Tips

Tips & Tricks: Emojis

The Fall Creators Update finally dragged Windows 10 into the modern age with native emoji support. When you are inputting text, press Windows Key + ; (semi-colon) to summon the emoji keyboard.

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Tips & Tricks: Turn off Cortana

But what if you don’t want Cortana listening in on you whatsoever? Microsoft unfortunately disabled all overt methods for disabling the digital assistant in the Windows 10 Anniversary Update, along with a handful of other things. Don’t despair. There’s still a workaround for closing her eyes and ears using a quick registry edit. Here’s how to kill Cortana if you don’t want the digital assistant to share your searches and other info with Microsoft’s servers.

Tips & Tricks: Launch New Instance

Those taskbar icons can also be used to quickly launch a second (or third, or fourth, or…) instance of a program—a fresh browser window alongside an already populated one, for instance, or another Windows Explorer window.

Doing so is easy: Just hold down the Shift button, then open the program as you normally would, either via a left click of the mouse or the aforementioned quick-launch keyboard trick. A new, clean version of the software appears alongside the one you already have open.

Tips & Tricks: Magnify What Camera Sees

The ability to zoom in on real-world images might prove helpful in all kinds of situations, such as when you’re squinting at a menu in a dimly-lit restaurant. To use it, go to Settings, open General, choose Accessibility, and then tap Magnifier and turn the feature on. You can also enable auto-brightness at this time, which means the camera screen will react to ambient light levels.

With this toggle set to on, you can launch the iOS Camera app and triple-tap the Home button to bring up the Magnifier option. Use the slider at the bottom of the screen to take a closer look at anything, from a photograph to a block of text.

Tips & Tricks: Write on Attachments

Sometimes, an email attachment just doesn’t convey enough information on its own. So annotate it with the Mail client built into iOS. Digital scribbles, text overlays, a zoom-in magnification window, digital signatures—you can add all of these on top of email attachments.

To modify an attachment you’ve received (you can still review your email before sending it), tap and hold it until the Share menu appears. Then pick Markup and Reply from the list. For a file you’ve attached to a new email, tap the attachment and choose Markup.

Tips & Tricks: Teach Siri Nicknames

Siri is pretty adept at working out who you want to text or call. But you can speed up the process by adding nicknames like “mom” or “Lizzie” to your contacts. In fact, Apple’s Contacts app has a field especially for this, and Siri can use it to identify people.

To input a nickname manually, open up any contact card, tap Edit, choose Add field, and then pick Nickname from the list. Alternatively, just tell Siri to “call mom” or “call dad” or something similar. Then the assistant will ask you which contact that nickname belongs to—remember your answer for future use.

Tips & Tricks: Notification via Camera Flash

Receive notifications via camera flash
Those of you who prefer a visual phone alert to an audible one will like this: You can get your iPhone’s flash to light up when a notification is displayed. This could come in handy during meetings, when many people place their phones face-down on top of a table.

To get the feature working, go into Settings and then tap General and Accessibility. Switch the LED Flash for Alerts toggle switch to On, and you’re done. If you prefer to not be disturbed at all when the phone is in silent mode, you can tell the flash not to light up then.

Tips & Tricks: Get Your List Phone Back

Even if you don’t use the Apple Health app, it is worth filling out the Medical ID section. That’s because the details you enter here, like your allergies and contact information for your next of kin, will appear on the lock screen when someone taps the dialer’s Emergency link. In other words, anyone who picks up your device can access this information. So, if your phone gets lost, a helpful bystander can tap through to find a way to return it.

Another, better-known way of locating a lost device is the Find My iPhone feature, which lets you track your phone on a map. Activate the ability in the Settings app under General, Apple ID, iCloud.

Tips & Tricks: iPhone Bed Time

In addition to letting you set alarms so you will wake up on time, the latest version of iOS helps you keep to a given bedtime. Open up the Clock app on your iPhone and then tap on the Bedtime link at the bottom to get started.

First, your phone will ask you what time you want to wake up in the morning. When that’s set, you can decide which days of the week you want the alarm to go off, and then how many hours of sleep you want each night. Your iPhone will then ping you when it’s time to hit the hay, and track how well you’re doing at reaching your sleep targets.

Tips & Tricks: Hide Photos

We all hand our phones over to friends when we want to share photos or videos. But what if your collection includes sensitive images you would rather not show anyone else? Luckily, the iPhone makes it easy to hide your most personal pictures from view.

Inside Photos, select one or more images, then tap the Share button and choose Hide. As the confirmation message says, your chosen pictures will become invisible via the Moments, Collections, and Years views, but can still be accessed through the Albums screen.