4 Easy Tricks for your Smartphone
Everybody seems to have a smartphone these days, even those who only really use the text and call functions. Web browsers and the ability to check email are both incredibly handy, but you’re not really making use of your smartphone until you start to learn more of its special functions. Here are four basic tricks that every smartphone owner should know:
1. Take Screenshots
Have you had a funny miscommunication because of autocorrect? Rather than try to explain what happened, just take a picture of the screen. It’s a lot simpler than it sounds, and your friends will get a laugh.
Android: Pressing both the Volume Down and Power buttons at the same time will save an image to the “Captured Images” folder. For older Android phones (3.0 and earlier), you may need to download an app.
iPhone: Pressing both the Sleep button and Home button will take a picture that’s saved to Saved Photos or Camera Roll.
2. Block Contact
When a person calls or texts excessively despite your asking them to calm down, blocking texts or calls can give you a break.
iPhone: If the person is on your Phone or Facetime contacts list, then select that contact, scroll to the bottom, and select “Block This Caller.” If the person isn’t on your contacts list, then tap the info button, scroll to the bottom, and choose “Block This Caller.”
For messages, find a message from that person. Select “Contact” in the upper right, and then go to the info screen. Scrolling to the bottom, you’ll find “Block This Caller.” As with blocking calls, you’ll then confirm by pressing “Block Contact.” To edit your list of blocked contacts, go to the settings menu and select either Messages, Phone, or FaceTime. Each of these menus should include access to the “Blocked” lists.
Android: The exact menu for blocking calls will depend on your phone’s model. On many phones, the three dot menu allows you to choose Settings, then Call Settings, and Call Block. On some android phones, you can then create a list of contacts to block. On others, you’ll have the option of sending calls straight to voicemail.
For messages, the phone may have a Block List or registry of spam numbers. Much like with blocking calls, the sequence of menus varies depending on the phone. Googling directions for your phone’s model would be a good place to start looking.
3. Camera Flash for Silent Alerts
Turning your phone to vibrate can still cause a pretty loud buzz, so a blinking light can be a quieter way to find out when you have calls. Just be careful to turn off the flash in movie theaters.
iPhone: On the Settings menu, go to General and then Accessibility. Turn on “LED Flash for Alerts.”
Android: Under Settings and then Accessibility, chose “Flash Notification.”
4. Dry a Wet Phone
Water damage is one of the most common ways to break a phone, but it’s not a lost cause. If you can quickly retrieve the phone, remove the battery and dry if off, then there’s a chance it may be salvageable. You can start by removing the back panel, SIM card, and battery, placing everything on paper towels. Resist the temptation to plug the phone back in for at least 24 hours.
A common suggestion is to keep the phone in a bag of rice overnight. Rice is great at absorbing moisture, and that’s why you sometimes see it in salt shakers at restaurants. A vacuum cleaner can also be useful for helping to remove water, placing it close to vents and openings. A hair dryer isn’t recommended, because it can blow moisture further inside and cause parts to overheat. Even on the cold setting, hair dryers are moving air to accelerate evaporation, and minerals left behind by evaporating water can still disrupt the function of sensitive electronics.
Resist the temptation to dismantle the phone, but you can always take it to a repair shop. Technicians can use isopropyl alcohol on the interior components to maximize the chance of your phone surviving a swim.
Ask for Help
When you’re not sure how to do something on your phone, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Friends, kids, and grandkids are almost always ready to share basic tech knowledge. Every phone is different, so everyone has trouble finding how to control certain settings. If you’re feeling stumped, call the tech support line for your phone and have them walk you through it. They need to know when users are consistently having trouble with their products
For broader tech solutions for your home or business, contact Nerdy by Design. We may not be much help with the newest iPhone, but we can help make your network and software reliable for video conferencing and other tasks.