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iPhone

How To Organize And Speed Up Your iPhone

If you own an iPhone then you know about the struggle of keeping your phone updated, organized, and fast as it gets progressively older and newer models hit the market. It’s so easy for text messages to build up in your archive, useless screenshots from months ago to remain hidden and take up storage, and for pages upon pages of apps to grow. It’s important to go through and clean up your iPhone every couple of months or so to keep everything running smoothly. As long as you do the same general clean-ups, your phone is more likely to remain fully functioning until you’re ready for an upgrade. 

To start, go to your iPhone’s settings, hit “General” and then “About.” This page will give you all of the stats about how many songs, photos, videos, documents, apps, etc. are on your device, as well as how much storage is being taken up by each specific item. Just by looking you’re able to tell what in your phone is slowing it down the most, and from there, you can begin to make some clean-ups. 

One of the easiest and most common solutions to freeing up some space on your phone would be to upload your photos to your computer, another personal device, or my personal favorite, an external hard drive. Photos can take up so many gigabytes of storage on your phone and more times than not you probably have pictures that you don’t even remember are there. 

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By going through your library as you upload the pictures onto another device, you can easily see the hundreds of photos that you most likely won’t even want to transfer, so you can just delete them. Once uploaded, you can delete the pictures off your phone knowing they’re in a safe spot. An external hard drive is great to transfer photos from a computer, this way in case your computer is damaged or breaks, you know you have yet another backup of all of your memories saved. 

Like photos, messages can also build up without you even realizing. Messages themselves don’t necessarily take up a lot of storage, however, the data that’s exchanged via text message (photos, videos, actual documents) can build up. You can actually set your phone to automatically delete messaging threads after a certain amount of days. By going into Settings, Messages, and then Keep Messages, you can choose anywhere between 30 days and 1 year for how long you’d like your phone to keep your messages. For example, if you choose 60 days, your phone will automatically delete any texts that were sent or received 60 days prior.  

Emails can become a huge pain when it comes to storage. It’s so easy for spam emails to build and build and build in your inbox, especially if you don’t have your notifications on. Apple has a feature that actually tells you when an email is being sent to you because your username is on a mailing list. When you open the email a little message on top should appear that states “This message is from a mailing list” and right under it should be an option to “Unsubscribe.” 

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Dedicate some time, and go through the beast that is your inbox. Unsubscribe from the dozens of useless mailing lists you’re on and wait and see how much less frequently you find yourself clearing out your mailbox. 

Like the first option, you can see your iPhone’s storage broken down even more specifically by going into Settings, General, and hitting the iPhone Storage option. This section of your phone will show you every piece of information on your phone that’s taking up storage, no matter how small. From this window you’ll also see options such as “review large attachments” and “offload unused apps.” These sections can help show you the content that’s on your device that’s remaining fairly untouched, but taking up some pretty serious storage. Free up that space and clear out any and all old apps in general that you barely use. 

Clear out your notifications by swiping down and hitting the “X” next to every pop-up that appears. Make it a habit to quit your apps when your done using them, when multiple apps continue to constantly run in the background it can slow down your phone a great deal.

In addition, go through your Contact list and make some serious cuts; you’d be surprised how many people who you haven’t talked to in years are most likely on your list and slowing down your phone. Do the same with the “notes” app and delete every old grocery list. Close every tab and window on your chosen internet app, as well as clearing out the cookies and data from settings. 

As your phone grows older, it doesn’t have to completely break down. Keep up with these tips and techniques on keeping your phone up to speed and upgraded and make it a habit to clean up unwanted and useless content. This way, you won’t have to keep breaking your bank every time a new model comes out.

Google Android

Google Introduces “Ambient Mode” for Android Devices

Google is known for their constant innovations for their various products, most notably the Android operating system that powers most smartphones. The newest version of Android, Android 10, introduces features like a system-wide dark theme, more sophisticated UI navigation controls, and improved location and privacy tools. While Android 10 continues to roll out to devices from a variety of manufacturers, Google is also looking to improve the Android experience in other ways, most recently in the development of a so-called “Ambient Mode,” which passively displays information on the phone’s display while it is charging and allows the user to interact with the phone in a limited way.

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Google unveiled the feature in a Youtube video which shows Ambient Mode running on a Pixel phone and details the various features of the update. The video describes Ambient Mode as “Android’s proactive Google Assistant,” and Google Product Manager Arvind Chandrababu said that the goal for Ambient Mode is to anticipate users’ needs and allow them to accomplish tasks as quickly as possible. In doing so, Google hopes to move users away from an “app-based” way of doing things, in which users scroll through their list of apps and choose the one that matches what they want to do, to an “intent-based” way of doing things, in which the phone is intelligent enough to adapt to the user’s intent. This is part of Google’s broad philosophy of “ambient computing,” the goal of which is to make the integration of computing into users’ lives as seamless and invisible as possible.

While this philosophy is certainly very ambitious, the announcement of Ambient Mode represents only a small step towards that lofty goal. Though Google has said that Ambient Mode will be available on Android 8.0 and above, the number of devices that are announced to support the feature is limited, including relatively esoteric devices like Sony Xperia phones, Nokia phones, and Xiaomi phones, with no mention of more popular devices like the Samsung Galaxy line of devices or even Google’s own Pixel phones. Additionally, Ambient Mode in its current form is surprisingly limited, as it offers no customization features whatsoever, allowing users to adjust a limited number of quick settings, control compatible smart home devices like lightbulbs and thermostats, and view notifications like weather and calendar alerts. 

While the extent of Google’s control over the smartphone operating system ecosystem is impressive, a number of factors prevent the company from offering the highest-quality products possible. For years, one of Google’s most damaging problems has been the fragmentation of its software lineup. The company has released  — and discontinued — a large number of messaging apps, for instance, and each of these apps is mutually incompatible with others. The problem is made worse by the fact that many smartphone manufacturers build their own messaging apps for their phones; for instance, the Samsung Galaxy s9 comes with an app called “Messages,” which, confusingly, is not the same as the “Messages” app developed by Google.

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For this reason, text messaging on Android phones isn’t nearly as sophisticated or robust as iMessage, the app that comes standard on all iPhones and allows advanced features like read receipts and typing indicators, which are by and large absent on Android. In an attempt to correct this shortcoming, Google has recently announced that it would activate RCS compatibility on its Messages app for all Android phones in certain countries, which enables many of the messaging features that iPhone users have enjoyed for years. However, the problem of app fragmentation remains, as only people who are using an app that incorporates RCS compatibility can use these advanced features. As of now, Ambient Mode seems to be plagued by this same shortcoming, due to the feature’s limited availability and functionality. If the company’s prior conduct is any indication of future events, the likelihood of Ambient Mode being rolled out to most Android devices in a timely fashion seems low, as most Android smartphone owners are still waiting for the latest version of Android and other features to arrive on their devices.