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4 Simple Things You can Do to Optimize Your Smartphone and Make Your Life Easier

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smartphonesAccording to studies, people spend half their waking hours with their smartphones and it’s obvious that the way they look at and interact with the world has been changed by smartphones. So, if this tiny gadget is so significant in your life, can it be used to make your life easier, more relaxing and more productive? Yes, it can be by optimizing it! Here are tips to do that.

1. Check What You’re Paying for

There are several smartphone apps that need you to pay a monthly or annual subscription and once you install them, they automatically deduct the payment from the financial account you’ve chosen. From weather-monitoring apps to video-streaming services, this model allows you to purchase things without having to worry about making manual payments.

The problem here is that, as these apps go on adding up, you can easily lose track of the amount you’re shelling out each month. You may go on signing up for free trials and then forget to cancel them before the first billing date, and end up spending far more than you desired.

Free Cell Service

Although the best way to go for is Free Cell Service, for the purchases you’ve made already, you can quickly run an app audit. Here are some tips.

Check with Your Play Store or App Store

Actually you can Earn Free Google Play. But if you’ve subscribed to something through Play Store or App Store, you might have used the payment IDs registered with Google or Apple. This means that they will have your recurring payments in their records. By studying these records, you can quickly see how much you’ve been paying and whether you need to cancel certain subscriptions. But remember that this method won’t work for anything you subscribed through a computer or online.

To check Play Store subscriptions, open the Google Play Store app on your phone and tap the menu button (this comes on the top left in the form of three horizontal lines), then choose Account, and then Subscriptions. A list of all your subscriptions will open up before you. You can cancel whichever you want.

In case of Apple subscriptions, go to the Settings app on your iOS device. Next tap your name, and then iTunes and App Store. Hit the Apple ID link at the top and then View Apple ID and then Subscriptions. You’ll get the next screen with all your subscriptions handled by Apple including Apple Music. You can cancel any of these from this screen. Cancel them and instead choose to listen to free music.

listen to free music

Restrict In-app Purchases

To reduce the money you are spending on apps, you can restrict the allowable in-app purchases. This option is especially useful if you share your phone with your kids.

In case of Android, you can open the Play Store app and tap the menu button. Choose Settings and then Require authentication for purchases. Once this setting is changed, your device PIN should be entered or a fingerprint test should be done so as to make any in-app purchases. Although this won’t totally prevent you from spending in-app money, it will prompt you to pause and you may reconsider prior to buying anything. Even if your little ones don’t play on your phone, such a restriction will add a barrier to accidentally or impulsively spending more than you thought of for in-app purchases.

In case of iPhone, go to Settings, then General and then Restrictions. Then you can choose to enable restrictions, enter a PIN code to save you from any future changes and then set the In-App Purchases toggle switch to off.

Restrict In-app Purchases

2. App Permissions

You have to admit that your smartphone wouldn’t have been so appealing should you haven’t downloaded all those apps. But there are many apps on your phone which even if you’re not actively using, they can run in the background, check your email, update your location or play music, just to make your life more convenient. However, for doing this, they require permission from your phone.

Regular permissions checks can save you from potentially crooked app developers and offer you an increased control over your privacy. As a bonus, if fewer apps are active in the background, your battery life is prolonged.

Permissions allow Google Maps to check where you are located, your favorite messenger to scan your contacts prior to sending an SMS and your camera app to look through your phone’s camera. However, if you are in the middle of something interesting like if you watch movies, you may end up granting permissions to some of them that go beyond what is actually required by the apps. Hence, you’ve to check on these for which you should periodically audit your app permissions.

On Android

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You can find your apps and their permissions on Android, by opening the Settings and then tapping Apps & notifications, App info, and the app you want to check. You can see all the privileges the app enjoys by selecting the Permissions entry. Any of them can be revoked any time by toggling off the switch near that entry.

On iOS

In case of iOS, open Settings and tap Privacy. iPhones group all the permissions by category, including access to the location of your device, the microphone, the Health app and other functions. See which apps have requested access by tapping any permissions entry and hit the toggle switches to block or allow individual apps in each category.

App Permissions

3. Buy Things with Your Smartphone

While leaving the house, most people carry three things: smartphone, wallet and keys. However, in the past few years, a rising trend is to combine the first two. Your financial information can be stored in your smartphone and you can make instant and secure payments in store with your phone. What’s more, you can get free gift cards with your smartphone.

If you have not yet done app-based payments, but want to do them, don’t worry – it’s simpler than you think of. Actually, your phone has most of what you’ll require already installed.

iPhone users get the option of Apple Pay which launched in October 2014 and Android has the option of Android Pay which launched in September 2015 i.e. around a year after Apple Pay, and both work in quite similar way. Apple Pay comes pre-installed on most hardware products of Apple including iPhone and Apple Watch.

To pay through Apple Pay, open Settings and choose Wallet & Apple Pay. Here, you can link your debit or credit cards to your phone’s payment system. Once you submit your card details, you can pay for goods. The process is similar for Android Pay.

Android Pay

4. Set Reminders on Your Phone for Everything

The pace of modern life has given us so many things to remember. However, the modern age also has provided help in the form of your smartphone. Along with working as a music player, digital camera and versatile communication gadget, your phone can also work as a blend of to-do list and secretary when you want to be reminded about what you have to get done. And it provides much more sophisticated options than a notebook or a pile of chits can give.

digital camera

On Android

If you have a stock Android phone, you may have either the Google Now app or the latest Google Assistant installed into it. If you haven’t, you can download Google Now for free. But the way of handling reminders is more or less similar in both the programs.

Enter “set a reminder” inside the Google search box or say “OK Google” aloud and speak your request. It’s understood by Google that you wish to set up a reminder and it asks you whether you’d wish to add a place or time to the note. Upon choosing a time, a reminder is given to you at that time, or the reminder can even be associated to morning, afternoon, evening or the whole day.

What’s more, Google adds one more attractive feature that is far superior than paper. With this feature, if a place is chosen by you, you can get a reminder the next time you’re at that location as your phone detects it. Thus, you can instruct your phone to remind you about your grocery list and to scan receipts when next time you visit your grocery store. You can even make settings to repeat the reminders on a daily, weekly, monthly or yearly basis.

time setting for reminders

On iOS

The process of setting up reminders is similar in the digital assistants on iOS and Android. If you have an iPhone or iPad, press and keep holding the Home Button to start Siri, and then say, “Set a reminder”. You’ll be asked by Siri what you want to be reminded about and the note will be saved.

Just the “set a reminder” command won’t offer you the ability to associate a place or time with your reminder. However, these details can be added to your initial instructions if you want to. Thus, you can say “Remind me to visit the bank before reaching office” or “Remind me to water the plants tomorrow at 9 AM” and Siri will know what you mean. In every case, you can review the reminder and to remove it if Siri misunderstood your command.

So, have you started optimizing your smartphone with these tips to make your life easier?

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