MasterClass: How To Automate Your Life (Part 1)

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Save time and let your Android device make all the effort

Your time is precious, and having to begrudgingly go through your phone to complete the things you enjoy is a bit of a pain. Luckily, there are a wide range of shortcuts and applications available that can help you complete the tasks you love to do on your smartphone, a whole lot faster.

In this masterclass we'll be looking at various ways you can shave the minutes off your phone usage.

In this masterclass we'll be looking at various ways you can shave the minutes off your phone usage.

Things like accessing your email, reading web content a lot quicker, and programming your phone to complete tasks means you'll spend less time on your phone, and more time being able to do other things.

In this masterclass we'll be looking at various ways you can shave the minutes off your phone usage. Here's five tips to get kick-started...

1.    When typing out long messages, make sure to take full advantage of the predictive text feature that is included with most keyboards. This allows you to simply type the first few letters of a word, and then select the full word from the suggestions the keyboard displays.

2.    Instead of having to manually upload documents and videos to your cloud storage accounts, apps like Google Drive and Dropbox have an auto­upload feature that will do all the work for you.

3.    The new notification menu update in Android 4.1 gives you quick shortcuts to some of your apps. You'll receive notifications regarding incoming emails, any missed calls, and app-related content.

4.    If you have a wide selection of apps on your device, chances are you won't keep tabs when each app requires an update. To make things easier you can enter the My Apps section on the Play store and choose the Auto Update option to do the laborious work for you.

5.    save you having to go through menus to find something, and instead will do the work for you with a simple shake of the phone.

Save time with widgets

Here are three downloadable widgets to speed up your phone use

Cloudskipper & TuneIn Music control

Cloudskipper & TuneIn Music control


Both the Cloudskipper and Tuneln widgets offer users the ability to quickly change, pause and play the audio on their Android device, without the need to open either of the applications. The Cloudskipper widget even displays the album art of the song you’re listening to.

Falcon Beta widget Twitter control

Falcon Beta widget Twitter control

One of the more unique widgets we’ve come across, and by far the best way of monitoring your official Twitter feed is with the Falcon Beta widget. This lets you look through your feed, write a tweet, retweet and send direct messages to people without even needing to open up the application.

Spark 360 Gamercard widget Gaming control

The Spark 360 widget is a great way of adding your Xbox Live Gamercard to your device’s home screen. From this widget you can monitor your Gamerscore, check to see if you have any messages, and check out what your friends are currently playing on their consoles.

Create automatic phone tasks

Use Impel to automate tasks that would usually take longer to complete

Apps like Impel - Automatic Tasks enables users to easily create a series of ready-to-use tasks that are based entirely on a range of gestures and shortcuts you utilise on your device. Tasks can range from the simplest of things; such as making your phone vibrate when you connect your headphones, or more advanced tasks, such as opening an app when a USB adapter is connected, or uploading a type of file when an application is opened. In this tutorial we'll guide you through the Impel app, and show you the various pages you need to sieve through to create a task.

1.    Add a new task

1. Add a new task

Open up the Impel app and select the Add a new Task option from the main menu. You can now select the type of action you want to complete. For example, you can select to create a task involving the USB port, a certain page on your device, or even your 3.5mm audio jack.

2.    Select an action

2. Select an action

After choosing the type of task you want to set up, you’ll now be able to select an action relating to it. As before, the variety of actions are pretty varied. From this same menu you can modify a current action or task you’ve created. Select the action you want to use for this task.

3.    Use an application

In some cases the actions you want to use will require you to choose an app to load. From this menu you’ll find all your installed apps can be selected and used in conjunction with the action and task you’re setting up. Press the Confirm button once you’ve selected the correct app.

4.    Save your new task

To finalise the task you’ve created, you’ll need to enter a new title and description on the next page. Once saved, the task can be toggled on and off from the list of tasks on Impel’s homepage. You can go back to any previous pages if you need to edit the task.

Set your contacts to speed dial

New devices don't include the Direct Dial feature, so instead you'll need the Fast Caller app...

Set your contacts to speed dial

1.    The application offers 16 different boxes from which you can assign a favourite contact to. Subsequently when you press the number It will automatically call or SMS them depending on your selection.

2.    Long press on the box of your choosing and from the drop-down menu that appears, select the Configure button option. You will now be taken away to that individual box’s edit screen.

3.    Press the Select contact option and choose one of your popular contacts you want to assign to the box. You can also use a photo as an avatar for the box by selecting from the options underneath.


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