A smartphone allows you to do everything from making voice calls to monitor your health, but there are plenty of hidden features within the apps on your phone that you may not be aware of. Here are 9 smartphone secrets that will help you get more out of your phone and improve your daily life. Click here to learn more about these smartphone secrets!
Tip 1) Hide Text Messages from Friends and Family
Keeping a secret is hard enough without having to worry about your spouse or kids checking your call log from time to time. If you want to keep certain texts private, there are several ways to do so. On an iPhone, go into Settings and turn on do not disturb. This feature allows you to choose who can send you texts while it’s turned on; if someone tries sending a text while do not disturb is active, they’ll get a message saying that you’re unavailable and when you’ll next be able to read messages.
Tip 2) Turn Off Notifications
Your smartphone’s default notification setting can be a huge distraction, especially at work. Most of us know to flip off social media notifications and emails, but you may not know that you can control your notifications on other apps. For example, if you’re having trouble focusing while studying or working through a list because of Instagram updates and messages from friends, consider disabling them in settings. Similarly, if your phone is alerting you every time an app is opened or updated, set it to update only once per day or turn off all auto-updates. It might feel less immediate at first (and some apps won’t let you), but these simple tweaks will help silence distractions and prevent interruptions throughout your day.
Tip 3) Disable Auto App Updates
Auto app updates can be convenient, but they’re also a big drain on your data plan. If you want to free up some space on your device and avoid additional charges, you can tell your smartphone not to update any apps unless you choose to do so manually. Head into your phone’s Settings menu and look for an option called Automatic App Updates, or similar; you’ll likely find it in either General or Background App Refresh. Switch it off and keep an eye on how much space those automatic updates are taking up. It might not seem like much, but if you do it often enough (and have a bad habit of forgetting about new updates) then that’s one extra $20-$30 per month saved from just disabling these apps.
Tip 4) Keep Your Phone Charged at All Times
Smartphones are one of our most important tools, but they don’t last forever. If you want to use your phone as a reliable tool on a day-to-day basis, you’ll need to keep it charged all day long. One way to do that is by purchasing an extra battery and carrying that in your bag or briefcase. We recommend getting at least a third party or aftermarket brand (like Anker) rather than buying it from your service provider, so you have more options for spare batteries in case something goes wrong.
Tip 5) Use Emojis Wisely
Emojis can make you look silly. Unless you’re talking to your girlfriend, use emojis sparingly in business conversations and never with clients. Use them with caution when communicating with colleagues as well; if they are too cute, they may come across as being juvenile or unprofessional. Don’t think of emojis as a shortcut for having to think more deeply about your messages or emails—they actually take a lot more time to type out than normal words and sentences do. If nothing else, that will slow you down enough that you don’t have time to write so many of them.
Tip 6) Explore Hidden Settings
Settings are often overlooked in favor of apps, but your smartphone’s settings contain a wealth of functions. For example, did you know that holding down on certain parts of an app in iOS reveals shortcuts to key features? (The same is true for several Android phones.) To browse your phone’s hidden settings, go to Settings > General > About Phone/Tablet and tap Software Info. Scroll down to find a full list of hidden details.
Tip 7) Adjust Font Size
Make it easier to read your smartphone with a simple tip that almost every tech expert never mentioned: adjusting your font size. On iPhones, go to Settings > General > Accessibility, then slide Larger Text all of the ways to ON. On Android phones, follow these steps: Settings > Display > Font size. Once you’ve made these adjustments, you should see your phone’s display look larger and more legible.
Tip 8) Customize Vibration Patterns
Your phone may already have pre-installed vibration patterns—if not, you can easily create your own. Either way, a personalized vibration pattern will make it that much easier to identify which call or text is coming in. Here’s how: Launch Settings, and then go to Sound. Select Ringtone and tap on your current sound (tap on each one if you want to preview them). Next, go back out to Settings > Sound > Vibration > Create New Vibration. In addition to creating a new vibration pattern for each contact, you can also add shortcuts such as an SOS in case of emergency or another very important contact number. Once your custom vibrations are set up, go into Contacts and select each contact that has a customized vibration.
Tip 9) Clean Up Old Apps and Cache
Memory is limited on your smartphone, so you have to make sure to free up space when needed. Instead of deleting apps, you might want in the future, you can use a cache cleaner app that will allow you to clean out temporary files and clear some cache every once in a while. Not only will it clear space, but it’ll also help with performance if your phone has been slowing down or freezing.