Make your smartphone work so you return to the office | MCUTimes

Make your smartphone work so you return to the office

As some people lead back to the office or classroom after more than 18 months of covid-19 discontinuation, it is still a concern to maintain social distance, especially among the highly contagious Delta variant spread nationwide. Here are a few simple suggestions for using your smartphone to keep you informed and safe if you return to the office or school.

Regular monitoring of school, municipal and state websites can keep you updated on mask mandates, vaccine requirements, quarantines and other Covid-related news. Get your facts faster by bookmarking these sites, which you can tap open right from your home screen.

Credit…Google; Apple

Open the page you want to bookmark. Steps vary based on browser and phone, but if you use Chrome browser on an Android device, tap the More menu in the upper right corner and select “Add to Home Screen.” On a iOS device using Safari browser, tap the Action Menu icon at the bottom center of the screen and select “Add to Home Screen”.

Along with its informative website, that Center for Disease Control and Prevention have its own mobile app. For local virus news, check out your app store, as many states have their own outbreak detection apps that provide personalized exposure messages, provision of vaccination information and offer general news alerts.

Certain institutions, venues and employers now have a vaccine requirementand many companies in New York require proof and will enforce it next month. Although your paper vaccination card serves as proof, you can store it safely at home and go digital. Some states have electronic vaccination pass you can save in your phone’s digital wallet and show when asked; New Yorks Excelsior Pass program is an example.

Credit…Apple; Google

Pictures of your paper vaccination card can also serve as a digital backup, and some employers may accept the pictures as proof of inoculation, especially in apps like NYC Covid Safe. However, the card contains personal information, so keep your phone locked when not in use. Apple’s iOS software settings offer one password, Face ID or Press ID to secure the device.

Android users can too set up a screen lock in the system settings. In addition to PIN or password, some phone models (including those from Google and Samsung) use biometric keys as face recognition. For added protection, Android users can store vaccine card images in one locked folder in Google Photos – just open the map image, tap the More menu and select “Move to locked folder.”

A socially distant commute is more of a challenge for people who do not drive and walk or use mass transportation to get around. Last year, both Apple and Google added coronavirus-related business information for their card apps, and a recent update of Google Maps now shows busy areas so you can better avoid crowds.

If you want to travel by train outside peak times or stroll the less traveled path, Apple Maps and Google Maps both offer real-time transit plans and optional hiking routes. Specialized apps like City map cover several modes of transport, including bicycle part and ferry. And localized transit apps (like New York City’s MYmta for Android and iOS) can also be useful for service status and updates.


And if you go to work with your face in your Android phone, the “Heads Up” messages on some models remind you to see where you are going. Activate the function in Digital well-being settings.

When a transit window is not an option to pick up your breakfast or lunch remotely, there are other ways to minimize your exposure, e.g. To call a pickup order at your local diner or bodega. Loyalty apps from grocery stores like 7-Eleven and Wawaor restaurants (McDonald’s, Bread bread and Starbucks to name a few) offer online booking and mobile checkout to zip things along with minimal contact.

And do not forget contactless payment systems like Apple Pay, Google Pay or Samsung Pay to prevent you from fumbling with physical cash and speeding up the register or subway. (ONE contactless credit card from your bank is another option, and lets you pay by pressing the card in the cash reader.)

Now that you’ve actually gotten out of the house, you can consider a few apps to help deal with the transition. The mobile version of your company’s favorite video conferencing app lets you drop a conference room and take a meeting anywhere, even without your computer.

Credit…Google; Zoom

After more than a year of remote work, it can be extra hard to leave your fuzzy home office when you return to the world. If separation makes you anxious, consider an inexpensive streaming webcam that lets you use your phone to monitor your pet in real time. That The Wirecutter website has recommendations for camera options to keep you pretty much in the house until you get home.

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