Affiliate Disclosure: By buying the products we recommend, you help keep the lights on at MakeUseOf. Read more.
Google Cuts Down on Android Bloatware
I love Android, but it seems like I have at least a dozen plus updates every few days lately…mostly for bloatware on phone I never use..
— Spooktacular Dan (@_danonymous) August 18, 2015
All Android handsets sold from now on should have less bloatware on them than the current crop. This is, according to Android Central, due to Google relaxing its rules regarding apps that all manufacturers must permanently install on Android phones.
For the average Android user this means not having to put up with the likes of Google+, Google Newsstand, Google Play Games, and Google Play Books on their handset as standard. And with a limited number of ways of removing these unwanted apps without rooting the device and therefore wresting control back from Google and co.
The vast majority of people hate bloatware with a passion, whatever device it’s on. It takes up storage space, makes you feel less in control of a device for which you have paid good money, and leads to endless updates for software and apps you have never used in your life.
Unfortunately, while this should lessen the number of pointless Google apps being forced on all Android users, it doesn’t prevent manufacturers from filling phones with their own crap, or crap they have been paid to install as standard. So, it’s an improvement, but not a solution.
You can’t use Spotify if you don’t agree to new terms (fair enough) but we’ll still bill you unless you cancel (wtf?) pic.twitter.com/sqcq8eIZls
— Aral Balkan (@aral) August 23, 2015
However, facing the risk of users deserting Spotify for Apple Music, the company was quick to issue an apology. Unfortunately, the policy remains in place, with CEO Daniel Ek merely apologizing for the way in which the changes were communicated.
Ek said, “We should have done a better job in communicating what these policies mean and how any information you choose to share will – and will not – be used.” He then went onto explain that the company will “ask for your express permission before accessing any of this data,” and then only use it to help “customize your Spotify experience”.
Is this good enough? Let us know your thoughts in this week’s MakeUseOf Poll, which is all about privacy policies and how much attention we pay to them.
Android Lock Patterns Are Easy to Guess
The Android lock screen pattern has 389,112 different possibilities #defcon
— Alexander Karapetian (@AlexKara15) August 7, 2015
This really shouldn’t come as any great surprise, but it turns out that most Android users use lock patterns that are far too easy to predict. At least according to a new study from Marte Løge, a graduate from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology.
Her study looked at 4,000 user-generated lock patterns, and found some remarkable similarities in the choices many of us make. For example, 77 percent of participants started from a corner, with 44 percent starting from the top left. In addition to this, 10 percent of people’s lock patterns formed a letter, such as N or O, giving crackers a head-start when trying to crack the code.
The study includes some advice for creating harder-to-crack lock patterns, which we hope to discuss in more depth in a future article.
Apple Admits iPhone 6 Plus Camera Fault
Apple has admitted that some iPhone 6 Plus cameras are faulty, with “a small percentage” suffering from a faulty component that affects image quality. Affected handsets were sold between September 2014 and January 2015.
If you are unhappy with the quality of images your iPhone 6 Plus shoots, you can check to see if you’re eligible for a replacement by using the tool on Apple’s website. If your serial number matches those affected, you should be able to take your iPhone 6 Plus to an Apple Store for a straight swap.
Pac-Man 256 Lands on Android & iOS
Pac-Man 256, which was first announced in May 2015, is now available on Android and on iOS. The game is an endless runner which turns a glitch from the original game into a villain. The original Pac-Man was notorious for being impossible to complete, with players guaranteed to get stuck on Level 256.
Pac-Man 256 is free to download, but, as with almost every mobile game these days, includes in-app purchases. Our advice is to play it for as long as you can do without paying a dime, and then delete it when you get bored/tempted to spend a few dollars.
What Happens When You Meet a Troll?
And finally, what happens when you meet one of the people regularly trolling you online? British journalist and political activist Owen Jones recently found out. Jones is unapologetically left-wing, and highly opinionated, but that surely doesn’t excuse such vicious attacks.
The very sweary, NSFW video offers an interesting insight into what drives people to be obnoxious to each other online. And the troll admits he wouldn’t dare say the same things to Jones when he’s sat opposite him in a pub. Which, to my mind, makes him a coward.
Your Views on Today’s Tech News
How annoying do you find mobile bloatware? Does Spotify need to do more than say sorry? Do you use a lock pattern to keep your Android secure? Is your iPhone camera faulty? Will you be playing Pac-Man 256?
Let us know your thoughts on the Tech News of the day by posting to the comments section below. Because a healthy discussion is always welcome.
Image Credits: Davidsancar via Flickr