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Smartphones can do a lot of cool things, like making calls, playing music, videos and apps, and accessing the internet, but the phone’s built-in functions are just the beginning. Here are some creative ways to use them.
1. Use the camera to take photographic reminders.
Snap a picture of the inside of your fridge before you head to the market, and never stand in the dairy aisle wondering if you need to buy milk again!
Look up your driving route on Mapquest or Google Maps on a full-size computer or laptop at home, snap a picture of the map as it’s displayed onscreen, and now you’ve got a copy to take along that isn’t dependent on an active, strong cell or WiFi signal (like a mapping app would be).
Before you head out to shop for clothes, paint or home furnishings, take pictures of the outfit(s) you hope to match, room(s) you intend to paint, or room(s) where the new furnishings will go.
This list barely scratches the surface; I’m sure you can think of many more ways to use this tip!
2. Turn up the volume with a drinking glass.
Whether you need to set an extra-loud alarm or just want to listen to some music, placing your smartphone in an empty bowl or drinking glass will amplify its sound output to a surprising degree.
3. Got a flashlight app? Use it and an empty, clear plastic bottle to make a camp lantern.
Turn on the flashlight app, then place the phone face up on a stable, flat surface. Place an empty water bottle (lid screwed back on – that part is important) on top of the phone screen and voila! The light is now dispersed in an arc around the bottle, just like a camp lantern!
4. Easily find your phone and charger in the dark.
Go to your local craft supply store and buy some glow in the dark paint. Paint the back of your phone case with it, either covering the whole thing or just making a large spot or square, and allow it to dry. Repeat the process on the outside casing of your charger plug (the part that goes into the wall receptacle). Note that plain glow in the dark paint looks greenish in the bottle, but when applied it dries clear.
Make sure the back of the phone and the charger plug are resting under a bright light source while you’re getting ready for bed, then place them wherever you usually would when you turn in. They’ll be easy to spot in the dark now!
5. Easily match your various charger cables to your household’s various smartphones and devices.
Use either matching stickers or dots of colored nail polish to mark each cable and its associated device. Just make sure the dots or stickers don’t cover or get into any of your device ports.
6. Got an old audio cassette tape case, or case for a small digital videotape (the type used in handheld camcorders)? Make it into a tabletop stand for your smartphone.
Just open the case all the way, flipping the top cover as far back as it will go. Now that top cover part can rest on the tabletop, and you can rest your smartphone in the little slot where the tape would usually go (image below from designyoutrust.com).
7. Do you use your phone’s lock screen feature? Make your contact information your lock screen image.
Put your name, email address and a contact phone number (obviously, a number different than that for the phone itself) into a word processing document or graphics editor program on a computer, take a picture of it with your phone, then save that image as your wallpaper. Now, even if you keep your phone locked just in case you lose it, whoever finds it can still easily reach you.
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