Optimize Your Android Device

OPTIMIZING YOUR NEXUS 7 (2013)

The Nexus 7 (2013) is a mobile data capable tablet. It’s suppose to work with AT&T, T-Mobile & Verizon’s LTE service. Sprint’s LTE service is incompatible. I use a T-Mobile sim card and have a data plan.

If someone asks for the IMEI don’t bother looking in SETTINGS under About tablet it’s not there. To get your IMEI download & Install the Network Info II app from Google Play. Open the app and look under Device. You’ll also find your Android ID. The IMEI can be displayed on the screen of the phone by entering *#06# into the keypad on most phones, but the Nexus 7 a tablet and doesn’t have a native keypad so that’s not an option.

I had my Nexus 7 tablet on T-Mobile’s free 200 MB data plan. The T-Mobile data plan tested at 45 Mbps download & 15 Mbps upload. Great speed but very limited amount of data, such that I mostly used Wi-Fi when it’s available, and when I’m away from a trusted and open Wi-Fi hotspot I’ll use my phone as a hotspot. The 200 MB limit force me to almost always carry both my phone and my tablet. See that’s the rub, I want to get down to just one device. T-Mobile’s current tablet data only plan (non-promotional) is $30/mo for 3 GB ($20 with a Family Plan), but after 3 GB they don’t throttle you, they cut you off till the next monthly data quota.

My current phone’s voice & data plan includes 2.5 GB of data, after 2.5 GB it’s throttled to an average of 0.14 Mbps download speed. Yes, that’s slow, and I’ll run into this two or three times per year, usually about a week before the new monthly data quota starts. When I have a good connection and before I’m throttled it has an average of 15 Mbps download speed, and 2.5 Mbps upload speed. Considering that my home Wi-Fi was around 7.5 & 1.5 respectively I thought it was pretty good. But I renegotiated my cable contract and AT&T just bumped it up to an average of 15 & 3, respectfully. Seems pretty good except Comcast is currently offering 50 Mbps download speeds in my area.

My phone voice & data plan is grandfathered into a $25/month plan, which is cheap enough (it’s currently offered at $35/mo), but I’m trying to get down to one device.

Talk & Surf?

Mighty Text allowed me to receive SMS messages on my tablet but didn’t allow me to make phone calls. Various VOIP apps allowed phone calls.

Just found out that T-Mobile has a promotion going on, “add a tablet for $10/month” up to 5 GB at LTE speed, then unlimited data throttled to 3G speed. There’s two catches: first is that someone must have a voice plan, so everyone on the Family Plan can’t convert to a data only plan. Second is that the promotional offer will eventually be withdrawn and 12 months later you’ll most likely face a more costly data plan. The extra 2 GB and throttling instead of being cut off is what I have been waiting for.

On Monday, October 6th, 2014 Alex Weisen a senior software engineer at Google announced a major improvement to its free Google Voice service, Multimedia Message Service (MMS) support across nearly every major cellular carrier in North America, with the exception of Verizon.

It has 2 GB of RAM and 32 GB of storage memory, unfortunately it doesn’t have a SD card slot.

I’ve ported my old cellphone number to Google Voice and installed the VOIP Freedom App, so essentially my tablet is my smartphone.

  1. Remove Bloatware Bloatware takes up valuable RAM or storage space, and may even run automatically in the background, needlessly draining battery power. One of the nice things about Nexus 7 is that there’s no Bloatware, unless you install it. Technically it’s not Bloatware if you can install it and can remove it, but let’s not quibble over the definition. If you have a Android smartphone that’s backed it up with Google, when you sign into your Google account on the Nexus 7 it may restore from your back up and re-add the apps from your Google Play account that are compatible with your Nexus 7. Any apps that might have been useful when you were with AT&T, Verizon or perhaps another carrier may now be redundant or even useless.

    Depending on how you use your Nexus 7 you may consider some stock built-in Android apps to be Bloatware, such as Google Earth, People or Email apps.

    How to Remove or Disable Bloatware on Nexus 7 Tablet
    * Go to Setting and select Apps.
    * Tap on All tab and choose the built-in system apps that you want to disable or remove.
    * Tap on Disable or Uninstall, select OK button to confirm it. If it’s an Android System App then the app will be putted at bottom of the list and you can re-enable later if you so choose. You can’t remove Android System Apps without rooting or using a Bloatware Removal Script. If you haven’t or don’t wish to root your device or know how to modify a Bloatware Removal Script you probably are best being content to just disable the undesired App.

    If you wish to completely freeze or uninstall a preinstalled Android System Apps you’ll need to use third-party app on your rooted tablet.

  2. Replace your Keyboard – My choice is TouchPal X, but you may find another to your preference.
  3. Reduce data usage on Chrome – it’s auto selected on Chrome Beta, and perhaps on your version but it’s worth double checking. Go to Settings and under Advance Settings you’ll find it.

    image

  4. Chrome – Enable Pinch to Zoom & Text Size
    image

  5. Automate Your Device (If This, Then That)
    There’s various apps that will allow you to automate various tasks. I found some very useful functions such as automatically toggling Wi-Fi and enabling Screen Lock.
    Agent
    AutomateIt
    Trigger

  6. Mobile, Wireless and Networks

    Mobile Plan T-Mobile offers a free 200 MB data plan for tablets. Under their Family Plan you can upgrade to a $20/ month 3 GB plan. ($10 more without the Family Plan).

    Location services / GPS
    GPS consumes power as it tries to keep a lock on satellite signals. Unless you’re using the Nexus 7 to navigate, keep it turned off. If you’re indoors keep GPS turned off since it’s unlikely you’ll get a signal.

    Wi-Fi settings
    Network Notifications: Switch this off, so your device will stop actively searching for new networks. I find it annoying and I don’t use “new networks” for security reasons.

    Keep Wi-Fi on during sleep: the ‘only when plugged in‘ option is a good compromise between power use and convenience

    WiFi optimization: Certain apps don’t work well when Wi-Fi Optimization is on, if so then turn it off. WiFi optimization doesn’t actually optimize your WiFi connection; instead, it optimizes battery usage. Yes, it’ll affect battery usage a bit, but that’s a choice you’ll have to make.

    Bluetooth
    For greater security and battery life, keep Bluetooth turned off until you need it. Rename your device to make it easier to find it, then minimize the ‘Visibility timeout’ to two minutes so the tablet will deactivate Bluetooth visibility as soon as possible. Consider using an automate it app to turn it on or off as desired.

    NFC
    Near field communication (NFC), is used for NFC, tap to pay, and sharing contact info and files. It can be disabled, but it uses very little power. You decide if it’s worth turning if off & on.

    Airplane mode
    Airplane mode disables all wireless systems and will save a lot of power and data usage. I usually have my Nexus 7 (2013) tablet on Airplane mode with Wi-Fi enabled unless I’m away from trusted Wi-Fi connections.

  7. Sounds

    Notification Sounds
    Notification sounds can be annoying and rude as well as a (small) power drain. You can set the notification volume to very low or to zero.

    Touch and Screen Lock Sounds
    These can also be disabled.

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