Community Challenge 31: The beginner/guru online match-up

That phone you carry around all day is a powerful computer, able to do more than just make calls, send and receive texts, and take cute photos of your dog.

This challenge is meant to bring together our Android beginners and our Android gurus in order to help those who may not be getting the most out of their cell phone while also allowing those who are prodigies of the cell phone to show off their skills.

  • Maybe you have been wondering how to get your phone to do something specific, but you just don’t know where to start. You’ve seen members talk about their home screen set-up, their wallpaper, unique ringtones, and even more complex functionality. Reply in this topic describing what it is you’d like to do, and we’ll see who can help you get it done.
  • Maybe you have some really impressive functionality on your phone. Reply in this topic to tell us what you’ve been able to do and how you set it up. Don’t be shy, we’re eager to see your creativity!

We’ll randomly pick three beginners and the guru who helps them, as well as three gurus who share their interesting functionality as prize winners for this Challenge. That’s nine total prizes, and if you’re a guru, you have a chance to win twice.


  1. Keep it “rated G”, please. Moderation will be swift and final. The moderator is a prude.
  2. Submit only your own, original work.
  3. By submitting your entry in our challenge, you understand that the entry is publicly visible and you permit Republic Wireless to use the entry.
  4. Each participant may enter once. A guru who assists a beginner may win a prize under that beginner’s entry as well as under a separate guru entry.
  5. Eligible entries must be submitted before 11:59 p.m. ET on Sunday, March 7, 2021.
  6. Comments that are derogatory, sarcastic, or silly (“I want to fry bacon on my phone”) will not be considered eligible.


To be eligible to win a prize, you must reply in this topic in one of the following two categories:

Beginner category:

Tell us something you’d like your phone to be able to do and let a guru help you learn how.

Guru category:

Tell us something unique you’ve set up your phone to do, and how you did it.

How the Match-Up works:

If you have the know-how to accomplish what a Beginner has requested, reply to that Beginner with an explanation. (If the conversation needs to continue, we’ll move it outside of this challenge topic just to keep things from becoming too confusing.) Once the beginner has accomplished the task using your instructions, you’ll both be eligible for the prize.

Sorry, Republic Wireless staff members and their families are not eligible to win. @Ambassadors and @Experts are eligible to win in this challenge.

Winner selection

Winners will be selected by random drawing between Monday, March 8, and Thursday, March 11, 2021.


Three winners for each category will be selected by random drawing to win their choice of one of the prizes listed below:

  • A $10 Amazon gift card
  • A $10 Google Play Store gift card
  • A $10 service credit to your Republic Wireless account

This isn’t anything super complex or special, but it makes life so much easier. With managing so many different things during the day (multiple virtual school schedules, pet feedings/meds, appointments, kid’s activities, etc.) I really needed something to help me stay on task and on time for all these things - especially since everyday is a different schedule. I use the heck out of the clock alarms and timers. You can set reoccurring alarms and choose which day(s) of the week, plus add a note or description with an icon so you know why your phone is yelling at you again! You can also choose to temporarily shut off alarms (like for vacations or weekends), or delete them altogether if you no longer need that particular reminder. When the alarm sounds, you can choose to snooze or dismiss (snooze will wait another 10 minutes and then go off again, and dismiss will shut it off but be ready again for the next scheduled day). To get started, just click on the clock that is probably already on your homescreen, select alarm, click the + button to add a new alarm, select the time (make sure AM/PM is correct), select which day(s), add your notes & icons, and slide the bar to turn on/off alarm.


I thought I’d share a second calendar / timer related tip. At the present time I work off of 7 different calendars. 5 personal, 2 business. All of the personal calendars are Google based, while the two business calendars are Exchange / Microsoft based. I really wanted an easy way to see all the calendars at once, in an organized way, with a nice widget to be able to see all my events, color coded and organized. It has now been years that I have been using what was Business Calendar and is now Business Calendar 2 ( Business Calendar 2 - Agenda, Planner & Widgets - Apps on Google Play) This fantastic app allows me to combine calendars from multiple sources in to a single calendar and has terrific widgets for display (I use the “Agenda” widget as a main element of my primary phone home screen.

For those trying to juggle lots of calendars, not all on Google, I highly recommend it as a fantastic way to do so.


A post was split to a new topic: Problems using my Moto E6

How do I easily create a voice note? I have a Moto G Stylus (2020) and would like to be able to create voice notes, easily accessible at some later time. I now grab the stylus and jot down a note. However, if I could instead tap once or twice, begin speaking and have my speech transcribed to a note, time stamped and stored in a dedicated directory, that would be even better (faster and easier). Something like “Don’t forget to check the checking account balance.”

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This is something that interests me! I use 2 Android (Google) calendars, 1 iCloud calendar, and have a Microsoft Windows 10 (S mode) laptop. Can I put all those into one view with Business Calendar 2, viewable from all three types of devices?

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Unfortunately it is an Android only app, While it can combine all of them in to a single interface on an Android device it won’t help you on your PC or Apple device.

You mention iCloud but don’t specify an Apple device. If you do have an Apple device, have you tried the native Calendar app? I find Apple’s native apps work quite well with Google services.

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Hi @heatherd.tuemtk,

Thanks for sharing how you’ve been able to use the alarm function of the Clock app to help manage what sounds like a very hectic lifestyle! Thanks also for not being afraid to go first, and for that, I’d like to send you a Republic Wireless T-shirt. I’ll be in touch by personal message with details.

My iOS device is an Apple iPad and I use an iCloud calendar. However, I have not been able to view my iCloud calendar from my Android devices. It appears that Apple blocks it? Or have things changed recently?

Neither Apple or Google go out of their way to mention it but both rely on the same open source standards for their Calendar and Contacts apps (CalDAV and CardDAV repectively).

Apple devices both macOS and iOS pull Google Calendar and Google Contacts data into native apps. In other words, it’s entirely possible to view Google Calendar and Google Contacts data in Apple’s native Calendar and Contacts on both macOS and iOS. Basically, all one need do is add their Google account(s) to their Apple devices.

Going in the other direction is quite possible as well. On Android, viewing iCloud calendars and/or contacts in Android calendar and contacts apps requires something called an Android sync adapter. I use DAVx5 available at Google’s Play Store here:

If interested in viewing iCloud mail in Gmail on an Android, see here:

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Guru Attempt:

I would try Google Keep.

A long press on my phone (Moto G6 with Nova Launcher) brings up a shortcut menu where “New Audio Note” is one of the options. I do not think that this is a function of the launcher I am using, so it should work on your phone as well.

You can also place the Keep icon on your home screen to make it quicker to navigate to the icon.


Beginner Question:

My wife’s Moto G Power (2020) does not have Face Unlock available. I understand that this was removed as a native option by Android; however, is there a way that I could add this functionality to her phone? The solution could be a good app (App Store or apk) or something more complex.

Long press on the Home Button or say “OK Google” to bring up Google Assistant. Say “Note To Self” and then dictate your note. Google Assistant will email you the note. Or you can configure Google Assistant to put it in Google Keep, but by default it is an email.


I use the MacroDroid app (Playstore) to automate some functions on my phone. Some execute automatically, and some are activated by icons (buttons) that I place on my home screen.


  • at a set time at night, the phone’s volume and screen settings are changed to be more “compatible” with sleeping with my phone on my nightstand. Similar to “do not disturb,” but I have added some custom settings.
  • in the morning, a macro “wakes up” my phone…adjusting the settings for “day” use
  • I added an icon on my screen that initiates a macro to mute my phone. Press it again to unmute.
  • I also have an icon on my screen that sets the screen brightness to 100%. This is good for outside, and in the car. It also prompts me to optionally activate the “keep awake” setting. I do that when I’m in the car, and I don’t want the screen to sleep.
  • Of course, there is also an icon that resets the phone to normal brightness, and cancels the keep awake setting.
  • I like to keep my phone in airplane mode at home to save battery power (I’m in a dead zone). I also turn off location services. A macro does that for me. I have another macro that turns them back on when I leave the premises.
  • My favorite is my “pool” macro. I have a router in the pool shed, which I connect to for a better signal. Also, it’s bright outside, so my screen brightness needs to be adjusted. The macro automatically senses that I’m close to the pool router, and makes the switch automatically, and increases my screen brightness. It also increases my ring volume, as it’s often noisy in the immediate area. Another macro senses that I’m on my way back to the house, and switches everything back; router, volume, brightness.

So, for those of you that enjoy customizing your phones, I highly recommend MacroDroid. There is a free version (full functionality), and a paid version (allows for more macros). Creating an app is very easy, and there is a repository of macros created by users that you are free to download. In fact, @jben created a macro to deal with the infamous “Doze” issue.


The number of entries in the challenge matches up with the number of prizes, so we won’t need a drawing. I’ll be in touch with each participant about their prize.

Thanks to all who offered their Guru suggestions, and Beginner questions.

@SamuelC, I noticed no one had a suggestion about a way to replicate “Face Unlock.” Would any of the Smart Lock functions serve as a substitute?

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We are currently using Smart Lock’s Trusted Location feature which helps when she’s home, but it doesn’t really help when she’s out and about. I have looked at a couple apps through the play store, but several comments say that the facial recognition is either unreliable or there are very easy workarounds to unlock the phone.

As of now, it looks like options are to get her a Google Pixel (I believe some support face unlock), root her current phone (not an option), or get her an older Android. My Moto G6 oddly still has face unlock as a feature.

Our real problem is the Moto G Power’s fingerprint sensor is inconveniently placed on the back of the phone, and it does not work as constantly as my Moto G6 or her previous Moto G5 Plus. This makes it frustrating to unlock the phone, especially in situations where she can’t pick up the phone easily.

Unless you have a device that has native face recognition with depth sensors via dot projection, face recognition is quite insecure because it can’t detect depth and can be fooled by simple things like a photo.

It has the insecure version and in the latest versions of Android Google has decided to disallow face unlock unless the phone can do it securely.

Some. The Pixel 4XL had ONLY face unlock which was a disaster for the last year in the era of masks. It’s what made me get rid of it.

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So, Pixel 4 XL or another phone with a front fingerprint sensor? It’s a shame we just bought the Moto G Power. lol

Thanks for a clear answer!

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