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How To Personalize Your iPhone From The Inside Out

How To Personalize Your iPhone From The Inside Out

I’ve been an iPhone user since I was able to get my hands on one, which wasn’t easy as a Canadian. I had to go to eBay and grab an iPhone second-hand. Then I had to jailbreak it. In essence, I made my first ever iPhone as personalized as possible … because I had no other choice!

Now that iPhones are widely available, I have plenty of choices. And those choices aren’t just related to apps or carriers. There are many ways you can personalize your iPhone from the inside outand that’s how you can make the device a real pleasure for you to use every single day.

The Right Case

One thing you can do that requires virtually no knowledge of the iPhone’s innards is to get a case that says “you” and wrap it in that. To be honest, I’ve got one case that does that for me, and it doesn’t really seem like a case at all, which is actually one of the reasons I like it so much.

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It’s made by WoodChuck, a company that makes far more than iPhone cases (and they do custom work). I have a Green Lantern case (pictured) for both my iPad and iPhone, and being able to look at the GL logo every day really resonates with me, and the case is top quality.

WoodChuck represents American-made products in an industry over-populated by overseas manufacturing. Their products are 100% sustainable and customizable, so beyond being incredibly personal, they’ve got a great company culture to match: these things are important to me. See if you can find a case that resonates that well with you.

Device-Specific Uses

I’ve got a myriad of devices, and I want to make sure I use each of them with intent. One of the ways that I’ve chosen to make my iPhone as personalized as possible is by using it for certain things and not using it for others.

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For example, I don’t read on my iPhone. I don’t have any RSS reader applications installed on it, and I don’t have iBooks installed on it. That’s what my iPad is for. By removing the reading applications from my iPhone, I’ve freed up one particular area that I know it is not intended for. And that can really help me in terms of being more efficient and effective in my use of the ones that it is for.

So, take a look at what you have installed on your iPhone and decide if it’s really what needs to be on there. You may find there are some applications that you’re just not using because the device just isn’t designed for that purposeat least not in the way that you use it.

Launching Apps

Having a bunch of apps installed all over the place is one thing, but having an app that allows you to quickly access the apps you use most often (and keep your screens as clutter-free as possible in the process) is another. That’s when apps like Drafts and Launch Center Pro come into play.

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I use Drafts as my ultimate inbox. Everything that I input into my iPhone goes through Drafts, be it tasks, tweets, or ideas for posts like this one. Then from within Drafts I can decide where those things should actually be. Tasks go to OmniFocus or Asana, tweets go to Tweetbot, and ideas for posts either go straight to Byword or sit in Evernote. But I always know where the starting point is: Drafts.

I’ve also personalized all of the destinations within that app. I use Launch Center Pro in many cases when I know where things are going to go immediately. I use a setup very similar to Michael Schechter’sa setup that works very well for me. Using Launch Center Pro allows me to make choices with my iPhone that are designed and maintained by me. And using these apps also allow me to keep my screens and folders in far better shape, which is the shape I like to keep things in.

Screens and Folders

Any of you who have read about the iPhone since it came out have probably seen articles that show off users’ home screens. With the arrival of iOS 7, you can now put more apps in folders, finally bury Newsstand inside of a folder, and really decide how you want to map out your iPhone so that it works more cohesively for you. I’ve gone as far as to keep the bottom row on my home screen “app free” because of the amount of real estate I’ve got to work with now.

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When it comes to screens and folders, the possibilities are endless. And that means personalization is just as endless. We can’t do much about changes to operating systems or updates to our favourite apps. But now, more than ever, we are able to make our iPhones uniquely ours. And we can do that from the inside out.

So what have you done—or are going to do—to make your iPhone as personalized as possible? Let me know in the comments below.

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Published on September 20, 2018

11 Google Chrome Apps and Features to Help You Get More Done with Less Effort

11 Google Chrome Apps and Features to Help You Get More Done with Less Effort

In today’s fast-paced and never-ending busy world, we are overwhelmed by tasks that need to be completed by tight deadlines. With so much technology it is difficult to find the right tools to help boost our efficiency. And, many tools get obsolete so its essential to stay up-to-date to know when you will have to make adjustments to these tools. Independently of where you work, there’s a good chance that you have to be working on a PC or a laptop.

Do you are feel like you do not have enough time, or cannot accomplish much as of late? It is recommended to take a step back and look at the big picture. Also, you want to explore new and innovative ways to improve productivity.

In this article, I outline 11 features and apps within the Chrome browser that can help you do just that.

Minimizing Tabs

Let’s face it we all have more than a dozen tabs opened on our computers. One neat trick to still keep most of them open is to turn them into pinned tabs. On Google Chrome you can right-click the tab and select “Pin Tab” option. This turns the tab into an icon enabling you to continue multitasking.

Pinning a tab anchors the tabs on the left of your toolbar; a great benefit of the “Pin Tab” feature is that you can’t close these tabs accidentally since the “X” disappears after pinning them.

Incognito Mode

Google Chrome is a very easy-to-use and intuitive. But, Google does collect our browsing data; so to remedy this, you can use Incognito Mode. This feature does not keep your browsing or download history. You can enable or access it in three different ways:

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  1. Press Ctrl/Command+shift+N
  2. Select File Menu and choose New Incognito Window
  3. Download extension New Incognito Window

This feature is very handy if you’d rather not have your browsing history stored and utilized for future advertisement or suggested pages.

Save Webpages as PDF Files

Have you ever browsed interesting or important information and then forgot to bookmark or save it in “favorites”, making it impossible to find again? Chances are you have done this on a number of occasions.

Thankfully, there is an easy solution. You can save webpages as PDF files. On your keyboard, press control/command+p and you will be able to save webpages as PDFs.

Open Recently-closed Tabs

Ever had dozens of tabs opened and all of a sudden your browser shuts down? It has probably happened to all of us. You can easily recover all of your tabs using two approaches. Don’t panic if this happens because there is a workaround and solution for it.

One is by pressing Ctrl/CMD+Shift+T.

The other approach is to click on the three vertical dots on your browser and hover over “History”.

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Solve Mathematical Problems

Google’s Chrome browser doesn’t just search for relevant and updated information. It is also capable of performing some mathematical problems. Within the omnibox (Chrome’s address or URL bar), you can perform mathematical exercises.

For example, if you are struggling with percentages you can search 20 percent of x amount and it will instantly provide a result. Pretty handy, right?!

Play Media Files

Are you frequently met with difficulties when playing or watch a video files? Well, once again Chrome comes to the rescue. You can can listen or play videos from all sorts of movie or music files (mp3, mp4, .mov, .mkv, .ogv, .webm, .wav, etc.) by simply dragging the file into the search bar.

In addition, you can view images, PDF files and Microsoft Office files, too.

Navigate Swiftly Between Tabs

With all of those tabs opened comes great navigation responsibilities. Rather than clicking through every tab, you can use shortcut keys like Ctrl+Tab to navigate all of the different tabs. Also, you are able to navigate to the first tab by pressing Ctrl-1, Ctrl-2, and so on. If you want to switch to the very last tab, press Ctrl-9.

Stay Focus(e)d

Computers nowadays have awesome capabilities.

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Sometimes we like to get work done, but let’s face it, we’re all human. We sometimes procrastinate by visiting a website we really like, or maybe take a break with watching a flick on Netflix, a video on YouTube or browsing Facebook.

With Chrome’s StayFocusd extension, you can truly stay focused and get more done in less time.

This extension naturally helps you stay more productive by limiting the amount of time you spend on websites. You can set the time and it will automatically block those sites after a certain period.

Grammarly for Editing

Grammarly is a must have, and it’s really a complete powerhouse. Grammarly helps you check your grammar and spelling for everything you write online.

You can use it professionally or as a student, which will make the editing process much easier and more efficient. Furthermore, it can automatically check for typos when you send an email, type a Tweet, or post a Facebook comment. It’s like having your own personal copyeditor!

Loom

There are times that words in an email or written text in a chat app will just not convey the right meaning.

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There is a saying that a picture is worth a thousand words. Well, the same is true of videos.

With Loom, you can capture, narrate and immediately share video recordings of your screen, which will help coworkers understand issues you are facing, or to easily convey an explanation on screen. Plus, with video you will be able to easily walk people through a process, and you can use it to create simple how-to videos.

Chrome Calendar Extension

No matter what your level of responsibility is at your job, Google Calendar is another essential resource to have at your fingertips.

Specifically, you can have this extension added as an icon in the toolbar of your browser, which I highly recommend. Once you add the extension to your browser, you can check for upcoming events with a single click without leaving your current page.

Final Thoughts

Google Chrome has definitely evolved from its inception. As you can see you have a very powerful tool that comes as a free installation and is loaded with dozens of capabilities. The above listed Chrome apps can resolve some of the most common obstacles to your time management and productivity.

Featured photo credit: Andrew Neel via unsplash.com

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