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Windows Phone tips and tricks

Ready to do more? Try out these tips and tricks to make your Windows Phone the most productive, the most connected and the most fun it can be. Click a category to get started. If you want more details, click the link to go to the related how-to topic.

Notes

  • Some apps and features won't work on phones with less than 1 GB of RAM. To see how much memory your phone has, check the manufacturer's website or your phone's documentation.
  • Some features are only available if your phone is running the latest version of the Windows Phone software. See How do I update my phone software? for more information about how to update your phone.
    • Flick to see your apps – Flick left from Start to see your App list. Tap any letter to see the entire alphabet, and tap another letter to jump there – or tap Search Search icon to go straight to a specific app.
    • Screen rotation lock – Read on the sofa, in bed or hanging upside-down from a tree – it's all possible with the screen rotation lock. Go to Settings Settings icon > Screen rotation to turn it on.
    • Data Sense – Don't get hit with an enormous bill or your data being cut off – Data Sense can track your mobile data use and let you know when you're close to reaching your limit. (Not all mobile operators offer Data Sense.)
    • Play it safeBack up your app list, settings, texts and photos. In the App list, go to Settings Settings icon > Backup to turn it on.
    • Keep the kids happy – Add some favourite apps and games to Kid's Corner, then hand your phone over to your children worry-free.
    • Get some Live AppsLive Apps are apps with Live Tiles that deliver updates and new info to your Start screen. Some can even show updates on your lock screen. Find them in the Windows Phone Store.
    • Get personal – Get app recommendations tailored to your taste – in the Windows Phone Store, tap Apps or Games, then tap Picks for you.
    • Keep track of your apps – Use your Microsoft account to sign in to the My Phone section of windowsphone.com, where you can see your app purchase history and reinstall apps from the web.
    • Mighty multitasking – Want to keep your place in a game while reading your emails? No problem. Just press and hold the Back Back icon button to open the App switcher and see and flick through your recent apps. Tap an app to go to it.
    • Play with a pal – Some games have online multi-player options. Tap a game, then check on the main menu to see if you can invite a friend.
    • Search on a web page – Tap More More icon > Find on page in Internet Explorer to find a word on the web page you're currently on.
    • Customise your address bar button – Go to your Internet Explorer settings to choose what you want the browser's address bar button to do: stop loading or refresh a page, take you to your tabs or go to favourites.
    • Browse faster – Add a site to your favourites list in Internet Explorer on your phone to get back to it in a flash. Tap More More icon > Add to favourites.
    • Share a page – You can share a webpage from Internet Explorer on your phone. Tap MoreMore icon > Share page, then choose how you want to share – email, texting, a social network or Tap + Send (NFC).
    • Pin sites to Start – Have a favourite website, or one that's really really necessary.? Pin it to Start for instant access — just tap More More icon > Pin to Start.
    • To-do tweaks – Add a To-do to your calendar and give it a due date – it'll also show up in the Agenda and Day views. For extra insurance, add a reminder.
    • Flick through reminders – When more than one calendar reminder pops up on your phone, flick left or right to read, snooze or dismiss them one by one.
    • Let people know you're nearly there – Open an appointment on your phone and tap Late Late icon to send a quick email letting the other meeting attendees know.
    • Quick-add appointments – To add an appointment to your calendar on the go, flick to Day view, tap a time slot, type a subject, then tap Save. You can add details later.
    • It's all Me – Use the Me Card to share and stay in touch – it's the place to post to social networks, update your profile pic and more good stuff.
    • Share a contact – In a contact card, tap More More icon > Share contact to send the card via email, NFC (Tap + send), text message or Bluetooth.
    • Keep up with your mates – Pin a room or group to Start, then watch its Live Tile light up with info from the other members.
    • Reply on the fly – In a contact card, flick to the History view to see recent calls, texts and emails with the person. Then tap one to call back or write a reply.
    • Jump to a contact – On your contact list, tap a letter to see the whole alphabet, then tap any letter to leap to that section of your list.
    • Filter contacts – Go to Settings Settings icon > People to filter your contact list to only show people from the accounts you choose. (The filtered ones will still show up when you search for them.)
    • Filter social feeds – Buried in social networking updates? Filter them on the go: on the What's new panel in your People Hub, tap All accounts, then tap the account you want to see.
    • Dictate a reply – Replying on the fly? Tap Speak Speak icon in any email, then use Speech to have your say hands-free.
    • Clear inbox clutter – Group your emails by conversation to see or bulk delete messages in the same thread. You can turn on conversation view in your email account's settings.
    • Streamline inboxes – Link multiple email accounts into a single inbox (the accounts stay separate). In one of the accounts you want to link, tap More More icon > Link inboxes to set it up.
    • Bulk move or trash – Need to delete or file multiple emails? Tap to the left of any message in your inbox to reveal a row of checkboxes, then select as many messages as you like.
    • Word suggestions – Give those fingers a rest – the Word Flow Keyboard can predict the next word in your sentence. As it learns your writing style, it'll make better predictions.
    • Emote quicker – You can set your keyboard to switch back to the standard alphabet automatically after you type an emoticon – go to Settings Settings icon > Keyboard > Advanced to turn it on.
    • Switch languages – Use more than one language? Once you add a new keyboard language, you can quickly switch to it with a tap of the language button on the keyboard.
    • .co.uk, .org, .edu – Tap and hold the .com key to bring up other common extensions to add to a web or email address.
    • Pop-up punctuation – Tap and hold the full stop key to see a pop-up menu with other common punctuation marks. Try tapping other keys to find less common symbols and punctuation, like foreign currency or fancy brackets.
    • Spelling help – Tap a misspelt word to see suggestions from the built-in dictionary. Tap a suggestion to swap it in.
    • Look, no hands – Have Speech on your phone read your incoming text messages aloud over Bluetooth, a wired headset or through the phone's built-in speaker – then reply using just your voice. In the App list, go to Settings Settings icon > Speech to turn it on.
    • Share where you are – Start a new text message, then tap Attach Attach icon > My location to send your location.
    • Back up your messages – In the App list, go to Settings Settings icon > Backup to back up all your texts to the cloud.
    • Power texting – Save drafts, edit a text you're forwarding and select multiple recipients just by ticking boxes.
    • Bulk delete – In Messaging, tap next to any message to reveal a row of checkboxes, then select as many messages as you want.
    • Group text – In the App list, go to Settings Settings icon > messaging to turn on group texting and keep replies in one thread.
    • Tap, shoot, text – Seen something unbelievable? Start a new text message, then tap Attach Attach icon > Picture > Camera Camera icon to snap and attach the evidence.
    • Thread it – Use Threads to switch between text and Facebook or Messenger chat – as often as you like – while keeping the whole conversation in one place. Just tap More More icon > Switch Switch icon.
    • Stream it – Get an Xbox Music Pass so you can search the Xbox Music Store for the song, podcast or video you want, then stream it to your phone.
    • Use your phone as a radioListen to FM radio on your phone. (Not available on all phones.)
    • See it, save it – Tap a song that's playing to see all the other songs on the album. Then tap Save Save icon to make a playlist with those songs.
    • Do more with playlists – Like what you're hearing? Select one or more songs in a playlist, then download them to your phone from there.
    • Automatic grooves – Smart DJ makes auto-playlists tailored to your taste – just tap and hold an artist, song or album, then tap Play Smart DJ mix.
    • Get the buzz – Tap an artist, then flick left or right for more info, including their bio, related artists, news and upcoming concerts.
    • Flick through songs – Swipe left or right on the album art to move between songs on an album or playlist.
    • Subscribe to podcasts – You can subscribe to podcasts from your phone. Go to the Xbox Music Store on your phone and tap Podcasts to get started.
    • Rock out, randomly – In Music + Videos, tap Play music Play music icon to randomly play songs from your music collection. Tap it again to go back to the normal song order.
    • Collaborate on a doc – Working on a report or presentation with a colleague? Use SkyDrive to share the doc, then pin it to Start to keep tabs on the latest draft.
    • Note it quickly – Use OneNote Mobile to make shopping or to-do lists, then tick off your jobs one by one. You can even sync and share them.
    • Dictate notes – No time to type? Take a note with your voice instead — press and hold the StartStart icon button, then say "Note" followed by what you want to note; for instance, "Note. Pick up dry cleaning."
    • New notes from Start – The Pin new to Start setting in OneNote lets you open a new note from Start with a single tap – no need to dive into a notebook first.
    • Pin a place to Start – Pin SkyDrive, SharePoint or another doc place to Start for fast access. In the Office Hub, tap and hold a place, then tap Pin to Start.
    • Jump around a spreadsheet – Go to key content in an Excel workbook – sheets, charts, tables and comments. Open a workbook, tap Sheets Outline icon, then tap what you want to see.
    • Find your phone – Go to the My Phone section of windowsphone.com from any Internet-connected computer to ring, lock, erase or find your phone on a map.
    • Eyes on the road – Use Driving Mode to cut down on distractions while you're behind the wheel. We can even send automatic replies to people who call or text when you're driving.
    • Flash your Wallet – Digitally store cards, vouchers and more in your Windows Phone Wallet.
    • Ignore with a text – Can't pick up? Just tap on one of the preloaded text message replies to let people know you'll get back to them. You can also set up a custom reply.
    • Copy and paste a numberCopy a phone number from somewhere else on your phone. Tap Phone, then paste in the number.
    • Save your battery – Set Battery Saver to turn on when the juice gets low. It'll turn off some of the features that use the battery in the background until you have time to charge up.
    • Lock your SIM – You can use a PIN for the SIM card in your phone to prevent people from making unauthorised phone calls.
    • Speed dial – Need to call someone back? On Start Start icon, tap Phone Phone icon, then tap Call Call icon next to an entry in call history.
    • Speech over the lock – Even if your phone is locked, you can use Speech to call or text someone. Go to Settings Settings icon > Speech, then tap Use Speech when the phone is locked.
    • Choose one, some or all – In an album on your phone, tap Select Select icon to select one or more photos to save or delete, share or tag as favourites.
    • Tap to shoot – Tap anywhere in the camera viewfinder to focus there and snap the shot. (Note: some phones focus on the centre of the screen when you tap to shoot. In this case, you can press the camera button halfway down, move the viewfinder to recompose the shot, then press the button all the way down.)
    • Shhhh! – Taking a picture at the library? In the App list, go to Settings Settings icon > Ringtones + sounds to mute the shutter sound and dodge disapproving glares.
    • Auto upload – You can automatically upload every picture you take to SkyDrive – at full resolution – or auto-upload your pics using other photo apps you've installed. In the Photos Hub, tap More More icon > Settings, then tap SkyDrive or Apps.
    • Fix your pics – Crop 'em, fix 'em, rotate 'em — edit your photos right on your phone. Tap a photo, then tap More More icon > Edit.
    • Tag some favesChoose some favourites in your picture albums, then set them to rotate through the Photos Hub background and the animated Photos Tile on Start.
    • Photo flick – In Photos, pinch a photo until it's as small as it can get, then flick left or right to browse your album in filmstrip view.
    • Just for you – Press the Search Search icon button, tap Scout Scout icon, then flick to For you to get personalised suggestions for nearby places to eat, drink, shop or visit.
    • See more from Bing – Tap Search Search icon, then flick left or right from the Bing Search page to see films, news, local deals and more.
    • Voice directions – Want your directions read to you? Install a navigation app from the Store.
    • Tap to map – Try tapping a street address on a webpage to see it on a map. If you see a phone number, try tapping on it to dial.
    • What's that song?Bing Music "listens" to a song that's playing, then searches to tell you the name, artist and ways you can hear or buy it. Press the Search Search icon button on your phone, then tap Music Music icon.
    • Point, click, search – With Bing Vision, you can scan things with your phone and then search for them on the web. Press the Search Search icon button, tap Vision Vision icon, then point your phone at a QR code, tag or text.
    • Tell it to your phone – Search with your voice – no typing required. Tap and hold the Start Start icon button to open up Speech, then tell your phone what you want it to find.

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