Tech Tidbits: WTF, ILY, OMW, and more

This is one of those hidden features on your phone that, once you find out about it, you’ll wonder how you ever lived without it. Seriously, I think it’s THAT game-changing. Ok, so maybe I’m overselling it…but maybeee I’m not. I’ll let you be the judge.

If you’re anything like me, you probably feel like you’re constantly entering your email address into [insert a million different places all over your phone and the mobile web]. It could be your shipping information while you’re online shopping, a login page for a mobile app or website, subscribing to a newsletter, or just passing it along in a text message to a friend. And if you’re even more like me, your email isn’t something short and sweet like emilia@gmail.com. No, sadly I’m not the OG Emilia — at least not on Gmail — so mine is the less elegant “anderson.emilia@gmail.com.” While that may not seem like a pain to type once or twice — remember that I am entering it (what seems like) 25x a day. Needless to say, it’s tiring. #firstworldproblems, I know. But I find myself getting more annoyed each time I have to type it on my iPhone’s keyboard, where I can’t type anything without fat-fingering a word or two (or ten).

But relief is on the way! I’ve got a solution for you that has saved me tons of time, and more than a little aggravation. Meet, “Text Replacement” (available on iPhone and Android).

ON AN IPHONE

Settings > General > Keyboard > Text Replacement > tap the “+” in the upper right-hand corner of the screen

On an iPhone, all you have to do is actually type in the text shortcut (sys in this case) and hit space, and your phone will automatically insert your assigned phrase (in this case “see you soon”). Brilliant. I’ve included a little video below so you can see it in action.

 

ON AN ANDROID PHONE

Note: This is the location of text replacement on a Samsung Galaxy S7 — other Android phones might be slightly different (if that’s the case, Google is your friend — or send me a note and I’d be happy to research it for you!)

Settings > Language and Input > Personal Dictionary > tap on the “+” in the upper right-hand corner of the screen

On an Android, you type your text shortcut and it will show up as an auto-correct suggestion just below where you are typing your message (see screenshot below). The way an iPhone handles text replacement might seem a bit more seamless, but you’ll be more prone to a mistake that I mention below. I think both work just fine.

I hope you guys find some good uses for this text replacement feature. The only downside to Apple’s version (and it’s minor) is that EVERY now and then I’ll be typing quickly and type “ea” as part of a word and accidentally hit space before I’m done typing said word and my phone will “mistakenly” enter my email address. But let’s be honest, that’s user error. That said, I would stay away from using shortcuts that are too close to actual words that you use frequently, because you may find this mistake happening more than you’d like. Also, I think there MAY be some limits to how many text shortcuts you can create, but if you hit it, let me know and I’ll send you some kind of prize.

Sooo, go ahead and set up a text shortcut immediately and watch your life change forever. Ok, that’s a bit dramatic. But you know what I mean. Enjoy!

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