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10 Practical Smartphone Tips and Features

Are you aware of your smartphone's full potential? Today's cellphones are only called so because their initial use was once only calling or texting other people, but these devices are so much more than just a means to contact others today. Smartphones can be used as books and magazines, TVs, cameras and photo albums, gaming and multimedia platforms, and so much more today, all in one small package that fits in your palm!
Apart from these more obvious uses, however, these clever devices also offer a whole universe of curious and often overlooked features, allowing you to measure and level objects and develop old film negatives, for example. The list goes on and on... To learn about 10 of such practical features and optimizations, continue reading!

1. You can take photos while simultaneously filming a video

Smartphone Tips and Features woman taking photo on ismartphone
Few people are aware of this trick, but you can actually quickly capture a photo while simultaneously filming a video on your phone. This feature is present both in iPhones and Android smartphones, all you have to do is just press the shutter button situated next to the video recording button while recording a video, quick and easy.

2. Check if your TV remote control has a low battery

Smartphone Tips and Features remote control TV
It can be difficult to understand why a remote doesn't work or seems to work worse than before. To rule out the most common reason behind these problems, which is low batteries in the remote, simply follow these steps. Point your remote at your phone’s frontal camera and pres some button on the remote. If an infrared light appears on the phone's screen, then the batteries in your remote still function well.
Related Article: Genius DIY Phone Hacks

3. Turn your phone into a tape measure

Smartphone Tips and Features tape measure
It often happens that you're shopping for supplies, furniture, or helping someone with a DIY project and you suddenly need to measure something but don’t have a tape measure on hand. You've got nothing to fear if you have your smartphone, as there’s an app precisely for that! Simply download one of the two free apps below and follow the instructions in the app:
  • Measure - click on your device type to download: iPhone or Android
  • SizeUp - click on your device type to download: iPhone or Android.

4. Browse image gallery by category to find a photo quicker

Smartphone Tips and Features woman scrolling smartphone
Struggling to find a specific photo in the vast image gallery on your phone? Try using the Search function on the bottom of your screen on your iPhone (the same feature is called 'Explore' on Androids). Here, photos are divided by different categories, such as "people" or "places" and "objects", and you can even search for a photo by location, so you might just have better luck finding the photo you're looking among those categories.

5. Make the screen wallpaper black to save battery life

Smartphone Tips and Features phone with a black background
Short battery life is one of the most common smartphone problems today, as the battery is one of the first things in a phone to degrade and start annoying you. If you're struggling with battery life even after you've tried all the basic tips for improving battery life like turning off the phone's location, turning down the screen's brightness, etc., try this trick. 
Change your smartphone's wallpaper to a simple black background. This will save you battery life because a significant amount of the device’s battery is used up for lighting up the phone's display. When the display is black and doesn't need to be lit up, your phone will use up less power.

6. Scan film negatives and save them to your phone

Smartphone Tips and Features film negatives
Let us ask you this: how many precious family memories have you captured on film over the years? For many people, it's decades worth of footage, but with the era of digital media, we tend to forget those little rolls of film stored who knows where deep inside one of the many drawers and cabinets in our homes.
Luckily, there are apps that allow you to scan and digitalize film with the help of your phone so that you could store these precious memories right in your phone and even share them with family and friends when you don't have the opportunity to meet and look through the family album in person.
Such apps, as Film Scanner Pro available for iPhones (click here to download) and Photo Negative Scanner suitable for Android users (click here to download) allow you to transform film negatives into a digital image quick and easy, so give them a try!

7. Transform your phone into a level

Smartphone Tips and Features level
Can't find a level, but need one asap for a DIY building project? If you have your phone on hand, it can become your new level. How is it possible? Well, as you probably already guessed, there's an app for that, the Bubble Level app, to be precise. The app is free to use and available for both iPhone or Android phones.
The app is super easy to use - just put your smartphone on the surface in question, and the app will show you how to adjust the level through a simple and user-friendly display.

8. Enable grayscale mode in the evening to fall asleep quicker

Smartphone Tips and Features black and white photo phone
One interesting feature on modern-day smartphones is the Grayscale Mode, which will turn the smartphone's screen to black and white. Apart from being a good battery-saving option, tech experts also point out that this mode is designed for those who find it difficult to stop scrolling their phone right before bed. The grayscale mode will make your phone less appealing, which will hopefully make you get off your phone quicker and help you get better sleep. 
Although not all phones have this feature and some older Android models don't have it, you can check if you do by going to the phone's Settings, finding Accessibility, going to Display accommodations, and selecting the grayscale color filter.

9. Extend the longevity of your phone's charging port

Smartphone Tips and Features cleaning a phone's charging port with a syringe
Image Source: Meetomars/ Twitter
Your phone's charging port is essential for the proper functioning of the device, but with time, dust and debris can get stuck in it, which will make charging and connecting the charging chord difficult. To avoid this and protect the charging port from damage, simply take an empty syringe and blow some air with the needle into the port to clean it. Repeat this every few months, and your device will be as good as new!

10. A quicker way to text your location

Smartphone Tips and Features  text your location
Typing a text message to someone and need to share your location real quick? Well, there's a new iPhone feature that allows you to do just that. Instead of typing the actual location, just start typing “I’m at” then type one space, and the option "current location" will appear in your phone’s autocorrect box. Click on that option, and a map with your current location will be shared with the addressee. Keep in mind, though, that turning on your phone's location is a must to use this feature. 
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