By Andrea Romano
January 07, 2019

We all lead busy lives, so why should our smartphones slow us down?

If you were lucky enough to receive a new iPhone over the holidays or are just getting used to a new update, you might also be looking for ways to use your new tech toy in a more efficient way.

According to TIME, there are quite a few tricks you can use to make your iPhone experience smarter, faster, and a lot better, especially when it comes to sending texts and staying connected with important people in your life.

Turns out, you don’t have to resign yourself to using the default keyboard on your phone. Many savvy iPhone users are now downloading keyboard apps that help them type and send messages faster.

Google’s Gboard app is an especially good option for ex-Android users who prefer to swipe over letters to text or even search the internet within the keyboard app by selecting words. And for those who wish to use their more obscure characters and symbols without clicking on a dozen buttons, the app UniChar makes those symbols far more accessible.

And as for those who prefer to use shorthand to get their messages out, the app TextExpander lets you create shortcuts for your most commonly used phrases and sentences so you can tell your family you’re on your way home or send a nice “I love you” text with the click of a handful of letters. It certainly beats writing out everything.

But if you won’t want to download yet another app, Apple’s default Shortcuts app is also useful for programming in your most used phrases with a quick shorthand phrase that is easier to type.

You can stay connected easier than ever now that you don’t have to painstakingly type out every important text.