Many people using Windows Phone or new to it that I meet don’t know some of the ‘hidden features’ of Windows Phone that make the phone easier to use. Now I’m talking about completely non-technical people who have decided to get a Windows Phone and I’m sure most regulars readers already know these tips.
Switching Apps (Multitasking)
First switching apps, not many know that you can easily switch between apps using how to easily switch between applications on the phone. I tend to see people hit the back button over and over to get back to the app they were at or hit the start button to get to the start page.
Quick Tip #1: Hold down the back button and you will get a list of all apps that are currently running. Scroll through the apps you want, click it and it will come back! If you are coming from iPhone world, it’s like double clicking on the main button to get a list of running apps but I find the Windows Phone experience much better. Check out the Windows Phone How-To on Switching apps. Here is a picture of what to expect:
Use Your Voice to Do Things
Not many people know that Windows Phone has voice recognition similar to Siri on iPhone, and it’s been there since the beginning! Now it’s not exactly like Siri, but you can call people, launch apps, send text messages or search using Bing. The Microsoft TellMe product is not only used in Windows Phone but is also used on XBox, Cars and PCs. This is a great video on the future of the TellMe technology:
Quick Tip #2: Hold down the Start button and an app will popup which says ‘Listening’, just speak what you want and hit ‘go’. Head to the TellMe product page for more details and the Use Speech on my Phone how to.
iCloud for Windows Phone
One of the biggest things that Apple released recently is iCloud with one feature of syncing your pictures to their cloud services. Well there really isn’t iCloud for Windows Phone but Windows Phone has always had this feature and I’ve been using it for almost years!
Unfortunately, Microsoft doesn’t do the best job of letting this feature known. Once you setup your phone you can have your pictures automatically sync to your Windows Live SkyDrive account and can see all your pictures that you have taken on your phone in your browser. This way you also have some piece of mind that if you ever lost your phone, you will still have your pictures. Head over to My Phone so you can see the location of your phone, images, office documents etc that is associated with your Live Id.
Quick Tip #3 Setup your Windows Phone to automatically upload your pictures to SkyDrive. See the Share Picture How To for Windows Phone on how to set this up. And don’t worry, the picture that you sync will be kept private and not shared with everyone unless you want it to be. Don’t forget to setup Facebook sharing if you are an avid FB user.
Local Scout for Canadians
Now this is strictly for my Canadian readers. One of my favorite features on Windows Phone is Local Scout. Local Scout will basically find local restaurants, shops and things to do depending on your current location. For more information on how to use it see the Local Scout help. Unfortunately if you buy your phone in Canada, this will be disabled because your region will be set to Canada. See the Windows Phone Feature & Service Availability section to see what is missing because of your region and what is fully supported in your region.
Quick Tip #4 Setup your phone to be able to use Local Scout. This will allow you to see the button on Bing search app and does make finding things around you a bit easier. To enable this do the following which will also enable Bing Vision.
- Go to the Settings for your phone
- Under System, scroll down until you find Region + Languages and tap it
- Scroll to the bottom of this screen until you find Browser & search language
- Change this setting to English (United States)
- Tap the back arrow key
- Hit the search button and Local Scout and Bing Vision should be enabled
More Help & Tips
For more help and tips head over to www.WindowsPhone.com under the Discover and How-To and Video sections for all the tips you need to get the most out of your Windows Phone. Hopefully this will help end user fully enjoy their Windows Phone and ping me on twitter if you have your own tips!