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5 Smartphone Hacks That Will Change How You Use Your Mobile

Whether it's your first smartphone or your 10th, I highly doubt you’re actually using it to its full potential or even know just how capable these small gadgets can be.

From a $300 smartphone to the $1000+ iPhone range, there are tricks to be revealed. If your mum or dad is still using their smartphone for just calls and text, you’ll need to share this with them as soon as possible. 

It's time to evolve your smartphone skills. (Image: Getty)
1. Using your AirPods to improve how you hear the TV or someone you're with

Live Listen is a feature built into the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. Using a pair of Apple AirPods you can listen using the microphone from the device. If you’re sitting at a noisy restaurant and hard of hearing, place the iPhone in front of the person you are with, slip an AirPod (or both) into your ears and you’ll hear them clear as day. It’s also great for listening to the TV at a higher volume when you don’t want to wake anyone up.

  1. Go to Settings > Control Center.
  2. Tap Customise Controls.
  3. Scroll down and tap next to Hearing 
  4. Tap Back to save the setting.
  5. Open Control Center
  6. Tap the Hearing icon
  7. Tap Live Listen

If you have an Android based smartphone, yes even the cheap ones, download the new Google Sound Amplifier app, but it does currently only work using wired headphones.

(Image: Supplied)
2. Your Phone has a Magnifying Glass built in

If you’re holding the restaurant menu so close that your nose is touching, you might be interested to know your smartphone is ready to help you zoom in. The Apple Magnifier and Google version for Android are so simple to use and once setup, can be activated with a triple click of the power button. What’s more, you don’t need to hold the phone at the dinner menu the whole time, it can freeze an image so you can pretend to be texting while actually zooming in and navigating the menu captured on your phone.

For iPhone users:

  1. On your iPhone or iPad, go to Settings > General.
  2. Tap Accessibility, then tap Magnifier.
  3. Turn on Magnifier. This adds Magnifier as accessibility shortcut.
(Image: Supplied)

For Android users:

  1. Open your device's Settings app Settings app.
  2. Open Accessibility, then Magnification.
  3. Choose either Magnify with triple-tap or Magnify with button.
(Image: Supplied)
3. Allow First Responders to Know about you, without Unlocking your phone

If something were to go wrong, you pass out and need assistance, a Medical ID on your phone could be a lifesaver. Every phone has this capability and can be viewed even when the phone is locked, alerting people of your blood type, allergies and last wishes such as to delete your browser history if things go really bad. 

For iPhone users:

  1. Open the Health app and tap the Medical ID tab.
  2. Tap Edit. If asked, tap Edit Medical ID.
  3. To make your Medical ID available from the Lock screen on your iPhone, turn on Show When Locked. In an emergency, this gives information to people who want to help.
  4. Enter health information like your birth date, height, and blood type.
  5. Tap Done.

For Android users:

  1. Open your device's Settings app Settings app.
  2. Tap About phone and then Emergency information. If you don't see "Emergency information," go back and tap Users & accounts and then Emergency information.
  3. Enter the info that you want to share.
  4. For medical info, tap Edit information. (If you don't see "Edit information," tap Info.)
  5. For emergency contacts, tap Add contact. (If you don't see "Add contact," tap Contacts.)
(Image: Supplied)
4. Share Photos directly with the People around you

This feature is recommended for sharing photos with people you know, although it is possible to follow these steps and share your photos with anyone around you, please don’t. AirDrop is an underutilised feature on iOS devices and allows you to quickly share a photo to people near you with the tap of a button. The image stays at a high quality and is faster than SMS, Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp. 

  1. Open the Photos app, tap the Share icon. If you share a photo from the Photos app, you can swipe left or right and select multiple photos.
  2. The devices names and profile images of people around you will start popping up
  3. Tap the AirDrop user that you want to share content with. You can also AirDrop content between your own Apple devices
(Image: Supplied)
5. Scan and Sign a Document with Apple Notes

The Notes app isn’t just handy for remembering which groceries you had to pick up on the way home. It can also be a really handy document scanner and adding your signature to paperwork is now simple too. 

To scan a document:

  1. Open a note or create a new note.
  2. Tap +, then tap Scan Documents.
  3. Place your document in view of the camera on your device.
  4. If your device is in Auto mode, your document will be automatically scanned. If you need to manually capture a scan, tap the capture symbol or one of the Volume buttons.
  5. Drag the corners to adjust the scan to fit the page, then tap Keep Scan.
  6. You can add additional scans to the document or tap Save when you're done.

To sign a document:

  1. Tap the document in the note.
  2. Tap Share icon, then tap Markup.
  3. To add your signature, tap +, then tap the signature symbol. To manually sign your document, select a tool to use, then sign with your finger or an Apple Pencil with a compatible iPad.
(Image: Supplied)

There are literally hundreds of tips and tricks for our smartphones to list.  It could be new apps that add a new element of convenience, or just  a hidden feature in the phone operating system that not many people know about.  Rest assured, tech experts will keep digging.