Instagram model reveals what REALLY goes on behind the scenes (26 Photos)



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What does $179 buy you?


redmi note 11 pro 5g 2

Andy Walker / Android Authority

After launching the Redmi Note 11 series in China late last year, Xiaomi is now bringing the new mid-range line to global markets — albeit with a few changes.

The first tweak you’ll notice is to the actual lineup. Unlike the Chinese offering, the global Redmi Note 11 lineup lacks a Pro Plus version but gains an S model. Four devices are on offer: the Redmi Note 11 Pro 5G, the 4G alternative, the Redmi Note 11S, and the Note 11. There’s plenty of specs crossover, with all four phones packing LPDDR4X RAM, side-mounted fingerprint scanners, dual speakers and 3.5mm headphone jacks, microSD card support, and 5,000mAh batteries.

There are some notable differences between the global versions and the Chinese devices on paper. The Chinese Note 11 Pro packs a 5,160mAh battery. As there’s no Pro Plus model available globally, there’s no global Note 11 option with 120W charging smarts either. The Chinese models get Mediatek silicon all around, while the international variants see some Snapdragon chips, too. Finally, all models gain OLED screens.

Our verdict: Redmi Note 10 review

Redmi Note 11 Pro 5G and 4G

redmi note 11 pro 5g 1

Andy Walker / Android Authority

The two Redmi Note 11 Pro models share the same body, weighing 202g and measuring 164.2 x 76.1 x 8.1mm. Similarities continue up front, with a 6.67-inch FHD+ AMOLED screen refreshing at 120Hz. The display includes a 360Hz touch sampling rate and a 1,200 nit peak brightness rating.

Around the rear, the 5G model gets a Samsung HM2 108MP primary sensor, an 8MP 118-degree ultrawide, and a 2MP macro snapper. The 4G variant gains an additional 2MP depth camera. Both phones feature 16MP selfie shooters. Charging and power credentials are shared, too, with a 5,000mAh battery charged via a 67W wired system. The latter is quick enough to provide a half-charge in 15 minutes.

The most significant difference between the two phones is the chipset. The Redmi Note 11 Pro 5G gets the Snapdragon 695 SoC, while the 4G model ropes in the Mediatek Helio G96.

Redmi Note 11 Pro 5G Redmi Note 11 Pro Redmi Note 11S Redmi Note 11

Display

Redmi Note 11 Pro 5G

6.67-inch AMOLED
FHD+
120Hz refresh rate
360Hz touch sampling rate

Redmi Note 11 Pro

6.67-inch AMOLED
FHD+
120Hz refresh rate
360Hz touch sampling rate

Redmi Note 11S

6.43-inch AMOLED
FHD+
90Hz refresh rate
180Hz touch sampling rate

Redmi Note 11

6.43-inch AMOLED
FHD+
90Hz refresh rate
180Hz touch sampling rate

Chipset

Redmi Note 11 Pro 5G

Qualcomm Snapdragon 695

Redmi Note 11 Pro

MediaTek Helio G96

Redmi Note 11S

MediaTek Helio G96

Redmi Note 11

Qualcomm Snapdragon 680

GPU

Redmi Note 11 Pro 5G

Adreno 619

Redmi Note 11 Pro

Mali-G57 MC2

Redmi Note 11S

Mali-G57 MC2

Redmi Note 11

Adreno 610

RAM

Redmi Note 11 Pro 5G

LPDDR4X
6/8GB

Redmi Note 11 Pro

LPDDR4X
6/8GB

Redmi Note 11S

LPDDR4X
6/8GB

Redmi Note 11

LPDDR4X
4/6GB

Storage

Redmi Note 11 Pro 5G

UFS 2.2
64/128GB
MicroSD card slot

Redmi Note 11 Pro

UFS 2.2
64/128GB
MicroSD card slot

Redmi Note 11S

UFS 2.2
64/128GB
MicroSD card slot

Redmi Note 11

UFS 2.2
64/128GB
MicroSD card slot

Battery

Redmi Note 11 Pro 5G

5,000mAh
USB-C
67W charging

Redmi Note 11 Pro

5,000mAh
USB-C
67W charging

Redmi Note 11S

5,000mAh
USB-C
33W charging

Redmi Note 11

5,000mAh
USB-C
33W charging

Cameras

Redmi Note 11 Pro 5G

Rear:
108MP standard
8MP ultrawide
2MP macro

Front:
16MP

Redmi Note 11 Pro

Rear:
108MP standard
8MP ultrawide
2MP macro
2MP depth sensor

Front:
16MP

Redmi Note 11S

Rear:
108MP standard
8MP ultrawide
2MP macro
2MP depth sensor

Front:
16MP

Redmi Note 11

Rear:
50MP standard
8MP ultrawide
2MP macro
2MP depth sensor

Front:
13MP

Audio

Redmi Note 11 Pro 5G

3.5mm headphone jack
Dual speakers

Redmi Note 11 Pro

3.5mm headphone jack
Dual speakers

Redmi Note 11S

3.5mm headphone jack
Dual speakers

Redmi Note 11

3.5mm headphone jack
Dual speakers

Software

Redmi Note 11 Pro 5G

MIUI 13
Android 11

Redmi Note 11 Pro

MIUI 13
Android 11

Redmi Note 11S

MIUI 13
Android 11

Redmi Note 11

MIUI 13
Android 11

Colors

Redmi Note 11 Pro 5G

Graphite Gray
Polar White
Atlantic Blue
Redmi Note 11 Pro

Graphite Gray
Polar White
Star Blue

Redmi Note 11S

Graphite Gray
Twilight Blue
Pearl White

Redmi Note 11

Graphite Gray
Twilight Blue
Star Blue

Dimensions and weight

Redmi Note 11 Pro 5G

164.19 x 76.1 x 8.12mm
202g

Redmi Note 11 Pro

164.19 x 76.1 x 8.12mm
202g

Redmi Note 11S

159.87 x 73.87 x 8.09mm
179g

Redmi Note 11

159.87 x 73.87 x 8.09mm
179g

Redmi Note 11S and Note 11

redmi note 11 1

Andy Walker / Android Authority

If you’re considering a smaller device but don’t want to skimp on too many features, the Redmi Note 11S is the preferred option. It uses a slower but smaller 90Hz 6.43-inch FHD+ AMOLED screen mounted in a 159.9 x 73.9 x 8.1mm body, making it a more pocket-friendly device.

The Note 11S packs the same 108MP+8MP+2MP+2PM setup as the Note 11 Pro 4G. A 16MP selfie shooter features up front, while a Mediatek Helio G96 is roped in once again.

That’s largely where the similarities end, though. The Redmi Note 11S supports 33W charging, reportedly good enough to top up its 5,000mAh battery in an hour.

Finally, the Redmi Note 11 uses the same display, body, rear camera setup, and charging smarts as its Note 11S sibling. Xiaomi has trimmed the selfie camera down to 13MP, the main camera down to a 50MP sensor, and the chipset down to the Snapdragon 680. This should make the standard Note 11 a more viable option for budget-limited buyers.

Pricing and availability

Each of the four devices is available in three configs. The Redmi Note 11 Pro duo and the Note 11S are available in 6GB/64GB, 6GB/128GB, and 8GB/128GB versions. The standard Redmi Note 11 is available with 4GB/64GB, 4GB/128GB, and 6GB/128GB.

See also: The best budget phones you can buy

See the pricing breakdown of each device below.

Redmi Note 11 Pro 5G

  • 6GB/64GB: $329
  • 6GB/128GB: $349
  • 8GB/128GB: $379

Redmi Note 11 Pro

  • 6GB/64GB: $299
  • 6GB/128GB: $329
  • 8GB/128GB: $349

Redmi Note 11S

  • 6GB/64GB: $249
  • 6GB/128GB: $279
  • 8GB/128GB: $299

Redmi Note 11

  • 4GB/64GB: $179
  • 4GB/128GB: $199
  • 6GB/128GB: $229

While all four models are available in Graphite Gray, the Redmi Note 10 Pro 5G also comes in Polar White and Atlantic Blue shades. The Note 10 Pro lands in Polar White but gets a Star Blue shade of its own. The Redmi Note 11S comes in Twilight Blue and Pearl White, while the Note 11 is also available in Star Blue and Twilight Blue.

The Redmi Note 11 Pro 5G and Redmi Note 11 Pro will be available from February 16, while the Note 11S and Note 11 will be available from January 28.


What do you think of the global Redmi Note 11 series? Let us know in the comments below.



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What is two-factor authentication (2FA) and how does it work?


Setting up Google account two factor authentication

From banking to email, a lot of our professional and private lives now revolve around digital accounts on the internet. However, securing these accounts effectively isn’t as easy as setting a strong password. Even if you use unique passwords for every account, a keylogger or similar basic attack could quickly compromise them. To that end, it’s worth adding an additional layer of security to your accounts in the form of two-factor authentication.

These days, you’ll find that most websites and security experts recommend turning on two-factor authentication — and you absolutely should, especially for your most sensitive accounts. To understand why, let’s go over what the feature is, how it works, and the various methods available.

What is two-factor authentication?

Google Messages two factor authentication on a phone in hand.

Hadlee Simons / Android Authority

Two-factor authentication (2FA) adds an additional verification step to a website’s login process. The idea is to increase security by combining two separate pieces of information: something you know, like a password, and something you have, like a temporary code sent to your phone. This dual-pronged approach ensures that nobody except you can access your account — even if an attacker somehow knows your password.

Two-factor authentication ensures that nobody except you can access your online accounts.

So what does two-factor authentication look like in practice? Take logging into your Gmail account, for example. After you enter your email address and password, you will be prompted to enter a secondary code. You can choose to receive this code via a text message (as pictured above) or an app that lives on your smartphone.

Since an attacker won’t have access to this secondary code, they simply won’t be able to advance and access your account. Two-factor authentication codes typically change every few seconds, making them impossible to store, guess, or brute-force. The bottom line: the feature offers a lot more protection than a password alone. We’ll discuss how to enable two-factor authentication for your Google account in a later section.

See also: 10 best privacy apps for Android

Types of two-factor authentication: SMS, TOTP, and more

Set Up Gmail In Outlook 2FA on Smartphone

C. Scott Brown / Android Authority

Many websites and services offer more than one way to enable two-factor authentication. Here’s a quick run-down of the various methods and how they work:

SMS-based 2FA: As the title suggests, a verification code, also known as a one-time password, is sent to your registered phone number as a text message during the login process. This is the most widely used form of two-factor authentication, especially among financial services like bank apps.

TOTP-based 2FA: TOTPs, or time-based one-time passwords, involve using an app on your smartphone to generate new codes. Manually registering a new account is pretty simple — just scan the provided QR code. The advantage of this method is that it doesn’t require an internet connection. The app can generate new codes as long as you have the correct time set on the device.

Read more: 10 best TOTP apps for Android

Prompt-based 2FA: This is a relatively new method of achieving two-factor authentication, most commonly used by Google and Apple. It’s also the simplest — the service sends a security notification to your smartphone, tablet, or smartwatch. You simply have to approve the login request to proceed. It requires less manual input than previous methods since you don’t have to enter a code.

Physical hardware: Those serious about online security swear by using a physical hardware device to achieve two-factor authentication. The most well-known device in this class is the Yubikey, but alternatives like Google’s Titan Security Key exist too. They typically come in various form factors — you can get one that lives on your keychain, for example, or in the form of a tiny dongle that stays plugged into your computer permanently. Either way, the device acts as a hardware “key” to access your account once you register it.

In some cases, you can combine several of these methods for multi-factor authentication, for additional security.

Which 2FA method is the most secure?

YubiKey attached to a keychain

As a security feature, it’s naturally important to pick the most secure two-factor authentication solution available to you. So which method should you choose?

SMS is notoriously bad for anything security-related because you can become a victim of SIM swap scams where an attacker impersonates you to clone your SIM card and hijack your SMS remotely. On the other end of the spectrum, while hardware-based 2FA is undoubtedly extremely secure, it requires you to pay extra and carry around additional hardware. Furthermore, not all websites support the FIDO 2FA standard.

Ultimately, TOTP provides the best mix of convenience and security. It also helps that most TOTP apps like Google Authenticator don’t need a cellular or internet connection to work. This makes them significantly less vulnerable to remote exploits. You’ll find most security experts echo this sentiment. The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), for example, has cautioned users against SMS-based 2FA since at least 2016.

Time-based one-time passwords generated by an app on your smartphone offer the best mix of security and convenience.

If you’re wondering about the security of prompt-based authentication, it’s typically viewed as safer than SMS. This is because the prompts are sent directly to your smartphone over the internet. As long as you enable some form of screen lock, there’s no way for an attacker to approve login requests without your consent.

How to secure your Google account with 2FA

Google prompt activation on an Android smartphone

The first place to start using two-factor authentication might as well be your Google account. This way, new devices can’t sign in to your email, access your Play Store account, or mess with your Photos or Drive files if your Google password ever becomes compromised.

There are a few options for Google’s 2-Step Verification system. You can opt to receive a text message or call, use Google prompts, or use a security key. Here’s how to begin on your Android smartphone:

  1. Head to Settings > Google > Google Account.
  2. Find the Security tab.
  3. Tap 2-Step Verification and log in.
  4. Update your recovery phone number and/or email in case you need to recover your account.

You should now be on the 2-Step Verification page. At the bottom, you’ll see a list of all the devices currently connected to your account. Here you can enable Google Prompt if you like, or select an alternative like SMS.

From now on, you’ll receive a security notification each time you log into your Google account on a new device. If you want to swap to a different method or would like to disable 2-Step Verification, just head back into your Google Security settings and repeat the steps.



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What is it and how does it compare to iMessage?


Android Messages Google Pixel 2 XL AA 1

SMS and MMS seem positively archaic by the standards set by today’s popular data-based messaging platforms. We’re spoilt for choice with advanced messaging features from the likes of WhatsApp, Telegram, Signal, and others. But you don’t have to sign up for a third-party messaging service to access features like read receipts and location sharing.

RCS, short for Rich Communication Services, messaging is the evolution of traditional SMS and MMS. The standard embraces a range of modern features we’ve come to rely on from other messaging applications, rolling them into a protocol that can be used on any smartphone that wants to support it.

What is RCS messaging?

Formed in 2007, RCS is an advanced messaging protocol designed to vastly improve messaging functionality that comes installed on phones by default. It’s built to offer a much wider range of features than the older standards. So say goodbye to those basic and limited SMS and MMS texts.

At its most basic level, RCS extends the character limits and image quality available for messages. But it’s also built to enable sharing of video clips, GIFs, and other snippets of information such as your location. As RCS uses internet data to send content, it can be encrypted too, making messages more secure, and the standard is also better at blocking spam. Unlike traditional SMS, the new technology can be integrated with contact apps to see who else supports the service, as well as for sharing contacts and groups. If you’ve used WhatsApp or iMessage, you know roughly what to expect.

See also: The best apps for texting

What sets RCS apart is that it’s a protocol and not just another messaging application. So unlike today’s internet-based messaging apps, you don’t have to sign up for it to work, and it isn’t limited to contacts using the same application. All you need is a phone number, handset, and carrier that supports RCS.

RCS has appeared under a few different names at some carriers. In some regions, you may have seen it referred to as Advanced Messaging, RCS Chat, Joyn, Message+, or SMS+. On that note, both parties must be using a compatible messaging app and network to send and receive Rich Communications Services messages. Fortunately, the protocol is designed to fall back to SMS or MMS if your recipient doesn’t support RCS.

List of key features

google messages rcs reactions

Here’s a quick rundown of all the essential messaging features supported by RCS.

  • Data-based messaging with SMS/MMS fallback
  • Delivery and read receipts, and typing indication
  • Image, GIF, video, and other rich media content
  • Group chats
  • Group file transfers
  • IP voice calls, both individual and group
  • Geolocation exchange
  • Client-to-server encryption with optional end-to-end encryption
  • Business and services messages

Does my phone support RCS?

rcs messages

As a carrier messaging protocol, a couple of stars need to align for RCS messaging to work. The first is carrier support, which has been aided by the development of the GSMA’s Universal Profile, unveiled in 2016.

The GSMA is a global association of network operators and companies, and its Universal Profile includes a set of RCS features that all these carriers agree to support. There are currently five versions of Universal Profile; the latest version, 2.4, was published in October 2019. However, carriers don’t have to support Universal Profile to support RCS. It’s merely designed to improve interoperability and expedite deployment.

The list of carriers using the Universal Profile includes major players such as Deutsche Telekom, Google Fi, NTT Docomo, Vodafone, and others. Meanwhile, Movistar, MetroPCS, and a few others use the older Joyn standard. In the US, the three major carriers support RCS messaging, but they don’t all use Universal Profile, and each markets its solution a little differently. At the time of writing, over 55 carriers worldwide support RCS messaging on their networks.

Read more: How to enable RCS messaging features on Android

The other half of the equation is to own a handset running a compatible RCS client. For Android users, the default application is now Google’s Messages, formerly Android Messages. It comes preinstalled on many new smartphones and can be downloaded from Google Play. Samsung Messages also supports RCS, as do a few other clients, many of which are carrier-specific. No such support exists for Apple’s iPhone, which relies on its proprietary iMessage service to offer similar features.

To bring RCS to Android, Google acquired Jibe Mobile in 2016, a leading communication company at the time. Jibe’s technology acts as the middleman, providing the necessary features that enable carriers to support RCS services on their networks without developing their own infrastructure. Google’s efforts did help to expedite the rollout, while the use of Google’s app and backend removes carrier-exclusive barriers to interoperability. However, some criticized the introduction of its own service and app for being against the spirit of carrier native RCS messaging.

Problems with RCS messaging

RCS roadmap and standards

Are you confused by the chart above? You’re not alone. Like so many standards aiming for deployment across different companies and countries, there’s a fair amount of revisions, updates, and spin-offs that become hard to keep track of. Encouraging companies to agree on anything is difficult, even if it’s in their user’s interests, and RCS is no different.

Although the Universal Profile is reasonably widely adopted and RCS versions retain an element of backward compatibility, fragmentation is a problem. Some carriers, such as AT&T in the US, have spun off their own implementations of RCS that aren’t interoperable with other carriers. So features won’t work when sending messages to contacts on other networks. Features can be app and carrier exclusive too. For example, Google Messages only recently introduced end-to-end encryption, with some heavy caveats.

See also: US carriers ditch effort to build Android’s answer to iMessage

There’s also the question of smartphone support. Historically, not every carrier implementation works with every phone, making purchasing a phone a headache. Fortunately, this is gradually changing for the better. Verizon, for instance, is expected to bring RCS support to all Android devices sometime in 2022.

This is one of the key reasons why adoption has been so slow, and consumers have switched focus to other, simplified messaging experiences. Not to mention that carriers in some regions don’t support RCS messaging yet. Until they do, third-party applications like WhatsApp will continue to sit on the messaging throne.

How it compares to iMessage and WhatsApp

google messages with rcs whatsapp icons google pixel 4 xl 3

At the feature level, there are a lot of similarities between Rich Communication Services and popular applications such as WhatsApp, Telegram, Facebook Messenger, and iMessage. They all support read receipts, group chats, and a wide range of multi-media options. The messaging experience is very similar between these services, although you won’t find native video calling features with RCS. Likewise, most third-party apps offer end-to-end encryption these days, while that’s not guaranteed with RCS.

RCS is designed to bypass the need for third-party applications altogether.

There are other pros and cons of RCS messaging versus the various third-party, internet-based apps found across the mobile ecosystem. At face value, RCS is designed to be simpler to use and ubiquitous, bypassing the need for third-party applications altogether. In an ideal world, RCS would be as common as SMS, while allowing everyone to make use of advanced messaging features with nothing more than a phone number. By comparison, other apps limit your range of contacts to those also signed up for the same service, and you’ll often need multiple apps to keep in touch with everyone.

Unfortunately, the aforementioned issues prevent RCS messaging from being the reliable, global solution that it purports to be. Carrier and device support remain hit and miss, while other messaging services offer advanced features no matter who you’re talking to and where they are in the world. With that in mind, it’s easy to see why there’s been minimal consumer interest in RCS messaging compared to the wide range of data-based apps that work across carriers, countries, and platforms.

FAQ

Google Messages

Q: Is RCS messaging free?
A: All RCS chat features are free but they require a data connection that may incur separate charges.

Q: What messaging apps support RCS?
A: Google Messages and Samsung Messages support RCS, as do a few other carrier-specific apps.

Q: How do I enable RCS messaging?
A: Open the Google Messages app, hit settings, and select chat features. The status option at the top will say connected when RCS is enabled.

Q: Is RCS messaging secure?
A: Yes, but the level of security depends on a few things. For example, Google Messages recently introduced end-to-end encryption, but one for 1-2-1 messages with both clients using the same app.

Q: Do iPhones support RCS?
A: No, Apple does not support RCS. Instead, it offers similar features via its iMessage app.



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C-Band 5G: What is it and where is it available?


Ulefone Armor 11 5G 7

Luke Pollack / Android Authority

5G nomenclature is already a rather complex and winding topic, and it’s received yet another layer of convolution with the introduction of C-Band 5G. The term hit the headlines when AT&T and Verizon added support for C-Band 5G to their networks in January 2022. But don’t fret, it’s thankfully not a whole other standard to get to grips with. Instead, this latest term in the growing 5G lexicon simply refers to the introduction of more frequency bands into the already broad spectrum landscape.

The TDLR is that C-Band 5G allows carriers to increase their spectrum diversity through the use of mid-band frequencies, bringing faster speeds and better coverage to their customers who own compatible smartphones. The term covers an important piece of spectrum for carriers aiming to provide median rather than just peak 5G speeds in excess of 100Mbps.

Read more: What is 5G, and what can we expect from it?

If you’re eager to learn a little bit more about what is C-Band 5G and where is it available, then read on for Android Authority’s complete guide on the topic.

C-Band 5G: Everything you need to know

5G TD FDD TDE LTE 4G Connectivity Carrier Network Tower Radio MBB Connected City IoT -40

You may already be familiar with 5G spectrum terms like mmWave and sub-6GHz, which define a range of network frequencies and bands used by carriers to send and receive 5G data. C-Band is another one of those terms, although it’s most typically associated with US network deployments.

More specifically, C-Band refers to radio frequency bands between 4 and 8GHz, according to the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) — although in the case of the US, the FCC designates the range as between 3.7 and 4.2GHz. Technically, that’s already classed as a sub-6GHz spectrum, and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) has divided up C-band into the n77 (3.7GHz), n78 (3.5GHz), and n79 (4.7GHz) bands you’ll find in use around the world right now. So you could already be reading this on a C-Band 5G connection.

C-Band occupies a frequency sweet spot in terms of broad coverage and fast speeds.

The term has a slightly different connotation in the US, where the spectrum was previously allocated for satellite TV back in the 1970s. In 2020, the FCC announced that it would reallocate much of this spectrum for 5G use. The subsequent auctions around the 3.7GHz band ended in February 2021 and raised $81 billion, with the majority of band licenses grabbed by AT&T and Verizon.

C-Band 5G is so popular because it occupies a frequency sweet spot in terms of wide coverage and fast speeds. You may have noticed that the FFC’s definition falls right between the popular 2.4 and 5GHz Wi-Fi bands. If you’ve been following sub-6GHz deployment, you’ll know that these frequencies form the backbone of 5G coverage as they offer superior range compared to mmWave, making them well suited for rural as well as urban coverage. This explains why AT&T and Verizon, which had previously focused heavily on mmWave deployment, are particularly interested in these bands. Data from speed test behemoth Ookla highlights that T-Mobile is way ahead in median 5G network speeds, owing to its superior sub-6GHz coverage.

Where is C-Band 5G available?

Sprint Verizon T Mobile and Verizon carrier logos on four smartphones side by side

Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

As previously mentioned, the global 5G spectrum that could be classed as C-Band is already widely in use around the world. Specifically, bands n77, n78, and n79 are up and running across Australia, China, the European Union (including the United Kingdom), Hong Kong, Isreal, Japan, New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, and more.

By comparison, the US situation is in the much earlier stages, owing to delayed licensing and aviation disputes, which we’ll get to in a minute. Verizon flipped on its C-Band 5G switch on January 19, 2022. The carrier has yet to provide a coverage map for these latest frequencies but wants to bring its 5G Ultra Wideband service to 1,700 cities by the end of January. Customers will see a “5G UW” or “5G UWB” icon when connected to this part of its network.

AT&T also activated its C-Band service on the same date, with Austin, Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston, Chicago, Detroit, Jacksonville, Orlando, and South Florida covered in the initial rollout. AT&T devices will display a 5G+ indicator when connected.

C band 5G world map

It’s worth noting that AT&T and Verizon have voluntarily agreed to limit C-Band 5G deployment in the vicinity of airports until July 2020, owing to an ongoing dispute over whether the technology interferes with aircraft radio altimeters. The FCC is testing and certifying flight altimeters to check for C-Band interference and has a 220MHz “guard band” already in effect. The airport argument appears to be easing off, but time will tell if these efforts are enough to appease the airlines. Other countries have similar restrictions on C-Band use near airports. Fortunately, other 5G frequencies can still be used in and around airports, so your coverage shouldn’t drop out.

Although AT&T and Verizon may have pinched the most recent headlines, they’re not the only US carriers with C-Band and similar sub-6GHz frequencies at their disposal. T-Mobile purchased an average of 40MHz of C-Band, which it plans to deploy to over 225 million people. Not forgetting it already snapped up Sprint’s 2.5GHz (n41) mid-band spectrum in the merger, which serves a similar widespread coverage purpose to C-Band. Minor carriers that piggyback on AT&T and Verizon networks, such as Visible, will also benefit from C-Band coverage.

See also: 5G plans in the US — What are your options?

Does my phone support C-Band 5G?

man with iPhone 13 Pro taking a phone call

Dhruv Bhutani / Android Authority

As C-Band 5G already falls under well-defined sub-6GHz bands, many existing 5G phones already support the required technologies. Below is by no means a complete list of popular phones that feature the necessary bands, and do note that some carrier requirements may vary, especially when bringing your own handset. For example, the Pixel 6 is not yet C-Band certified on Verizon’s network, despite appearing to support the necessary hardware.

AT&T and Verizon compatible handsets

Other global “C-Band” phone examples

If your phone isn’t on the list above, peruse its specification sheet for mention of the n77, n78, and n79 5G bands and crosscheck those against your carrier requirements. Failing that, check in with your carrier’s support team to see what they say about your handset.

See our list: The best 5G phones you can buy right now



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What is the Spotify Premium Family plan?


OnePlus 7T music playback spotify

QUICK ANSWER 

Spotify Premium Family is a package of up to six premium accounts. It costs $15.99 a month and includes a few extra features, including Family Mix and Spotify Kids. One person starts the account and can add up to five other accounts to the plan.


JUMP TO KEY SECTIONS 

What is Spotify Premium Family?

pick your premium spotify screenshot resized

Curtis Joe / Android Authority

For those unaware, Spotify offers a subscription service that grants users access to several exclusive features, including increased audio quality, the ability to turn shuffle off, ad-free music listening, and more.

Typically, one Spotify Premium subscription costs $9.99 per month. This is known as the Individual tier. Beyond that, however, Spotify offers discounts for their DuoStudent, and Family plans.

Spotify Premium Family kids banner

Curtis Joe / Android Authority

The family plan, which costs $15.99 a month, includes up to six separate Spotify Premium accounts for users living together under the same roof. According to Spotify, “each person on the plan uses their own account, so no one shares a password, and everyone keeps their own saved music and playlists.”

This all-inclusive subscription package also adds Family Mix, which is “a playlist based on the tastes of everyone on the plan,” as well as Spotify Kids, a separate app “packed with singalongs, soundtracks, and playlists made just for kids.”

The person who signs up for the account acts as the plan manager. The plan manager can add up to five more Spotify accounts.

How much does Spotify Premium Family cost?

Spotify Premium Family banner on the website screenshot

Curtis Joe / Android Authority

On their own, six Spotify Premium Individual subscriptions would end up costing nearly $60 a month. Spotify Premium Family cuts that price down to just $15.99 for six accounts monthly. This is perhaps Spotify’s best deal, but it doesn’t go unrivaled.

Apple Music, Deezer, Tidal, and Pandora all offer discounted family plans at $14.99, which undercuts Spotify’s current offering by a dollar. On the other hand, Spotify has its claws on many more social media platforms than the rest, including direct integration in things like Instagram and Discord.

How to add family members to Spotify Premium Family

Adding new members to your family plan is simple. However, it will require you to be the one who starts the family account. This can be done by switching to Spotify Premium Family on an existing account or creating an entirely new one.

If you were added to the family plan, you do not have the necessary rights to add new members.

Spotify manage family plan

Curtis Joe / Android Authority

On your Account Overview, there will be a box marked Spotify Family. You can either select VIEW DETAILS or select Premium for Family from the list of tabs on the left to continue.

In Premium for Family, if you were the one who started your family plan, then there will be a list of empty slots next to blank avatars. If you click any of these slots, you can add new users to your plan in one of two ways:

  • Copying a link that you can send to whomever you would like to add
  • An email invitation

Once you have chosen who you want to add to the plan and sent them the link or invitation, the empty slot will read Waiting for one person. Once they accept the invitation, their account’s display name and avatar will replace the open place.

Apple Music family plan vs Spotify Premium Family

Apple Music home screen

Dhruv Bhutani / Android Authority

The family plan that Apple Music offers is currently cheaper at $14.99 per month. They provide lossless playback with ALAC (Apple Lossless Audio Codec.) Along with Dolby Atmos Spatial Audio, you can also get CD-quality and Hi-Res streaming.

There are few situations where lossless audio will benefit most users right now. In fact, Apple’s own AirPods Max doesn’t even support lossless audio at the moment. Unless you are an audiophile, most people won’t be able to tell the difference, and Spotify’s streaming quality will be more than enough at the Very High setting.

Is Spotify Premium Family worth it?

Spotify Premium Family part of the plan

Curtis Joe / Android Authority

Whether or not the family plan is worth buying is up for you to decide. It will depend on what other Spotify-connected platforms you use and how many people live with you. A lot of money can be saved if you opt into the family plan. It costs less than two Individual accounts, and you get access to some of the most convenient features available on a music streaming platform.


Read more: How to get Spotify Premium

FAQs

Can Spotify Premium Family be used at different addresses?

Subscribing to the Spotify Premium Family plan will require you to verify your home address “from time to time.” This can be done through enabling location services for Spotify in settings or providing a home address using Google Maps.

Does Spotify really check the home address for Spotify Premium Family?

Yes, Spotify periodically verifies that everyone on your Spotify Premium Family plan lives at the same address. This information is encrypted and not used by Spotify for advertising or internal use. After home address verification, location data is not stored or tracked.

Can you merge Spotify accounts to Family?

Yes. One Spotify account starts the Spotify Premium Family plan, and up to five additional users can join. If an account wants to join, but they are already subscribed to their own Spotify Premium plan, they must cancel their Spotify Premium plan before joining the Spotify Premium Family plan.



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If kill count is what matters, these horror villains take the cake


Scream 2022 released just 10 days ago and the character of Ghostface added another 7 bodies to his kill count.

While 9 characters have hidden their face behind the Ghostface mask, they only account for 48 total kills throughout 5 films.

Let’s take a look at other notable horror villains and where their body counts stack up.



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What is WhatsApp? The ultimate starter’s guide


WhatsApp logo

Since the internet first arrived in the mid-’90s, there have been lots of messaging apps. AOL, Yahoo, MSN, ICQ, and the various Google incarnations, to name just a few. Then things got ramped up a notch with Skype introducing VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol), which finally allowed you to ditch landline phones for good and do your international calling for a fraction of the cost.

These days, you now have audio and video messaging apps such as Skype, Zoom, Signal, and Telegram. But as far as worldwide dominance goes, nothing is able to remotely touch the Facebook-owned WhatsApp. It has two billion active users worldwide, and one hundred million messages are sent every day. To put it into context, the population of the United States is 334 million, so you’re talking about six United States populations actively using WhatsApp. So if you’re not on it yet, you’re late to the party.

Read also: WhatsApp not working? Here are ten easy fixes you can try

What is WhatsApp, and how does it work?

WhatsApp by Facebook stock photo 5

Who can use WhatsApp?

Girl looking at her phone

WhatsApp says you must be at least 13 years old to register for a WhatsApp account, and for some reason, you have to be at least 16 years old in the European Union. Anyone under those ages can have their accounts disabled if WhatsApp finds out about you.

Besides that, anyone can use WhatsApp, provided they adhere to the terms of service, and not use the platform for spam or criminal activities. However, some countries may block access — either permanently or temporarily — to WhatsApp for their citizens, such as China, North Korea, and Iran. This, of course, can change anytime, depending on the political situation in any given country. But saying that, you may be able to access WhatsApp in these countries via a VPN app.

As well as individuals, small businesses can also use a WhatsApp Business version, and larger companies can apply for the WhatsApp Business API. WhatsApp Business is a slightly modified version to allow companies to keep in touch with their customers on the platform and publish a catalog of their goods and services.

Who owns WhatsApp?

Facebook logo
Brian Acton and Jan Koum created WhatsApp after leaving their jobs at Yahoo in 2009. With a staff of just 50, they gradually built up WhatsApp into a serious contender against heavyweights such as Facebook Messenger and Skype.

Of course, this meant that they were soon on Mark Zuckerberg’s radar, and in 2014, Facebook bought WhatsApp for an eye-watering $19 billion. Despite Facebook’s initial promises of WhatsApp remaining an independent company, it was gradually brought more and more into the Facebook ecosystem, and Acton and Koum subsequently left the company.

Is WhatsApp free?

three people sitting in front of a window on their phones

Yes, WhatsApp is free to use, regardless of the platform. You will only encounter a cost if you decide to use the WhatsApp Business API. Connecting the API to your preferred business communication platform will incur costs. Other than that, WhatsApp is free of charge.

Why is WhatsApp so popular?

A photo of a text messaging app

There are so many reasons why WhatsApp is popular, and if you asked users, they would likely tell you about their favorite feature. But what made WhatsApp the breakthrough app when it first started was that it pretty much killed regular SMS. Obviously, we still have SMS today, but it’s a radically much better version than it used to be.

Phone carriers used to look upon SMS as their milk cow, and some charged exorbitant rates for a single SMS message. Message characters were counted, sending photos cost more, and monthly SMS messages were strictly capped. Phone carriers did it because they knew they could. They knew there were no serious competitors to upset the apple cart.

But then WhatsApp came along, and suddenly you could send uncapped messages and multimedia for free, regardless of the length of the message. That was when the phone carriers realized the good old days were over. Now, phone companies are offering bundles of free SMS messages every month with customer tariffs.

What are the pros and cons of WhatsApp?

WhatsApp by Facebook stock photo 3

The pros and cons of WhatsApp are numerous, and we’ll be covering a lot of the features here that make WhatsApp popular. But the main pro is that you are identified on WhatsApp by your phone number. This means that if you are in someone’s phone contact book, you are also in their WhatsApp contact list (assuming you all use WhatsApp). There are no usernames to remember, no profile URLs to click. If you know the phone number, you know how to get in touch.

The main downside is that it is a Facebook-owned company, and despite the platform being encrypted, there are still privacy concerns (see the next section for this.) The other con is that you can’t use the same WhatsApp phone number on two or more phones. So if you have multiple devices and wish to use WhatsApp on each phone, you need to either get separate SIM cards or use a not-so-elegant workaround.

Is WhatsApp safe and private?

Encryption security

In these privacy-focused times, the main concern turns naturally to whether or not WhatsApp can be trusted with our chats and media attachments. Our own Calvin Wankhede has written a great guide on the end-to-end encryption installed on WhatsApp.

The main thing to remember at the end of the day is to exercise caution. Don’t reveal sensitive information and media on WhatsApp. If you use it for general chatting, you’ll be fine.

What are WhatsApp’s main features?

Messaging

The main feature of WhatsApp is obviously its messaging function. There are two features that may give users cause for concern on the privacy front. But both features can be switched off if you feel you don’t need them.

whatsapp two blue checkmarks

The first is the checkmarks that get added to each message. One tick means the message has been sent, and two ticks mean the message has arrived with the recipient. Both of these are obviously harmless. But when the recipient reads the message, those two ticks turn blue. If you don’t want anyone to know you’re reading those messages, then those blue ticks are a dead giveaway.

whatsapp ios tap username

The second is under the username, where your contacts can see the last time you logged onto WhatsApp. Again, this may be something you don’t want anyone to know. But as we said, you can easily switch this off in the settings.

whatsapp desktop star message

There is also a bookmarking system (of sorts), where you can save important messages for easy access later. Simply select the message and “star” it. You can then go to a separate area of WhatsApp to view your starred messages.

whatsapp iphone archive slider

Finally, of course, you can clean up your messaging inbox by archiving old and unneeded messages. If you need any of them again in the future, they can be brought out of the archive and back into the inbox.

Group chats

whatsapp mobile group link

WhatsApp isn’t only for one-to-one chats. You can also bring in up to 256 people to chat in one place as well. Setting up a WhatsApp group is as simple as choosing participants from your contact list, selecting a group name, and off you go.

Opening them up and closing them down is so easy and fast that you can effortlessly start one to organize spontaneous special events. Or if you want to say start up a community, you can publicize a joining URL that people can click to enter your group.

Video calls

The third tier of the WhatsApp platform is video calls. If both you and the person you want to call are on WhatsApp, you can make free unlimited video calls to one another, regardless of country. You can even make group video calls. Although, if you’re on a strictly capped internet data plan, you may want to toggle the WhatsApp setting that restricts how much data these calls use up.

What else can you do with WhatsApp?

You’d be mistaken if you thought that calling and texting are the only things WhatsApp has to offer. There are also other useful features you should use if you decide to jump on the WhatsApp bandwagon.

Share images, video & documents

whatsapp picture attachment

As we start to take more photos and video clips with our phones, being able to instantly transfer them to someone via WhatsApp becomes invaluable. Obviously, other platforms such as Skype were doing this first — WhatsApp is hardly the trailblazer in this area. But as we move more towards talking to everyone we know on WhatsApp, being able to send and receive files from everyone on the same platform — and then if necessary, forward those files on to other WhatsApp contacts — becomes ever more convenient.

whatsapp disappearing messages warning

Some people might view disappearing messages as the answer to their privacy concerns. Send a message then watch it self-destruct in five seconds once it’s been read. But as we explained in our article on disappearing messages, it isn’t a foolproof method of wiping messages. You should instead use it as a kind of auto-wiping feature to keep your inbox neat and tidy.

Voice messages

whatsapp ios voice message

Voice messages are another useful feature, especially if you’re rushing about and you don’t have time to stop and type messages. Just start the recorder and let your voice do all the work. WhatsApp only holds onto the recordings until the recipient comes on to WhatsApp and listens to them — or 30 days — whichever comes first.

You can also download WhatsApp voice messages to your device or desktop computer as OGG audio files.

Share location

WhatsApp location sharing

Even though many WhatsApp users may be focused on their privacy, there are still many extremely useful scenarios where sharing your location can be a lifesaver. You could be lost and need directions from a friend who lives locally? Or perhaps you want to track the current live location of your child? A couple of taps in WhatsApp, and your contact gets an updating map of which direction you’re heading in.

Create poll

handypolls whatsapp poll

Finally, who doesn’t love being asked their opinion? If you want to question the hive mind and get a snapshot of which way the prevailing mood is blowing, then why not create a WhatsApp poll?

WhatsApp doesn’t provide this officially, but third-party apps and platforms do. Eventually, WhatsApp will come up with something themselves.

How to backup and transfer WhatsApp

whatsapp android restoring messages

Can you customize WhatsApp?

There are not a lot of customization options for WhatsApp. The only three are the background wallpaper, changing your status, and adding a profile picture.

android whatsapp choose wallpaper

By changing the wallpaper, you can either choose one of the preinstalled wallpapers in WhatsApp or upload an image from your Photos app.

whatsapp desktop profile picture change

Adding a profile image is the easiest way to personalize your account and give your contacts an easy way to pick you out of a crowded contact list.

whatsapp mobile status sticker position

Creating a status is very similar to Instagram Stories, although not as advanced. You can upload an image or video clip, add text, and have it next to your username for 24 hours.

Other similar messaging apps to WhatsApp

WhatsApp is obviously not the only messaging app on the block. If for any reason WhatsApp doesn’t appeal to you, consider using one of the following.

Signal Private Messenger screenshot 2021 2

The free Signal app is highly regarded as the best secure messaging app currently in existence, having been endorsed by the likes of Edward Snowden. It’s much more secure than WhatsApp because Signal holds no data on their users, so they have nothing to give to law enforcement if they come knocking with a warrant.

telegram russia samsung best encrypted private messenger apps for android

Another alternative is Telegram, although concerns have been raised in the past about how secure it is. User data such as IP addresses are logged, which might concern some if they live in an authoritarian country and don’t wish to be tracked.

Can you make your own stickers on WhatsApp?

Can you make payments to your contacts on WhatsApp?

As of December 2021, WhatsApp is trialing a payment system called Novi to a limited number of its US users. It uses a new cryptocurrency called Pax Dollars, which are pegged to the actual value of real US dollars. There’s no word yet on when or if Novi will come to WhatsApp users in the rest of the world.



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The FLBP is live, what else do I need to say? (72 Photos)



flbp 2



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THE HALO EFFECT (Ex-IN FLAMES) Has Harmonies For Days On “Feel What I Believe”


The Halo Effect is back with their second single and it rules so unbelievably hard. The band is streaming “Feel What I Believe,” which sounds exactly how you would expect a band comprised entirely of ’90s In Flames members to sound – gigantic and melodious. If anything, this single should only make everyone want the debut The Halo Effect album that much more.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

“The song is basically about how it felt growing up and discovering extreme metal in our late teens. Delving into something that was both frightening and alluring at the same time. And having that as the sole focus as you started playing in a band and in essence decided who you wanted to be. That confidence and laser focus is what still fascinates me I love that this somehow endured over the years.

“This is basically us at 19 screaming ‘How don’t you understand this?’ And even if people around us didn’t get it at the time at least they could see our passion for it and that’s what this song is about.
The video is also reminiscent of the videos we saw growing up. A bunch of long haired people in an abandoned warehouse playing loud music while trying to look cool basically. What we did here though is bring it to another level thanks to Theo Gabay and his amazing team. I love that it captures the vibe of us playing and really enjoying what we do. Also it looks spectacular.”

For those unaware, The Halo Effect is:

  • Guitarist Jesper Strömblad, who was in the band between 1990 and 2010
  • Guitarist Niclas Engelin, who was in the band between 1997 and 1998, and then again from 2011 until now (but hasn’t played with In Flames live since 2019)
  • Bassist Peter Iwers, between 1997 and 2016
  • Drummer Daniel Svensson, between 1998 and 2015
  • Vocalist Mikael Stanne, who was In Flames‘ live vocalist in 1994 and performed on both Lunar Strain and Subterranean. Stanne has since found great success with Dark Tranquillity

Stream “Feel What I Believe” here.

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Have you considered what happens to your online life when you die?


Google Pixel 5 in hand sunset back 3

David Imel / Android Authority

Most of the time people prefer to dodge the topic of death, for the obvious reason that it spawns a lot of uncomfortable thoughts. Yet the realistic and responsible thing to do is acknowledge it and prepare, since death is unavoidable and has huge ramifications for friends and family. This extends to your online life — so what sort of steps should you be taking to soften the digital transition for people left behind?

See also: The best password manager apps for Android

Step 1: Take advantage of posthumous account settings

Major tech platforms like Apple, Facebook, and Google offer tools to control how your data is handled when you die. Facebook for example lets you appoint a “legacy contact,” someone who can download your data, “memorialize” your account, and/or have your data deleted outright. If you don’t want anyone getting your Facebook content after you go, you can specify that ahead of time. Google offers some of the best tools via its Inactive Account Manager, which shares data selectively and/or deletes your account automatically after a set period. You can read more details in the feature linked below.

Must read: How Apple, Google, and Facebook handle your death

Whether or not a company offers dedicated tools, the bereaved can usually request that your online accounts be deactivated. This requires evidence of your death, of course, typically a death certificate. Things can get much tougher if someone wants data access — Apple requires that legacy contacts have both documentation and a special access key, and if they haven’t been appointed as a contact, they’ll have to get a court order if they’re in the US.

The key point here is that if a service is critical to your online life, you should be exploring the options it offers now instead of waiting until you’re knocking on death’s door. It’s one of the easiest things you can do to reduce the burden on loved ones.

Step 2: Share your logins

Working Online Data Analyst

Under normal circumstances, sharing app and website logins is the last thing you’re supposed to do. But it only takes a moment to realize that if you haven’t written those logins down, you may be denying partners or family critical information — even money, if it’s trapped somewhere like a bank or a PayPal account. Logins are regularly excluded from the data companies are willing (or able) to share with the bereaved.

That makes it vital to build a logbook with usernames and passwords for every online service a loved one might need to access. Major items to check off include:

  • Bank accounts
  • Insurance accounts
  • Phone/TV/internet
  • Government services
  • Online payment services (PayPal, Venmo, etc.)
  • Chat/messaging apps and social media
  • Smart home platforms
  • Cloud storage
  • Photo libraries
  • Music, reading, and video subscriptions
  • Online stores

You might be tempted to use a password manager as a shortcut, but it’s risky.

Your logbook can be something as simple as a text or Excel file, as long as it’s easily accessible. Even better is one on paper, since that can’t be deleted, corrupted, or hacked. Either way, you need to keep your log both updated and protected, for instance by storing a paper logbook in a fireproof container.

If you’re sufficiently thorough, a bonus of this approach is that you might not even need the tools in Step 1. If a trusted person can log into your accounts directly, they can download all of your data and shut things off at will.

You might be tempted to use a password manager as a shortcut. This is risky, however — not only do all of the right people need logins and technical literacy, but they could also eventually be shut out if the app is subscription-based and you’re no longer around to pay. It’s not the worst solution, just one to approach with caution.

Related: Should you use a password manager

Step 3: Make plans with your loved ones

Google Duo on an Android TV

Both the first and second steps can be pointless if you don’t actually talk to your loved ones about them. They need to know what being a legacy contact entails, for example, and the legal hoops they’ll have to go through to retrieve your data or shut down an account. If you have a logbook, it’s important that people know how to find it.

Although the conversation can be tough, your loved ones should know the steps you took and how you’d like your online life to be managed.

This can be one of the toughest parts of preparing for your digital afterlife. No matter how technically savvy they are, a partner isn’t going to enjoy talking about your death, and the conversation gets even more harrowing with young children or elderly parents.

At some point, you’ll probably need to sit down with a legal advisor and add online data to your will. While we can’t make any guarantees, it may make things smoother if you’ve legally authorized access or deletion ahead of time.

Think of it this way — if you can overcome all of these issues, you’ll probably feel a little calmer about the future as a reward.

Have you taken steps to manage your online data when you die?

0 votes



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What is WhatsApp Business and how is it different?


Moto One Macro low light cafe capture

As WhatsApp cements its dominance in the online messaging space, businesses are increasingly discovering that they too can take advantage of it, since their customers already have WhatsApp installed on their phones. But the regular WhatsApp is not suited to businesses, so Facebook brought out a WhatsApp Business version to address the shortfall. But how do you use it and what benefits does it offer small businesses?

Read more: How to use WhatsApp — a step-by-step beginner’s guide

QUICK ANSWER

WhatsApp Business is a version of WhatsApp specifically catering to the needs of businesses. Using the app, businesses can communicate with customers one-on-one, promote their latest goods and special deals, and generally make themselves easier to contact for business queries.


JUMP TO KEY SECTIONS

What is WhatsApp Business?

WhatsApp Business is another free version of WhatsApp designed for businesses to communicate with their customers. Since many people already have WhatsApp installed on their phones, WhatsApp Business is designed for those customers to contact their favorite businesses on the same platform to ask questions, place orders, and so on. The app is able to push the business’s latest offers and deals, and much more.

What is the difference between WhatsApp and WhatsApp Business?

WhatsApp Business has various business-related features, which are not available on the regular WhatsApp app.

Business profile

whatsapp business profile

The user profile on the regular WhatsApp is rather barebones. You can add a name, profile picture, status, phone number, and that’s pretty much it. On WhatsApp Business, however, you can add a whole lot more, such as:

  • Opening hours
  • Company website
  • A custom message describing your business
  • Your business name, address, and phone number
  • A profile picture. This can for example be your company logo or an image of what you sell.

Note that you cannot use personal names for a business account. You have to use a business name, and even then, WhatsApp has strict guidelines on what words and characters are allowed and not allowed to be in that name. This can prove to be quite awkward if your personal name is part of your company name. A bit of creativity is required to get around this problem.

Personally connect with customers

whatsapp business chat

Customers naturally like the personal touch from businesses, and messaging apps like WhatsApp enable businesses to give customers personal attention. Orders and questions can also be dealt with a lot faster, by real people instead of automated bots. If you’re in a highly competitive business niche, this can make all the difference to a customer giving you repeat business in the future.

Highlight products and services

whatsapp business catalog

Mark O’Neill / Android Authority

WhatsApp Business also gives you the option of setting up a product catalog. This catalog can be shared through social media, allowing people to browse the listings, and if they want to order something, they simply click a link to be connected to the business via WhatsApp to start the order.

Automated messages

whatsapp business automated messages

Busy businesses can’t always reply to messages right away. So you can set up a custom automated welcome message to let the customer know that you have received their message and you’ll get back to them as quickly as possible.

Quick replies

whatsapp business2

Again, if time is of the essence in a busy business, being able to send quick replies is a lifesaver. So you can set up common replies to frequently asked questions, and you simply have to tap on the reply for it to be sent.

Put labels on chats to categorize each customer

whatsapp business labels

If your business starts to increase in WhatsApp, you will need some kind of filing system to keep track of order statuses, and which customers are new. So you can set up colored labels and then tag each conversation with the correct label to keep track of where that conversation is at. Are you still waiting on a payment? Have you sent out the package yet?

Integrate a WhatsApp button into your Facebook business page

facebook page whatsapp button

Finally, this is not strictly a WhatsApp Business feature — it is also available for regular WhatsApp as well. But if you have a Facebook business page, you can add a WhatsApp call button at the top of the page. This will help to encourage new customers to contact you on WhatsApp.

What is the WhatsApp Business API?

The WhatsApp Business app is meant for small businesses. But if your business is on a medium to large scale, then you should look at the WhatsApp Business API. This is meant for businesses with customer support teams, large numbers of customers, and who need to be able to scale up their customer communications as they grow.

No. You can only use one or the other. It’s for that reason that it’s highly recommended to get a second mobile phone for your business and install WhatsApp Business on that device.

How much does WhatsApp Business cost?

The smartphone app is free of charge.

How much does WhatsApp Business API cost?

The API itself is free, but you need to pay the monthly and set-up fees charged by the communication platform you sign up with. These fees can vary considerably, so you need to do your homework to find the best deal.

Can WhatsApp Business be used on the desktop and web clients?

Yes. You must first install the mobile app and set it up there. But afterward, logging into the desktop or web client will sync everything over.

Can you send bulk sales messages to customers using WhatsApp Business?

No. WhatsApp has been very clear that sending unsolicited bulk sales messages is not allowed, and this is grounds for your account to be closed. WhatsApp Business is there to personally interact one-to-one with individual customers.

If you want to build a WhatsApp customer community, better to set up a WhatsApp group and invite everyone there (making it clear that by doing so, they consent to messages being sent to them.)



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How to see your Spotify stats and what they show


Spotify stock photo 6

Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

If you’re someone who likes to pay attention to your statistics on various occasions, then you’ll want to know how to see your stats on Spotify. You can track your stats to review your listening habits, see what you’ve been listening to, and more.

Read more: How to see your Spotify listening history

QUICK ANSWER 

Spotify allows you to see two things natively from the desktop platform at all times: your top artists of the month and your top tracks of the month. To see these stats on Spotify, open the Spotify desktop app or web player and go to your Profile. Your Top artists this month and Top tracks this month will be displayed underneath your display name and profile picture.

Spotify allows you to see your Recently played artists from the mobile app for Android and iOS. To see these stats on Spotify, open the Spotify mobile app and go to your Profile. If you have Recently played artists switched on in Settings, you will see your Recently played artists list appear underneath your profile picture and display name.


JUMP TO KEY SECTIONS 

How to see your stats on Spotify (desktop and web player)

Aside from Spotify Wrapped, Spotify doesn’t allow you to see actual numbers. Listening time in minutes and more specific information isn’t actually available until Spotify Wrapped arrives in December each year. Even then, the information provided is quite limited.

However, Spotify does curate a list of your top artists and tracks, which can be viewed from your Profile. While it won’t specify how long you actually listened to each song or artist, your “top tracks” and “top artists” of the month will be listed in order, based on listening time.

top artists and top tracks of the month on spotify profile

Curtis Joe / Android Authority

Spotify allows you to view your top monthly artists and tracks from your Profile.

How to see your stats on Spotify (Android and iOS)

On your mobile device, your stat viewing options get thinner on Spotify. From your Profile, you are limited to only seeing your most frequently played artists, if you have Recently played artists switched on in Settings.

spotify screenshot of recently played artists

Curtis Joe / Android Authority

To get started:

  • Open the Spotify mobile app on your Android or iOS device.
  • From Home, select Settings, the gear-shaped button in the top-right.
  • In Settings, scroll down to the selection marked Social and make sure that Recently played artists is switched on.
  • Once Recently played artists is on, scroll back up and select View Profile to go to your Profile page.
  • On your Profile, you can see your three most Recently played artists. To see the full list, press See all.

The artists that show up in your Recently played artists list are shown in order based on your most recently played song. To see your most recent song history, select the Recently played button from the Home screen.

Using Stats for Spotify to see your Spotify stats

You can visit a website called Stats for Spotify that will show you your top tracks, top artists, and top genres. This is very similar to the information you can find within Spotify itself because you cannot see how long you listened to each song, artist, or genre. Tracks, artists, and genres are ranked based on time listened.

Now, where Stats for Spotify differs from the base platform is in the periods measured. You can view your top tracks, top artists, and top genres of the last four weeks, the last six months, and all time. To get started, head over to statsforspotify.com and click the Login with Spotify button.

stats for spotify 1

Curtis Joe / Android Authority

After this, you will be taken to an agreement page. Here you must acknowledge that you are allowing Stats for Spotify to access your account data and activity, as well as take actions on your behalf. Granting them this access will allow Stats for Spotify to see your stats, and then relay them to you in a consumable form factor.

stats for spotify screenshot of the acception page

Curtis Joe / Android Authority

After logging in through your Spotify account, you can start viewing your stats. As mentioned previously, there are no actual statistics involved. No numbers are shown aside from your top tracks, artists, and genres ranked. This data is updated daily.

stats for spotify 2

Curtis Joe / Android Authority

Spotify Wrapped

spotify wrapped 2021 1

Bogdan Petrovan / Android Authority

Every year, Spotify sends users a personalized Spotify Wrapped summary of their annual listening activity. Spotify Wrapped includes one piece of information exclusive from all of the other options mentioned in this article — numbers.

For artists, they can see—and share—bits of statistical information like how many streams they accumulated, how many listeners they had for the year, how many hours their music was listened to, and how many countries listened to their music.

Spotify subscribers can see:

  • Minutes Listened
  • Top Song
  • Top Songs
  • Audio Aura
  • Top Genres
  • Top Podcast
  • Top Artist
  • Top Artists.
Spotify Wrapped Results 1

Curtis Joe / Android Authority

If you’re looking for exact numbers, like how long you listened to a specific song or how many times you listened to a specific artist, then you are out of luck. This information is kept behind closed doors and is not available.

The closest you can get to specific stats is in December of each year when Spotify releases your Spotify Wrapped summary.



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You like what you see from the Exynos 2200 on paper


The Samsung Exynos 2200 chipset.

Samsung finally announced the Exynos 2200 this week, being the processor that will power some of the company’s flagship phones in 2022. It’s also the first major smartphone processor to receive an AMD GPU, marking a new era of sorts for the Korean brand.

We wanted to know what readers thought of the new processor’s specs though, posting a poll within our announcement article. Here’s how you voted in this particular survey.

What do you think of the Exynos 2200 on paper?

Results

Almost 1,000 votes were tallied in this poll as of writing, and it turns out that 77.41% of respondents think Samsung’s new processor looks hot on paper.

It’s not hard to see why people voted like this, as the Exynos 2200 offers a powerful octa-core CPU in theory (one Cortex-X2, three Cortex-A710, and four Cortex-A510), potentially beefy graphics, and some impressive multimedia capabilities.

More reading: Your guide to Samsung Exynos processors

Meanwhile, 22.59% of polled readers reckon that the Exynos 2200 doesn’t look like a hot prospect on paper. At least one reader comment suggests that Samsung has failed to deliver on the promise of its Exynos chipsets for several years now.

We can understand this stance, as the Exynos 2100 and Exynos 990 were both inferior to the equivalent Qualcomm processor when it came to the GPU in particular. Samsung is pinning its hopes on AMD graphics, but Qualcomm’s new Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 has made a major stride too.

Either way, we’re keen to see real-world results once Exynos 2200-powered Samsung phones hit the market.

Comments

  • Kira: Finally !! The greater the competition,the better it is for the customers.
  • 🇦🇺Marshall: I don’t get all the “not” votes. Any Exynos overhaul is welcome news.
  • Nikita M: Pixel pathetic after this
  • Avieshek: So, it can’t really record at 120fps for 4K just disables HDR – no wonder it can’t do 8K at 60fps, missed opportunity to support VVC/h.266 and is where I fear Snapdragon may have better responses making the news with battery efficiency though the setup is literally the same even with MediaTek.
  • Joe Black: I simply do not care any more. Competitive Exynos is nice and all, but considering pretty much every other SOC is reaching for pretty much the same efficiency, I am more curious, if we ever see a step forward software wise. Having a beast SOC in our phones and tablets certainly feels good, being able to use said power would feel even better… not to mention Samsung track record of failing Exynos promises since 2015.
  • sachouba: I’m eager to see the power consumption of this SoC. At a time when virtually any SoC is powerful enough for most applications, it’s time to see whether it is power-efficient enough for a smartphone to last at least 1.5 days – unlike most Snapdragon 888-powered smartphones.



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Nova Launcher guide: What is it, why use it, and more


Nova Launcher showing settings page

Dhruv Bhutani / Android Authority

Getting bored of the familiar home screen setup you’ve been rocking ever since you got your phone? The beauty of Android lies in the sheer customization potential on offer. From basics like wallpapers and custom icons to switching out the entire look and feel of the phone, there’s a lot you can do to freshen up your handset.

The ability to make a phone look precisely how you want has spawned an entire wave of utilities and home screen replacement launchers. Nova Launcher is one such app that lets you get a near-stock look with a feature set that could put the most robust of stock launchers to shame.

What is Nova Launcher, and why use it?

how to launch nova launcher settings

Dhruv Bhutani / Android Authority

As the name suggests, Nova Launcher is a third-party replacement home screen launcher. The app replaces your stock home-screen and allows for a host of gestures, icon packs, and granular customization that goes well beyond the default feature set.

The default launcher included on your phone can often be cluttered or riddled with extra additions that you don’t want. Some launchers don’t even include an app drawer and prefer to toss all the app icons on the home screen itself. Grid sizes, widget placement, app drawers, and more, your phone should look and feel exactly how you want it, and a replacement launcher like Nova Launcher gives you the flexibility of bringing back all the features you’ve come to like.

Read next: The best customization apps for Android

In regular development since 2011, the launcher is polished to a sheen and is light on resources, making it the perfect choice for older devices that might be a bit short on power. However, even newer phones can benefit from it. I prefer to use Nova Launcher on my personal devices because it lets me customize my home-screen grid exactly how I like it, right down to the sub-pixel. Moreover, I’ve come to like features like the ability to overlap widgets, lock my home screen layout or easily back up and restore my app layout whenever I’m switching phones.

Nova Launcher Free vs Prime: Which one should you get?

Nova Launcher with gesture navigation

Dhruv Bhutani / Android Authority

Nova Launcher is available with a very generous free version that provides most of the functionality for free. For most users, this will be more than enough to get started with customizing their phones.

However, advanced users will benefit from some features locked away with Nova Launcher Prime. Chief amongst these is gesture support that lets you initiate actions by pinching, swiping, and more on apps or folders. Nova Launcher Prime also supports notification badges that display a count of unread notifications on top of apps. Additionally, you also get the ability to add folders for apps within the app drawer.

We would recommend most users get started with the free version of Nova Launcher to see if it suits their needs. However, the premium unlock is priced at a reasonable $4.99. Nova Launcher Prime often goes on sale, and it wouldn’t be a bad idea to purchase the premium version to support the developers.

What’s unique about Nova Launcher?

Nova Launcher displaying the home screen layout grid

Dhruv Bhutani / Android Authority

Over the years, many features from Nova Launcher have been cribbed by competing options, but the launcher still has some tricks up its sleeve. As a long-time Nova Launcher user, the most noticeable improvement while using it is the sheer speed advantage it often offers over OEM skins. The home screen replacement is extremely well optimized and will let you adjust animation speeds or even remove them altogether to make the user experience as flashy or as fast as you want.

Nova Launcher gives you granular control over grid and icon sizes and even the number of icons you can place on the dock. So if you fancy a full-page stuffed with icons for all your favorite apps, that’s possible. Conversely, if you are setting up a phone for an elderly user, you can increase icon sizes and have them fill up the home page.

On the features side of things, the quick search feature stands out for its ease of use and implementation. Tap the dedicated widget or the search bar in the app drawer to quickly search for any installed apps. You can even assign a gesture to pop open the search bar on the Home Screen itself.

Nova Launcher takes the search bar a step further with its unique ability to launch Google Search, look up the Play Store, or even perform quick calculations from within the app search bar itself. It is a cinch to switch to alternate search engines like DuckDuckGo from the settings.

Read next: The best private search engines for Android

Additionally, installing Sesame Shortcuts is an easy way to add quick access shortcuts to the most popular apps. Nova Launcher integrates deeply with Sesame Shortcuts to give users better on-device search for conversations, contacts, and more. In addition, you will get integration with popular apps like Spotify, Slack, Reddit, and Netflix, to name a few. Moreover, the integrations learn from your use and pop up the most frequently used apps, routines, or in the case of music services, playlists.

Another feature that can’t be found on most launchers is creating shortcuts for app actions. Implemented in the form of swipe gestures, these shortcuts will let you launch specific actions like dialing a preferred contact by swiping on the dialer app. I use a swipe-down action on my navigation apps folder to launch a traffic search on Google Maps.

Other features you should know about

Nova Launcher integration with sesame launcher

Dhruv Bhutani / Android Authority

While most launchers offer notification badges in the form of numbers for unread messages or dots to indicate unread status, Nova Launcher’s dynamic badges add some visual flair to an otherwise basic function. The badges are dynamically generated based on the notification received, which could be the profile photo in the case of a WhatsApp message or a similar indicator for Gmail.

Nova Launcher also offers its own version of Night mode, which changes the background color of folders, the app drawer, the search window, and other elements to a darker tone for a better experience while using the phone at night.

Gestures are one of the best features of Nova Launcher.

Then there are Gestures, which allow you to perform various tasks just by swiping up/down, double-tapping the screen, or pinching in or out on the home screen. For example, you can turn off the display when you double-tap the screen and launch Google Assistant when you swipe up.

Pressing down the volume button in the settings tab for Nova Launcher will also reveal the Labs feature. These are experimental features that can assist functionality or add some extra features before they move into the standard build of Nova Launcher.

Nova Launcher customization options

Nova Launcher look and feel settings

Dhruv Bhutani / Android Authority

Let’s now talk about some of the customization options available in Nova Launcher. The most used feature for most users will be the Home Screen setting which lets you adjust the desktop grid and icon layout. It can also change the amount of padding around icons and widget corners or adjust scrolling for wallpapers. Further, you can even tweak the visual indicators for pages on the home screen.

Next up is the app drawer. Nova Launcher offers a boatload of options to tweak how you access it. Users can switch between swipe gestures, icons, or even a custom action shortcut.

Nova Launcher allows you to hide apps or group similar apps together within the app drawer.

The customization extends to changing sizes for dock icons, background images, or labels. Further, it is possible to hide apps or create groups of similar apps within the app drawer if you are using the app’s premium version.

A separate “Look and feel” menu gives even more granular control over how your home screen can look. Options extend from essentials like icon packs to screen orientation, app menus, or the ability to hide the notification bar. Should you choose, you can even make the notification bar transparent.

What Nova Launcher looks like

Nova Launcher guides you through a quick onboarding process to dial in the essential settings before dropping you into a clean-looking home screen. You’ll find essential icons for Gmail, the photo gallery, and the Play Store, and that’s about it. Swiping up from the bottom reveals the full app drawer.

Long pressing on the home screen reveals options for widgets and entering the settings page. From here, you can swipe up and add any widget. Long pressing the widgets displays the variety of options available for further editing. Meanwhile, tapping the settings page showcases the full range of settings available to completely customize the interface. Nova Launcher does a good job organizing the settings, and the labels are self-explanatory even if you are new to customizing your phone.

Nova Launcher alternatives

If the stock-like look of Nova Launcher is a bit too straightforward for you, several alternatives can amp it up with information overload or tone it down with a minimalist look. We’ve listed some of the best alternatives to Nova Launcher, but you can also refer to our feature on some of the best Android launcher apps to make your home screen perfect.

Lawnchair Launcher

Lawnchair Launcher 2019 screenshot Final

Lawnchair Launcher is a minimalistic launcher that replicates the look and feel of Pixel Launcher while tacking on essentials like icon pack support, adaptive icons, and Google Now integration. The app doesn’t differ drastically from Nova Launcher but is completely free, making it worth a look.


Microsoft Launcher

A Google Play screenshot of the Microsoft Android launcher app

Originally called Arrow Launcher, Microsoft Launcher stands out for its completely customized look and feel. The home screen replacement pulls in from popular Microsoft services and displays them as cards on the home screen. If you are invested in the Microsoft ecosystem, the app does an excellent job of creating widgets for the calendar, email, and to-do services.


Niagara Launcher

Niagara Launcher screenshot 2020 2

Minimalists will love the look and feel of Niagara Launcher. Designed to keep the home screen fresh, the app hides home screen clutter in favor of a quickly scrollable list of installed apps. Integrated widgets give you a quick glance at your ongoing conversations and essentials like weather and music controls.


Action Launcher

Action Launcher screenshot 2021

Joe Hindy / Android Authority

Action Launcher is another popular choice for users who love customizing their phones. The app goes for a stock-like look but adds additional features like the ability to customize the interface’s colors based on the wallpaper.

FAQs

Nova Launcher with dynamic notification badges

Dhruv Bhutani / Android Authority

Q: How do you enter Nova Launcher’s settings?
A:
Long press on the home screen and tap Settings to enter the menu.

Q: How do you set up Nova Launcher as your default launcher?
A: Nova Launcher will present a pop-up during the initial setup process asking you to set it as the default launcher. However, if you accidentally switch to another launcher, you can head to settings and tap the default launcher option to re-establish Nova as the default launcher on your phone.

Q: How do you backup and restore your Nova Launcher configuration?
A:
Nova Launcher makes it easy to back up and save your layout configuration. This is a handy way to quickly migrate your layout configuration to a new device. Head to Settings, tap the Backup & restore option and use the Backup setting to save your configuration to your local storage or Google Drive. You can even use the share setting to email the configuration. Tap the restore button and select the file to roll back to an existing configuration.

Q: How do you reset Nova Launcher?
A:
Nova Launcher offers two options if you want to restart the customization process from scratch. Head to the Backup and restore settings option and tap Quick start. You can also tap the Reset option to remove all customizations.



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