How to disable ‘Complete your timeline’ alerts from Google Maps

Google Maps actively accesses location data when you use the app on your mobile. It’s no secret and the app obviously cannot function unless it has this information. The app also continues to use your location when it is no longer running or in the background. This allows it to always show you your updated location and to help you navigate if you’re using it for directions. The only annoying part is that even if you never access the app, it still knows when you’ve visited a place. It will send you alerts to add these locations to your history and ‘Complete your timeline’.

Google Maps detects that you’ve visited a place when you travel from one location to another, make an extended stop, and then leave said location. It’s simple enough to figure out and since it has exact location data, it can also tell very accurately where you went. On the app’s part, it is being pro-active but if you’d rather not get these alerts, you will have to disable location history to do so. Here’s how.

Disable location history

You can disable location history from any web browser though you might have a better time of it if you do it from your desktop. Visit the Location History settings for your Google Account at this link. Sign in to your Google account, and then turn off Location History.

You will see a prompt asking if you really want to turn off location history, and what you stand to lose if you choose to disable it. You will basically stop seeing location-based recommendations which, depending on how often you got them and how useful they were to you, might be a trade-off you have to make.

The setting is applied across all your devices and all apps that are using the same Google account.

Google does not share this location history with anyone. It tells you as much in the confirmation prompt you get when you disable location history but, it still has a lot of information, in fact, every single bit of location information for you. You don’t even have to check-in to a location for the app to know you were there. That isn’t going to go away when you turn location history off but Google will not be able to keep a record of it.

If you find the recommendations useful, or you have your own reasons for keeping location history on, you’re going to have to put up with the alerts asking you to add locations you’ve visited to your timeline. You might want to look into how you can periodically delete Google account data.

Read How to disable ‘Complete your timeline’ alerts from Google Maps by Fatima Wahab on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter

How to use Siri to remember where you parked on iOS

Siri has access to your location data and it uses the information to show you the weather and run shortcuts that need to use your location, among other things. Location data is generally used by map apps, weather apps, or any other variation of these that help you find some sort of location. Apps like Snapchat or Instagram may use it to tag photos and load related filters, and your camera app adds the location to a photo’s metadata. The point is, it’s used in all sorts of different ways, with or without Siri. As far as Siri is concerned though, you can use location data and have Siri remember where you parked.

Siri: Remember where I parked my car

Make sure Siri has access to your location data. Open the Settings app and go to Privacy>Location Services. Make sure location services are on, and then look for Siri & Dictation. Make sure it has access to your location data.

Once you’ve made sure Siri can access your location, you can ask it to save where you’re parked. After you’re parked, activate Siri and say ‘Siri, remember where I parked my car’.

Siri will show you a Map with a pin dropped on where you’re parked to show it’s saved the location. When you need to find where you’re parked, activate Siri and ask it to tell you where you parked by saying, ‘Siri, where did I park my car?’

Siri will bring up the location on the map. You can tap it and it will open Apple Maps which you can then use to navigate to the location where you parked your car.

You can share the location as well but this has a limitation: accuracy. The location is correct up to 500 meters which, while not a lot, will not always pin point you to the exact place your car is parked.

When you’ve found your car, and are ready to drive away, don’t forget to tell Siri to also discard the information. To do that, activate Siri again, and tell it ‘Siri, forget where I parked my car’. Siri will confirm that it will forget your parking location. If you don’t have Siri forget the location, it may mix them up the next time you use it to save another one.

One hack that a lot of people use when trying to remember where they parked is to take a photo of the surrounding area, making sure to include something that is unlikely to move e.g, a store front or a sign. You can use this trick to work around the accuracy limitation that Siri has.

Read How to use Siri to remember where you parked on iOS by Fatima Wahab on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter

How to schedule a group call on Skype

Skype has slowly been returning to its roots and adding lots of new, useful call features. It’s recently added a subtitle feature for calls, a bookmarking option for messages, and a neat screen sharing feature for its mobile apps. As of a recent update, you can now schedule a group call on Skype. This feature has rolled out to the Skype web interface, the Skype desktop apps for Windows 10 and macOS, and the Skype iOS and Android apps. Here’s how it works.

Schedule a group call on Skype

In order to schedule a group call on Skype, you must already have a group created. If you don’t have a group, go ahead and create one first.

Web, Windows, and macOS

The method for scheduling a group call on Skype is the same on Skype web and on the Windows and macOS apps. Open Skype and select the group you want to schedule a call with. Click the more options button next to the video message, send a contact, and add files buttons. From the menu, select the ‘Schedule a call’ option.

A new window will open where you can enter the title of the call i.e., the topic, and the date and time for the call. This will send out an invite to everyone in the group and they will have the option to accept or decline it. You can also enable a reminder for the call with your invitation.

iOS and Android apps

Make sure you’re running the latest version of the Skype app on your phone. Check the app store on your device for an available update, and install it.

Open Skype, and select the group you’d like to schedule a call with. Tap the plus button next to the text input field and from the menu that opens, select the ‘Schedule a Call’ option. You will be able to enter a title for the call, set a date and time, and enable a reminder.

Skype remains the go-to app for official calls in many places. Slack hasn’t been able to dethrone it just yet but despite Skype being so popular, calls and their scheduling has been done through apps/services like Outlook and Google Calendar. Not only is this an excellent new feature, but it can also do with being expanded to include call invites for one-on-one calls. There should also be an option to add a scheduled call for recurring calls e.g., those that happen regularly.

Read How to schedule a group call on Skype by Fatima Wahab on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter

How to block group invites on WhatsApp

Group messaging is a useful feature you’ll find on most messaging apps including Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and even iMessages. A group chat can get out of hand though, especially if there is no check on who can be added to a group or who can add you to a group. WhatsApp has been lax in this area for a long time. There is no reasonable upper limit on the number of people that can be in a group but, you can now finally block group invites on WhatsApp from people you do not know.

Block group invites on WhatsApp

This is a new feature on WhatsApp and it’s available on both iOS and Android versions of the app. Make sure the app on your device is up to date.

Go to the Settings tab, and tap on Account. On the Account screen, go to Privacy.

On the Privacy screen, look for the Groups option and tap it. On the Groups screen, you can choose who can, and who cannot invite you to a group. The default is set to ‘Everyone’. This means that anyone who has your phone number, regardless if you’ve ever sent them a message can invite/add you to a goup.

The ‘My Contacts’ option allows only those users who you’ve exchanged messages with, and added to your contacts to add you to a group. This means that, for the most part, you will only be added to groups by people you trust.

The ‘My Contacts Except…’ option allows you to exclude certain contacts from adding you to a WhatsApp group. This is the most restrictive option and you can use it to block invites from a contact who tends to add you to groups that aren’t useful.

The setting will have an impact on future group invites. If you’re already a part of a group thread that was started by someone you do not know, or you were added by someone not in your contacts list, you will still remain a part of it. You can always leave a group by going to its details screen. If leaving a group puts you in a social bind, you can just mute it instead. A group chat can be muted for up to one year before it’s automatically unmuted.

A muted group chat won’t send you notifications. The messages will be delivered silently and you can go back and read them whenever you want. Group members will not know that you’ve muted the group however, they will know if you’ve read a message or not.

Read How to block group invites on WhatsApp by Fatima Wahab on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter

How to create and name iMessage groups on iOS

iMessage is limited to just Apple devices; if you have an iPhone, an iPad, or a Mac, you can send and receive iMessages. If not, you’re going to have to stick to simple text messages. iMessages let you send more feature-rich messages than regular text messages and it stands to reason that you’d be able to create entire groups for messaging. Here’s how you can create and name iMessage groups on iOS.

iMessage groups can only include other contacts that use iMessages i.e., those that own an Apple device that supports iMessage, and have iMessages enabled.

Create iMessage group

There’s no dedicated button for creating an iMessage group. Instead, you have one button for creating a new message. Tap it, and in the ‘To:’ field, enter everyone you want to send a message to. Enter the message, and send it. This will create a group and everyone included in the ‘To:’ field will be a part of it.

Since it’s a group message, all replies will appear in the group and will be visible to everyone else. By default, the group doesn’t get a name. It is represented simply by the number of people in it. It helps that the contact photo for those in the group is shown at the top but when you have one too many contacts in a group, this might become less relevant.

Name iMessage group

You can name an iMessage group. To do so, open the group thread and tap the little arrow under the number of people. Tap the Info button and on the Details screen, you will see a ‘Name’ field. Tap it, and enter a name for the group. The name will be updated and you will see a notification within the thread telling you that the group’s name has been changed. You can change the name as many times as you want.

There’s no concept of a group administrator in iMessages. You can create as many groups with the same people in it as you want. Even if you never rename a group, you’re still free to create multiple groups with the same people in it.

Other contacts in the group can change its name and you will likewise get a notification for it. The change in the name will apply to everyone. Likewise, everyone in the group message can add other people from their contacts to it. Those people will, in turn, have the option to add others and to rename the group as well.

Read How to create and name iMessage groups on iOS by Fatima Wahab on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter