How to send audio messages on Instagram

Instagram has been working to improve the messaging side of its app. It may be a place to share photos but it is slowly also becoming a messaging platform for many users. We’d be lying if we said messaging wasn’t something everyone was getting into and Instagram isn’t any different. The newest feature to  be added to the app allows you to send audio messages on Instagram.

Audio messages on Instagram

Make sure you’re running the latest version of the Instagram app on you phone. This feature is available for both  iOS and Android and it works only via direct messages.

Open the Instagram app and tap the paper plane button at the top. This will take you to your Direct Messages screen. Start a new chat thread or tap an existing one. In the enter text field you will see a mic icon. Tap and hold it to record an audio message. When you release it, the message will be sent.

There aren’t any apparent limitations on how long a video message can be and whether or not it will expire after a certain period of time. At present, the feature is implemented with little attention to convenience. If you look at the same feature on Whatsapp, you will see that you can record voice messages in a hands-free mode which makes it far easier to use.

Instagram has been working to improve the social aspect of its app for a while now. It does routinely copy features from Snapchat to make its core function i.e., sharing pictures and videos, more interactive but it has been introducing new ways that people can connect with each other quickly.

In October, it introduced Nametags which are basically QR codes for following users. What’s odd is that this feature comes after video chat was introduced. Not only has Instagram supported video chat since June of this year, it also supports group video chats. The audio messages maybe ought to have come first but regardless the sequence, they will be useful.

Instagram is owned by Facebook and the company is always looking to corner the market on photo sharing and messaging apps. Considering it owns both Instagram and Whatsapp, and obviously Facebook Messenger, it’s safe to say that it has the monopoly it wants. Facebook has been in the news for breaching trust and being shady about user data and privacy so if people eventually abandon the platform, they will look for alternatives. It helps if Facebook already owns the popular ones.

Read How to send audio messages on Instagram by Fatima Wahab on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter

How to enable subtitles for Skype calls on Windows 10

Audio video calls have changed the way we communicate. A few years ago, Skype was the only app that could reliably make both audio and video calls but since then, a whole host of other messaging apps have joined the fray and are actually doing better than Skype. Skype has been working to make its call feature stand out from other apps. It has added a code editor that can be accessed during a call, and it’s also added subtitles though, by default they aren’t enabled. Here’s how you can enable subtitles for Skype calls.

Enable subtitles for Skype calls

This a new feature and it’s available on the UWP Skype app and the iOS and Android apps. Make sure you’re running the latest version of the apps. Subtitles can be enabled on a per-call basis, or for all calls.

To enable subtitles for a specific Skype call, initiate the call or accept an incoming call. When the call connects, click the plus button at the bottom right and select ‘Turn subtitles on’ from the menu. This will enable subtitles for that call only. If the call disconnects or you hang up and call again, you’re going to have to turn subtitles on again.

To enable subtitles for all Skype calls, open the Skype app and click the more options button at the top right of the column on the left. Select Settings from the menu.

On the Settings window, go to the Calling tab, and select Call Subtitles. Turn on the ‘Show subtitles for all voice and video calls’ switch.

The feature has also rolled out to the Skype iOS and Android apps. To enable subtitles for all calls on the Skype app, open the app and tap your profile thumbnail. On the profile screen, tap Settings, go to Calling, and select Call subtitles. Enable subtitles from the switch and they will show up for all calls.

To enable subtitles for specific calls, initiate a call and once it’s connected, tap the plus button at the bottom. In the overlay menu, tap the Turn subtitles on button to enable subtitles for that call. Like the desktop version, the subtitles will only be enabled for this call. If you end it, and start a new call with the same contact, you will have to enable it again.

Subtitles aren’t enabled for all languages. They’re specific to a select few languages and only time will tell how good they are. It’s worth mentioning that YouTube has auto-subtitles and they are terrible. Let’s see how well Skype handles them.

Read How to enable subtitles for Skype calls on Windows 10 by Fatima Wahab on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter

How to create and share collections on Facebook

Facebook added a bookmarking feature a few years ago to both its web and mobile apps. This feature, known as ‘Saved’ allows you to save anything from links, photos, pages, to places and events. It’s useful for when you need to recall something. After 4 years, the feature is finally being updated. You can now selectively group items from your Saved list into collections. You can then share collections on Facebook with your friends and invite them to contribute to them as well.

Collections on Facebook

You can create and share collections on Facebook from both the desktop web version and from the apps.

Facebook Web

Visit Facebook and from the column on the left, click Saved. On your Saved page, you ought to see a New Collection button. Click it, give your collection a name, and you’re done.

Once you’ve created a collection, return to the Saved list and you will see a ‘Add to Collection’ button next to every single item in the list. Click it, select the collection you want to add the item to, and it will be added to the collection.

To share a collection with a friend, and invite them to add items to it as well you’re going to have to go to the Facebook apps. The collaboration feature has not been added to the web interface.

Facebook app

Make sure your Facebook app is up to date. Open the app and go to the hamburger tab. Tap Saved, and on the Saved screen you will see a Create a Collection button. Tap it, name your collection, and you can start adding items to it.

Collections on the Facebook app are far better designed compared to the web interface. You can add collaborators from the collection’s page by tapping the Invite button, and you can add items to it by tapping the Add Items button. On the app, you can add items from your Saved list and also from outside it.

This feature is going to be handy. The Saved list allows you to retrieve pages and posts you’re interested in and Collections will allow you to collaborate with your friends if you’re planning an event e.g., a lunch.

It certainly beats sharing links and pages over a chat thread where you have to constantly scroll through it to find something. There doesn’t seem to be any limit to how many friends you can invite to a collection or how many items can be added to one.

Read How to create and share collections on Facebook by Fatima Wahab on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter

How to automatically disable mobile data on WiFi on Android

When you use your mobile data instead of a WiFi network, your phone’s battery drains faster. This isn’t an Android specific thing. It also happens on iPhones, and any other portable device that can connect to a mobile network. Most people keep their mobile data off until they have to go outside and know they won’t be connected to a WiFi network. If you keep your mobile data on in case your WiFi isn’t working, your battery drains much faster. Android has a built-in feature that lets you automatically disable mobile data on WiFi.

This feature is kind of hidden. It’s only available if you have Developer options enabled.

Enable Developer Options

You need to first enable developer options. Open the Settings app and go to the About Phone section. On some phones, you might have an About device section. Under this section, you need to find the Build number or the Build Information.

Tap the build number seven times and it will enable Developer options.

Disable mobile data on WiFi

Now that you have developer options enabled, open the Settings app and tap Developer Options. Developer Options might be nested under another set of settings. Once you’re on the Developer options screen, scroll down to the Networking group of settings, and turn the ‘Mobile data always active’ option off.

With this option turned off, your device’s mobile data will be turned off when it’s connected to a WiFi network. When your device loses connectivity to a WiFi network, whether it’s because the router has been turned off, the network isn’t working, or you’ve left a WiFi network’s range, mobile data will be turned back on.

When your phone’s battery is low, and you can’t get to a charging point, turning the mobile data off will help it last longer. The difference it makes can be quite a bit. If you’re looking to extend how much use you get out of a single charge, you can also enable low battery mode but doing so will not turn off mobile data. It’s something you have to manually turn off.

iOS has something similar called WiFi Assist though if you want to disable it, you don’t need to enable any special settings. Remember that it’s ‘similar’, not exact. What the feature on iOS does is that it prevents your device from using your cellular data when the WiFi network signal is weak. It doesn’t turn cellular data off. It can prevent your cellular data from being used unnecessarily but it won’t help your battery last longer.

Read How to automatically disable mobile data on WiFi on Android by Fatima Wahab on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter

How to track your Instagram Activity

Instagram announced a while ago that it would introduce a feature that allowed users to track how much time they spend on the app. That feature, dubbed Activity is now live for both iOS and Android users. Make sure you’re running the latest version of the app and you will be able to view your Instagram Activity, and limit how much time you spend on it. Here’s how.

Instagram Activity

Open Instagram and go to your Profile tab. Tap the hamburger/more options icon at the top right. In the navigation drawer that opens, you will see a ‘Your Activity’ option. If you don’t see it, give it a day or two.

When you tap Your Activity, it will show you how much time, on average, you spend on Instagram. Each bar corresponds to time spent on a particular day. If you tap and hold on a bar, it will show you how much time you spent on Instagram on that day.

To limit how much time you spend on Instagram, tap the ‘Set Daily Reminder’ option under the activity graph. Select how long you want to use Instagram, and tap Set Reminder.

You can also manage your notifications settings from this same screen though it doesn’t offer any new settings. It’s the same ones the app had before the activity controls were added.

When your allotted activity time runs out, i.e., you’ve used Instagram for longer than you’ve set in the Daily Reminder, you will see an on-screen alert telling you how much time you’ve spent. You can dismiss it and continue using Instagram if you want. It isn’t going to force you off the app. You can also edit the reminder time from the alert if you need to.

Social media can soak up a lot of time and people are realizing that spending too much time on any sort of social media platform is bad for you. It isn’t just because you’re constantly staring at a screen but also because it can have an impact on your mental health. iOS 12 has a feature called Screen Time that lets you limit how long you use social media apps on your phone. However, consuming too much social media isn’t a platform specific problem. Everyone, regardless if they use an iPhone or an Android phone, needs to keep track of their social media consumption which is why it makes sense for apps to have the feature built-in instead of relying on the OS to add it.

Read How to track your Instagram Activity by Fatima Wahab on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter