All our best hacks, tips and tricks in one useful guide
By Virgin TV Edit
This Christmas is going to be a lot different for most of us, and while technology is great for sharing in the revelry and merriment with others, that’s only if you know how to use it properly. It can be confusing, especially as we’ve all had to adjust to different ways to stay in touch over the past year. There always seems to be something new to learn and we’ve all heard variations of “you’re on mute,” “we can’t see you,” “the WiFi is down” or “my computer is just not cooperating today.”
We want you to get the most out of your broadband, apps and social media over the holidays so you can spend the season with those who matter most, even if that means virtually. That’s why we’ve done the heavy lifting, so all you need to do is make a few clicks and follow our handy-dandy guides before you’re ready to go! All you need to do is remember your login details (sorry, that’s one thing we can’t do for you).
Even the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come couldn’t have predicted this one, so we’ve pulled together a one-stop shop for how you can stay connected this Christmas. Find all the links and information you need below.
People hardly knew what Zoom was before 2020, when it became a lifesaver for interacting with others. Video-chatting apps have truly revolutionised the way we communicate, so whether you want to use Zoom, FaceTime or Skype to get the conversation rolling this Christmas, consult our list of essential apps that will make that easy-peasy! Plus, see how to play games and watch shows together even when you’re apart.
iOS | Android | Mac | Windows
Amazon have also updated their Alexa devices to allow group calling, including video chat on their Alexa Show products. If you want to group call your family during the holidays, simply follow these easy steps:
- Open the Alexa app on either your Android or Apple device, making sure you’ve updated it to the latest verison.
- Tap on Communicate, then the contacts icon (it looks like a person) in the top right-hand corner.
- Tap Add New and you’ll get the option to Add Contact or Add Group. Select Group.
- Choose who you want in the Group by tapping the box next to their names. If you have a lot of contacts, you can Search Contacts in the bar at the top.
- Once you have finished your selection (you can choose up to six people, you are the seventh), tap Continue at the bottom of the page.
- Next, give your Group a name. Make sure it’s easy to understand by Alexa, like My Family. Once done, press Create Group.
- Your Group will now be listed above your contacts, all members of the Group will be notified and all members of the Group will be able to use that Group for Alexa calls.
- Say, “Alexa, call My Family” and an Alexa Call will be placed to the Family Group.
Now that everyone has a plethora of ways to get in touch, be that through Instagram, Twitter, Facebook or another platform, cutting through all the content can seem a bit complicated. Here’s how to repost, start a group chat and send direct messages (DMs) so that your funny meme or cat video is seen by all the family.
If you have little ones in the family or have kids of your own, you’ll know how important it is that they don’t see things they shouldn’t online. Discover how to keep your devices, and theirs, safe. That way, you can hand over your WiFi password without worry when they want to log on after the festivities have died down.
This past year has taught us how to work in new ways – in our jobs and in our personal lives. These useful tips, including how to install WhatsApp on your desktop and how to create a virtual background in Zoom, will keep your work-life balance firmly in check as you can use these handy hacks in both areas of your life.
Got a new iPhone for Christmas but don’t know how to use it? Don’t worry, we’ll help you get up and running with the first step – turning it on and off – and instruct you on how to close apps, screenshot, view your battery percentage and more!
TikTok is a video-sharing platform where users can create short dance, lip-sync, comedy and talent videos. With everyone getting in on the TikTok trend, learn how you can get involved and impress by making your own videos (or just by talking about the latest trend with your grandkids).
This free messaging service is the best when it comes to staying in touch with friends and family near or far. It uses the internet to send messages, so as long as you have a good connection or access to WiFi, you can start chatting and send gifs, images and videos with no hidden costs. It also offers end-to-end encryption, which means only you and the person you’re communicating with can read your messages. We’ll walk you through how to add contacts, block someone (hopefully it doesn’t come to that!) and how to hide your online status.
Want to master video chat? Whether you’re virtually seeing the friendly faces of your family, your friends or your colleagues, up your game by changing your background or sharing your screen to maximise the experience. Don’t forget to don a Christmas jumper and elf ears or reindeer antlers! Use it on the big screen or the small screen for a super simple (and fun) way of passing on your season’s greetings.
Although you’re probably used to using Microsoft Teams for work chat, why not try it out for some festive chat? Communication couldn’t be simpler as you create your own Teams and invite users to join so you can chew the fat and even use Microsoft Whiteboard to play a makeshift game of Pictionary.
WiFi blackspots, running tests, changing your router channel
The last thing you want during a video call is for your connection to drop out, especially when loved ones are on the other end of the line. Our broadband hacks have got you covered, with instructions on how to download the Connect app to discover where the WiFi signal isn’t as strong in your home, as well as how to connect through a wired connection and how to find and stop hidden apps that are slowing your WiFi down.
Keep your connection secure, speed up your router and your devices
Whether you want to update your computer, make your WiFi run faster or clear your cookies (preferably while eating Christmas cookies), we share exactly how to do it.
Position and reboot your router, banish viruses, malware and spyware
At a time when staying connected is more important than ever before, you need broadband that only quits when you do. Follow our guide to get the best out of your broadband, so you can get back to building connections on – and off – line.
Let’s do Christmas
Count down to Christmas with prizes to be won every day, plus all your TV listings and tips on what to watch and play!