New York – If you are using a iPhone or Android or Windows phone, many tips are common and universal. Follow this advice, and you’ll save a lot of time, money and heartache in exchange for just a little extra effort.
Back Up Your Photos
Don’t leave the fate of your photos to chance with manual backups. Instead, set your phone to automatically back up photos online so you’ll never lose any memories if your phone is lost or stolen. You’ve got plenty of options for doing this, many of which allow you to just set it and forget it.
Dropbox’s Carousel app and Microsoft’s OneDrive app can automatically back up photos to cloud storage, though you’re limited to 5 GB of free storage for the former and 7 GB for the latter.
Here’s the really important part: Bugs happen, and data gets lost even when you think you’re backing it up. Use more than one of these services at the same time–and keep manually backing up photos to your computer–to drastically lower the odds of losing anything.
Get Your Music from the Cloud
Why spend an extra $50 or $100 on more storage for your phone when you can lighten the load by storing your music online? Google Play Music can store up to 20,000 free songs, which you can then access through apps for iOS and Android (or unofficial apps for Windows Phone). Just download Google’s Music Manager software, and have it upload your computer’s music folder. If you need more storage, Amazon Cloud Player will store up to 250,000 songs for $25 per year.
Check Out Alternative Browsers and Email Apps
It’s easy to stick to the defaults for core functions, but if you take some time to try alternatives, you might find one that’s better for your needs.
Mailbox is a great email alternative for iOS and Android, letting you dismiss emails with a swipe, attach files directly from Dropbox and set reminders for messages that you want to answer later. Gmail users should also check out Google’s own Gmail app for iOS, as it’s better than the iPhone’s default Mail app for searching and for viewing long conversation threads.
Use Some Logic to Sort Your Home Screens
Has your home screen turned into a chaotic mass of unorganized apps and folders? Take a few minutes to sort things out, and you’ll save yourself some headaches later.
Take your absolute favorite apps, and place them directly on the bottom two or three rows of your main screen, with no folders. That way, you can easily reach them without stretching your fingers. Above those rows, use folders for your favorite app categories, or add a widget or two on an Android phone.
Use Your Phone as a Wireless Hotspot
You wireless carrier might prefer if you signed up for a tablet data plan, but you don’t have to. In most cases, it’s cheaper to use your phone as a wireless hotspot, which can provide Wi-Fi to any tablet or laptop.
Get to Know Your Shortcuts
There’s almost always a faster way to do things, it’s just a matter of memorizing the necessary swipes, pinches or long-presses for your particular phone. On the iPhone, for example, you can swipe up from the bottom edge to bring up quick settings, or double tap the home button to bring up a recent apps list. You can then close an app (say, if it’s misbehaving) by swiping upward on it.