Five iPhone Texting Tricks

Since most iPhone customers use SMS for both personal and business purposes, here is five ways to improve your texting skills:

1. Enable character count.
As Business Insider points out, every time you exceed 160 characters in a text message, your service provider charges you for another SMS message. If you’re on a limited SMS plan, you can keep track of your character count as you compose your messages.

Head to Settings > Messages > Character Count ON. From now on, you’ll see an active character count above the Send button.

2. Use AutoText shortcuts to quickly type phrases.
There are some phrases you might use over and over again, like “On my way,” “How’s it going?” or even things like your e-mail address or signature.

To type these words and phrases faster, customize your own shortcuts. For example, typing “eml” would prompt your full e-mail address. Access the feature by going to Settings > General > Keyboard > Shortcuts.

3. Get the hidden Emoji keyboard.
Previously, you had to go through a set of complicated steps to get emoticons like smilies, hearts, and other clip art symbols on your iPhone. Now, the feature is built into iOS 5 and can be enabled in a few steps.

However, only fellow iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch users will be able to see the emoticons. Everyone else will see garbled symbols, so beware of using emoji in fields like Twitter or Facebook status updates.

4. Skip Siri, but use speech-to-text.
It is not easy to go through the entire process of sending a text message via Siri. It is time-consuming.
A more useful feature is speech-to-text within the Messages app. So, you do the work of selecting the recipient, but instead of typing your message, you speak it.
Go to a message thread and tap the text field. Then tap the microphone icon by the space bar, wait a beat, and begin speaking your message.

5. Turn off preview and badge notifications.
To turn off preview and badge notifications, you’ll need to tweak two things: message preview settings and notification type. Head to Settings > Notifications > Messages. Turn Notification Center ON, Alert Style: Banners, and Show Preview OFF.

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