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[INFO] FAQ - Ice Cream Sandwich, Galaxy Nexus (Updated 3/8)

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By _hyperdude, Senior Member on 18th November 2011, 06:28 AM
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Version 1.2 | updated March 8, 2012 | see Changelog


Below is a work-in-progress 'FAQ' about Android 4.0, Ice Cream Sandwich, and the Galaxy Nexus.
NOTE: I am no expert on all things Nexus, so some answers may be incomplete or generally wrong. Let me know and I can fix them.
Many or most of these answers will reflect how stock Android 4.0 is designed - custom ROMs and third-party apps make certain changes that may go against what is stated here.
Also, I own the LTE model.

General Questions
  • What is the current official version of 4.0 out on the Galaxy Nexus?
    Most Galaxy Nexus devices should be running 4.0.2 officially. Some might still be stuck on 4.0.1.
  • Is the Google search bar at the top of the home screens removable? Or resizable?
    The search bar is not removable by default. It can be removed by disabling the Google Search app (but side effects might come from doing that). Even when you disable the search bar, it doesn't free up more homescreen space - you can't put icons where it used to be).
    The search bar is not resizable either.
    If you want to customize the home screen like removing the search bar among other things, your best bet is to install a custom launcher - Nova, Apex, etc.
  • Why are there only 5 home screens in the launcher? (Not more, not customizable number, etc.)
    Five home-screens has been the default since Froyo (correct me if I'm wrong). If you feel the need for more screens, you may want a 3rd-party launcher app.
  • When will the Galaxy Nexus come out on (carrier here)?
    Only your carrier can answer that for you.
  • Will the unlocked global model work on my carrier?
    If your carrier is GSM, presumably yes. If you're on a CDMA network (e.g. Verizon, Sprint, a few others in the US; various others around the world) then no.
  • Why did they call it the Galaxy Nexus and not the Nexus Prime, etc.?
    Samsung’s “Galaxy” line of phones is very popular and is a recognizable brand (like the Droid brand on Verizon). Since the GN is supposed to be marketed toward mass consumers along with the development community, it’s a matter of name recognition.
  • How do I set up my phone to have a custom ringtone / notification sound?
    The settings for that is in Settings > Device > Sound: Phone ringtone, and Default notification.

    Galaxy Nexus support website

    If you want to use a custom ringtone (e.g. one not listed in Android's default ringtones), by adding the file to the /media/Ringtones directory ("Ringtones" directory when you plug it into the computer) it will be accessible by the system.
  • Face Unlock can be fooled by a picture! What's up with that? That's not secure!
    Google does not pretend that the Face Unlock feature is SUPPOSED to be a foolproof security measure; just a convenient, fun mechanism. Also, facial recognition software is not foolproof, and in all the “Face Unlock beaten by photo” videos I’ve seen to date, the pictures that ‘fool’ Face Unlock have been shot at practically the same time, and in the same lighting conditions, and resulted in a facsimile of the image captured during setup. Is it really all that surprising that this photo would unlock the phone? It hasn’t been shown whether face unlock will be easily fooled by, say, an older Facebook picture or another image of the user which ISN’T practically the same as when it was set up.

    The primary goal of Face Unlock is to provide a measure of security if you accidentally leave your phone on, say, a bus or train. Most likely whoever picks it up won't know what you look like (and so wouldn't be able to get in with your picture), allowing you time to either find it again or remotely wipe it.
  • How does unlocking the bootloader / rooting the phone affect my warranty?
    Officially, unlocking the bootloader on your device voids your warranty.
  • Why can't I sync Facebook contacts in ICS?
    Because Facebook refuses to use Android's official APIs in their app for syncing contacts. Google has blacklisted the Facebook app from syncing contacts until then.

Ice Cream Sandwich
  • Ice Cream Sandwich on phones with hardware navigation buttons: what happens?
    If Ice Cream Sandwich is installed on a device that makes use of physical navigation buttons, the on-screen navigation bar disappears and the hardware buttons are used. Long-pressing Home brings up multitasking, Menu brings up the options menu, etc.
  • When an app is full-screen (that is, the navigational buttons are HIDDEN, not just turned into dots), how do you navigate out of the app?
    The Developer Reference documentation for Android has this to say on hidden-navigation mode:
    View has requested that the system navigation be temporarily hidden. This is an even less obtrusive state than that called for by SYSTEM_UI_FLAG_LOW_PROFILE; on devices that draw essential navigation controls (Home, Back, and the like) on screen, SYSTEM_UI_FLAG_HIDE_NAVIGATION will cause those to disappear. This is useful (in conjunction with the FLAG_FULLSCREEN and FLAG_LAYOUT_IN_SCREEN window flags) for displaying content using every last pixel on the display. There is a limitation: because navigation controls are so important, the least user interaction will cause them to reappear immediately.
    I've underlined the important parts for emphasis. What this says is that when an application is using the entire screen (like when watching a video in full-screen mode, for instance), simply touching the screen or pressing a volume button or the power button will bring the navigational button back.

    This also seemingly precludes full-screen apps like games that take constant user input. For those kinds of apps, low-profile mode for the navigation buttons would be used most likely.

    Source: Android Developers
  • What happens if the on-screen buttons 'freeze up'? Does the phone/device become unusable?
    Whether a phone/tablet has physical buttons or on-screen ones, they will behave the same when the device lags or becomes unresponsive. On-screen buttons are different from hardware ones only in whether they are built into the phone or drawn on screen.
  • Where did the Menu button go? How do we access options in apps?
    Apps developed for versions of Android previous to ICS (excluding Honeycomb) will have their options menu accessible by a temporary fourth navigational button, which is three vertical dots.
    Screenshot via The Verge:

    Apps developed for Honeycomb and Ice Cream Sandwich make use of on-screen options menus, normally at the top of the screen but also potentially along the bottom, as can be seen in the new Gmail app for instance.

    NOTE: It has been mentioned that pre-ICS apps may not necessarily have the software menu button appear when running on the Galaxy Nexus. I believe such apps need to be tweaked slightly to have that happen.
  • Where did the Search button go?
    Apps developed for Honeycomb or ICS are supposed to implement in-app search buttons or search bars (typically in the Action Bar, at the top of the screen). Apps developed for earlier versions will need to be updated to at least include a 'Search' option in the options menu if not already provided.
  • Can I add custom auto-corrections to the stock keyboard ala iOS?
  • How can I customize the LED notifications?
    You can't in stock Android. You can download the Light Flow app from the Play Store to do this.
  • Is it possible to create folders inside the app drawer ala TouchWiz?
    No, this is not possible.
  • Is it possible to place folders inside other folders on the home screen?
    No it is not.
  • Does the homescreen rotate to landscape orientation?
    No, it does not.
  • If I root my phone, will I still receive OTA updates?
    Yes - as long as you don't do anything to stop them (like installing a custom ROM which disables them, or modify the system in a way that does this).
  • Are there toggles in the notification drawer (like on some other phones)?
    No, there are not. Some custom ROMs add this feature though.
  • Is there an option to disable vibration when sliding to unlock the device?
  • How can I add a birthday to my contacts in the People app?
    Go into the People app, edit the contact (menu button up top -> Edit), hit "Add another field", choose Events, and then you'll get a new field where you can choose to set their birthday.
  • Can I make it so that I can do slide-to-unlock and then enter a PIN or pattern?

Galaxy Nexus Hardware
  • Is there a notification LED? Is it multi-colored?
    Yes and yes. The LED is hidden in the bezel below the screen.
  • Why does this phone not include a Micro SD slot?
    There are many reasons floating around, but the reason I’ve seen by at least a few Googlers is that if an app utilizes an SD card’s storage in some way (say, storing a user’s data) and then the user removes the card, that app has to be programmed to handle the card’s disappearance. It’s easier for developers to code apps that keep everything in the internal storage (e.g. the app’s folder in /data/data) than have to handle the presence/absence of external media.

    Check out this article by Android Police.
  • Without an SD card, how can I flash ROMs, back up my data between wipes, etc?
    The internal media storage space (for example, the ~13GB left over in the UK model) IS subject to being wiped when user data is wiped (since it is mounted as /data/media). However, custom recoveries have been made for other devices that skip wiping this directory, so once CWM or another recovery for the GN comes out with that feature, you won't need to back-up your media folder before wiping.
  • Why doesn't this phone have this CPU or that GPU, etc?
    This phone performs very well. The hardware and software are optimized for each other in this device. If you have complaints about the exact hardware chosen for the Galaxy Nexus, wait until more reviews come out, or until you try one yourself before judging it based on specs alone.
  • Why is it a PenTile display instead of SAMOLED HD Plus, etc?
    The main reason that PenTile display technology is being used on the Galaxy Nexus is that SAMOLED HD is the highest-density SAMOLED screen available; SAMOLED HD Plus is only in development at this time. Reviews say that the screen quality on the GN is not diminished by the use of this underlying technology.
  • Does it support MHL to HDMI and USB OTG?
    ICS supports both USB-OTG and MHL-to-HDMI output. There has been development on getting MHL and OTG working well. Check these threads.
  • What's the size difference between the GSM and LTE models?
    The GSM model is advertised as being 8.94mm thick and weighing 135 grams, packing a 1,750mAh battery. The LTE model is 9.47mm thick and weighs 150 grams, and packs an 1,850mAh battery.
  • Does it come in white?
    Yes. White GSM model
  • How much internal storage is included in the GSM (global) model? The LTE model?
    The global model includes 16GB of internal storage (total formatted space is slightly less). The LTE model comes with 32GB internal storage (formatted space is slightly less).
  • Where can I get the stock OS images?[
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18th November 2011, 06:28 AM |#2  
OP Senior Member
Flag Minneapolis, MN
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March 8 (v1.2)
  • Updated just about every question to reflect changes
  • That's about it...

December 14 (v1.1.3)
  • Updated search bar question (disabling Google Search removes it)
  • Added info about Verizon version now that it's official

November 20 (v1.1.2)
  • Updated search bar question to point out you can't move or resize it either

November 19 (v1.1.1)
  • Updated the custom ringtones question to mention a good app for doing that

November 18 (v1.1)
  • Updated info about Face Unlock feature (kristovaher)
  • Updated question about internal storage when wiping (Chirality)
  • Added question about MHL to HDMI and USB OTG
  • Updated software Menu button based on jmbillings' post
  • Updated question about the choice of PenTile
  • Added question about how to set custom ringtones and notification sounds (which is exactly as it has been in previous versions of Android)
  • Added question about internal space

November 17 (v1.0)
  • Created FAQ
18th November 2011, 08:18 AM |#3  
kristovaher's Avatar
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Flag Tallinn
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The Face Unlock question should be expanded a little and stated that Face Unlock is useful in conditions where phone is lost or stolen, as the finder/thief will not really have a photo of you. Face Unlock is not meant to protect it from being used by people that carry around a photo of you.
18th November 2011, 08:22 AM |#4  
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Flag Cambridge, MA
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Great stuff!

Minor correction: in ICS, like in Honeycomb, there is no longer a separate partition for the internal media storage. The internal storage is now just a folder on the /data partition, so if you wipe the /data partition you will lose all your media files.
18th November 2011, 09:29 AM |#5  
Senior Member
Thanks Meter: 858
Originally Posted by Chirality

Great stuff!

Minor correction: in ICS, like in Honeycomb, there is no longer a separate partition for the internal media storage. The internal storage is now just a folder on the /data partition, so if you wipe the /data partition you will lose all your media files.

Therefore, a factory reset will wipe the internal storage? Like err i mean music, videos and stuff?
18th November 2011, 09:33 AM |#6  
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Originally Posted by akash3656

Therefore, a factory reset will wipe the internal storage? Like err i mean music, videos and stuff?

I'm not sure, I hope the system would be smart enough to not wipe the entire /data partition on factory reset, but rather just delete parts of it. Maybe someone who has a Honeycomb device or a Galaxy Nexus can chime in.
18th November 2011, 10:35 AM |#7  
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I was able to restore everything back from my Nexus to the Galaxy Nexus.
The USB mass storage is not as great as the old ones, not sure if it's the lack of drivers or not. but it tend to stop responding and it got to protocols when connected to the pc plus the debugging.

One thing i could not figure out was having a custom ring tone and notification tone.
It can be done for individual contacts but not for all, think it's a bit harsh to edit 150+ contacts for a custom ring tone
18th November 2011, 11:00 AM |#8  
Flag Bracknell
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I have a question...

Anyone have any idea on how to use the backgrounds in video recording mode?

(I can't work out how to take a screenshot without the volume slider getting in the way either :))
18th November 2011, 11:29 AM |#9  
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Flag Leeds
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Thanks for the post.

Could you maybe add something about how rooting & unlocking the bootloader affects your warranty and getting OTA updates? Or does this change by carrier?

I think there will be a few people (me included) for who this will be their first Nexus device, and don't know really where we stand
18th November 2011, 11:51 AM |#10  
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Thanks Meter: 25
Originally Posted by timshields

(I can't work out how to take a screenshot without the volume slider getting in the way either :))

Press and hold power, then hit vol down?

The turn off/silent/airplane menu takes like a second to appear, you should be able to press vol down before that shows up...
18th November 2011, 12:58 PM |#11  
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Flag Ely
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The Facebook app doesn't display the 3 dots so I can't access the menu to configure contact sync options! Doh.

Anyone got a clue?
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