What's the best way to store earbuds to avoid knots? How do you make a smartphone battery last longer or keep your phone-charger cord from slipping behind the nightstand when you're not using the charger? These are the pressing questions that we ask ourselves every day. Luckily, for every tech conundrum, there is a tech life-hack. Here are 23 gadget-related tips and tricks that will make your life easier.
Jumbled earphone wires are definitely not music to our ears. But there's a simple way to prevent this essential tech accessory from turning into a knotted mess. To keep your earbuds organized, try using what tip site Lifehacker refers to as the "Hook-'em-Horns Method." As explained in the video above, start by holding the earbud end of the headphones against your palm with your middle and ring fingers. Then wrap the cable around your index finger and pinkie in a figure-eight pattern.
Finally, wrap the end of the cord around the middle of this neat little pile of wires, tucking the headphone jack through one of the loops to secure your work. This method sounds complicated, but after practicing it a few times, we found it easy to do. And it was very effective at keeping our headphones free of knots.
You probably know a few basic tricks for extending your smartphone's battery life. Simple steps, like turning off Bluetooth or Wi-Fi and shutting down background applications, can help increase battery life between charges. But there are also a few lesser-known steps you can take to keep your phone juiced up. Start with the screen, a major energy suck on any smartphone. Consider dimming the screen's brightness when you're just using the device to talk or text. You can also limit the screen's draw on your battery by turning off unnecessary lock-screen notifications. If your phone lights up with every Instagram "like," it's time to reconfigure your settings.
And speaking of smartphone charging, there's an easy way to keep your phone out of the way (but still in sight) while it charges. The folks at Popsugar have come up with this clever do-it-yourself charging station that anyone can make using an old plastic bottle (32 ounces or larger), a piece of string and a few household tools (like a ruler and permanent marker). If you're feeling ambitious, you can even get out a can of spray paint to add a pop of color to this geeky craft project.
What's the first thing you do when you can't find your phone? If you're like most people, you probably borrow someone else's phone to call yours and, with any luck, find your "lost" phone after a few short rings. But what if your misplaced phone is on silent and won't ring when called? There are a few solutions to this end-of-the-world scenario.
If you have an Android device, you can use Google Device Manager from another device, like a laptop or tablet, to send an alert to your phone. This tool will bypass your phone's silent setting, causing the device to ring until you find it. iPhone users can perform a similar magic trick by logging into iCloud on another device and selecting the Find My Phone option. You can then select Play Sound to make your silenced iPhone sing.
Can't master the "Hook-'em-Horns" method? Fear not. There's another way to keep earbuds organized, and (good news, oenophiles) it requires only a wine cork, a sharp knife and a steady hand. The video above from YouTube user Engineer of None explains the process in detail, but the premise is simple.
Cut two notches — one on each end of the cork — that are just large enough to hold the cord from your earphones (be sure to do this before drinking any of that wine you just opened). Start wrapping the earphones by fitting the headphone jack end of the cord into one of the notches. Then wrap the cord around the cork and fit the earbud end into the notch at the other end of the cork. All that's left to do is raise your wine glass to a life of tangle-free headphones.
Lots of folks watch their favorite TV shows and movies on YouTube, a method of viewing that might not seem ideal to those who aren't aware of YouTube TV. This cool feature let's you watch videos on the popular platform in a big-screen format. YouTube TV is really just a less cluttered version of the YouTube you're used to seeing in your browser, but it makes watching video on a large monitor or TV screen a lot more enjoyable. It's also a great viewing solution for cord cutters. Check it out to see the difference.
Since we're on the topic of cord cutting, let's look at an easy way to connect your computer to a second monitor, such as your living room TV, without using any pesky cords. The cheapest and most reliable way to "mirror" what you see on your computer on a second monitor is with Google's Chromecast, a $35 gadget that you plug in to your TV. While Chromecast is typically used to stream video content from sites like Netflix, you can also use it to view whatever's open in your Chrome browser on your TV, making this a good solution for those who want the luxury of a second monitor without the hassle of actually buying one.