Most of us spend a lot of time on our phones. Continued advancements to smartphones in recent years have added more convenience to our lives, to the point that we rely on our phones more and more every day. However, you still may not be making the most of your device and all of the functionality that it offers. By using your smartphone as efficiently as possible, you can make your life even easier. So, if you’re wondering how to get more from your device and up the efficiency levels, keep reading as we’ve listed some top tips below:
1. Use your smartphone to increase your productivity
Manage your time more efficiently
Between the built-in calendar and reminder functionalities of iPhone and Android handsets, your device could be just what you need to help you stay up to date with your busy social life! iPhone users can even set up Siri to remind them of important events or tasks.
If you’re someone that is too distracted by your phone or you work with your phone and are distracted by other apps or websites, there’s an app for that! You can use Freedom for iOS users and Focus Lock for Android users to select apps and websites to block for a specified period of time. There is also a Chrome extension, StayFocused to help you do the same thing on your computer. It will keep you on track to ensure you hit your deadlines and stay on track.
Install productivity based apps
These days, people don’t just use their phones for entertainment. More and more people complete tasks for work entirely from their phones. That being said, it is becoming very important to make sure you have access to everything you need for work. Here are a few apps that can help you fully integrate your work life into your phone:
- Stay connected with email apps like Gmail (Android, iOS) or Microsoft Outlook (Android, iOS)
- Coordinate with your team by downloading a group messaging app such as Slack (Android, iOS) and/or a project management app like Basecamp (Android, iOS)
- Keep track of all your tasks with apps such as Trello (Android, iOS) or Any.do (Android, iOS)
- Access all of your files with apps such as Google Drive (Android, iOS) or Dropbox (Android, iOS)
- Ensure you can open all of your Microsoft files on-the-go with the Microsoft Word (Android, iOS), Excel (Android, iOS) and PowerPoint (Android, iOS) apps
Additionally, browsing the App Store and Google Play Store can highlight some extremely useful apps to help you become more productive, not only at work, but in your personal life too. With a range of apps to help you with your daily life, including note-taking, to-do lists and even updates on your traffic route, you’ll be sure to find an app that can make your day just that little bit easier. Below are a few favorites:
- Secure your passwords and automatically sign in to all of your sites with LastPass (Android, iOS)
- Make sure you can always recover your lost or deleted photos, files, emails, contacts, etc. with data recovery apps like Enigma Recovery (Android, iOS)
- Send invoices, estimates, receipts and more using this accounting app like FreshBooks (Android, iOS)
- Organize meetings, plan events with friends and family or create surveys with Doodle (Android, iOS)
- Manage all of your social media channels from one place with HootSuite (Android, iOS)
- Automatically send your Tweets to Instagram, get a text reminder for an upcoming meeting, change your thermostat up or down depending on the weather outside, and create more connections between your apps and devices with the IFTTT app (Android, iOS)
- Make grocery lists or take meeting notes on the go with apps such as Evernote (Android, iOS) or Paper by FiftyThree (iOS)
Google and Apple have developed device specific systems that can be linked with your car (provided it has the capabilities!) to mirror your device on your car computer. Both systems offer a range of impressive features, including navigation and voice dictation for messaging.
2. Manage your battery more efficiently
If you’re one of those iPhone or Android users who can’t seem to make it through the day without needing to charge your phone, these tips could be just what you need to make your device’s battery last that little bit longer!
Turn off location settings
Whether you’re looking for directions, checking the weather forecast in your area or trying to find a local restaurant, the location services on your device can be extremely useful. However, leaving this option on in the background when you’re not using it can be an additional and unnecessary drain on your battery power. Disable your location settings when they’re not in use to save your battery.
iPhone users can go to Settings > Privacy > Location Services to either entirely turn off the Locations Services or deselect any apps that don’t absolutely need GPS access. Android users can select Settings > Location to determine the location settings.
Stop apps from refreshing in the background
Some apps refresh their content in the background, which can contribute to draining your battery. To stop this, turn off background app refresh by visiting the settings section on your iPhone or Android device.
By not allowing apps to refresh in the background, you don’t have to worry about fully closing inactive apps. It is a myth that leaving apps open drains your battery. In fact, once you have stopped apps from refreshing in the background, it is actually more stress on the device to close it. Keep in mind that this isn’t always the case. If the app is active in the background, like when you’re playing music, recording, or using locations services, make sure you close them to make sure you don’t drain your battery life.
To fully close apps, iPhone users can double tap the home button – a list of thumbnails will appear with all of the apps that are still running in the background. Simply select the app you want to close and swipe upwards. Android users can close background apps by launching the recent applications menu and swiping to the right to close any apps that aren’t in use.
Update your device software
If you haven’t updated the software on your iPhone or Android for a while, chances are that you may have missed an important update, which could help improve your battery life. From within the settings section on your device, check if an update is available and install it. Installing the latest update could also help you improve other areas on your handset so it’s a win-win!
3. Backup your data
With the amount of data that we now store on our smartphones, the need to make regular backups of your device has never been greater. Keeping a regular backup of data will also save you time and a potentially stressful situation if you ever fall victim to data loss or theft, as you will still have access to your important data.
Google Drive, iCloud, DropBox and so many other great apps are at your disposal to ensure that you never have to worry. If you need a lot of storage, you may have to pay a little extra, but it’s always worth it in the long run (especially if you lose your computer, tablet or phone).
4. Make the most of the space on your device
One of the most dreaded things that can happen to any smartphone user is a memory or storage full notification. If this has happened to you, there are ways to increase the amount of available space on your device.
Not only is it valuable to delete apps for space, but it could also be extremely valuable for your battery. Check your phone’s battery usage to determine which apps are the biggest drain. Apps like Facebook have been known to run in the background and lower your battery life. Uninstalling apps that you could live without or simply use your browser to access could help add a few hours to your phone’s battery.
Delete any old or unwanted photos and videos
Although this may sound like a scary suggestion, photos and videos are usually two of the biggest culprits when it comes to using up space on a smartphone, so it’s worth checking to see if there are any that you could delete. You might have some old screenshots that you no longer need, or you may have two photos that look the same. Plus, if you’ve backed up your data, you’ll still have a copy of any photos and videos that you delete from the handset.
If you’re worried about accidentally deleting something you shouldn’t, remember that there’s always an app for that! If you do delete a file, video, photo, etc. that you want back, there are software options available to help you recover your lost or deleted data on your iPhone or Android. So have no fear and clean out your phone.
5. Clear cache
There are certain apps (for example, Facebook and Google Maps) that store temporary files on your device, which build up over time and can affect performance, if they are not removed. If you’re an Android user, simply go to Settings > Apps > Facebook and clear the cache. For iPhone users, the quickest method is to uninstall and then reinstall the app. You can also clear your browsing history to ensure your device is not being bogged down by temporary files which are not needed.
6. Track how much data you are using
This one is especially important if you are on a contract which has a limit to the amount of data that you can use. Failure to monitor which apps are using your data can quickly lead to a more expensive bill than you anticipated. For Android users, go to Settings > Data Usage; if you’re on an iPhone, go to Settings > Mobile Data, where you can find a list of the apps that are using the most data. To resolve this, follow our steps above to close inactive apps. You can also limit apps so they can only be used when you are connected to Wi-Fi, preventing them from eating away at your data.
7. Quick access to settings
This may seem like an obvious one, but there are some people who still don’t know this option exists for iPhone and Android users, or aren’t aware which tools can be accessed through the Quick Settings menu. Access to the menu varies by device – iPhone users swipe upwards from the bottom of the screen, whilst Android users swipe downwards from the top of their phone. This simple tool can provide you quick access to your phone’s built in flashlight and airplane mode option.
8. Create more space on your device
This final tip is for those of you who own an Android smartphone (sorry iPhone users!) and could add even more storage to your device. Whilst iPhone users are limited to the storage level they chose when they first got their handsets, most Android smartphones now have a memory card slot built into the handset, which can be used to insert a MicroSD card. SD Cards are really only used to save media files such as photos and videos, but they can be a huge help, as these are usually the types of files that take up the most space on a device.
Have you tried any of these methods above? Or do you have any others? Let us know in the comments section below.