Let’s say that you have got yourself a brand new and very shiny smartphone device.
First of all:
Secondly, now is the time to get to work.
By that we mean, as soon as you get a new device you will probably want to work a bit and make your way through all the initial hurdles between you and you using your smartphone to call someone.
Go through the initial setup.
Also, complete the login process.
Only then can you start using your smartphone device in earnest.
But don’t just go ahead and start WhatsApping and Snapchatting though.
There are some default settings that we want you to check out and configure according to your own needs.
These apply to all users.
iOS and Android ones too.
Because most of the smartphone devices come with default settings that may not suit your requirements.
Hence, if you change them, you can get more out of your device.
So here are the things that we need you to work on (including some tools) every time you get a new device and otherwise.
Initiate Some Security Protocols
Most modern smartphone devices come with a range of lock screen protections features.
Whichever your smartphone offers, you need to make full use of it.
There is the fingerprint scanning as well as FaceID.
There are other lock screen protections as well.
You can check out which one your smartphone device offers by running a simple search on a popular search engine.
For now, you just need to make sure that you have correctly set up your security features.
Make sure that they are working properly before you actually go ahead and leave the house.
Lock screen protection features are fundamentally the only barrier between your smartphone and anyone else who you may not know picking up your smartphone device and using all of your email accounts.
Along with your banking and social media information.
But there is always a chance that you are using a smartphone that doesn’t have any kind of lock screen protection features that modern smartphone devices come with.
You don’t need to have the fanciest looking security mechanism on the planet.
Because the good-old and traditional methods such as PIN codes work equally as secure as all the other modern methods.
So what do you have to do in order to enable it?
If you have an Android device, you need to go to Security And Location option from the settings menu.
Then you need to tap on Screen Lock.
All of these settings are available in the Settings menu.
As far as the iOS goes, you must open up your Settings menu and then tap the option that says Touch ID & Passcode.
If you happen to have a newer smartphone device, you may have other options such as Face ID and/or Passcode.
And that is it.
On to the next tip.
2. Always Lock Your Phone
No guide on smartphone security, on any other security, would be complete with a mention of screen timeout time.
It is a great idea to make sure you dial it down.
Because you would want your smartphone device to lock itself as soon as it is able to detect that you, the user, is not doing anything on or with it.
Don’t worry about your smartphone’s screen shutting down while you are working.
And that holds true for when you are watching movies or any other type of video on your smartphone device.
The screen timeout time won’t interrupt your media consumption experiences.
Your smartphone device is smart enough to disable this setting as soon as it detects that you are doing something on your smartphone.
To enable this setting on an Android device, you need to first go to the Settings menu.
Then you must go to Display.
After that go to Advanced.
And then to Sleep.
Here you can set the options for the timeout delay feature.
What about the iOS?
On the iOS, you must first go to Settings, just as you did in the case of an Android device.
Then you need to go to Display & Brightness.
After that, you need to click on Auto-Lock.
On a side note:
While you are configuring the settings for screen timeout time in these menus, it is a good idea to also lower your smartphone’s screen brightness from its default value.
Because that will greatly increase the battery levels of your smartphone device.
3. Always Have A Clear Idea What You Want To Do With Your Pictures
Most of the time, users wait a long time before they know what to do with their pictures.
We have seen people go as long as six months of pictures, before they finally decide to get an appropriate backup system.
And if you have ever signed up for a backup system you would know that it is the best way to organize your pictures.
Our research shows that the better idea and attack-of-plan is to get started on sorting out your pictures before engaging in any snapping.
By that, we mean that you get a paid storage, or even a free storage service subscription and everything that comes with that.
You can thank the engineers that work behind the scenes on iOS and Android for bringing in more integrated options than ever before.
Most of these integration options are a lot easier to understand than before.
It is also easier to operate them.
Especially considering what smartphone users in the past had to endure.
Even with all the advancements, your smartphone device still probably wants you to check if all those integration features are working correctly.
And to make sure that they are working properly, you need to set them up so that they align with your tastes and needs.
It doesn’t matter if you are using an Android device or an iOS device, your best option to backup your photos is Google Photos.
With Google Photos, users can easily store a literally unlimited number of photos.
Count videos in there as well.
But there is a catch.
You can only utilize the “unlimited” feature if you don’t have a problem with resizing your photos down a bit.
Down to around 16 megapixels at the max.
For videos, you can’t go over 1080p if you want to store an unlimited number of them.
Alternatively, you also have the option of storing your videos and photos at full size.
But you’ll have to pay for such a cloud storage service.
Most of the times you can get a pretty good package at around $1.99 per month.
But there are more expensive options as well.
You don’t need us to tell you that Google Photos and/or Drive is the best option if you want a free option.
Google Photos is also the best if you want to subscribe to a cloud storage service that quickly works great across all of your devices.
In other words, for multiple platform support, there are very few options better than Google.
Why didn’t we mention Apple Photos?
Well, as some of you might have already suspected, it is only available for iOS and macOS device.
Apart from that, it doesn’t come as an integrated part of any other platform and/or device.
Honestly speaking, Apple Photos is as good as Google Photos when it comes to the job of syncing your photos to the Apple cloud as well as Apple devices.
However, you have a limit.
That limit is 5GB
If you go over this cloud storage limit, Apple will want you to pay the company at least $0.99 per month.
When should you pick Apple Photos?
Well, go with Apple’s service if you happen to have an Apple kit and want something that would work with it the best.
Also, make sure you don’t have any urges to ever switch over to an Android smartphone.
Know How Your Smartphone Tracks You. Then Change It
Some users don’t have a problem with their smartphone tracking their every movement.
And that is fine.
Smartphone devices track you for your own good.
Well, if they don’t track you then they can’t recommend new places to you based on the places that you have already visited.
Remember, smartphone devices come in real handy when it is time to share your current location with any of your friends when you and your friends are desperately trying hard to rendezvous somewhere in the middle of the town.
Of course, some users just don’t find comfort in their smartphone tracking them all the time.
And that is great as well.
Maybe you don’t have a problem either way but want to familiarize yourself with the smartphone’s privacy options.
If you want to do that when you need to go to Settings.
And then to Security & Location.
After that, you need to tap on Location.
For those using an iOS device, then first need to go to Settings.
And then to Privacy.
After that, they must click on Location Services.
Most modern smartphone devices allow users to switch off their location tracking altogether.
They are strong enough to live with all the consequences that come with that.
Like not having your smartphone device give you turn-by-turn directions while you are driving the car.
You can always take the middle route.
What is that?
The middle route is to just disable your smartphone tracking features on an only app-by-app basis.
Whenever you add a new app to your smartphone device, the app will have to specifically request appropriate permissions from you in order to use your smartphone’s location features for any given purpose.
5. First Set Up And Then Use Shortcuts On Your Smartphone Device
Both iOS and Android devices allow users access to a wide range of shortcuts in order to have easy access to their favorite apps.
For iOS devices, you have to use the Control Center.
And for Android devices, you must use the Quick Settings pane.
More specifically if you on an iOS device, you will have to swipe up from the lowest bottom of your smartphone screen with just one finger.
If you are using an iPhone X then you will have to take your finger to the top right corner of your screen and then swipe down from there.
What about Android?
For Android, you basically have to use two fingers and then swipe down with them from the top in order to open the Quick Settings menu.
Maybe you knew about this already but users who want more customization can configure these available panes with any amount of shortcuts they want.
To do so on an Android device, you first have to open the actual panel.
And then tap on the icon that says Edit.
This icon usually comes in the form of a pencil.
After that, you can drag all the shortcuts in and out as you need them to be.
For the iOS, you first have to go to Settings.
And then tap on Control Center.
After that, you must hit the option that says Customize Controls.
From this screen, you can make all of your selections for your Control Panel.
6. Find Your Device From Any Place
All modern smartphone devices come with digital assistant apps.
Again, the fact that you are using an iOS device or an Android device doesn’t really matter.
The apps usually come built-in to your smartphone device.
But here is the problem:
Most of the time these apps don’t have the right configuration.
If you want your smartphone device to answer your each and every call from the moment you first start to use it then you’re going to have to tweak it a bit.
Let’s say you want to just shout “OK Google” and/or “hey Siri” even if your smartphone device is locked.
To do it, you must tweak your smartphone device a little to make sure that this feature is enabled in your smartphone’s settings menu.
With Google OS powered smartphones, the process is quite simple.
All you need to do is to first open up your smartphone’s Google app.
After that, you must tap that Menu button.
This usually comes in the form of three horizontal lines and is located in the top left corner of your screen.
After that, you must go to Settings.
And then to Voice.
After that tap on “OK Google” detection option.
If you can’t see this option appearing on your smartphone device then that means your smartphone device doesn’t support this feature.
If you are using an iOS device then you first need to go to Settings.
And then to Siri & Search.
After that, you must toggle the option for Listen for “Hey Siri”.
You must switch this option to On.
7. Learn How to Find Your Smartphone And Restore It
We live in a world which is now hyper-connected.
That means you wouldn’t want to go without your smartphone device for too long a period of time.
Let’s suppose your smartphone device does get swiped.
If so, then you should have an efficient way of wiping your smartphone device right from your desktop machine and/or laptop.
How do you set this option up?
Well, first you want to go to the option that says Security & Location from your Android Settings.
Then you have to go to the option that says Find My Device.
If you are using an iOS device, then you should tap on the option that describes the Apple ID name of your account.
Then click on your iPhone.
And after that enable the option that says Find My iPhone.
This option will be available in your iOS Settings.
As you can probably tell by now, both Apple and Google work in similar ways when it comes to various tools and features.
Keep in mind that you can use a map right inside your web browser to actually track your smartphone device’s location.
If you want to do that right now on Android, then click here.
For the iOS, you can click here.
You can use the Find My Device/iPhone option to instruct your smartphone device to run.
This is perfect for when you want to find your phone if you lost it inside your home.
And maybe you misplaced it behind a sofa.
The Find My Device and Find My iPhone features also come with other options such as lock and wipe.
You can do all of that remotely if you feel that you have lost your smartphone forever or someone else has stolen it.
The thing about wiping your smartphone device is that you must have a backup available in case you do need to wipe your smartphone device.
You don’t need us to tell you that you should take care of this task as early as possible.
In fact, we think you should complete this task when you buy your device and get it up and running for the first time.
All you need to do is to go to the Settings menu if you are on Android.
And then tap on the option that says System.
After that tap on Backup.
And that is it.
For people using an iOS device, they first need to go to their Settings menu.
And then they need to tap on the option that says their Apple ID.
After that, they must tap on their smartphone device’ name.
Then it is a simple matter of picking one’s backup options in order to keep of copy of one’s important data on iCloud and/or iTunes.
That’s it for features you may not have used that are actually on your smartphone device.
Now let’s talk about features which you can add to your device via apps.
These are some simple features that come in the form of web tools that you can use on any of your given devices, unless mentioned otherwise.
When it comes to useful apps for the entire Web, you have way more many players than just Google.
In other words, Google is not the only big company that is making your life awesome on the web.
In fact, there are many great online services and resources which do not come straight from Mountain view to your smartphone device and/or desktop machine.
But of course, you will first have to learn how to look in the proper places.
We have compiled a list of 12 useful tools, on top of the 7 useful tips that we gave you above, and great websites that you can access right now and bookmark them in your browser.
Remember, these are web tools which are always ready to get to work.
Even at a moment’s notice.
- Enhance photos
- Convert files
- Pick colors
- Make GIFs
- And transfer your important documents.
They can do a lot more and we’ll discuss all of that in the coming sections.
8. Learn How To Improve Your Low-Resolution Pictures
There is a useful tool called Let’s Enhance.
It comes in the form of a website.
It is free.
More importantly, it can improve all of your low-resolution photos in a jiffy.
This tool can automatically remove blocky noise.
Let’s Enhance also makes use of those neural network smarts in order to imagine any missing parts of any given picture.
It can apply those concepts even further to enlarge your photos while smoothening them out even more.
The only problem with this tool is that you actually have to create an official account in order to see all the end results.
After that, the tool gives you a choice of many high resolution enhanced version and variations of your photos to choose from.
Not a bad tool considering it is free.
9. Convert Your Files To Different Formats
Do you know which is one of the most frustrating online experiences of our modern-day fast-internet computing life?
It is when you receive a file.
But in the wrong format.
Most of the time you have to download a shady shareware in order to convert those files into a suitable format.
In these cases, a tool by the name of Zamzar can come in real handy.
It is a fast alternative to all the malware-ridden freeware that is out there.
This tool comes in a free version as well as a paid version.
The free version puts a limit on your file sizes.
You can always pay some money in order to increase the file size limit.
As the moment of writing this guide, Zamzar supported around 1200 various conversion types.
Most of all, Zamzar handles it all from your web browser.
10. Send Files To Others Over The Web
Online services such as Google Drive and Dropbox are great when you want to share files which are large.
These services work great over the web.
And they have made our lives easier than ever before.
However, there are always those times when we just want to fling a given file quickly at another person.
This other person doesn’t have the time to register for an account.
Or even log in to any other service.
This is where you can use tools such as Firefox Send.
Yes, it is related to the browser.
So no worries.
Firefox Send enables users to drop any of their files directly into a given browser window.
Then they can send that file via an encrypted link which is private and safe.
11. Worldwide Official Time Zones Checking Tool
Sometimes you just need to look up times for other countries around the world.
You can do that via Google.
The other, less efficient, way is to stare at your watch.
After staring at it, you simply try your best to figure out the time in another country on your own.
But no one would like to do that we imagine.
For regular folks, there is TimeAndDate.
This site will show you a series of related world clocks on your screen.
And it will do that whenever you want it to.
The site also allows users to pick their own cities.
Users can also order the clocks on their screen.
But to do that the site requires the user to sign up for a free account.
After signing up for a free account, users can check all the clocks from any web browser they desire.
12. Tools To Scan Files To Look For Viruses
There always comes a time when you have a dodgy looking file lurking on your precious SSD or even a big HDD.
Naturally, you would want to check it out first before opening it.
How do you that?
You simple employ the brilliant services of, what we now know as, Jotti Malware Scan.
How does it work?
You simply have to upload a file.
You can do that via the website’s online interface.
Then the website wills can the file for you via the cloud.
Actually, a host of reputable applications will do that for you.
Jotti Malware Scan uses tools from many reputable security companies including AVG and Bitdefender.
Who is this for?
It can come in real handy for people who want to check their email attachments before they actually open them.
13. Where Can You Stream TV Shows And Movies?
Sometimes you just want to relax and watch a very specific movie or even a TV show.
But the problem that always slaps you on the face is that you don’t know where you can find it legally.
For users who are too eager to watch a movie but not so much searching for a legit stream, there is Can I Stream it?.
This is a relatively useful website.
When the time is right, you will thank us for this site.
To use the site, all you have to do is type in your desired content.
Pick it from all the different top charts available online if you want to.
And then enter that.
Can I Stream It will scour the web for your content.
It will hit sites like,
- Amazon Video
And many more sources including more platforms to check if there is place where the user can rent or buy the particular movie.
It will also check whether the file comes as a stream or as a download.
14. This Is How You Check The Status Of Your Favorite Site
People often panic when they can’t log in to sites like Google Docs and/or Facebook.
We are here to tell you that there is no reason to panic.
Not until you have actually gone ahead and checked your favorite website’s status or portal status that you want to access so dearly via tools such as Down For Everyone Or Just Me.
To use this tool, all you have to do is to type in the specific URL of the website that you want to visit.
Then click the given link.
And the site will tell you whether the site is experiencing some problems.
Or is it just your machine or network connection.
Down for Everyone Or Just Me also offers site hosting information along with scanning tools to solve everyday malware problems.
15. How to Create A GIF Out OF Everything
We don’t know of a single person who doesn’t like GIFs.
But did you know that the internet’s greatest GIF resource also hosts the best creator component?
This creator component enables users to whip up a neat and quick animation from any file that is stored on their hard drive and/or online video.
The site we are talking about is GIPHY.
The best thing about this tool is that it works from your web browser.
And with a bookmark, you can always create a GIF from anything you want, just about, in mere seconds.
GIPHY allows you to share and/or download your GIFs as well.
16. Having A Hard Time With Sums? Here Is A Serious Tool For Serious People
Google is always there for you to take care of all your SUM needs.
But take a look at Desmos Graphing Calculator.
We think it totally deserves your attention.
Or at least a high spot in your web browser’s bookmark tab.
It is great for people who want to do some serious math.
Desmos provides a ton of functions along with data plotting tools and equations.
Of course, it solves simple sum problems as well.
All you have to do is use the menu that is located on the left and then have a look at the example graphs.
17. Tools For Recording Voice Memos In No Time
The internet already has plenty of voice recording applications.
So who needs another one?
Well, because Clyp is simple.
And it is quick.
Users can access this tool right from their web browsers.
It is an awesome tool for people who want to jot down their ideas using their own voice.
People who want to send a voice memo to some other person can also use this tool.
And remember, since this works via a web browser, you can use it on your smartphone device as well.
Clyp does require users to create a free account on the site if they want to save their clips onto their hard drives or want to store them in the cloud for more than a single day.
That is, 24 hours.
18. Color Combinations? Get Them Right With This Tool
People who work in fields such as web development and/or design regularly need to choose a lot from different palette pickers.
We recommend Palette Generator.
It is the best tool for this purpose if we are talking about the online world.
At least, we haven’t come across a tool that is better than this one.
It doesn’t ask the user to scroll or seed through a given set mix of default colors.
Instead, it asks the users to upload a given series of images from their computer machines.
After users have complied with the request, it generates some very interesting looking color schemes to match.
19. How To Keep A Score When Playing Any Game With A Friend/Friends
An extremely simple but quite useful tool for this purpose is known as Scoreboardz.
And as the name suggests, it is basically a scoreboard.
It runs inside the user’s web browser.
Again, bookmark it if you want to call it up whenever and wherever you need to compete in some game.
It could be your living room or office, Scoreboardz will keep a score everywhere.
To use it, you need to enter some names.
Right now, Scoreboardz supports up to 12 players.
After that, you may select your preferred scoreboard background.
When that is done, you simply have to click on decrease or increase to modify each player’s scores.
Remember, since all of these tools work via your web browser you should have no problems in accessing them from your smartphone device as well.
If you do run into problems while trying to use these tools via your smartphone device then leave us a comment below and we’ll try to suggest an alternative tool for your smartphone device.