It's not always about fancy paid apps or the latest hardware upgrades when it comes to maximising our smartphone's usage. Here are some ways you can make the most out of your own phone, no matter what system or brand you’re using.
When switched on, the Airplane Mode function cuts off all transmission with your telco, preventing unwanted mobile signals from your phonecalls and text messages from interfering with aircraft communication. Pretty neat solution to play nice with decades-old radio waves in the air, no?
For the casual smartphone gamers, it's a lifehack to stop advertisements from popping up in between games of jewel-matching too. When switched on, you are off the clock from work. For reasons known only to you, there's no network connection to access your work email, and you're basically unreachable for last minute tasks from boss because you're three drinks deep into happy hour.
The only downside? You can't play games that require you to be perpetually online.
Airplane mode is more than just a black hole for your communications. Just like its name implies, this is aptly used when you're on the airplane. With less abuse inflicted on your phone battery, you'll get to enjoy longer playtime when you're on a long-haul flight.
The rear camera is possibly what helped define the modern smartphone. Perfected by years of research poured into mobile imaging sensors, it serves to capture high quality breathtaking moments - like a great night out with friends, or your hard-earned vacation.
If you ever had the bad luck of misplacing your spectacles, fret not - switch on your smartphone's rear camera, bring the screen as close as possible to your eye nd start searching in High Definition quality.
Also perfect for keeping tabs on day-to-day movement, like snapping a picture of your shopping lists and photographing maps and directories of huge, maze-like buildings (such as shopping malls).
If you like the rear camera for its original intentions, you could always take it a step further by buying clip-on modifications that will make your photos have genuine effects that aren’t gotten through an editing app.
We must remain connected, and there's no two ways around it. Lots of smartphones now come with different brands of energy-saving options that would more likely irritate the user. As much as you need your last drop of battery juice, it doesn’t make sense when you’re forced to give up Wi-Fi. So what next?
Turning off your phone when you’re unlikely to be using it, such as swimming or needing to focus on work for the next two hours, will help. But what about the times where you absolutely need to be on standby? Simply lowering your screen’s brightness can keep your smartphone lasting up to three hours longer, even with continuous use. You can still take calls, read your emails, and your phone doesn't try to blind you while doing so.
Airplane Mode (see above) also helps if you have access to free Wi-Fi and when you’re not expecting any cellular calls. If not, consider turning the volume half your usual setting so it uses less battery when calls come in.
Disabling vibrations when in Silent Mode can stretch your juice a little further if you have a habit of obsessively checking the smartphone even when you know no one has messaged you in the last 15 minutes. You’ll be thankful for this when it’s late at night, and there’s a need to book a cab using your apps.
Battery packs are great, but it's just too cumbersome to carry around. Not to mention it dangles like a sore thumb when it's linked to your phone. A more elegant solution would be battery packs that double as protective cases. A perfect example would be Mophie's juice packs.
It goes without saying that the audio jack is nothing short of the gateway to aural bliss. Some smartphones come with in-built audio enhancing software and user-friendly playlists. Paired with a powerful set of headphones, what you will enjoy is literally music to your ears.
What many people do not know is most smartphone audio jacks also double as an input for audio sources as well. If your smartphone has excellent video capabilities, but lamentable audio recording, simply buy any external microphone, plug it into where you normally stick your headphones, and you’re ready to go.
While your Snapchat buddies may not exactly need such a device for your latest rendition of the latest Taylor Swift song covers, having an external microphone helps a lot if you’re in the business of recording audio for work or keepsake.
If audio is not really your jam, there are DIY videos on how to custom-make these dust plugs so that your phone doesn’t look like every other person is using. Smartphone swag now extends beyond glittering Swarovski cases, and it's time to step your bling game up when you're not perusing those MP3s.
Selfies. Wefies. Anything that involves making a profile picture for your dating app profile or Instagram uploads, the front camera is a necessary tool for the vain. But does the practicality really end there?
The front camera is also extremely handy for the paranoid to do a quick check on people stalking behind, without having to turn around one too many times and invite suspicion.
Finally, the front camera is what replaces the conventional mirror in your bag. Simply fire it up and admire your own face in HD. You can even be discreet and just give your face a quick once-over virtually anywhere in public, if you’re open to people giving you judging side-glances for being a little vain.
To make the most out of your front camera, it is crucial to master another port on your smartphone - the audio jack. For example, the volume buttons on an iPhone’s earpiece also double as a remote control for your photo-taking, so put away those tacky selfie-sticks now.
If you have money to blow, consider getting other knick-knacks, such as the iBlazr. It gives a powerful flash attachment for iOS and Android smartphones and your selfies are now better-lit.