Fri, 10 Aug, 2018Over60

These tech hacks will transform your life

These tech hacks will transform your life

The more time we spend on devices, the more important it is to learn how to use them well.

Most of us can do the basics but learning a few tricks can make your digital life more efficient.

The tips below will also hopefully help you enjoy your devices more, too.

Voice assistant

Siri (Apple), Cortana (Microsoft), Google Now and Bixby (Samsung) are fun to use but can be frustrating as they don't always get it right.

But that doesn't mean they're not worth using. I mainly use my voice assistant to make calls when driving so I can be hands-free. To do this say "call Bob on speakerphone". 

That way you don't need to take your eyes off the road and it goes to speaker straight away.

It's also handy if you're busy at home or work and want to make a quick call without stopping what you're doing.

Get organised

Putting all your smartphone apps on one screen will make it easier to find everything.

First, put your three or four most-used apps in the dock at the bottom. Then put the next 12 most-important apps at the bottom of the home screen.

Everything else will live in folders in the spaces you have left. So you can group all your news or photo apps in one folder. Do the same for games, music, work, etc. 

If you take the time to do this you'll find it a lot quicker to locate apps.

Do not disturb

This is one of the best features on your smartphone. It allows you to silence notifications, calls and messages during certain times. 

You can set it up so your phone is quiet between 10pm and 7am so you and your partner aren't disrupted by pings and buzzes while you sleep. Of course, you need to set it up on your partner's phone, too.

You can still allow calls from certain people so you don't miss anything urgent or important.

The feature is available on both iPhones and Android devices.

Downloading from YouTube

Sometimes you may see a video on YouTube that you'd like to download. 

You can do this by typing "ss" before the "youtube" part of a video's web address. You can then select different file types and resolution. 

The same can be done for music on YouTube videos. Do to this, just type "listento" before the "youtube" part of a video's web address.

Remember downloading copyrighted content is illegal.

Second email account

Major sites are hacked all the time so an easy way to avoid being exposed is to have a second email account dedicated to social media and website logins.

This ensures your main account is protected and your personal data won't be compromised if a certain site is hacked.

The other bonus is that your main account won't be flooded with newsletters and spam. The downside is that you have to remember two passwords and monitor two accounts.

Reading time

This website is handy for voracious readers or anyone worried their book won't be long enough for the flight they're about to take.

You can search for any book on and it'll estimate the time it takes.

It's pretty accurate but it can be a bit depressing knowing that novel you've been wading through for the past few months should've only taken you eight hours to read!

Closed tab shortcut

There are dozens of shortcuts built into computers and software. It's tricky to remember more than a few but one worth committing to memory is the re-opening a tab in your web browser that you've accidentally closed.

If you press command+shift+T on a Mac or control+shift+T on Windows PC the tab will reopen and save you a bit of tech pain.

Email shortcut

It can be a hassle typing out your email address on your smartphone several times a week when logging into accounts.

The best way around this is to create a keyboard shortcut so you can, for example, type "xo" and your email address appears. 

To do this on an iPhone, go to Settings, General, Keyboards and then Text Replacements. For Android devices, go to Settings, Language and Input, Keyboard and then Text Shortcuts.

Night lights

With most people spending more time on devices, it is important to limit your exposure to blue light from screens.

Most devices now have settings to cut it out which helps reduce eye strain and improves sleep patterns.

You need to go into your device's display settings and enable the feature which is called "night light" in Windows and Android devices and "night shift" in Apple devices.

Written by Blayne Slabbert. Republished by permission of