Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Get to Know Your Device

It’s difficult to adjust to a new tablet or smart phone. Often there is no manual in the packaging which means users must figure things out for themselves. Where do you turn for this information? Some rely on friends and family; some search online for answers; others just stumble upon how to do this and that as they use the device; many call the Library and ask for help.

Based on these interactions we have compiled a list of six things you should know about your device. Ranging from the more basic tasks (how to connect to WiFi) to more complicated (bookmarks; remove apps) this list is designed to help you get more comfortable using your device. Whether you have an Apple product (iPhone/iPad/iPod touch); Android device (Samsung Galaxy, Google Nexus, Kindle, etc.); or Windows 8 below are links to videos and instructions that should simplify your life.

        I.            Connect to WiFi

How to connect to WiFi is one of the most common problems new users have. In order to fully take advantage of everything your device can do it must be connected to Internet. So learning how to connect to WiFi, no matter where you are – home, library, hotel, cafĂ©, etc. – should be one of the first tasks a new user should learn. No matter what device you have the process is simple. See below for more information.

o   How to connect to WiFi on Apple iPhone/iPad/iPod touch:

o   How to connect to WiFi on an Android device (like Samsung Galaxy, Google Nexus, etc.):

o   How to connect to WiFi on a Windows 8 device:

      II.            Tabbed Browsing

Nearly all browsers now offer tabbed browsing – a feature that enables you to open multiple websites in a single browser window. Open web pages in new tabs and toggle back and forth between them. If used correctly it can greatly increase your web browsing speed. Chances are you already use tabbed browsing and have not even noticed. Some devices open a new tab every time you click on a link. This means you could have dozens of open tabs and have either not noticed and don’t know how to get rid of them. To learn more about tabbed browsing on your device – including how to close open tabs – see the links below.

o   Tabbed Browsing Safari (Apple):

§  Quick tip – close multiple tabs quickly:

o   Tabbed Browsing Chrome (Android):

o   Tabbed Browsing Internet Explorer (Windows 8):

    III.            Bookmarks

By using your web browser’s bookmarks feature you can save shortcuts to your favorite web pages and navigate to them in seconds from anywhere. Email, banking, news, social media – quickly access these sites by adding a bookmark. Most browsers call them bookmarks; Internet Explorer calls them Favorites. No matter the browser it takes just a couple clicks to set up a bookmark.

o   Add Bookmarks to Safari (iPad):

o   Add Boomarks with Android Browser:

    IV.            Delete or Remove Apps You Don’t Use

Your device’s manufacturer preloaded all kinds of apps to your device before you purchased it. De-clutter your home screen by removing apps you use infrequently. Free up storage space by deleting apps that you never use.

o   Apple:

o   Android:

§  Remove from Home screen:

o   Windows Start Screen tutorial – organize tiles and Pin/Unpin to Start:

Now that your Home screen is de-cluttered and you have freed up space by deleting apps you don’t use spend some time exploring the App Store for apps you might use. Like free apps to get free digital materials from the library – Hoopla (movies, TV shows, music); Zinio (digital magazines); and OverDrive Media Console and Kindle (e-books).

      V.            Symbols

Because of the limited screen space tablets and smart phones rely more and more on symbols. For example, to find the search bar on most websites you no longer should look for a clearly labeled SEARCH button. That has been almost universally replaced by a magnifying glass icon. Click that magnifying glass and a search bar will appear. Menu, home, and share are all icons as well. This can be a constant source of confusion for new users. Eliminate frustration by getting familiar with these symbols.  

o   Apple Menu Symbols:

§  Apple Status Bar Icons:

o   Various Share buttons. If you see something like this tap on it for options to Share what you’re looking at via message, apps, email, or social media:

    VI.            Your Device is Loading

So you open your web browser, type in a web address, and then click “Go”. Or you search for an app, and then tap “Install.” It might not be obvious how to tell if your web page is loading or if that app is installing. Instead of re-tapping “Go” or trying to reinstall the app look for a status bar to ensure your device is loading.

o   Apple Loading Graphic. If you see this wheel know that your device is loading your request:

o   Android Loading Symbol:


So there you go. Master these six topics and time spent with your device will be much more enjoyable. We’d love to hear from you - Do you still have questions? What did we leave out? What essential tools do you use with your device? Have you discovered a different way to accomplish these tasks? Feel free to share in the Comments section below.