5 major tech annoyances and how you can fix them

May 29, 2022, 5:00 AM
(Pixabay Photo)...
(Pixabay Photo)
(Pixabay Photo)

If you’ve ever wandered around a hot parking lot searching for your car, you’ll love me for this tip.

Next time you park, open Google Maps, tap the blue dot that shows your location, and select Set as parking location. Easy, right? Tap or click for a buried Google Maps security setting you should change now.

These little tech tricks might make you think, “Why didn’t someone tell me that sooner?” I did! Tap or click for 10 incredibly useful iPhone and Android tricks that make your life easier.

In the spirit of living a better digital life, here are five smart ways you can use your gadgets to cure some of life’s little annoyances. These are also fun to share with friends and family. Just imagine how impressed they’ll be.

Problem: You’re sick of notifications but don’t want to miss what matters

If you have mobile notifications on for every email you receive, you know how distracting all the buzzing and beeping can be. Maybe you switched yours off altogether.

Did you know you can turn on alerts and sounds for only important emails? I’ll show you how, using Gmail as an example.

Follow these steps on your iPhone, iPad, or Android:

● First, open the Gmail app.
● Tap the three-line menu, then scroll down to Settings.
● Select your account.
● Then, tap Email notifications. Select High priority only.

How does Gmail decide what’s high priority? It makes its best guess based on your behavior. You can help the AI to make this more accurate.

On mobile:

● Open an email in the Gmail app. Tap the three-dot menu in the upper right corner.
● Tap Mark important.

On desktop:

● Open Gmail. In your inbox, you will see a small arrow next to each email. If you don’t see the arrow, you will see a star. Click the arrow or star to turn it yellow. This indicates the email is important.
● Alternatively, if the arrow or star is yellow on an unimportant email, click the arrow to show Gmail you don’t see the email as a high priority.

Problem: You can’t find your favorite vacation shots

We’ve all been there. You’re scrolling too long looking for a photo you know is on your phone. Facial recognition, scene and object detection, and artificial intelligence make finding what you want just a search away.

On an iPhone:

● Open the Photos app and tap on the magnifying glass icon in the lower right-hand corner.
● Enter the name of a place, a person (if you’ve assigned them in the Photos app), or search term. You can also search by month or year, category, or business name.

Take the same steps in the Android photo app. Again, play around with different names, places, events, and things.

● Open the Gallery app, then tap the magnifying glass icon near the top.
● Enter your search term to display matches.

If you use Google Photos, its search features are powerful, too.

● Open the Google Photos app.
● Choose a person or pet, see places or things, or even browse by category, like screenshots, selfies, and videos.
● To look for something specific, type it in the search bar at the top of the page. Results will pop up, probably before you even finish typing.

Problem: You dig out your phone, only to see it’s another scammer

I love this tip. I set this up myself recently to see who is calling without taking my phone out of my pocket, no smartwatch required.

You know that you can assign ringtones to specific contacts, but you can also set unique vibration patterns. That means you’ll be able to tell who’s calling just by the buzzing pattern.

On an iPhone:

● Launch your Phone app and tap Contacts. Then, select a contact from the list.
● In the top-right corner of the screen, tap Edit.
● Hit Ringtone if you want the phone to vibrate or Text Tone if you want vibrations for texts.
● Next, tap Vibration. Under the Standard list, select a vibration.
● To go back, tap Ringtone or Text Tone.
● Tap Done twice to finish up.

If you have an Android, you’ll need a third-party app to get this done. Buzzkill is highly reviewed, but it does cost $2.49. On the bright side, it doesn’t connect to the internet, so your data doesn’t leave your device.

Another handy feature: You can set up Buzzkill to notify you only once when someone texts you several times in a row. Cool.

Problem: You hung yet another frame crooked on the wall

If you need to hang a picture, you don’t need to grab a level — your phone can do it for you.

On an iPhone:

● Open the Measure app, then tap Level on the bottom right.
● The level will appear on the screen and is ready to use.

On an Android:

● Open the Google app or your browser and search for “bubble level.”
● Use it just like you would a normal level, placing it on a surface.

Problem: You waste time typing in handwritten notes

Sometimes it’s just easier writing something by hand — but it’s a pain to type everything in once you want to edit or send it digitally. Here’s an easier way: Use the free Google Lens app.

It turns your handwriting into text right before your eyes. Google Lens is pretty amazing. Tap or click here for direct links to download and more handy features.

If you don’t like using Google products, check out the Evernote app or Microsoft’s OneNote. Both let you take a picture of your writing so you can edit it all.

The caveat, of course: If your handwriting isn’t fairly legible, the apps won’t work well. If you have chicken-scratch writing, voice dictation will save you from typing, too. Tap or click for pro tips for better results in Microsoft Word or Google Docs.

What digital lifestyle questions do you have? Call Kim’s national radio show and tap or click here to find it on your local radio station. You can listen to or watch The Kim Komando Show on your phone, tablet, television or computer. Or tap or click here for Kim’s free podcasts.

Kim Komando

(Pexels Photo)...
Kim Komando

How to spot hidden cameras in your vacation rentals

If you're going on vacation any time soon, it's essential to know your rights regarding surveillance cameras in your rental.
2 days ago
(Unsplash Photo)...
Kim Komando

5 clever ways to use Echo and Alexa that you’ll wish you knew sooner

Let's jump into five smart ways smart assistant Alexa can enhance your life, starting with your home's security.
8 days ago
(Pixabay Photo)...
Kim Komando

Money-saving secret cable and internet providers don’t want you to know

If you’re heading off for a long trip, spending time in a seasonal home or otherwise away, here’s a smart way to save money: Pause your cable and internet.
9 days ago
(Unsplash Photo)...
Kim Komando

How to wipe your phone or computer if it’s lost or stolen

Don’t let everything stored in your phone or laptop fall into the wrong hands. Here’s how to wipe all that personal info from anywhere.
16 days ago
(Unsplash Photo)...
Kim Komando

This one hidden Google shortcut will save you time every single day

Most of us know at least some basic keyboard shortcuts, but there are more ways to cut to the chase beyond a few keystrokes.
23 days ago
(Pexels Photo)...
Kim Komando

3 tech steps you should have in place before you die

It’s a grim topic, but in today’s digital age, we have to plan for what happens to all our online accounts, data, notes, photos, videos, websites, playlists, blogs, and subscriptions once we’re gone.
1 month ago

Sponsored Articles

(Courtesy Condor)...
Condor Airlines

Condor Airlines shows passion for destinations from Sky Harbor with new-look aircraft

Condor Airlines brings passion to each flight and connects people to their dream destinations throughout the world.

Most plumbing problems can be fixed with regular maintenance

Instead of waiting for a problem to happen, experts suggest getting a head start on your plumbing maintenance.
Carla Berg, MHS, Deputy Director, Public Health Services, Arizona Department of Health Services

Vaccines are safe if you are pregnant or breastfeeding

Are you pregnant? Do you have a friend or loved one who’s expecting?
5 major tech annoyances and how you can fix them