Have you ever been out and about and wondered what kind of flower or species of bird you spotted? Now there is a way you can find out, with the help of your smartphone’s camera.
Google Lens allows you to search for an item with your camera or with an existing photo. It is available on both Android and iOS (Apple) devices.
On Android devices, there are a few ways you can access Lens. On most new Android devices, Lens is enabled by default and can be accessed directly from the camera app. Open the camera app, aim at the item (be it a flower, animal, type of water bottle, etc), and then tap the Lens button. Next, tap the magnifying glass icon to search for the image in your camera’s viewfinder.
Depending on your device, you may need to tap the modes button to access Lens. To learn how to add more modes, check out this helpful video.
Alternatively, you can search a live photo view and a previously taken picture with the Google app.
Open the Google app and scroll down to Discover. Next, tap the Google Lens icon in the search bar. The Lens icon is shaped like a camera.
You can search for either a live view of an item in your surroundings or by using a previously taken picture. To search a live view, point to an object with your camera and tap Search To search with an existing image, tap Photo picker and select a photo. You’ll have the option to search the whole photo or part of a photo.
To search for a specific object in the image: If available, on the object, tap the Select icon . To search for part of an image, tap Select image area , then drag the corners of the box around your selection. Next, scroll to the bottom to see your search results. To refine your search, tap add to your search and add keywords.
If you’ve ever worked with templates in Microsoft or Google software, you may have been less than pleased with the automatic color choices made by the software. Sure, you can change these colors while editing, but if you want to use them all the time, changing the colors for each document, spreadsheet, or presentation you start could get old very fast. Thankfully, most of the applications offered by Microsoft and Google have a method for saving your favorite colors to a default theme.
The good folks at Tech-Talk have already written a great article with a video outlining the process for setting default colors on both platforms, so I’m not going to reinvent the wheel here. When setting default colors, keep in mind that it needs to be set up in each application separately. For example, a theme set in Microsoft Word does not carry over to Microsoft PowerPower. I should note, however, if you are only interested in setting a color theme for Google Docs, the option is not currently available in that app.
If you’re design-challenged like me, PowerPoint can be a painful experience for everyone. I can select a presentation template to make sure there is a cohesive theme for the slides, but I’m pretty much limited to the layouts provided in the template. Any deviation tends to look unpolished. Then, I learned about the new Designer feature. It’s a game-changer.
Designer takes the content you’ve entered in a slide and suggests different ways to lay it out and use the theme colors. The end result is a much richer variety of slides that make it look like the creator has an eye for good design. Unfortunately, Designer is only available with an Office 365 subscription, not a perpetual license version of PowerPoint.
To get design ideas, select a slide and then Design>Designer in the top menu. If Designer does not appear in the options, go to File (top menu)>Options (bottom left menu)>Scroll to PowerPoint Designer and check these two boxes:
If you have ever experienced the acute trauma of losing your smartphone, you may be wondering if there is a way to track it when it is out of your sight. The answer is yes! If you use Apple or Android devices, you can set them up to be tracked in the event you cannot find them. Last week, we highlighted how to find Apple devices. This week, we’re shining the spotlight on Android’s Find My Device app. This app will help you find, lock, or erase Android phones, tablets, and Wear OS devices. We should probably note that your device must be running Android 8.0 or later to use all of the features of the Find My Device app.
Setting Up Find My Device
Before you can use Find My Device, there are some setup steps that need to be taken on the devices themselves. Some of these will probably already be done, like being signed into a Google account.
Make sure your Android device is logged in with a Google account.
Google states that “Store recent location” needs to be on so your device can be found if it’s offline. However, this is a relatively new feature that I have yet to find on my Pixel 5. According to their instructions, this toggle should be found in Settings>Security>Find my device.
Make sure your device is associated with your account on Google Play, or it won’t show in Find My Device. To double-check, find your device list here: https://play.google.com/library/devices. In the upper-left of the screen, make sure the “show in menus” box is checked.
Double-check that Find My Device works on the device by going to https://android.com/find and logging in with the same Google account as the device. You should see your device in the upper-left of the screen. If you have multiple devices associated with the account, you may need to toggle between them.
If you want to be able to lock or erase the device remotely, you must create a 2-step verification backup code. To get backup codes, log into your Google account and select security from the left menu. Scroll down to “How you sign in to Google” and click on the “Backup codes” section. You may be prompted to enter your password again, but then you can create codes to print and use later.
Find a Lost Device
In order to use Find My Device on one of your devices, it must have power (even if turned off), be connected to Wi-Fi or a mobile data connection, and be prepared using the setup steps above to enable the Find My Device app to work. If you would prefer to watch a video on using Find My Device, there is one embedded at the end of this article. To continue with text instructions, read on!
When you log into Find My Device and select a device, notifications will be sent to the device before you select any options. If the notifications don’t help, here are your other options:
“Play a sound” make the device ring for 5 minutes, even if it’s set to silent.
“Secure device” will lock the device and sign out of your Google Account. You can optionally display a message or phone number on the lock screen in case someone finds (and wants to return) your device. You can still locate the device, and after finding it, you may need to log in again.
“Erase device” is the nuclear option. It will erase all content from the device and keep it from being re-registered to a different account. You won’t be able to find it on the map after erasing it, but if it gets returned, you can reclaim it by signing in with the Google account to which it is registered.
Find Using a Browser
To find a device using a browser, go to https://android.com/find and sign in using the Google account your device is registered to. If you have more than one device listed on the same account, you may need to toggle between them. It will show how much battery is left and what network the device was last seen on.
Options for playing a sound, locking the device, or erasing the device are in the left menu, while a map indicating the location (or last known location) of your device is in the main part of your screen.
Find Using the Find My Device App
When using the app, you have the option of using a friend’s device that isn’t registered to your account. Whether using your own or someone else’s device to find another device:
Open the Find My Device app on another Android phone or tablet.
If your own device is lost, select “Continue as [your name]”
If you’re helping a friend, select “sign in as guest” and let your friend sign in.
From the listed devices, select which device to locate.
Follow the steps from the browser above.
You may be prompted to provide the lock screen PIN for the device you want to locate. If it does not have a PIN, you may be prompted for your Google password.
If you would prefer to watch a short video on using Find My Device, check this out:
Find My Device is an extremely helpful tool if you are ever unfortunate enough to need it. The flexible action options allow the user to disable the phone in the event it can’t be found, which acts as a deterrent for the resale of a stolen device. Have you ever had to use Find My Device with your Android device? If so, let us know how it went in the comments.
It’s a moment of panic we’ve all had at some point. You reach for your phone or device and it’s not there. You try to call yourself from another phone but you don’t hear your phone ring. Fear not! There is a way you can locate your device, even if it’s in a different location.
Apple has an app called Find My. By default, it comes pre-installed on all devices (iPhone, iPad, Mac, and Apple Watch).
Setting Up Find My on an iPhone or iPad
There are various ways you can access Find My. The first step is to make sure that it’s enabled on your device.
On an iPhone or iPad, go into the Settings app, and then tap on your name at the top.
From there, tap on Find My on the next screen.
Next, you can verify if Find My is on for that particular device. You can also choose to turn it off if you’d like. If you have more than one Apple device, it will show which device is sharing your location with friends and family you have chosen to share your location with. If you are sharing your location with anyone, they will be listed below underneath family (if you have set up Apple Family Sharing) or friends.
Tapping on Find My iPhone/iPad gives you more options, including the option to turn off Find My (note you will need to enter your Apple ID password if you want to turn it off). Find My Network lets you locate your device even if it’s offline. Send last location sends the location of the device to Apple if the battery is very low.
Setting Up Find My on a Mac
To set up Find My on your Mac, click on the Apple icon in the top left corner of the taskbar and then click on System Preferences. Next, click on Internet Accounts. On the left panel, click on iCloud and then scroll down to Find My. Click on the Options button next to Find My. The options below apply to Mac OS Monterey and later.
Here you can see if Find My Mac is on and you can also choose the option to locate your Mac even if it’s offline. You have the option to turn both of these off. Keep in mind that to turn off Find My Mac, you will need to enter your Apple ID password.
Setting Up Find My on Apple Watch and Other Devices
By default, Find My is automatically set up on an Apple Watch when you pair it with your iPhone for the first time. For more information on using Find My with your Apple Watch, Apple has written up a great how-to article.
Additionally, Find My is automatically turned on when you pair your AirPods with your iPhone or iPad for the first time.
Using Find My
Now that it’s been set up, you can easily locate your missing devices in several ways. On an iPhone, iPad, or Mac, you can open the Find My App, which has an icon that looks like this:
On a Mac, the Find My app is located in the Launch Pad by default.
When you open the app, you will see a map, along with a dock on the bottom. On the bottom dock, tapping the people icon shows friends and family who have shared their location with you and their locations. The devices tab shows mini icons of your devices and their locations on a map. Your family’s devices are also displayed if you have set up Apple Family Sharing. The items tab is for Find My compatible items such as AirTags. The Me button (on an iPhone and iPad) shows your location and from which device the location comes, as well as the option to turn off sharing your location. On a Mac, these tabs are located on the top left.
Finding a Device on an iPhone, iPad, or Mac
To find a device, tap on the devices tab and then tap on the name of the device you want to locate. It will zoom into the device’s location on a map and give you the address of your device. You’ll have the option to play a sound, which may help if you are near your device’s location.
Finding a Device with a Web Browser
If you only have one Apple device, don’t worry, there is another way you can locate your lost device. Go onto a web browser on a laptop, desktop computer, or another mobile device, and navigate to iCloud.com. Next, click or tap on sign in. Log in with your Apple ID and password. Don’t worry if you have two-factor authentication enabled, simply click or tap the Find Devices on the lower left.
Enter your password again, and then a map will appear. Click on all devices in the top center, and select a device to locate. A map will zoom into the location of your device. There are options to play a sound, put the device into lost mode, or remotely erase the device in the case of an iPhone, iPad, Mac, or Apple Watch.
Putting a Device into Lost Mode
If you cannot find your device, or if it has been stolen, there is also the option to mark the device as lost or remotely erase it. Marking the device as lost causes the following to happen: you will receive a notification on your other devices when its location is available, the activation lock will be enabled so no one can reset your device and link it to their account, a passcode will be required if they try to turn it on, any payments (such as Apple Wallet or Apple Pay) will be suspended, and you will have the option to leave a message on your device displaying a phone number where you can be contacted.
A device can be put into lost mode from any of the Find My apps or on iCloud.com.
Finding a Device with Apple Watch or with Siri
To find a device with your Apple Watch, check out this helpful article from Apple. If you are in the same location as your device but aren’t sure where it is, you can ask Siri to find it if you have a second Apple device. Simply say, “Hey Siri, where’s my [device name]?” If it’s nearby, she will respond, “your [device name] is nearby, pinging it now” and she will play a sound on the device you’re looking for, including AirPods. If your device is not within range, she will say she can’t find it and suggest that you use the Find My app.
Have you used Find My to locate a device? Let us know in the comments!