There’s more to your smartphone than you might think: underneath its user-friendly, simple surface there are all kinds of hidden features and shortcuts you can take advantage of do more with your handset of choice.
Okay, okay – maybe your friends won’t be that impressed unless you make your phone vanish into thin air. But these are all handy little tips you can use to get more out of your mobile, and maybe raise an eyebrow or two along the way.
1. DIGITIZE YOUR DOCUMENTS
Thanks to the increasing quality of smartphone cameras, you no longer need a scanner to get all of your paper files up into the cloud. Evernote
, Google Drive
are three of several apps that can do the job.
2. IDENTIFY SONGS IN AN INSTANT
You can use apps such as Shazam or SoundHound to work out what you’re listening to, but you don’t have to: Google Now, Siri and Cortana can all respond to the voice command “what song is this?”.
3. PUT YOUR CONTACT DETAILS ON YOUR LOCK SCREEN
If someone else finds your phone, will they be able to get it back to you? Put your details on the lock screen to make sure: the option is in Settings on Android, Health on iOS and on Windows Phone you’ll have to edit the wallpaper.
4. GET AUTOMATIC WEATHER ALERTS WITH IFTTT (ANDROID AND IOS)
Set up a recipe on IFTTT
(or the accompanying mobile apps
) and you can get alerts sent straight to your phone if the weather’s looking bad – handy if rain or snow means you’ll need to leave for work earlier.
5. FIX THE GOOGLE CALENDAR TIME ZONE (ANDROID AND IOS)
Delve into the Google Calendar app settings and it’s possible to fix the time zone (rather than have it update every time you travel somewhere). That way, you’ll always know when something’s happening at home.
6. TURN WI-FI OFF WITH YOUR VOICE
The future is here: Siri, Google Now and Cortana let you turn off Wi-Fi with your voice. Just launch your app of choice and say “turn off Wi-Fi” to achieve the desired result. It works with Bluetooth as well).
7. EMAIL HUGE FILES FROM YOUR IPHONE (IOS)
iOS 9.2 added Mail Drop to iPhones, so when you email a large file from your phone you’ll get a prompt to use it. Instead of attaching the file, Mail uploads it to iCloud, with the download link valid for 30 days.
8. CONTROL YOUR COMPUTER WITH YOUR PHONE
A host of apps, from Spotify to YouTube, have some kind of remote control functionality built in. If you want overall control of your laptop or desktop, take a look at the likes of Unified Remote and Alfred.
9. CHANGE THE KEYBOARD (ANDROID AND IOS)
Both Android and iOS now support the use of third-party keyboards, which can do everything from add extra emojis to apply some neural network processing power
to your phone’s autocorrect feature.
10. FIND OUT WHERE ALL YOUR BATTERY POWER IS GOING
All the major smartphone OSes now have detailed readouts of which apps are using up most of your battery juice, so have a root through the Settings app to find the worst offenders and uninstall them if necessary.