10 magic iPhone tools and apps for busy legal professionals
The iPhone is effectively a pocket computer, but most people don’t take full advantage of how useful it can be. Douglas Scott Legal Recruitment’s resident iSheep Jon Paul Hanrahan looks at 10 built-in iPhone tools and downloadable apps that will make your working and personal life that little bit easier.
1. Toodledo (App)
The ultimate to-do list app, this is the most useful way to keep track of everything from prepping a big case to remembering the milk. Toodledo lets you organize tasks by context and time so you'll always know which jobs you can get done right now.
2. Autodial Extensions (Built-In)
Calling an office, waiting for the automated switchboard to answer and then going back to the keypad to type in an extension is one of those short but oh-so-irritating wastes of time. To get around this, type in the number as normal, hold down the * button until a comma appears, then type in the extension before hitting dial. The iPhone will then automatically call, wait for the answer, then "dial in" the extension.
3. Expensify (App)
Keeping track of receipts to claim back expenses is such a tiresome hassle, it's no wonder more of us don't do an Alan Partridge and throw a shoebox full of them off a ferry. With Expensify, all you need to do is photograph each receipt, and the app automatically reads the relevant amounts and add them to a comprehensive record of your expenses. It's also compatible with most accounting software.
4. Scientific Calculator (Built-In)
If you need to do more complicated number-crunching, you don't necessarily need a dedicated app. When using the iPhone's default calculator, turn the screen sideways and it'll switch to full scientific calculator mode.
5. IFTTT (App)
Short for "If this, then that", this app can automate almost any task you like, from notifying you to pack a brolly when rain is forecast to tweeting out links to every new blog post you write.
6. Custom Vibrations (Built-In)
Nobody wants to check their phone unnecessarily during a meeting, but sometimes you don't want to miss that all-important text message. Don't keep digging the phone out for that surreptitious glance: set a custom vibration pattern for your key contacts so you can literally feel them trying to get in touch. Just open their contact record, tap Edit, tap Vibration and then switch from the default setting to Create New Vibration.
7. Think Dirty (App)
Buying responsibly sourced and non-toxic skincare and personal products is a noble aim but a tricky task when you live a busy lifestyle. This app lets you scan a barcode and instantly see whether the product contains ingredients that could harm you or the environment.
8. Get A Good Night's Sleep (Built-In)
The Do Not Disturb setting in the control panel is useful but a pain to remember and set every time. However, look closely and you'll see a Scheduled option: select this and you can set a time, such as your preferred sleep hours or the daily meeting, when your iPhone will automatically switch to Do Not Disturb. As usual, you can set it so that incoming calls from selected contacts will still get through.
9. Google Translate (App)
Perfect for foreign trips, whether for work or play, not only does the app use voice recognition and synthesis to help you navigate tricky conversations, but you can even hold the camera up to a sign or menu and see a near-instant translation of the text.
10. Seen But Not Heard (Built-In)
The iPhone has a handy notification tool for deaf people that can be useful for anyone. Go into the General section of the settings menu, then into Accessibility and look for the LED Flash for Alerts setting and switch on "Flash on Silent." Next time you put your phone on silent, leave it face down: the camera flash will light up when you get a notification.
Worth mentioning that the apps mentioned are also available on Android, there is just as likely to be some bloody good, as yet untapped functionality on other smart phones. I like my iPhones though but get quite frustrated that I am only really scratching the surface of its capability. These extra functions are hopefully my first steps to becoming an iPhone wizard.
Jon Paul Hanrahan is a busy but relatively well organised Legal Recruitment Consultant and Associate Director at Douglas Scott Legal Recruitment. Jon Paul advises Solicitors, Associate Solicitors and Partner workings in Real Estate, Corporate or Commercial Practice on next steps with law firms based in the North West of England. Do not hesitate to call him, to discuss a career move or hire on 0161 233 6360 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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