How To Change The Google Assistant Voice [Android]

Google I/O 2018 has a few highlight moments but most of the stuff showcased at the event will not be available for quite a while. The Google Maps direction finding tools is definitely something that cannot roll out too soon. A somewhat less impressive announcement at the event was that new voices were being added to Google Assistant. This particular feature is already available for anyone who wants to try it out. Here’s how you can change the Google Assistant Voice.

Some users are able to access the new voices on Google Assistant for iOS however, the option doesn’t appear to be visible for everyone. For Android users, there’s no discrimination here. Anyone with a device that supports Google Assistant can try out one of the new Google Assistant voices.

Google Assistant Voice

Open Google Assistant by tapping and holding the home button on your Android phone. If you’ve disabled Google Assistant, you will have to enable it before you can launch it from the home button on your device. If you use an app launcher that takes control of the home button, you can replace the launcher with the default one, or you can swipe to the Google feed screen, and tap the hamburger icon at the top. Select Settings from the navigation drawer and under the Google Assistant section, tap Settings. On the Settings scree, tap Preferences and then tap Assistant Voice.

If you’re using Google Assistant via the home button, activate it and tap the blue box at the top right. On the next screen, tap the three dots button and select Settings. Tap Preferences, and then Assistant Voice.

You will see a list of eight different voices that you can choose. Select a voice, and tap the speaker icon to hear what it sounds like (make sure the media volume isn’t muted). That’s about it. The next time you use Google Assistant, it will respond in the new voice.

If you’re using Google Assistant on an iOS device, the process will be more or less the same for changing the Google Assistant voice however the new voices may not be available. On Android, the voices are generally available to all users however if you don’t see the new voice options it may have something to do with the device that you own. The Google Assistant app has a little ‘Availability’ section on the voice selection screen that says the voices, and their availability might be limited by device. We’re hoping this means that all Android phones will get the new vices but some devices like certain tablets or perhaps smart speakers won’t.

If your device doesn’t have the new voices just yet, you might have to wait until the next major version of Android is released and perhaps then it will be added. Make sure that all your apps are up to date.

Read How To Change The Google Assistant Voice [Android] by Fatima Wahab on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter

How To Fix The Block Dot Crash On iOS

No one could have foreseen how many problems unicode would cause on iPhones. There was no way to predict it but here we are with yet another bug that can crash apps on iOS. Earlier this year, a telugu character caused messaging apps to crash and in some cases, put your iPhone in a boot loop. The new unicode bug manifests in the form of a little black dot which, if sent to anyone with an iOS device running iOS 11.3 and iOS 11.4, will cause the app to crash. This can happen on just about any messaging app. If you’ve been a victim, here’s how you can fix it and use the affected app again.

Fix The Block Dot Crash

What you need to do is get the message with the black dot off your screen so that iOS doesn’t try and display it. Assuming the app is stuck on your screen, you need to first return to your home screen. The obvious way to do this is to tap the home button, or the home bar indicator if you have an iPhone X. If that doesn’t work, just invoke Siri and then tap the home button to return to your home screen. Quit the affected app i.e., remove it from recent apps.

Next, you need to clear the app’s message thread so that when you open it, the message with the black dot isn’t the one that iOS has to load. To do that, invoke Siri and have her send several messages to the contact that sent you the black dot. Make sure you send at least five or eight to push the black dot further up. Once you’ve done that, open the messages app, and it will load without crashing.

Return to the main screen of the messages app, swipe left on the contact that sent you the black dot, and delete the conversation thread. If the affected app isn’t the Messages app, use Siri to send a message through the affected app by saying, ‘Hey Siri, send a message to [contact] on [app name]’. If your iPhone has 3D touch, check to see if the 3D touch options for that app allow you to compose a new message. The app is still working but if you open it, it will freeze. There’s nothing wrong with the app itself. It’s iOS 11 that’s having trouble rending a character that you’ve received.

Once the crash has been resolved, you might want to talk to the ‘friend’ that sent you the message and maybe use the handy block feature to contain them until Apple fixes it.

Read How To Fix The Block Dot Crash On iOS by Fatima Wahab on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter

How To View WiFi Network Strength On iOS

WiFi network strength is something you consider when you have more than one network that you can connect to. At home, you only have the one network that you pay for so regardless if your neighbor’s WiFi is better you can still only use your own.

In a public area where there are are several public networks for you to choose from, you will want to check WiFi network strength and connect to the strongest one. Both iOS and Android have a built-in tool that lets you view WiFi network strength. Here’s how it works in iOS.

WiFi Network Strength

On iOS, if you want a cursory look at which network is stronger, you need only open the Settings app. Select WiFi and wait for the available networks to be listed. Look at the little WiFi icon next to each network. The number of filled arcs will indicate which is the stronger network.

In the screenshot below, you can see that the network called The Bat Cave is not as strong as the network called FATIMA-WAHAB.

The filled in arcs are a quick visual way to check signal strength but it doesn’t tell you much because there isn’t a lot of range. If you want a more precise reading on the signal strength, you can install an app called AirPort Utility by Apple.

Install the app and open the Settings app. Scroll down until you find AirPort Utility. Tap the app, and enable Wi-Fi scanner. Once you’ve done that, open the AirPort Utility app from your home screen. Tap WiFi Scan and wait for it to scan all nearby networks. Each network will appear with a stat called Dbm. It will be a negative value. The bigger this value is, the better the signal strength.

In the screenshot below, -27dBm is bigger than -73dBm which means the network called FATIMA-WAHAB is stronger than the network called The Bat Cave. Make sure you revoke the app’s Wi-Fi scanning access once you’re done or it will drain your battery.

There are many other apps that do what AirPort Utility does. If you have an app that can track your data usage, it may have a similar feature that lets you view WiFi network strength.

It’s a shame that iOS doesn’t offer more information with respect to the network strength but if we’re being honest, most users will suffice with the visual aid since it’s easier to understand and gives a general idea of what they need to know.

Read How To View WiFi Network Strength On iOS by Fatima Wahab on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter

How To Add An Anniversary To Calendar On iOS

On iOS, the information saved to your contacts is synced to Calendar. If you have a contact synced from Facebook, their birthday will appear in the Calendar app. You can add other calendars to the Calendar app and all events, birthdays, and anniversaries will sync to it. You can also add events to the app and get reminders for them. iOS is smart enough to pick events from Mail invites and add them automatically to Calendar. Surprisingly, you cannot add an annual event, such as an anniversary to Calendar. You can sync information from other apps that store this type of information but you can’t just add it directly. There are workarounds to this limitation though.

Add Annual Google Calendar Event

The Calendar app on iOS doesn’t let you add annual events but Google Calendar does. You can add an annual event in Google Calendar, and then sync Google Calendar to the Calendar app on iOS.

To create an annual event in Google Calendar, visit Google Calendar and click inside the time slot on the day of the annual event you want to add. Fill in the basic detail i.e., the name, and then click the More Options button.

On the More Options screen, you will see a dropdown labeled ‘Do not repeat’. From this dropdown, select the annual event option. Remove any other reminders that you don’t want associated with this event.

Next, open the Settings app on your iPhone or iPad. Go to Accounts & Passwords, and tap Add Account. Select Google on the next screen, and sign in with your Google account. Sync only the Calendar, if you don’t want to sync email and contacts.

Visit the Calendar app, and your annual event will appear on the date you added it on.

Add Fake Contact

If the Google Calendar route seems a bit too long and tedious to set up, you can go with an easier and quicker hack; create a fake contact. You can name the contact anything you want but it’s best to give it the same name as the annual event you want to add. Once you’ve added the contact, enter a birthday for it. That birthday should be the date of the anniversary or annual event you want to add.

This workaround has an obvious shortcoming; you will have lots of fake contacts that are added just for the sake of adding annual events. If you only need to add one anniversary to Calendar, you can use this second hack but if you have to add more then consider using the Google Calendar annual event method.

Read How To Add An Anniversary To Calendar On iOS by Fatima Wahab on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter

How To Turn Off Quick Add On Snapchat For Your Account

Snapchat introduced snapcodes as a quick way to add friends on Snapchat. It later expanded snapcodes to work for websites as well. Predictably, this particular feature has been copied by Facebook Messenger. Snapcodes are basically Snapchat branded QR codes that are easier to use than your username when it comes to adding you on Snapchat. Another quick way to add friends on Snapchat is the Quick Add method. Quick Add on Snapchat is like Facebook suggesting you should add your friends of friends. This means you appear as a suggested friend to other people. If you’d like to turn off quick add on Snapchat, and prevent other people from seeing you appear as a suggested friend, you can.

Quick Add On Snapchat

Open Snapchat and tap the image/thumbnail at the top left. It switches between your Bitmoji avatar, and the most recent photo you posted to your Snapchat story. On your profile screen, tap the cog wheel button at the top. This will take you to your settings.

On the Settings screen, scroll down to the Who Can section, and tap ‘See Me in Quick Add’. On the Quick Add screen, turn the Show me in ‘Quick Add option off’.

From this point forward, friends of your friends will not see your account appear as a suggested friend to add on Snapchat. This doesn’t mean that everything you post to Snapchat will be restricted to your friends. This setting will not change the visibility of anything else that you post on Snapchat.

Limitations

Even though you’ve turned off quick add on Snapchat for your account, you will still see suggestions under quick add when you search for new friends to add. This setting that you turned off controls your account’s visibility but it does not enable or disable the feature. Additionally, if you’ve shared your snapcode with someone, or they get a hold of it somehow, they will be able to add you on Snapchat by scanning the snapcode. There is no way to hide or disable add by snapcode. It’s something that is one of the more successful features of Snapchat and at the end of the day, the app is a social media app. It’s going to make it as easy as possible to add more friends.

If you want to prevent people from adding you via snapcode, you’re going to have to be vigilant about where you share it. For example, you need to make sure you don’t post screenshots of it anywhere, and that your friends who can see your snapcode aren’t likely to share it with anyone else.

Read How To Turn Off Quick Add On Snapchat For Your Account by Fatima Wahab on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter