Smartphone Apps Gadget Syrup Cannot Live Without

We can do nearly anything on our phones today. In fact, I can run my entire site from my phone. Want to see how? Check out the apps Gadget Syrup cannot live without.

As time goes on, we can do more and more day-to-day work from our smartphones. Some people I know run their entire life off their phone, never sitting down at a computer to get things done.

I recently started looking at home much I actually do from my phone and I was quite surprised how much I do, or can do from my phone.

As a result, I wanted to compile a list of the apps and services I use on mobile to run Gadget Syrup. Check it out!



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WordPress

This first one is self-explanatory. This is the WordPress mobile app. It allows me to monitor stats, create or posts and reply to comments, among other things all from my phone. You can even write a whole post from the mobile app. However, not only is it a lot of work to create a quality post on a screen this size, a lot of WordPress blocks are not compatible or able to be added from the app.

WordPress

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Asana

Asana is a take management application that I have been a religious user of for last 3-4 yrs. Ideally, you use it with a team of people but for a content and admin planning tool it is a must. Best of all, for most of what you need, you can use Asana completely free of charge.

Asana

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Google Analytics

Another obvious one by the title. Google Analytics gives you details on anything you could ever want to know about your websites traffic. It is far superior to what the WordPress stats offer.

Google Analytics

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Creator Studio

This one is new to the list. From Facebook, Creator Studio gives you analytics on your Facebook page tied to your business or website. It focuses a lot of video creators, but still works well to triage comments.

Facebook Creator Studio

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Buffer

Planning is everything when it comes to running your own site and social channels.

I have been a Buffer user for a decade now, using it to schedule Tweets and Facebook posts for Gadget Syrup.

Buffer can also setup Instagram posts among other social accounts, but it works best for Twitter and Facebook.

Buffer


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Later

Later is a service I have used off and on for the past year. It allows you to schedule social posts, like Buffer, but I only use it for Instagram posts. It is very handy if you find your best time to post is a time where you may not be there to post. Set it and forget it!

Their Instagram account is also a great follow!

Later

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Canva

I am not a graphic designer, but I like to pretend! Canva enables users of any level to create axing designs using their templates. They offer various presets for posts like Stories and Feed posts on Instagram as well as Twitter, Facebook and others ensuring your creation is the proper ratio for the given network.

Canva

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Snapseed

Snapseed is a powerful photo editing app that has been available for years.

It is owned by Google l, and they have been rolling a lot of the features of Snapseed into Google Photos. However, Snapseed still has a lot to offer if you want to add a little more to your pictures.

Snapseed

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Regrann

Regrann is the best all-around Instagram repost app available, on Android at least.

You can repost to your feed, stories or just save the image/story to your camera roll.

It is worth the purchase for the upgraded version too allowing you to remove watermarking and the “posted with Regrann” message from your posts.

Regrann

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PanoramaCrop

PanoramaCrop is another new one I have used only a few times. The app helps you create perfectly sized divided images for your feed that flow from left to right like one single image.

PanoramaCrop

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Pexels and Unsplash

I grouped Pexels and Unsplash together because for all intents and purposes they are the same thing. Each app has an enormous collection of free stock images to use. I have started using them both to generate feature images for the pages pf Gadget Syrup, as well as the hero image for some blog posts.

Both services also offer their services on the web to use from your PC.

Pexels
Unsplash

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Snapmod

This is one of my favourite apps. Snapmod contains hundreds of smartphones renders and through this very well-designed app you can insert screenshots from your device onto a render of your device or any other.

You’ll also notice that all of the app screenshots in this article were created with Snapmod!

There are a few caveats to be aware of now that many devices come with different screen ratios and the placement of any notches or camera cutouts will make your screen shot look out of place.

I’ve also noticed the developer for this app is slow to add new models, sometimes months after a phones release. In time, my feeling is that this app will stop being updated. Fingers crossed I am wrong!


Snapmod

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As you can see it is a pretty long list of apps. Do you use any in your day to day? Are there any other apps you would suggest I look at? Let me know in the comments below.


Check out some recent posts from Gadget Syrup

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My Favourite Apps: ß-Maniac

Another one of my favourite apps! ß-Maniac helps you find and manage beta programs for Android apps.

Favourite app time! And this time it isn’t a Microsoft App!!

This new app is very, very niche. But given the focus of GadgetSyrup, I am sure anyone who sees this post will appreciate it.



What is ß-Maniac?

ß-Maniac, pronounced Beta Manic is an Android app that scans the apps installed on your phone to see if there is a beta program available via the Google Play Store.
If you are like me and love to be on the bleeding edge of what’s next for your favourite apps, this app, despite its relative simplicity, is worth checking out.


How Does ß-Maniac Work?

ß-Maniac, as mentioned, is pretty bare-bones. After launching the app, users are presented with their entire list of apps. Apps that do not have a beta channel available show no checkmark. A blue checkmark indicates apps that have a beta stream available but are currently not active on your device. A green checkmark indicates apps that are currently enrolled in a beta stream. Finally, apps that are registered in a closed or private beta stream are indicated with a grey checkmark.



Outside being able to pick and choose which beta programs you would like to participate in Beta Maniac will also send push notifications to your device when an installed app opens the doors to a new or previously closed beta for their app. For me, this is key. I like to be involved in as many beta programs as possible. However, in a lot of cases, a popular app will open up a beta to the public, but by the time I find out, the beta is full, and no new users can participate. Having Beta Maniac installed has really helped with this.

Gone are the days of searching the web for an apk for a beta version of an app while hoping you don’t get burned with a malware-laden application


Where Can You Download Beta Maniac?

Well, only one place, really. The Google Play Store. If you would like to download and dive deep into the world of Android beta apps, hit the button below!

My Favourite Apps: Microsoft Office Lens

Microsoft Office Lens is one of my favourite and most useful apps. Check out my mini-review of this must have app.

My wife and I have recently embarked on a Marie Kondo-Esque type clean up of our house. We moved in just over a year ago, and like with any move, many boxes of miscellaneous things ended up shoved into the storage rooms of the basement. As a result, more and more junk ended up was added to those rooms. Inevitably, the storage rooms were a complete nightmare. Our messy storage room, amplified by the welcoming of twins to the family (five kids now in total), started to spread into the rest of the basement. It was time to do something! It was time to be ruthless and finally rid ourselves of all of those things that would have been sure to spend many more years in a box.


One of those many things in boxes were old pictures, documents, schoolwork, certificates, awards, etc. Were we ever going to display them? Read them? Use them in any way, shape or form? The answer was NO. We didn’t want to throw out all of these memories, but the idea of scanning them on our now antiquated HP all-in-one wasn’t an inspiring option either. My wife suggested to me to take pictures of the papers we were planning to toss, but me being me, I had to find a more technologically involved method.


I had considered Google’s photo scanning app but, having tried that in the past, I decided it was a non-starter. Google’s offering requires you to take four shots of the same picture to capture it. Nope, not happening!

Enter yet another Microsoft app tucked away in my app drawer rose to the occasion to save the day. Microsoft Office Lens.



What is Microsoft Office Lens?

You can think of this app as a document scanner for your phone but backed by robust, well-thought software. Thanks to the far more powerful camera on your smartphone, results are better than the scanner attached to your printer.


Why I Like Office Lens

Effortless Use

Using Lens is as simple as using your camera. Open the app, line up the document, picture whiteboard or business card you are trying to capture and click.


Powerful

As you can see in the image, lining up, the whiteboard, or whatever you are capturing, doesn’t require a perfectly aligned head-on shot. Shooting from the side will yield the same result.


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Connects to All The Things

I initially used Lens to capture whiteboards in meetings at work. Since then, Microsoft has added a lot of features that make it appealing to use for personal reasons too. For example, this house clean up and capturing old school work and pictures from years past. Having the ability to seamlessly switch from personal and work accounts is a big value ad for Lens


Flexible

Lens lets you save a document in a handful of different locations and file formats at the same time. After capturing the image, you can save the output as a PDF or JPEG to your OneDrive account, add as an image to a OneNote notebook, add to a PowerPoint slide, save to your phones camera roll or if it is a text-based document use Microsoft word and OCR to output as an editable text document.


Overall, I have found Office Lens to be a big help at home and at work. It is available for download on Android and iOS at the links below.



My Favourite Apps: Your Phone Companion from Microsoft

Sharing some of my favourite apps with you. First up, You Phone from Microsoft!

Trying something new…

Every so often you find an app that fundamentally changes how you use your phone. Some of those apps quickly make it into the mainstream and are covered excessively by tech media, while others can often sit in a small, but vocal niche. I thought it would be fun to share some of those lesser known niche apps with you in the form of a mini review and see what you think. Who knows, maybe you will find them as useful as I do.

First up, an app from a little known company in the Seattle area, Microsoft.

What is Your Phone?

You Phone is a take on other services that have existed, or still exist like Push Bullet or Air Droid, but with a far more modern and simplistic approach. It also has one major advantage over its predecessors, Windows 10 and nearly a billion users. Essentially, it is a link to your phone from your Windows 10 PC.

The app allows you to do the following

  • View camera roll
  • Send and receive SMS text messages
  • View phone notifications

The camera roll function as of this writing is currently limited to the last 25 photos on your phone, but Microsoft is currently rolling up an update that will remove that restriction, allowing you to view the last 2,000 images stored on the phone.

Sending and receiving SMS from your PC has been possible for sometime thanks to Google’s Messages app and browser tie-in, but having it nested inside a dedicated application is great.

The phone notifications feature is a bit lacking, since you cannot interact with the notification, but at the very least it allows for a quick triage of a notification to see if picking up your phone is actually required. In the future I would like to see some changes allowing me to interact with some notifications that support it on the phone. For example, I use Asana for work, and can comment on a mention via the notification on on the phone. Being able to do this from the Your Phone app would be a greatly appreciated addition.

It may sound kind of limited, but being able to see and interact with these core functions of my phone has done wonders for productivity. I am one of those people who spends entirely way too much time picking up my phone just for the sake of it, to check and see if I have anything that needs my attention. Often times, there is something to action, but there are many times throughout the day where I pick up and unlock my phone for no reason at all.

Your Phone is also receiving a major update as I write this that will enable users to interact with phone calls coming from your phone. This is a great addition and one I am really looking forward to. The fewer times a day that I need to take my hands off my mouse and keyboard, the more I can done.

Make and Receive calls on your phone from your Windows 10 PC!

Once the update is live on You Phone users will be able to do the following phone related tasks;

  • Answer incoming calls on your PC
  • Initiate a phone call form your PC with the You Phone Windows 10 apps phone dialer or from your contact list
  • Reject calls and send a predefined text to the caller
  • Reject a call, and send it to voicemail
  • See recent call history
  • Transfer calls from your PC to your phone and vise versa (this one really excites me)
  • Click to call from the web on your PC

For an app that has already changed the entire way I work with my phone during the day, these call features easily make this one of the most useful apps I have ever used, and certainly on of my favourites.

You Phone is currently only available on Android, and due to the locked-down nature of Apple, will likely never be available on that platform. So if you’re using Android 7.0 or above, and running Windows 10 you should consider giving Your Phone a try. Now, if you spend little to no time in front of a PC, this app won’t be much use for you, but users such as myself will find this app to be incredibly useful.

Where Can You Get You Phone?

What do think of Your Phone? I’d love to hear your thoughts and feedback in the comments section below!

‘Tile’ helps you find things when you need them the most!

The “Tile” is a Bluetooth enabled tag that will help you keep track of things like your keys, wallet or laptop.

If you are like me, you are constantly misplacing your keys or wallet at home. Despite several efforts to create a designated home for my keys and wallet when at home it just never works out. I set a bowl on the table near the garage door, quickly that bowl is full of other orphaned items leaving no room for the keys, so i set them at the next place I come across or simply forget to drop them there and will leave them on the bed side stand. 

Inevitably, when I am walking out the door to head to the gym, work, store or wherever I can never find my keys. This is not an exaggeration, it is just a fact. Countless times I have had to run around the house like a maniac looking for on of, or both of, my keys or wallet.

Then I discovered Tile and all that has changed.

What is Tile?

Tile is a small Bluetooth enabled block or “tile” and is about 1in x 1in in size. 

Tile, when paired with your phone via the Tile App allows you to locate your tile, therefore leading you to your misplaced item. 

From within the Tile app you will see your list of Tiles, as well as your phone (more on that later). By taping the item you are looking for, and then on the “Find” button and your Tile will start ringing to alert you of its location.

Another handy feature for some (not myself as my phone is permanently tethered to me) is the ability to ring your phone by pressing the “e” on the Tile itself. This, again providing the phone is i range, will ring your phone, until you tell the Tile app you have found your phone.  

You can also share your tile with a friend or family member which will allow them to also try and find your missing item.

So that is all that is great about the Tile. Are there any cons? There are a few.

The Tile battery is not replaceable. To some this may be an inconvenience. I personally would prefer a replaceable battery that I could swap out as needed and recycle the old one through the various recycling programs available in my area. However, not everyone prefers this and Tile makes sure it is easy for you to safely return your old Tile for recycled, keeping the depleted battery of the Tile out of a landfill. When the battery runs out, and you order via their reTile program, Tile sends a long a return envelope More info on that can be found here. https://www.thetileapp.com/reTile. 

The second concern I would attribute to the Tile is its size relative to another e-tag device with similar functions, the “TrackR“. When on your key ring or hidden away in your bag, the size of the Tile is not a concern. However, when placing the Tile in a wallet, it adds significant bulk to an already bulky personal item. This is a very minor concern however. 

Ultimately, I do think the Tile is a wonderful little accessory that will help you keep track of your personal items that seem to grow legs and wonder off, and I highly recommend checking it out. Keep in mind though, that they are disposable items and not perfect for every use case they offer.

Check the Tile out over on their site!

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