Phone hacks

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If you have a camera phone, remember to check Camera hacks, also.


[edit] Use a speakerphone or headset

  • Use a speakerphone when you have to be on hold, so you're free to do other stuff. --MVance 14:44, 24 Mar 2005 (EST)
    • Even better, use a hands free headset. This keeps your hands free and protects your neck in calls, even when you aren't on hold. --OneEyedMan
      • Check out the GN Netcom 9120, the best wireless headset by far. 200' true range, 5 ounces, 8 hour talk time. My home office has 3 of them. Tech to marvel at.
  • A speakerphone allows one to freely complete those 2-minute tasks while being put on perpetual hold. Another interesting feature is the MUTE button when you put others on "hold"; -- listen to the other party mumble their thoughts and talk to others in their environment (useful hack during negotiations). --gochess
    • I bought a headset that goes with my cordless house phone. That way you can do two things at once and be more portable. Just clip the phone to your pants, put on the headset, and listen to Mom go on and on for the next hour while you mop and do the laundry. Actually, this helps you keep your mind off the tedium of chores, and has proven very helpful for me. --steph 16 may 05

[edit] Hardware hacks

  • If you need a shoulder cradle in a pinch, use another handset attached in reverse to the handset you hold to your ear. Tape or stap them back-to-back.

[edit] Leave yourself a message

  • If you don't have a camera phone, you probably still have the ability to record a voice or text memo containing the relevant info. Useful for recording where you parked your car at the airport before a long trip.
  • To remind yourself of something when you get home, leave a message on your answering machine. I do this one all the time. This works best if you live alone or have a housemate/spouse/offspring who can be relied on to give you the message.--Jtboofle 16:17, 24 Mar 2005 (EST)
    • In a similar vein, I use the voice-memo feature on my phone. To avoid navigating the menus each time, I set a voice command for it, so I just have to push one button and say "Record" and it starts recording. --MVance

[edit] Customize your ringtones and settings to screen calls

  • Mobile phones are great, but they can serve as an interruption in the flow of your day and ultimately cause more harm than good. One solution is to just leave it at home, but that's kind of cutting off your nose to spite your face. Try to get a cell phone that allows you to categorize your contacts and change the ringtones/settings for each group and in every ring profile (ie. silent, normal, noisy, etc.). Then just make some of those groups completely silent under one of your ring profiles so that those people can't interrupt you when you don't want them to. Leave some important contacts in groups that always ring if you really want/need to. It's okay sometimes for you to get interrupted or for you to have to suddenly switch contexts while in the middle of something (for instance, a very important friend who I may not hear from often is always welcome to interrupt). Just make sure that when it happens, it really is worth it, and it's not just some randomly useless event that could've been avoided. What's important to you could be business or personal, just make sure it really is important. --ThePolack 13:34, 3 Apr 2005 (EDT)
    • If you have a Palm OS phone, you can use Call Filter to automatically manage your incoming calls based on user-defined rules: "Filter incoming calls based on time of day, day of week, phone number, name, category, blocked/no callerid, or company; Send unwanted calls to voicemail immediately or after a few rings, pickup and hang up on caller, ignore caller, or automatically answer". -- Clie2k 05/05/2005
  • Silence the nuisance - If you’ve ever had your phone temporarily mistaken for a fax machine or been banged on by a rogue VoIP telemarketing farm, you may have wished you could just tear the ringer out. Until all phones catch up with the sexiness of Spam Assassin and regular expressions, we must hack, and hack we shall! (God, when is some smart company going to finally let me flash my phone a regex formula for dealing with incoming calls. Seriously, someone please do it.) Thanks to the wonders of Caller ID and unique ring assignment, I set my cell phone’s ringer-type for nuisance call numbers to None. Not perfect, but it keeps me from needing to dash across the house to be greeted by a screech, a pitch, or a hangup. --From 43Folders

[edit] Can I have your number? tips

  • You're in a club, music so loud you can't be sure you can hear a phone number correctly, don't have pen and paper to write down your phone number, yet you want to get in touch later with that special someone. Ask (even with mimic it works) for their cellphone. Once you get it, call your OWN number. If it rings (and lights up, of course), you don't even need to answer, and that's enough for you to have that person's number on the "last calls" memory, and vice-versa. --Chacal 17:23, 08 Apr 2005 (GMT)

[edit] Batteries

  • Avoiding Dead Batteries
    • Keep a charger in the car and a USB-based charger with your laptop. Charge whenever possible.
    • To really prevent dead batteries - keep a spare on hand at all times. This, however, may be overkill as long as you keep charging the main battery.
  • If you're as umbilically attached to your cell phone as me then its the one thing you have with you even if you don't have anything else, the problem is cell phones die and then your only contact book is not accessible, so since most phones have relatively easy to remove battery covers i've placed a small typed piece of paper with the most important names and numbers and the number and pin of my phone card. very handy when i have access to another persons or payphone when my battery is dead. --Spoinknet 12:35, 13 Apr 2005 (EDT)
    • I have the whole directory of most important numbers printed very small folded up in my wallet.

[edit] Leave a good message

  • When leaving your telephone number on a voicemail message: I always say the number twice, normal-to-fast the first time, slower the second time ("2125551212, I'll repeat it: that's 2-1-2, 5-5-5, 1-2-1-2"); when they hear the number the first time they're scrambling for a pen, and when they get it the second time, it's slow enough to understand and they've already got their pen at the ready.
    • Also consider saying the call-back number at least once at the very start of the call and one last time as the last thing you say before hanging up. A lot of v-mail systems are able to rewind in short time-steps, others always rewind to the start of the message, in either case the person/system is able to rewind-listen-rewind-listen... --AP 22:11, 30 Apr 2005 (EDT)

[edit] Phone Menus

  • If you don't want to sit through a phone menu, mash away. Most menus try to detect frustrated, confused, uncoordinated, or just plain unaccepting users like me. Too many wrong or rapid keypresses and you go right to an operator. --User:claysw
  • Start with zero--it often gives you the operator even without being an option. --PSzalapski 16:08, 23 May 2005 (EDT)
  • You can also avoid menus by not saying or pressing anything when prompted. The menu will loop a couple of times, but more often than not it assumes a failure on the user's handset and dials you through to a human operator. -- Clie2k 05/05/2005
  • Paul English has started a database of hacks to bypass phone menus at Get Human. The database is maintained by volunteers.

[edit] Email to phone

  • One can receive email, usually the subject and initial portion of the message, by forwarding it to a phone as text message. Example: in Gmail, create a filter which forwards the desired type of emails. Here are some representative addresses (where 1234567890 should be substituted by a ten-digit U.S. mobile number)... --gochess
    • Verizon:
    • Sprint:
    • AT&T:
    • Cingular:
    • T-Mobile:
    • Nextel:
    • Virgin Mobile:
    • Qwest:
    • Alltel: OR
    • Omnipoint:
      • Retain above info, to text message somebody else's phone via email. --gochess 13:33, 12 May 2005 (EDT)
  • For carriers outside the U.S.:
    • Poland
      • Polkomtel (Plus and Simplus):, X - any digit, O - odd digit (1,3, ...)
    • {add to this list}
  • For Canada:
    • There are 5 Canadian mobile carriers. Telus, Fido, Bell, Rogers and Virgin.
    • Telus Mobility:
    • Fido (incl. Sprint):
    • Bell Mobility:
    • Rogers:
    • Virgin: (Unconfirmed, source)
  • If you don't know someone's carrier, you can use a reverse lookup service such as White Pages. (Of course, it's probably better to ask the person, since they may not even use or pay attention to their text messaging service. Also with number portability people can keep their number but move providers.)

[edit] Disconnecting tips

  • If you want to hang up on someone, but don't want the drama that follows, hang up while YOU're speaking -- since no reasonable person would hang up while speaking, the other party will assume that you're having phone problems. Then just don't answer when they call back.--J.T. Boofle 23:26, 31 Mar 2005 (EST)
    • If you've got a phone with an unscrewable antenna you could always just unscrew it and REALLY get disconnected. Or you could just switch to AT&T Wireless. -- ChrisMetcalf
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