Downloading APKs directly from Google without installing them

One of my too many hobbies is to tweak, improve and customize the firmware of some of my android devices. This often results in having to reinstall all the applications I like to have on a given device. It is possible to perform and restore backups but clean installs can be better when you are dealing with stability issues.

APK Downloader used to be a great website, but it has not worked for a while. I decided to look into alternative and found a simple PC program allowing you do to something similar. It is called APK Leecher and works really well. I recommend creating a dummy Google id to ensure you are not leaking your personal information, but so far it has worked great for me.

Fixing Auto-rotate screen issue on Android

My device Auto-rotate suddenly stopped working without any reason. I verified that “Auto-rotate screen” was still turned on in my Acessibility settings. I also tested and recalibrated the sensors with the excellent free Sensor Tester by Soaus without success.

After reading some advice about cleaning the cache I looked into the issue and found a simple solution that worked for me. Using a cache cleaner (Titanium Backup) I simply cleaned the cache of the “System UI” application, rebooted and Auto-rotate worked for me.

Copying files from your computer to BlueStacks

BlueStacks is a fantastic piece of software allowing you to run Android applications on Windows and Mac, however it does not give you full access to its storage making it cumbersome to copy files the simple way you are used to with any Android device USB-style.

There are a lot of options involving mounting the obfuscated file system, however the guys are BlueStacks are constantly changing the storage method, so I looked and found a simple and neat solution fully contained in the Android emulation.

  1. On the main BlueStacks screen, click “App Stores” and launch the preinstalled Amazon app store
  2. In the search box enter “Ghost Commander” without quotes.
  3. Install Ghost Commander first, then the Samba plugin
  4. Run Ghost Commander, enter the local ip of your sharing machine, the directory you are sharing and you should be able to copy files back and forth as needed