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5 New Features of iOS 5 That Can Save Time and Boost Productivity

5 New Features of iOS 5 That Can Save Time and Boost Productivity

Well, today is iPhone 4S day and because of its immaculate pre-order sales, it’s a pretty safe bet that many consumers like the idea of a faster, better camera equipped, personal assistant toting iPhone. Not to mention all of the updates that come because of the newly upgraded iOS 5.

So, can the iPhone 4S and iOS 5 make one more productive? Can it help them save time with normal everyday things? Well, no tool can make you more productive, you make you more productive, but a tool can definitely save you time and augment your productivity.

Here are 5 things that iPhone 4S and iOS 5 will help you save time and boost your productivity.

    Reminders

    Reminders is a new app that comes with iOS 5. It allows users to create simple lists of tasks that can contain a due date, a reminder (either a date/time or location), a name, and a note. Pretty simple. But for the masses of people that are GTD fanboys and girls like you, the reminder app will be more than enough to support their productivity.

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    Reminders also syncs with iCloud, so if you have any other iDevices you can get access to your todos from anywhere.

      Fast Camera Access

      One of my favorite new features of iOS 5 is the quick access to the camera. I take a lot of pictures of things that I need to remember for later meetings or phone calls (not to mention awesome pictures of my puppies) and being able to get quick access is nice.

      To get fast access, double click your home button at the lock screen and a camera icon will appear. Touch the camera icon and you are in. I’ve also noticed that when you access the camera this way on the iPhone 4, you won’t get the dreaded “shutter of death”. The shutter opens quickly and you can start snapping away.

        Keyboard shortcuts

        Even though the iPhone’s keyboard is pretty darn easy to use, it can be a little annoying to type and re-type certain phrases over and over again. If you are a TextExpander nerd, then you have probably been using TextExpander Touch on your phone for some time. The only issue is that TE Touch can’t be used system-wide.

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        In iOS 5 under Settings > Keyboard you will notice a new ‘Shortcuts’ section that allows users to enter phrases and a shortcut to get to them. Once you’ve added a shortcut combo, you can type it anywhere on your iPhone and you will see the familiar auto-correct bar come up with your “expanded” shortcut. It isn’t as robust as TE Touch, but still will save you tons of time in the long run.

          iCloud

          iCloud is Apple’s new cloud storage / syncing service that now ships with iOS 5. Signing up for an iCloud account gives you web access to a new email client, calendar, contacts, Find My iPhone, and documents in the cloud. Basically, MobileMe done right. You can then use this account to keep your iPhone in sync with the server, not to mention with all of your iCloud friendly devices.

          This is one thing that the iPhone has been missing that other devices (I’m looking at you Android) have been giving users for a while now. The thing is, and this goes for almost all Apple products, iCloud tends to be more “polished” (not more feature rich, Android fanboys) than any other cloud/mobile service that I have encountered.

          What does iCloud mean for productivity? Ubiquitous email, calendar, and contacts with web access. Not to mention daily “cloud backups” of your iDevice. Enough said.

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          Siri (iPhone 4S only)

          Siri is the voice recognition/personal assistant that ships with the iPhone 4S. There is a really nice video that Jason Snell did from Macworld showing off the personal assistant. While it is still in “beta”, Siri seems to work pretty well and can definitely help out users who don’t have typing access to their phones.

          Siri allows the user to listen to and reply to text messages with voice, search for local businesses and map them, search Wolfram Alpha for statistics and things, give themselves reminders, set timers and alarms, and also manipulate their calendar and email. Yes, Android phones have had speech recognition for a while, but once again Apple seems to have polished this and made it accessible to mere mortals.

            One more thing: Notification Center

            Any productive iPhone user has had to have known that the notifications on iOS stink. They interrupt what you are currently doing and force your attention to them. You could turn them off, but that was really an all or nothing type of approach.

            Apple has added the new Notification Center to iOS 5 that allows user to use a drop-down shade from the top of the iPhone, much like the Android notification bar. In Notification Center you can set up notifications for any app that supports it as well as include snazzy weather and stock widgets. I can’t begin to describe how much time this has saved me from having to “hunt and peck” for app badge icons to see the notifications I have missed.

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            Users can set up their notifications in Settings > Notifications and can choose just how they want them to show up.

            This is just a taste of all of the new features of iOS 5 that can help boost your productivity and save you time. I’m sure we will find more of the small time-savers that Apple has included over the next several days and weeks, but for now these are the most obvious ones. So, if you are a lucky one getting your snazzy new iPhone 4S today, try these 5 (+1) features out to save some time.

            More by this author

            CM Smith

            A technologist and writer who shares advice on personal productivity, creativity and how to use technology to get things done.

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            Last Updated on January 13, 2020

            11 Brain Training Apps to Train Your Mind and Improve Memory

            11 Brain Training Apps to Train Your Mind and Improve Memory

            Whether at work or at school, people these days are under tremendous pressure to perform, perform and perform! Stress and pressure can have adverse affects on the well-being of a person, and need to be controlled.

            Now, this doesn’t mean you make a dash to your nearest therapist. There are a number of wonderful and smart apps that you can use on your phone. These brain training apps have been scientifically designed to target specific areas of the human mind and control harmful emotions such as anxiety, as well as to improve memory and sharpness of the brain.

            Here are 11 iPhone apps that you will not only enjoy but also find useful in keeping your mental health balanced at all times.

            1. Lumosity

            This app consists of games that focus on improving the user’s memory, problem-solving capability, attention span, and thinking. There are three games in each session, and they challenge the brain by changing every time. The user has to complete the games while playing against a clock.

            Free of trial. $15 per month for the full version.

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            Luminosity Mind training apps-Lifehack

              2. Fit Brains Trainer

              This brain training app has 10 sets of games that work on different areas of the brain and improve memory as well as concentration. A user is required to finish a particular task from each category on a daily basis and the app tracks the progress by a color coded graph.

              Free.

              Fit Brains Trainer Mind training apps-Lifehack

                3. CogniFit Brain Fitness

                Developed with the help of neuroscientists, this fun app improves a person’s cognitive abilities, which includes memory and concentration. The progress made by the user over a period of time can be tracked. Users can also play challenge rounds with their friends. The app also modifies the difficulty level to suit the profile of the user and provide recommendations based on the results. Spending 20–30 minutes a few times every week can give measurable improvement in the performance of a user.

                First four games free, then $13 a month.

                cognifit-Mind Training Apps-Lifehack

                  4. Brain Fitness Pro

                  The makers of this app claim that it can improve the IQ of a user, and improve intelligence and memory. The app is fun and is user friendly, and 30 minutes a day can fetch you results in less than three weeks.

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                  Buy for $3.99.

                  5. Happify

                  If nothing else makes you happy in life, this app will. Well, this is what the developers claim at least. This app comes loaded with lots of quizzes, polls and gratitude journals, which work on the fundamentals of positive psychology. The app also helps to control stress and emotions to make you feel better.

                  Free to use.

                  Happify-Mind Training Apps-Lifehack

                    6. Clockwork Brain

                    You will like the little gold robot that comes in every time to explain the next game you are going to play. While the games are not much different to those offered in apps such as Luminosity, the look and feel reminds me of a workshop from old times.

                    Free.

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                    Clockwork Trsin-Mind Training Apps-Lifehack

                      7. ReliefLink

                      Initially created as an app for suicide prevention, it has found its use as a great app for tracking the mood of the user by taking measure of all things relevant to the user’s mental health. In case the user experiences high emotional stress, the app has a coping mechanism that includes voice-recorded mindfulness, exercises and music for relaxation. There is also a map that informs the user of the nearest therapist and medical facilities for mental health treatment.

                      Relief Link - Mind Training Apps - Lifehack

                        8. Eidetic

                        Eidetic is a memory enhancement app and uses a ‘spaced repetition’ technique to help users memorize information such as important phone numbers, words, credit card details or passwords. It also notifies you when it’s time to take a test to see what you remember, so that you retain information in your long-term memory.

                        Eidetic - Mind Training Apps - Lifehack

                          9. Braingle

                          Braingle helps to maintain the sharpness of the brain and improve the reasoning ability of a person through riddles and optical illusions. It is different from other brain training apps that employ memory and reaction based tests. You can also compete with your friends and family members in figuring out the fun riddles.

                          Free.

                          Briangle- Mind Training Apps-LIfehack

                            10. Not The Hole Story

                            If you have a penchant for solving hard riddles, then this app is a must-have for you. Filled with exclusive riddles along with a simple-to-use interface, the app gives you riddles that you have to solve through a book. You will be given hints along the way, and when you give up, the answers will be revealed. This app will encourage you to broaden your thinking and put your mind to a challenging test.

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                            Free.

                            Not the hole story - Mind Training Apps - Lifehack

                              11. Personal Zen

                              This fun brain training app follows the journey of two animated characters who travel through a field of grass. Personal Zen is a nice app meant for reducing anxiety and trains the brain to focus on the positive aspects. The developer’s advice is to use the app for 10 minutes a day to see the best results.

                              Free.

                              personal zen- mind training apps - lifehack

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                                Featured photo credit: NeONBRAND via unsplash.com

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