You might use your mobile on a daily basis, but are you really using it to its full potential? These 20 mobile phone life hacks will revolutionise how you use your phone – from massively boosting battery life, to turning it into the perfect travel buddy.
1. Improve audio whilst recording a video
Whilst recording a video, you can improve the quality of your audio by covering the microphone. This muffles external background noise so that you can capture clearer sound from what’s right in front of you.
For example, if you’re at a concert and you cover the microphone, you’ll be able to hear the artist singing much more clearly, rather than the audio being ruined by the crowd chatting and screaming around you.
2. Amplify your sound system with a bowl
If you put your phone inside an empty glass or bowl, it will amplify the sound as it bounces off the material. This could be helpful for people who like to ignore (or don’t hear) their morning alarms, or as a makeshift speaker at a house party.
3. Use Airplane Mode
If you’re running out of battery and need your phone back to its full charge as soon as possible, turning on Airplane Mode in your Settings will make it charge faster. You can also find Airplane Mode as the little plane icon if you swipe up or down from your home screen, depending on what phone you have.
Airplane Mode speeds up your charging time because it stops network access, so your phone’s battery isn’t being drained by trying to refresh or find updates.
If you’re having trouble with your battery life, check out our guide on how to make your battery last longer.
4. Save battery with dark mode
Another way to save your battery and make it last longer in the day is by choosing a dark wallpaper instead of a bright, white wallpaper for your home screen. Putting your phone in Dark Mode, rather than Light Mode, will also preserve battery life because your phone doesn’t need to put more energy into highlighting any bright, vivid colours on your display.
5. Save battery by disabling auto-rotate
You’ll save energy if you disable the automatic screen rotate function (that turns your screen from portrait to landscape and vice versa). This is because when the auto-rotate function is on, your smartphone is using its accelerometer sensor to identify the direction of your phone. Simply switching it yourself will preserve battery juice.
6. Save damaged chargers
If your charger cable is slowly on its way out, you may still have time to salvage it before it snaps completely! If you own a click pen, take the spring out and carefully bend it so that it’s wide enough to fit around the charger head. Then squeeze the spring back down to size until the wire fits snugly, saving it from tearing any further.
This is only a temporary solution, and you shouldn’t keep chargers after the internal wires are exposed, as this is a safety risk.
7. Organise wires with Lego
As we buy more electronics, like tablets, iPads, smartwatches, and cameras, we also buy more charging wires to go along with them. If your room is a messy, trip-zone area, and you’re not a fan of extension cables, you can use Lego pieces to hold up your wires neatly.
Simply attach a piece of Lego to your wall or above your desk (or wherever else you like), secure a Lego man to that piece, and use their cupped hand to clasp any wires up out of the way.
8. Colour code your cables
If you have a bundle of wires that all look similar, you can label them using coloured stickers to make finding the right one that much easier.
9. Don’t use your phone whilst charging
Ever wondered why charging wires for iPhones and Androids aren’t very long? That’s because manufacturers are trying to dissuade people from using their phones whilst they’re on charge. As most phone batteries are Li-ion batteries, they have a limited lifespan, and forcing them to keep burning energy while simultaneously charging them will cause them to degrade even faster.
Check out our ultimate guide to charging your phone to avoid any mistakes and keep your phone alive as long as possible.
10. Take screenshots of map directions for offline use
When you’re abroad or even just travelling around your area, you may need to use maps to navigate your way. Any Map app, like Google Maps, will require an internet connection or mobile internet to work. As you’re usually not able to connect to a router whilst outside, you’ll have to rely on your mobile data. However, keeping your data on while using Maps can drain both your battery and allowance, so a good hack would be to take screenshots of the map and then turn off your data. This way, you can still follow the directions, but you’re not actively using your phone’s data and battery life to do so.
11. Use an empty bottle to boost your phone’s light
If you like travelling outdoors, like hiking or camping, your phone could come in handy as an alternative to trying to plug in a lamp somewhere. Sometimes your phone’s flashlight won’t be able to project very far, so to create more light, you can place a clear water bottle on top of your phone (which should be lying flat, face-down). The torch will then project its flash through the transparent bottle and disperse the light better.
12. Use your phone as a SatNav
If you’re using your phone’s Map app to guide you on a long journey, chances are you’ll need to see the screen as well as hear the instructions. If you have nowhere to prop it up safely, you can use a binder clip to attach your phone to the car’s air conditioning extractors. Just make sure your phone isn’t attached somewhere that could distract you, and don’t turn on the air flow, as different temperatures can affect your phone.
13. Use a sandwich bag to protect from the weather
If you’re travelling in a particularly muddy place, or it’s raining, you can place your smartphone inside a plastic sandwich bag to protect it from the weather.
Some phones are waterproof, but accidents happen, so if you do end up dropping your phone in water, here’s how to save it from dying.
14. Take photos with the volume keys
You can use the volume keys on your phone to take a picture without having to touch the camera button. If you want to take a selfie or one-handed photo, then this hack allows you to keep your arm steady and yourself in focus without having to stretch your thumb over to the centre of the screen.
15. Take a photo of your parking
If you’re in a new location and you have to park your car, it can be difficult to remember where it is hours later. A handy hack for finding your vehicle again is by taking a photo of a nearby landmark so you can locate its parking spot at the end of a long day.
16. Use your phone as a measuring tape
Not everyone carries a measuring tape around, but a lot of people have a smartphone in their pocket! You can use your iPhone camera and the Measure app to activate AR technology, which allows you to virtually measure a space. Buying a new sofa, but don’t know if it will fit in your living room? Simply use your camera to measure its width.
17. Store potentially life-saving information
You can store important personal details and medical information on your phone so that professionals can easily access and discover any life-threatening details they need to know about you. For example, alerting medical staff to a severe allergy or disease, or to a visual or hearing impairment, will help them know how best to interact and treat you.
If you have an iPhone 7 or above, you can store this medical information in the Apple Health app, which can be accessed from your lock screen.
If you have an Android, you can download apps from the Google Play Store which do a similar thing – such as the Medscape app.
18. Track health problems and receive medication reminders
There are hundreds of apps out there, fit for both younger and older people, who may need assistance monitoring and tracking their health. Health problems like heart rate, cholesterol levels, blood pressure, and taking pills can all be tracked using apps on your phone. This data can then be stored and transferred so that your doctor, or yourself, can keep an eye on your health.
Some apps will also allow you to set timers and reminders so you never forget to take your medication.
19. Call emergency services without having to dial
On an iPhone, you can contact emergency services by holding down the power button and volume button simultaneously. Initially, your phone will ask if you want it to be switched off, but if you ignore the slider, an alarm will sound and a countdown will begin. Keep holding the buttons until the countdown ends and your iPhone will automatically contact 999.
On some Android phones, you can press the power button three times in a row to send an emergency alert to specific contacts (sometimes referred to as the ICE – In Case of Emergency).
This is a useful hack if you are struggling to use your phone or can’t access it properly.
20. Keep yourself healthy by knowing how to clean your device
Knowing how to properly clean your phone is important in keeping you free from germs and your device lasting a long time (repetitive water and dust damage could hinder its life expectancy).
There are a few simple ways you can clean your phone, depending on how dirty it is: using 70% isopropyl alcohol wipes, using soap and water, using glasses cleaner, or using water on its own.