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14 Brilliant Hacks to Improve Your Internet Experience

14 Brilliant Hacks to Improve Your Internet Experience

Slow-loading websites. Stop and go streaming. Forgotten passwords. Political rants. The internet seems to have as many headaches as it does benefits. It’s so very useful, but at the same time a great source of anxiety and frustration for users who wind up a victim of malware, spam and social media posts that raise their blood pressure.

Fortunately you can tip the online odds in your favor by taking advantage of some simple hacks to improve all areas of your internet use.

1. Softblock on Social Media

Sometimes you might like a friend a great deal, but you don’t like the things they are posting. This leaves you with an uncomfortable choice of dealing with what they post or “unfriending” or blocking that person, which can cause additional drama down the road.

Fortunately you don’t have to block people just to see less of what they are posting. There are “soft” blocking techniques on both Facebook and Twitter.

On Facebook simply click on the drop down menu on the top right corner of a friend’s post. You should see an Unfollow selection. That selection even explains that you can “stop seeing posts but remain friends.”

On Twitter, a softblock is done by clicking on the cogwheel to the right of someone’s post. In the drop down menu you’ll see a Mute button. That will hide that person’s posts, but you’ll remain friends, and they will be done the wiser.

2. Upgraded keyboard shortcuts

By now most of us know that Ctrl and C copies. Ctrl and V pastes. But what other clever keyboard shortcuts could you be using to make your life simpler? Here are a few:

Control + Enter will put the “www” and “.com” around anything you type in the address bar.

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Control + Shift + R will clear your cache and then restart an internet page you’re on.

Control + Tab will quickly move to the next tab of your internet window.

(This one in particular is very useful if you have an observant boss who likes to sneak up on you.)

3. Delete old email accounts

Most of us have multiple email addresses we’ve collected over the years. If you’ve had dormant accounts for a while, why not delete them and clean up your online footprint?

Most email accounts like MSN and Gmail include delete buttons and clear means to eliminate an old account. It’s a bit harder to delete a yahoo account. You will need to sign into your email as you normally would and then open a new tab and sign in again through the Yahoo termination link. Once you’ve followed the termination sign-in, you will be confirmed as having deleted your account.

4. Log out of Facebook remotely

How many places have you signed into your Facebook account? Your home computer for sure, and your cell phone. But have you signed in quickly at work or perhaps on a friend’s computer or phone? Remember that simply closing the browser doesn’t log you out, so unless you’ve made a point of logging out, you’re still signed in on those other computers and devices and anyone can get inside your account.

Fortunately you don’t have to go racing back up to work to log out again. You can log out of your Facebook accounts remotely by going to the right top corner of the screen and opening the Settings menu. From there go to Security. In the Security screen you should be able to see – and close – any open browsing sessions.

5. Private browsing

It’s simple to browse the internet without any record of what you’re doing. At first glance this may seem like you have something shady to hide, but what about those birthday surprises you don’t want others to find? Or a work computer you used to quickly check on your bank account or a social media post?

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All browsers allow private browsing which will not record your history or allow your search patterns to show up through ads later – which is good for present shopping at least!

On Internet Explorer, private browsing is called InPrivate Browsing. You click on Settings and then Safety. There is an option for InPrivate Browsing in the Safety menu. You can also use Control + Shift + P to launch InPrivate Browsing.

If you use Chrome simply click on the three menu bars at the top right corner of the page. From that drop down menu choose New Incognito Window, and you should be ready to browse privately.

6. Mute email threads in Gmail

Occasionally you find yourself a part of a group email that gets out of control. Perhaps someone hit Reply All and now you’re stuck on the receiving end of dozens of annoying messages that won’t stop.

Fortunately you can mute those messages that are annoying quickly and easily. In Gmail, click on the More tab at the top of your email message. In that dropdown menu choose Mute.

If you’re using Outlook you can ignore, aka mute, emails by finding the Ignore option on the Home tab. In both cases you can turn the messages back on if you want to for some reason down the road.

7. Slow motion in Youtube

Have you ever watched a How To video and at the critical moment the video went so quickly you didn’t even catch what to do next? So you replay it again and again trying to learn how to do that missing step but the video is too fast every time.

It doesn’t have to be. You can play Youtube on slow motion if you’d like, which is great for making comedic moments as well as trying to figure out just what the How-To instructor did with that wire or crochet hook. This is a very simple hack. You just hold down the Space Bar as the video is playing and it will immediately switch to slow motion. Easy peasy.

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8. Move internet routers away from electronics

If you rely on Wi-Fi that is spotty at best, be sure that your router’s positioning isn’t part of the problem. Often we group electronics together because that makes sense in an organization sort of way.

But with routers, putting them too close to other electronics can actual affect the performance of your Wi-Fi. Move your Wi-Fi router away from televisions, DVD players, speakers, Bluetooth devices and the like. This may improve your connection without having to take many more steps. (The fastest internet isn’t Wi-Fi, however, it’s broadband. Just something to consider.)

9. Paste without formatting

There is a lot of copying and pasting that goes on with the internet. Grabbing quotes you like or moving content from one place to another. But as useful as Ctrl + C is to copy, Ctrl + V pastes the original version of whatever you copied, complete with formatting.

This is fine sometimes, but other times you wind up with background colors, strange fonts and annoying graphics and lines to deal with. There is a simple keyboard shortcut that will allow you to copy and then paste anything you find online without having to deal with formatting at all.

Copy using the standard Ctrl + C and then when you go to paste, simply hit Ctrl + Shift + V. This will paste anywhere without any formatting. An excellent trick to have up your sleeve.

10. Find streaming shows and videos

You hear about a show or a new season and you want to watch it. But you cancelled cable and finding the digital version of the show requires checking at least four or five different places to, first, find the show and then, second, see how much it is to stream.

You can skip most of the searching by going to the collective site CanIStream.it to check and see if a show is available for streaming, where you can actually stream it from and if there is any associated cost for the streaming.

11. Create PDFs on the go

Our mobile phones and home offices make it easier than ever to take work on the go. Until you need a printer or a scanner. There seem to be no shortage of forms that must be copied and sent back or signed documents to scan and deliver.

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Most home offices don’t have a scanner and copier on hand, but you can use your mobile phone as a short cut for the scanning at least. There are many PDF apps that you can download free to your cell phone. Download an app like Genius Scanner or PowerPDF to easily snap a picture of a document, turn it into a PDF and send it on to where it needs to be. No scanner required!

12. Open Google.com outside the US

If you live or travel outside of the United States you might wind up with some difficulty getting to the Google page you’re used to or prefer. Google detects your location automatically and switches to the local Google page for your location.

For example, typing in Google.com while in Canada will redirect to Google.ca. This can be annoying if you prefer Google.com for your search results and accounts. To get to Google.com you will need to drop in (or bookmark) this url: http://www.google.com/?gfe_rd=cr&gws_rd=cr. Consider setting the redirect to your homepage to avoid using the URL each time.

13. Play your favorite old computer games

Nostalgia is a powerful thing, and sometimes you just want to harken back to simpler times when PacMan and Oregon Trail were all the rage. If you’re not already away, a tremendous number of the original computer games you may have played on DOS systems as a child are available online through the Software Library.

Inside the library you’ll find a large collection of DOS games you can play on your desktop or laptop including Oregon Trail, PacMan, the original SimCity and so many more to entertain yourself and remind you of simpler times.

14. Lock your computer screen

If you don’t already know how to instantly lock your computer screen, this should be one of the simplest takeaways from this list of hacks. Locking your computer screen will prevent colleagues from checking out your screen while your away. It will also help keep your children from changing things when you walk away from the computer.

Being able to lock your computer when you head to the bathroom or to take a lunch break gives you peace of mind, but do realize that if you are projecting remotely, locking your computer may sever that connection.

To lock your screen and your computer, simply press the Windows key + L. To unlock it again, you’ll need to sign-in again and everything should be just as you left it when you locked it up tight.

There are hacks for everything online it seems. But sometimes it’s the simple tricks that make your life so much more pleasant, and what could be simpler than learning new ways to navigate the internet that you use every day?

Featured photo credit: Flickr ID – francisco_osorio via flickr.com

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Last Updated on June 17, 2019

40 Top Productivity Apps for iPhone (2019 Updated)

40 Top Productivity Apps for iPhone (2019 Updated)

Over the years here at Lifehack, we’ve discussed plenty of apps that you can use to improve your overall productivity.

There are certain ones that many of our contributors and editors (past and present) have adopted over the long-term — there are always the stalwarts that stick around. But there are also new apps that crop up every day, adding more and more depth to the app category.

Some of the apps are incredibly plain and simple, while others are more robust and offer more features than you can shake a stick at. And everyone has the one they prefer.

It’s been our job (and still is our job) to keep abreast of all of the productivity-type apps out there. As a result — and as a bit of a refresher — we’ve put together a list of 40 best productivity apps for iPhone (all categorized based on their functions) to provide you with an all-in-one resource for you.

For Getting Things Done

1. OmniFocus

This app is, while pricey, considered to be one of the (if not the) most robust and full-featured productivity apps on the market.

Download it here.

    2. Forest

    Train yourself to put your phone down and stay focused on the task at hand by playing with this planting game. It’s fun and will help you achieve more.

    Download it here.

      3. Things

      Another robust choice, this app is a favorite amongst “productivityists”.[1]

      Download it here.

        4. 30/30

        Recently covered here at Lifehack

        , 30/30 is a newcomer to the game that incorporates lists and timing of tasks into an elegant and easy-to-use interface.

        Download it here.

          5. Any.Do

          A beautiful-looking app that is both easy on the eyes and your wallet.

          Download it here.

            6. PocketLife Calendar

            This calendar app is specifically designed to be stylish and super easy-to-use. You can organize your life easily with different modern features.

            Download it here.

              7. Asana

              We’ve covered Asana here at Lifehack

              , and it is being actively developed by a strong team committed to making collaborative task management a more efficient and effective experience.

              Download it here.

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                8. ToDoist

                This app keeps track of everything – from simple errands to your most important projects – so you can get it all done and enjoy more peace of mind along the way.

                Download it here.

                  9. FlowTasks

                  From the folks at MetaLab, Flow is a gorgeous collaborative task management app that is easy-to-use and incredibly functional.

                  Download it here.

                    10. Calendars 5

                    This calendar app focuses on events that help you to keep track of upcoming events and tasks easily. It has everything you need to organize, track and complete your to-dos.

                    Download it here.

                      11. Clear – Tasks, Reminders & To-Do Lists

                      A fun and innovative list-making app that relies on swiping and pinching to make things happen. Clear created a lot of buzz when it launched, and might be the perfect to-do list gateway app for many.

                      Download it here.

                        12. Due

                        A robust reminders app that lets you store and maintain reminders of all types. It’s replaced Reminders for me when it comes to the basics, and it’s worth a look if you want to keep the mundane stuff out of your head and cluttering your mind.

                        Download it here.

                          13. Checkmark 2

                          I use this app

                          for location-based reminders (such as groceries I need to get or single items I need to pick up from various locations). Checkmark is simple to use and a valuable addition to my productivity arsenal.

                          Download it here.

                            14. TeuxDeux

                            Created by Tina Roth Eisenberg and Fictive Kin — Teux Deux is simple and incredibly stellar in terms of design. If you like lists (including the popular “Someday Bucket”) and want to associate dates with tasks, then Teux Deux will be right up your alley.

                            Download it here.

                              15. Wunderlist 

                              Another incredibly popular choice is Wunderlist. Part of 6Wunderkinder’s software family, it sports a gorgeous design and is incredibly functional. We’ve talked about the app a couple of times here at Lifehack, so check those posts out here.

                              Download it here.

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                                16. Nirvana

                                For the GTD enthusiasts, there’s Nirvana. Straight from the source: “Nirvana frees your mind to focus on actually getting things done. If you’ve had enough of generic to-do lists, it’s time for Nirvana.”

                                Download it here.

                                  17. Priorities

                                  An elegant-looking task management app that has received decent reviews,[2] this could be the one for you if you’re not a fan of OmniFocus or Things — especially if you need (or want) to share tasks with others.

                                  Download it here.

                                    For Building Habits

                                    18. Productive

                                    With this app, you can plan your habits with an easy-to-use interface, schedule habits for any time of the day, set smart reminders for each time of the day and stay on track with useful feedback. This app is perfect for anyone who wants to build a habit that sticks.

                                    Download it here.

                                      19. Habitica: Gamified Taskmanager

                                      You can complete tasks and build habits in a more fun way with this app. Input your Habits, your Daily goals, and your To-Do list, and then create a custom avatar. Check off tasks to level up your avatar and unlock features such as armor, pets, skills, and even quests.

                                      Download it here.

                                        20. Streaks

                                        This app follows the model of the popular “don’t break the chain method” in that you use the app to track how you are donig in the pursuit of your goal. Great for goal-setting — and an easy and elegant interface to boot.

                                        Download it here.

                                          21. Remember The Milk

                                          Another popular to-do list app, Remember The Milk has a huge following. It has plenty to offer, including the ability to share tasks with others.

                                          Download it here.

                                            22. Day One Journal

                                            When it comes to journaling, nothing really beats Day One. Its latest update added a slew of features that will make you want to start making journaling a habit.

                                            Download it here.

                                              For Files Organization

                                              23. Evernote

                                              Touted as the world’s most widely-used productivity app, Evernote an be used simply as a notetaking app or can be customized to be your GTD app of choice — among other things.

                                              Download it here.

                                                24. Pocket

                                                You can save an article, video or link you want to read or watch later to Pocket from anywhere including your computer, Safari, email, and your favorite apps like Facebook, Twitter, Flipboard, and Feedly.

                                                Download it here.

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                                                  25. Sync.Me

                                                  This app identifies unknown phone calls, warns you from annoying spam calls, and adds a caller picture to your contacts from Facebook, Twitter and Google+.

                                                  Download it here.

                                                    26. Droplr

                                                    One of the most popular file-sharing apps out there today. Straight from the source: “Stay productive on the go. Droplr for iPhone keeps you in sync and makes sharing on the iPhone natural.”

                                                    Download it here.

                                                      27. Dropbox

                                                      Before iCloud, there was Dropbox. And there still is Dropbox, which is still widely used by both Mac and PC users all over the globe. It’s like having a flash drive in your iPhone. A must-have.

                                                      Download it here.

                                                        28. iDolly 

                                                        In conjunction with Dolly Drive and DollySync, iDolly allows you to edit and share your documents from your iPhone.

                                                        Since all your changes sync automatically to all your devices, the current version of a document will always be accessible because Dolly Sync keeps everything in sync. Very handy.

                                                        Download it here.

                                                          29. Soulver

                                                          It may seem odd that a calculator app shows up on this list, but this is no ordinary calendar app. Ben Brooks over at The Brooks review describes Soulver as follows: “It is what calculators would have been if they were invented at the same time computers were, instead of what we have with most calculator apps.” [3]

                                                          Download it here.

                                                            For Working Smarter

                                                            30. Captio

                                                            A simple capture tool. Straight from the developers: “It’s simple. Open Captio and start typing. When you’re done, hit Send. The note is immediately delivered to your email inbox.”

                                                            Download it here.

                                                              31. Drafts

                                                              A tremendous capture tool that allows for simple capture, followed by sending items to various applications such as OmniFocus, Things and more.

                                                              Download it here.

                                                                32. NoteShelf 2

                                                                This is a perfect note-taking app for you. You can take beautiful handwritten notes, type, annotate PDFs, record audio & create lists. You can organize them into categories or groups.

                                                                Download it here.

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                                                                  33. Doodle

                                                                  This app links directly with the Doodle service, which is one that allows you to plan and organize meetings far more efficiently and effectively. Lifehack contributor Steve Dotto has written about Doodle more in-depth here.

                                                                  Download it here.

                                                                    34. TextExpander (Legacy)

                                                                    I have saved countless hours of time with TextExpander, and despite its inability to be as robust on iOS as it is on the Mac, it is still a worthy app to have in your arsenal.

                                                                    Download it here.

                                                                      35. Launch Center Pro

                                                                      A quick launcher for the iPhone that doesn’t just launch an app…with some of them it can do much more. This app saves you time by launching complex actions in a single tap.

                                                                      Download it here.

                                                                        36. GoodReader

                                                                        This may seem to be an odd one to make this list, but here are plenty of reasons why it is here with this article.

                                                                        Download it here.

                                                                          37. LogMeIn

                                                                          Want to be able to control your Mac from wherever you are? Then get this app.

                                                                          Download it here.

                                                                            For Improving Security

                                                                            38. 1Password

                                                                            There is simply no better password manager out there. I’ve even put together a 1Password Emergency Kit worth looking at here.

                                                                            Download it here.

                                                                              39. LastPass Password Manager

                                                                              You can store passwords and logins, create online shopping profiles, generate strong passwords, track personal information in photo and audio notes.

                                                                              All you have to do is remember your LastPass master password, and LastPass autofills web browser and app logins for you.

                                                                              Download it here.

                                                                                40. Truecallers

                                                                                Identify and block spammers, search for unknown numbers and call friends easily with this app. With a community-based spam list from over 250 million users, you’ll need this app.

                                                                                Download it here.

                                                                                  There are plenty of other options out there (and we’ve heard from readers in the past as to what they enjoyed using), but these 40 are among the best.

                                                                                  More Great Apps Recommendations

                                                                                  Reference

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