It’s hard to believe there was a time when smartphones weren’t a normal part of everyday life. Now, we can’t escape them. Music concerts and sports events are filled with a sea of smartphones as far as the eye can see, and you can’t even walk down the local street without an iPhone entering your field of vision.
And yet, there are still things we don’t know about our smartphones. These are ultra-powerful devices with outstanding potential, but many of us only tap into their most basic features. Sound like you? Get ready to be amazed by the possibilities your pocket-sized device possesses.
You might know that your smartphone can identify currently-playing songs with the aid of popular apps such as Shazam. But, did you know that Android and iPhone devices offer this ability by default? On iPhone, Siri is your go-to. You can also use Google voice commands to achieve the same result on Android devices. And, while plenty of smartphone users continue to prefer the comforts of Shazam or a similar app instead, the sheer amount of options available means you shouldn’t need to question a song’s title ever again!
Take Credit Card Payments
Business owners – take note. It’s surprisingly easy to configure your smartphone to accept credit card payments, although you’ll need a card reader extension and corresponding app to put this into practice. Companies such as PayAnywhere, Square and PayPal Here are just a few to offer this service, allowing merchants to accept portable payments through the power of their smartphone. Technology, eh?!
Measure Your Heart Rate
Why buy a heart rate monitor when your phone can do it for free? Alright, so a dedicated device is probably more preferable, but Azumio Inc’s Instant Heart Rate is just one of many smartphone apps to score rave reviews in recent years. It’s quite self-explanatory – it calculates your heart rate with the assistance of your index finger, promising to provide results in under ten seconds. Be warned though, it’s no substitute for a doctor’s opinion!
Read Your Texts Aloud
There are many reasons why you might require your smartphone to read your texts aloud, and this option is buried within your device’s settings. Generally, you’ll find it in the Accessibility section, often referred to as ‘Text-To-Speech’ or ‘Speak Selection.’ You can also vary the speed of delivery, style of voice and many other variables in some cases, allowing you to tailor the service to your needs.
Turn Off Music Automatically
We’ve all been there. We curl up in bed after a long, hard day at work, plug in our headphones and let the sound of music drift us off to sleep. It seems such a great idea until you wake up the following morning with a fully-drained smartphone battery. Luckily, if you’re a music nut, you can activate a sleep timer that protects your phone’s charge long after you’ve hit the hay. On iPhone, you’ll find this option in the Clock app. It varies on Android, but you can always download one of many apps to do the job if necessary.
Activate Your TV
If your smartphone has a built-in IR blaster, you’re in luck. The novelty appears to be somewhat dying out in today’s modern phones, but functions perfectly for compatible devices as a makeshift TV remote. To make the most of this ability, you’ll want to browse your device’s app market in the first instance. In theory, your smartphone’s IR blaster has the ability to extend far beyond your TV, controlling other elements of your home such as air conditioners and sound systems too.
Head Gesture Control
For some, the ability to control their smartphone with head gestures is a necessity. Both Android and iPhone make this a possibility through a variety of techniques, offering everything from basic head tracking to full-on facial control depending on the app/device. Apple’s iPhone offers head gesture control through its Switch Control feature, while Android makes this possible through the EVA Facial Mouse app.
Honestly, we could have extended this list from seven things to seven-hundred! Our smartphones can do some fantastic things, and tailoring your device’s potential to your needs is the best way to harness its power. If you’ve found a great app, hidden setting or makeshift use for your smartphone, be sure to let us know in the comments below!