10 Tips for iPhone Users From the Apple Support Twitter Page

Sean Gallup/Getty Images
Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Whether you’re a longtime Apple devotee or a recent convert, you likely have a lot left to learn before becoming an iPhone expert. We mined the Apple Support Twitter feed for the best tips on how to use your device to the fullest. 

1. SIGN AN EMAIL ATTACHMENT ON YOUR PHONE.

Apple // Twitter

Having a smartphone makes sending emails easy—until you have to send something that needs a signature. If you’ve been printing out documents, signing them, and scanning them back into your computer before sending them off, there’s a much easier way.

Next time you email a document that requires a signature, tap and hold the document in the message to open the Share sheet. Two rows of icons will pop up: Tap "Markup and Reply" beneath the toolbox icon to go to the document. By tapping the signature in the bottom-right corner of the screen, you’ll be taken to a window where you can sign your name with your finger instead of printing it out. Hit "done" and your document will be ready to send out into the world.

2. ACTIVATE LOW POWER MODE.

When your battery bar is dwindling down to zero, tricks like closing all your apps won’t do you much good. One thing that will extend your phone’s battery life is activating Low Power Mode. After going to the battery page in your phone’s settings, toggle on the switch to reduce or turn off automatic downloads, background app refresh, and other non-essential tasks that eat up energy.

3. AUTO-ADJUST SCREEN COLOR AFTER SUNSET.

Many of us are guilty of climbing into bed and scrolling through our phones in the dark. Give your eyes a break by turning on your phone’s Night Shift setting. Head to Settings, Display & Brightness, and activate Night Shift to have your phone automatically transition to warmer colors at night. The default times are 10 p.m. to 7 a.m., but you can customize the setting to best fit your schedule.

4. ACTIVATE DO NOT DISTURB TO SILENCE NOTIFICATIONS.

Apple // Twitter

Owning an iPhone means getting constant notifications from friends, family members, and mobile games that are eager for your attention. To temporarily disconnect without powering down your phone all together, switch on Do Not Disturb mode. When you swipe up from the bottom of your screen, the control center should pop up with a crescent moon icon in the top row. Tapping this silences all pings and buzzes from calls, messages, and notifications until you decide to switch it off. A crescent moon symbol beside your battery sign indicates when it’s on, so if you’ve been missing calls and you don’t know why, the symbol's appearance tells you that you may have hit it accidentally.

5. BREAK DOWN BATTERY USAGE BY APP.

You may have an idea of which apps are the worst offenders when it comes to battery usage (we’re looking at you, Pokemon Go), but figuring out exactly how much power they zap can be a guessing game. Tap on the battery icon in Settings to see a breakdown of your phone’s energy consumption by app. You can choose to view battery usage for the last 24 hours or the last seven days. This window is also where you can switch on your phone’s battery percentage in the corner of the home screen.

6. TURN YOUR COMPASS INTO A LEVEL TOOL.

Your compass app is probably one of the standard features you use the least, but it can serve a practical purpose at home. When you have the app open, swipe left to access the level tool. Now you can hang pictures without having to dig out a level from the bottom of your tool kit.

7. MUTE A TEXT CONVERSATION.

For the times when you find yourself stuck in an especially chatty group text chain (or when you’re being badgered by one person you'd rather ignore), there’s an option to hit mute. Go to Details in the upper right corner of the conversation, turn on Do Not Disturb, and proceed with your life without being interrupted with a notification every time someone chimes in.

8. CUSTOMIZE VIBRATIONS FOR DIFFERENT CONTACTS.

When you feel your phone vibrate in your pocket, there’s no way of knowing if it’s your mom, your boss, or your boyfriend unless you pull it out to check. One smart way around this is by setting custom vibrations for special contacts in your phone. Go to the contact you want to customize and scroll down to where it says "vibration." It should be set to the default, but you can choose from a selection of pre-set options or even compose a vibration pattern of your own. This way you’ll know which notifications to check right away and which you can get away with putting on the back-burner.

9. TEACH SIRI HOW TO PRONOUNCE YOUR NAME.

Hearing Siri mispronounce your name can be funny the first time. But after a few months of using her, it may start to wear on your nerves. Next time Siri says your (or anyone else’s) name incorrectly, make sure to let her know. She’ll give you a few alternative pronunciations to choose from—select the one she gets right or press "Tell Siri again" if none of them fit.

10. SET A LIVE PHOTO AS YOUR LOCK SCREEN.

If you’re the owner of an iPhone 6S or iPhone 6S Plus, you have the option to snap live photos in the form of 3-second clips. Just like still photos, these moving images can be used to liven up your lock screen. Tap the share button beneath your live photo to set it as your wallpaper like you would a regular picture. When it gives you the option to select still, perspective, or live photo, hit the last choice to revisit the "living memory" every time you open your phone.

Fish Tube: How the 'Salmon Cannon' Works and Why It's Important

PerfectStills/iStock via Getty Images
PerfectStills/iStock via Getty Images

If you’ve been on the internet at any point in the past week, you’ve certainly come across footage of wildlife conservationists stuffing salmon into a giant plastic tube and shuttling them over obstacles. It’s so bizarre—even by the already loose standards of the web—that it briefly ignited discussions over fish welfare, its purpose, and the seeming desire of people to be similarly transported through a pneumatic tunnel into a new life.

Naturally, the “salmon cannon” has a mission beyond amusing the internet. The system was created by Whooshh Innovations, a company that essentially adopted the same kind of transportation system featuring pressurized tubing that's used in banking. Initially, the system was intended to transport fruit over long distances without bruising. At some point, engineers figured they could do the same for fish.

The fish payload is secured at the entrance of the tube—acceptable species can weigh up to 34 pounds—and moves through a smooth, soft plastic tube that conforms to their body shape. Air pressure behind them keeps them moving. The fish are jettisoned between 16 and 26 feet per second to a new location, where they emerge relatively unscathed. Because there’s no need for a water column, the tubing can cover most terrain at virtually any height.

The tubing solution is a human answer to a human problem: dams. With fish largely confined to still bodies of water thanks to dams and facing obstacles swimming upstream to migrate and spawn, fish need some kind of assistance. In the past, “fish ladders” have helped fish move upstream by providing ascending steps they can flop on, but not all fish can navigate such terrain. Another system, trapping and hauling fish like cargo, results in disoriented fish who can even forget how to swim. The Whooshh system, which has been in used in Washington state for at least five years, allows for expedient fish export with an injury rate as little as 3 percent, although study results have varied.

The video features manual insertion of the fish. In the wild, Whooshh counts on fish making semi-voluntary entries into the tubing. Once they swim into an enclosure, they’re curious enough about the tube to go inside.

If all goes well, the system could help salmon be reintroduced to the Upper Columbia River in Washington, where the population has been depleted by dams. Testing of the device there is awaiting approval from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

[h/t Popular Mechanics]

12 Facts About Netflix, Recommended For You

kasinv/iStock Editorial via Getty Images Plus
kasinv/iStock Editorial via Getty Images Plus

Netflix has become the world’s intravenous line for filmed entertainment. And like any media empire, it has a few stories of its own to tell. Take a look at some lesser-known, non-buffering facts about the streaming giant.

1. Early Netflix subscribers got a lot of Chinese pornography.

Addict man at computer laptop watching porn internet addiction concept
OcusFocus/iStock via Getty Images

In 1998, Netflix was still in the business of selling as well as renting DVDs. To try and offer consumers something new, co-founder Marc Randolph decided to offer footage of President Bill Clinton’s Grand Jury testimony about his involvement with Monica Lewinsky. But according to the book Netflixed, the duplicating house had a mix-up: out of the 1000 customers who ordered Clinton's interview, a few hundred received discs full of hardcore Chinese pornography.

2. Netflix was originally called Kibble.

Choosing a name for the company was a drawn-out process. Directpix.com, Replay.com, and other names were considered; so was Luna.com, which was the name of Randolph’s dog. When the company was being incorporated, he named it Kibble.com until they could decide on something permanent.

3. Netflix executives used to make house calls.

From the beginning, Netflix has been preoccupied with seeing how users interact with its software in order to select titles. In the late 1990s, subscribers near the company’s location in Los Gatos, California were reached via telephone and asked a series of questions. Then staffers would ask if they could stop by to watch them use the site. Surprisingly, most agreed. Netflix brought them coffee, a small investment for gaining valuable information about their usage.

4. Netflix got Dennis Quaid to sing.

For a 2006-2007 publicity tour, Netflix decided to screen films in thematically-correct locations: For example, Field of Dreams was shown in the “real” Iowa cornfield-slash-baseball diamond featured in the movie. But the company also wanted actors to make appearances. Their approach: offer to let those with bands perform for the crowds. Kevin Costner, Bruce Willis, Dennis Quaid, and Kevin Bacon all agreed to the barter deal. Quaid and his band, The Sharks, played in New Orleans before a screening of his film The Big Easy.

5. Netflix has made a science out of spoilers.

Because so much of Netflix’s high-profile content can be “binged” in a single weekend, the company commissioned cultural anthropologist Grant McCracken to examine how spoilers affect a person’s viewing habits. McCracken identified classifications of spoiler-prone people by whether they ruin a plot twist intentionally or hold it over others. (Some people are “Coded Spoilers,” too self-aware to let anything slip. These people are your friends.) His verdict? Some people enjoy the power they get from having knowledge of spoilers. But if a show is good enough, knowing about key scenes won't dissuade viewers from watching.

6. Netflix staffers think you decide on a movie in two minutes.

Apple iPad displaying Netflix app, Black with Reflection
bmcent1/iStock Editorial via Getty Images

Netflix spends more than $150 million on improving their recommendation system every year, trying to arrange selections based on what they think you might like. That kind of personalized menu is necessary: The company estimates that users spend only two minutes browsing for a title before choosing one or opting for another diversion entirely.

7. Netflix staffers also think you might be kind of a liar. 

You can stop trying to impress Netflix with the streaming version of keeping Ulysses on your coffee table. In a 2013 WIRED interview, Carlos Gomez-Uribe—the company's vice president of product innovation from 2010 to 2016—noted that viewers often report viewing documentaries or esoteric foreign movies. “But in practice,” he said, “that doesn’t happen very much.”

8. the first "netflix original" was an abstract test footage short.

In order to test frame rates and how their streaming service handles different kinds of content, Netflix produced 11 minutes of test footage in 2011 that can be viewed by typing “example show” in their search engine. Cut together (as seen above), the shorts become a very strange, very abstract art film, with an unidentified man juggling and reciting Shakespeare. (But not, sadly, juggling while reciting Shakespeare.)

9. Netflix binge-watching might correlate with depression. 

A 2015 study by the University of Texas found that respondents who claimed to binge Netflix shows were more likely to suffer from depression, lack of self-control, or loneliness. The good news? The sample group was small—only 316 people—and the university’s definition of “binge-watching” was as low as two episodes. Amateurs. 

10. There’s a secret Netflix menu.

Netflix website showing on screen laptop with macbook pro at cafe
wutwhanfoto/iStock Editorial via Getty Images Plus

No, not that kind of secret menu. Pressing Shift + Alt + a left mouse click brings up a troubleshooting menu that allows you to adjust the bit rate of a stream so it doesn’t buffer. (On a Mac, it's Shift + Option + click.) The picture quality won’t be as good, but it’s better than a pixelated Demogorgon.

11. There was once a glitch in the Netflix matrix. 

In 2014, Netflix’s content descriptions became odd amalgamations of two different titles to create one completely nonsensical listing. The summaries were quickly fixed, but not before someone took several screen shots of the mishaps.

12. You'll soon be able to stream Netflix in a Tesla.


Justin Sullivan, Getty Images

In July 2019, Tesla founder Elon Musk informed Tesla owners they would soon be able to stream both Netflix and YouTube in their cars, an attractive option for anyone looking to keep passengers occupied. But there's a catch: The services only work when the cars are parked. The feature will be available in newer-model cars at a date to be determined.

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