Windows Phone Tips and Tricks

If you use multiple Windows or Windows Phone device, then Sync My Settings is a great feature.

This can be found by going to Settings – Sync My Settings and can be used to sync Apps, Themes, Passwords and Web Browser settings across multiple devices. For example you may use a phone and a tablet during the day and want to be able to keep websites open in your browser as you move between the devices.

If you want to display the Action Centre, which is basically a quick access notifications screen (similar to Android), then simply swipe your finger down from the top of the screen.

This will give you access to Airplane mode, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, Rotation Lock and so on.

You will also see phone notifications which can be discarded by swiping your finger to the left or right.

If you do not want to be disturbed for a certain period or between certain hours, then you can enable Quiet Hours.

This allows you to divert calls and/or texts to Cortana which is effectively Microsoft’s personal assistant. Just go to Settings – Quiet Hours.

You can set this to be enabled between two time periods, when you have an event in your calendar which is marked as busy or for a certain period.

You can also setup exceptions, or breakthrough rules, so that certain individuals can still reach you even when Quiet Hours is enabled.

A Virtual Private Network or VPN is now built into Windows Phone devices. This is useful if you want to access a work or personal network while out and about.

These can be a bit tricky to setup, so you may want to ask your work’s IT department for the settings, but this can be found by going to Settings – VPN.

You can use your smartphone as an Xbox controller.

First, download and install the Xbox SmartGlass App (formerly known as My Xbox Live). Once this is installed go to Xbox hub and make sure your Xbox is turned on and connected to your Wi-Fi router. Then make sure the phone is connected to the same Wi-Fi network.

If that is all setup, then the App will sign you in and you can start controlling your Xbox with the phone.

To turn your phone into a Wi-Fi hotspot, then follow these instructions:

First, go to your Start screen and swipe left and go to Settings.

Then select Internet sharing and turn Sharing on.

From here you can name your connection by selecting Setup – Broadcast name and entering a name.

You can also secure your Wi-Fi hotspot but adding a password for the connection.

Next, go to another device and find your phone’s Wi-Fi hotspot service.

Note: This will use your data plan, so use wisely!

A very useful feature is the ability to double tap your phone’s screen to wake it up. This may not work on all devices.

To enable this feature, go to Settings – Touch (this should be down the bottom). It could also be called Motion Launch.

Then change the option labelled Wake Up to On. Now when your phone is on standby, you can simply double press the screen to wake it up.

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Unless you are one of the lucky few who has an unlimited data plan, then you will want to avoid going over your monthly data limit. Fortunately there is a Windows Phone feature called Data Sense.

This feature allows you to monitor your data and Wi-Fi usage and also which Apps are using the most data. You can also set a download limit per month so you don’t go over your allowance which includes the ability to prevent background downloading when you are close to your limit.

Data Sense can be found in your App Drawer.