1. Translate text using the camera
Not only is your Lumia’s camera a powerful photographic weapon, it can also be used in other ways, such as translating text into 39 languages. Press the Search (magnifying glass) button and then click the eye icon. Point your Lumia at your subject and click ‘scan text’. If you’re capturing in your native tongue, you’ll be presented with a list of languages to translate to. If you scan text in another language, it will automatically translate to your native tongue. Neat, huh? Results aren’t 100% accurate, but it will always give you a good idea of what’s being said. Handy for restaurant menus. And helping your kids with their homework…
2. Type quicker with shortcuts
This tip is unlikely to free up hours of your time, but it will make your keyboard finger-pecking faster while composing an email, SMS, OneNote entry or suchlike. Rather than pressing the numeric or punctuation buttons to enter their respective modes, then choosing your desired digit or mark, then tapping the button you first pressed to get you back into the standard keyboard, just press and hold the numeric/punctuation button and slide your finger over to the number or mark you want to use. Release your finger and the keyboard will snap back into default keyboard mode. Ninja skill unlocked.
3. Identify music, magically
Simple to do, yet hugely powerful, this neat feature will tell you the name of the artist and track currently playing in your environment. Just click the Search button, then the music note icon, and point your Lumia at the tune. Unless you’re listening to an obscure trip-funk record that sold seven copies to a clowder of cats in 1989, you’ll be presented with the artist, the track and a link to buy the music from the Windows Phone Store. Great for finding out music from TV/radio adverts and public spaces.
4. Customise your web browser address bar
Getting to your favourite websites quickly is essential on any device, let alone a smartphone. So try this nifty trick to create a shortcut button right from the Internet Explorer web browser bar. Go to Settings > Applications > Internet Explorer and select ‘favourites’ from the ‘Use address bar button for’ drop-down list. You can also choose ‘tabs’, which will bring up the tab view of your saved sites, or keep it as the default stop/refresh button.
5. Respond to a phone call with an SMS
Just about to close that business deal? Kids pouring spaghetti hoops into the DVD player? Having your ear bent by great-auntie Jean? There are many occasions in life when taking a mobile phone call just isn’t convenient. So use a built-in feature to send your caller a text message rather than picking up. Just ‘slide up’ on any call that comes hit and press the ‘text reply’ button. Then choose a default message or create your own. To edit your responses, got to Settings > Applications > Phone and click the ‘edit replies’ button to create up to four bespoke answers.
6. Let people know you’re running late
There could be myriad reasons for your belated arrival to a meeting: my homework ate my dog, for example, but pre-warning attendees about your tardiness is trickier. Unless, however, you use your Lumia’s built-in Calendar feature that will email your plight to all meeting participants. Just dive into the Details section of any event and click the icon that looks like a human escaping the advances of a horizontal bar graph. The default response is “I’ll be a bit late, but I’m on my way. See you soon” but you can edit this before sending. To something more creative, we hope.
7. Magnify your screen
If, like many of us, your birthday signifies not only another year of wiseness, but an increase in eye-squinting when reading, you might want to check out the Ease of Use settings on your Lumia. Go to Settings > System > Ease of Access and choose to; activate high contrast for better clarity, increase text size (in a number of areas) and/or turn on the Screen magnifier, which means you can double-tap to zoom into and pan around things.
8. Activate voice commands
This couldn’t be easier. Just press and hold the Windows button to initiate the feature, press the speak button and then bark at your Lumia. There are a number of voice commands to perform specific tasks (you can find a selection of them here), but once mastered you’ll find it useful as well as pretty cool. You can also use the voice-command feature to dictate an email. Just tap the Speak (the microphone icon) button when in the body copy area of a message and babble away.
9. Automatically backup your Lumia photos with SkyDrive
With the amount of snaps we take with our phones, knowing that they’re in a safe place is essential. Our advice? Use a cloud storage service as backup. For Lumia users, SkyDrive is superb – as soon as you take a shot, it’ll appear in your SkyDrive Pictures folder. Just follow our super guide to a lifetime free of sleepless nights. You’ll get 7GB of free space, with the option of adding more as and when.
10. Multi-task like a boss
The shortest tip here but one that, if you’re not already aware of, you’ll use the most. Hold down the Back button (left-pointing arrow) on your Lumia to bring up the multi-tasking screen and swipe to choose your required app. Or click the cross in any top-right corner of the app to close it. Et voila.
11. Unify your mail boxes
Are you one of those types with an email address for everything? Don’t worry, we are too. That’s why this next tip will make light work of checking all of your inboxes at once. And it’s super easy, too. Just open one of your email accounts and bring up the menu (tap the button with three dots). Then tap Link Inboxes to choose another account to unify with. You can link as many or as little as you wish and give your linked Inbox its very own name, if preferred.
12. De-clutter your contacts
Your People hub is a great place to keep tabs on all of your contacts, no matter whether they come from a SIM card, email address book or social networking sites Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. However, they can get out of control. Freshen up by filtering your contacts. Go into your People hub and click the menu button. Then tap Settings > Filter my contact list. Within this option is the ability to select the accounts that you want to display contacts from. Go on, a bit of life laundry never hurt anyone.
13. Pin “deep links” to your Start screen
Creating a colourful, up-to-the-minute, informative Start screen full of Live Tiles is one of the standout Windows Phone features for your Lumia. However, it’s not just apps and websites that can be pinned. Prepare to go much deeper than that. You can, in no particular order, pin map places, MixRadio mixes, directions, documents, people, songs, contacts. Whenever you see the Pin icon, you know you’re in business. Simples.
14. Set custom ringtones for contacts
Ever fumble around for your phone at an inconvenient hour only to realise that it was better left unanswered?
Assigning custom ringtones to your most important contacts can help you avoid those unwanted moments.
To set a custom ringtone for a contact go to Start > tap "People", and then swipe across to “All”. Tap the contact you want to change by selecting Edit > Ringtone. You can also assign a custom ringtone for text messages by tapping the “Text tone” option.
15. Driving Mode
Your phone can be distracting when you’re behind the wheel but with the new Driving Mode feature enabled, you can ignore calls and texts and even send automatic replies.
Better still, Driving Mode can automatically be activated as soon as you enter the car by pairing your Bluetooth hands-free car kit or headset.
To pair a Bluetooth device to your phone, go to the App list > Settings > Bluetooth and pair a device. Driving Mode will now automatically start whenever your phone connects to the Bluetooth device.
To setup Driving Mode go to Settings > Driving Mode > Next. Select whether you would like calls to go to voicemail by turning on “Ignore calls”. To turn off text notifications, turn on “Ignore texts”.
On the next screen you can turn on text replies to calls and text messages. You can also customise the message you want in your text replies.
16. Lock rotation
With the latest GDR3 update to Windows Phone, you can finally have the option to fix the rotation of the screen to either portrait or landscape.
Go to Settings > Screen rotation. Now rotate your phone so the screen is oriented the way you want and turn off “Autorotate screen”.
17. Glance mode
You can see the time on your display even when the screen is off on standby.
Go to Settings > Display+touch and swipe to “Glance”.
You can choose to have it always on, only when you hover your hand over the screen, or to come on at specific times. There’s also a night mode that reduces the brightness, handy if you use your smartphone by your bedside as an alarm clock.
18. Wake the phone with a double tap
You can double tap on the screen to wake the phone instead of having to press the power button.
Go to Settings > Display+touch and swipe right to “touch” and check “Double tap to wake up phone” option.
19. Flip your phone face down to silence
A quick way to silence the ringer on your phone with an incoming call is to simply flip your phone over with the screen facing down.
Go to Settings > Audio and swipe right to turn “Flip to silence” on or off.