Tuesday, 29 November 2016

The 3 BIGGEST productivity hacks for any smartphone, that you can implement immediately

If you’ve read some of my previous blogs or know me personally, you’ll know that I’m always looking at better ways of doings things. I’m a big fan of improving my productivity, and being as effective as I can be. Often this involves technology, tools, software, and Apps, but also making changes in my working processes, environment, and mindset.
As I spend most of my time at Appware working with smartphones and Apps, people often ask me what Apps are best for improving productivity. There are some great Apps out there for this, but I like to take a step back sometimes. Instead of answering that question, I prefer to actually fix the underlying issue behind it. With that in mind, here are my 3 biggest ways you can improve your productivity using your smartphone. Surprisingly, none of these are actually Apps, they are all free to do, and you can implement them all immediately.
Make Phone Calls
There are so many other ways to communicate on your smartphone these days, rather than calling people on the phone. There’s text messages, email, Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, LinkedIn, Whatsapp etc etc. The problem is that people are receiving so many of these messages they sometimes don’t deal with them, or simply forget to respond.
A phone call from someone is far rarer these days. It will not just make you stand out from others, but will get a response either immediately, or much quicker than any other way. Don’t just chase something up with an email and mark it as done on your to do list. Once you start making phone calls and having real conversations with people again, you’ll soon realise you’re getting more done as you’re getting answers quicker. You’ll also be building much deeper, and more personal relationships with people. That in itself is worth it’s weight in gold.
Switch Email And Notifications Off
These days we’re constantly bombarded with notifications and messages from all sorts of Apps. It could be a Twitter mention, a Facebook like, a LinkedIn connection request, or a new email arriving. When those messages pop up or our phone pings, we simply can’t resist taking a look. Once we’ve replied, we then tend to go down a social media rabbit hole. Twenty minutes later we decide to close it and go back to what we were doing. First, we’ll just get another drink though. So before you know it, at least half an hour has passed.
It’s not surprising that we can’t focus on what we’re supposed to be doing with all this going on. It then gets to the end of the day, and we wonder where all the time went, and why we haven’t done most of the things we set out to do.
So firstly, go to your email account and set it to manual, rather than allowing it to automatically get emails and notify you of new ones. That way if you do need to check email when out and about, you still can but won’t get constant interruptions. Then go to the settings of your phone and disable push notifications, or at least disable it on most of your social media Apps. You’ll be amazed at how much more you’ll be able to concentrate. And do you really need to know when somebody “LOL”’d at your latest cat video post…
Do not disturb mode
This one can be used when you REALLY need to concentrate on something, typically for an hour or so. All modern smartphone had a “do not disturb” mode that does exactly that. It won’t show any notifications (not that you should have any if you implemented the above!) or allow phone calls but is way more convenient than switching your phone off completely. In this mode it still allows you to carry out tasks such as using the calculator, taking photo’s, and listen to music.
I often find that when I want to concentrate, going into “do not disturb” mode, putting my headphones on, and listening to music via my smartphone is a winning combination to avoid any distractions.
So those are my biggest tips to massively improve your productivity on your smartphone. I’d love to hear your feedback, as well as any of your own tips, so please do leave me a comment or send me a message.

How to unlock your iOS10 iPhone without pressing the home button

 Since iOS10 was released I’ve heard loads of people complaining that they can’t unlock their phone easily. For some unknown reason Apple decided to change the way you unlock the phone with the fingerprint recognition. The process used to be as follows:
  1. 1. Press the home or power button so your phone screen came on.
  2. 2. Rest your finger on the home button.
  3. 3. It recognised your fingerprint and opened the phone. Done!
The new standard behaviour in iOS10 is now as follows:
  1. 1. Press the home or power button so your phone screen comes on.
  2. 2. Rest your finger on the home button.
  3. 3. Wonder why it hasn’t opened the phone.
  4. 4. Press the power button to switch it off and on again.
  5. 5. Press the home button and wonder why it’s asking for a pin instead of your fingerprint.
  6. 6. Swear a lot.
  7. 7. Press the home or power button so your phone screen comes on. Again.
  8. 8. Rest your finger on the home button.
  9. 9. Notice that at the top of the screen is now says “unlocked” even though nothing else changes.
  10. 10. Press the home button.
  11. 11. Your phone is now open and ready to use.
This is a massive frustration, and pretty much everyone I know has asked why on earth they changed it to add another home button press, if and when it works, which is obviously slower.
Thankfully I have good news :) You can revert the unlock functionality to work exactly how it used to, so no more ranting required! It’s actually really quick and simple once you know how to navigate the settings. So here’s how you do it:
  1. 1. Run the “Settings” App.
  2. 2. Choose “General”.
  3. 3. Choose “Accessibility”.
  4. 4. Scroll down and choose “Home Button”.
  5. 5. At the bottom of the screen, switch on “Rest Finger to Open”
And that’s it. It will now behave just how it used to :)
Please feel free to share this article, to help any of your friends or colleagues you have seen losing their temper with their phones, and about to throw them across the room when trying to unlock them.

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Why does my iPhone 6S keep turning off? And how to get it fixed for free!

Over the past few months there have been a spate of reports from iPhone6S users, saying their phones have been randomly shutting down. Even with lots of battery power, the phones just shutdown and restart for no apparent reason. In some cases they didn’t even restart and needed a manual reset to start back up. Obviously this is a real problem as it can happen at any time.
Apple have now identified this shutdown problem as an issue with the battery, on iPhone6S’ made between September and October 2015. The good news is that if you’re having this problem, they will replace the battery to fix the issue for free. The even better news is that if you’ve previously paid for Apple to replace the battery on a phone affected by this issue, they will refund you.
Full details from Apple and how to get a free battery replacement can be found here https://www.apple.com/uk/support/iphone6s-unexpectedshutdown/
Please feel free to share this article, to help any of your friends or colleagues that may have been affected by this iPhone battery issue.