7 tricks for your new Windows Phone

Do more with your Windows Phone with these tricks and tips...
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7 tricks for your new Windows Phone

Make the most of Windows 10

Windows 10 has been designed for your phone, laptop, tablet and PC with the same familiar look and feel on all devices. Make the most of Microsoft and Windows - sync your email accounts from Outlook to your phone, and get Word and Excel apps too.

Universal apps are really interesting. They work across your tech, but can adapt to each one – like making the most of your phone’s touchscreen for example.

Mail, Dropbox, Netflix and even Xbox are among some of the universal apps on the list. Even better, buy a universal app for your phone once from the Microsoft Store and you’ll get a version for your PC and tablet too.

Turn your phone into a PC with Microsoft Display Dock

You can use the Lumia 950 and 950 XL as a PC by connecting to a monitor and keyboard using Microsoft’s Display Dock. By using the dock, you will have access to Continuum, which scales up all your favourite Windows Phone content to the full desktop version.

It’s used by 2-in-1 laptops (which can be both laptop and tablet) to switch automatically from touchscreen to keyboard mode.

Here it turns your phone into a PC – using it to power to a second screen, in this case your PC monitor. So you can attach a keyboard to write a long email or edit a PowerPoint – all from your phone.

And while doing that you can use your phone for other things - say texting or joining a video call.

You’ll need to buy a Microsoft Display Dock – a small box that connects your phone to your keyboard and monitor.

What phones can I use? Microsoft Lumia 950 and 950 XL are compatible with Continuum.

Let Cortana learn from you

Cortana is the Windows 10 virtual voice assistant. She can do all sorts, from reminding you about an upcoming dentist appointment to searching for a watering hole for post-work drinks.

Again she works across your phone and your laptop – and remembers things said on one when you’re using the other.

Cortana remembers things you like – say, your favourite football team or type of restaurant – and makes suggestions based on it when you’re out and about. Make sure her recommendations are winners every time by adding your own likes and dislikes.

All the information Cortana’s learned about you is stored in a ‘Notebook’ and divided into categories like Eat & Drink and Getting Around.

Under each one is a list of preferences you can change or add more details to. For Eat & Drink, tell her your top food choice or the kind of atmosphere you like in a restaurant.

To change your preferences open the Cortana app, go to Notebook and start adding or taking things out.

Get your notifications in battery saver mode

Turning on battery saver mode is a great way to make sure your battery lasts all day. The only downside is that by default Windows takes this as a cue to turn off notifications from all of your apps. Not so helpful when you miss an important email or the latest gossip in your WhatsApp group chat.

Get around this by setting up a list of ‘Always Allowed’ apps. They’ll continue to run in the background and send and receive notifications – so you’ll stay up to date.

How to select always allowed apps:

  • Go to Settings > System > Battery saver > Battery saver options
  • You’ll see an option to ‘add always allowed apps’
  • Add the apps you still want notifications from

Keep on top of your storage

With an app for everything it’s easy to fill your phone’s memory. With Windows 10 you can see how much space is being taken up by which apps with a handy breakdown by category. Knowing which apps are the worst offenders means you can swiftly delete and make room for new ones.

What’s more, if your Windows phone has expandable storage, you can add a microSD, saving you precious internal storage. Again, you’ll find this option in your storage settings.

Check out your storage by going to: Settings > System > Storage

Switch to one-handed mode

Tapping out a text is easier with both thumbs, especially with today’s larger-screened smartphones. If you’re looking for a particular app or just want to quickly check something, switch to one-handed mode for super-fast scrolling.

When you go into one-handed mode, the top part of the screen turns black and the apps fall to the bottom – so you’re not left straining your thumb to reach the ones at the top. Switch modes by holding down the Windows key. When you’re done, change back to your normal view by tapping it again.

Take your maps offline

Where would we be without GPS-enabled maps on our smartphones? Lost, probably – as you’ll know if you’ve ever experienced a dip in the Wi-Fi or 4G connection while out and about.

Be prepared for the unexpected with a map already waiting on your phone. With Windows 10, you can save maps to your device – so you can use them even if you don’t have an internet connection. Offline mode does more than that, though. You’ll still be able to get directions, check out points of interest along your route and even search for nearby locations.

How to download maps:

  • Go to Settings > System > Offline maps
  • Select the general region you want to download

Narrow this down – from a whole country to a city or local area

What are your thoughts? Join the conversation here…

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