I CAN’T IMAGINE doing any business these days without my smartphone—it truly is an essential work tool. That’s why I take a variety of steps to make sure I get the most out of it–and that it keeps working. Here’s a list of issues.
Preserving battery life. A phone’s screen is one of the biggest power culprits, so dim the screen brightness to at least half or even a third. If you notice the battery is waning and you can’t recharge it, look for a power-saving mode or similar option. You can also temporarily turn off wireless features you’re not currently using, such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, near-field communication and GPS. Limit the “push” notifications of email and apps in the Setting area. As a back up a portable charger to use in a pinch.
Roaming if you want to. Contact your carrier before you head to another country, as it’ll be less expensive to pick up a travel plan ahead of time. Being proactive will save you money off the standard roaming rates for voice, text and data usage. While away, you could turn off data roaming and pick up your email, surf the Web or check Facebook when in a free Wi-Fi network, such as in a local café, hotel lobby or airport. Just refrain from things like online shopping and online banking, as there could be cybercriminals who take advantage of unsecured networks. “I will be writing a blog on Cybercriminals in the future”.
Using smart security. Always lock your device with a PIN, password or pattern. Also, set up one of those free “find my phone” apps, which might be built into your device already. To see your missing device on a map, make it ring loudly, display a message on its screen or remotely wipe the phone clean. Update your smartphone with the latest operating system software whenever an update becomes available, because it fixes software vulnerabilities.
Accessorizing it. Along with a backup battery charger, a few other accessories can help extend the functionality, style and longevity of your business tool. A protective case is a must, for when (not if) you drop it. Screen protectors can also help safeguard your smartphone’s screen (consider tempered glass screens instead of plastic). If you need to do a lot of typing and you don’t want to bring your laptop with you, carry a portable keyboard that wirelessly tethers to your phone via Bluetooth.
Driving had-free. It’s the law, so be sure to remain hands–free while behind the wheel. If your vehicle doesn’t have a Bluetooth connection to sync your phone through the stereo, pick up an inexpensive Bluetooth speakerphone (which usually clips to your visor) or consider a wearable Bluetooth headset instead. Tip: Set your phone to “auto answer” so there’s nothing to press to accept the call. The best thing to do is not talk and drive simultaneously at all, but if you can safely multitask remember that you must keep your eyes on the road and your hands on the wheel.
Talking to your phone. Be sure to take advantage of your phone’s built–in voice–enabled personal assistant. All new phones have it nowadays, whether it’s Siri (for Apple’s iOS devices), Google Now (Android), Cortana (Windows Phone) or Blackberry Assistant (BlackBerry). When you use your phone for work and play, you’ll notice talking to your phone can help you get more done in less time. For example, you can dictate your emails; ask your phone to read your text messages or next calendar appointments; call people by name or number; and ask your digital assistant for directions, local business and what the weather is like (even in a different city).
Personalizing it. Finally, don’t forget you can make your phone your own by downloading apps, most of which are free or for a minimal cost; changing the wallpaper to whatever you like (including your photos); moving around the icons on your home screen; and taking advantage of any accessibility aids you may need, such as larger font, louder audio, vibration alerts and so on. This is your phone, so you can change how it looks and operates to suit your individual needs. Your pocket companion can be as unique as your are.