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Friday, October 13, 2023

Surprising Things Your Phone Can Do

Betcha don’t know half these things your smartphone is capable of! 

Whether you’ve got an Apple phone or an Android, there are plenty of crazy useful things your phone can do that you’re probably unaware of because these little devices can do so much. And it’s super simple to learn how to use your phone for this stuff! Just a step or two and you’ll be the expert on, well, all of the following technologies!

If You Need a Little Help

Some of us may not know how to drop a pin or even download an app, and that’s okay. No need to stress! Just search “YouTube how to pin” or “YouTube how to download an app” and tap a video. Voila! All your questions will be answered. You can also search “iPhone drop a pin” or “Android download an app” to get the answer in sequenced steps for your device. 

Still a little confused? Your local librarian should be able to offer enlightenment, or there is bound to be someone at a nearby senior center who is happy to help out. You can also visit a Best Buy or other store that sells smartphone accessories and hit up a salesperson for a quick tutorial. 

  1. Remotely Start Your Car. A lot of cars have this tech, depending on the make, model, and year. Check out your own vehicle on the web to see if it has this feature. Usually, you’ll just need to download the manufacturer’s app. For example, if you’ve got a Ford then FordPass allows you to lock and unlock doors and start the car remotely (even at a specific time every day!). Some Android phones have a digital key to work with a car manufacturer’s app to allow your phone to open your car. You can also set the temperature in your vehicle to have it warmed up or cooled down by the time you hop inside. 
  2. Scan Documents. Both iPhones and Android can scan and send documents. On iPhone, open the Notes app and hit “scan documents.” For Android, open the camera app and hold it over the document, then tap “scan document” for Pixel devices, or the yellow “T” on Samsung phones. Done!
  3. Measure Anything. IPhones have a preloaded Apple Measure app, while Google users will need to use Measure Up on their phone’s browser. All you do is drop a point at one end of the object and pin another point at the end. Yep, now you know if that sofa will fit!
  4. Save Your Medicare or Medicaid Card. You may already know that you can hold boarding passes, credit cards, event tickets and more on your smartphone. But did you know you can store your health insurance card there too? Most insurance providers, including Cigna and Aetna, allow for mobile access to your card. Just download their app and sign in to present the card to any provider. Users of iPhone can add it to their Apple Wallet for easy access without an app. 
  5. Monitor Your Heart Rate. That’s right, you don’t need a fancy schmancy fitness tracker to get your heart rate in seconds. Just go to your phone’s app store and choose a heart rate app with a lot of positive reviews, such as Instant Heart Rate for Android. You just place your finger over the camera and flash. 
  6. Record Your Voice. On iPhone, open the Voice Memos app and tap the red “record” button to start and stop. Android users can download a free voice recording app in the Google Play store. Record your memories from childhood or a sweet song or book for the grandkids!
  7. Become a Metal Detector. That’s right, you can find the needle or ring you dropped in the carpet, although it’s doubtful you’re going to find any hidden treasure. Download a metal detector app (some are free) with good ratings to make your phone play a sound or vibrate when it detects metal objects. 
  8. Magnify Print or Pictures. Yep, your phone is a magnifying glass! On iPhone, open the Magnifier app which is already installed. If you can’t find it, look in the Utilities folder. You can adjust the size and brightness of text, as well as increasing contrast for easier reading. Android users just have to open the camera app and use their fingers to unpinch small type. 
  9. Translate. Apple’s Translate app will work on text or voice … even in the middle of a conversation. Android users can download Google Translate from the Google Play store. 
  10. Change the Channel. Lost your remote control or it’s not working because the battery died? Smartphone to the rescue! Many TVs can sync to your smartphone. Your iPhone will work with Roku, Fire TVs and Apple TV 4K. Just check on how to use your iPhone as a remote control. Android users can download an app for Roku and Fire TV or open the Google TV app and go to the remote icon on the bottom right to scan devices and choose one for pairing. 

Finally, and this is going to rock your world, you can make calls on your smartphone. With all the amazing things these little computers can do, don’t forget that you can phone a friend or family member and have a chat. It may be pretty old-fashioned, but it’s a great way to keep in touch.