Welcome to the next installment of “Let’s Get Technical,” a column geared towards better understanding the technology we use in our daily writing life. Here you will find monthly tips and tricks about the software or devices we use to conduct the business of spinning the tales of our imaginations.
Let’s face it, our devices are the link by which we are connected, check our social media accounts, quickly log notes of writing inspiration, and snap pics we want to use in our latest creations. We use them every day to keep in touch, plan our day, and record the impacts from our store visits. When they are not working correctly, it can affect our entire day and even disrupt our ability to conduct daily communication (and let's face it, time is money).
Here are a couple of things you can do to keep your iPhone running smoothly:
1. Power Cycle your device once a week. This clears the cache, refreshes the behind the scenes processes, and re-establishes/updates your connection to the cellular network.
2. Keep your apps up to date. You can have your iPhone automatically update apps when connected to power and a Wi-Fi network, or you can manually check for updates if you want that control. Settings>iTunes & App Store> Automatic Downloads
3. Update your main iOS software. Apple has added new preference controls for this to either happen automatically, downloaded only, or only triggered manually. Settings>General>Software Update>Customize Automatic Updates. I do recommend waiting a few days when new software is released to let others find the issues.
4. Check Available Memory (reminder: there are 2 types of memory)
a. Physical memory: Settings>General>iPhone Storage. This represents the physical storage capacity on your device and NOT the processing memory or iCloud usage. You can identify what exactly is taking up all the space on your iPhone (which is usually Messages and Texts). You can also delete some of those files directly from here.
b. iCloud Memory: Settings>at the top select the arrow to the right of your iCloud Account name>then tap iCloud. This shows you the storage in iCloud and the apps that are using it. This also includes backups your iPhone makes, if you set that up.
5. Installing Apps: Read reviews before installing apps, delete unwanted apps to save space, and avoid installing apps that have not received an update in over a year.
6. Battery life can be improved by turning off background App Refresh: Settings>General>Background App Refresh. This will keep apps from running amok.
- Keep toggled on those apps you do want to be running: Flowfinity, Outlook, Maps, and Google Maps so that if you close those screens they are still running (meaning you can pick up where you left off).
- Keep in mind some updates automatically turn this back on, so you need to check this from time to time.
7. Close all your apps down from time to time to clear out available processing memory. This varies for each version of the iPhone, but generally involves double clicking the home button and then swiping up to close windows.
8. If your vehicle has CarPlay, be sure to use it. It’s a great way to keep your iPhone charged on the go (since it’s plugged into a cable) and you can view directions on your vehicle screen, control music, and make calls. If you use the “Hey Siri” function, you can dictate commands and messages as well.
9. Make use of Apple’s Knowledge Base Guide to help you learn and understand how things work.
These are all great steps to ensure that your device is running at top efficiency, stays charged, and will continue to help your day rather than throw a wrench into it. Knowing your device…and what to do when things go south…can make the difference from a minor bump in the road vs a full-on landslide.
NOTE: While this article applies specifically to the Apple iPhone, other brands follow similar guidelines to help keep those devices running smoothly.