Charge your phone faster

Want your phone to charge faster? Turning off wireless or turning on “Airplane Mode” uses less battery power and allows your phone to charge more quickly. You can also use this technique to preserve your battery power when you’re running low.

Make your music collection portable

music notesWant to bring your music collection wherever you go, but don’t have enough room on your phone to store it? Need to access your library on another computer? There are a few cloud services out there that allow you to upload your music library to their servers and then listen to it on-the-go, as long as you have an internet/data connection.

Google PlayStore up to 20,000 songs for free.

Amazon MP3 Store & Cloud PlayerAll Amazon purchases and the first 250 imported songs are free, or you can import up to 250,000 songs for $24.99/year.

iTunes MatchStore your entire library on iCloud for $24.99/year.

* Remember that listening to your library over a data connection on your phone WILL drain the battery and use a lot of data. It’s best to do this if your phone is plugged in and you have an unlimited data plan.

Send an SMS (text message) from Gmail

SMS in Gmail

Need to send a message to someone but forgot your phone? Gmail offers a free way to send text messages to your contacts. Follow the steps below:

Turn on SMS messaging:

  • Go to Settings (the gear icon in the right corner of Gmail).
  • Go to the Labs tab.
  • Search for “SMS” and click Enable on the “SMS (text messaging) in Chat” Lab. Click Save Changes.

Send a message:

  • Sign into chat. Click on the “quote bubble” icon in the left corner of the page and then click “sign into chat”.
  • Enter your contact’s name in the “Search, chat, or SMS” box and select Send SMS from the options that appears to the right of your contact’s name.
  • If a phone number isn’t already listed, type one in, fill out your message and hit send.

Gmail gives everyone a credit of 50 free messages you can send. Although anytime someone responds back with a text to you, you will receive 5 more credits. Read more about credits here.

For more help, visit Google Support.

Turn off animation in iPhone/iPad’s iOS7

Reduce motion in iOS7Is all the movement in the new iOS7 making you ill? Thankfully Apple has just released an update (7.0.3) that allows you to turn off the animation (when apps open/close) and the parallax effect (background shifts when you move your phone). Just follow these steps:

  • Upgrade to 7.0.3: Go to Settings > General > Software Update.
  • Go to Settings > General > Accessibility. Turn “Reduce Motion” on.
  • Enjoy the good feelings in your stomach and eat some pizza.

Saving Google Maps for offline use

Pre-loading Google MapDoesn’t it always seem like you lose cell phone service when you need directions the most? If you plan ahead, you can download the maps you need on your phone just in case you lose service.

  • Open up Google maps on your iPhone/Android phone (make sure it’s upgraded to the latest version).
  • Zoom in on the map area you’d like to save for offline viewing.
  • Type ‘ok maps’ into the search bar and hit the search button. Instead of searching the map for those words, Google Maps will download all the map data currently on your screen.
  • When you open the same area on your map with no internet connection later, you should still be able to view it!

Text message reminders

Don’t have a smart phone, but still need an easy way to send reminders to yourself? Here are two options that will help you out:

Google Calendar:

  1. In the calendar list on the left, click on the down-arrow button next to your calendar, then select “Reminders and notifications”. Click on the link at the bottom of the screen to “set up your mobile phone to receive notifications”. Walk through the setup to verify your phone.
  2. Once that is set up, create a new event on your calendar with a specific time. Click the “Add a reminder” link and add your SMS reminder for the time you would like to receive your reminder. Save your event!


Oh Don’t Forget:
If you don’t use Google Calendar and want an even simpler way to send text reminders, try Oh Don’t Forget. Just put in your number, date/time and your message and send! You can pay $5/month for a premium service that removes the ad from your reminders and lets you save recurring reminders.


Customize your Android phone

The great thing about Android phones is that you can customize so much of how they work: the keyboard, home screen widgets, and even the text messaging interface. Here are some of my favorite apps for customizing Android: