Top Windows Phone 8 Tips and Tricks

Windows phone 8
Windows phone 8
bing music search

Windows Phone 8 handsets have finally hit the shelves. Now, anyone can experience Microsoft’s latest hardware and mobile operating system. With so many fresh and improved features, it may be difficult to maximize your phone to it’s full potential. Here are some useful tips and tricks that you must know to fully appreciate what the Windows Phone 8 has to offer:
Know That Song

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An interesting addition to the new mobile operating system is the addition of a built-in song-recognition feature called Bing Music Search.  Simply tap on the phone’s search button to activate your phone’s microphone and it will “listen” and identify the song currently playing. The tune could be from your car radio, at the café, or even a personal “rendition” and the feature will tell you what song it is.

You’ll even get a link to purchase the song online if it is available. Now you won’t need Shazam or SoundHound just to identify and sing along to the song that’s playing.

Tell Your Friends Where You Are

messaging screen text location

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In WP8, you can attach your location directly to your messages. Quite handy when meeting someone for a date, or if you find yourself lost on your way to a new pub (and your friends are badgering you for an ETA and your location)

To do this just tap on Messaging > New (to insert name, mobile number, or email address) then tap on Attach > My Location.

If your contact also has a Windows Phone, they’ll get a thumbnail of your location on the maps app. If they have a different phone, they’ll get a hyperlink that will open up in their browser instead.

Filtering Contacts and Social Updates

people hub settings

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If you don’t want to look at so many contacts or updates displayed in your phone, you can filter them by going into the settings of People Hub.  Simply tap on Start, flick left to App, then Settings, flick to Applications, tap People, and finally tap on Filter my contact list. You can then select which accounts to show contacts from. Tap Done to save the settings.

You can also do the same for updates from your social networks. We all know how frequent status changes and notifications can quickly get annoying. Do this by tapping  Start Applications People > Only show posts from people visible in my contact list.

Taking Screenshots

windows phone 8 screenshots

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Before Windows Phone 8, taking screenshots in your smartphone requires too much work. Doing this on an iOS device is easy enough but on certain Android devices you have to unlock your phone and download an app just to do something this basic. Finally in WP8, all you have to do is press the Home and Lock Buttons simultaneously and you’ll get a good screenshot on your phone that you can share online.

If You’re Running Late

Late Button

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A handy feature in WP8’s built-in calendar is the Late Button. If you’re behind schedule, you can simply open an appointment on your calendar and tap the Late Button. An email will be automatically sent to all the people you invited for that event and let them know you are nearly there.

Contacts In Alphabetical Sections

people screen contacts alphabet

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If you have linked all of your social network accounts to your People Hub, you’ll have a very long list of people, which would require a lot of swiping to get to the right person. WP8 organizes your contacts in alphabetical headers and allows you to easily jump to a section that you want. Tap on Start People then flick to All, you can now tap on any letter on the alphabet to jump to that point within your contact list.

Power Saver

battery saver


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If your battery is soon to dry out, you can prevent a total power loss using a very helpful trick in WP8. Go to Settings and turn on the Battery Saving Option. This will prevent your phone to run any apps or sync your email automatically.

You’ll still be able to make calls and do text messages, but you’ll have to manually do everything else. You can choose when Battery Saving Mode takes effect. Begin power saving mode when your phone is about to run dry or choose to save your battery life at all times.

Avoiding Accidental Shots

Windows phone 8 photos

Image courtesy of Wonderlane (via Flickr)

WP8’s dedicated camera shutter button works even in Lock Mode. This may result in unwanted close-ups of stuff in your pocket or bag (or god knows what else).  To avoid this, simply go to your Photos settings and just tick on the box next to “Prevent accidental camera launch when phone is locked.”

Changing Internet Explorer Buttons

Internet Explorer

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By default, Internet Explorer in WP8 has a Stop/Refresh button to the left of the URL bar at the bottom part of the screen. For tabbed browsing however, it may be a hassle to open up a separate menu to switch between tabs. You can change this by going to the settings of your Internet Explorer and tapping on tabs.

About The Author

Jimmy Wentz is a budding freelance tech writer, gadget and gaming enthusiast, and social media junkie. He writes regularly about the latest news in the tech, gaming, and the social media world.

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