1. Improve audio whilst recording a video
While 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 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 better, rather than the audience screaming and singing.
2. Amplify your sound system with a bowl
If you put your mobile phone inside an empty glass or bowl, it will amplify the sound as it bounces off the material. You can do this to create a mini speaker, or to heighten the sound of your alarm if you’re a heavy sleeper.
3. Put your phone in airplane Mode for faster charging
If you’re running out of battery and need your phone back to its full health as soon as possible, turning on Airplane Mode in your settings (or swiping up on an iOS device and clicking the plane icon) will make it charge faster. This speeds up your charging time because Airplane Mode stops network access, so the phone isn’t drained further by refreshes or updates.
If you’re having problems with your phone’s battery life, check out our guide on how to make your battery last longer.
4. Save battery with dark mode
For another tip on how to save your battery and make it last longer, choose a dark wallpaper over a bright, white wallpaper. Putting your phone on dark mode, as well as having a black wallpaper on your home and lock screen, as opposed to bright colours, can save your battery life. This is because your phone doesn’t need to put more energy into highlighting these bright, vivid colours for a clear display.
5. Save damaged chargers
If your charger cable is slowly on its way out, there is still time to salvage the damage! If you have a click pen, take the spring out of the pen 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.
6. Keep your wires neat and tidy with Lego
As we buy more electrical products, like tablets, iPads, smartwatches and cameras, we also buy more wires. All of these cables can create quite a messy and trip-zone area in your house or office. If you’re not a fan of the spider extension cables, you can use pieces of Lego to hold up your wires neatly. Simply attach a piece of Lego to the side of the wall or your desk (or wherever you like), secure a little Lego man to it and use their cupped hands to hold wires up out of the way.
7. Colour code your cables
You can label your wires with coloured stickers if they look similar, or you struggle to detangle them from one another. This will make finding the right cable that much easier.
8. Take screenshots of map directions whilst on Wi-Fi
When you’re abroad or simply just travelling around your area, you may need to use maps to navigate your way. Any app or internet that uses Maps will require a Wi-Fi connection or mobile internet to work. As you’re usually not able to connect to a router whilst outside, you’ll have to use your mobile data. However, keeping your data on while using Maps can drain it quite a lot, so a good hack would be to take screenshots of the map and then turn off your data. This way you can still navigate yourself whilst saving battery life and data.
9. Use an empty bottle to boost your phone’s light
If you like outdoor travelling, hiking and camping, your phone could come in handy to create an outdoor light as you typically can’t plug in a lamp or bulb. Sometimes your phone flashlight won’t project very far, so to create more light, put a clear water bottle on top of your smartphone. The torch will shine through and disperse the light better.
10. Use your phone as a SatNav
If you’re using your phone to guide you on a long journey, chances are you’ll need to be able to see the screen. This means you’ll have to hold it up somewhere where it won’t distract from your driving, but where you can see the maps easily to navigate you. Use a binder clip to attach around your phone and clip it onto the car’s air conditioning extractors.
11. 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 picture, then this is a good hack to ensure a clear and sturdy photo.
12. Remember where you parked by taking a photo
If you’re in a new location and have to park your car, you can take a photo of the space or a nearby landmark so that it will be easier for you to locate your parked car at the end of a long day.
13. Measure lengths of objects
You can measure the length of items using your iPhone camera and an app called Measure. Simply download the app, allow access to your camera, and watch as AR technology shows you a virtual tape measure.
14. Store potentially life-saving information
You can store important personal details and medical information on your phone, so that if you’re in an accident, someone can quickly discover if there is anything life-threatening to know about you, such as a disease or allergy. This may seem like a simple input of data, but it could actually save your life.
If you have an iPhone 7 or above, you can store this medical information in the Apple Health app, where anyone can find it displayed on your lock screen.
Android don’t typically have this same built-in health data, but there are many apps you can download from the Google Play Store, like Medscape.
15. Track health problems and receive medication reminders
There are hundreds of apps available to download, or purchase, from the Google Play store (for Android users) and the App Store (for Apple users), that help monitor your health. Health problems like heart rate, cholesterol, blood pressure, and taking a number of pills can all be tracked using apps on your phone. This information can then be stored and transferred so that your doctor, and yourself, can know your health data.
See our list on the best apps for seniors for more health-related app recommendations.
16. Call the emergency services without having to dial
On an iPhone, you can contact emergency services by holding down the power button and volume button. If you don’t drag the slider across to switch off your phone, a countdown will begin while an alarm sounds. 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.
This is a useful hack if you are struggling to use your phone, or can’t access it properly, like if it’s inside your pocket or a bag and you can’t get it to your hands and ear properly.
Do you use any of these hacks or plan to try some out? Let us know on Twitter.