5 ways your gadgets can find photos or turn notes into text and more.


If you’ve ever wandered into a hot parking lot looking for your car, you’ll love this tip.

Next time you park, open Google Maps, tap the icon blue dot which shows your location, then select Set as parking location. Easy, right? Tap or click a buried Google Maps security setting that you need to change now.

These little tech tips might make you think, “Why didn’t someone tell me that sooner?” I did it! Tap or click for 10 incredibly useful iPhone and Android tricks that make your life easier.

In the spirit of living a better digital life, here are five smart ways to use your gadgets to remedy some of life’s little annoyances. These are also fun to share with your friends and family. Imagine how impressed they will be.

Problem: You’re tired of notifications, but you don’t want to miss the essentials

If you’ve turned on mobile notifications for every email you receive, you know how annoying all the buzzes and beeps can be. Maybe you turned yours off completely.

Did you know you can only enable alerts and sounds for important emails? I’ll show you how, using Gmail as an example.

Follow these steps on your iPhone, iPad or Android:

• First, open the Gmail app.

• Press the three line menuthen scroll to Settings.

• Select your account.

• Then press Email notifications. To select High priority only.

How does Gmail determine what is high priority? It makes its best guess based on your behavior. You can help artificial intelligence to make this more accurate.

On mobile:

• Open an email in the Gmail app. Press the three dot menu in the upper right corner.

• Faucet Mark as important.

On the desk :

• To open gmail. In your inbox, you’ll see a small arrow next to each email. If you don’t see the arrow, you will see a star. Click it arrow or star to turn it yellow. This indicates that the email is important.

• Alternatively, if the arrow or star is yellow on an unimportant email, click the arrow to tell Gmail that you don’t see the email as a priority.

Think your inbox is private? Bad news. Hidden trackers lurk in many popular and free email providers. Tap or click here for secret advertisers you don’t want to know about.

Problem: Can’t find your favorite vacation photos

We have all been there. You browse too long looking for a photo that you know is on your phone. Facial recognition, scene and object detection, and AI let you find what you want in a jiffy.

On an iPhone:

• Open the Photo app and press the magnifying glass icon in the lower right corner.

• Enter the name of a place, person (if assigned in the Photos app), or search term. You can also search by month or year, by category or by company name.

Follow the same steps in the Android photo app. Again, play around with different names, places, events, and things.

• Open the Gallery appthen touch the magnifying glass icon near the top.

• Enter your search term to view matches.

If you use Google Photos, its search features are also powerful.

• Open the Google Photos app.

• Pick a person or pet, view places or things, or even browse by category, like screenshots, selfies, and videos.

• To search for something specific, type it in the search bar at the top of the page. Results will appear, probably before you’ve even finished typing.

TO SMILE! Proven ways to look better in selfies and group shots

Problem: You dig up your phone, only to find it’s another scammer

I love this trick. I set it up myself recently to see who’s calling without taking my phone out of my pocket, no smartwatch required.

You know you can assign ringtones to specific contacts, but you can also set unique vibration patterns. This means you’ll be able to tell who’s calling just by the buzzing pattern.

On an iPhone:

• Launch your Phone app and press contacts. Then select a contact from the list.

• In the upper right corner of the screen, tap To modify.

• Hit Alarm whether you want the phone to vibrate or text tone if you want vibrations for texts.

• Then press Vibration. Under the Standard list, select a vibration.

• To go back, press Alarm or text tone.

• Faucet Fact twice to finish.

If you have an Android, you’ll need a third-party app to accomplish this. Buzzkill is highly rated, but it costs $2.49. On the bright side, it doesn’t connect to the internet, so your data doesn’t leave your device.

Another handy feature: you can configure Buzzkill to notify you only once when someone sends you multiple texts in a row. Costs.

Problem: You hung another picture frame askew on the wall

If you need to snap a photo, you don’t need to enter a level – your phone can do it for you.

On an iPhone:

• Open the Measurement appthen touch Level at the bottom right.

• The level appears on the screen and is ready to use.

On an Android:

• Open the Google app or your browser and search for “spirit level.”

• Use as you would a normal level, placing it on a surface.

Undertaking a home improvement project? Tap or click for 7 apps that can help you do your DIY job well.

Problem: You waste time typing handwritten notes

Sometimes it’s just easier to write something by hand, but it’s a pain to type it all out once you want to edit it or send it digitally. Here’s an easier way: use the free Google Lens app.

It turns your handwriting into text right before your eyes. Google Lens is pretty amazing. Tap or click here for direct download links and more convenient features.

If you don’t like using Google products, check out Microsoft’s Evernote or OneNote app. Both allow you to take a picture of your writing so you can edit everything.

The caveat, of course: if your handwriting isn’t legible enough, apps won’t work well. If you have an easy handwriting, voice dictation will also save you from typing. Tap or click for professional tips for better results in Microsoft Word or Google Docs.

PODCAST CHOICE:AirTag travel hack, Alexa privacy protection, texting tricks

A man found his lost luggage thanks to an Apple AirTag. I’ll tell you how these trackers can help you, as well as how you can use Apple’s new self-service repair program. Plus, you’ll soon see Prime delivery on all kinds of online stores. Here’s why. You’ll also learn a privacy tip from Google, why physical metaverse stores are opening, and more.

Check out my “Kim Komando Today” podcast on Apple, Google Podcasts, Spotify or your favorite podcast player.

Listen to the podcast here or wherever you get your podcasts. Just search for my last name, “Komando”.

Discover all the latest technology on the Kim Komando Show, the nation’s largest weekend radio talk show. Kim takes calls and dispenses advice on today’s digital lifestyle, from smartphones and tablets to online privacy and data hacks. For his daily tips, free newsletters and more, visit his website at Komando.com.

The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of USA TODAY.


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