Android tips: apps failing to update, & using any music file for ringtones & notifications

I take turns using a few different mobile phones, which is quite interesting to the see pros and cons of each platform. I’ve had a few experiences with Android lately, so I thought I’d share a couple of tips: apps failing to update, and using any music file for ringtones and notifications.

Can’t update apps from Google Play?

I recently got the update to Android Jelly Bean, version 4.2.1, for my Galaxy Nexus. Overall, I think the Jelly Bean update has been really good, both from a performance and end-user perspective. I’m happy to see Android constantly improving with every release and I think it’s going in the right direction.

One of the features I really like in Android vs. iOS is having the automatic updates of apps in the background. No need to go into Google Play, no need to tap things to initiate the process. When they’re updated, I’m just notified. I quite like this,

However, after the update, I stumbled upon a problem: all my apps failed to get their latest updates. I let them try a few times, but to no avail.

Searching around on the web, the most common solutions to similar problems are:

  1. Go to Settings > Apps > All
  2. Find Google Services Framework and Clear data and/or Clear cache. Force stop might be necessary.

  3. Go to Settings > Apps > All

  4. Find Google Play Store and Clear data and/or Clear cache. Force stop might be necessary.

After this, you might need to restart the phone.

This seems to solve various problems for a lot of people, but did nothing for me.

I kept on searching, trying to find what the problem could actually be. After an hour of swearing and exasperation, I finally found a clue:

Google Play needs Google Talk to work.

I vaguely remembered uninstalling Google Talk since it insisted on signing in, resulting in a lot of instant messages I didn’t want to receive.

Unfortunately, from what I could see, there’s no way to be able to find the APK for Google Talk from Google anywhere.

So I was stuck.

This basically left me with two options:

  1. Install Google Talk from an APK a kind soul had posted in a forum to help people with a lot of similar issues.
  2. Do a factory data reset on the phone.

(some other options could be flashing the phone with certain builds etc, but I didn’t want to go down that path – also, I was curious how this could be solved by a normal user, i.e. someone that doesn’t hack the phone)

I ended up doing the factory reset, since, honestly, I didn’t want to install an APK with super rights on my phone from someone I don’t know. Since I have all important data backed up through Dropbox and other solutions, contacts through Google etc, a fresh install isn’t that much of a problem for me – no matter the phone.

And a long time ago, I learned to be ready to freshly install a computer, device or mobile phone, without needing days to get back to where I were before. Nowadays, I need about an hour, and then I’m good.

After the reset, Google Talk was back, and apps worked updating, just as they should. Yay! So now I reinstalled the apps I wanted/actually care about, got it all set up and it all works again.

It’s kind of nice with a fresh start again. πŸ™‚

However, having Google Play being dependent on Google Talk – an instant messaging program – is both non-intuitive and annoying, and I sure hope Google find a better way for this.

Using any music file for ringtones and notifications

On both iOS and Android, it’s pretty hard and tedious to use your own music files as a ringtone or notification sound. Sure, there are some apps through which you can generate ring tones and then make them available, but it’s far from optimal.

On iOS, this is extra shitty, when you need iTunes on a computer to be able to sync it back to the phone as a ringtone – on Android, it’s slightly better.

However, with my Android factory reset I only had the preinstalled options available. And I’ve expressed what I think about them before:

The alarm clock on the iPhone has sounds like angels playing a harp. Every option on Android sounds like a robot molesting a microwave oven

Therefore, I really wanted my ringtones and alarm sounds back, and I was happy to find a little gem: Rings Extended.

It’s very simple: when you are to choose sound, e.g. a ringtone, you just select to do it through the Rings Extended app and then it allows you to use any of the music files you have on your phone – can’t get much easier than that!

And that was all from this day’s Android rant. πŸ™‚


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