There are so many things your phone can do, and you probably don’t even know about half of them.
If you spend a lot of time on your phone, we’ve got some fun and handy tips to use your phone and improve your life. Take a read of these smartphone hacks, which are all easy-to-follow. From improving your camera quality to using your device as a magnifying glass, we’ve covered a wide range of phone uses.
The Evolution of Smartphones
We see smartphones everywhere now and automatically assume that everyone has one. But, they’re still fairly new and only stepped onto the scene two decades ago. The first concept smartphone emerged in the mid 1970’s. However, it wasn’t until 20 years later that it presented itself to the world. IBM’s Simon Personal Communicator, invented in 1992, had a touchscreen, stylus and charging device. When using it often, it took around one hour to charge the phone. On average, 50,000 of these smartphones sold. Although it was the first smartphone the world saw, it could receive e-mails and faxes, making it extremely advanced for that era.
The Nokia smartphones were introduced in 1996 and popular amongst all generations. This featured a full keyboard and physical navigation buttons to offer a much later display than the Simon phone. Weighing 397g and 1.5-inch thick, it was much heavier and thicker than modern-day smartphones, yet still sleeker than the previous edition. This came with 8 MB of memory, and was capable of e-mail, fax, and even word processing and accessing spreadsheets.
One year later, Ericsson released the GS 88 concept phone – also referred to as Penelope. It came with a stylus and touchscreen on the inside, along with hinges at the bottom of the phone to allow dial pad to flip down depending on how you used the phone. This version exemplified a major step towards the smartphones we know and love today.
The BlackBerry 850
How could we not refer to the Blackberry phones when talking about the evolution of smartphones? The BlackBerry 850 became a global phenomenon. It focused heavily on e-mail and spacious keyboards to integrate previous smartphones into a sleeker and stylish version. Due to its nature, the BlackBerry became essential in the enterprise market.
Towards the 2000’s, the Blackberry developed more updated versions, as well as Windows Mobile and Palm OS competing to offer enterprise features. Quickly, people used their smartphone to reply to e-mails and browse the Internet instead of texting and calling others. With the development of online chat forums and BlackBerry Messenger, people began typing messages more than calling.
The keyboard evolved tremendously across these different brands – from flipping and sliding to rotating and vertical, it still wasn’t clear what position users found most attractive and comfortable. Many phones even combined multiple keyboard features to solve the argument.
With later models becoming smaller and sleeker, smartphones weren’t easy to type on. The first touchscreen phones required a considerable amount of pressure, and wouldn’t always respond reliably. Consequently, the stylus became a popular one of the most smartphone hacks and accessories to quickly and easily type.
Welcome The iPhone
When Apple announced the iPhone in January 2007, the smartphone changed its definition completely. Users found additional uses for their smartphone, rather than e-mail and work. Instead, they could correspond with others easier, and browse the Internet wherever they were. The focus switched from using a smartphone for work purposes, to downloading apps and having fun on the Internet.
The large colour display became the iPhone’s signature feature, as well as the finger-friendly touchscreen. It was the first smartphone to feature only one button its face, and volume and a standby button on its edge. Let’s not forget that the first generation iPhone was still very basic, although it used iOS.
Instead of short browsing displays, users could clearly see websites on their smartphone like never before. This helped to build a bridge between enterprises using a smartphone to everyday people using it as a useful tool to browse the Internet on the go. You could say it was the iPhone which transformed how we use the smartphone today.
Our Favourite Smartphone Hacks to Improve Life
Here are our favourite smartphone hacks which are easy to learn and are tried and tested from users all around the world. No matter what your preferred use is for your phone, these smartphone hacks will enhance the experience.
1. Charge Your Phone Quicker Than Ever Before
The best smartphone hacks improve the performance and effectiveness of your phone. Tired of your phone always being out of battery? If you find that you need your phone by your side all the time, it’s hard to be without it whilst it’s charging. Reduce your time apart from reducing the brightness to the lowest it can go, and apply the airplane mode. This will reduce the number of apps which are running to prevent items and files downloading. As a result, your phone charges quickly, and nearly double the time it’d take if you kept the Wi-Fi on and the brightness high.
2. Improve Photography With Your Smartphone
Most of us have our smartphone on us more often than a camera. Therefore, why not adjust your smartphone’s features to improve the quality of photographs? Ensure you have the grid on so you can perfectly balance objects in your photograph to your liking. Purchase an add-on lens to adjust the quality and effect on your photographs.
These phone lenses come with different sizes to suit different smartphone cameras, including Samsung and iPhone. The lenses are made of premium optical glass and high-quality materials to enhance your results.
The optical camera lens reduces glass flares and reflections. With the Wise Angle Lens, you can conquer what would ordinarily be too large to capture in an ordinary smartphone lens. Clip it onto the camera to capture group shots, entire rooms and endless landscapes.
The 2x Telephoto Lens prevents perpetual pixilation. You can get twice as close to the subject on your photo without moving any closer. The CPL Lens boosts the colour and contrast in your images for high-quality results.
3. Store Essentials In Your Smartphone Case
Smartphones are the ideal size to safely store in your pocket. However, credit cards can easily become lost if you just throw them in your pocket. Why not combine the best of both worlds by storing money and cards in your smartphone case?
This keeps your essentials safe and secure as it’s difficult for them to fall out. It also reduces the risk of pickpockets stealing your money. Additionally, what could be more convenient when going to pay for an item than being able to immediately locate all of your currency at once?
If you don’t have a case to store your card in, or if it’s too difficult to open up in a rush, there are specific cases for this. These ensure that you always have your two most important belongings close by.
This phone card holder uses 3M strong adhesive on the back of your wallet to attach to any smartphone or smooth surface. Neatly tuck your money, paper, or card into the handy pocket so you always have your essentials to hand, whilst they’re safely hidden.
4. Use Your Smartphone as a Magnifying Glass
Whether you wear glasses and forgot your spectacles, or are having difficulties reading small font or imagery, your smartphone can save the day. We all take photographs of attractions which fascinate us. However, you can easily take a picture of the text in question and use the zoom feature to read the information easily.
Did you know that some smartphones even have a magnifying feature in the camera setting? If yours doesn’t, don’t worry because you can use the traditional zoom feature. On the other hand, the Magnifying Glass With Light app for iPhone users prevents you from squinting during difficult moments. The additional light feature comes in handy in dark areas, and makes text easier to read.
5. Improve Your Sleep Quality
Smartphone apps are amazing because they can simplify and improve your life. If you’re prone to setting your alarm on snooze, you’re not alone. Many people turn off their alarm daily because it interrupts their sleeping pattern. However, the Sleep Cycle free app for Android and iOS users set’s your phone’s alarm to permanent snooze to prevent morning blues. The app works by detecting your sound and movement and wakes you up when your body’s ready. It’s a hassle-free app which also shows you a graph and analysis of your sleeping data so you can track exactly how much rest you had the night before. It works by using your phone’s microphone and accelerometer to monitor sound and movement.
6. An App To Remember Passwords
We all have so many passwords to remember across numerous accounts on our desktop and smartphones. Thankfully, the Dashlane app safely and securely stores your passwords. This means you don’t have to remember or write down important passwords because it remembers for you. Alternatively, keep all your passwords and personal information in one safe place. Securely fill forms and logins with your stored passwords and personal data whenever and wherever.
Our favourite feature of Dashlane is that you can sync it to multiple devices, including other phones, your tablet and desktop. It also presents information so you can see when you last logged into your accounts to ensure no-one else is logging in using your details. Allow this app to do all the thinking and remembering for you.
7. Use Your Smartphone as a Mouse For Your Laptop
Of all the smartphone hacks we’ve touched on, this is probably one of the most useful for business people. If your mouse has run out of battery, or perhaps you’ve forgotten it completely, it can hurt your fingers using your laptop’s trackpad for an extensive time. Instead, there are plenty of free apps to download which enable you to link your phone to your device. The Remote Mouse or Wi-Fi Mouse apps are two strong contenders which are easy-to-use and there’s no long-drawn setting required. In just a few minutes, you’re set up and ready to use your smartphone.
8. Compare Prices To Other Retailers
RedLaser is an Android and iOS app which allows you to scan barcodes whilst out shopping and compare the price to competitors. This is one of our favourite smartphone hacks because it can help to save you hundreds of dollars every year, just by switching to another store. With thousands of barcodes installed into the app, and constantly being added, it easily detects the barcode you’ve scanned. Simply touch the lighting icon and your iPhone camera will enable the barcode scanner. Position the barcode in the area on the screen and RedLaser will read the image.
Once the app reads the image, it’ll compare the product to other retailers in your area, and even online stores, to help you find the best deal. It’ll store the information and data so you can look it up another time. We like how quickly the products load whilst you’re out, so you don’t have to wait around forever.
9. Translate Text Into Your Language
Word Lens Camera Translator is an amazing app which can translate most words in a foreign language to your native language. This impressive app enables you to take a picture of an unknown word, and Word Lens will enable you to read it. It’s suitable for Android and iOS users which is great to reach most people. The app uses your camera to detect text and it’ll automatically translate words quickly for you to understand.
If you’re a frequent traveler and often find that communication is a major barrier for you, download this app and you’ll never look back. It is incredibly simple to use. Take a picture and wait for the app to recognize the text and translate it for you. It’s worth noting that it doesn’t translate perfectly, but helps you to understand the overall message of languages. These include Spanish, Italian, German, French, Russian and Portuguese. The app also comes with a dictionary to help you learn new languages along the way.
10. Use The Screenshot Function For Directions
Last but not least of our smartphone hacks is the screenshot function. You might regularly use this feature to record funny quotes or conversations with people. But, one of our favourite smartphone hacks is to screenshot directions in the event your phone data runs out.
If you’re travelling in an unknown area and relying on your smartphone for directions, you’ll use your phone’s battery quickly. Therefore, we suggest taking a screenshot and only using your phone’s data to track the direction if it’s absolutely necessary.
Alternatively, if you’re parked in an unfamiliar place, or have to remember a specific spot to meet someone, take a picture of your surroundings. This way, you’ll find it easier to head back to that spot without relying on directions.
What Smartphone Hacks Do You Know?
Smartphones have become more like portable computers than for ringing people. You can now use your smartphone to take photographs, store information, video call people on the other side of the world and everything in-between.
We hope you enjoyed reading our smartphone hacks. However, we know there are so many more out there and would like to hear from you. Share in the comments your favourite smartphone hacks. Perhaps you know how to use your device for safety features? Whatever they are, share to spread the word and help others.
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