How to stop the 5 most annoying things

When it comes to consumer technology, there’s a huge list of things that can drive us all crazy.

Take your slow wifi. You can’t stream, you can’t join a video conference, and it always happens at the worst possible time. Tap or click smart ways to speed up your home’s connection.

How about wading through thousands of photos and searching for the one you want? Tap or click for a quick shortcut, along with four other smart tech fixes — like a hidden way to know a scammer is calling without picking up your phone.

Our smartphones help us get a lot done, but that doesn’t mean we don’t want to throw them out the window sometimes. Here are the most common complaints I hear about and ways to fix them:

1. Your screen brightness is constantly changing

Apple’s Face ID can do more than just unlock your phone. It can also tell when you’re paying attention to your phone. If you look away, your screen will dim and your notification volume will also decrease.

The fluctuating brightness can be frustrating. You can turn off this feature.

• Go to settings > Accessibility > Face Recognition & Attention.

• Turn out Attention-Aware Functions.

On Android, adaptive brightness, or auto-brightness, uses a sensor to adjust the screen based on your surroundings. Sometimes it works well, but not always.

The steps will vary depending on your phone model, but here’s a starting point.

• Go to settingsthen advertisement.

• Find and toggle adaptive brightness out.

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2. Your conversation partner cannot hear you

When you’re on the phone, your iPhone monitors the noise around you and tries to reduce it so the person you’re talking to can understand you better. It’s a nice feature, but it could become “wait, what did you say?” too often.

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First, check your microphone volume. During a call, press the volume up button to adjust this. You can turn off the noise-cancelling feature if people are still having trouble understanding you.

• Go to settings > Accessibility > Audio/Visual and change out Phone Noise Cancellation.

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3. You don’t want the bloatware

Android phones are notorious for coming preloaded with apps you don’t want or need. These strange programs slow down your phone and eat up storage space and battery life.

There are a few ways to get rid of bloating.

Remove apps from your Android phone:

• Open this Google Play Store app.

• Tap your in the top right corner profile icon.

• Beat Manage apps and devices > Administer.

• Tap the App name you want to delete, and then select Uninstall.

Some apps cannot be deleted. You can turn them off by long-pressing the app and tapping Deactivate Option – or you can hide it on some Android phones.

Hide apps by tapping and holding the app and dragging it to the Remove from home screen box at the bottom of the screen. This will not remove or disable the app; it just shifts it out of sight.

Hide apps on your Samsung phone

• Open your app drawerthen tap three points top right.

• Open Home screen settings (or only settings).

• Choose Hide apps Possibility.

• Select the apps you want to hide.

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• Confirm via Apply or Finished Button.

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4. Your group text is too garrulous

Group messages are a fantastic way to keep in touch with friends and family, but the constant pings can be overwhelming. To mute conversations on your iPhone:

• Open Messagesthen tap and hold a conversation.

• Beat Hide Warnings.

• You can also do this within the conversation by tapping the name(s) at the top of the screen and then switching on Hide Warnings.

It’s a helpful option, but you’ll still get notifications when someone mentions you in group text. You can also disable this type of notification.

• Go to settings > Messages.

• Scroll down to Mentions and switch out Notify me.

On Android, the steps to hide call notifications vary depending on your phone model. Try this:

• Open Messagesthen tap and hold a conversation.

• Tap the Three dots icon in the upper right corner.

• Choose Mute notifications to open the settings for that contact or conversation.

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5. You miss the home button

The iPhone 8 was the last model with a home button. It’s been a long time, but I know that change is hard and you might still miss it. You can’t install a physical home button on your phone, but there’s a feature that can get you close:

• Go to settings > Accessibility > Touch > AssistiveTouch.

• Turn on AssistiveTouch. A button will appear on your screen.

• Under Custom Actions, change the settings for single tap, double tap, and long press.

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• If you want the home button experience to be as similar as possible, Set Single Tap to Homeand then drag the button to the middle of the bottom edge of the screen.

• Now tapping this virtual button will take you to your home screen. Clean!

Keep your technical knowledge up to date

My favorite podcast is called Kim Komando Today. It’s a solid 30 minutes of tech news, tips and tech callers like you from across the country. Look for it wherever you get your podcasts. For convenience, click the link below to view a recent episode.

PODCAST CHOICE: Amazon police plans, flying taxis, robotic manicures

Get a $10 manicure from a robot, change that secret Google Maps setting, and watch out for flying taxis in this episode. Amazon is also testing police stations as package pick-up points, home office jobs that cost $20 an hour, and YouTube will let creators offer paid video courses next year.

Watch my Kim Komando Today podcast on Apple, Google Podcasts, Spotify or your favorite podcast player.

Listen to the podcast here or wherever you get your podcasts. Just search for my last name “Komando”.

Learn about the latest technologies on The Kim Komando Show, the nation’s largest weekend radio talk show. Kim takes calls and shares advice on today’s digital lifestyle, from smartphones and tablets to online privacy and data hacks. Visit her website at for her daily tips, free newsletters and more.

The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of USA TODAY.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Miss the home button or hate alerts? Stop annoying smartphone functions

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