Productivity 202: Tweaking The Settings

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Productivity 201: Computer Basics

Messing with settings can yield tremendous results to your workflow if you’re willing to experiment

However, make sure you know what you’re doing and be ready to undo everything as needed

PC & Mac

The settings vary wildly by the type of system so most of your experience should come from research


One of Apple’s philosophies when designing their software is that the end user (you) is not allowed to change any settings that can potentially break the system

Therefore, it is entirely safe to play with anything in the system, but it will feel constricting if you’re used to a variety of options


After you learn various computer terms, navigating menus to change settings is usually straightforward

Most of the newer versions of Windows are built to keep you from accidentally changing anything that could backfire, but web search everything you’re touching if you’re remotely uncertain

Create a new folder and name it “Control Panel Shortcuts.{ed7ba470-8e54-465e-825c-99712043e01c}” to access many of the hidden Windows settings


The operating systems for all Linux systems are fully modular, and therefore all of them can be customized to whatever you feel like adding or removing

When doing anything unfamiliar and large-scale, keep a second computer or internet-connected phone available to permit web searches if you accidentally screw up

The system will involve typing many commands to change settings, so it’s only for people who like to work with computers

Mobile Devices

Working with smaller devices is often more tedious, but most of them don’t have many settings to improve the experience

Mobile devices have more hardware pre-built into them, so they more seamlessly “talk” between components

  • Unsend text messages by quickly switching the phone into Airplane Mode

Maximize battery life by turning off as many components as possible

  • Switch the phone to Airplane Mode whenever possible
  • Turn off GPS and downgrade location data collection in the settings
  • The camera’s flash still uses battery even when you’re not using it
  • Turn off vibration

Using the phone while charging can damage the battery, which is why phone chargers are typically so short

Improve the device as a phone and tool

Block phone numbers from calling you

Get a tablet with a slot to fit a phone’s SIM card to use it as a phone

To play games without advertisements, set the phone to Airplane Mode

Take vertical panoramas with the camera by turning the device sideways

When listening to a voicemail, press a key to skip the instructions

Double-tap the space bar on the keyboard to automatically end the sentence with a period and start a new sentence

When the device shows a “storage almost full” error, junk files have usually cluttered up the phone and are easily removable

If you somehow have no mobile data signal when there should be one, put it in Airplane Mode and back to have it register and find all the towers in the vicinity

iPhones and iPads have a few extra tricks

Create a longer passcode by turning off Simple Passcode

Turn on LED Flash for Alerts to have the phone flash a light instead of vibrating or ringing at an incoming call or text

Under the Accessibility settings, turn on the Speak Selection feature to hear texts read aloud

Add a shortened word or phrase as a shortcut in the Keyboard settings you frequently use to fill in the full version of it for it to pop up every time you type the short version

Change the vibration pattern for notifications to recognize your app’s notification by sensation

Turn off Background App Refresh to save the battery

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