When I first purchased my Windows Phone last November it was the first time I had ever played with the device and there were many things that I did not know about the mobile OS. A few things were kind of obvious and a few were hidden tips that I stumbled across or heard about over the first few months.
Here are a few things you may not know about your Windows Phone:
Slide notifications to hide – The Windows Phone notification system is well done and isn’t very intrusive, but sometimes a text comes in and you wish to rid the screen of the notification and check the message later. It’s not obvious, but when a notification comes in at the top of your screen, you can swipe that notification to the right and it will remove the banner at the top, so you can tend to it later.
Randomly play your music collection – This tip comes originally from the Zune HD. When you are in the music hub, there is a round play button next to the word music. If you tap that button, your phone will begin randomly playing through your collection. (This is set to change in the coming Mango update)
Double tap to complete a sentence – The Windows Phone keyboard is responsive, fast and very accurate if you let it make its own corrections, but if you are typing a sentence and wish to complete the sentence and begin another, you can simply double tap the space bar and it will end the previous sentence with a period and add a space to start the next sentence.
Play radio through speaker – I found out this tip on accident while playing the radio. Because the phone uses the headset as the antenna, you will still need the headset plugged into the device, but while the radio is playing, you can tap and hold over the station and select to play through the phone’s speaker and vice versa.
Change picture hub background – Most users will figure this one out on their own, but for those that may be wondering, you can quickly change the live tile and hub background image used by navigating to the pictures hub and taping and holding the word pictures to reveal a menu which will allow you to change the picture for the hub and live tile on the home screen.
Voice recognition with one tap – Another tip many users may have already figured out is that the speech function can be called at any time by pressing and holding the Windows key on the bottom of your device.
Find your phone – A smartphone is a substantial investment for most users, so the thought of losing your device may be a scary one, so Microsoft included a ‘find my phone’ feature for free with each device through Windows Live. Just log into your Live account and hover over Windows Live and click on devices or mobile and you will have an option to select your device and find, ring, lock or erase the device remotely.
Add a double-wide tile to the home screen – There are only a few double-wide tiles on Windows Phone and only one of them is really customizable. If you want a double-wide tile on your home screen, you can simply navigate to the Music + Videos hub and press and hold on an artist and pin it to your home screen. This will place a pinned link to that artist by way of a double-wide tile.
Free voice recorder built into Windows Phone – I’ve written a how-to guide on doing this, but many may wonder why a voice recorder is not in Windows Phone. Actually, there is a voice recorder in your device, but it may not be obvious to find it because it’s hidden in the Office hub. Simply, open a new OneNote within the Office hub and select the record button on the toolbar to begin recording.
Copy & Paste in Windows Phone – this was a much-requested feature that was missing at launch and the first “NoDo” update brought it to Windows Phone. to copy and past text in WIndows Phone, you will tap on the first word you wish to copy and then drag the highlight arrows at each end to select the whole body of text you wish to paste, then click on the copy button. Then you can navigate to the text box you wish to paste this into and when the keyboard comes up there will be a past icon to select (swipe to the right on that same spot to paste multiple times).
I’m sure we haven’t discovered all of the hidden tips and tricks within Windows Phone and I am sure Mango will bring even more surprises, so feel free to tip me on any additions you may have found by using the form on the About page.
User Tip: Here’s a tip that came from a reader that I did not know about. If you try and send a text message and the message fails to send properly, the smiley emoticon on the Message tile turns to a frown. Normally, the face on the live tiles is a smiley face and when you receive a text, it turns to a wink smiley and if it’s been a long time since you’ve received a text message, the smile will turn into a frown. Very cool tip. Thanks Tom.
User Tip 2: Here is another tip from a user rgegarding the copy & paste feature: “Paste a copied text multiple times. Copy and the paste the text using the icon above the virtual keyboard . Swipe the now empty ‘bar’ above the virtual keyboard. The copy and paste icon will reappear. Tap it to paste the selected text again.” Thanks for the tip Jeff.