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10 smart technical tricks you wish you knew before



Developers add all sorts of secrets, shortcuts and hidden tricks to the gadgets you use every day. Here’s one I bet you did not know until now.

Grab any USB cable that is around your house. That symbol on the one hand is not just branding or decoration. It will point up if you connect horizontally; if you connect a cable vertically, the USB symbol will turn you over. Nice.

Make 2021 the year you become more technically knowledgeable. Over 350,000 people get my tips delivered straight to their inbox. Sign up here while you think about it. Prepare to be surprised.

1. Teach your iPhone a new trick

Thanks to iOS 14, you can now ask your phone to execute a series of new commands using the backward tap movement.

When this feature is turned on, the phone interprets knocking on the back at the touch of a button. But unlike the old home button, tailgates can do much more than lock the screen. You can customize the movement to open the Wallet app, mute the volume, take a picture and much more.

Rear cranes are only available on iPhone 8 models and newer with iOS 14 installed. To configure it:

1. Open Settings on iPhone, followed by Availability.

2. Touch Touch.

3. Scroll to the bottom and select Back Tap.

4. Double-click or Triple-tap to select an action. You can have assigned movements on the back assigned at the same time.

Pressing twice on the back of your phone activates the double-tap movement you assigned. Press it three times to activate the Triple Tap motion. You can change the specified movements at any time by following the same steps. You can also identify a song with one touch on the iPhone. How to do it on my site.

2. Look much better during Zoom conversations

Daily zoom meetings can be a drag. At the very least, you can look your best by turning on Touch Up My Appearance.

It’s free to use, so you do not need to upgrade to a paid Zoom account. To configure it:

1. Open Zoom on the desktop and click on your profile picture. Then click on Settings.

2. Click the Video tab.

Under Video Settings, click Touch My Appearance.

4. Use the slider to adjust the effect. Zoom will remember your preferences the next time you log in.

You can also turn on Touch Up my Appearance in the Zoom iOS app:

1. On the Zoom app, tap Settings.

2. Tap Meetings.

3. Touch Touch My Appearance.

Switch this option to view your video with and without touch.

If you do not use Zoom for your video calls, you can still use this trick. Snap Camera from the makers of Snapchat that lets you apply filters to Zoom, Skype and Google Meet calls. Click or click here for instructions and a direct download link.

Get better sound during video calls

Nobody likes crackling sound or background noise in video calls. It’s embarrassing and distracting. The Krisp app uses machine learning algorithms to detect excess noise and remove it.

To configure it:

Tap or click here to create an account and download the Krisp app. Follow the installation instructions.

2. Open Zoom and click Settings.

3. Open the audio settings. In the drop-down box, select Krisp for your microphone and Krisp for your speaker.

4. In the Krisp app, select the microphone you want to use and the speakers you want to use.

Krisp is compatible with Skype, Google Meet and Microsoft Teams. Look for the preferences or the settings menu in the video service, and select the microphone input and speaker output. If you need more help, Krisp has support for Mac and Windows users here.

4. Know how apps spy on you

When Apple released iOS 14, it included a new feature that alerts users when the camera or microphone is in use. These indicator icons are a big privacy boost. Android 11 does not have the same built-in feature, but you can get the same alerts with the free Access Dots app for Android. After installing the app, you will see a green icon if the camera is on or an orange icon when your microphone is in use.

When you install Access Dots, it will ask you for full control over your phone. This is safe to approve since the app needs permission to check if other apps are using the microphone or camera. Tap or click here to download Access Dots and for steps to take when an app looks at every single move.

5. A quick way to mute your music

If you play music or sound in another tab, you do not have to stop what you are doing to mute it. Instead, you can mute the tab with just one click.

In Google Chrome, right-click on an audio playback tab and select Mute Website. This step stops sound from playing in the tab until you turn on the sound of it.

In Microsoft Edge, it’s even easier. Just click on the speaker icon. The same step applies to Safari.

6. A better way to copy and paste that gets rid of junk

Have you ever copied text and watched the format get corrupted when you tried to paste it? No one wants Frankenstein documents to be copied from different sources, which is why a clean paste is the best way to keep all the text consistent.

To do this, just press Ctrl + Shift + V on PC or Option + CMD + Shift + V on Mac. This will paste the text you copied and remove the formatting it had. If you paste the text into a document, it will now match everything else.

7. Get fast writing with easy text replacement shortcuts

Here’s a powerful trick that can save you a lot of time and annoyance: replacing text. This trick allows you to set up shortcuts to replace longer sentences, such as “GM” for “Good morning!” You can do this with regular sentences or customize them.

Just think of the possibilities. The @ symbol becomes your email address, and something like “myhome” can be the shortcut to your address.

On an iPhone:

● Go to Settings> General> Keyboard> Text Replacement

● Touch the plus icon, then enter the phrase and shortcut. Touch Save.

For Android, you can do this using the Google keyboard:

● Open Gboard Settings> Dictionary> Personal Dictionary and select the language.

● Press the plus sign to add. In the first field, enter the word or phrase you want Gboard to remember. In the second field, enter the card code you want to pull it up.

8. The secret scroll you wish you knew about

Not all of us have a fancy mouse with a scroll wheel. There’s an easy way to scroll built-in right on your keyboard: Just press the space bar while your browser is open, and you’ll scroll down the page.

Press Shift + spacebar to scroll back.

You can use this trick in any browser on both Windows 10 and macOS. If this does not seem to work, click on the web page background and try again.

9. Manage incoming alerts only on iOS and Android

Managing alerts for every app on your phone can be a royal pain in the neck. But the latest versions of iOS and Android allow you to change these settings on the go. The next time you receive a notification that you want to unsubscribe, you can adjust the settings there in the window.

On iOS, tap and hold the alert when it appears on your phone. The window should expand slightly. Then tap the three-point icon to change the settings for that app.

Tap and hold the notification on Android, then tap Settings. You can choose to turn off alerts by tapping Alerts off or tapping Advanced to allow more inbound alerts such as alert dots.

Use dark mode to save your eyes

Android 11 included a new dark theme that is easier on your eyes when viewed in low light. You can even schedule when the dark theme is turned on, in case you do not want it on all the time. To configure it:

1. Swipe down from the top of the screen to see the quick settings menu.

2. Long press on the Dark Theme icon. It looks like a crescent moon.

3. You will see the three scheduling options: “None”, “Turns on from sunset to sunrise” and “Turns on at custom time.”

4. If you select “Turn on at custom time”, select and select the times you want Dark Theme to start and end.

Now that you know these handy technical tips, you can get more out of your devices without spending extra money. You can not beat it. Are you using an iPhone? Tap or click here for the steps to use dark mode along with new animated wallpapers, ways to clean up the home screen and more.

DO YOU NEED A HAND WITH A SLOW PC, WRITE OR SOFTWARE YOU CANNOT CRACK? Post technical questions for specific answers from me and other technical professionals. Visit my Q&A forum and get technical help now.

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Learn about all the latest technology at The Kim Komando Show, the nation’s largest radio show this weekend. Kim takes conversations and gives advice on today’s digital lifestyle, from smartphones and tablets to privacy and computer hacks online. For her daily tips, free newsletters and more, visit her website at Komando.com.


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