How To: The Secret iPhone Dialer Trick That Dials Extensions Automatically & Navigates Automated Call Menus for You
Automatic phone menus are the worst. You call the number, listen to prerecorded prompts, press button, listen, press button, listen, press button, listen, until you're routed or connected to the right extension, directory, menu, person, or whatever. But you can bypass these automated attendants to get right to where you need to go by setting up a simple shortcut on your iPhone.
Malevolent hackers can divert your incoming calls and texts to any number they want, and they don't need to be a criminal mastermind to do it. Even friends and family members can reroute your incoming calls and messages so that they know exactly who's trying to reach you, and all it takes is seconds of access to your iPhone or wireless account. These secret codes can help uncover them.
Next to spam calls, few things are more annoying than being inundated with spam, scam, and smishing texts. Your iPhone's Messages app should be a place for your friends and family to stay in touch, not a minefield of phishing attacks, malicious links, and viruses. Luckily, there are quite a few methods to block and report your way to a more spam-free iPhone.
Have some sensitive information you need to share with somebody on Telegram but are worried it might fall into the wrong hands? You don't have to worry anymore because Telegram now sports a way to automatically delete all new messages in any chat of your choosing, not just end-to-end encrypted ones.
Popular chat apps like Facebook Messenger and (these days, sadly) WhatsApp might not cut it when it comes to privacy and security, but they sure do offer some fun ways to customize your chats. If you're worried that moving to Signal Private Messenger means you lose these features, don't — the privacy-focused app also lets you choose custom chat wallpapers for all your threads.
Keeping your friends up to date is one of the reasons chat apps exist in the first place, but sometimes we're not available to respond to every message or to let all of our contacts know what we're up to. That's where status updates come in handy, and the feature has finally found its way to Signal Private Messenger.
Do Not Disturb is the best way to block out all interruptions on your iPhone without having to power down. All notifications and alerts are silenced, but the same can't be said for phone calls. By default, repeat calls will bypass Do Not Disturb, which can be quite frustrating when you're in a movie, classroom, or board meeting. It's good for emergencies, but not for people who can't take the hint.
Want quick access to message threads with your favorite or important contacts? Just pin them to the top of the conversations list. It's a common feature in many messaging apps, including Apple's Messages in iOS 14. While it's not particularly well-advertised, TikTok also lets you pin chats to the top of your direct messages inbox on Android or iPhone.
Ah, the dreaded "green bubble" group chat. All it takes is one non-iPhone contact to turn an entire thread from iMessage paradise to SMS slog. Normally, it isn't that bad since the group chat still functions. However, sometimes, you end up getting messages individually instead of in a single group thread. Before you go blaming your Android friends, know that the issue is probably on your end.
Why are there no official Star Wars emoji in the Unicode Standard? We've got the "Vulcan Salute" from Star Trek, so where's the force choke hand gesture?! While you may never see Star Wars officially invade your emoji keyboard, there are ways to send Star Wars emoji and stickers to your friends in your favorite chat app.
Smartwatches are great for notifications. No need to dig your phone out of your pocket or purse when someone texts you — just glance at your wrist! It's great for driving, walking, and any other activities where you need to stay connected to your surroundings. Except it can still be a little distracting, depending on your settings.
Sometimes, you don't want to be the only one enjoying killer lyrics from your favorite songs. Sure, you can text your friends and let them know how great these tracks are, but you could also take advantage of one of Apple Music's coolest new features of iOS 14.5 — lyrics sharing!
If you consider yourself an emoji master, you'll have to retrain yourself once you install iOS 14.5 on your iPhone. Why? Because there are 217 new ones available to incorporate into your sometimes cryptic emoji messages.
Things tend to get noisy when you're in a big group chat, which is why the notification sound for that thread shouldn't be your standard, attention-grabbing ringtone. But you don't want to set the default notification sound to something too subtle, otherwise you'd miss messages that actually matter.
Android Messages, formally named simply "Messages" now, has built-in spam protection. This doesn't get every spam SMS message, however — in fact, you can still get unwanted texts multiple times daily even with the feature enabled. Thankfully, you can manually block numbers, too.
How To: Turn Off Amber Alerts on Your iPhone, Plus Emergency, Public Safety & Other Government Warnings
Amber, emergency, and public safety alerts on an iPhone are loud — startle-you-to-death loud even. They can happen at any time, day or night, and sometimes back to back when you're in a big city. Those blaring sirens can wake you from sleep, interrupt an important meeting, or disrupt an entire movie theater mid-movie, but you can turn most of them off if you're tired of hearing them.
The Pixel 5's beautifully slim and symmetric bezels don't leave much room for extra hardware like a notification LED. But with the Ambient Display feature and an inventive app, you can turn the display cutout for the front-facing camera into an animated notification indicator.
One of WhatsApp's best features is being able to change the default wallpaper for all chats. There's no reason to stick to the default WhatsApp backgrounds when you can be texting over an image of literally anything. In a newer WhatsApp update, you can go a step beyond that by setting custom wallpapers for individual chats, personalizing every text thread you have.
How To: Pick Different Chat Wallpapers for WhatsApp's Light & Dark Modes for Even More Control Over Your Theme
If you're like me, you enjoy using your phone's dark theme at night and light theme during the day. When switching from dark to light and vice versa, many of the UI elements in supported apps adjust accordingly, but you have no control over what does and doesn't change. WhatsApp, on the other hand, does give you some granular control by letting you pick a chat wallpaper for each theme.
One of the best reasons to enter Apple's ecosystem is iMessage, where you can communicate more securely with other Apple users and send and receive chats across all of your connected iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac devices. While those blue bubble conversations sync across devices, the green bubbles — SMS and MMS texts — remain on your iPhone alone unless you change a setting manually.