Your phone is a camera, an encyclopaedia, a messaging device, a GPS, a weather adviser and a watch – not to mention a device that offers easy access to anything you need over the internet. For some, actually making a call is the least likely use for it.

But there are so many other ways your phone can make your life easier. Which of these tricks have you tried?

Find your car

Never forget where you’ve parked the car by taking a photo of the location. This trick works well in big shopping centres where there’s colour coded and numbered bays. If you’re out on the street and your mobile has a map app on it such as Google Maps, place a drop-pin by pressing down on your current location.

Even better, when you need to work your way back to your car’s location, you can press on the pin and click on the ‘direction’ options, which will tell you the quickest way walk there.

Prepare yourself for a doctor’s visit

If you’re going to the doctor, your phone is the perfect helper.  Use your notes app to write a detailed description of any symptoms you may have, in case you forget them when you’re in the doctor’s surgery. You can also take photos of current prescriptions or medications you have at home before you go. Don’t forget to take photos of any medical complaints when you have them, such as a rash that may fade, so you can show your doctor when you have an appointment.

Decipher hard-to-read text

Sometimes text can be too small to read, even when you are wearing your glasses. But by using your phone to take a photo of what you want to read then zooming in on the image using your fingers, you can easily make the text as large as you need.  It’s a great solution for even the tiniest of text, such as serial numbers on products.

And if you need to read something in a tricky-to-reach spot, such as the serial number on the back of your TV, stretching your hand behind the TV to use your phone to take a photo is a lot easier than trying to get your head into an awkward sport or moving the TV in order to read it.

Shop smarter

While your phone won’t do the shopping for you, it can make things a lot easier while you’re making your way up and down the aisles. Use your notes app to make your shopping list, or download one of the many shopping-list apps.  These will allow you to put items on the list, then tick them off when you put them in your trolley so you keep track of what you’re buying.

Another idea is to take a photo of your fridge and pantry before you head off to the supermarket. That way, when you’re wondering how much milk you have left at home, the photo will remind you. You can also search various recipes as you shop, to see if there are other ingredients you need to buy.

Lighten up

Did you know a lot of modern phones have a torch light app? The torch is brilliant for when you’re trying to get the key in the door and can’t quite find the lock properly, or for when you’re looking for something tiny you dropped on the carpet.

You can also use the torch on your phone to illuminate an object you are taking a photo of (with a camera or another phone) and to help it find focus. It also helps for things like threading a needle, as you can put the phone on your lap to direct it to shine the light where you need it most.

Take note

If you are out and about and spot a sign or notice you want to remember, take a photo of it. This is brilliant for a business, for example, that has a sign with their phone number on it. Rather than looking for a notebook and pen, you have all you need in the image.

Alternatively, write the information in your notes app, or write it in an email and email it to yourself so you don’t forget you have it. You can even use the voice recorder on your phone if you want to make a few mental notes.

Get a bargain

Out shopping for a new electronic appliance and want to make sure you are getting a good deal? Google it! You’ll not only find price comparisons for different stores, you’ll be able to see the full list of specifications of what you’re buying, as well as read reviews from other people who have bought the product. If you are still in the thinking stage, you can also take a photo of the item and the price tag so you can remember what it was, which shop it was at, as well as how much it cost.

Keep thorough records

Use the camera on your phone to take photos of important documents as you receive them. This includes receipts, as they can often fade. Store the images in a folder on your computer, along with the serial numbers you have taken photos of.

Take pictures of all your valuables too, including any new purchases as you make them, for insurance purposes. It certainly helps if you ever have to make a claim, even if it is just a reminder of what you need to claim for.

Find style inspiration

See something in a shop window that you think you’d like to wear? Admire a feature in someone’s garden? Love how a friend’s decorated their lounge room? Take a photo of it, to remember exactly how it looked. That way you can try to replicate the looks at your leisure and see how you’re measuring up to the original.

Remember your gift ideas

If you find it hard to think of something to buy for the person who has everything, it pays to plan. Your phone can help you do just that. If you see something that you think would be perfect, but it’s just not the right time to buy, take a photo of it. Also, listen to friends and family talking about the things they love or would like to have, then quickly Google it and take a screenshot. File all the pics in a gifts folder on your computer and when the time is right, you’ll know just what to buy.

Get quick changing room advice

Few people love how they look in a changing room mirror but it’s the perfect time to take a selfie! This is a great help for those times you are buying an outfit for a special occasion and want to show someone for their feedback before you buy. Take a selfie in the mirror and text or message it to them, and hopefully they’ll reply even before you’ve changed back into your own clothes.

Make payments

Your phone can also be used like your bank. Some banks and payment apps allow you to ‘tap and go’ with your phone instead of a credit card. Currency apps let you convert currency values on the go when travelling, so you know exactly how much you are spending. If you have bought a ticket online and been sent an electronic ticket, you may also be able to use your phone to show the QR code rather than printing out the ticket. And for convenience when getting around town, you can also download apps that allow you to pay for parking.

What other ways have you used your phone to make your life easier? Share your tips in the comments below!

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