We use smartphones just about every day, but most of us don’t know just how amazingly useful they can be. There is a lot you can do with your Android or iPhone if you just know how to access the features. Check your pulse, level a painting on the wall, use augmented reality to help navigate in your car, and so much more.
Are you ready to really unlock what your smartphone can do?
Check out these 55 ways to use your smartphone that you will not regret knowing.
Use Your Mobile Device with a Telescope
Do you see the perfect image through a telescope or binoculars and want to take a picture? You can. Just place your mobile device’s camera where your eye would go and snap a few shots. You may be amazed by the results.
Recognize Fonts, Objects, and More
Using apps such as Amazon’s Flow your phone can recognize objects, text, and places with ease. There are also apps available, such as WhatTheFont for identifying a particular font.
Use Your Smartphone as a Microscope
Take the lens off the tip of a laser pointer and attach it over your phone’s camera lens. This hack will allow you to see and photograph a magnified and microscopic world that would be hard to see without technology.
Use Augmented Reality on Your Car’s Windshield
If you find yourself driving in bad weather or in a strange location, the Hudway app can be a lifesaver. Set your destination, place the phone on the dashboard, and your smartphone will project a GPS-enabled map directly onto your windshield.
Find Out Why Your Car Isn’t Running
The Automatic Pro app word for both Android and iPhone. With an adaptor, you can plug it into your car’s ODB-II port and run a diagnostic without having to fork over hard-earned cash to a mechanic for the service.
Search Through Your Photos by Category
Do you have a hard time finding the photo you’re looking for in the hoard of photos on your phone? Don’t worry! There’s a search function at the top of your photo app that includes categories. Try it. You might be surprised how simple a photo search is.
Read Barcodes, Not Just QR Codes
We all know smartphones can read QR codes, but what about barcodes? You can scan barcodes from most shipping companies or download an app such as RedLaser to compare item prices at other stores while you’re shopping.
Have Custom Vibrations for Your Contacts
Are you worried about missing a call from someone important but need to keep your phone on silent? Give them their own unique vibration so you can still tell when they are calling. If you have an iPhone, go into settings, then sounds and haptics, ringtone or text tone, and then click the vibration option to find the custom option.
Check Your Blood Pressure and Heart Beat
There are dozens of heart rate monitor apps available for Androids and iPhones. By placing your finger in front of the camera, you allow the app to see your blood circulation and heartbeat. It’s actually kind of cool, and really useful if you need to do a quick health check.
Check Your Remote Batteries Quickly
Is your remote low on batteries? You can quickly check to find out by pointing your remote at your phone’s front-facing camera and pressing any button on the remote. If there is an infrared light showing on your screen, then your remote batteries are still alive.
Move Shows on Your iPhone onto Your TV
Use screen mirroring and an Apple TV to access AirPlay. Soon you will be watching your favorite shows on the big screen instead of squinting to see what your favorite actors are looking at. It’s only a few button clicks to get there.
Stay Safe While Out on the Town
Use the bSafe app on your iPhone or Android. It lets you send invitations to friends or family to track your location as well as setting a timer to trigger a distress call if you do not arrive home in the amount of time you schedule. It even schedules fake calls so it can look like you are talking to someone while you walk home.
Scan and Digitize Negatives
While it’s not professional quality, you can scan negatives with your smartphone. Use an Android app such as HELMUT film scanner or try playing with the negative effect on your camera.
Fix Siri’s Pronunciation
Is Siri annoying you by mispronouncing some of the words she uses frequently? Tell Siri to pronounce the word and then tell her “You’re pronouncing (the word) wrong.” She will invite you to give the proper pronunciation. Problem solved!
Take Photos While You’re Recording Video
Do you want to take photos but you’re recording a video? If you have an iPhone, you can press the shutter button that is next to the video recording button while you’re recording the video. That’s all there is to it.
Turn on the Lights in Your Home or Office
Use Amazon Alexa to turn any wifi-enabled lightbulbs on and off. Turn lights on before entering a room, set them to turn off at a certain time, turn all the lights in your home off all at once, or have them turn on randomly when you are gone to make it look like someone is still at home.
Turn Your Phone into a Ruler
Free apps such as the Ruler App are a perfect solution for measuring objects that are smaller than your smartphone screen or even for measuring larger objects in a photo such as furniture.
Make Shortcuts for Text and Emojis
Do you have texts of emojis that you use regularly? If you have an iPhone, you can go to settings, select keyboard, go to text replacement, and plus the plus symbol. Just follow the instructions from there. You’ll be able to customize the shortcuts you use to access those emojis and texts.
Turn Your Phone into a Thermal Camera
SeekThermal lets you turn your smartphone into a thermal camera. It’s an app as well as a camera that is attached to your mobile phone. Soon, you too could be using advanced technology created especially for the military.
Scan QR Codes Without Needing an App
Use your iPhone or Android to scan QR codes without needing to download an app first. In your iPhone, just open the camera app, focus on the QR code and click the notification that pops up. If you have an Android, you just have to enable screen search first.
Enable Grayscale for Better Sleep
Do you need to make your phone less appealing and also less likely to wake you up so that you can finally get a full night’s rest? Go to your phone’s setting, find accessibility, click display accommodations, and choose color filters to find the option for grayscale.
Use Your Smartphone as a Level
Do you need to level a painting on the wall or are really starting to wonder if one part of the floor is lower than the rest? Get the Bubble Level app for your iPhone or Android and find out for sure. It’s incredibly easy to use, just place your phone on the surface in question and the app will do the rest.
Check Your Blood Alcohol Content
With a small device and the BACtrack app you can quickly find out if you’re safe to drive or better off calling a cab. This app is a genuine lifesaver and may be worth the investment.
Shake the Smartphone to Undo Mistakes
If you have an iPhone and make a mistake, just shake your phone and an option will appear to delete it. If you have an Android, you’ll need to download the Shake to Undo module before you can get this feature to work.
Use Your Android’s Spacebar to Move the Cursor
Are big fingers making life complicated when it comes to moving your cursor? Just swipe the spacebar if you are using the Android GBoard or use 3D Touch on your iPhone keyboard.
Use Your Android as a Radio – Without the Internet
Your Android can access FM radio without the internet. So, if the apocalypse ever comes and there is no wifi or mobile signal to be found, you can still listen to the radio for updates on where the zombie army is currently moving. Hey, it could happen…
Use Your Android to Schedule Messages
When you are creating a message, there is a pull-down menu on the top near the call button. Within it, you will find an option to schedule the message. This is great if an idea suddenly pops into your head at three in the morning, but you want to wait until a reasonable hour to actually send the message.
Close Multiple Apps at the Same Time
Use several fingers to swipe up on an iPhone and you can close all of your apps at once. If you have an Android, you can do the same thing, but you will need to install something like KillApps first before the magic can happen.
Identify the Flights Overhead
Are you curious about the flights going over your head? There is no need to wonder any longer. Simply ask Siri what planes are overhead and you will quickly learn what flights they are, as well as the angle and altitude of the planes.
Schedule Your Bedtime with Your iPhone
iPhone has a bedtime option that is a convenient combination of an alarm and do not disturb mode. You will find it in your clock app between the stopwatch and alarm. Now, that’s convenient.
Use Your Phone to Start Your Car
Use Viper SmartKey to lock, unlock, and start your car from a distance. It also has an option to diagnose car problems. What else could you ask for?
Turn Your Android’s Flashlight On and Off with a Few Words
Are you tired of fumbling around to turn the Android flashlight on and off? Just say, “Okay, Google, lumos” to turn the light on and “Okay, Google, nox” to turn it off. It makes life a whole lot easier.
Find your iPhone with Siri
Did you forget where you put your iPhone down? Fear not! Just say, “Hey, Siri, where’s my phone?” She will answer with “Follow the sound of my voice.” Just follow her voice and your phone will be reunited with you again.
Split Screen Your Apps on an Android
Hold down the tab button to turn your Android into a split screen to fit more than one app on the screen. This is useful if you’re trying to do more than one thing and are tired of having to tab through to get to each one. Convenient!
Cast Your Android’s Screen
Use Chromecast to broadcast your Android’s display onto a television screen for easy viewing. Use it to mirror your phone or watch television and movies. The mirroring option can be found in Quick Settings. The sky is the limit.
Make Text Easier to Read on Your Android
If you need to make text and objects smaller or larger for easier viewing, you can zoom in and out in the majority of apps. You can also change the setting for size in Settings. Just go to the Display menu, click Font Size, and change the size to the one that works best for you.
Let People Borrow Your Android Without Full Access
Pin a frequently used app to your screen and younger (or nosy) members of your family will be able to use that app without unlocking everything else in your phone. Your privacy is safe once more.
Disable Your Android’s Lock Screen When at Home
While it makes sense to have a code of fingerprint scan required to open your phone when you’re out in public, it usually makes less sense – and is more of an inconvenience – when at home. To eliminate the requirement when at home, go to Settings, then Security, then Smart Lock. Add your home to the trusted places and you are good to go.
Use One-Handed Mode on an Android
Google’s custom keyboard has a one-handed mode for those of us who like to drink coffee and get things done at the same time. It’s probably already installed on your device, but if it’s not, you can download the Google Keyboard to get started.
Find Lost Notifications on Your Android
Did you swipe away a notification and then realize that it was important two seconds later? You’re not alone! Thankfully, there’s a solution. Tap and hold an empty spot on your home screen, choose Widgets when the option pops up, and locate the Setting shortcut. Drag that icon onto your home screen and a list will pop up. Select the Notification Log from the options and your full notification history will show up.
Take Actions Shots Easily
Use the shutter option to take a succession of photos quickly if you are at a live event and don’t want to miss one moment. Then, you can go through the images later and select the best ones. Its photography made simple!