device got hidden depths

19 Apr Has Your Much-Loved Device Got Hidden Depths?

Most of us would feel “naked” if we didn’t have some sort of device to hand – wherever we go, our smart phones, tablets and laptops go with us. But did you ever wonder how well you know your electronic sidekick, and whether they have hidden depths?

We use our mobile devices for many purposes (business and pleasure), lovingly update them and use trusted suppliers for computer and laptop repairs. However, are there existing features we overlook? Some pundits believe that 80% of people who own devices only use 20% of their available features.

Your laptop, computer or tablet is a secret spy

Sometimes, this means adding a little tweak. For example, did you know you can download an app to turn your laptop camera into a surveillance system that automatically comes on when someone comes into the room? There’s another app which uses face recognition technology to add extra security for who can – or can’t – log on to your device.

On a lighter note, the social media and event trend for “photo booth” photography can be reproduced with an app on your laptop or computer.

So, apart from hours of fun – and some spying – with the camera on your laptop, computer or tablet, what else is possible?

Well if you need something from your computer or laptop while you are out and about, there are apps that enable you to log on remotely from another machine to access or copy files that you’ve not got around to putting on Cloud.

Uncovering Android features

Android devices in particular are packed with configuration options and tools that get unexplored or forgotten.

Heaven forbid you should lose your “best friend”, but were you aware that by using the Android Device Manager feature you can locate, ring and lock your device? And if panic sets in, you can even wipe your device remotely using this feature.

Android devices get faster all the time, but there are ways to add to their speed and have a play around as a “Developer”. This is possible via a developer options menu that’s hidden in “About” under software information. This turns on a Developer options menu within the main settings list. A word of caution with this toy box though – it’s best to research all the available features before you start to “play”.

And of course, you need to watch out for dreaded “data usage” levels. If you have a limit you may well monitor it, but surprising numbers of people aren’t using Android’s built-in tool to control usage too. Often hidden under the “More” option, you can use a slider to set a data limit to avoid those nasty over-spends.

Getting to know your Apple pal

One of iOS7’s quirky features that some people aren’t aware of is that you can undo a mistake by shaking the device, then shake it again to reverse the “undo” if necessary.

iPads enable you to take photographs that you don’t have to display on your camera roll (no questions asked). Open Photos, hit the “Share” option and you will find a set of actions including “Hide”.

Out and about with your laptop and iPad? You could download software that enables you to make your iPad in to a second laptop display – which is handy for multitasking.

Are you milking Google?

Even the omnipresent Google doesn’t always get fully “milked” for every day uses. Are you using Google Tasks to extract “to do lists” from emails and other sources? This can even be supercharged with add-ons like “Better Google Tasks”. You could even add “explore more of my device features” to your list of aims for the week.

Are you overlooking some of the apparent basic features of Google that can help you work smoother? For example, the humble Bookmark Folder can be utilised with a tab management extension to store tabs away. You can even right-click on any tab in your browser and select Bookmark All Tabs (Ctrl-Shift-D) to store away all open tabs at once.

Don’t let a slow computer or laptop hold you back

These suggestions and hints are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to exploiting our versatile electronic friends – and new features, apps and software are constantly being created. A slow laptop, slow computer or an ignored software update could be holding your companion back though. So, the best advice is to keep your computer, laptop and mobile device fully optimised for speed and functionality. Then don’t be afraid to explore all the menus and extra features available.

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