quality up to “Extreme”, consider how much you intend to use Spotify with a data connection, such as in the car or while working out.

To set your quality, go to My Library and tap the gear icon in the top right corner; the audio settings are about halfway down the menu.

If you’re looking for good audio quality without kissing your data caps goodbye, there’s still some good news, if you can plan ahead. You can set the audio quality for downloaded music separately from streaming audio quality. Unless your phone is already lacking storage space, I recommend setting downloaded audio quality to Extreme and loading up for listening while on the go.

2. Load up for offline

Spotify doesn’t allow you to cache songs for offline playback, so everything you want to listen to offline you have to download manually. It’s therefore worth getting at least a few favorite albums and playlists downloaded should you lose your connection.

You can download albums and playlists, but not radio stations or individual songs. If you like a particular radio station, you could add the songs from the station to a playlist for offline playback, but you’ll have to do it one song at a time.

Whatever you download, just get something saved for offline. You do not want to get caught without your music out there in the big, bad noisy world.

3. Be picky with what you save to Library

Spotify has tens of millions of songs to listen to, and through radio stations, curated playlists, and Discover, you’ll listen to more and more new music, but make sure you really like a song before you save it to your library. Spotify only allows you to add 10,000 songs to your library, and once you hit that limit, you’ll have to start cleaning albums and songs you don’t like as much as the new songs you want to add.

The easiest rule of thumb here is to add individual songs to your library rather than adding whole albums if you don’t like each and every song in there. I’m already over 5,000 songs, and I’m going to have to start weeding through it before long.

4. Turn up the radio

The best way to refine your selections on Spotify is to listen to radio stations frequently and rate what it serves up. Even if you’re someone who prefers to listen to personal playlists most of the time, dip into radio stations like your Daily Mixes from time to time and get to rating your suggested music.

Spotify will make better mixes for you and suggest playlists that (hopefully) better align with your interests, which means that when you dip into a radio station, you’ll be less likely to dive for the ‘Skip’ button.

5. Play with playlists

Spotify’s strengths might be in its radio stations, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t build your own playlists. By making your own playlists, you can then have Spotify give you more customized radio stations through Playlist Radio. Adding music from various radio stations to playlists also makes it easier to listen to them again and download them for offline playback.

Your turn

What tricks do you have for taking Spotify to the limit? Share them in the comments, and share what you’ve been listening to on Spotify!

How to get started with Spotify




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You can force the update now, but tread carefully if you choose to do so.

The ‘Check for Update’ feature in Android has been a real piece of work for some time now. It was announced in September that this was being reworked to actually pull in new updates rather than just seeing if one was available in your area, but the rollout was delayed due to a bug with Google Play Services.

Thankfully, it would appear that things are now working as they were intended.

A few Redditors recently shared that the Check for Update button wasn’t doing anything with Play Services v11, but updating to v12.2.09 actually started to pull in the latest February security patch that Google just released.

Play Services v12 is currently limited to those enrolled in the Google Play Services beta, and if you’re not currently enrolled in this, you can do so here and get access to the latest beta version when the next update drops.

Alternatively, you can skip the line and go straight to downloading the APK file for it. Some users have reported that they’ve gone through this process successfully, but if you’re not careful, you could end up breaking Play Services and needing to factory reset your phone.

There’s no exact timeframe as to when v12 of Play Services will be made available for everyone, but seeing as how it’s already in a beta form, I’d expect it to roll out to the general public within a matter of days.

Google Pixelbook, 3 months later: Still the best, still frustrating




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Say what you will about Essential, this is how you do software updates.

The Essential Phone is far from a perfect device, but one thing that it’s excelled at since its release is fast software updates. Aside from a delay with Android 8.0 Oreo’s public release, the team at Essential has kicked out updates for the PH-1 faster than just about anyone else.

Google officially released the February 2018 security patch for Pixel and Nexus devices on February 5, and just one day later, Essential announced on Twitter that it was pushing out a software update to the Essential Phone that contained this new patch.

We’re rolling out a software update (NMK24B) that includes February 2018 Security Patches from Google.

— Essential (@essential) February 6, 2018

Security patches aren’t the most exciting thing in the world, but there’s no denying their importance. While we’ve been critical of Essential in the past regarding its clunky camera app, annoying touch latency, etc., this is one area where it’s always been strong.

In the meantime, I’m over here with my Pixel 2 that’s apparently “up to date” with the January 5 patch ¯_(ツ)_/¯.




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There’s a lot riding on the Redmi Note 5 considering its predecessor was the best-selling device in India last year.

Xiaomi had a groundbreaking year in 2017, and a lot of that had to do with the Redmi Note 4. Launched last January, the phone went on to become the best-selling device in the country in 2017, breaking sales records for Xiaomi and catapulting it to the summit of the Indian handset market.

As such, there’s a lot riding on the Redmi Note 5, the upcoming budget workhorse from the Chinese manufacturer. Here’s what we know so far about the phone.

It will come with an 18:9 display

With the Redmi 5 series bringing the 18:9 form factor to the budget segment, it’s guaranteed we’ll see a similar display on the Redmi Note 5. In fact, it’s entirely likely that the same panel will make its way to the Redmi Note 5.

Xiaomi significantly expanded its product portfolio last year, and in doing so reused components — like the camera sensors and displays — in several devices. That’s likely to continue this year, so we could see a 5.99-inch 18:9 display with a resolution of 2160 x 1080 on the Note 5.

Powered by Snapdragon 630/636

Xiaomi turned to the Snapdragon 625 for a majority of phones in its budget portfolio, with the manufacturer professing its love to the chipset for its combination of energy efficiency and performance. With the Snapdragon 630 now widely available, it’s likely we’ll see the newer chipset in the Redmi Note 5.

Rumors out of China have suggested that there will be two variants of the Redmi Note 5: one powered by the Snapdragon 630 and the other featuring the Snapdragon 636. We’ll have to wait and see how it pans out, but Xiaomi phones have never been short on power, so we are set to see an upgrade in this area from the Redmi Note 4.

Elsewhere, the Redmi Note 5 is likely to retain the 4GB RAM/64GB storage combination, with base models offering 3GB of RAM and 32GB of storage. The battery is also likely to be unchanged from the 4100mAh unit we saw last year.

Dual rear cameras are a certainty

Xiaomi has already introduced dual rear cameras in the budget segment with the Android One-based Mi A1 last year, so it’s entirely possible we’ll see the same this time around on the Redmi Note 5.

The Chinese manufacturer has stated that camera quality will be a key priority this year, so it’ll be interesting to see the imaging features on offer with the Redmi Note 5. For context, Xiaomi’s focus on battery life in years past led to devices like the Redmi Note 4 and Redmi 4, which offered two days’ worth of usage on a full charge.

Official launch scheduled for later this month

Xiaomi has sent out invites to the media for a launch event on February 14, and the teaser suggests the device will be the Redmi Note 5. The 5 in the invite could be alluding to either the Redmi 5 or the Redmi Note 5, but my guess is on the latter.

The Redmi Note 4 was the best-selling phone in India last year, and with the device making its debut on January 19, 2017, we’re long overdue a successor. And while the Redmi lineup primarily focused on the entry-level tier in the country, it’s the Redmi Note series that is the catalyst for the brand in the budget segment.

Furthermore, Xiaomi isn’t shy to unveil an all-new product on the Indian stage, as we’ve seen last year. Either way, we’ll find out more about the device on February 14.

Pricing could remain unchanged

Xiaomi pioneered the model of selling phones at near-manufacturing cost, and it doesn’t look like the manufacturer is going to change its stance now. We’ll have to wait until the official launch to know about pricing information, but early rumors have suggested that the phone will debut at the same price point as its predecessor.

With the 4GB variant of the Redmi Note 4 debuting at ₹12,999 ($202), we may get to see a Redmi Note 5 model with a similar 4GB RAM/64GB storage configuration retailing at that $200 price point. Doing so would certainly drum up excitement in the device, but we’ll have to wait a week to know more.

As for availability, it’s unlikely the phone will be sold outside Asian markets. Xiaomi has said that it will eventually sell its phones in the U.S., but the manufacturer isn’t ready for a Stateside launch just yet.

Your turn

What are you looking forward to seeing from the Redmi Note 5? Let me know in the comments below.




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