How to Find Your Router’s IP Address on Any Computer, Smartphone, or Tablet

If you’ve ever needed to access your router’s setup page to make some configuration changes, you know you need your router’s IP address gain access. If you’ve forgotten what that IP address is, here’s how to find it on just about every platform.
In the networking world, a default gateway is an IP address that traffic gets sent to when it’s bound for a destination outside the current network. On most home and small business networks—where you have a single router and several connected devices—the router’s private IP address is the default gateway. All devices on your network send traffic to that IP address by default. Windows devices call this the “default gateway” in the interface. Macs, iPhones, and iPads simply call it “router” in their interfaces. And on other devices, you may just see “gateway” or something similar. The IP address for your router is important because that’s the address you’ll have to type into your browser in order to locate your router’s web-based setup page where you can configure its settings.
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Find Your Router’s IP Address in Windows

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Your router’s IP address is the “Default Gateway” in your network connection information on Windows. If you prefer using the Command Prompt, you can find the default gateway for any connection quickly by using the ipconfig command.

If you prefer, you can also find the default gateway address through the graphic interface. First, open the Control Panel. Just click Start, type “control panel,” and then hit Enter.

In the “Network and Internet” category, click the “View network status and tasks” link.

In the upper right corner of the “Network and Sharing Center” window, click the name of your network connection.

In the “Ethernet Status” window, click the “Details” button.

In the “Network Connection Details” window, you’ll find your router’s IP address listed as “IPv4 Default Gateway.”

Find Your Router’s IP Address in Mac OS X

If you’re using a Mac, finding your router’s IP address is pretty straightforward. Click the “Apple” menu on the bar at the top of your screen and select “System Preferences”. In the “System Preferences” window, click the “Network” icon.

Select your network connection—for example, a Wi-Fi or wired connection—and then click the “Advanced” button at the bottom of the screen.

In the “Network” window, select the “TCP/IP” tab. You’ll see your router’s IP address listed simply as “Router.”

Find Your Router’s IP Address on the iPhone and iPad

On an iPhone or iPad, just head to Settings > Wi-Fi, and then tap the name of your Wi-Fi network. You’ll see the router’s IP address listed as “Router”.

Find Your Router’s IP Address in Android

Oddly enough, Android doesn’t provide a way to view network connection information out of the box.
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Many third-party Android apps will show this information, including Wi-FI Analyzer, which also provides an excellent way to choose the ideal Wi-Fi channel for your router’s Wi-Fi network. If you have another network information app, just look for the “Gateway” IP address.
If you use Wi-Fi Analyzer, tap the “View” menu, and then select “AP list”. At the top of this screen, you’ll see a “Connected to: [Network Name]” header. Tap that and a window will appear with more information about your network. You’ll find the router’s address listed as “Gateway.”

Find Your Router’s IP Address in Chrome OS

If you’re using a Chromebook, click the notification area at right side of your taskbar, click the “Connected to [Network Name]” option in the list that pops up, and then click the name of the wireless network you’re connected to.
When the network information appears, click the “Network” tab and you’ll see the router’s address listed as “Gateway.”

Find Your Router’s IP Address in Linux

Most Linux desktops have a network icon in their notification area. Typically, you can click this network icon and then select “Connection Information”—or something similar. Look for the IP address displayed next to “Default Route” or “Gateway”.


And now that you know generally what to look for and where, you should also be able to find your router’s IP address without too much trouble on devices we haven’t covered, too. Any device that allows you to connect to the network and view information about the network connection should display it. Just look under the network connection settings for anything listing a gateway, router, or default route address.
Image Credit: Matt J Newman on Flickr

How to Rename Any Computer, Smartphone, or Tablet

It’s a good idea to give each of the devices you use a meaningful name. This is especially important on Windows 10, as Microsoft has removed the computer name option from the first-time setup process. Windows 10 PCs will just receive random, meaningless names by default.
On a network, this “hostname” identifies the device on your router’s status pages and when browsing shared files. Such names are also used in “find my device” interfaces and anywhere else the device needs to be identified.



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Windows 10

Microsoft simplified the setup process in Windows 10. Windows will no longer ask you to enter a name for your PC when you set it up, which means that your Windows 10 PC probably has a meaningless, confusing name.
To provide a name, open the “Settings” app from the Start menu or Start screen, select the “System” category, and select “About” at the bottom of the list. Click or tap the “Rename PC” button and provide a new name for your PC. Your change will take effect after a reboot.

Windows 7, 8, and 8.1

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On previous versions of Windows — or even Windows 10 — you can open the Control Panel, click “System and Security”, and click “System”. Click the “Advanced system settings” link in the sidebar, click the “Computer Name” tab at the top of the System Properties window, and click the “Change” button to the right of “To rename this computer, click Change”. Type a new name into the “Computer name” box and click “OK” to rename your computer.

Mac

On a Mac, this option is in the System Preferences window. To access it, click the Apple menu on the menu bar at the top of your screen and select “System Preferences”. Click the “Sharing” icon in the system preferences window, and enter a new name for your Mac in the “Computer Name” field at the top of the window.

iPhone and iPad

This option is available on the “About” screen on Apple’s iOS, used on iPhones, iPads, and iPod Touches. To find it, open the “Settings” app from your home screen, tap the “General” category, and tap “About”.
Tap the “Name” field at the top of the About screen and you’ll be able to enter a new name.

Android

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For whatever reason, Google doesn’t offer this option on an Android device. If you’re setting up a Wi-Fi hotspot from your Android phone or tablet, you can change the name of that Wi-Fi hotspot in the hotspot settings — but that’s it.
There’s no way to change the device’s name so it’s identified by that particular name on your network. The only way you can do this is to root your Android device and search for an app that can change the “hostname”. You can still use the device’s MAC address to uniquely identify it, at least.
You can rename your Android device in Google Play to make it more distinct when installing apps via Google Play and tracking your lost device, however. Head to play.google.com/settings, or visit the Google Play Store website, click the gear icon, and select “Settings” to access this page. Click the “Edit” button and enter a new name for your device.

Chromebooks

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Like Android, Chrome OS is also made by Google. So it should be no surprise that Google hasn’t provided a way to change your Chromebook’s name, either. As with Android devices, you can use the MAC address to uniquely identify a Chromebook on your router’s settings page, if you need to.
Chrome OS is just Linux underneath it all, however. If you put your Chromebook into developer mode — for example, you have to do this to install a Linux desktop alongside Chrome OS — you’ll then have write access to the system configuration files and can change your Chromebook’s name.

Linux

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Different Linux distributions handle this in different ways. You can generally change your hostname just by running the “hostname” command as root, but it’ll be reset when you restart your PC. Different Linux distributions define the hostname in different configuration files. For example, on Ubuntu and other Debian-based Linux distributions, you’ll need to edit the /etc/hostname file.
If you’re using another Linux distribution, perform a web search for something like “change hostname on [name of Linux distribution]”.


Other devices will have hostnames, too. They may or may not provide a way to change their names, but you’ll often find this option on an “About” screen or somewhere else in their settings if they do.
Image Credit: miniyo73 on Flickr

How to Quickly Type Special Characters on Any Computer, Smartphone, or Tablet

Most characters you can type don’t appear on your keyboard, whether you’re using a physical keyboard or a touch one. Here’s how you can type them on your computer or mobile device.
You could always perform a search online to find the symbol and copy-paste it into the program you’re using, too. This is inefficient, but works for quickly inserting the occasional obscure symbol



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Windows

You can quickly insert special characters on Windows using Alt key codes. These require a separate numerical keypard on the right side of your keyboard, so they won’t work on most laptops. They’ll only work on desktop PCs if you have that number pad to the right of your Enter key.
To use Alt key codes, ensure that “Num Lock” is on — you may need to tap the Num Lock key to turn it on. Next, press the Alt key and hold it down. Tap the appropriate numbers using the number pad at the right side of your keyboard and then release the Alt key.
For example, let’s say you want to type the £ symbol for the British Pound. It’s numerical shortcut is 0163. With Num Lock enabled, you’d hold down the Alt key, tap 0, tap 1, tap 6, and tap 3 — all on the numpad — and then release the Alt key.
The Character Map tool can help here. Open it by tapping the Windows key, typing “Character Map” to search for it, and pressing Enter. For each special character, you’ll see its Alt key code printed at the bottom-right corner of the window. If you don’t have a number pad, you can also head to this window to view a list of characters and copy-paste them into other applications. You can also find lists of special characters and their associated codes online.

macOS

Mac OS X has its own Character Viewer, which is easier to access. In almost any application, you can click Edit > Special Characters to open it.
Locate a symbol in the window and double-click it to enter it into the text field in the current application. If you use specific special characters frequently, you can add them to your Favorites list so they can be easily accessed here. The list is more organized than it is on Windows.
You can also type a variety of accented letters and other special characters with Option key shortcuts. For example, let’s say you want to type the word “touché.” You could type “touch,” press Option+e at the same time, and then tap the e key. This would instruct your Mac to use an acute accent over the letter e.
There are also Option+Shift keyboard shortcuts, and ones that don’t use accented letters. For example, typing Option+4 gets you a cent symbol (¢) instead of a dollar sign. Washington State University has a good list of Option and Option+Shift shortcuts for typing special characters on a Mac.

If you just want to type a letter with an accent, there’s a much faster way on the latest versions of macOS. Just press and hold the appropriate letter key on your keyboard. For example, if you want to type an “é” character, you’d press and hold the “e” key.
A popup menu will appear. Press the number key corresponding to the accented letter you want to type, or click it in the menu.

iPhone and iPad

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You can type many additional characters on an iPhone or iPad’s touch keyboard by long-pressing the appropriate key. For example, to type the word “touché,” you’d type “touch,” long press the e key, and choose the é character.
This also works for a variety of symbols. For example, to type another currency symbol, you’d long-press the $ symbol on the keyboard and choose your desired symbol.
If you frequently need to type symbols that don’t appear on the standard keyboard, you can head to Settings>General>Keyboards>Add New Keyboard to add a keyboard from another language that contains those characters. And, now that iOS offers support for third-party keyboards, you could install a keyboard that offers support for a wider variety of Unicode symbols and use it.

Android

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Android’s keyboard works similarly. Long-press keys on the keyboard to access related characters and symbols. For example, long-press the e to find the accented e characters. Long-press other symbols — like the currency symbol — to access additional related symbols.
This is how the default “Google Keyboard” app for Android works, anyway. Other keyboards should work similarly. Because Android offers support for more keyboards, you could install other keyboards from Google Play that are better suited to typing a wider variety of Unicode symbols.


Other platforms with touch keyboards should work similarly. Long-pressing keys will get you additional accented characters and symbols, while other special characters will have to come from dedicated keyboards — or copy-pasting.
There’s no single standard method for typing these Unicode characters on Linux. It depends on the applications and the graphical toolkit they use.

How to Identify a Song on Any Smartphone, PC, or Tablet

What’s that song playing right now? At one point, your best bet was to hope your friend knew — or try to listen to the lyrics and search for them. Now, you can just have your phone, tablet, or PC listen to it. This is all built into modern operating systems.
Shazam was the app that really brought this to the masses, and it’s still available on modern smartphones and tablets. But it’s not needed anymore — although it’s not obvious, voice assistants like Siri, Google Now, and Cortana can all do this.



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iPhone and iPad

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To get started, open Siri by long-pressing the Home button. Say something like “What song is playing?” or “Name that tune.” Siri will listen to the song and identify it for you. This feature is powered by Shazam, although you don’t need the separate Shazam app installed to use it.
SIri provides a “Buy” button that will let you buy the song in iTunes, but you can also just note the artist and name of the song and find it on another service.

Android

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Google built this into the Google search app on Android. Arguably part of Google Now, this is one of the many “OK Google” voice commands you can use on Android.
To use it, you can just say “OK Google, what is this song?” if you have the OK Google hotword enabled anywhere. Or, tap the microphone on the search bar at the top of your home screen and say “What is this song?” Google also offers an “Okay Google, Shazam this song” shortcut if you have the Shazam app installed — that will immediately open the Shazam app instead of using Google’s own song-identification feature.

Windows 10

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Cortana has this built-in on Windows 10, too. Open Cortana (or say “Hey Cortana”) and say “What is this song?” or something similar to activate this feature. Cortana will listen for music using your device’s microphone and identify it for you.
You can identify songs playing on your PC this way — just ensure you’re not listening on headphones and your device’s microphone will pick up the audio from its speakers.
This should work the same way on Windows Phone 8.1 phones and Windows 10 phones, which incorporate Cortana, too. It should also work with the Cortana app for Android and iOS.

Mac OS X

Apple hasn’t yet made Siri part of Mac OS X, so you can’t use Siri to do this on a Mac like you can use Cortana to do this on a Windows 10 PC. However, Shazam has made a free version of its song-identification app available for Mac users. You can download Shazam for Mac from the Mac App Store.
Interestingly, the app runs automatically in the background, listening to songs playing nearby and building up a list of songs you’ve heard playing nearby. You can wonder “what were those songs playing earlier?” and scroll through a list of them if your Mac was turned on at the time you were hearing them.
This also will pick up music playing on your Mac, assuming you’re playing it from your Mac’s speakers and its microphone can hear it.

Windows 7, Linux, Chrome OS, and Anything With a Web Browser

Midomi.com is a web-based tool provided by a SoundHound, a Shazam competitor. This is the closest thing there is a to a web-based version of Shazam.
This tool instructs you to “sing or hum” a particular song, but you don’t have to do that. Play the actual song for your computer’s microphone to hear and it will identify the song.
As with the above tools, this can pick up audio coming out of your computer’s speakers, too. You can use it to identify a song playing on your computer itself.


Obviously, this trick depends on matching a recorded song playing to a fingerprint of that recorded song in a database somewhere. It generally won’t work with songs being played live. If you can hear some of the lyrics, just plugging them into Google or another search engine often works wonders. Try enclosing them in quotes to find pages containing just those specific phrases. You’ll hopefully find lyrics pages associated with that particular song.
Image Credit: brett jordan on Flickr

How to Print to PDF on Any Computer, Smartphone, or Tablet

All modern computers, smartphones, and tablets can now easily print web pages and other documents to PDF files without any extra software. Microsoft added this to Windows 10, and Apple added it to iOS 9.
PDF is a standard, portable document format that works across all devices. It’s ideal for archiving and sharing web pages and other documents. It’s just more compatible than other types of documents, like Microsoft’s XPS document format.



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Windows 10

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Windows 10 finally adds a built-in PDF printer to Windows. In any application — from Windows desktop apps to those new Windows Store apps — just select the “Print” option in the menu. You’ll see “Microsoft Print to PDF” appear in the list of installed printers. Select that printer and click the “Print” button. You’ll then be asked to provide a name and location for your new PDF file.

Windows 7, 8, and 8.1

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On previous versions of Windows, this can be a bit more of a headache. It’s not integrated into the operating system, so you may have to install a third-party PDF printer application. Unfortunately, many of these are packed with installer crapware.
Some applications do have integrated PDF-printing support, however. For example, in Chrome you can select the “Print” option and select “Save to PDF” to print to PDF. LibreOffice can also export documents to PDF. Check the application you’re using to see if it can do this without any additional software.

Mac OS X

This is integrated into Mac OS X, too. But, if you’re familiar with the way it works on Windows and other operating systems, you might miss it.
To print to PDF, select the “Print” option in any application. Ignore the list of printers at the top of the print dialog that appears. Instead, click the “PDF” menu at the bottom of the dialog and select “Save as PDF”. Mac OS X will allow you to save the document to a PDF file instead of printing it to an actual printer, and will prompt you for a file name and location.

iPhone and iPad (iOS)

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With iOS 9, Apple built this feature into every iPhone and iPad. To print a web page or other document to a PDF file, first open it in an application. Tap the “Share” button — it looks like a square with an up arrow coming out of it. Scroll through the list of icons in the top row and tap the “Save PDF to iBooks” option.
You can now open iBooks to access that PDF file. From iBooks, you can email the PDF file or share it to somewhere else. These PDF files can also be synced with iTunes so you can get them on your computer in the unlikely event that you regularly sync your iPhone or iPad with iTunes. They’ll be in your iTunes Book Library after they sync.

Android

This is part of Android too. It’s integrated as part of Android’s built-in support for printers — both physical printers and PDF printers.
In an Android app that supports printing — Chrome, for example — open the menu and tap the “Print” option. Tap the “Save to” menu and select “Save as PDF” to save a PDF file to your Android phone or tablet’s local storage, or tap “Save to Google Drive” to save a PDF file directly to your Google Drive account.
If you’re using an app that doesn’t have built-in printing support, you can always use Android’s Share menu. Install an app that can convert documents to PDF and you can then tap Share anywhere in Android and select that app to make a PDF.

Chrome OS

Chrome can always print files directly to PDF, and it works just the same on a Chromebook. Just click the menu button in Chrome and select Print. You’ll see a preview of the current web page. Click the “Change” button under “Destination” and select “Print to PDF” under “Local Destinations”. Select any options you want to change here and then click “Save” to save the file to PDF. You’ll be asked for a file name and location.


Other operating systems may offer this, too. It should be included by default on most desktop Linux systems, but different desktops will have different interfaces. Look in the “print” dialog and see if you can find an option for printing to PDF.

How to Force-Quit an Application on Any Smartphone, Computer, or Tablet

Ctrl+Alt+Delete isn’t just necessary on Windows and other desktop operating systems. Applications can freeze or get stuck in bad states on modern iPhones, iPads, and Android devices too.
Every operating system has a way to forcibly end misbehaving applications. After you do, you can relaunch them and they should hopefully work properly.



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iPhone and iPad

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To force-quit a running app on an iPhone or iPad, double-press the Home button to open the list of recently opened applications. Scroll to the left and right to find the app you want to close. Touch the app’s thumbnail and slide it upward and off the screen. The next time you open the app, it will restart from scratch.
This won’t help you save system resources. You don’t need to do this to close apps just because you’re no longer using them. But, if an app is frozen or otherwise stuck in a bad state, this is a way to force-close it and force it to restart from a clean state.

Android

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The easiest way to force-quit apps on Android is from the recent app switcher, too. Tap the multitasking button to open the list of recently accessed apps. On some devices, you may need to long-press the Home button or perform a different action if there’s no recent apps button.
Touch one of the apps thumbnails or cards in the list and swipe it to the left or right, moving it off the screen. The app will be closed and will open from a clean state the next time you access it.
As with on iOS, this isn’t something you should do unless you really have a reason to. You should generally let Android manage processes on its own — it’s the same reason why you shouldn’t use an automatic task killer.

Windows

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Use the Task Manager to do this on Windows. You don’t have to use Ctrl+Alt+Delete to open the Task Manager — a quicker way is pressing Ctrl+Shift+Escape. Or, with the mouse, right-click your taskbar and select the Task Manager shortcut.
Windows 8 has a nicer looking Task Manager, but Windows 7’s works just fine, too. Locate the window or application you want to force-quit and click the ‘End task” button.
You can force-quit “Store apps” from the Task Manager on Windows 8. You can also place your finger on the top of the screen and move it down until the app becomes a thumbnail, Move the thumbnail to the bottom of the screen. When it switches from a thumbnail of the currently running application to the generic tile image of the current application, release it. Windows will close the Store app.

Mac OS X

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On Mac OS X, press Command+Option+Escape to open the Force Quit Applications dialog. You can also just click the Apple menu on your menu bar and select Force Quit. This tool will help you quit those apps.
You can also hold the Option key and right-click an app’s icon on the dock. and then click the Force Quit option.
If you need a more powerful tool that also lists background processes and allows you to kill them, open the Activity Monitor application.

Linux

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Linux has its own set of utilities for force-closing desktop applications and killing processes. Each desktop environment includes its own process-management tool — like the Activity Monitor tool on Ubuntu’s Unity and GNOME-based desktops. There’s also the xkill command, which allows you to click a window and immediately close it. And, because this is Linux, there are many other terminal commands for quickly managing those processes.

Chrome OS (and Chrome)

Chrome OS uses Chrome’s task manager. Click the menu button, point to More tools, and select Task Manager to open it — or just press Shift+Esc on a Chromebook. Select one of the processes and click End Process to end it.
This also lets you manage the different processes Chrome uses for web pages, apps, and extensions when you run Chrome on Windows, Mac, or Linux. If a web page or app is frozen, use Chrome’s own Task Manager to identify the misbehaving process and kill it.


There are more powerful options for this, too. Mac OS X and Linux have powerful terminal commands for managing processes, and Windows has PowerShell cmdlets for killing processes. On Android, third-party apps can manage processes, and you’ll also find buttons for forcing apps to close in Android’s list of apps on the Settings screen.
Image Credit: Jennifer 8. Lee on Flickr