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6 things you might not know your iPhone can do

The iPhone has been in the market of smartphone usage for quite some time but still offers secret features all may not be aware of.




Since 2008, my smartphone tent has been firmly set in iPhone’s camp. In the eight years that we’ve been together, I’m still learning new things about the iPhone all of the time.

Because of this, I love sharing this newfound knowledge with other iPhone users. For example, on two separate occasions, I informed two different users of a trick to taking photos. Both conversations happened to go like this:

Me: “Did you know you could take pictures by using the volume keys?”

Them (in a tone of mocking disbelief): “Nuh-uh…”

Me: “It’s true! Try it.”

Them (some 12 seconds later): “How did I not know this?”

“How did I not know this?”

Then, following both conversations, the next few minutes were spent taking pictures of anything and everything using the volume keys. This got me wondering what else iPhones could do that would elicit the reaction of, “How did I not know this?”

1. Thumbprint identification: On iPhones 5s and newer, there is an option to set your thumbprint as means for identification rather than typing in your passcode. In my opinion, this is just about the coolest thing in the world as it is seemingly futuristic. Oddly, one of the people I had the volume key discussion with, again did not buy into my story that I could unlock my phone by placing my thumb on the home button. Maybe one of these days, he’ll start listening.

[To implement: Go to settings, touch ID & passcode, enter your passcode, and add fingerprint. Note: it takes a few moments to set up as it has to garner every crevice of your fingerprint.]

2. Medical ID: Simply put, this is just smart. When your phone is locked, there is an option for ‘emergency’ use. Once emergency is clicked on, you are allowed to make calls to 911. You are also able to view the owner’s medical identification. This is extremely helpful in the case of an accident when information is crucial.

Information you can include: name, birthdate, medical conditions, medical notes, allergies and reactions, medications, emergency contacts, blood type, organ donor status, height, and weight.

[To implement: Go to contacts, click on ‘my card’ at the very top, click edit, scroll to Edit Medical ID.]

3. Do Not Disturb: Another personal favorite. There are a few ways to use this tool that silences messages without having to turn your phone off. Typically, I use them to silence group chats because those can go crazy and get annoying. To do this, open the group chat, go to details, then switch the Do Not Disturb tab to green (then do the opposite to turn it off). You will still receive the text messages, you just won’t be notified. Once you manually unlock your phone, you will see the little red dot on your message app that will inform you.

You can also set your whole phone to DND. This is helpful when sleeping, because it will silence text messages but give you the options to leave phone calls on in case there is an emergency.

4. Details: Inside every text thread, there is a “details” option. This allows you to see every photo and video sent throughout that thread without having to scroll back through the messages. It also gives you the option to share your location with an individual.

5. Group chats: There are a few nifty things within group chats you can do. If Do Not Disturb is not good enough, you have the option to leave the group chat altogether. This option is also found in the details section. But, if you get to the details section and decide to change your mind about leaving, you have the option to give the group chat a name. Just keep in mind that, once you name the group, it informs everyone involved. So, name wisely.

6. Siri: Everyone knows about Siri but there are many things that she (yes, I give her a pronoun) can do that not everyone knows about. If you go into Settings, select General, Accessibility, Speech, then turn on Speak Screen and Speak Selection, Siri will be enabled to read to you. If you swipe down from the top of your phone’s screen using two fingers, Siri will read to you whatever is on the screen.

When you ask Siri a question, she will call you by whatever you have your phone registered under. For example, Siri knows that my name is Taylor, so when I ask a question, she calls me that. However, if I said, “Siri, call me beauty queen from now on,” Siri will remember this and will use the term “beauty queen” until otherwise informed.

Drop in the bucket

These six features are just a small percentage of what the iPhone is capable of doing. The best way to learn new tricks is to explore the phone and see what it can do.


Staff Writer, Taylor Leddin is a publicist and freelance writer for a number of national outlets. She was featured on Thrive Global as a successful woman in journalism, and is the editor-in-chief of The Tidbit. Taylor resides in Chicago and has a Bachelor in Communication Studies from Illinois State University.

Tech News

Australia wants Facebook and Google to pay media royalties

Australia seeks to require Facebook and Google to pay royalties to media companies for use of news content on their platforms.



australia facebook google

Australia is in the process of requiring tech giants, Facebook and Alphabet, to pay royalties to Australian media companies for using their content. Australian Treasurer Josh Frydenberg announced the move the day after the US Congressional antitrust hearing that put the CEOs of Facebook, Alphabet, Amazon, and Apple back in the regulatory spotlight.

In addition to the pressure from the United States investigation into market control by these companies, global leaders are calling for similar regulations. Though none have been successful, media companies in Germany, France, and Spain have pushed for legislation to force Google to pay licensing fees to use their news content. Some companies have been pushing for this for years and yet, the tech giants keep dragging out their changes, even admitting their actions are wrong.

In 2019, the Australian government instructed Facebook and Google to negotiate voluntary deals with Australian media to use their content. The Australian government says the companies failed to follow through on the directive, and therefore will be forced to intervene. They have 45 days to reach an agreement in arbitration, after which the Australian Communications and Media Authority will create legally binding terms for the companies on behalf of the Australian government.

Google claims the web traffic that it drives to media websites should be compensation enough for the content. A Google representative in Australia asserts that the government regulations would constitute interference into market competition – which would be the point, Google!

According to a 2019 study, an estimated 3,000 journalism jobs have been lost in the last decade. The previous generation of media companies has paid substantial advertising fees to Google and Facebook while receiving nothing in return for the use of its news content. Frydenberg asserts the regulatory measures are necessary to protect consumers and ensure a “sustainable media landscape” in the country.

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Tech News

Onboarding for customers and employees made easy

(TECH NEWS) Cohere enables live, virtual onboarding at bargain prices to help you better support and guide your users.



onboarding made easy

Web development and site design may be straightforward, but that doesn’t mean your customers won’t get turned around when reviewing your products. Onboarding visitors is the simplest solution, but is it the easiest?

According to Cohere–a live, remote onboarding tool–the answer is a resounding yes.

Cohere claims to be able to integrate with your website using “just 2 lines of code”; after completing this integration, you can communicate with, guide, and show your product to any site visitor upon request. You’ll also be able to see what customers are doing in real time rather than relying on metrics, making it easy to catch and convert customers who are on the fence, due to uncertainty or confusion.

There isn’t a screen-share option in Cohere’s package, but what they do include is a “multiplayer” option in which your cursor will appear on a customer’s screen, thus enabling you to guide them to the correct options; you can also scroll and type for your customer, all the while talking them through the process as needed. It’s the kind of onboarding that, in a normal world, would have to take place face-to-face–completely tailored for virtual so you don’t have to.

You can even use Cohere to stage an actual demo for customers, which accomplishes two things: the ability to pare down your own demo page in favor of live options, and minimizing confusion (and, by extension, faster sales) on the behalf of the customer. It’s a win-win situation that streamlines your website efficiency while potentially increasing your sales.

Naturally, the applications for Cohere are endless. Using this tool for eCommerce or tech support is an obvious choice, but as virtual job interviews and onboarding become more and more prevalent, one could anticipate Cohere becoming the industry example for remote inservice and walkthroughs.

Hands-on help beats written instructions any day, so if companies are able to allocate the HR resources to moderate common Cohere usage, it could be a huge win for those businesses.

For those two lines of code (and a bit more), you’ll pay anywhere from $39 to $129 for the listed packages. Custom pricing is available for larger businesses, so you may have some wiggle room if you’re willing to take a shot at implementing Cohere business-wide.

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Tech News

Smart clothing could be used to track COVID-19

(TECH NEWS) In order to track and limit the spread of COVID-19 smart clothing may be the solution we need to flatten the curve–but at what cost?



COVID tracking clothing

When most people hear the phrase “smart clothing”, they probably envision wearables like AR glasses or fitness trackers, but certainly not specially designed fabrics to indicate different variables about the people wearing them–including, potentially, whether or not someone has contracted COVID-19.

According to Politico, that’s exactly what clinical researchers are attempting to create.

The process started with Apple and Fitbit using their respective wearables to attempt to detect COVID-19 symptoms in wearers. This wouldn’t be the first time a tech company got involved with public health in this context; earlier this year, for example, Apple announced a new Watch feature that would call 911 if it detected an abnormal fall. The NBA also attempted to detect outbreaks in players by providing them with Oura Rings–another smart wearable.

While these attempts have yet to achieve widespread success, optimism toward smart clothing–especially things like undershirts–and its ability to report adequately someone’s symptoms, remains high.

The smart clothing industry has existed in the context of monitoring health for quite some time. The aforementioned tech giants have made no secret of integrating health- and wellness-centric features into their devices, and companies like Nanowear have even gone so far as to create undergarments that track things like the wearer’s heart rate.

It’s only fitting that these companies would transition to COVID assessment, containment, and prevention in the shadow of the pandemic, though they aren’t the only ones doing so. Indeed, innovators from all corners of the United States are set to participate in a “rapid testing solutions” competition–the end goal being a cheap, fast, easy-to-use wearable option to help flatten the curve. The “cheap” aspect is perhaps the most difficult; as Politico says, the majority of people have a general understanding of how to use wearable technology.

Perhaps more importantly, the potential for HIPPA violations via data access is high–and, during a period of time in which people are more suspicious of technology companies than ever, vis-a-vis data sharing, privacy could be a significant barrier to the creation, distribution, and use of otherwise crucial smart clothing.

There is no denying that the Coronavirus pandemic has accelerated, among other things, technological advancement in ways unseen by many of us alive today. Only time will tell if smart clothing–life-saving potential and all–becomes part of that trend.

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