What to do if your Android device is lost

When your Android device is lost or stolen, you may want to locate it, or at least lock it or delete its contents. All of this can be done, if you have set it up for these operations.

Setup

You should do this for all your Android (or CyanogenMod) devices. This is a must!

  1. Open the Google Settings app, go to Android Device Manager and enable both the options there: Remotely locate this device and Allow remote lock and factory reset.

  2. Login to the Android Device Manager website and make sure your device is displayed.

When your device is lost

  1. Login to the Android Device Manager website.

  2. Your device should be visible here, with its last known location shown on the map. If you have more than one device, click the dropdown beside the name of the displayed device to choose the others.

  3. Do what is needed: ring it, lock it or erase it.

Tried with: Android 4.4.2 and Moto G

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PDF Viewer for Android

PDF Viewer, that is the name of the app, is a good app to read PDF files on Android or Cyanogenmod. If you search the Play Store, there are just too many PDF reader apps and all virtually indistinguishable from each other and almost all of them are crappy in different ways. PDF Reader by Ivan Ivanenko is slow and shows ads. Adobe Reader is extremely slow.

PDF Viewer is a fork of EBookDroid, which used to be my favorite app to read PDFs on Android. EBookDroid had become overloaded with features and this fork removes a lot of the useless cruft from it. Other than PDF, it can also handle DjVu, CBR, CBZ and other comic book formats. The source code of PDF Viewer is available on Github here.

Possibly the most important feature I like in PDF Viewer, and in EBookDroid too, is the auto-crop of pages. This crops the content on a page to the bounding box of the textual content in it. This makes the best use of the precious screen real estate on smartphones and tablets.

Tried with: PDF Viewer 1.1, Cyanogenmod 10.2 and Nook Color

How to close an app on Android

Having many apps running in the background is no big deal on mobile operating systems like Android. But, sometimes you just want to close or kill an erratically behaving app.

The easy method

Click the multi-tasking button. This is one of the three touch buttons at the bottom, typically the one on the right. It brings up a vertical list of open apps. Swipe the app you want to the right and it will be closed.

The next easier method

Open Settings > Apps, find your app and open it. A page with all the details of the app is displayed. Click the Force stop button here to close the app.

Tried with: CyanogenMod 10.1.2-encore and Nook Color

ComicRack Free

ComicRack is a very popular comics viewer and organizer for Windows. It is also available for Android and CyanogenMod as ComicRack Free. I tried it when my favorite A Comic Viewer started throwing out of memory errors on some CBR files.

ComicRack Free is a great little app. You can ask it to scan one or more directories for comics files. It handles popular formats like CBZ and CBR with no problems. It shows your comics collection beautifully with all their cover pages. You just flip left or right to turn pages forward or backward. A tap on a comic page brings up the thumbnails viewer to view the pages. One other feature I like is that it can be configured to intelligently crop out the white matter around a page, so that more of the content gets the precious screen real-estate. Since the app is free, it displays ads when your tablet is connected to the internet.

I like this more than A Comic Viewer because its page flipping is much more natural and faster.

Tried with: ComicRack Free 1.78, CyanogenMod 10.1.2-encore and Nook Color

A Comic Viewer

The tablets and mini-tablets running Android or CyanogenMod are great for reading comics. There are lots of classic old comics that are available as CBZ and CBR files. A Comic Viewer is the most simple and easy app to read such comics on Android. Tap anywhere on its home screen to open files or change settings. Comics can be displayed to fit the width, height or screen. It is a simple app, so it does not come with any features to organize your comics. And also, I did get a few out of memory problems when viewing CBR comics. But other than that this viewer would be a great recommendation for everyone.

Tried with: A Comic Viewer 1.4.1.4, CyanogenMod 10.1.2-encore and Nook Color

How to update CyanogenMod on EMMC in Nook Color

CyanogenMod 10.1 can be installed easily to the EMMC on a Nook Color. When an updated ROM of CyanogenMod 10.1 is released, it is pretty easy to update your Nook Color to it.

  1. Download the new version of CyanogenMod for Nook Color from here. It is a zip file. Copy the zip file to any micro-SD card that can be read on the Nook Color.
  2. Power off your Nook Color. Insert the micro-SD card into it.
  3. Power on the Nook Color. When you see the CyanoBoot bootloader screen, press the Nook (N) button to get into the boot menu. Choose Internal EMMC Recovery. This boots your Nook Color into ClockworkMod.
  4. In ClockworkMod, first choose Wipe cache partition.
  5. Next, choose Install ZIP file and choose the CyanogenMod ROM zip file you copied over. It takes a while to install it.
  6. Once the install is done, choose to reboot. You will reboot into your updated CyanogenMod 🙂

Tried with: CyanogenMod 10.1 (Stable) and Nook Color 8GB

How to install CyanogenMod 7 to SD card on Nook Color

The Nook Color hardware is pretty dated by now, so you might find that running CyanogenMod 10 on it is a bit laggy. Instead, you might like to run CyanogenMod 7, which is well supported and much more responsive on it.

The steps to install CM7 to SD card on Nook Color is the same as in How to install CyanogenMod 10 to SD card on Nook Color. There are only two differences:

  1. Instead of the CM10 ROM, download the latest stable CM7 ROM from here.
  2. Download GApps that matches the version of CM7 ROM from here.

Using these files, follow the rest of the steps in the CM10 guide and you should have CM7 zipping on your Nook Color in a few minutes 🙂

Tried with: Nook Color 8GB, generic-sdcard-v1.3-CM7-9-10-larger-Rev5, cm-7.2.0-encore and gapps-gb-20110828-signed

How to overclock Nook Color running CyanogenMod 10.1

The CPU in the Nook Color is a ARM Cortex-A8. CyanogenMod 10.1 can be installed easily to the EMMC on the Nook Color. By default, CyanogenMod 10.1 runs the A8 at a maximum frequency of 800MHz. But, it has been found that the A8 on the Nook Color can be safely overclocked up to 1100MHz. This can be reduce some of the lagginess in CM10.1 and help during video playback or other CPU-intensive operations.

Overclocking the Nook Color is pretty easy:

  1. Enable Developer Options and Performance in the Settings application.
  2. Go to Settings > Performance > Processor. Change the Maximum CPU frequency from 800MHz to any value, including 1100MHz. Enable the Set on Boot option so that the CPU is always overclocked. Done!

How to enable Developer Options in Android

The Developer Options feature is available both in Android and Cyanogenmod. To enable it, go to Settings > About phone. If you are using a tablet, this is called About tablet. Find the Build Number section at the bottom and tap on it 7 times. Developer Options is now enabled and will appear in the Settings. If you are using Cyanogenmod, an additional Performance section appears in Settings. This has more intricate tweaks such as overclocking your CPU.

Tried with: Cyanogenmod 10.1 on Nook Color and Android 4.3 on Moto G

How to take screenshot on CyanogenMod 10.1 running on Nook Color

Press and hold the Power and Volume Down buttons at the same time. A screenshot will be taken and stored in the Pictures/Screenshots path on your micro-SD card.

Since CM10.1 is based on Android 4.2 Jellybean, this trick should work on that version of Android and most devices using this software.