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6 Apps You Need To Try This Week

Each week, The Digital Hype takes a look at some of the hottest and trending apps you should know about. This week includes a couple music related apps along with screen sharing and a text utility. Let us know your favorite iOS or Android apps in the comment section.

Find on Apple Music

Not a mobile, Find on Apple Music is a Chrome app (extension) which will simplify your life. Using it from a desktop, you’ll be able to right click, or search a page for an easy link to open a song in Apple Music.

Wandle

Specifically for Android, Wandle will try and help curb notifications during unwanted times. From the website, “Wandle determines when you’re in a meeting, driving or sleeping, and blocks notifications, messages and calls at this time.” It’s like a smarter and more robust Do Not Disturb mode for you to configure.

Text Case

Text Case is a simple, dedicated utility that will change text to different cases–title case for example. It seems a little too simple until you run into a time you need it. Simple apps often become people’s favorite.

Can’t Sleep

Here’s an app to help you get to sleep faster. Can’t Sleep plays music, specifically aimed at helping you fall asleep faster and more easily. If you already can’t sleep, there’s no harm in trying another app.

Gigroad

Gigroad has been described as the AirBnB of live shows. It lets you set up a show nearly anywhere, including a living room, backyard, or other venues that aren’t typically venues.

Droid Cast

iOS has AirPlay which makes screen sharing to an Apple TV very easy. Android devices don’t have the same standard option and so Droid Cast is looking to fill the gap and make it as easy as possible.

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This Is How Apple And Spotify Should Improve Their Streaming Music Services

There are a lot of things Apple and Spotify can do to improve their streaming music services, but trying to encourage more discovery is the most salient.

The biggest “problem” with both Apple Music and Spotify remains discoverability. How do you take the world’s collection of music, and boil it down so that people don’t feel overwhelmed? After all, people are paying for 30 million+ songs, they want to move beyond just the handful of albums they listen to regularly.

Listen to more music

There’s curated playlists (think Spotify’s Discover Weekly) or dedicated radio (think Beats 1 internet radio station), but still, people need more help finding new music to listen to–especially in certain moments.

The answer is to continually let people know when artists they’ve liked in the past, do new things in the future. From there, you can branch people out to similar artists and bring in music around activities. First, though, you have to create the habit in people to want new music–and look for it.

If you’ve added an artist, album, or song to your library there’s a 99-percent chance you want to know when that artist puts out new music. This should be very obvious to everyone, but it’s not quite yet.

Apple does have this feature buried in the “For You” section of its music app, but it’s still limited. Record Bird is a good example of an app that already does this and do it really well too. Record Bird will let you know when artists you follow put out music videos, do interviews, or release new music.

Advanced options

Beyond some of those simpler items, it would be great to see more sophisticated algorithms as well. Keeping track of artists you’ve listened to more than once, but never included in your library. Or, artists your friends have listened to, which are similar to artists you do have in your library.

Once a streaming music service has covered all the items it can guarantee you’ll like, it can move on to more educated guesses about things it’s not sure about. Since streaming music services make their money from recurring revenue, it’s important to keep providing that recurring value to customers. Increasing discoverability is probably the easiest thing a service can do.

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The Best Apps To Download This Week

Looking for a few new apps to try? We’ve rounded up some new ones which may be helpful in your day-today use, or just a fun new social network to try. Be the first of your friends to be in the know!

No Twitter ads

Advertised as Twitter without all the junk, Readme is a streamlined Twitter experience that cleans out the ads, the moments, and trends. Readme is for those looking for a limited and more focused Twitter.

Productive links

For the marketers out there, JotURL is packing features into one shareable link. Bit.ly had been the previous king of short and custom links, but JotURL looks to be trying to out do the incumbent with all types of analytics and ways to add value.

Android to-do

There’s no shortage of to-do apps, but it’s always tempting to try a new one, right? Beezee is only for Android right now and aims at cutting all the cruft. It’s designed to be super minimal and focus on the tasks at hand.

Social movie-goer 

MustApp is like Facebook or Twitter, but just focused around movies. Niche social networks are a hard nut to crack, but MustApp is well designed and focuses on tracking movies you want to see, movies you’ve seen, and sharing that information with others.

Safer web browsing

Keepsafe just announced its new browser which it says will block online ad trackers, social networks, and analytic companies. The app will also provide a more private experience than the default browsers will incognito tabs and a security pin to lock it. The new app is available on both iPhone and Android.

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6 Apps That Solve Your Small But Super Annoying Problems

Ever have a small, but important need and wish there was an app to address it without a bunch of extra bells and whistles? Here are 6 single purpose, dead simple apps that address those small but super annoying issues.

Shades: Selfie reflections in your sunglasses be gone

The problem: taking a sun glasses selfie without a reflection. Shades removes the reflection and all is right again. This is a single function app, with no tricks, just super useful.

Dreams: Mobile TV for the easily bored

The problem: TV on my phone quickly. Dreams is trying out Snapchat with a new vision of mobile TV. Open the app, and swipe through the “channels.” Some of the channels even include just clouds floating by with music. But maybe this is what you need to fill six minutes of your day.

Sticky: Auto crop people in photos

The problem: how do I crop the background out of this picture and keep the people? Sticky uses AI to automatically crop people from the picture they are in. You don’t have to do anything. You can then add a solid colored background or delete the background completely. Hint: this is great for creating GIFs  and stickers.

Fast: Check your internet connection speed

The problem: web pages or videos are loading slow and you don’t know why. Fast will tell you what speed the cell or Wi-Fi connection is coming to your device.  Simple as that. It’s an app and a website.

Tailor: Stitch mobile screenshots together

The problem: taking a screenshot of a long page on your phone. Tailor takes a bunch of screenshots and will stitch them together automatically using, of course, AI, to figure where they line up.

Background: New wallpaper for your phone

The problem: the wallpaper on your phone gets stale. Background is an app full of wallpapers for your phone. No ads, no pop ups, no annoying junk. If you want to save one, hold on the picture and it saves to your photo library. If you want to search or bookmark favorites, you can upgrade to the paid version, otherwise it’s a curated flow of nice looking photos to choose from.

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Apple News vs Google News: Which Is The Better App?

news

How do you get your news currently? Because both Apple and Google are coming for you with their revamped news reading apps.

Apple News and Google News are going head-to-head in the news category trying to become dominant players before apps from China like Toutiao make their way to the U.S. market. It’s not just news though, each will also be serving up your favorite blog posts and salacious gossip stories as well.

Let’s lay out the differences between the two apps and name our favorite of the two.

The foundation is similar

Apple News is only available on iOS devices (iPhones, iPads, and Apple Watch), but Google News is available on Android and iOS.

While both of the apps have their unique taste and flair for how news is gathered and presented, each follows a similar pattern. You tell it what publications and topics you like and the app will learn what stories it should show you.

The name of the game isn’t just random stories with these apps. Each wants to personalize the reading experience to keep you coming back often, throughout the day.

Apple News – a practical approach to news

Apple News is broken into five sections along the bottom: For You, Spotlight, Following, Search, and Saved.

The app always opens to the news for you. It refreshes automatically in the background so each time you open it, throughout the day, it’s ready with the latest information. First with the most important and slowly fading to the more benign, grouping articles by publication or topic.

The Spotlight section changes depending on the time of day, so, if you open it in the late afternoon it could say, evening digest, or something else. This section spotlights one story at the top, curated by humans. This section is meant to be the most important or best story of the day, unlike the For You section which dumps an endless list of stories around your interests.

Since everything is personalized, the Digest story also won’t necessarily be the same one for everyone.

Under Following it will show the channels and topics you’re following as well as new suggestions it gets from your web browsing and stories you’ve previously read.

Search and Saved are both obvious and straightforward. It’s a little peculiar that there’s a dedicated search button when you can search in the Following section as well. Saved will show both stories you wanted to read later as well as read history for quick access to past stories.

Swiping left on a story throughout the app will give you the options to save, share, or love it, while swiping right will let you dislike or report it.

There’s not much about Apple News that can be classified as bad because it gets to the heart of what you’re there for and strips the rest away. However, some may count its default notification settings – which can be a little aggressive – as bothersome.

Beyond those few extra sliding controls, Apple News is, pretty much, what you see is what you get. It has plenty of polish, but it’s on the minimal side, getting out of the way for the content you’re interested in consuming.

Google News – a news app with layers

On the flipside, Google News is a little more clever and comprehensive about the news and stories it provides to the reader. It has a more depth, but shouldn’t be overwhelming.

Google News also starts with a For You section on the bottom left, but as part of that section it also shows the current weather in the top right of the screen and breaks down what it thinks are the five most important stories for you.

Under the five defined stories, it continues to break out more stories it thinks you’d like and groups multiple publications around one story. When there’s something noteworthy you can swipe left to see how other publications are telling the same story.

The other three sections across the bottom are: Headlines, Favorites, and Newstand. There is a persistent search icon in the top left if you do need that function.

Headlines will give you more freedom in the stories you see as it breaks out different sections like business, technology, and entertainment, among others.

Favorites not only holds your saved stories, but will show locations, sources, and topics that you can follow, or that it has found for you.

One thing about Google News that gives it a little more depth is the use of moving imagery and videos. Google is trying to pull in more multimedia than Apple is by default and it likely will lead to more consumption.

Newsstand breaks out possible topics, categories, and publications you may be interested in, but aren’t currently following.

In the settings you can have Google News email you the daily news once in the morning. You can also change the push notifications you are seeing, similar to Apple News.

And the winner is…

Apple News is a good app, and may be convenient with its prominent place on iPhones, but I’ve seen Google News surface more relevant content, more often, after living with both for several weeks. And, ultimately, isn’t that what you want out of a news app?

It helps that Google News works on a wide range of devices and that it delights with little touches like the current weather when you open the app. Neither is a slouch, but Google News edges out Apple News just slightly as of now.

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The Top 6 Apps Every Music Lover Needs To Download

music

Whether you’re a musician or just a lover of music, here are six apps that you can use to create music, move around playlists, or just keep track of bands you like, all on your phone.

Record Bird – never miss a new song

Record Bird lets you know anytime an artist you like puts out new music. How? The app scans your music library, your Spotify account, or another music service you use and then creates a personalized list of new music releases. Beyond new music, Record Bird can keep you informed when bands from your library do interviews, release new music videos, and even when they put out vinyl records.

Hum – capture those song ideas

Charlie Puth has been talking about his new album Voicenotes and how a lot of the songs started as little ideas he recorded on his phone to remember later. Hum is like the default Voice Memos app on iPhone, but designed with musicians in mind. You can tag entries with the song key, tempo, and add lyrics alongside the audio recording. Think of Hum as a digital napkin to capture those song ideas.

humapp

Music Memos – record a demo on-the-go

Music Memos is similar to Hum, but more involved. Not only will the app record song ideas from, but it will analyze the music it hears to you the key the song is in, and can automatically add accompanying instrumentation based on the that key and tempo. Music Memos falls somewhere between Voice Memos being able to record audio, and Garageband which is a full recording studio app.

Songshift – transfer playlists between music services

Songshift helps cuts the chains of various music streaming services. If you want to try Apple Music, but have dozens of playlists already created in Spotify, for example, this app will help you move all those over to the new service.

The pro version of Songshift can also do some cool things like automatically keep playlists across different services in sync. That means that you could keep a YouTube music playlist updated whenever you add music to your Spotify playlist.

song shift

Figure – play an instrument, even if you don’t know how

Figure will let anyone make music. Seriously, anyone. Whether you’ve never touched a musical instrument in you life, or not, you can use the Figure app. Figure features bass, percussion, and synth sounds which can all be mixed with each other. This is the type of app that could even be used in a band setting, playing along with other people. Match the key and everything you play will sound great.

You should try it; it’s super fun.

figure app

8Tracks – radio-like playlists for every occasion  

Pandora is fine, but it’s all automated by computers and the music choices it selects can get stale. 8Tracks music can solve that problem.

Instead of computer suggested songs, 8Tracks is playlists created exclusively by humans. Because of this, you’ll find a playlist and music for your situation. Want chill music for a rainy day to do homework to? You’ll probably find a radio-like playlist someone made for it. 8Tracks is a community of music lovers, making music more social than even Spotify.

8tracks

If you like music, be sure to check back each Friday for our Fresh Friday coverage of new music and movie releases each week.

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All The Things Apple Just Announced At WWDC 2018

wwdc 2018

Apple just announced a bunch of new software features for iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, and the Mac. There was no new iPads or laptops, just a bunch of coming software features. While there was quite a few items Apple talked about, a lot of it can be skipped over. Here’s what you need-to-know, along with all the rest if you’re curious.

Here’s what’s new and cool

iOS 12

  • Group FaceTime – talk and see to up to 32 people in a single group video call, working across iPhone, iPad, and Mac. You can also put a live-moving emoji over your face during the video call.
  • Siri Shortcuts app – a new way to easily automate multiple tasks. For example, you can say “heading home,” and it will pull up directions, send a ETA text message to someone, play a radio station, and turn on a Homekit connected fan or home device, all with a single voice phrase.
  • Animoji/Memojitongue’s will be detected in Animoji, so it will track more of your face. Plus, there will be new Memoji which you can make personalized emoji that track your face–think Bitmoji from Apple.

 

Apple Watch

  • Walkie-Talkie app – connect with a specific person, tap and hold to talk, let go and the audio message is sent to them. It’s a mix of audio and text messaging, made super quick directly from the watch.

Apple TV

  • Screensavers – although minor, aerial screensavers have long been a loved part of Apple TV. They soon will gain titles so you know the location, and there will be photos taken directly from the International Space Station. 

Mac computers

  • macOS Mojave – there will be a dark mode which will ight mode

Here’s what’s boring

As a quick disclaimer, these things may still be neat, useful, or crucially important for cool things in the future, but as of right now, we’re counting them as snoozers compared to the other announcements.

iOS 12

  • Photos improvements – new search suggestions, a new For You section with smarter recommendations for sharing, as well as surfacing old photos. 
  • Siri improvements  – new shortcuts with quick actions to Siri, from your custom phrases.
  • Updated old apps – Apple News refreshed, Stocks refreshed, Voice Memos coming to iPad, and iBooks becoming Books with both audio books and ebooks.
  • Do Not Disturb improvements – it can be turned on based on location or calendar event so your phone will be muted just during a meeting.
  • App limits – set a usage limit for a certain app and then once the limit is reached, it deters you from using the app.
  • ARKit 2.0 – more ways to use augmented reality, like being able to see the same thing through your phone that other people see through theirs.
  • Performance – iOS 12 will focus on making older phones and iPads feel faster and work better.

Apple Watch

  • Workouts – more functionality for workouts, including tracking Yoga.
  • Better notification – enhanced notifications, including web content formatted for your wrist.

Apple TV

  • *crickets* – there wasn’t a whole lot new here…. Did we mention screensavers?

Mac computers

  • Camera continuity – just like you can click over to bring up web pages or messages on your Mac that you’re currently browsing on your phone, you’ll be able to use your phone’s camera to instantly capture photos for your computer–like adding photos to a presentation, for example.
  • iPhone and iPad apps coming to the Mac in 2019 – this was a sneak peek, but developers will be able to more easily bring their phone apps to macOS, which means you’ll have more app choices in the next few years.
  • New apps – Apple News, Stocks, Voice Memos, and Home, are all coming to the Mac

When is this stuff coming?

Most of these new features will be coming in the fall when iOS and macOS are released to the pubic. In a few months you’ll be able to take advantage of all these things mentioned here.

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How To Listen To Podcasts In 6 Easy Steps

podcasts

Here’s a quick start guide to go from hearing people talk about podcasts to listening to them yourself.

Follow the steps associated with whichever type of device you have.

iOS (iPhone)

  • Open the “Podcasts” app. This is a default app which comes on all new iPhones. If you’re using an older model you can search the App Store and download it for free.
  • Tap the third icon on the bottom titled “Browse.”
  • Tap “Featured” and select something that looks interesting. You can delete this podcast later if need be.
  • Looking at the show’s page, tap “Subscribe.”
  • That show is now in the “Library” section. You can find it by tapping on the icon on the bottom of the screen.
  • In the “Library” section tap “Episodes” to see all the episodes from the show you’re subscribed to. Touch the top one to start listening.

apple podcasts

You are now subscribed to a podcast, meaning, each time that podcast has a new episode, it will show up automatically. You can listen at your convenience in the car, while exercising, or at home; all through your phone.

Android

  • Open “Google Play Music.” This is an app that should come on your phone by default. If not, you can download it in Google Play app store.
  • Tap on the menu icon in the top left corner. It looks like three horizontal lines.
  • Select “Podcasts” from that list.
  • That will bring you to featured podcasts. Find one that looks interesting and tap on it. You can delete this podcast later if need be.
  • Looking at the show’s page, tap “Subscribe.” You will get a pop up with multiple options. Make sure notifications are selected on the pop up so you will know when a new episode comes out.
  • You can find that podcast you subscribed to at the top, under “Your Podcasts.” Tap it to start listening.
google play podcasts
photo via Ars Technica

That’s it. You’re officially a podcast listener. Congrats. Now comes the fun part of sorting through the thousands of shows that might interest you. There are plenty of good ones out there.

If you do want to try a new podcast app on iPhone, you should check out Overcast. It has something super special about it.

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A Bunch Of Reasons You Need To Try New Gmail

email gmail

Gmail, the world’s most used and generally loved email service is finally getting a refreshed look and new features. The updated website look will eventually come to all users, but here are five features that should convince you to enable it now.

For the organized: Tasks, Keep, and Calendar in your sidebar

The sidebar in Gmail is finally useful with quick access to Tasks, Keep (notes app from Google), and Calendar. You can keep a to-do list with Tasks–even dragging emails over to it and automatically making the email a task. There’s a new iOS and Android app for Tasks to manage those when you’re not in Gmail.

gmail tasks

For the secret agents: Confidential mode

Confidential mode allows you to send emails which will disappear in a set amount of time. The details aren’t important, but you can email someone information and be confident it isn’t lingering around in their account longer than it needs to.

For the procrastinators: Snooze

Don’t want to deal with a message at the moment? Hit snooze and choose when the message will pop back into your inbox like a new message. The ability to ‘snooze’ a message is not new or ground breaking in the world of email, but it’s great to finally see Gmail add it to its list of features.

For the forgetful: Nudging

Gmail can pick up on key phrases that indicate a message is time sensitive so if you haven’t responded to a message that says something like, please let me know if you need to reorder supplies by friday, it can ‘nudge’ you to do so.

For paranoid: IRM (intellectual rights management)

IRM is another feature in the name of security. It will allow you to remove the ability for people to forward, copy, download or print messages you send them. If disappearing messages with a confidential mode doesn’t make sense, this is another way to cripple people’s ability to use your message in ways you don’t want them to.

How to enable

Click on the settings gear icon on the right side and the first option should be to enable the new look and features. If your Gmail account is part of a work domain, bug your admin to help you enable it.

Don’t worry, if you hate it you can always switch back to the ‘classic’ Gmail.

gmail enable

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5 Non-Music Apps To Drown Out Annoying Office Noise

sound color

The drone of constant coughing, talking, loud sneezing, squeaking chairs, erratic typing, and various noises from an office can be a lot to handle sometimes. Sure, you could pop on some headphones and listen to music, but music, for a lot of people, can be just as distracting. (It’s also a pain to continually find something to listen to.) Instead, these apps provide a wide array of other sounds to help you stay calm and focus on the task at hand.

Noizio 

Noizio is a straightforward and simple sound machine at heart. The app features a bunch of different sounds listed out which you can enable or disable as needed. You can set the volume for each selected sound. Once you fine-tune a great mix you can save it as a preset for future use.

For example, say you want to you want to mimic summer nights in the Midwest, you can make a soundscape featuring farm animals, wind, and light rain. Noizio keeps adding new sounds such as vinyl cracks, keyboard typing, subway, ghosty, and a bunch more to create unique mixes.

Tide

Tide is designed to keep you moving and productive, even if that means being asleep. It has two different modes, one for focus, to help with work or school, and another for sleep. On the sleep side, Tide can help you go to sleep at night with its soothing sounds, or, you can set a short timer to knock out a quick power-nap. While its sound library isn’t as deep as others, it’s set up to add more in the future.

Nosili

Nosili is probably the simplest app of the bunch with a dozen big pictures and volume controls under each. It functions similarly to Noizio, but does include an all-important fan sound, which a lot of people seem to enjoy.

Coffitivity

Like it sounds, Coffitivity is trying to combine coffee (or coffee shop sounds) and productivity, as lots of people say they work better in the hustle and bustle of a crowded coffee shop. Coffitivity is recreating that– no matter where you are.

Thunderspace, Windy, Sunny

Instead of one sound app, Taptanium (an app creator) made a bunch of separate apps focused on specific sounds.

windy app

Taptanium is like that friend who gets into a hobby innocently enough, but, four weeks later, is up at three in the morning, bidding on eBay Beanie Babies, in need of their next rare collectible fix. Not only did Taptanium put out a bunch of sound apps, but, it began to incorporate stories and give the sounds their own personalities–the female Windy, for example.

Thunderspace is a crazy-good thunder and rain machine app. It’s stereoscopic, so, with headphones on, you feel like the sound is all around you. All the apps are well done; even if you don’t get into the whole story aspect of the app.

windy app 2

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If You’re Addicted To Your Phone, Try This Gray Hack

gray phone face

You’re addicted to your phone and want to to do something about it, but are still having a hard time disconnecting. Well, there might be a way to trick yourself into not overusing your phone on a daily basis.

The hack is to turn your phone grayscale, and it works simply because it makes your phone less appealing.

According to the New York Times, app makers are actually working with companies to scan “electrical activity of the brain while a consumer is interacting with a phone, such as texting and scrolling Facebook.”

They know that using certain colors can help draw you to tap on their app over a different one, and your attention is extremely valuable to them.

Turning your phone gray effectively makes scrolling through Instagram about as visually appealing as scrolling through your work email.

gray home

Going gray will be a punch to the eyes

When I first said goodbye to color and enabled grayscale, my first reaction was: Wow, this is surprisingly relaxing. It’s awesome to see an iPhone X with bright, vivid colors, but, on the flip side, grey tones can be very calming and pleasant on the eyes.

Additionally, the playing field is leveled. Each of the apps on your homescreen is now equal to the one next to it. In that way, it’s a bit jarring that no one app is luring your eyes more than another.

After activating grayscale, I was constantly reminded that I was using my phone. I felt a lot less compelled to aimlessly browse and poke around with the dull shades, versus a bright and stimulating array of color.

gray map

As relaxing and interesting as the phone is to look at through grayscale eyes, I think it’d take a very long time ignore the lack of color.

Interestingly, Google just announced its focus on digital wellness, which included a bunch of uses of gray to help people disconnect easier. One it will be implementing is  Wind Down which fades your phone screen from color to gray once it reaches a preset bedtime.

I have a feeling we’ll begin to see a new, obvious trend in how companies use color, or a lack thereof; and how they acknowledge the importance of being able to disconnect.

What to give gray a go?

Here’s how:

Settings app > General > Accessibility > Display Accommodations > Color Filters > toggle Color Filters on > select Grayscale from the list underneath

(Should you have a visual disability, this may also serve as a reminder that selecting between the available color filters may help you see your phone better in general.)

Note: this feature is just a filter for what you’re seeing. It does not affect how the phone normally behaves. For example, if you take a send a picture, it’s still taken in color. If you take a screenshot, it’s still in color. You’re not forcing others to live the grayscale lifestyle too.

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9 Hidden iPhone Settings That Will Change Everything

control center iphone

Want to blow your mind? Open the settings app on your iPhone and be amazed at what helpful features are hiding there that could change how you use your phone every day.

Type better one handed

You can make the keyboard slide over to the left or right hand side of your screen which makes it easier to use with one hand.

Settings->General->Keyboard->One Handed Keyboard

You can also long press on the emoji icon anywhere the keyboard comes up and select the keyboard screen location.

Access more apps from the lock screen

On iOS 11 (the newest version) you can customize which icons and shortcuts you see on Control Center (the screen with brightness and calculator).

Settings->Control Center->Customize Controls

You can make shortcuts to a bunch of fun things, including screen recording.

See your notifications from across the room

Want your phone to light up each time you get a message or notification so you’ll have a visual cue for new notification? This works great at loud venues, but isn’t so bright that it’s annoying at home.

Settings->General->Accessibility->Hearing section->LED Flash for Alerts

Clear out old junk

Even if you’re not stressed over space on your phone, you may want to get rid of large and forgotten pictures, videos, or gifs piling up in your messages.

Settings->General->iPhone Storage->Review Large Attachments

You can also see these under the details of individual messages, but checking this from the settings pools all the attachments together for an easier view.

Know your phone’s battery health

If you think you’re battery isn’t lasting as long as it used to – especially if your phone is more than 2 years old – you can check that. You can also see if your phone is slowing down to keep your battery from shutting off your phone. More battery info available in our other posts.

Settings->Battery->Battery Health (Beta)

Find old passwords

When you enter a password on a website and Safari asks if you want to save it, there’s actually a place they are going. Next time you need to find a password that you haven’t used in a while, check here.

Settings->Accounts & Passwords->App & Website Passwords

Let people know you’ve seen their message

text message

Turn on read receipts so people can see if you’ve read your messages.

Settings->Messages-> Send Read Receipts

You can turn it on individually, for a few significant others you’d never ghost. This isn’t about people ignoring you, but it’s nice to know whether they’re busy and just haven’t seen the message yet.

I mean, it’d be nice to know whether your spouse saw the text about needing deli meat from the grocery store and realize you should give them a call before it’s too late.

On a specific message tap the circled i in the top right corner and then turn on read receipts. (Tell the other person to turn this on for you if you want to see too!)

Locate your parked car

apple parked car

You can turn on and off whether Apple Maps automatically drops a pin on the location of where you parked your car so you can find it later. This is for all the Apple Maps users out there.

Settings->Maps->Show Parked Location

Keep the camera on the last used mode

The default action for the camera app is to go back to “photo” next time you use it (after a few minutes). You can change that so it always opens with the last mode you used, i.e. panorama, video, square, etc…

Settings->Camera->Preserve Settings->Camera Mode

You can also have it default to your last used lighting and filter options under the same settings menu.

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Google Just Blew Our Mind With These 4 New Announcements

google conference

Google announced all kinds of cool new things at its annual I/O conference–from robots making our phone calls to a colorless phone screen. Seriously. Read on to have your mind blown about all the new features.

Google Assistant

Google performed some black magic with a demo of a person asking (speaking or typing) Assistant to make them a haircut appointment. Google Assistant then called the salon on its own, used a fake human voice to talk to the person answering the phone, and then let the person know when the task was completed and added to their calendar.

Plus, just for fun, Google Assistant is gaining the ability to speak to you with a few popular celebrities like John Legend.

Google Lens

Google Lens is Google’s visual search which uses the phone’s camera to better and automatically understand the world you’re standing in currently.

New features coming to Google Lens includes the ability to point your phone’s camera at a book, drag your finger across the screen on top of the text, and have that text instantly copied to your phone.

lens copy paste

It will soon be able to do Style Match and look at furniture or clothing and determine other matching items to go with it. You could buy a couch, and then use it to determine what type of end tables best go with it. Google Lens should be able to answer matching question for you, without directly asking, just pointing your camera at it.

Android P (new Android software)

Android P is the new, yearly operating system update for compatible phones. A bunch of the stand out features focus around intelligence, simplicity, digital wellbeing.

Intelligence

  • Adaptive Battery will figure out your usage patterns and make even smarter decisions to preserve battery life longer.
  • Adaptive Brightness will now account for personal preference in addition to auto brightness and be smarter about your screen brightness.
  • App Actions will first predict which app you want to use (based on time of day and patterns) and then predict what you want to do with that app and provide an action without having to go into the app.

Simplicity

  • A simpler home screen design in Android P will use more swipes to move around including swipe up to see your recent apps–think iPhone X and how its gestures work.
  • Android P will also change the side volume buttons to change media volume by default, instead of your ringer, because most people don’t want videos to blast unexpectedly.

Digital wellbeing

  • A new dashboard will show how you’re spending your time on your phone. Including items like, how many times you unlock your phone in a day, detailed app usage, and total YouTube watch time across your phone and other computers.
  • App Timer – you’ll be able to allocate an amount of time you want to use a specific app in a day and once you reach that amount of time the icon will become grayed out.
  • Wind Down – instead of your phone keeping you up in bed, it will try and put you to sleep. Tell it what time you want to go to bed and the screen will fade from color to grayscale when you reach your “bedtime.”

google wind down feature

Google Maps

Google Maps is critical to people getting around, but not without its pain points. The example Google showed was getting off the subway and not knowing how you are oriented and which direction to head in, to continue following the directions.

Google Maps is adding augmented reality to Maps, so when you hold up the phone and it uses the camera, Maps can overlay arrows, street names, and other information on top of the real world you are seeing through the camera.

google maps ar directions

There might even be a cute animated pet which you can follow and will lead you in the right direction in a future update.

Google Maps will also be adding a new section called “For You” with personalized recommendations of businesses and things around you at any given moment. with a “your match” scores comparing your info with what google knows about these places

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The Everyday Guide To Preserving Your Phone’s Battery

power time

True or false, if you use the wrong app, you could damage your phone’s battery? This is false, but there are still a lot of questions about how you should charge your phone and what things may lessen the longevity of a battery’s life.

Battery questions have long been in the back of people’s minds, but Apple brought this more to light with iOS 11.3 and the addition of its battery-health indicator which measures the long term health of your phone’s battery and tries to maximize its performance and life.

Let’s dig into some of these questions and see if you should change any of your battery behaviors.

Is there anything my phone’s battery can’t handle?

Your battery doesn’t like physical damage, like being tossed into a fire or something else crazy. But in terms of general phone usage, your battery is resilient to refreshing Instagram thousands of times.

Play all the video games you normally would, leave your phone plugged into a charger if you feel like it, and don’t worry about letting your phone hit 0%. Your battery should be fine for years.

How do I get my phone’s battery to last through an entire day?

There are a few things you should watch out for to make sure you aren’t losing unnecessary battery life on a daily basis. One thing you should NOT be doing, though, is force quitting all apps on your phone after each use. That WILL NOT help and could be using more battery life. (What does this mean? Check out why that is…)

If you think your daily battery should be lasting longer than it is, your first visit should be to the battery section in the settings app. Both iOS and Android provide details on how much battery different apps are using.

Warning: be prepared to have your eyes opened if you’re scrolling Instagram for hours a day.

Keep an eye open for unusual activity such as long usage in the background (continued use, while not visible on screen) which could be taking unnecessary battery life.

If everything looks normal in the battery section of the settings app you can tweak a few other settings, such as lowering the brightness of your screen and turning off a notifications (which can light up your screen everytime they come in). [screenshot]

If you’re constantly running out of battery life despite taking these precautions, you may just be a “power user,” in which case, there’s a simple solution: pick up a portable battery to recharge your phone between the early morning and late night. This won’t tie you to an outlet and can provide as much extra battery life as you’re willing to pay for.

Say I want to live the ideal battery lifestyle, how would I do that?

So you want your battery to #liveitsbestlife on a daily basis and prolong the health of your phone’s battery long into the future? More power to you. Here are some of the key points that manufactures like Apple recommend in prolonging the life of their phone’s battery:

  • Keep it comfy – Batteries like to be comfortable and that means keeping your phone (and its battery) between 32-95 degrees fahrenheit. Basically the same temperatures that work for humans. (Don’t leave your phone in a hot car!)
  • Update! – Stop ignoring those reminders and keep your phone’s software up-to-date. Both iOS and Android devices heavily manage the phone’s hardware through its software and having the most up-to-date version means that your phone will have the latest tips and tricks to keep it running smoothly.
  • Disconnect – When you phone doesn’t have a strong connection to a cellular connection (like when it goes back and forth between one bar and “no signal”) it then works the hardest to search for a better signal. Avoid areas with poor connectivity to your provider or turn off cellular in your phone’s settings to avoid a big power drain.
  • Locate – Most people have used GPS to navigate somewhere and understand it is a heavy user of battery life. Just be aware that apps that constantly use your location like maps and Uber are a bit more heavy on the battery and shouldn’t be planned to used for hours without a backup charging plan.
  • Certify – Anything electrical you plug into your phone  should be good quality. For Apple, that means MFI certified (Made for iPhone, iPad, iPod). For others, it should be sold by a reputable reseller–probably not that rando gas station in the middle of nowhere. While modern phones are extremely safe, plugging them into a janky charger could definitely cause explosive issues.
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Why You Don’t Need To Compulsively Quit All Your Phone Apps

quit apps

True or False:  
* After you use an app you immediately double-tap the home button and swipe the app away
* You always swipe away all or most of your open apps so they don’t keep running
* You believe that if you don’t quit an app on your phone it will burn your battery quicker

If you answered ‘True’ to one or more of those statements, it’s time for some myth-busting.

In a nutshell, modern mobile apps are built to be paused when the app is not in use. Both iOS and Android are modern operating systems made for mobile devices, they know that they are running on phones with limited battery. Conserving power is job number one.

Phone apps are not desktops apps

In the past, apps designed for desktops (or computers constantly plugged into the wall), weren’t concerned with power consumption, they were more concerned with speed and getting things done fast.

But what about that time when…

Let me guess, there was a time when an app was visibly draining your battery and you quit it and everything was magical again? Every once in a while that is the case. In fact Apple has a guide and instructions to show users how to force quit an app. They also say, “You should force an app to close only when it’s unresponsive.”

Android is the same. Here’s a response from Google’s SVP of Platforms & Ecosystems for Android, Chrome, and Chrome OS, Hiroshi Lockheimer responding on Twitter.

Time to blow your mind

It takes a certain (very tiny) amount of power and battery life to launch an app. Once the app is running, it takes even less energy (battery) to leave it paused in the background than it does to relaunch the whole thing from a cold state each time.

You’re likely using MORE battery life to quit your apps after each use and re-open them, especially if the apps are ones you open a bunch of times everyday.

Just keep this in mind if you’re trying to live that full-battery lifestyle. Feel free to share this info with other people as well.

In the end…

Of course, apps like Spotify and Google maps don’t completely pause when you switch to a different app. You’d be upset with your phone if couldn’t listen to Spotify and browse Facebook at the same time.  

Running these more battery-hungry apps all day will take a certain amount of juice, but all of this to say, you should not be worrying about using all the apps on your phone. Go about your normal day, use the apps you need, and don’t spend the mental energy worrying about your phone’s software. It’s fine. It’s all fine.