Smartphones How-Tos

How To: View Popular Hours, Wait Times, and Live Visit Data for Businesses to Determine When to Go Out, Stay Home, or Move On

Unlike Apple Maps, Google Maps can tell you when a restaurant, bar, club, or other business you're thinking of visiting is busy. It's extremely helpful if you want to avoid peak times or wait for the place to be empty. If you can't pry yourself away from using Apple Maps, there's an easy alternative to see the popular times of most businesses.

How To: Replace the Goals Function in Google Calendar After Google Kills It for Good

If you use Goals in Google Calendar, you've probably already received the notification that Google, in typical executioner fashion, has marked the feature for death. As of November 2022, you can't create new goals, and your current goals won't repeat anymore. Google suggests switching to repeating events or tasks, but there's a better option to use on your Android and iOS device.

How To: Unlock YouTube's New Ambient Mode for a More Immersive Experience (Or Disable It if You Don't Like It)

To celebrate YouTube's 17th birthday, Google has gifted the app with new features, including pinch to zoom, precise seeking, and a darker dark theme. But the highlight is a new cosmetic upgrade called Ambient mode, which makes the viewing experience more immersive. Here's everything we know about the new background effect.

How To: Hide Your WhatsApp Online and Last Seen Statuses from Everyone or Just Some of Your Contacts

By default, everyone on WhatsApp can see when you're using the app. If someone recently messaged you and sees you're currently online, they may think you're avoiding them if you don't respond right away — especially if you don't share read receipts. However, you can block them from seeing your online or last seen status and apply it to everyone or just specific contacts.

How To: Make Spoofed Calls Using Any Phone Number You Want Right from Your Smartphone

Spoofed phone calls originate from one source that's disguising its phone number as a different one, and you probably get these calls all the time. Maybe they're numbers from your local area code or for prominent businesses, but the callers are just hijacking those digits to fool you into picking up. Turns out, making a spoofed call is something anybody can do — even you.

How To: See Who's Viewed Your TikTok Profile (And How to Stop Them from Knowing You Visited Theirs)

Most of you have probably wondered at least once who has been checking out your social media profiles. While most platforms prohibit you from seeing who's viewed your profile, such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, TikTok is one of the few places that lets you track profile visitors. And unlike with LinkedIn, you don't have to pay for the privilege.

How To: Use Any Emoji as a Message Reaction in WhatsApp for iOS, Android, Desktop, and Web

Instead of responding to a WhatsApp message with short texts like "LOL" or thinking too hard about something meaningful to say, use an emoji reaction. They cut down on clutter in group chats and take up less space than typing emoji individually in a conversation. WhatsApp initially limited reactions to just six emoji, but a new update lets you use any emoji you want.

How To: The Simplest Way to Remove the Background from Photos on iOS, iPadOS, and Android

It's super easy to add filters, adjust levels, and crop images using the default photo editor on your smartphone, but there's rarely any built-in tool for removing the background in a photo. A third-party app can help isolate people and objects in your pictures, and we've found a free one that's easy to use, works with high-resolution images, and is available for Android, iOS, iPadOS, and the web.

How To: The Trick That Lets You Link to Specific Start Times in YouTube Videos Right from Your Phone

You can add a timestamp to any YouTube video in just a few clicks from the desktop website on your computer but not from YouTube's iOS or Android app. Until YouTube adds a "start time" when sharing videos from the mobile app, you'll have to use one of these workarounds on your phone or tablet.

How To: Download the Real Wordle Game on Your Phone for Years of Free Offline Gameplay

The hottest word game right now is Wordle, a simple game that gives you six chances to guess the five-letter word of the day. I've already shown how you can add the real Wordle app — not a fake clone — to your iPhone or Android phone's home screen. But there's also a way to save Wordle for offline gameplay for years to come.

How To: Install the Real Wordle Game on Your Phone — Not a Fake Wordle Clone

Wordle has been popping up all over in the app stores, but none of them are the real Wordle. The popular word game app has amassed two million users since its launch in November 2021 but has no plans to hit the iOS App Store or Play Store any time soon — but you can still install the official Wordle app on the Home screen of your iPhone or Android phone.

How To: Digitize Your COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card on Your Phone for Easy Access Anywhere

As the U.S. inches closer to herd immunity and reopening after the pandemic, it may become necessary to keep your COVID-19 vaccination cards on you at all times to gain access to places and events that are prone to spreading the coronavirus. You probably won't want to lose your card, so it may be wise to load a copy onto your smartphone for easy access.

How To: Add Self-Generating Captions to Your Instagram Stories So You Don't Have to Type Them in Manually

When creating video content for social media, such as a story on Instagram, it's common practice to add captions or subtitles to the post so that people can watch it wherever they are on silent. Doing this by hand is time-consuming and frustrating, but Instagram has a solution: a feature to add automatically-generated captions to any story you make from your iPhone or Android phone.

How To: T-Mobile Is Automatically Selling Your Data to Advertisers — Here's How to Opt Out

It's getting harder and harder to escape ad tracking by the day. For the latest example, look no further than T-Mobile. The No. 2 carrier updated its privacy policy on Feb. 23, 2021, indicating that it would start sharing customer data with advertisers under the guise of more relevant ads starting April 26. If that's not something you'd like to participate in, there's a way to opt-out.

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