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How to Protect Your Accounts with Two-Factor Authentication

A strong password is still essential to keeping your accounts secure, but it’s not always enough. Even if you have a highly-secure password, it can be compromised in a data breach. That’s when two-factor authentication (2FA) can save the day. With 2FA enabled, your user name and password are not enough for a hacker to access your account. Anyone trying to log into your account would need to provide an additional means of verifying your identity, like a one-time use PIN delivered via an app, text message or email, a physical device that generates a passcode or a biometric device. 

Facebook, Google, Twitter, banks and password managers are among the many services that encourage users to protect their accounts with two-factor authentication – but uptake isn’t high, even among the tech-savvy. Only 10% of Google users, for example, make use of this free feature. 

Cybersecurity experts agree that enabling two-factor authentication is a crucial part of online hygiene that makes accounts more difficult to hack. “Two-factor authentication puts one more layer of defense between an attacker and your personal data, ensuring that you are not viewed as an easy target,” saysBrian Anderson, a security expert at Kaspersky Lab North America.

However, not all two-factor methods are equally secure.

Good two-factor authentication: code texts and emails

Once the bulwark of tech-savvy cybersecurity, SMS authentication has been increasingly exposed as vulnerable to scammers. “If you leverage SMS or email as your second method of authentication, it’s possible for attackers to intercept the authentication code and log into the targeted account,” says Anderson. Network vulnerabilities can allow hackers to intercept calls and text messages containing 2FA codes, as occurred in a breach of Reddit that exposed users’ email addresses and a 2007 database of passwords.

Researchers have uncovered a new tool that would allow scammers to create more convincing phishing sites by feeding content from the genuine site into the spoofed version. “2FA phishing isn’t new – it’s just easier than ever now thanks to an open source toolkit that helps you do it,” says Paul Duckin, Senior Technologist at Sophos. “The author says it’s for testing and research purposes only, but he has no way to stop the crooks using his code too.”

Better two-factor authentication: authenticator apps 

Rather than receiving a message that can be intercepted, generating codes on a device that’s with you largely keeps those codes out of hackers’ reach. That’s where authenticator apps come in. The likes of Google, Microsoft and password manager LastPass have developed their own authenticator apps which work with any platform or service that supports 2FA.

These apps can be synced with various platforms in your accounts’ settings when you enable 2FA. At this point, you’ll be asked to scan a QR code that automatically adds the account to your code-generating app. Both Google Authenticator (Android/iOS) and Microsoft Authenticator (Android/iOS) are easy to set up – but if you use Outlook, Microsoft Authenticator is the slightly better bet. You can take advantage of logging in to Outlook without a password, you authenticate by simply tapping a confirmation in the app. 

If you want a few extra features, Authy (iOS/Android) will back up your synced accounts so that if and when you upgrade your phone, you’ll only need to download Authy again to be all set up with your 2FA (whereas Google and Microsoft require you to re-sync all the accounts you want 2FA on).

Whichever you pick, the apps work the same way – by generating six-digit codes that refresh every 30 seconds or so, reducing the likelihood of these codes being scraped and reused. And, authenticator apps generate codes regardless of whether you’re online, which is handy if you’re out of reception or roaming.

The only downside comes if you lose or forget your device. Once 2FA is enabled, many accounts may by default require a 2FA code to log in every time; corporate accounts may require it for security – and forgetting your phone means being locked out of these accounts.

Best two-factor authentication: authenticator keys

While authenticator apps are better than codes sent via text message or email, they aren’t totally invulnerable. Phishing attacks, for example, could potentially steal 2FA codes if users are lured to spoof sites to enter a code and the attacker is able to capture and use the code before it’s refreshed. While an unlikely scenario for the average citizen, activists, politicians or others whose communications are targeted may need tougher security.

n this case, it’s time to ramp up to an authenticator key, a physical device that plugs into a computer’s USB port or communicates via NFC with a phone to authenticate logins.  

One of the most popular is Yubico’s YubiKey 5 NFC is $45 on Yubico (check price on Amazon), a thumb-sized key that once registered instantly works as a second-factor for dozens of services. It can also be tapped against NFC-enabled smartphones (which includes all Android phones) for authenticating logins on smartphones.

“Newer 2FA standards based on special hardware devices like YubiKeys provide extra resilience by using cryptographic techniques to prevent someone else from re-using a code that you typed in,” Duckin says. “If a crook tries to phish your code, it almost certainly won’t work if they then try to use it from their computer.”

For example, YubiKeys need to be tapped before each authentication, in order to verify the user isn’t a remote hacker.

An alternative is OnlyKey ($46.00 on OnlyKey.io, check price on Amazon), which comes with a password manager that stores up to 24 accounts in its offline storage, and unlimited accounts if used with a software password manager. Plug it into a computer during a sign-in and it automatically fills in the relevant login. This additionally protects passwords from keylogger malware that might be covertly installed on sites.

Whatever method you choose, turn on two-factor authentication

Experts agree that it’s important to enable 2FA on your online accounts, whether it’s through SMS, email, app or a physical key. You may find some services only offer SMS second-factor authentication, but “don’t let [the potential for phishing] put you off. 2FA is there to provide an extra hurdle that crooks have to jump over, without removing any hurdles you already have in place,” Duckin says. You can find a list of sites that support 2FA at Two Factor Auth.

Whichever method you use, remember 2FA isn’t a security silver bullet that can override a weak password or hold off an especially interested hacker. Kaspersky Lab security software blocked more than 137 million attempts to visit phishing pages in Q3 last year, an increase of 30 million over the previous quarter. “As more people use 2FA, we could see cybercriminals attempting more sophisticated social engineering techniques or other methods to try and bypass this security mechanism,” Anderson says.

The good news, however, is that the crooks still need to entice you to a bogus website first, says Duckin. Don’t rush logging in, and be extra-wary of emails, messages or pop-ups that lead to external web pages. When entering your login or code online, always check the browser address bar — is the address the one you expected to go to?

Finally, you have another great reason to use that other must-have security feature, a password manager: Not only will it generate and save your hard-to-crack logins, but in case of phishing, your password manager will alert you that the website you’re on isn’t the one you usually use, because it won’t contain a login for the scam site’s URL.

Stokes, Natasha. “How to Protect Your Accounts with two-factor Authentication” Techlicious, February 2019


Two-factor authentication (2FA) is an intricate part of overall layered security. Because of this, over the years many different 2FA options have developed. We know that narrowing down your options can be an overwhelming task, so we have done that for you. We can work with you to find the right one to suit your particular needs.

One of our experienced professionals would be a happy to discuss the best options for you and your organization.

Give us a call at (732) 780-8615 or send us an email at support@trinityww.com to schedule a consultation.

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How to Snoop Proof Any Phone or Tablet

It’s likely that you’ve got details of your whole life stored on your phone—the people you know, the banks you’ve used, the videos you’ve wasted hours watching—and you don’t necessarily want that info getting out into the wider world. If you’re keen to lock down your handset against unwelcome visitors, you need to take a few steps.

There’s lots to cover, from protecting against friends at parties who might pick up your phone and start scrolling through photos, to government agencies who might be eager to tap into your outgoing messages. There are plenty of ways to put up barriers and stop all but the most advanced attacks, and we’ll cover the most important ones here, for phones and tablets running iOS and Android—though many of the principles can be applied to laptops and other kinds of devices too.

It’s worth noting at the outset that it’s very hard to make a device completely snoop-proof—even if you physically remove the camera and the microphone, Edward Snowden-style, determined hackers can still get at your data.

Basic security tips

Every so often a new report appears lamenting the high number of people who leave their phones unlocked, or who use an easily guessable PIN like 1234. In 2017 there really is no excuse for leaving your device unprotected, with so many options available—from trusted locations on Android, which helpfully turns on additional security when you’re not at home, to Touch ID on iOS, which demands your fingerprint for accessing protected data. Go to Security in Android’s Settings app or Touch ID & Passcode in the iOS one to get something in place.

That should stop passers-by and curious friends from getting at your phone, but more information than you might think can be accessed from the lock screen—for example, by default on an iOS device you can launch Siri and ask “who do I call most?” to see a list of recent calls, no unlock required.

The feature is designed to help someone return your phone to you if it gets lost, but if you’re not comfortable with it you can turn this and other lock screen pop-ups off by going to Touch ID & Passcode menu in Settings. You can disable notifications too if you don’t want people taking a peek at your Twitter mentions as they flash up on screen.

On Android devices the only settings to really be aware of are the notification ones controlling what appears on the lock screen. Go to Notifications in Settings and you can disable all alerts or just ones for certain apps; the recent versions of Android also let you hide “sensitive” information on the lock screen, which typically means anything that comes through one of your messaging apps.

Securing your apps

As we’ve explained before, some apps are more secure than others when it comes to protecting and encrypting your data. Our picks for the most snoop-resistant messaging apps are currently Signal (iOSAndroid) and WhatsApp (iOSAndroid), and if you’re using anything else you’re leaving yourself more at risk to getting snooped on.

When it comes to browsing, the built-in apps do a decent job protecting you against various kinds of snooping, but there’s certainly room for improvement as well. Apps like Orbot (Android) and Onion Browser (iOS) will keep all your browsing encrypted, anonymous, and very difficult (though not impossible) to track. On top of that, a VPN tool such as Opera VPN (AndroidiOS) will encrypt all the data going to and from your device, and they’re especially useful on public Wi-Fi networks in coffee shops and hotels.

Worried about app developers snooping on your activities? Besides studying the terms and conditions very closely, you can check on (and revoke) permissions for a particular app—on Android tap Apps in Settings, then select an app and choose Permissions, or on iOS, from Settings tap Privacy then choose a category to see which apps have privileges and take them back. As a nuclear option you can simply uninstall offending apps.

On Android devices, you also have the extra option of installing an app locker, which adds an additional layer of protection for specific apps or files if someone should get past your lock screen. It can range from demanding a pin number or password, to demanding a fingerprint scan every time you want to open the app. AppLock (Android), Privacy Knight (Android), and Norton App Lock (Android) are all great choices.

One of the best ways of minimizing the risk of snooping is to have as little data on your phone as possible at any one time. How you go about this will vary from app to app, but to take iMessage as an example, you can go to Messagesfrom Settings and then tap Keep Messages to have them automatically cleaned up after 30 days or a year. Other apps will have similar options. Though be sure to offload photos and videos to the web using something like iCloud or Google Photos before you start auto-deleting old texts.

Your phone also has a habit of tracking places you’ve been and subjects you’ve searched, so you’ll want to deactivate that, if possible. Check in the Activity Controls page of your Google account, where you can enable or disable location history, the storing of voice searches, YouTube viewing history, web browsing activities, and so on.

And something you might not often think about are third-party apps hooked up to your main apps—all those little utilities and add-ons you’ve granted permission to use your Facebook or Twitter accounts. While these are usually nothing to worry about, out-dated and unsecured connected apps can be used to snoop on your activities remotely, so it’s best to keep as few active as possible.

Head into the settings pages for all your services on the web to do this. For Google, you can go to the Connected apps and sites page; on Facebook, connected apps are listed in the App Settings page; while on Twitter, you can go to the Apps page to kick out any connected tools you don’t recognize or no longer have any need for.

Nield, David. “How to Snoop-Proof Any Phone or Tablet” GIZMODO, Mobile

Posted in: Mobile Computing, Security, Tech Tips for Business Owners

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How to Send a Text Message From a Computer

Sending texts from your computer is extremely useful in dozens of situations. Perhaps you lost your phone and need to send a message to someone, maybe you’re over your monthly text limit and still need to get in touch with your friends, or you may just hate typing on a tiny keyboard. Whatever the case may be, it’s easier than you might think to learn how to send a text message from a computer.

There are hundreds of online services out there that’ll get the job done, but none of them are quite as simple and reliable as the methods outlined below.

HOW TO SEND TEXTS VIA IMESSAGE (IOS AND MAC OS)

Though iMessage formerly only handled iMessages, later iterations of Apple’s operating system include an option specifically designed for forwarding SMS messages directly to your Mac or another iOS device. Once properly set up, you’ll be able to quickly send messages from your computer to any known number using the Messages app on your machine — and receive them in a similar fashion without ever glancing at your phone.

Step 1: To set up iMessage and SMS forwarding on your iOS device, navigate to the main “Settings” menu and tap “Messages.”

Step 2: Toggle on “iMessage” and ensure you’re logged into the same iCloud account as all other devices using Messages. Also, make sure all of your devices are connected to the same Wi-Fi network.

Step 3: Tap “Text Message Forwarding,” toggle the switch directly right of the Apple device to which you want to send SMS messages, and then enter the six-digit confirmation code displayed on the device. Doing so will confirm that you want to send and receive messages from your iPhone on your Mac, and confirm you own the machine.

Once everything is set up, you can send text messages by clicking the pencil icon located above the contact list, entering your desired recipients, and composing the message as you would normally. However, keep in mind that the standard text message limit of 160 characters still applies even when using Messages. A text longer than 160 characters will likely count as two for billing purposes, or more depending on how long it is.

However, you can send messages to other iOS and MacOS users for free, as long as they use Messages. Remember, a normal text message will be in a green bubble, while an iMessage will be in a blue bubble. This method works with both Mac and iOS.

HOW TO SEND TEXTS VIA ANDROID MESSAGES (ANDROID)

Android Messages lets Android smartphone owners text straight from a web interface, no matter what device they’re using. It works on desktops, laptops, or even iOS devices. You do have to set Android Messages as the default app on your phone though, so make sure to do so before getting started.

Step 1: Go to the Android Messages homepage.

Step 2: Open the Android Messages application on your phone.

Step 3: Tap on the three-dot menu icon and select “Messages for Web.”

Step 4: Tap “Scan QR code” and use your handset to scan the QR code from the Android Messages homepage. This will link your device and your browser, and you’ll see messages and contacts appear on your other device as they synchronize.

Step 5: Use the web interface to chat with friends and family as you would on your Android smartphone.

If you want to retain the synchronization between devices so that you don’t have to scan the QR code every time, you can hit the “Remember this computer” toggle in your web browser.

HOW TO SEND TEXTS VIA CORTANA (WINDOWS)

If you use an Android phone (or an old Windows Phone) and Windows 10 on your computer, you can easily send a text using Cortana. If you happen to have a Windows phone, just start typing the word “text” in Windows 10 search bar, followed by the person you’d like to contact. Assuming your computer and your phone are both signed into the same Microsoft account, Cortana will figure out who you want to text and ask you what you’d like to say.

Windows 10 devotees using Cortana on their Android device can also send and receive texts in a similar manner and the latest versions even let her read them for you.

Step 1: To send a text using Cortana on the desktop, make sure the recipient is listed within the People app. If your chosen recipient is not listed, launch the app and click the addition sign to add said recipient to the Microsoft Account database.

Step 2: Make sure the linked Cortana app on your Android device is set to “push and receive text messages” to and from your PC. Start by heading into “Settings,” then “Sync notifications,” and make sure “Apps notifications sync” is switched on.

Step 3: Tap “Choose which apps to sync” and select your device’s messaging app.

Note: You can actually enable any messaging app to send and receive messages, including Facebook Messenger, allowing you to quickly respond to a message from any PC running Windows 10.

Once both platforms are configured, you can send a text message to a Microsoft Account contact by simply saying or typing the word “Message” in Cortana’s text field in the Windows 10 taskbar. Cortana will then expand and provide fields for choosing your desired recipient, typing your message, and choosing the SMS option.

Users can actually expand on that command with “Message [insert name]” or “Text [insert name],” which will allow you to automatically select a recipient. You can even take things further, if you want to include additional context. For instance, you can say “Message [insert name] Did you already leave for work?”

As for receiving texts, the Android iteration of Cortana will forward texts to a Windows 10 PC, which will then appear as pop-up notifications in the right-hand corner of your screen. Users can reply to the message from directly within the notification, assuming only one message was received. If multiple texts arrive at the same time from the same sender, then the notification will not provide a text field for your response.

Like the Windows Phone version of Cortana, there’s no way to browse older texts in Windows 10. It’s a great way to reply to a single incoming text, however, and to send a single outgoing text without having to pick up your Android device. Unfortunately, the feature is not really meant for full conversations. This method works best if you have updated to the most recent Windows 10 edition, and will not work at all if you’ve been avoiding updates since the Anniversary edition.

Coppock, Mark. ” How to send a text message from a computer” Digital Trends, Computing January 17, 2019

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Windows 7: What is Your Company’s Exit Strategy?

If your business is still running on Windows 7, it’s time to get serious about how you’re going to handle the January 14, 2020 end of support.

If this is the case, you have some important decisions to make, and not a lot of time remaining. Windows 7 support officially ends in less than a year, on January 14, 2020. After that date, Microsoft will stop delivering security updates automatically, and by then most third-party vendors will have dropped support as well.

Most businesses completed their planning for migration to Windows 10 long ago and are in the final stages of implementing that plan. If you’re still procrastinating, it’s time to get serious.​

You have a few options. Which one you choose depends on why your organization is still clinging to Windows 7. If the main reason is inertia, you’ll need to find something to motivate yourself. You could, for example, calculate the costs of cleaning up after a successful ransomware attack that spreads over your network, including the loss of business while you scramble to recover. If you’re in a regulated industry, you might want to find out whether running an unsupported operating system puts you at compliance risks, which can result in hefty fines and a loss of business when customers find out.

The other possible deployment blocker is a compatibility problem. For most Windows 7 apps, compatibility shouldn’t be an issue. If your business depends on specialized hardware or line-of-business software that absolutely will not run on Windows 10, you might be able to make a case for paying to extend the support deadline. But that just delays the inevitable by a year or two, or at most three. Your search for a replacement should be well under way by now.

So, what are your options?

PAY FOR EXTENDED SUPPORT.

When Windows XP support ended in April 2014, Microsoft offered to continue delivering patches for XP devices owned by large organizations that paid for Custom Support Agreements. But those contracts didn’t come cheap. Only very large enterprise customers could even qualify for one, and then the cost was literally millions of dollars.

For Windows 7, the extended support option is far more democratic. In September 2018, Microsoft announced its plan to offer paid Windows 7 Extended Security Updates (ESUs). You won’t need megabucks, either: Although Microsoft has yet to publish a price list, an insider tells me that the annual cost for an ESU contract will be $50 per device, with that price tag going up to $100 in year two and $200 in year three.

That escalating price schedule is intended to serve as a disincentive to Windows 7 users who might otherwise be tempted to kick the can a little further down the road.

Customers who have paid for Windows Software Assurance contracts or who have Windows 10 Enterprise or Education subscriptions will get a discount but will still be subject to significant price hikes in years 2 and 3.

You can eliminate the extra cost of Windows 7 Extended Security Updates completely if you move your workloads to virtual machines in Microsoft’s Azure cloud. That option will be available using the new Windows Virtual Desktop option, which should be available as a preview soon. For businesses that only need to virtualize individual line-of-business applications, this could be a cost-effective option.

BITE THE BULLET AND UPGRADE.

If you don’t have any compatibility issues that need to be addressed first, the simplest and most straightforward route is to put together a deployment plan and begin executing it. But the details of tha plan matter, especially if you want to avoid the headaches of the “Windows as a service” model.

As always, of course, the easiest upgrade path is via hardware replacement. Any device that’s five years old or more is an obvious candidate for recycling. Devices that were designed for Windows 10 and then downgraded to Windows 7 should be excellent candidates for in-place upgrades, after first making sure that the systems have the most recent BIOS/UEFI firmware updates.

One not-so-obvious factor to consider is which Windows 10 edition to deploy. The obvious choice for most businesses is Windows 10 Pro, but I strongly suggest considering an additional upgrade to the Enterprise (or Education) edition.

Yes, machines running Windows 10 Pro allow your admins to defer feature updates, but the support schedule for Enterprise/Education is significantly longer: a full 30 months, as opposed to 18 months for Pro.

For most businesses, the Windows Enterprise E3 and E5 subscription options are probably the easiest and most cost-effective here.

DO NOTHING.

On January 25, 2020, Windows 7 won’t stop working. In fact, you’re unlikely to notice any changes. If you feel lucky, this is certainly an option. You might even consider the lack of monthly updates a welcome feature.

Spoiler alert: This is a very bad idea, one that exposes you to all manner of possible bad outcomes.

If you absolutely must keep one or more Windows 7 PCs in operation, perhaps because they’re running a critical app or controlling a piece of old but essential hardware, the best advice I can offer is to completely disconnect that machine from the network and lock it down so that it only runs that one irreplaceable app.

Bott, Ed. “Windows 7: What is your company’s exit strategy?” ZDNet, The Bott Report January 30, 2019


Please let us know if you are currently using Windows 7 and would like to know more about your options. We would be happy to answer any questions that you may have.

We can have one of our professional engineers meet with you to strategize and execute the best solution to suit your business needs. Email us at support@trinityww.com or give us a call at 732-780-8615 to get more information, or to schedule an appointment with one of our trained professionals today!

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This Password-Stealing Phishing Attack Comes Disguised as a Fake Meeting Request From the Boss

Called to a meeting with the CEO? Don’t be so sure.

A widespread phishing campaign is targeting executives across a number of industries with messages asking to reschedule a board meeting in an effort to steal logins and passwords.

The phishing messages spoof the name and email address of the CEO since users are more likely to fall for attacks they believe to come from their boss.

The contents of the phishing email is simple: it says a board meeting has been rescheduled and asks users to take part in a poll to choose a new date.

If users click the link, they’re taken to a webpage which appears to be a login page for Microsoft Outlook and Office 365, but this is in fact a phishing site — any information entered into it will go directly into the hands of the attackers.

The attack is slightly different if the email is viewed on a mobile device — the display name is changed to ‘Note to Self’ but the contents of the message stays the same.

With the phishing email targeting high-level executives like CFOs, CTOs and SVPs, a successful attack could provide attackers with access to highly sensitive data across the corporate network — and the compromised accounts could also be used to help conduct further malicious campaigns.

The fake meeting phishing attack appears to be prolific — GH Security firm researchers say it was found targeting one in seven of the firm’s customers. In each case, the attackers were eliminated before damage could be done.

It’s believed that the campaign is still active and that the phishing URL  claiming to be windows related — is still up.

Users are therefore warned to be aware of the campaign and to be suspicious of any emails containing a subject line following a pattern of: New message: [Company Name] February in-person Board Mtg scheduling (2/24/19 update)

Palmer, Danny. “This password-stealing phishing attack comes disguised as a fake meting request from the boss” ZDNet February 4, 2019


Phishing attacks are NOT to be taken lightly. For a limited time we are offering a complementary Dark Web Scan for your business’s email domain. This report will immediately reveal if you or any of your employees credentials have been compromised within the last 36 months.

If nothing turns up, you’ll have peace of mind and you can take preventative actions to make sure it stays that way. On the other hand, if the report reveals a compromise, you are in the best position to take the next logical step towards protecting your business!

You can always contact us at CyberSecurity@Trinityww.com or by calling (732) 780-8615 if you have any questions about what you can be doing to put your business in the best position to avoid a cyber security breach

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10 Word Defaults – Customize the way YOU Want to Work

Change a few key default settings in Word and you won’t have to make the same tweaks over and over.

Word does a good job of assuming how the average user works, but some of Word’s default settings can be annoying and inefficient. Some users don’t know they can permanently change these settings, so they continue to reset them for each new document or just struggle along. Users should consider resetting the following defaults to work more productively. Of course, there are more defaults to set; feel free to share your suggestions in the discussion below.

1: Line spacing

The default line spacing setting in Word 2007 and 2010 is 1.15, not 1, as it is in 2003. Microsoft believes 1.15 is more readable online. If you’re not generating Web content, adjust the style(s) you use in Word’s template (Normal.dotx), as follows:

  1. Click the Home tab.
  2. Right-click Normal in the Styles Quick gallery and choose Modify.
  3. Choose Paragraph from the Format list.
  4. In the Spacing section, change the At setting from 1.15 to 1, as shown in Figure A.
  5. Click OK.
  6. Check the New Documents Based On This Template option.
  7. Click OK.
Figure A: This change will adjust all Word styles based on Normal, so be careful.

2: Smart quotes

If you generate Web content or other published material, you probably have to undo Word’s smart quotes in favor of straight quotes. You can do so quickly enough by pressing [Ctrl]+Z, but that becomes tedious after a while and you might forget. If you use straight quotes more than smart quotes, disable smart quotes as follows:

  1. Click the File menu and choose Options under Help. In Word 2007, click the Office button and click Word Options. In Word 2003, choose Auto Correct Options from the Tools menu and skip to step 4.
  2. Choose Proofing in the left pane.
  3. Click AutoCorrect Options in the AutoCorrect Options section.
  4. Click the AutoFormat As You Type tab.
  5. Deselect the Straight Quotes With Smart Quotes option in the Replace As You Type section, shown in Figure B.
  6. Click OK.
Figure B: Disable smart quotes for all new documents

3: Paste special

Word’s paste special feature retains the source formatting. If you’re pasting from foreign sources, you probably reformat it once it’s in your Word document. If you do this a lot, change the Paste Special default as follows:

  1. Click the File tab and choose Options. In Word 2007, click the Office button and then click Word Options.
  2. Select Advanced in the left pane.
  3. In the Cut, Copy, and Paste section, choose Use Destination Styles from the Pasting Between Documents When Style Definitions Conflict drop-down.
  4. Choose Keep Text Only from the Pasting From Other Programs drop-down, as shown in Figure C.
  5. Click OK.
Figure C: Several paste setting make this a flexible feature.

This feature is significantly different in Word 2003. From the Tools menu, choose Options, and click the Edit tab. In the Cut And Paste section, click the Settings button to display the options shown in Figure D.

Figure D: Word 2003 is more specific, but allows some control

4: File location

Word saves your documents in My Documents. If you find yourself resetting the save location a lot, reset the default as follows:

  1. Click the File tab and choose Options. In Word 2007, click the Office button and then click the Word Options button. In Word 2003, choose Options from the Tools menu.
  2. Select Save in the left pane. In Word 2003, click the File Locations tab.
  3. Specify the new folder in the Default File Location field shown in Figure E. Or click Browse and locate it that way. In Word 2003, highlight the Documents item and click Modify. Use the Modify Location dialog to specify the new folder and click OK.
  4. Click OK.
Figure E: Word will save document to specified folder

5: Spacing between paragraphs

When you press [Enter], Word increases the line spacing to add a bit more white space between paragraphs. This extra space isn’t the same as a blank line, so you can’t delete it by pressing Backspace. To eliminate this extra spacing, do the following:

  1. Click the Home tab. In Word 2003, select Paragraph from the Format menu.
  2. Click the Paragraph group’s dialog launcher (the small arrow in the lower-right corner). In Word 2003, click the Indents And Spacing tab.
  3. Check the Don’t Add Space Between Paragraphs Of The Same Style option.
  4. Click Set As Default, as shown in Figure F. (Not available in Word 2003, but you can change this format for the current document.)
  5. Click OK.
Figure F: Eliminate the additional white space between paragraphs

6: Mini toolbar

When you select text, Word displays the mini toolbar, which hosts several formatting options. Even though it’s dimmed, it still annoys some users. You can press [Esc] to hide it or you can permanently disable it, as follows:

  1. Click the File menu and choose Options. In Word 2007, click the Office button and then click Word Options.
  2. Choose General in the left pane (if necessary).
  3. In the User Interface Options section, uncheck the Show Mini Toolbar On Selection option, shown in Figure G.
  4. Click OK.
Figure G: Uncheck this option to disable the mini toolbar

7: Drawing canvas

Word’s drawing canvas is a distinct layer for drawing. Objects placed in a canvas have an absolute position and remain together as a group. Most users find the canvas layer difficult to work with and frankly, most users don’t need it. If you’re still using Word 2003, disable the canvas layer as follows:

  1. From the Tools menu, choose Options.
  2. Click the General tab.
  3. Uncheck Automatically Create Drawing Canvas When Inserting AutoShapes in the General Options section.
  4. Click OK.

Word 2007 and 2010 disables the canvas layer by default. If you happen to be working with the drawing canvas enabled, disable it as follows:

  1. Click the File menu and then choose Options. In Word 2007, click the Office button and then click Word Options.
  2. In the left pane, choose Advanced.
  3. In the Editing section, uncheck the Automatically Create Drawing Canvas When Inserting AutoShapes option, shown in Figure H.
  4. Click OK.
Figure H

8: Normal.dotx

Word bases new documents on Normal.dotx, but the template’s settings might not fit your needs. If you have just a few changes, customize Normal.dotx. A common customization is to change the font and size. To make the change at the template level, do the following:

  1. Open a new document and click the Home tab.
  2. Click the Font group’s dialog launcher (the arrow in the bottom-right corner). In Word 2003, choose Font from the Format menu.
  3. Make the necessary font changes. For instance, you might choose Arial, 12.
  4. Before closing the dialog, click the Set As Default button. In Word 2003, click Default.
  5. In the resulting confirmation dialog, select the option to set the default for all documents based on the Normal template, as shown in Figure I.
  6. Click OK twice.
Figure 1: Make a font change at the template level

Other template customizations you might want to make include margins and styles. Use a custom template, rather than Normal.dotx, to meet requirements that are more complex.

9: Word selection

When you select part of a word and then part of the next, Word selects the whole word for you — whether you meant to or not. To disable this selection option, do the following:

  1. Click the File tab and choose Options. In Word 2007, click the Office button and then click Word Options. In Word 2003, choose Options from the Tools menu.
  2. Choose Advanced in the left pane. In Word 2003, click the Edit tab.
  3. In the Editing Options section, deselect the When Selecting, Automatically Select Entire Word option, as shown in Figure J.
  4. Click OK.
Figure J: Ridding yourself of this annoying selection behavior is easy

10: Spelling, grammar, and formatting

Word identifies misspelled words, grammatical errors, and formatting inconsistencies, as you type:

  • A red line indicates a word not found in the dictionary (possibly misspelled).
  • A green line indicates a possible grammatical error.
  • A wavy blue line indicates an inconsistent format.

I recommend that you get used to the display and not disable these features — they’re a helpful indication that something might be wrong. On the other hand, if you find them distracting, you can disable them. To disable the red and green lines, do the following:

  1. Click the File tab and then choose Options. In Word 2007, click the Office button and then click Word Options. In Word 2003, choose Options from the Tools menu.
  2. Select Proofing in the left pane. In Word 2003, click the Spelling & Grammar tab.
  3. In the When Correcting Grammar and Spelling In Word section, uncheck the first three options: Check Spelling As You Type, Use Contextual Spelling, and Mark Grammar Errors As You Type, as shown in Figure K. (There’s no contextual spelling option in Word 2003.)
  4. Click OK.
Figure K: You can disable Word’s spelling and grammar indicators.

To rid documents of the wavy blue line, do the following:

  1. Click the File tab and then choose Options. In Word 2007, click the Office button and then click Word Options. In Word 2003, choose Options from the Tools menu.
  2. Select Advanced in the left Pane. In Word 2003, click the Edit tab.
  3. In the Editing Options section, uncheck the Mark Formatting Inconsistencies option under Keep Track Of Formatting. In Word 2003, deselect the Mark Formatting Inconsistencies check box in the Editing Options section.
  4. Click OK.

Even the most competent users make an occasional error and these features identify potential problems. Adjusting to them will probably serve most users better than turning them off.

Harkins, Susan. “10 Word Defaults You Can Customize to Work the Way YOU want” TechRepublic

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How To Block, Stop Robocalls, Scams: ‘Nuclear Option’ On iPhone XS, iOS 12, Pixel 3, Android

While apps provide some level of protection against robocalls, spam, and scams, they’re not bulletproof.

The hard truth is that call screening apps that claim to block unwanted calls are not always effective at actually stopping the call from getting through.

That, after all, is the point: to block unwanted calls.

The nuclear option is simple, very effective

But there’s one way* to stop these calls cold. And it may save your sanity in the process: Do Not Disturb.

Here’s the starter kit for turning on Do Not Disturb on the iPhone and Android:

  • With the iPhone it’s a snap. Go to Settings, then tap on “Do Not Disturb” then select “Allow Calls From” then “All Contacts.”
  • On Android 9 “Pie,” Go to “Sound” then turn on “Do Not Disturb.” Like the iPhone, you can set exceptions for things like Contacts.

There are several ways to tweak how restrictive Do Not Disturb is, as shown in the images at the top and bottom of this article. Instead of explaining all of these different settings/tweaks in unreadable, prolix text, the images offer the most concise, clear guides.

Google also provides written how-to on its support page: here.

As does Apple: here.

The beauty of tweaking the settings is it turns Do Not Disturb into a very effective robocall/spam/scam blocking tool.

On caveat: this will stop all unwanted calls from ringing your phone. That includes unexpected calls that aren’t necessarily unwanted. And notifications will be blocked too.

But you won’t miss calls completely. You will typically see it as a missed call or a voicemail. Again, use trial and error to determine if this is the best option for you. And, again, you can toggle this on and off.

NOTES:

*I use Do Not Disturb on my iPhone, currently an iPhone XS Max running iOS 12, and on my Android phone, currently a Google Pixel 3 XL running Android 9 “Pie.”

Cruthers, Brooke. “How to Block, Stop Robocalls, Scams: ‘Nuclear Option’ on iPhone XS, iOS 12, Pixel 3, Android” Forbes.com January 27, 2019

Posted in: Mobile Computing, Tech Tips for Business Owners

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10+ Do’s and Don’ts for Using Office Templates

If your attempts to use Office templates usually leave you feeling stumped and frustrated, read these expert tips to gain a better grasp on how to use them.

Templates are one of Office‘s least used and most misused features. Office templates aren’t particularly intuitive, and misunderstandings regarding their proper use hinder users. On the other hand, once users finally get it right and experience an increase in productivity, they’re hooked. These tips will help you generate and apply templates correctly.

This article focuses on user templates. If you’re developing, distributing, and administering templates for a large organization, you probably won’t learn anything new. However, you can share these tips with the users you support and perhaps thwart a few troubleshooting headaches down the road.

1: Do understand the concept

The term template is very old and originally referred to a pattern or model used to reproduce trade pieces. Within the context of business software, a template is a shell document — it’s a starting point for new documents. Some templates contain basic formatting, while others offer customized tools and content that help users work more productively. Templates get you started and sometimes even help you perform routine tasks.

2: Don’t customize the default template, at least not much

When you open a new document, you’re using the software’s default template; many users customize this template to meet their needs. You can change simple formats (see #3) at this level without issue. On the other hand, when your needs are more complex, you should create a custom template and apply it as needed.

Keep changes to the software’s default template to a minimum. When you upgrade, you might lose all customizations you made to the default template.

3: Do watch for interface shortcuts

If you change the same format or property for all (or most) new documents, watch for interface options that make the change to the default template. For instance, if you don’t like Word’s new line spacing default of 1.15 (instead of 1), you can change Word’s built-in Normal style for the current document. When you do, you can also make the change for all new documents by checking the New Documents Based On This Document option shown in Figure A.

Figure A

note: Some properties have interface options that update the default template

I’m not contradicting #2; I want you to take advantage of the interface default options, but complex changes should go into a custom template.

4: Do use built-in shortcuts for opening and saving templates

Most Office applications offer a shortcut for accessing and saving templates. For example, in Word 2010, you can access your templates as follows:

  1. Click the File tab.
  2. Choose Open.
  3. Click Trusted Templates in the left pane shown in Figure B.
Figure B

note: Interface access makes working with templates easy.

5: Don’t base new templates on blank documents — or do

If you’re using Office 2010 or earlier, you might open a new document as you normally would, make changes, and then save it as a template in the Save As dialog. This isn’t the preferred method; however, many users do this without issue. Office 2013 users will find this route is now the preferred method, so your route depends on your version.

6: Don’t base new templates on existing documents

If you have a formatted document that meets all of your custom needs, you might be tempted to remove the content and save the underlying styles and other tweaks as a template file. In fact, you’ll find the instructions online, even at Microsoft.com. Everything that’s in that document will be in your template and, consequently, all the documents based on the template. You’re probably thinking that’s what you meant; unfortunately, it can be the route to heartbreak. The source of problems and conflicts will be difficult to troubleshoot later.

Users often choose this route and never encounter problems. I think it’s a crapshoot, but I won’t argue with success. Just the same, I don’t recommend it.

7: Do use the software’s preferred method for creating a template

Your software works best when you use the tools as intended. For example, the correct way to create a template in Word 2010 and earlier follows:

  1. Click the File menu (or Office button). Choose New in the left pane. In Word 2003, choose New from the File menu.
  2. Word 2007 and 2010 users should click My Templates in the Available Templates section. In Word 2003, click On My Computer in the New Document task pane.
  3. In the resulting dialog, click Blank Document.
  4. Click Template in the Create New section (don’t skip this step).
  5. Click OK.

Other routes seem simpler. Often, those results are problematic, and those templates can be difficult to troubleshoot and fix. (I hope reading that a few times doesn’t desensitize you.) If you’re using Office 2013, see #5.

8: Don’t save a template as a working file

Don’t open a template file, add your content, and then use the software’s Save As to change the file’s format. Instead, apply a template when you create a new document. For example, the preferred method for applying a Word template follows:

  1. Click the File menu (or Office button). Choose New in the left pane. In Word 2003, choose New from the File menu.
  2. Word 2013 displays built-in templates; searching online is easy at this point. Click Personal to choose from templates you’ve created and saved. Or, click one of the many templates already listed for quick download and click Create. Skip to step 5. Earlier versions will offer many template folders. Open a folder and select a template.
  3. Click Document in the Create New section.
  4. Click OK.
  5. Give your new document a name and start adding content. All of the customizations you added to your template will be available to your new document file.

9: Do apply a template before you add content

It’s tempting to create a document and format it later rather than as you go. Many of us work that way, and there’s nothing wrong with it. However, you might assume that applying a template after-the-fact should be just as easy. It might be, and it might not. The best approach is to apply a template to the new blank document before you start adding content.

The issue in this case is Word’s dependency on built-in styles. If the template you apply later doesn’t use Word’s built-in Normal hierarchy, you might have difficulty applying the template’s custom styles. It’s not a deal-breaker — it’s just something most users don’t fully understand; they end up frustrated when a template doesn’t apply the styles they wanted in the way they expected.

10: Do save time with generic templates

Users don’t have to create their own templates; there are hundreds of reliable and free templates available via a quick download. If you have a generic need, such as a resume, mortgage calculator, business card, and so on, search online. I recommend that you start your search at Microsoft.com. Office 2013 has built-in online template access.

11: Do use existing templates when you upgrade

When you upgrade to Office 2013, you can use templates you created in Office 2007 and 2010. You’ll want to move them to the Custom Office Templates. Fortunately, there’s a tool for that.

A case for template correctness

Working with templates requires planning and a little specialized knowledge, but it isn’t difficult. You create the templates that contain the custom formats and tools you use most often. When you need those formats and tools, you apply the template before you add content, when possible. You’ll find this route efficient and less problematic than any other method you’re currently using. It isn’t the only way, but it’s the best way.

I can trace many “I hate this #$*(@ software! Why won’t it work the way it’s supposed to?” complaints to bad templates. You might ignore these tips and never see a problem. Unfortunately, if you run into a template issue, you might not know what’s wrong and blaming the squirrelly software won’t help. If you support users, training them to generate and apply their own templates correctly will help them work more efficiently and that will help you as well.

Harkins, Susan. “10+ dos and don’ts for using Office templates” TechRepublic.com/Windows and Office January 2014

Posted in: MS Office Tips and Tricks, Tech Tips for Business Owners

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How to Customize Your Windows 10 Lock Screen

The Windows 10 lock screen may seem like an obstacle, but it offers helpful information and customization options, from photos and apps to Cortana.

You can do a lot of cool things in Windows 10, but the first item that greets you when you fire up the OS is the lock screen. Clicking or tapping on it brings you to the sign-in screen where you log in to Windows. It might seem unnecessary, but it carries with it some tidbits that can be useful before you even launch Windows.

From the lock screen, you can view information from certain apps, including your calendar, the weather, and other helpful features. Those who have the Windows 10 Anniversary update and above can also chat with Cortana. And you can customize the screen with your favorite background image or slideshow. Here’s how.

To access the settings for your lock screen, navigate to Settings > Personalization > Lock screen.

Windows 10 Lock Screen Background

The first thing you can change is the lock-screen image. Under Background, choose between Windows spotlight, a static picture, or a slideshow of multiple images.

If you select Windows spotlight, the lock screen will display different images periodically. You can vote on which images you prefer (hover over “Like what you see?” on the top right to vote yes or no), allowing Windows 10 to better understand your preferences and display images you will like.

If you prefer to make the decision yourself, selecting Picture will allow you to choose from a selection of thumbnails. You can also find a picture of your own by browsing your computer folders. The Slideshow option will let you choose multiple images to become part of a slideshow of rotating pictures.

If you’re happy with your lock-screen image, you can keep the same one for your sign-in screen. Just scroll down in the Lock screen settings page to turn on the option to “Show lock screen background picture on the sign-in screen.”

Windows 10 Lock Screen Apps

Windows 10 also allows you to add certain pieces of information to your lock screen. Click the plus sign under “Choose an app to show detailed status.”

Here, you can opt to see details from Xbox, Messaging, Mail, 3D Viewer, Weather, and Calendar, and more. For example, choosing Calendar might show you the day’s appointments, while choosing Weather will display the current temperature.

You can then also choose several apps to display a quick status, which simply means fewer details. Click on each icon under the phrase “Choose apps to show quick status.” Again, you can select such apps as Weather, Messaging, and Calendar as well as Alarms & Clock, Mail, and Windows Store. The next time the lock screen pops up, you should see information from the apps you chose.

Chat With Cortana on the lock Screen

The coolest option of all may be the ability to chat with Cortana at the lock screen without having to log in. On the Lock screen menu, scroll down to and click on “Cortana lock screen settings.” Scroll down to Lock Screen and make sure “Use Cortana even when my device is locked” is turned on.

As long as this option is activated you can say “Hey, Cortana,” and talk directly to the Microsoft’s voice assistant, even if you’re not signed into Windows 10. Again, you’ll need to have the Windows 10 Anniversary update or higher installed.

To enhance your interactions with Cortana at the lock screen, select the option to allow integration with your calendar, email, messages, and Power BI data even when your device is locked.

You’ll find that with a few simple tweaks and setting changes, there are lots of things you can do in Windows 10 before you even have a chance to sign into your account. And if you don’t want to remember a password, use a picture instead. You can also go without one entirely, though we don’t recommend it.

Whitney, Lance. “How to Customize Your Windows 10 Lock Screen” January 2019

Posted in: Tech Tips for Business Owners

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24 Hidden Android Settings You Should Know About

Android phones come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes,

but within, they all run the same basic operating system. That Android code includes settings that let you tailor your smartphone to your needs. In this guide, we collected 24 lesser-known customization’s for you to toy with.

Before we start, a quick caveat: Although the same Android code runs all of these phones, manufacturers often modify the operating system by slapping a software skin on top. Our instructions specifically apply to the current stock version Android, 8.0 Oreo, which you’ll find on Google’s latest Pixel phones. However if you own a phone that runs a different version of Android, you can still apply these settings—you just have to rummage around a little more to find them.

1. Increase Font Size

You don’t have to squint and strain your eyes when viewing Android screens: Open the Settings app and choose Display, followed by Font size, to make adjustments. Drag the pointer along the slider to make changes, and check the preview window to see what the end result will look like. Once you set the Android font size, most apps will apply it.

2. Make Sure You Can Find Your Phone

Worried about losing your phone? To maximize your chances of recovering a missing device, make sure to activate Android’s built-in tracking system: Open Settings, go to Security & location, and tap Find My Device. After that, if you should misplace your phone, head to this page in any browser and log in to your Google account. You’ll be able to view your handset’s location on a map, among other options.

3. Tweak the Quick Settings Panel

Drag two fingers down from the top of the screen, and you’ll open Android’s Quick Settings panel, which provides immediate access to settings such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and flashlight mode. These shortcuts are useful, but you can make them even handier by customizing which ones show up and the order in which they appear. Open the panel, tap the pen icon on the lower left, and you’ll be able to add shortcuts and drag the icons into a new arrangement.

4. Reduce Data Usage

Android includes a built-in system to limit how much data background apps can gobble up (at least when you’re not connected to Wi-Fi). This mode will affect different apps in various ways—for example, in a browser, images might not show up unless you tap on them. To switch on this handy feature, open Settings and pick Network & internet, then Data usage, then Data Saver.

5. Stop New Apps From Creating Shortcuts

By default, when you install an app, it automatically appears as a shortcut on one of your phone’s home screens. This allows you to quickly launch a new app, but it can also clutter up your interface. To disable this default, perform a long press on any blank part of a home screen. When a menu pops up, choose Home Settings and turn off the Add icon to Home screen option. Note: This setting used to appear in the Play Store app, but in Android 8.0 Oreo, you can now access it from any home screen.

6. Rotate Home Screens

Within an app, you can turn your phone to switch the view from portrait to landscape or vice versa. But the home screen doesn’t come with the same default—you have to turn this option on. Return to the Home Settings screen discussed in the previous tip. Here, you can choose whether or not the home screens rotate with the phone by turning Allow Homescreen rotation on or off. Note: You won’t be able to access this option (it will appear grayed out) if you’ve locked the orientation of your phone. To restore this ability, you must unlock your screen orientation: Open Settings, go to Display, and change the Auto-rotate screen option.

7. Project Your Phone on a Bigger Screen

Android now comes with built-in casting, so you can mirror the screen on any monitor or television equipped with a Chromecast device. Although many apps have their own Chromecast buttons, you can also project any screen or app from the Settings. Just go to Connected devices and select Cast.

8. Change App Permissions

How much of your personal information can any individual app access? You can see exactly which permissions an app has been granted by going to Settings, tapping Apps & notifications, and picking an app (or hitting See all to view the full list). Then, to view and edit that app’s access, tap Permissions. For example, you might allow an app to access your contact list but not your location.

9. Control Battery Use

Android now optimizes apps so they won’t drain the battery as much. For example, your email app can still run in the background, checking for updates, but it does so less frequently. However, you can exempt certain apps if you want them to always run at full throttle. Open Settings and tap Battery, then the menu button on the top right, then Battery optimization. Next, hit the Not optimized link, then All apps. Finally, select an app and pick the Don’t optimize option.

10. Wake up Your Phone With Your Voice

You don’t have to touch your phone to gain access to Google Assistant. You just need to adjust your settings. Open the Google app, tap the menu button (three horizontal lines on the bottom right), and then hit Settings followed by Voice. Choose Voice Match, and then the phrase “OK Google” will work at any time, even when your device is locked. In fact, you can use voice recognition to unlock your phone this way.

11. Free Up More Memory

If you’re running Android 7.0 Nougat or later, you can take advantage of Smart Storage. If your device is struggling for free space, this feature will automatically delete local copies of photos and videos that have safely been transferred to Google Photos. To enable it, open Settings, tap Storage, and turn on the Smart Storagetoggle switch.

12. Adjust Lock Screen Timing

Why bother reducing the time your phone takes to automatically lock the screen? Less down time makes it less likely someone will swipe your handset before it locks itself. This will also reduce battery drain, because the screen will stay lit for a shorter period. From Settings, head to Display, tap Advanced, and choose Sleep. Then you can pick a time-out period that works for you.

13. Customize Notifications From Specific Contacts

To help you instantly identify who’s calling—and to decide whether or not to pick up—you can assign certain contacts unique ringtones. Your default ringtone will remain the same—change it in Settings, under Sound, via the Phone ringtone option. To change notification settings for individuals, launch the Contacts app, tap on a contact name, open the menu (three dots on the top right), and choose Set ringtone. Then you can select a specific sound from a list.

14. Change Volume Levels Separately

You might not want to play your podcasts at the same volume as your ringtone. To adjust those separately, launch Settings and open the Sound menu. Here, you’ll find volume sliders for media, alarms, and ringtones. You can also access individual volume settings by pressing the physical volume button, which will make one slider appear on screen, and then tapping the down-pointing arrow to the right. This will open a drop-down menu where you can see all three volume sliders.

15. Unlock Your Phone in Your Car

Once you’re securely seated in your car, you might want your phone to unlock itself. This would let you open a map without entering a code, and would allow any passengers to put on your favorite tunes. Android can do this by recognizing your car stereo as a “trusted” Bluetooth device, one that proves you’re in possession of your phone. From Settings, head to Security & location, then Smart Lock, then Trusted device. Finally, work through the simple setup process, and then your phone will unlock when it’s in the presence of your car stereo.

16. Turn on Wi-Fi Automatically

Keeping your Wi-Fi off while you’re out and about increases your phone’s security and preserves its battery. But in the presence of a strong, trusted Wi-Fi network, one that you’ve used in the past, Android 8.0 Oreo can automatically turn your phone’s Wi-Fi back on. From Settings, tap Network & Internet, then Wi-Fi, then Wi-Fi preferences. Finally, turn on the Turn on Wi-Fi automatically toggle switch.

17.  Change Notification Priorities

Oreo also lets you prioritize different types of notifications from a given app. In Gmail, for example, you might choose to receive a noisy alert for important emails and a less obtrusive one for regular updates. Open Settings, tap Apps & notifications, and pick a specific app or tap See all to view a full list. Different apps will offer different categories of alerts, so choose App notifications to view them and configure different sounds for each.

18. Quickly Switch Between Apps

Jumping immediately from app to app is not, strictly speaking, a setting—but it still makes a very useful shortcut. A single tap on the Overview button, which is the square icon in the navigation bar, brings up a view of all your open apps as tabs. However, if you double-tap on the button, you’ll immediately jump from your current app to the one you were previously using.

19. Change Emoji Mode

You can view emojis on the default Google keyboard for Android by tapping on the emoji button to the left of the space bar. But did you know you can pull up emojis with different skin colors or genders by pressing and holding on an individual icon? This works on most emojis depicting people or body parts, such as a thumbs up.

20. Show Emergency Information

 If someone should discover your phone after you’ve been in an accident, having your key medical information show up on the lock screen could save your life. To do this, open Settings, choose Users & accounts, then tap Emergency information. You can provide details like allergies and organ donor status, as well as emergency contacts.

21. Move the Cursor More Delicately

Using only your clumsy fingers, you probably have a hard time highlighting specific sections of text. If you’re using the default Google keyboard, then this neat trick will make it easier to move the text cursor just one or two characters at a time. Launch any app where you can write and edit text, such as your SMS program, and tap in a text box to pull up the keyboard on screen. Then, instead of moving the cursor within the text box itself, place your finger on the space bar. Tap and drag left or right on the spacebar to move the text-editing cursor in the same direction.

22. Tweak the color range

A phone’s “color gamut” controls the range of colors that you see on screen—a wider gamut means colors will appear more vibrant, but also less natural. You can adjust the gamut in Settings by going to Display, choosing Colors, and choosing Natural, Boosted, or Saturated. Depending on the make and model of your phone, you may see different options listed here. Play around with them to find the color scheme that works best for you.

23. Snooze notifications

To clear a cluttered notification menu, you can drag individual alerts to the left, and they’ll disappear. But what if you want to clear those distractions now, but revisit them later, when you have time to deal with them properly? Snoozing notifications is a fantastically useful feature only available on phones that run Android 8.0 Oreo. Drag any notification to the right, and a clock icon will appear. Tap the clock, and you can choose to snooze the alert for 15 minutes, 30 minutes, 1 hour, or 2 hours. Once the time has expired, the notification reappears as if it’s come through for the first time.

24. Get help from Cortana

When it comes to various AI assistants, everyone has a favorite. If you prefer Microsoft’s digital helper to Google Assistant or Bixby, you can install Cortana for Android. You can even make it the default app that appears when you hold down the Home button: Open Settings, go to Apps & notifications, and then tap Advanced, Default apps, Assist & voice input, and Assist app.

Nield, David. “24 Hidden Android Settings You Should Know About” January 18, 2018

Posted in: Mobile Computing, Tech Tips for Business Owners

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