Mobility

Tips on merging your two smartphones into one easier-to-carry device

An increasing number of tech and business professionals are stuck carrying two smartphones: A business one and a personal one. Tired of the hassle? Here are some tips to merge them.

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Image: iStock/kaspiic

Two smartphones: It sounds neat in theory, but anyone who's carried two devices at the same time knows how much of a hassle it is. If you have a company-issued phone along with your personal one things get even trickier when you try to figure out what goes on which device: should you have both personal and business accounts on your work phone? Is it okay to install work-related stuff on your personal one?

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BYOD might be making the business use of personal phones a new standard, but for those still stuck with a phone in each pocket here are some tips to combine the two into one device.

Call forwarding

There are few different ways to get one phone to ring on the other. You could use Google Voice to set up a shared number, or you could use the forwarding options that Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile all have.

SEE: BYOD, IoT and wearables thriving in the enterprise (Tech Pro Research)

Using a Google Voice number is one of the easier options, especially if you don't want to give out your personal (or business) number. You can set caller ID on Google Voice to show your number (instead of the caller's) whenever it rings, which makes it easier to decide which calls to ignore.

Add work/home accounts to both devices

Both Android and iOS devices support multiple accounts, and it's easy to add yours to a secondary device. There may be security restrictions from your company so don't put work info on your personal device (and vice versa) without checking first.

It's also a good idea to figure out exactly what you need to have on either device. A lot of people who have two phones carry one during the day and the other while off, so sharing specific info (like your calendar and not your email) rather than everything from both devices can make things easier and help compartmentalize your life a bit.

Here are some account management tips for Android and iOS devices.

Schedule Do Not Disturb time

Notifications that break the silence of a workspace are annoying. Multiple notifications are even worse. If you plan to swap out devices at different times of the day be sure to schedule Do Not Disturb times on both of them.

On iPhones Do Not Disturb is on the main page of the Settings app. On Android the easiest way to access Do Not Disturb features is to pull down the top drawer and long press on the Do Not Disturb icon, which will open that page in settings.

Mirror your text messages

Forwarding calls is simple, but what about text messages? Using one device instead of another leaves you without access to messages that could be time sensitive—not good.

SEE: Five categories of apps you need to transform your phone into a mobile office (TechRepublic)

I've scoured the internet looking for a good way to mirror text messages between devices, and there seems to be only one solution out there: MySMS on iOS and Android. The one drawback? Text message mirroring is part of the $9.99 yearly premium fee.

10 bucks isn't very much to pay for a year of text message mirroring, but the reviews on both iOS and Android reveal a less-than-perfect system. Still, if you're willing to spend the money it's just another way to untether you from that second device.

Cloud sync your apps

There's nothing worse than using the same app on two devices and not having the data match up. If you need to share apps between phones make sure you're syncing them to the cloud.

Whether it's Google Drive, iCloud, or Dropbox doesn't matter—just be sure important documents and data are being hosted somewhere else so your phone is just a window to essential info and not the host.

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About Brandon Vigliarolo

Brandon writes about apps and software for TechRepublic. He's an award-winning feature writer who previously worked as an IT professional and served as an MP in the US Army.

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