TIME Mobile

Why Tweets Are About to Dominate Your Google Searches

The Twitter logo displayed on a mobile device.
Bethany Clarke—Getty Images The Twitter logo is displayed on a mobile device.

The two tech companies are cozying up

On Tuesday, Google announced that it is partnering with Twitter to make tweets searchable on mobile devices. The new feature will become available on the English version of Google.com, the Android and iOS versions of Google’s search app, and on mobile browsers.

“It’s a great way to get real-time info when something is happening,” writes Google senior product manager Ardan Arac in a company blog post. “And it’s another way for organizations and people on Twitter to reach a global audience at the most relevant moments.”

Google had previously gained access to Twitter’s so-called firehose, the stream of real-time posts uploaded to the social network, earlier this year—rekindling a failed partnership from several years ago.

A post on Google’s official blog shows what the new feature will look like. It demonstrates a search for “nasa twitter”:

nasa-twitter
Courtesy Google

The deal could signal more partnerships between the two to come. It looks like the two are hitting it off already:

For more on Google and Twitter’s partnership watch:

http://fortune.com/video/2015/02/05/how-the-google-search-deal-could-be-a-boon-for-twitter/

TIME Yotaphone

This Crazy New Phone isn’t Like Anything You’ve Ever Seen

Courtesy of Yotaphone

This new phone has an LCD screen and an electronic paper screen

A mobile phone with two screens is now available through an IndieGoGo campaign, and it sure is something else.

The Yotaphone 2, as its known, has one LCD screen similar to that of an iPhone or an Android. On the back, though, the device has a second screen more similar to a Nook or Kindle e-reader. Yotaphone claims this is the first-ever dual screen smartphone.

Pre-ordering the phone through Indiegogo will set you back $550. For the first 48 hours of the campaign, it is discounted to $525. The phone is eventually expected to retail for $600.

Shipments are expected to be start in August.

More than $75,000 has already been raised by the campaign through the first six hours after being posted Tuesday.

The phone will also have native apps, just like other smartphones. A portable wireless charger is also available from the IndieGoGo page.

TIME Smartphones

This Texting-While-Driving Study Will Make You Afraid to Drive

Texting is only the tip of the iceberg

Drivers using their smartphones behind the wheel aren’t just texting — they’re emailing, browsing the web, tweeting and even video chatting.

Those are just some of the activities that smartphone-using drivers fessed up to in a survey commissioned by AT&T. The report is tied to the wireless company’s It Can Wait campaign, which launched in 2010 to raise awareness of the dangers of using smartphones while driving.

Texting remains the most popular activity among these distracted drivers, according to the survey, but about one-third said they e-mailed on their phones while driving, and one-tenth of said they were on Snapchat.

Here’s a full breakdown:

 

TIME apps

This iPhone App Will Make You Super Nostalgic for Your iPod

A click wheel keyboard for your iPhone

Typing on your iPhone just got a lot more fun — and a lot slower, too.

The Click Wheel Keyboard app by developer Adam Bell allows you to scroll through each letter one at a time, emojis included, as shown in the video above. The retro keyboard is a good choice if you want a nice throwback to your iPod, but a bad choice, well, for just about everything else.

TIME Smartphones

One of the Best Smartphones for Photography Is Now on Sale

LG G4
LG LG G4

The LG G4 starts rolling out across the world today

LG began its global rollout on Monday of its new flagship G4 smartphone, which reviewers said could be one of the best Android phones out there.

The G4, already on sale in South Korea, will first hit the Hong Kong market before rolling out into Turkey, Russia and Singapore, the company said in a statement. The smartphone will eventually go on sale throughout of Europe, North America, Southeast Asia and other regions, though LG did not provide a specific timeline.

Unveiled last month, the leather-bodied G4 has become known for its 16-megapixel camera with a rare f/1.8 aperture lens — that means the G4 lets in more light than its two biggest competitors, the Samsung S6 and the iPhone 6. The device also comes with a manual shooting mode, allowing users to adjust settings like white balance, ISO and shutter speed, giving the 5.5-in. smartphone the feel of a DSLR camera.

LG has not yet announced a price for the G4, but it’s speculated to be around $600.

Read next: The LG G4 Could Be One of the Nicest Android Phones Out There

TIME apps

6 Apps for People Who Hate Apps

TIME.com stock photos Social Apps iPhone
Elizabeth Renstrom for TIME

Get your nose out of your phone with these simple tools

While smartphone apps are certainly as popular as ever, there’s also a revolt brewing against these attention-grabbing, notification-slinging programs. People are tired of being tied to their handsets and falling down the rabbit hole of their touchscreen every time an alert dings.

Don’t believe me? Just look at the Apple Watch, an entirely new product put out by the world’s biggest smartphone manufacturer, that’s main goal is to keep us from using (yet also keep us tethered to) our iPhones. But you don’t need a 21st century calculator watch to escape the tractor beam pulling your eyes to your phone. These six apps will help you cut back on your screen time, while making you more productive than ever.

Hooks: What do you look for when you fall into the Internet? Do you drift over to Twitter to see what someone’s most recent tweet was? Do you check your team’s score, or even look to see when your favorite band is coming to town? Instead of chasing all those things down, just set up Hooks to do it once, and the app will reward you with timely alerts when the moment has arrived.

The free, iPhone-only app makes sure you’re on top of your game — whatever game that may be — by notifying you whenever the prompt of your choice gets triggered. That means never having to look up lottery numbers or forgetting Game of Thrones is about to start. Oh, and if you’re a weather-watcher, Hooks can probably tell you when winter is coming, too.

Do Button: Even with smartphones, sometimes it’s unnecessarily hard to do easy things. For instance, if you’ve got a connected lightbulb, you have to swipe, tap to open the app, tap to access the bulb, then tap to turn it on or off. Do Button, a free Android and iOS app made by IFTTT, cuts those steps down to just one. Tap the app, and you’ve got a simple, programmable button staring you in the face, ready to do your bidding, whether it’s turning on your WeMo plugged in device, setting your Nest thermostat to a predetermined temperature, or tracking your work hours on a Google spreadsheet. A little tap goes a long way.

Launcher: Swipe down on your iPhone’s home screen, and be prepared to never look at your smartphone the same way again. The drawer that comes down from the top of the display is your notification panel, and if you optimize it, you can cut down your app usage considerably. Launcher helps you do this by placing tappable shortcuts right on the notification panel.

Just place the functions that you perform most frequently here (call your husband, email your boss, get directions home), and tapping on the tiles Launcher creates will springboard you into action. The app is free, but a paid version provides a lot more functionality, from changing icon sizes to letting you put more of them on the panel.

Overboard: Whether it’s tapping on weather, then the news, then your Twitter — or a another routine entirely — there’s no reason, in this age of customization, to go from app-to-app to gather all your vitals. Overboard, a personable dashboard of pertinent information, lets you pull all your most current information together in one easy to read place.

A great app for media mavens, you can check everything from the top trending stories on BuzzFeed and The New York Times without tempting yourself with one of the publications’ other articles. Social media fans will appreciate being able to monitor their follower count on Twitter and Instagram without loading those apps. And with a clean interface, the $.99 app keeps it simple and distraction free, which is worth the price of admission.

Magic: Anything you desire, delivered on demand — that’s not an app, that’s practically magic. But there’s no genie in the bottle with this free (to use) service that’s so incredible you already have it on your phone without knowing it. Just text what you want to the number 83489, and as long as it’s not illegal, the operators manning the line will work on getting it for you, 24 hours per day, seven days a week.

Available anywhere in the U.S., the service will source whatever you ask for — a pizza, a hotel reservation, a new car — and set up payment via a secure web link (powered by payment processor Stripe), quoting a price to complete the purchase, with tip included, before sealing the deal. The service uses the likes of DoorDash, Instacart, and Postmates to fulfill your orders, but in figuring out all the logistics for you, you’ll never even have to open those apps (or even sign up for them, necessarily). Now that’s quite a trick.

Clara: Technically speaking, Clara isn’t an app. She’s an assistant, powered by artificial intelligence, but since she exists solely in your email, she’s fair game for this roundup. Just enter your customizable Clara email address into the CC: field of one of your email exchanges, and she can coordinate between the parties in the message to set up a meeting on your calendar. Automatically responding to emails within an hour, the platform-agnostic service will correspond with your contacts, determining the best time for everyone, and then put the event on your calendar. Between $119 and $399 per month, her services don’t exactly come cheap, but hey, that’s the cost of convenience. On the bright side, she works 24 hours a day, seven days a week — which breaks down to a very low hourly rate.

TIME neuroscience

You Now Have a Shorter Attention Span Than a Goldfish

No longer can we boast about 12 seconds of coherent thought

The average attention span for the notoriously ill-focused goldfish is nine seconds, but according to a new study from Microsoft Corp., people now generally lose concentration after eight seconds, highlighting the affects of an increasingly digitalized lifestyle on the brain.

Researchers in Canada surveyed 2,000 participants and studied the brain activity of 112 others using electroencephalograms (EEGs). Microsoft found that since the year 2000 (or about when the mobile revolution began) the average attention span dropped from 12 seconds to eight seconds.

“Heavy multi-screeners find it difficult to filter out irrelevant stimuli — they’re more easily distracted by multiple streams of media,” the report read.

On the positive side, the report says our ability to multitask has drastically improved in the mobile age.

Microsoft theorized that the changes were a result of the brain’s ability to adapt and change itself over time and a weaker attention span may be a side effect of evolving to a mobile Internet.

The survey also confirmed generational differences for mobile use; for example, 77% of people aged 18 to 24 responded “yes” when asked, “When nothing is occupying my attention, the first thing I do is reach for my phone,” compared with only 10% of those over the age of 65.

And now congratulate yourself for concentrating long enough to make it through this article.

TIME Smartphones

15 Tricks For Getting Way Better Smartphone Battery Life

There's no reason your charge should run out before bedtime again

In theory, modern smartphones can last hundreds of hours on a single charge.

Hundreds of hours, that is, until you actually start using the things. In practice, today’s top phones will squeeze out about 20 hours at best. In the chart below, note the more realistic estimates for battery life in popular phones.

While “Talk Time” traditionally means “number of hours you can chat on your phone on a single charge,” the figure doubles as a rough approximation for “any active use,” such as texting and web browsing.

But even these numbers are inflated. Manufacturers love to use pristine laboratory conditions in order to advertise great numbers, most of which won’t match real-world use. This is why your brand new Samsung Galaxy S6 or iPhone 6 might still be running low an hour or two before dinner.

With that in mind, we rounded up research across the web and tested both Android and iOS phones to pin down battery saving tricks that actually work. Along the way, we’ll point out a few myths about smartphone batteries, from ideal charging cycles to the truth about closing apps.

Notes: this list will cover battery saving techniques for both iOS and Android (sorry, Windows Phone). In a few cases, we’ll mark a tip as specific to either iOS and Android, but most apply on both platforms.

This guide is current as of Android Lollipop and iOS 8. If you’re using a previous version of either OS, the menus and options may be a bit different.

1. Start by deleting apps you haven’t used in months

Closing apps

Closing apps on iOS and Android

As we’ll see later on this list, pesky apps that run in the background, track your location or send you push notifications can end up being a big drain on your battery. Each of those problems can be addressed individually, but why not just delete those dozen apps you used once in 2013 and haven’t touched since? It’ll save you a lot of trouble as we move along this list.

On Android, go to Settings —>Apps. Select the app you want to disable, and tap Uninstall.

On iOS, tap and hold any app, then tap the X in the top left corner. (Note that you can’t delete several of the standard, Apple-made apps in iOS.)

2. Disable background app data for all non-essential apps

Background data settings

Background data settings for Android and iOS

Many apps run in the background, even when you’re not using them. This makes sense for things like email and social media, where you might want to know the minute you get a new message or comment, but do you really need your games, notes, and music players gobbling up battery resources 24/7?

With iOS, you can turn off background data on an app-by-app basis. Go to Settings—>General—>Background App Refresh, and select apps to turn off.

With Android, you can “restrict background data” for each app. Go to Settings—>Data usage. Tap on your app of choice, then scroll to the bottom to restrict background data on cellular networks. (Note that this setting can also save you from accidentally going over your data plan threshold.)

3. Don’t obsessively close apps

Don't close apps

Closing apps on Android and iOS

For years, “close all your apps” was the most popular battery saving tip in the world of smartphones. Ironically, it can actually make your battery life worse. When you leave an app open in the background, then access it a little later, your phone is smart enough to let you pick up where you left off, with minimal harm to battery life. However, if you keep closing and re-opening the same apps all day, you end up taxing your phone a whole lot more than necessary. It’s a little like turning off and starting up your car every time you hit a stoplight.

In theory, quitting an app you use only once per week can save you a very small amount of battery. For the dozen apps you use on a near-daily basis, however, you’re only hurting yourself. So don’t worry about it. Your phone will worry about it for you.

4. Disable notifications for most apps

App notifications

Disabling notifications on iOS and Android

Many apps will automatically send you “push notifications,” so-called because the app will notify you of things throughout the day, unsolicited.

It’s time to stop the madness. On iOS, visit Settings—>Notifications, and turn off notifications for all but your most important apps. Sure, you want your text messages to come through on your lock screen, but do you really need every MLB score from across the league? You can even customize your notifications down to where they appear, from banners to sound alerts to the lock screen. The fewer, the better.

On Android, go to Settings—>Sound & notification—>App notifications. From here you can block notifications for individual apps entirely, or set priority filters for receiving fewer notifications overall. Add it all up, and you’ll get more battery life with fewer disturbances.

5. Tell your phone to check for new email less frequently (iOS)

Email fetching on iOS

Email fetching on iOS

One big battery life offender could be email. In the past, email was a real drain, when your phone would have to check to see if you had new mail constantly throughout the day. Fortunately, most modern email clients push messages to your phone, meaning that your device must only expend power when you actually get a new message.

That said, if your email is blowing up throughout the day, or if you’re using a non-standard email service that doesn’t support push email, your phone could still be losing power to a barrage of incoming messages.

The first solution is to tell your phone to check email less frequently—say, only once every 30 minutes. The second solution is to go full manual, only allowing your phone to check for new mail when you manually open the app. Either option can be accessed within the same menu.

On iOS, go to Settings—>Mail, Contacts, Calendars—>Fetch New Data. Turn off “Push” and select your preferred frequency at the bottom of the menu. (Remember, if you don’t get that much email as it stands, it’s probably best just to leave “Push” on.)

6. Turn off location services / reporting

Location services

Location settings on Android and iOS

Like background data and push notifications, location services can be a quiet killer, draining your smartphone battery behind the scenes. You’ve probably already realized that GPS navigation sucks the juice right out of your device, but this makes sense: after all, your phone is working constantly to track your spot on the map.

Less obvious are location services in apps like Facebook and Instagram. These social media apps keep your exact position in mind so they can tag every post, status or photo with the corresponding city or neighborhood. If you value battery life more than geo-tagged posts (or better yet, if you find geo-tagged posts a little creepy), turn off location services.

On iOS, go to Settings—>Privacy—>Location Services. You can either turn them all off at once, or turn them off individually. For instance, you might only leave location services on for utility apps like Maps, Passbook and Weather.

On Android, go to Settings—>General–>Location. Then use the big switch to turn location reporting off. (Just keep in mind that Maps will have to ask you permission to temporarily turn Location Reporting back on whenever you use navigation features.)

7. Turn off auto brightness and dim the screen

Brightness settings

Brightness settings on Android and iOS

If the first six steps haven’t solved your battery issue, it’s time to get a little more serious. You might like to view your 5.5-inch, multi-million-pixel display at full brightness, but that’s a guaranteed recipe for draining your battery fast. Even your phone’s auto-brightness feature will sometimes overdo it on luminance, meaning you could be losing precious hours of battery life.

Try dimming your display just a bit and living with the change for an hour. You’ll be surprised how quickly your eyes adjust.

On iOS, go to Settings—>Display & Brightness. Turn off Auto-Brightness, and then dim the display using the slider.

On Android, go to Setting—>Display, and turn off Adaptive Brightness. Then tap on Brightness level and adjust to your preference.

8. Turn off vibrations

Vibration settings

Vibration settings on Android and iOS

We tend to think of a vibrating phone as a low-key alternative to a noisy ring, but when it comes to battery life, ringing is a lot less taxing than rumbling. If you want to squeeze out a bit more battery life, consider turning off vibrations entirely.

On iOS, go to Settings—>Sounds, and then switch off the two vibrate toggles at the top of the menu.

On Android, use the volume toggle to turn down the ringer, and you’ll see a menu pop up at the top of your screen. Here, you can either turn off all notifications for a custom period of time, or only receive “priority notifications,” based on your personal preferences. Either one will end up having a positive effect on battery.

9. Turn down sleep / auto-lock duration

Sleep settings

Sleep and auto-lock settings on Android and iOS

Your phone’s single biggest battery drain is the display. Ideally, you want your display off whenever you’re not looking at the screen. The problem is that we often leave our phones’ displays on accidentally, in little moments throughout the day, even when we’re done using them. No matter how conscientious we are with your sleep/wake button, we’re going to forget from time to time.

The solution is a low screen timeout. Set your device to turn off its display after just one minute (or on Android, 30 seconds) and you can save a whole hour of wasted screen time per day.

On iOS, go to Settings—>General—>Auto-Lock.

On Android, go to Settings—>Display—>Sleep.

10. Turn off Bluetooth

Bluetooth settings

Bluetooth settings on Android and iOS

Bluetooth is a short-range wireless technology that allows your smartphone to connect with other devices. It’s great for quickly sending files (ex: Apple’s AirDrop), connecting to your car’s sound system, or other close-range applications (ex: using your smartphone as a remote for a TV). While Bluetooth isn’t quite the battery hog today that it was two years ago, it’s still a drain on juice.

If you’re not using your smartphone for sending files, connecting to your car, or interacting with other devices, consider flipping Bluetooth off. There’s a good chance you’re hardly ever using it anyway.

On iOS, swipe up from the bottom of your screen and tap the Bluetooth icon in the middle.

On Android, go to Settings—>Bluetooth and toggle it off.

11. Use dark backgrounds on Samsung or Motorola phones (Android)

If your phone has an AMOLED display, using primarily black backgrounds can save you a solid hour of battery life per day. Instead of rendering black pixels, AMOLED displays are smart enough to simply leave black pixels off altogether, meaning that your phone’s display must power fewer pixels throughout a day of use.

Most of Samsung and Motorola’s most popular phones use AMOLED displays, while most other manufacturers do not.

12. Don’t worry so much about fully charging and fully depleting your battery

Empty battery

Empty battery symbol

You’ve probably heard the classic advice about charging batteries: let your battery drain all the way, then charge to 100%, and repeat. The idea is that you are teaching your battery to ‘remember’ its full charge capacity, rather than confusing it with periodic, inconsistent charges.

There was some truth to this…in 2007. In 2015, most smartphone battery technology is advanced enough not to need special treatment. So instead of running out the door with 50% juice, consider plugging in for 15 minutes before you leave. We promise your battery won’t forget what a full charge is.

13. Pay attention to signal strength

Signal strength

iPhone searching for a signal

When you have a strong LTE connection or (especially) a great Wi-Fi connection, your phone will cruise along as it was intended to—without straining the battery. On the other hand, if you’ve got a single bar, weak 4G and no Wi-Fi in range, your phone will expend tons of juice simply trying to connect with a weak signal.

So if you notice your phone is barely holding on, consider moving (physically) to get closer to a source, or if nothing else, just turn on Airplane Mode. Give your phone a break.

14. Use battery saver (Android)

Battery saver

Battery saver on Android

Most of the recent Android flagship phones—like the Galaxy S6, Nexus 6 and HTC One M9—have battery saving modes that can extend the life of your device by another dozen hours, even if you’re already under 20%.

Go to Settings—>Battery and click on the three dots in the upper right corner.

Battery saver performs several of the earlier tips on this list all at once, by limiting vibrations, location services and background data. Email and other apps will also sync less frequently.

Airplane mode

Airplane Mode on Android and iOS

15. Airplane mode

If all else fails, there’s still good old Airplane Mode. It might render all your phone’s best features useless, but it’s guaranteed to stop the bleeding. After all, a smartphone gone dumb is still better than a smartphone gone dead.

Read next: 3 Things You Really Should Know About Mobile Payments

Listen to the most important stories of the day.

TIME Smartphones

Test Scores Rise After Cell Phones Banned From Schools

Childcare and Education To Be Key Election Issue
Matt Cardy—Getty Images A pupil uses his mobile phone for research during a english lesson at the Ridings Federation Winterbourne International Academy in Winterbourne near Bristol on February 26, 2015.

Impact of cell phone ban "equivalent to an additional hour a week in school," study found

Exam scores climbed by as much as 6% in schools that imposed strict bans on cell phones, according to a new study that cautions policymakers to keep strict cell phone policies in the classroom.

Researchers at the University of Texas and Louisiana State University surveyed cell phone policies across schools in four English cities since 2001, studying how exam scores changed before and after the bans were enacted.

“We found the impact of banning phones for these students equivalent to an additional hour a week in school, or to increasing the school year by five days,” the study’s authors wrote on the academic blog, The Conversation.

The authors noted the strongest gains occurred among underachieving and disadvantaged students, while they observed almost no measurable impact on the highest scoring students. “Allowing phones into schools would harm the lowest achieving and low income students the most,” the authors conclude.

TIME Smartphones

Do You Ever Need to Turn Off Your Smartphone?

iPhone 6
Andrew Harrer—© 2015 Bloomberg Finance LP Retail sales consultant Ahmal Warner, right, helps customer Joel Nelson set up his new Apple Inc. iPhone 6 at an AT&T store in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Tuesday, April 21, 2015.

Turning off your computer is recommended, but your phone is different

Experts — okay, maybe just your company’s tech guy — say shutting down your computer is a good idea if you’re headed home for the night or if you’ll be out of the office for a few days. But smartphones are a different story. These 24/7 supercomputers never seem to get a rest. Surely that can’t be good for them… right?

Wrong, says iFixit founder Kyle Weins, a technology expert who tears apart the most popular products on the market, exploring and explaining how our favorite devices work. “I would say that shutting down your phone at night isn’t something that necessarily falls under routine maintenance,” he says.

The reason why shutting down your computer is good advice in the first place is the crux of the issue. Your IT department likely recommends that you power down your computer nightly simply as a cost-saving measure, says Weins. When computers are left on, they use electricity, and electricity costs money. Even energy-saving sleep modes sip “vampire power,” a small amount of electricity that, when added to all the other computers not completely turned off, totals significant wastefulness.

Smartphones, meanwhile, have batteries and only draw power from an electrical outlet when they are plugged in. Of course, these mobile devices have their own challenges when it comes to power management — namely batteries wearing down — but according to Weins, shutting your smartphone off won’t necessarily help save your battery. “Batteries in phones have a finite lifespan — the more that you use them, the faster that battery wears out,” he says.

In general, smartphone batteries have a life of between 300 to 500 full-charge to fully-discharged cycles, estimates Weins. “Apple claims their phones can run 400 cycles then are at 80% capacity — that’s what they claim,” he says, noting the reality, for him, is “a fair amount worse than that.”

And even if you only use a fraction of your phone’s battery and then recharge it to 100 percent, that still counts towards a full cycle. “If you wear your battery down 50 percent then charge it back up, that’s half a cycle,” says Weins.

Powering down your smartphone at night won’t help preserve the battery, since it’s unlikely that you’d be using the device at that time, anyhow. “It comes to how hard you use your phone,” says Weins. For instance, if you’re constantly streaming music, watching videos, or using it as a GPS device while mounted on a car’s sun-soaked dashboard (heat kills batteries too), your phone’s power won’t last very long.

Another thing tech support people frequently ask is if you’ve restarted your computer. So, wouldn’t this help with a wonky smartphone, too? Yes and no, says Weins. In general, restarting a computer will disrupt any background processes that may be running, or clear up memory leaks that have been draining your system’s resources — that applies to both PCs and smartphones. But today’s operating systems — not just Mac OS X and Windows 8.1, but also Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android — are very good at isolating these problems on the software level. So, quitting your apps is just as helpful, not to mention less cumbersome, as restarting your device.

Of course, there is one exception. Periodically draining your battery to zero percent and letting your smartphone die is advised, though sparingly. All battery-powered computers have counters used to calibrate the battery, which lets the device know how long it will actually last. “If you run your battery all the way down to zero every once in a while — once a year is fine — it makes the percentage count on your battery more accurate,” says Weins.

So once a year, not once a week, power your phone off all the way. And don’t let anyone else — not even your IT guy —tell you otherwise.

Your browser is out of date. Please update your browser at http://update.microsoft.com