Whether you just bought a smartphone or have swiped and tapped on one for years, chances are you’re not using the device to its fullest.
Just as people once thought that we use only 10 percent of our brain — not true, but you get the idea — you probably barely scratch the surface of what your iPhone or Android device is capable of. That’s not surprising, perhaps, considering many hundreds of features are built into today’s smartphones, with new ones added during each software update.
Have an iPhone? Try these nifty features
Can’t find your iPhone in the dark? Say, “Hey, Siri, turn on flashlight.” If Siri doesn’t reply to “Hey, Siri,” perhaps your iPhone is set to work only by pressing a button to summon your personal assistant. Change it to hands-free by going to Settings | Siri & Search | Listen for “Hey Siri.” Enable the tab so it is green.
Create custom vibrations. How great would it be to know who’s calling just by the way the iPhone is buzzing in your pocket? Here’s how.
In the Contacts app, select a person and tap Edit. Select Ringtone and you’ll see a Vibration option. Press that, and you’ll see many options, including a Create New Vibration tool to customize your own buzz.
This way, you can have a different ring and vibration for your spouse, kids or friends and know who’s calling without needing to glance at your phone. You also can create custom ringtones for different people as well as have the iPhone’s light flash a unique pattern to know who’s calling.
Turn e-books into audiobooks. The iPhone has several Accessibility options. One feature called Speak Screen can read aloud any text on the screen at your command.
While designed primarily for the vision impaired, anyone can take advantage of this feature if they want to turn an e-book into an audiobook. To activate it, go to Settings | Accessibility | Spoken Content. Now enable Speak Screen by toggling the button to green.
Then, in any app you have open, swipe down with two fingers from the top of the screen — one on the left side, the other on the right side — to hear the contents of the screen read to you. You can tweak the voice, including gender, language, speaking speed and more.