Quick settings and malware protection coming in Android 4.2

Android 4.2

For Android users everywhere — or maybe just the ones in our office — Google’s decision to add quick settings to Android 4.2’s notification pulldown is very much appreciated. It’s a feature Android users have been waiting for since the first third-party developer implemented it years ago. Previously, you could download an app or install a custom ROM to activate the feature, but that’s not the way it should be. Also in Android 4.2, Google has added some important and necessary security features to crack down on malware, which we’ll get to later.

As we reported earlier, the quick settings can be accessed by swiping down from the top of the screen with two fingers, rather than the one-finger swipe used to access notifications. You can also use the settings button that normally resides at the top of the notification dropdown.

According to Android Central, there are eight settings listed: Google+ profile, brightness, settings, Wi-Fi, mobile data, battery, airplane mode, and Bluetooth. The Google+ button takes you to your profile, settings opens up the full settings menu, Wi-Fi takes you to Wi-Fi settings, airplane mode is a toggle for the feature, Bluetooth takes you to Bluetooth settings, mobile data shows your carrier and signal strength, and brightness brings up the brightness slider, and battery shows a percentage remaining and will take you to the full battery menu if tapped.

All in all, the quick settings are not nearly as useful as some third-party apps out there, but it’s a good start. We would have liked to see the Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and mobile data buttons be used as toggles rather than shortcuts, but hopefully this will change in future updates.

As for security, Android 4.2 brings a malware scanner to the platform that screens “sideloaded” apps — meaning software not downloaded from Google Play — for any mischievous code. The new feature has to be enabled in the Settings menu and adds another step to installing outside apps. Google compares the app to its own list of “known applications” that includes both apps from Google Play and popular apps that aren’t available in the store. If a threat is discovered, Google will shut down the installation.

There are also new safeguards in place for apps that attempt to automatically bill your cellular account. Now a prompt will show up to request your direct permission for the billing. Android 4.2 also adds some minor improvements to the permission screen that precedes app installation to make it more obvious and easier to understand.

Android 4.2 may be an incremental update, but it’s nice to see Google adding much-needed and appreciated features to its mobile operating system. This attention-to-detail is exactly what Android needs if it wants to continue commanding the world’s attention.

Product Review

Sleek and expensive, the Apple TV 4K will still delight the Apple faithful

Is Apple’s latest streaming set-top box a revolution, or too little too late? Find out in our Apple TV 4K review, and learn how this device wins in some big categories, but falters in others.
Gaming

Xbox's app lets you access your console while away from home. Here's how

Microsoft's Xbox allows you to access your profile information and launch media content directly from your mobile device. Check out our quick guide on how to connect your smartphone to an Xbox One.
Product Review

Ring Video Doorbell 2 is the simplest entry into a smarter doorway

The Ring Video Doorbell 2 may lack the style and sophistication of premium door-dingers, but few can match its simplicity and versatility. The device, available in both wired and wireless configurations, is easy to set up and adds instant…
Product Review

From tables to porches, Ring's Stick Up Cam watches wherever you want

Ring’s latest home security camera offers more versatility than ever before, with the ability to mount it, set it on a table, or put it inside or outside. We got a chance to test it out. Here’s how it went.
Wearables

Samsung's new Galaxy Watch Active can track your blood pressure

Looking for a new fitness buddy? Samsung just launched the Galaxy Watch Active and the Galaxy Fit, two new wearables with a raft of fitness-focused features that'll keep you moving and get you down the gym.
Mobile

Adobe Premiere Rush CC is coming to the Samsung Galaxy S10 this year

The Samsung Galaxy S10 boasts a number of hardware improvements over previous Samsung phones, but it also offers a few software improvements too. Adobe Premiere Rush CC, for example, is coming to the Samsung Galaxy S10 later this year.
Product Review

Galaxy Watch Active is the right size, no matter how big or small your wrist is

Launched among a massive array of other new products, the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active could easily have been missed at Galaxy Unpacked 2019 -- which would be unfortunate. This is a sensibly designed, correctly sized smartwatch suitable for…
Mobile

From folding phones to 5G -- here's everything we saw at Galaxy Unpacked

Samsung's Galaxy Unpacked event treated us to a real parade of technological excellence, from folding phones to new fitness wearables. Here's everything we saw at Galaxy Unpacked on February 20.
Mobile

Google’s radical Gmail redesign is finally rolling out on Android

Google is slowly but surely giving its apps a refresh, modernizing them and ensuring that they're easy to use. The latest app to get a redesign is the Gmail app for Android, which has been redesigned with a few tweaks.
Mobile

The best Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus cases to protect your $1,000 phone

Can't get enough of big phones? The Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus is absolutely up your alley. But it's still fragile, and damage is easily gathered through normal life. Protect it with the best Galaxy S10 Plus cases.
Mobile

Samsung Galaxy S10 vs. Galaxy S9: How much better is Samsung’s new flagship?

You'd naturally expect the Samsung Galaxy S10 to be better than last year's S9, but just how do the two phones differ? We break down the specs and compare Samsung's flagships in various categories to pick a winner.
Mobile

Protect and style your Samsung Galaxy S10 with the best cases and covers

If you've splashed the cash for a shiny new Samsung Galaxy S10, then you'll want to take steps to protect your investment. With a metal frame and glass curves, the S10 needs some cover. Check out the best Samsung Galaxy S10 cases.
Mobile

You can now pre-order the Samsung Galaxy S10, S10 Plus, or S10e

The Samsung Galaxy S10 is one of the most-anticipated phones of the year, offering a new chipset, beautiful display, and more. Now that the phone has been announced you might be wondering where you can get it for yourself.
Mobile

Where to buy the Samsung Galaxy S10, S10 Plus, and S10e in the U.K.

The Samsung Galaxy S10, S10 Plus, and S10e have all been officially announced and can be pre-ordered right now, with deliveries expected on March 8. If you're in the U.K., this is where you need to go to buy one.