04 Sep 5 Ways Your iPhone Can Help Your Business
We’re delighted to have a guest post this month from Alex Baggott at Simplex Computing. Alex looks after all our IT here at Organised You and his love and knowledge of technology enables him to frequently point out more efficient ways we can work and better utilise our IT.
In this month’s blog post he is sharing some little know tricks and tips about iPhones and how you can use them better to help your business. I like to think that I’m pretty tech savy but I can honestly say that I had no idea about most of these!
Apple’s iPhone is the most popular smartphone in the UK. According to StatCounter, about 46 % of us are using one (August 2020). The smartphone is the PCD (Primary Computing Device) of today and we use them constantly, but did you know that most iPhones are now as powerful as most PCs? With all that power in your pocket, and the advances with both iOS and the wider app ecosystem, maybe it’s time for you to take more advantage of iPhone’s capabilities in your business. Here are a few tips that’ll help you become an iPhone power user.
1. Document Scanning In Notes
Want a paperless office on the go? No need to wait until you get to a scanner. The Notes app can automatically scan a document, then straighten and crop it, ready for it to be saved as a PDF.
To do this, long press the Notes app icon, then tap the Scan Document option. When the image is captured, your iPhone will automatically detect the edges of the document, then crop and rotate it.
If you wait a few seconds, Notes will even attempt to automagically rename the scan to the printed document’s title.
Otherwise you can rename the scan manually. Then tap the Share icon to save the scan as a PDF file. Easier and more reliable than a clunky scanner.
(The Document Scanner can also be accessed via the Files app, but this is slightly more fiddly and doesn’t do the automagical renaming of the file).
2. QR Reader In Control Centre
There’s an argument that QR codes have been overused and are now passé, having been inscribed into mediums ranging from Chinese wheat fields to tomb stones. However, Quick Response codes still have many uses in business, such as on business cards to share contact details, or on stationary to connect people to a LinkedIn profile. Since iOS 11 (released in 2017), iPhones have had QR scanners built in. What’s more, if you put it in Control Centre, you can fire it up with a quick swipe and tap.
If you don’t have it there already, go to Settings –> Control Centre –> Customise Controls. Then add the QR Code Reader to your included controls.
Now, when you swipe to open the Control Center, you can open the QR reader and scan within seconds.
3. Separate Work And Personal Emails
Okay, this one’s more for you than for your business. But on the other hand, less-stressed people make better business decisions.
You probably have your iPhone set up to receive your work emails, but sometimes you don’t want to be notified about these outside of office hours. Did you know that you can set it to only ping you with those red blobs when it’s a personal email?
To achieve this marvellous little feat of work-life balance, go to Settings –> Notifications –> Mail. Select your work email account and disable Allow Notifications. Now you can enjoy some peace during your personal time (except for all the text messages, WhatsApp messages, and phone calls, of course).
4. Siri Shortcuts
This one’s a bit more in-depth, but it’s an example of how you can leverage the power of automation in business. It’s also the most powerful one of these five ideas.
When people hear “Siri”, they usually think only of the voice assistant (and often how poorly it compares with Google Assistant and Amazon’s Alexa), but that’s only part of it. Siri is actually the name of Apple’s wider consort of AI systems that are capable of performing many different types of jobs; one of which is automating tasks. Essentially, Siri Shortcuts allows you to take an action you can do on your iPhone and connect it with a series of other actions, to produce a sequence that can be triggered with a single tap. (This is also available on other Apple devices.)
Running shortcuts allows you to make work easier and more efficient by automating repetitive workflows. You just need to break the operation down into basic steps and then enter these in sequence. For example, remember the process of scanning a document in tip #1? This can be described in stages: (1) Open Notes to scan a document –> (2) Capture the scanned image –> (3) Rename the scan –> (4) Save it as a PDF in Files. Once you’ve built the shortcut, you can add it to your Home Screen so that it can be run directly from there, just like a normal app.
The good news is that Apple provides a gallery of pre-made Shortcuts you can use, so you don’t need to struggle with reinventing the square wheel. You can also add other people’s shortcuts to your iPhone, providing you enable this setting. Here are some neat examples from a compilation of useful shortcuts:
- Ever enabled Do Not Disturb for a meeting and then forgotten to turn it off? Rather than miss calls, try the Do Not Disturb Timer and activate it for a limited time only.
- Going back to that paperless office idea… want a way to quickly scan and save receipts? Receipt/Document Scanner & Storage will photograph a receipt (prompting you for its category, what it was, and how much it cost), then save it as a PDF in its category’s folder.
- Want to quickly set yourself a reminder for when you get to the office? Remind Me at Work will do that for you.
Siri Shortcuts is a far-reaching and detailed subject of which we’ve only just scratched the surface, but it’s a powerful tool which could save you stacks of time. Given the breadth and depth of this subject, you may want to consider outside IT consultation to really power-charge your workflow.
5. Fast Charging
With all that extra work your iPhone is doing, it’s probably going to need more charging. However, rather than spend more time waiting for it to fill up drip-wise using the included-in-the-box adapter, you may want to invest in a faster solution.
From iPhone 8 onwards, all iPhones have supported USB-C Power Delivery. Using a USB-C to Lightning cable and a 30 W adapter, this means they can be charged from 0 % to 50 % in about 30 minutes, and reach 100 % charge in just under two hours. Compare this with the standard 5 W adapter, which takes about 3 hours 15 minutes to reach full charge. Even iPhone 7 Plus (which doesn’t support USB-PD fast charging) can take advantage of a 12 W adapter to reach 50 % charge in about 40 minutes.
If you’re on the go, or need to recharge quickly, it’s pretty clear that Apple’s standard 5 W adapter is inadequate for today’s iPhone usage and battery technology, so take advantage of fast charging. There is an argument that fast charging can slightly reduce the battery’s maximum capacity in the long term, due to increased heat, but the phone’s battery management system largely mitigates this effect. Charging and battery health is a whole other topic we could go into… but we’ll save that for another time.
If you’re a sole trader or micro-business owner looking for some modern and affordable IT advice, get in touch with Alex at Simplex Computing.
Phone: 07773 938477