It’s safe to say that 2020 was unprecedented in many ways—including record time spent online across the nation.
If your drive to work, play, and connect has found you turning to your devices for help, you’re in good company. Of course, the added time we’ve spent online can also make us more aware than ever of the need to ramp up our tech know-how.
If you’ve been wondering, “How do I improve my tech skills?” we’ve got you covered. Here are seven key tech tricks to help you enhance your knowledge in 2021 and beyond!
1. Improve Your Wi-Fi Signal
With all of us tethered to our digital devices more often than ever, getting a solid Wi-Fi signal can feel crucial. There’s nothing worse than flakey home Wi-Fi—but fortunately, a few easy technology tricks can help you boost your signal.
First, you may not realize that interference from neighboring Wi-Fi signals can affect the quality of your own Wi-Fi, in addition to uninvited guests.
That’s where Wi-Fi analyzer apps come in. These apps help you understand how overlap and congestion affect your wireless network, allowing you to optimize your home network with a little tweaking. Grab a free app to help you understand your Wi-Fi issues, as most of them will make recommendations to help you speed up your connection.
Of course, when all else fails, you may want to invest in a wireless range extender. These tools help you amplify your Wi-Fi signal throughout the house, even to those tricky areas with spotty coverage. Plus, most of them work with little effort, making for faster streaming and better signal overall right after plugging them in.
2. Hide People on Twitter Without Blocking Them
It’s no secret that Twitter is one of the most popular social media networks—but it isn’t without its issues. The platform is often prone to infectious and angry arguments, which can make it a less than ideal space to get your updates.
Here’s a little-known Twitter trick to help: the mute button! This button doesn’t force you to block an account, but it does hide all tweets and retweets from your timeline. In other words, you can escape the negative energy of any accounts you still want to follow.
This can be especially useful if you want to see fewer updates from someone without potentially offending them by unfollowing.
To make this work, click the settings menu to the right of a user’s profile. From there, you can select mute to get them off your feed.
3. Remotely Log Out of Social Media
If you’ve ever had the dawning realization that you forgot to log out of a social media account on a public or shared device, you know true horror. Privacy is a critical concern nowadays, so it’s a good idea to know what to do if you’ve left a session open without intending to.
Most social media platforms, in addition to many email platforms, allow you to log out of all social media sessions at once. Find the details here to make sure you’ve removed access to any accounts that matter.
4. Add a Virtual Background to Zoom
The Zoom craze may have first blossomed in early 2020, but the demand for interesting backgrounds shows no sign of stopping this coming year.
The right Zoom virtual background can entertain friends, showcase a professional setting to colleagues, share a unique message with students, or create icebreakers for meetings with strangers. Don’t miss out on the subtle power of the perfect backdrop!
5. Stop Sending Typos
Whether you’re writing a professional email or sending a message to a friend, there’s nothing more embarrassing than seeing a spelling or grammar mistake once you’ve already pressed “send.” If you don’t have grammar software installed on your computer, 2021 is the year to stop shaming yourself online!
There’s a host of free online spelling and grammar checkers available, but the most popular and powerful of these continues to be Grammarly. Grab it today for help with grammar, spelling, sentence construction, definitions and thesaurus help, and more—and don’t forget to add the plugin for help on any field you’re typing into.
6. Check for Data Breaches
Data breaches are on the rise, which means monitoring your sensitive information is a must in this year and beyond.
If you’re concerned about your personal data—as you should be—it’s a good idea to bookmark HaveIBeenPwned.com for future use. This website can let you know if your email address has been compromised in a data breach, and it can even monitor your information going forward to ensure you can change passwords as soon as possible after future breaches.
One extra note to add to your tech tips: if you haven’t done so already, there’s no better time to start using a free password manager to store strong, unique passwords on every website!
7. Hack Your YouTube Use
We watch billions of YouTube videos every single day, and if you’re hooked on this popular video-sharing site, it’s worth knowing a few simple hacks to make the most of your viewing time.
If you can, make sure you’ve installed some free ad-blocking software to ensure privacy and remove pre-roll ads. However, if you prefer not to use this type of plugin, or if you’re working with a device that doesn’t support ad-blocking (or one that isn’t yours), there are still ways around those annoying commercials. One simple tip involves adding a period to the domain name, while another works by adding “_popup” after the word “watch” in the URL.
To watch age-restricted videos without logging in, adding “nsfw” before “youtube” in the URL is all you’ll need.
Don’t forget a few other simple shortcuts:
- Pressing J rewinds 10 seconds
- Pressing L fast-forwards 10 seconds
- Pressing F starts full-screen mode
- Pressing M mutes the sound
- Pressing the up and down arrows boosts or lowers the volume
With these simple tricks, you’ll find it much easier to watch your favorite videos with less trouble!
Make Use of These Key Tech Tricks
With some of the best tech secrets and most essential tools you’ll need, these seven tech tricks are a great way to make your life a little easier this year. Taking the time to consider everything from your Wi-Fi to your privacy can help you stay harness the power of the latest digital updates, so put them to use today!
For more of the crucial tech tips you need in life, check out our other posts.