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Hidden Tricks Your Smartphone Can – And Probably Should – Do

Most of us have become dependent on our smartphones over the year, and although this is often used as a stick to beat an entire generation, it’s simply moving with the times. Normal services which we need to access are increasingly app-based. Increasingly, banking is done online. When someone sitting across from you is staring intently at their phone, they might not be reading down Kim Kardashian’s Instagram timeline. They might be making sure they can pay their rent this month.

Our phones are increasingly essential to us, and their value lies in how they can keep us connected with the world. And, yes, they are increasingly useful for entertainment purposes as well. The key point is the rectangular glowing thing in your pocket, or your bag is more powerful than any device has ever been. It’s not just a phone or a pocket computer. It’s also a flashlight and a camera, and beyond that, it has a bunch of functions many of us didn’t even know about.

Simultaneous Translation

If you want to follow a lecture online from the Sorbonne or Tisnghua University – or, equally validly, if you want to watch a live stream from a K-pop act you love – and you don’t speak the language, you can hope for subtitles, you can pick up a word every so often… Or you can open the live stream, and place your phone next to your laptop with the Google Translate page open, then click the microphone icon which allows your device to listen to spoken language. There you have it, a live translation function that compares favorably with most TV networks’ efforts.

Hiding Sensitive Apps

Regardless of what you use your phone for, as an adult, there are some things you don’t want kids seeing on your phone. You’d certainly rather they didn’t get into your bank accounts, and if you’ve found a new casino on you really don’t want anyone under the age of 18 getting into that. You can curate your apps, so the more sensitive ones are kept from curious or prying eyes. Different phones use different methods for this, but a quick online search should give you all the guidance you need to get it right.

Metal Detector

You may not think you need a metal detector, but have you ever been sewing and dropped a needle? The blind panic regarding where it has gone is not a pleasant sensation. Neither is forgetting you dropped it and then “finding” it when you sit down at some point in the future. The vast majority of modern-era smartphones contain a magnetometer for other purposes, which can be “borrowed” by metal detector apps that use the phone’s proximity to metal to alert you to anything you may have dropped. It may seem like a very prosaic use for a device that can literally give you the news in hundreds of languages, but next time you drop something sharp, you’ll be glad of it.