Got A New Windows Phone? Get Up To Speed With These Tutorials
Suddenly found that you’re the owner of a new Windows Phone? Perhaps you made the jump after being convinced by our strong argument for switching . Whether you received a Nokia, HTC or other model for Christmas or have simply made a seasonal upgrade to your previous device, switching to a new mobile OS can be something of a culture shock.
Over the past few years we’ve published a considerable collection of guides and tutorials for readers to get familiar with Windows Phone 8 and 8.1. In this post – which you might consider your one-stop resource – we’ll show you how to get to grips with the Android and iOS alternative as quickly and easily as possible.
Getting Started With Windows Phone 8.1
After unboxing your Windows Phone 8.x device, you’ll naturally want to switch it on and start setting it up. Begin by adding or setting up a Microsoft account , much as you would on Windows 8.
With a SIM card inserted you shouldn’t have any trouble making calls, but you might need a bit of help setting up your email and social networks (all of which can be set up from the same screen).
Windows Phone’s tile-based interface can be a little jarring at first, although it is remarkably fast. You can tweak it to add new colours and tile backgrounds and create a very striking phone UI, and of course you can complement this with custom alerts and ringtones .
You should also spend a few moments configuring your Windows Phone 8.1 lock screen to ensure all relevant alerts are displayed when your phone is locked .
Syncing Contacts and Data With Windows Phone 8.1
After setting up your emails, you might like to sync more, such as your existing contacts from another device. For users switching from Android, simply adding the Gmail account you used with that phone will result in your contacts being synced to Windows Phone.
Meanwhile, if you have your Facebook account set up on Windows Phone 8.1, contacts using that social network can be accessed via the People hub, a deep level of integration that goes back to Windows Phone 7.
Other syncing is available. You may, for instance, want to sync your phone with a Windows computer , in order to ensure that all photos are saved to a hard disk drive. Note, however, that these are also synced to your Microsoft OneDrive (formerly SkyDrive) which comes free with the Microsoft account you used to set up your Windows Phone. Microsoft Office Mobile documents (see below) are also synced to OneDrive.
As well as email data, you might like to have your Windows Phone calendar sync all of your important dates and appointments. Microsoft’s Outlook calendar and Gmail calendar are both supported.
Windows Phones Tips & Secrets You Should Know
It might not be the most popular mobile operating system, but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t a vast collection of shortcuts and tricks that you can use to make better use of your time. Custom text messages for calls you ignore can be set up, while the power of pinning useful items to your Start screen should not be underestimated.
Windows Phone 8.1 is more than just a checkerboard of tiles and faces. It has hidden depths, secrets that you may not realise, such as its ability as a gaming platform, competent multitasking and even linked mailboxes. We’ve compiled a list of 10 Windows Phone secrets that you should take a look at.
The Biggest Feature: Cortana
To help you get the most out of your Windows Phone, you should activate Cortana . Microsoft’s digital assistant is set to be a big part of Windows 10 so it makes sense to get used to it now. Cortana is a similar feature to Siri on iOS and Google Now on Android, but with more personality and arguably better usability.
Make Sure Your Windows Phone 8.1 Device Is Secure
Security is of the utmost importance to any portable electronic device that stores personal data. Failing to establish a secure phone can result in data loss and even identity theft.
Ensure you are up to speed with the methods you can use to secure your Windows Phone , as well as ensure that the Find Your Phone tool is active and running . There are also various general tips that you should consider to keep your phone secure and out of sight of thieves.
Get Productive On Windows Phone
There was a time when phones and PDAs running Windows Mobile were commonplace in the workplace. These days, it tends to be a blend of iOS, Android and Blackberry, but don’t let this put you off – many productivity tools exist for Windows Phone.
Perhaps most obvious is the Outlook integration that comes with setting up an email account, coupled with the presence of the rest of the Microsoft Office Mobile suite, Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote.
Meanwhile if you’re away from your PC a lot and need to access data through your phone, you can setup remote control in anticipation of this, which enables quick and easy access to your main computer. Meanwhile if you need an Internet connection or your Wi-Fi is down, a Windows Phone device can be used as a wireless hotspot , as long as you have a mobile Internet connection that can be shared to your PC or laptop.
Finally, if you find that the native Internet Explorer mobile browser isn’t up to scratch (you might find it slow or difficult to use) you can choose from several alternative mobile browsers , each claiming to offer fast browsing.
Enjoy Yourself With Windows Phone
Windows Phone isn’t all about speed, productivity and Cortana; you can use it to enjoy yourself too, with media and video games.
There are many YouTube apps for Windows Phone, so if you’re not interested in watching TV or videos streamed through services like Netflix, you can always enjoy yourself with the latest top clips on the popular video network. It’s also very easy to make your own videos and upload these . Meanwhile, if you use a media centre at home, several remote media centre apps are available for Windows Phone 8 to help you browse and play your library on your TV.
Various services provide free music streaming for Windows Phone, from the native Music app to TuneIn Radio (our TuneIn Radio review) , which we recommend as one of the must-have apps for any mobile platform.
Finally, the Windows Phone store features a vast library of games, many with some Xbox Live integration and just as many that are unique to the platform. The choice is huge here, with genres as diverse as puzzles and turn based multiplayer . If current games aren’t your thing, meanwhile, you might also use emulation to enjoy games from older systems such as the Nintendo GameBoy.
Your Windows Phone Is Functional, Productive & Entertaining!
With your new Windows Phone sitting in your hand you should find a whole lot of useful links, hints and tips above.
Should you still have any questions, however, then please use the form below and ask!
Image Credits: K?rlis Dambr?ns Via Flickr