How to change these defaults and be happier with your technology

Our consumer electronics are some of our most expensive household purchases, so it’s worth checking and changing the default settings to get maximum benefit. Here’s what other tech writers and I are always changing to make our phones, computers, and TVs work better.

Apple iPhones have many settings that are disabled by default and need to be enabled to use the device more conveniently and take better photos.

  • Unlock your iPhone while wearing a mask. Although mask requirements have been lifted in many places, many people still wear them to feel safe, especially indoors. One of the biggest downsides to using the iPhone was having to enter a passcode instead of using facial recognition when wearing a mask. Recent versions of Apple’s iOS now allow iPhone users to unlock the device without removing their mask. go to Settings → Face ID & Passcode → Face ID with Mask Turn this setting on (green).

  • Record 4K videos. To get your iPhone camera to record videos in the highest resolution, go to Settings → Camera → Record Video And choose the 4K option. (I prefer “4K at 30 fps” because it works well when uploading videos to social media apps and sites like YouTube.) The downside is that 4K recordings fill up more of the phone’s digital storage space. But if you’re paying for this snazzy camera, why not use it? ?

  • Activate the network camera. In digital photography, photographers use various compositional techniques to make images more aesthetically pleasing. The iPhone camera has a setting to show a grid to help compose shots. go to Settings → Camera → Network and toggle this setting.

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Android phones also have controls that need to be enabled or changed to make the screen look better and the phone easier to use.

  • Change the screen color profile. Many Android phones have large, bright screens, but colors may appear oversaturated or too blue. He usually changes the default color profile when setting up a new Android phone, said Ryne Hager, editor at Android Tech Police. Instructions vary from phone to phone. Go to for Samsung phones Settings → Display → Screen mode naturally. Go to for Pixel phones Settings → Display → Colors → Natural.

  • Change the shortcuts. On Android phones, you can customize the quick settings menu for shortcuts to frequently used functions. Swipe down from the top of the smartphone screen, and then swipe down again. If you click on the icon that looks like a pencil, you can add boxes with which you can, for example, activate the hotspot to share a cell phone connection with a computer.

  • Activate the network camera. Similar to iPhones, some Android phones can also display a grid to help with image composition. On Pixel phones, open the Camera app, swipe down from the top of the screen, tap the gear icon, then go to Grid type → 3×3.

On Macs, where Apple users typically do the work, it’s a good idea to adjust settings to eliminate distractions and speed up tasks. This includes disabling some features that were on by default and enabling some hidden features.

  • Activate a shortcut to view the desktop. Resizing and moving windows around just to find a file on the desktop can be daunting. The first thing I do with any Mac is enable a shortcut that instantly hides all windows to reveal the desktop. go to System Settings → Task Control → Show Desktop and select a keyboard key to run the shortcut. (I use the Fn key on my MacBook keyboard.)

  • Disable notifications to distract apps like Messages. In the age of endless video calls, you definitely don’t want text messages bombarding your screen and making noise when you’re in a meeting. Simply disable these notifications permanently. go to System Preferences -> Notifications and Focus -> Messages -> Allow Notifications and toggle the setting off (greyed out). Disable notifications for other annoying apps in this menu.

  • Add a Bluetooth icon to the menu bar. Most of us use Bluetooth accessories like wireless earbuds and mice. To make it easier to connect and disconnect these devices on your Mac, it helps to quickly access the Bluetooth menu. go to System Preferences -> Bluetooth -> Show Bluetooth in the menu bar and check the box. This will bring up the Bluetooth icon in the top right of the screen, where you can quickly connect and disconnect earbuds and other wireless accessories.

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Like Macs and Windows PCs, we’re blown away by lots of notifications by default, but what’s most frustrating is the multitude of beeps and explosions that go off when something goes wrong. Kimber Streams, the Wirecutter editor who reviews laptops, shuts down all of those annoyances.

  • Turn off notifications. go to Settings → System → Notifications. Uncheck all boxes and turn off all switches to turn off all notifications.

  • Turn off system sounds. go to Settings → System → Sound → More sound settings → Sounds → Sound system: No soundsthen hit progress.

Almost every TV has default settings that are far from ideal for displaying the best picture.

Any television is worth doing Adjust colors, brightness and contrast to match your space. There are no general steps as the best settings are different for every TV and living room. But there are useful TV calibration tools to make this easier, including my go-to tool, Disney WonderlandBlu-ray disc with instructional videos on how to adjust TV settings.

However, the most important step with any TV is to turn off the gruesome motion effect. The steps vary by TV, so do a web search to disable them for your model. On my LG TV I went to All Settings → Photos → Picture Mode Settings → Picture Options → TruMotion → Off.

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