What The Tech: Smartphone Messaging Tricks

 

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Texting has become a primary way for people with smartphones to communicate. It’s so much easier to “shoot someone a text” than getting tied into a long telephone conversation.

If you want your text to stand out, iPhones and many Android devices have some neat tricks hidden in settings or within the messaging app.

Send emoji, memoji, or short text on an iPhone with some flair. Rather than tap “send”, hold down the “send” button. You can choose to send it with a slam, loud, gentle. Or fill the screen with balloons, confetti, or my favorite fireworks. Just swipe to choose, then send.

Instead of typing out phone numbers or something else in print. Tap where you’d typically write, and scan text. This is handy with sharing phone numbers on business cards or signs or even text shown in photos.

Emoticons are fun but impossible to type. Tap the globe, then keyboards, and add Japanese, Kana. Then, the symbol that looks like two squinting eyes and a mouth, the down arrow reveals all of these emoticons to choose from. That’ll leave them scratching their heads.

On iPhones, Focus Mode can give you a break from texts, calls, and notifications. Swipe down to open the control center. There are pre-set focus modes for personal, work, sleep, time out, driving, and do not disturb. You can choose to allow messages from specific people and apps. Turn it on and anyone trying to get in touch with you will get a message like this. You’ll get the notifications all at once when you turn focus mode back off.

Focus Mode is super helpful when you’re busy with one task and do not need to be disturbed, and for when you go to bed. Set it up to allow calls and texts from certain people and for notifications sent from security cameras.

The three-finger magic trick that blows everyone’s mind makes copy and paste super cool. On my iPhone, I copy some text from a website by selecting the text and then pinching the screen with three fingers like I’m picking it up.

I can now paste that copied text into another app by releasing it. In other words, copy by pinching the text in one app, then spread those fingers on a screen in another app. Sort of like you’re catching and releasing the text with your fingers. You can do this with photos on your camera roll too.

If that’s not crazy enough, you can paste what you’ve pinched onto another device (iPhone, iPad, or a Mac) the same way. Three fingers pinching, three fingers releasing. Go ahead and give it a try.

I’ve found the pinching to copy and paste works well on the same device, but pasting what you’ve pinched (copied) onto an iPad is hit or miss. You should definitely give it a try yourself.