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Posts from the ‘Mobile Devices’ Category

Your Voicemail Message

When was the last time you listened to your cell phone’s out-going voicemail message? (It’s the greeting your callers hear before they leave you a message).

If it’s been a while, you might wish to update it. Times have changed.

Here are a few suggestions:

Make it Personal
Callers would probably prefer to hear your voice rather than a computer-generated “default” voice.

Make it Short
We all know what to do after the beep; no need to explain it.

Make it Easy
You don’t need to ask your callers to leave a number or the time that they called; cell phones record this information automatically.

Make it Friendly
Think about the recordings you hear when you make a call. Yours should be more like the ones you like and less like the ones you don’t.


Recipe Mode

As far as I know, there is no official “Recipe Mode” but that’s what I call my setup for keeping my phone or tablet clean, visible, and on(!) while I follow a recipe.
Three steps:
  1. Place your device in a clear, resealable plastic bag. (Nothing more pleasant than peanut butter on the phone). The touch screen will still work through the plastic.
  2. Prop up the device so you can read the recipe; anything on the counter will do, including the wall.
  3. Turn the automatic sleep/lock function off temporarily so the recipe will stay on the screen.*
*On an iPhone or iPad, tap “Settings > Display and Brightness > Auto Lock > Never” to keep the screen from going dark. On an Android phone, tap “Settings > Display > Screen Timeout > Never” (or long enough to follow your recipe).

When you are finished cooking, be sure to change your display time back to where it was so you don’t run down your battery.

Of course you can always print the recipe and work off the paper copy, but some on-screen recipes may be YouTube videos or include helpful video demonstrations which must be viewed on screen.

If you are thinking, “I could have used this information last week while cooking for the Passover/Easter holidays,” just think how much more you will appreciate it when Mother’s Day rolls around!

Weather App Setting

Most of us use the weather app on our smart phones or tablets and rely on it for weather information at home and elsewhere. But do you know the difference between the “local” and “home” settings?

If you allow Location Services on your weather app, the first weather report you see will be your “local” weather: where you are at that moment, which is most often your home city. When you travel, however, the first weather information you see will also be for your “local” location — where you are, not your home city. This is most helpful, until you are away and want to know what the weather is like at home.

To be sure you can easily check your home weather, include your home location in your list of weather favorites. It might take an extra swipe or tap to get to your home weather information, but at least you’ll know right away if your sprinklers are on when it’s raining!

Group FaceTime

Last week I shared a travel tip; this week I am sharing a non-travel tip: group FaceTime!

If you won’t be with family and friends for the holidays, use your iPhone or iPad to share a few far-away minutes with everyone, no matter where they are (but as long as they have an iPhone or iPad).

Video conference programs have been around for a while but Apple recently added the “group” feature to their already easy-to-use FaceTime program. To take advantage of this great new feature, you must upgrade your iPhone or iPad to the 12.0 (or newer) operating system: (Settings > General > Software Update > Install).

To learn more about Group FaceTime — including how to initiate or join a group call — click here: Group FaceTime.

Happy Holidays!

Holiday Travel Tip

It’s holiday travel time to visit with family and friends. Visiting is fun; packing and unpacking … not so much.

Thank goodness for binder clips. They can make traveling with electronic devices — and their must-have charging cables — so much neater.

Go from this:

Screen Shot 2019-01-25 at 6.40.42 PM.png

To this:

Screen Shot 2019-01-25 at 6.40.48 PM.png
Safe travels

iPad’s Hidden Trackpad

Did you know your iPad has a hidden trackpad for moving the cursor?

Press and hold two fingers on your iPad’s virtual keyboard. When the keyboard characters disappear, slide your fingers along the screen. The cursor moves with them.

This is helpful for highlighting a section of text (as in image above) or editing email and documents.

Try it.

Note: The iPhone has this feature but it took me a few times to get it to work; I just kept getting random characters on the screen. It eventually worked when I placed my fingers in the blank space under the spacebar.

Scan With Your Phone?

Can I scan a document with my phone and then attach it to an email? 


A scan is just a picture so you can take a picture of a document with your phone and share it by email or text.

Easy. But maybe not ideal.

The biggest difference between scanning a document with your printer and scanning a document with your phone is the format of the resulting file. When you scan a document with your printer, it is usually saved in your computer as a .pdf file, which is appropriate for a document. When you take a picture with your phone, the image file is a .jpg, which is appropriate for a photograph.

If you need to scan a document with your phone but save/send it as a .pdf, here is some help:

On an iPhone

  • In the Notes app, open an existing note or start a new one.
  • Tap the “plus sign” in the middle of the screen (just above the virtual keyboard).
  • Tap “Scan documents” and your live camera will open.
  • Snap the picture of your document (or pictures of a multi-page document).
  • Tap “Scan.”
  • Edit as necessary.
  • Tap “Save.”
  • The image is saved as a .pdf that you can email or text.

On an Android phone

  • Open the Google Drive app.
  • Tap your way to the folder to which you’d like your scan to be saved.
  • Tap the “plus” sign in the lower right corner of the screen.
  • Tap “Scan.”
  • Your camera will open. Snap the picture of the document.
  • Edit as necessary.
  • Tap the checkmark when you are ready to save the image.
  • The image is saved as a .pdf that you can email or text.

There are third-party scanning apps for both the iPhone and Android phones — and many work nicely — but you don’t really need them.

Electronic Signature

DocuSign is a San Francisco–based company that provides electronic signature technology and digital transaction management services for facilitating electronic exchanges of contracts and signed documents.” (Source:

You may have heard of it. You may have used it. It is a legitimate service. But, I suggest that if you are ever asked for your electronic signature, consider the following:

  • Is the request for a transaction in which you are already engaged — a real estate sale/purchase, legal documents, financial services, etc.? Never click on a link to a DocuSign request that just shows up unexpectedly in your inbox, even if it appears to be from someone you know. If you are not sure, contact the sender — but not by return email — to confirm the request. Scams that appear to come from DocuSign are out there.
  • You don’t have to use DocuSign if you are concerned about the security of authorizing your signature electronically. There is always the option to print the documents, sign them as required, scan them, and email them back to your realtor, lawyer, financial adviser, etc.

Guard your electronic signature carefully. Scammers want your autograph, but not because they like you.

iPhone Fun Fact

This week, a random iPhone fact:

When you plug in your iPhone, the familiar “ding” tells you the phone is charging. If you — or your roommate — would prefer not to hear the “ding,” you can mute your phone first.

Or … you can open the camera app. When the camera app is open and you plug in your phone, there is no “ding.”

I have no idea why.

Internet Connected Devices

Your modem and router together provide wireless internet service in your house. Years ago these were two separate boxes; now they are combined into one box — the one with the flashing lights — provided by your network service provider. (At The Landings you either have AT&T or Comcast). If you get a new modem/router or change network providers, you will need to “introduce” all of your internet-dependent devices to the new modem one at a time.

All of them? 


How many do I have?

Probably more than you think. Don’t forget these:

  • Computers
  • Cell phones
  • Tablets
  • Smart watches
  • Printers
  • Smart televisions
  • Streaming TV players (Apple TV, Roku)
  • Wireless music systems (Sonos)
  • “Smart home” devices (Alexa, Echo)
  • “Smart home” controllers for security systems, thermostats, locks, lights, cameras, etc.

In the Settings menu of each device, identify your new network name and enter the new password. Until you do this successfully, your device(s) will not work as intended.

Suggestion: make a list of all of your Wi-Fi connected devices so if you get a new modem, you won’t forget any of them.

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