Android Q&As: Auto-sync Emails, Add ICE Contact, Removed Preinstalled Apps, And Many More… (Week 6)

The questions this week cover some workarounds and email troubleshooting. The questions about the phones and applications troubleshooting are great; keep sending them! We have got a few questions about building applications. While this is Android related, it isn’t part of what we cover in these articles.

The Q&A

NOTE: Some of the questions will be rephrased and will not appear exactly as they were written in MTE’s inbox, for the sake of simplifying the question and giving as much space as possible to the answer. If you believe your answer was not adequately answered, go ahead and leave a comment at the bottom. We’ll get to you ASAP.

Q:My emails stopped automatically syncing with my phone. I can manually retrieve them, but how do I get them to sync automatically like they did before?

A: It could be something as simple as your data sync got turned off. A lot of time there is a setting in the Wireless and Networks–> Mobile network tab. You may also want to look at the Accounts tab in your phone settings to see if there is a generic sync option. Using a widget like GO Switch or the built in Power Control widget to toggle the syncing on and off.

Usually each application allows for the syncing to be toggled off independently from the other apps on the phone. You could look in the settings for the email application you are using to see if the sync was set to manual or something longer than you are accustomed to.


Q: How can I add an ICE contact to my phone and use a pattern lock?

A: This can be very useful if you want to secure your phone and still feel comfortable knowing your emergency contact will be able to be reached in case something happens to you. For starters, you will need to download an application. There are a lot of them in the Google Play Store. ICE (In Case of Emergency) is the application I used here.

Another solid option is to use a Lock Screen application. What this will do for you is add the option to have shortcuts to applications right on your lock screen. You can use this as a bypass for the security. If you try to back out of your ICE app or hit the home button to access other stuff on the phone, you will be asked to enter the PIN or pattern.

There is one paid application ICE application that says it will let you use it in conjunction with the pattern lock or a PIN.


Q: How can I remove the preinstalled applications on the phone?

A: On most phones, you cannot remove the preinstalled android applications unless you root your device. On some of the newer devices like the Motorola I use, there are some 3rd party applications installed on there that can be removed (i.e. Zappos, Amazon, Amazon Cloud Player, etc.)

If you do root your phone, I would recommend making a backup with something like Titanium Backup first, just in case you need one of them back or something disastrous happens when changing ROMs later on.

Q:How do I see a list of everything I’ve purchased in the Google Play Store?

On your computer, go to the Google Play Store. Once you login to your Google Account, in the top right corner of your screen, click on the gear icon. You should see “My Orders & devices”. In here, you will see the list of things you have purchased and downloaded. This includes the free applications and songs too.


Why Wasn’t My Question Answered?

If you asked a question and it wasn’t answered here, it could be one of three reasons:

  • Relevance: Your question needs to be totally relevant to the Android operating system.
  • Detail: Try to include as much detail as you can, such as the Android device and version of the Android OS you’re using.
  • Other Reasons: For some unfortunate reason, we couldn’t include your question in this edition. We’ll try our best effort to include the question in the next edition.

What’s your Android question?

If you have questions you think might fit well with MTE’s next edition of “Ask an Android Expert,” send us an email at android-help [at] Leave comments only to discuss the questions presented here. If you want to ask a question, use the aforementioned email address.

Subscribe to our newsletter!

Our latest tutorials delivered straight to your inbox