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The right way to Change These Default Settings and Be Happier With Your Tech


Many default settings buried deep inside our technology make us share superfluous amounts of knowledge with tech corporations. In my last column, I went over find out how to shut those off.

But not all default settings do sneaky things with our information. There are also some that should be activated or disabled to make our devices more enjoyable to make use of.

Newer iPhones, for one, include a elaborate camera that may shoot extremely clear videos in ultrahigh “4K” resolution — but most individuals probably aren’t using their cameras to their full potential because, by default, the phone is ready to shoot videos at a lower resolution.

TVs are one other example. Many modern televisions include an effect often called motion smoothing turned on to make videos look as in the event that they are playing at the next frame rate, which is speculated to make fast-motion scenes look more detailed. But in lots of applications, especially if you’re watching movies, it creates a soap-opera effect that many find looks fake. It’s the setting on a TV that many tech-inclined people switch off immediately.

Our consumer electronics are amongst our costliest household purchases, so it’s worthwhile to peruse and alter the default settings to reap their maximum advantages. Here’s what I and other tech writers all the time change to make our phones, computers and televisions work higher.

Apple’s iPhones include various settings which might be turned off by default and have to be activated to make the device more convenient to make use of and to take higher photos.

  • Unlock an iPhone while wearing a mask. Though mask mandates have been lifted in lots of places, plenty of individuals still wear them to feel secure, especially indoors. Certainly one of the most important drags to using an iPhone was having to punch in a passcode, relatively than use facial identification, when wearing a mask. Recent versions of Apple’s iOS now let iPhone users unlock the device without removing their mask. Go to Settings → Face ID & Passcode → Face ID with a Mask and toggle this setting on (green).

  • Shoot 4K video. To make an iPhone camera shoot video at its highest resolution, go to Settings → Camera → Record Video and select a 4K option. (I prefer “4K at 30 fps” because it really works well when uploading videos to social media apps and websites like YouTube.) The downside is that 4K recordings will clog more of the phone’s digital storage. But in case you paid for that fancy camera, why not put it to make use of?‌

  • Activate the camera grid. In digital photography, photographers use various composition techniques to make photos more aesthetically pleasing. The iPhone camera has a setting to point out a grid to assist compose shots. Go to Settings → Camera → Grid and toggle this setting on.

Android phones also include controls that must be activated or modified to make the screen look higher and the phone easier to make use of.

  • Change the display’s color profile. Many Android phones include big, vivid screens, but their colours may look oversaturated or too blue. Ryne Hager, an editor on the tech blog Android Police, said he typically switched out the default color profile at any time when he arrange a latest Android phone. Instructions vary from phone to phone. For Samsung phones, go to Settings → Display → Screen mode Natural. For Pixel phones, go to Settings → Display → Colours → Natural.

  • Modify the shortcuts. On Android phones, you may customize the “quick settings” menu for shortcuts to features that you just use often. Swipe down from the highest of the smartphone screen, and swipe down again. If you happen to tap the icon that appears like a pencil, you may select so as to add tiles that permit you, for instance, activate hotspotting to share the phone’s cellular reference to a pc.

  • Activate the camera grid. Much like iPhones, some Android phones also can show a grid to make photo composition easier. On Pixel phones, open the camera app, swipe down from the highest of the screen, tap the gear icon after which go to Grid type → 3×3.

On Macs, where Apple users are likely to do work, it’s useful to regulate settings to eliminate distractions and make tasks quicker. That involves switching off some features that were on by default and turning on some hidden features.

  • Activate a shortcut to point out the desktop. Shrinking and moving around windows just to search out a file on the desktop could be tedious. The very first thing I do with any Mac is activate a shortcut that immediately hides all windows to point out the desktop. Go to System Preferences → Mission Control → Show Desktop and select a keyboard key to trigger the shortcut. (I take advantage of the fn key on my MacBook keyboard.)

  • Turn off notifications for distracting apps like Messages. In an era of never-ending video calls, you actually don’t want text messages bombarding your screen and making sounds if you’re in a gathering. Just switch those notifications off permanently. Go to System Preferences → Notifications & Focus → Messages → Allow Notifications and toggle the setting to off (gray). On this menu, turn off notifications for some other noisy apps.

  • Add the Bluetooth icon to the menu bar. Most of us use Bluetooth accessories like wireless earphones and mice, so to make it easier to attach and disconnect these devices on a Mac, it helps to have quick access to the Bluetooth menu. Go to System Preferences → Bluetooth → Show Bluetooth in menu bar and check the box. This may show the Bluetooth icon within the upper-right portion of the screen, where you may quickly connect and disconnect earbuds and other wireless accessories.

Like Macs, Windows computers, by default, blast us with a number of notifications, but most frustrating are the various bleeps and bloops that go off when something goes incorrect. Kimber Streams, a Wirecutter editor who tests laptops, shuts all these annoyances off.

  • Turn off notifications. Go to Settings → System → Notifications. Uncheck all of the boxes and toggle off all of the switches to disable all notifications.

  • Turn off system sounds. Go to Settings → System → Sound → More Sound Settings → Sounds → Sound Scheme: No sounds, after which hit Apply.

Virtually every TV comes with default settings which might be removed from ideal for showing the most effective picture.

With any TV, it’s worthwhile to regulate colours, brightness and contrast to fit your space. There’s no universal set of steps because the most effective settings will differ for each TV and front room. But there are helpful TV calibration tools to make this straightforward, including my go-to tool, Disney’s World of Wonder, a Blu-ray Disc with instructional videos on adjusting your TV settings.

By far a very powerful step on any TV, though, is to show off the hideous motion smoothing effect. Steps vary across TVs, so do an online search on disabling it to your model. On my LG TV, I went to All Settings → Pictures → Picture Mode Settings → Picture Options → TruMotion → Off.

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