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How to use Google Assistant’s “What’s on my screen?”

Ting tip

Quick tips to get the most from your phone, your favorite apps and your Ting service. No fluff. Just the tips.

Stop me if you’ve heard this one.

You’re on your phone, reading about a cool new band, so you open a new Chrome tab and search for their social media page.

Or, you get a text from your friend with a location to meet. So you hop out of Hangouts and open Google Maps to manually enter the address.

If you use your phone on a daily basis, situations like these should feel all too familiar. The coolest addition to the latest Android operating system, 6.0 Marshmallow, takes manual searching out of your smartphone routine by bridging the gap between Google and the rest of your phone.

“What’s on my screen?” (previously called Now on Tap) removes this middle-step by letting you “Google Search” anything you see on your smartphone screen. All of the neat stuff you see when using Google in a browser is displayed directly through Now on Tap, like recent sports scores, upcoming movie showtimes and restaurant reviews.

Simply long-press the home button and Google will look at what you’re currently viewing, pulling up all the relevant information relating to the topic(s) at hand. You can use this all across your smartphone – it’s not app specific or requires any development support.

Find out how to enable Now on Tap and watch it work its magic in the GIFs below.

Ting Download: Companion

Ever walk home by yourself? Bring a friend along for the ride with Companion!

Companion is the safest way to get anywhere alone. Just enter your destination inside the app, add the people you’d like to share your location with and they can virtually follow you all the way home.

Not only can they watch your progress, they’ll be alerted if something weird happens, like if you quickly change directions, start running or have your headphone jack pulled out. If you don’t respond within 15 seconds, your phone will automatically blare an alarm and give an option to alert the authorities with a quick tap.

Your “companions” don’t even need to have the app installed. Any contact you select who hasn’t downloaded Companion will receive a text linking them to a webpage that tracks your journey – exactly like the app.

Stay safe with Companion, it’s free and available on Android and iOS.

Learn more about Companion in our Ting Download below, hope you enjoy! (Keep watching after the credits.)

Enable Travel Mode to save data in Snapchat

snapchatSnapchat is a great way to stay in touch with friends and family and share moments in your life that may not be worthy of a Facebook profile picture or Instagram post.

What’s not so great about Snapchat is the amount of data the app consumes. Snapchat preloads content so you don’t have to wait for a photo or video to load, which can use a ton of mobile data when you’re not expecting it to.

Fortunately, Snapchat has added a useful “Travel Mode” toggle to give you control over how much cellular data the app can use. Snaps from friends, Stories and Discovery content will only load when you tap them, instead of loading in the background or automatically when opening the app. Snaps typically load in just a few seconds, so you won’t notice much of a difference, other than paying less for your monthly cell phone service with a pay-for-what-you-use provider like Ting.

To enable Travel Mode, open your Snapchat profile (swipe down on the main page), tap the Settings cog in the top right, scroll down to Additional Services and tap Manage. Turn on Travel Mode and let the data saving begin!

Ting Download: Giphy Cam

Giphy Cam makes it easier than ever to create awesome animated GIFs on your smartphone.

The app is straightforward – you can record a short video that’s automatically converted into GIF format. Filters, borders and backgrounds can be added to your masterpiece, along with funny animations like the ever-popular “deal with it” sunglasses, a raging fire, cats, popcorn and much more. Once saved, you can share your special GIF with your friends through social media, MMS or email.

We definitely recommend trying out Giphy Cam if you get the chance, it really is a lot of fun. During filming, we couldn’t stop cracking up at some of Kyra’s creations. Plus, let’s be honest, you’ve stolen enough GIFs in your lifetime. Now it’s time to give back!

The timing of this app feature couldn’t have been better, either. With Facebook announcing the arrival of profile videos, Giphy Cam is the perfect way to spice up your profile.

Giphy Cam is currently only available on iOS, with an Android version in the works.

Be entertained by Kyra and Giphy Cam in the Ting Download below!

Check if your phone will work on Ting… on your phone

Ting-compatibility-checker-appIntroducing the new Ting compatibility checker app for Android.

Since we added a GSM network to Ting mobile, over 80% of smartphones made in the last few years will work on Ting. You gotta like those odds. The issue becomes making it easy for people to check whether their phone will work on Ting.

We’ve had some form of our Ting compatibility checker online since the early days. Today, we’re launching the Ting compatibility checker app and while it’s super simple, we think it’s some next-level stuff.

It’s a small (1.1 MB download) and lightweight (it doesn’t do anything else) app that grabs an Android phone’s IMEI and checks it to see if it will work on Ting’s networks. It also tells users which network services (3G, 4G LTE etc.) it will support once it’s here.

Why release a single-purpose app instead of bundling this feature into the existing Ting app? A couple of reasons. This is what we in the business call an “on-boarding tool,” so we wanted to keep it simple. We also wanted to keep it small so it’s a quick download for people standing in an aisle in a store, wondering if the Ting GSM SIM card they’re looking at is a smart buy.

Oh, right. This just in, Ting SIMs are going retail.

The Ting compatibility checker app needs permission to dig into your phone’s memory banks to pull out its unique identifying number, its IMEI. This IMEI (and only the IMEI) is then sent across to Ting servers and checked. In a list of app permissions, it sounds pretty heavy. We didn’t want the main Ting app to have to request these permissions.

We also wanted to keep it small and simple, with no learning curve, roadblocks or menus to navigate.

Please give it a try and, as ever, we’d love to hear what you think.


App of the Week: Swappa Price


Find out how much your phone’s worth with Swappa’s new app, Swappa Price. You can instantly view the average selling price of your used device along with a graph of price changes since its release.

The app also lets you check out prices of other used phones on the market and sort by specific manufacturers and carriers (like Ting).

If you think you’re due for an upgrade, it’s an easy way to get an idea of how much you’ll get for your current phone. While the app’s not helpful for buying or selling devices (tapping the “Buy” and “Sell” buttons just launches the mobile site), it’s handy for getting a quick valuation of your phone in hand.

Swappa Price is currently only available on Android, with an iOS version in the works.