Smart phones are, well, smart. They've got a whole host of functions, and basically you're carrying a mini computer with you everywhere you go. From calling to texting to messaging to surfing to everything except doing the dishes you probably think that you know all your phone can do, especially if you're tech savvy, but we're willing to bet that you don't. Here, in no particular order, is our list of some of the lesser known functions of the modern smart phone. Read on to be surprised!
- Control Other Stuff
A lot of top end phones these days are coming equipped with infrared blasters. What does that mean? Well, it means that you can use your phone to control anything that responds to infrared signals, though for most people that means simply that you can use your smart phone as a remote for your TV or set top box. This is pretty handy though, so you might want to dig through your mobile's settings lists to see if this applies to you.
Don't have a built in infrared blaster? Not to worry. If you still want to be able to show off and control your TV with your phone then you'll find apps that can do this for you. Our personal favourite is the Peel Smart Remote app…
- Become a Gaming Console
With smart phones these days becoming more and more powerful, and mobile gaming becoming better and better, phones are getting to be pretty popular amongst gamers. No matter how great that game is though, there's still the problem of having to play it on a small mobile phone. But… that's not really a problem at all.
First up, you can connect a couple of kinds of phones to the big screen, getting a full gaming experience. A cable called an MHL (Mobile High Definition Link) will connect your smart phone's mini USB port to your TV's HDMI port. Not all phones support this right now (Sony and Samsung models generally do), but if your phone does then all you need to do is pick up a cheap cable to get started.
But wait, who wants to have a big screen but still have to fiddle around with touchscreen controls? Still not a problem. There are plenty of Bluetooth enabled controllers that are designed for use with mobile phones, so grab yourself one of these. The result? Yes, you're running a game on your phone, but you're playing it the way you would from a console. Neat, right?
- Be a Spirit Level
Okay, this is a weird one, but it can be handy to have a spirit level in your pocket we guess… If you've got an iPhone running iOS 7 or higher then open up your compass app, slide over to the next screen, and you'll find a fully functional spirit level. Cool. If you're on Android then you don't get this built in, sadly, but you can find apps that will use your device's accelerometer to act as a spirit level…
- Talk For You (in Chinese, if you want…)
Voice recognition software has become far better in recent years, and one way to take advantage of this is to use your phone as a personal translator. If you travel a lot this can be pretty cool, since it saves you having to learn the local lingo.
If you're on Android, then just take advantage of Google Now. Open the app and say “translate X into Y” where X is the phrase you want and Y is the language you want, and Google Now will speak the phrase for you. You'll get it written as well, just in case you want to take a stab at pronouncing it yourself. iPhone users don't have this option, but you can always download a translation app like iTranslate to do the job.
- Restore Your Photos
Here's a sneaky trick for iPhone users… Get a little carried away when deleting pics to free up space on your phone? No problem. Go into your photos app and you'll find an album called “Recently Deleted.” Pics you delete are kept here for thirty days before being ditched, so you should be able to get what you want back. And on a related note, if you took a picture that you really, really want to delete, you should make sure that you head into this album and delete it again if you don't want it to be found!
- Block Calls
It's actually surprising just how many people don't realise that their phone can block calls. If you're annoyed by telemarketers or just nuisance phone calls, then in most cases blocking the number is pretty easy.
If you're on iOS then the easiest way is to go to your call log, find the number you want to block, tap the little “i” next to it, and then choose “block this caller.” If you're on a Windows phone then you'll first need to go into the settings menu, choose “call + SMS filter” and toggle on the option for “enable blocked numbers.” Once you've done this you can go to your call log, long press on whichever number you want to block, and choose the appropriate option.
Android users can block numbers too, though how you do this depends on the model of phone that you have. In most cases you should find the option in the call settings, but you might need to fiddle around a bit to find the setting on your particular model.
And there you have it. There are actually probably a ton more things that we could add to this list (like, for example, that most phones can automatically identify any song without having to use an app like Shazam, simply by using Google Now or Siri). The point is that your smart phone is probably a lot smarter than you think it is, and has plenty of hidden secrets!