10 Mobile Phone Life Hacks

Smartphones can be used for all sorts of things nowadays, from delivering on-the-spot language translation to serving as an emergency flashlight, there really isn’t much that the modern smartphone can’t do. In fact, as mobile devices become more advanced we continue to see an exponential increase in the capabilities and uses of smartphones and tablets, not only because of the apps that they can run, but because of the creative ways people are learning to use them. In celebration of using your smartphone for those crazy out-of-the-box tricks, below we’ve put together 10 must-know mobile phone life hacks that can you can use to enrich, amplify, and simply your life using the hidden powers of a smartphone:

1. Boost Download and Internet Speeds

You can download the SpeedTest.net app to test the internet download and upload speed on your device. After finding out how fast your connection is, you could start improving it by either connecting to a Wi-Fi network and disabling both your Bluetooth and mobile data connections, or by resetting your phone and moving to a spot with stronger 4G coverage with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth disabled. It also helps to force stop and disable any apps that automatically use your phone’s data in the background, so be sure to use apps that display bandwidth usage. Some newer phones like the Galaxy S5 have a Download boosting feature that lets you combine the bandwidth of your 4G data connection with the bandwidth of your Wi-Fi connection simultaneously in order to achieve much faster internet connections speeds.

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2. Using Your Smartphone as a Memory Aid

Smartphones are excellent note-taking utilities, and being that they’re equipped with easy-to-use cameras they make for perfect memory aids. For example, let’s say you’re getting ready to go shopping but you don’t have the time or willingness to sift through the fridge and see what needs to be replaced. Not a problem, pull out your smartphone and take a pic of the contents of the fridge. You can walk out the door without having to think twice and then assess what needs to be replenished by looking at the pictures of the fridge on your smartphone when you’re at the store later.

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3. Protecting your Data from Everyone

Anytime you carry on with personal or business affairs using a smartphone there’s always that nagging possibility that your data could be stolen or intercepted. However, many newer phones like the Galaxy S5 and the iPhone 6 have been equipped with fingerprint scanners, which let you lock all of your files and even the phone itself using only your fingerprint as the primary identification credential. Take advantage of this new feature to keep all of your personal pictures, messages, websites, and other data safe from snooping eyes.

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4. Use a Cup or Bowl to Amplify to your Smartphone’s Sound

This is a perfect trick for anyone who likes to listen to music with their phone, or for those who use their smartphones as alarm clocks. How do you do it? All you have to do is drop the phone in a cup or bowl (an empty one of course, not one with hot noodles or water in it), and the sound will be amplified by the surrounding walls. Some cups or bowls work better than others. Plastic and Styrofoam cups work well for this. You can play with the angle of the phone a bit to increase or change the quality of the sound.

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5. Make a Smartphone Lamp

Almost everybody knows that you can turn a smartphone into a flashlight with a simple flashlight app from the Google Play Store or Apple App Store. However, if you really need more lumens spread out across a greater distance, then a lamp would probably be more suitable. To make a lamp with a smartphone, simply take your smartphone and lay it flat on the ground with the screen facing up, enable a flashlight app on the phone, and then set a plastic bottle on top of the screen to let the light shine through the bottle. The light travels through the bottle and deflects to hit more angles, creating the lamp effect. This is a neat trick to know when you need an improvised lamp while camping.

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6. Get More Out of Your Phone’s Battery

Most phones can be set to consume very little power with a few settings tweaks. Some phones have power saving modes that reduce brightness and disable certain features, while others will require you to reduce the brightness, disable GPS, and force stop all running programs manually. A quick way to reduce battery usage is to enable airplane mode. The Samsung Galaxy S5 has a feature called Ultra Power Saving that lets the phone’s battery run for an extended period of time. One way to never run out of a fresh battery is to get a battery charger that you can use to recharge multiple phone batteries for backups.

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7. Make Your Charger and Smartphone Easier to Find

We all know that locating a black smartphone or charger in low lighting can be extremely challenging if not impossible without a flashlight. You can easily make your smartphone and its accessories more visible in the dark by painting part of it with glow-in-the-dark nail varnish or wrapping it in bright orange, green, yellow, or pink tape.

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8. Screen Capture your Travel Route before Leaving Wi-Fi

If you’ve ever been travelling without mobile data service and needed directions from your GPS, then you’ve probably been in a situation where you’ve had to stop at a Wi-Fi hotspot to get the directions before continuing your trip. However, although apps like Google Maps will continue navigation while offline as long as the route is started before disconnecting, they will also get stuck in the rerouting/waiting for location phase if you deviate from the downloaded route at all, causing you to lose your route and return to another Wi-Fi hotspot to retrieve the directions again. All of that hassle could be avoided by simply taking a screenshot of each step in the route directions. That way, if the route stops working and you don’t have data to refresh it, you’ll still have the screenshots of the map and route directions.

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9. Create a Family Photo Album with your Smartphone

Nowadays we often forget the concept of family photo albums, as most of our pictures and videos are stored digitally on our SD cards, devices, cloud storage accounts, and social networking profiles. Very rarely do we actually print these pictures and make a family photo album with them, but doing so creates a really fun opportunity to play the role of your family’s own photographer and photo editor. It really is amazing what photo editing apps can do to spice up pictures and turn them into amazing works of art. Printing out such pictures and compiling an album with them would be an entertaining and memorable activity for any family.

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10. Turning your Paper Documents into Digital Files

A smartphone can also be used to scan documents at a surprisingly high quality with apps like CamScanner for example. If you need to clear out some space in your filing cabinets or get rid of some excess paperwork, pulling out your smartphone and converting the documents into digital files is an excellent way to avoid the time and hassle of using a conventional scanner.

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Browsing Lists of the Top Apps

In closing, we’ll leave you with a bonus tip: In order to get the most out of your smartphone on ongoing basis, try browsing through lists of the top apps in various categories. Since new apps are constantly coming out it’s good to see what’s hot on the market from time to time to keep your app arsenal as awesome as possible.

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