Are You Getting the Most Out of Your Windows Phone?

by Sandra Henshaw - , Last Updated on October 3, 2014, Buying Guides

Windows Mobile hasn’t always been the most popular phone operating system around. But thanks to some high powered Nokia hand sets and a whole new look to the OS (with Windows 8), Windows phones are one of the fastest growing niches on the mobile market right now. If you’ve got your hands on a brand new Windows phone, then you might still be battling with the learning curve that challenges anyone who switches phone operating systems. Thankfully, we’re here to help. We’ve got all the must know tips and tricks for getting the most out of Windows mobile right her, so just keep reading!

Get Started!

Windows Home Screen

Windows Home Screen

One of the things that we love most about Windows Mobile is just how customisable that start screen is. Unlike iOS and Android, with Windows you can quickly and easily redesign your start screen to make sure that you get the most out of your user experience. Change the background colour easily by going into settings and choosing theme, but that’s just the beginning. You can decide which tiles go onto your start screen by simply clicking and dragging the ones you want into place. Not only that though, you can change the size of tiles to fit your screen by tapping the arrow at the bottom right of the home screen. Awesome.

Voice Control

Cortana

Cortana

Just like iOS and Android, Windows now comes with voice recognition software, making it easier than ever to use your phone hands free. Press and hold the Windows button to bring up speech control, and you’ll be asked if you want to enable the feature. Click yes, and from then on you can use voice control whenever you feel like it (if you want to be able to wake your phone by voice without unlocking the screen, go to settings, then speech, then click allow speech above lock). Once activated you can search the web, call contacts, write emails and SMSs, and even open apps, all without lifting a finger. Turn off speech recognition any time you want by going into settings and then the speech menu.

Less Inboxes!

Linked Inbox

Linked Inbox

Most of us these days have multiple email accounts, and managing them all can be a bit of a pain, especially on your phone. Fortunately, Microsoft has solved this problem with a unified inbox. Go into your Mail app, click the three dots on the bottom right corner and then select link inboxes. You can decide which of your inboxes to link together into your unified inbox (you don’t have to link all of them if you don’t want), and if you change your mind, just do the same and then click unlink. Easy. This way, all your mail will go through one inbox and everything will be easy to find.

Something for the Kids

Kids Corner

Kids Corner

If you’ve got a little one, you’ll know that sometimes handing over your phone is the only way to keep them quiet. But you don’t want them calling India or texting your boss, right? With a Windows phone you don’t need to install parental control apps. Just go into settings and choose Kid’s Corner, and you’ll be able to choose which functions the phone can perform when the system is turned on. Then, when you want to hand your phone over to your little tyke, go to settings again, click enable Kid’s Corner, and they’ll be safe, and you won’t get a huge phone bill.

Apps and Multi Tasking Made Easy

Windows Multitasking

Windows Multitasking

If you’re anything like we are you’ve constantly got tons of processes running on your phone, from internet searches to half finished messages and paused games. Managing apps and tasks on a Windows phone is simple though. Press and hold the back button on your phone (generally the one that has an arrow pointing left), and you’ll bring up your multi tasking window. You can easily switch back and forth between tasks using this window, and if you’re done with something, click the small cross that you’ll see on each open process to close that app down. Doesn’t get much simpler than that…

Answer (or Avoid) Calls

Text To Reply

Text To Reply

Face it, there are times when you just can’t answer a phone call. Maybe you’re driving, or in a meeting, or maybe you just don’t want to talk to whoever’s calling you, but whatever the reason Windows makes it easy to reply to a call by text. When your phone starts ringing just slide your finger up the screen and you’ll get a list of options. Choose text reply and you can either write your own SMS to the caller, or choose from one of four default options. Don’t like the default options? The go into settings, choose applications, then choose phone, then hit edit replies and you can write your own defaults…

Nifty Little Tricks

Battery Saver

There are a handful of nifty little things to know about the Windows operating system. Want to take a screen shot? Then press the home and lock keys simultaneously. Easy. What about those horrible times when your battery shows eight percent and you realise that you’ve left your charger at home? Go into settings and turn on the battery saver option and you’ll be able to eke that juice out for a few more hours (though your email won’t be automatically updated if you choose to do this, so you’ll need to check it manually with the refresh button in the Mail app).

If you’re into music, then you won’t need to download any music recognition apps with Windows 8. Hit the search bar, then click the music note icon and hold your phone up to the music source and you’ll find the name of that track in seconds. Sweet. Finally, if you’re having a tough time seeing your screen (maybe in bed after you’ve taken your contacts out), then head into settings and choose ease of access. You’ll be able to make text size bigger across the phone, or turn on high contrast mode that will make text appear brighter against a background.

Windows 8 is full of cool stuff, and whilst it might take you a while to learn all the tricks of the system, it’ll totally be worth it, we promise!