6 Simple Tricks for Typing Texts Faster

iStock.com/PeopleImages
iStock.com/PeopleImages

Those of us who are old enough to remember taking typing classes in high school may have found ourselves wishing that there was a similar course on texting. Typing on a smartphone keyboard can be clunky and time-consuming, but you can learn how to text faster, regardless of whether you have an iPhone or Android device. Check out the hacks and shortcuts below for a few pointers.

1. Add text shortcuts.

Save yourself the hassle of typing out long words by adding shorthand keywords. For iPhones, the built-in example is “omw,” which automatically changes to "On my way!” You could set it up so that “def” changes to "definitely," “bc” changes to "because," and “asap” changes to "as soon as possible." Gadget Hacks suggests saving your email address as “@@.,” and you can also create shortcuts for your favorite emojis. If you’re using iOS, select Settings, then General, Keyboard, and Text Replacement to add your own shortcuts. If you have an Android device, choose Settings, then Language & Input, Keyboard, and finally Text Shortcuts.

2. Hold the spacebar to move your cursor around.

So you just reread your text and noticed a glaring typo—it happens. If you have an iPhone, it’s far easier to hold the spacebar and slide the cursor from left to right or up and down instead of trying to drag it to the exact spot in your text where you made your mistake.

3. Double-tap the spacebar to add periods.

It isn’t necessary to toggle between keyboards to add a period to the end of your sentence. All you have to do is double-tap the spacebar. If you have an iPhone, make sure you have the “.” shortcut feature turned on by going into your keyboard settings. If you have an Android device, make sure the Auto Spacing function is turned on.

4. Add punctuation more easily.

Question marks and exclamation points are tedious to add, but there’s a simpler way. Instead of tapping the “123” button in the bottom left corner of your iPhone to toggle between keyboards, hold the button with your finger and then slide to the key you want. Once you release, it will automatically return to the alphabet keyboard.

5. Shake your phone to undo typing.

Instead of holding the backspace key any time you’ve made an error, just shake your iPhone. It will ask you if you want to undo your typing.

6. Install a third-party keyboard.

If you’re looking for a keyboard app to improve your texting speed, Google’s Gboard (for Android and iOS) is a popular choice. It lets you “glide” to type faster, and also has functions to help you erase text quickly and easily search for GIFs. With the Gboard, you can move your cursor by holding the spacebar, much like the built-in iPhone function. Other reliable options for keyboards include SwiftKey, Chrooma, Fleksy, TextExpander, and Swype.

Stuck in a Never-Ending Group Chat? Here's How to Stop It

grinvalds/iStock via Getty Images
grinvalds/iStock via Getty Images

The more contacts on your phone, the more likely you will be periodically pulled into the dreaded group chat—a meandering, pestering chain of communication on apps like Facebook or WhatsApp that keeps your cell in a constant state of alert. While some group chats start out informative, they can quickly devolve in utter banality. (One warning sign: a funny nickname for the chat.) How can one free themselves from this chorus and get on with their lives?

David Nield at Gizmodo recently broke down the steps you can take to pull yourself free, though it depends on which chat app you’re using. If it’s WhatsApp, for example, you can go to Settings, Account, Privacy, Groups, and then set who can add you to a group chat. That way, only people in your inner circle can loop you in. If someone who isn't on your approved list adds you to a chat, you'll get a direct message inviting you to join, which you can accept or ignore. If you’re already in group chat hell, WhatsApp will allow you to mute notifications by tapping on the Menu button and selecting Mute Notifications.

Facebook Messenger doesn’t allow you to pre-emptively opt out, but you can exit existing group chats by tapping “i” inside the thread and selecting “Leave Group” in Android or tapping the chat thread and clicking “Leave Group” in iOS.

The same is true of Apple’s iMessenger—you can’t insulate yourself from chats. Once it starts, though, you can leave by tapping the top of the conversation, selecting “i,” and selecting either Hide Alerts (which mutes the chat) or Leave This Conversation. If people in the chat are using SMS, the messages will still come through, however. They have to be either muted or removed from your phone and life entirely.

For tips on how to deal with group chat pain on Twitter and other platforms, head over to Gizmodo.

[h/t Gizmodo]

Veterans Can Now Access Their Health Records Through Apple’s Health App

SeventyFour/iStock via Getty Images
SeventyFour/iStock via Getty Images

Apple’s iOS Health app is great for more than just checking how many steps you took during a lengthy walk in the park—it also stores health records from Johns Hopkins, Quest Diagnostics, Allscripts, and more than 400 other healthcare organizations.

Now, Fortune reports that the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has joined that list, making it easier than ever for military veterans who receive healthcare through the Veterans Health Administration to access all of their health records, including medications, immunizations, lab results, and other information. In the press release, Apple explains that the app will automatically update the records, so all veterans need to do is log into their providers’s patient portals through the Health app for a “single, integrated snapshot of their health profile whenever they want, quickly, and privately.”

apple VA health app screenshot
Apple

Though the official announcement coincides nicely with Veterans Day on Monday, the change itself has been in the works for several months—the VA released the new feature to certain patients over the summer.

According to its website, the Veterans Health Administration is the largest integrated healthcare system in the country, servicing more than 9 million patients across 1255 healthcare facilities. With such an expansive network, any successful attempt to streamline processes and improve the flow of information—especially when it comes to sensitive, personal data—has the potential to be a major game-changer for veterans.

apple VA health app screenshot
Apple

“Helping veterans gain a better understanding of their health is our chance to show our gratitude for their service,” Apple COO Jeff Williams said in the press release. “By working with the VA to offer Health Records on iPhone, we hope to help those who served have greater peace of mind that their healthcare is in good hands.”

Wondering what you can do to help veterans? Here are 11 honorable ideas.

[h/t Fortune]

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