This month, columnist Payal Dhar guest-blogs for Opera. Payal is a freelance writer and editor who writes on computers, technology, books, games and sometimes also fiction for teens.
Our mobile phones are more than just tiny little telephones—but that’s old news, right? These days, they’re fashion accessories, on-the-go entertainment centres, mobile offices and more. It would be fair to say that our lives revolve around them. So, here are five life hacks that can help you squeeze a little more out of your trusty smartphone.
The camera isn’t just for taking photos
Oh, all right, it is. But, when you think about making those clicks count, the possibilities really open up. For instance, travelling to a new place? Take a photo of a landmark near your hotel, in case you need to ask for directions and can’t pronounce anything or speak the language. Take photos of maps and documents as backup. Parked in a confusing, cavernous lot? A quick snap of the parking bay number — or a nearby landmark — can help you avoid frustration and panic later.
Smartphone becomes a flashlight
We’ve all used our phone screens as makeshift flashlights. In fact, these days most smartphones have built-in flashlight apps, as well — or if not, you can download one. But, what if you need even more light? Take a white or transparent water bottle and place it on top of your illuminated mobile phone and marvel at your makeshift lantern.
Your phone doesn’t care where you charge it
USB-powered charging has certainly made life a lot easier. If you find yourself with little or no battery left but can’t find a plug point nearby, look for a USB port. These days you can find them TVs and even cable set-top boxes. Put the phone in airplane mode to make it charge faster.
To make your battery’s dying embers last longer, turn off Wi-Fi, mobile data, bluetooth and GPS, and turn down brightness. In some circumstances, 2G will drain less power than 3G, so consider switching, if you must keep your data connection on. And, if your phone already comes with a battery-saver mode, turn it on.
Crank up the noise
Do you tend to sleep like a log and frequently miss alarms? Tend to miss calls when you’re in the other room as your ringtone is not loud enough? Building an instant amplifier for your mobile phone is as easy as sticking it into a glass or mug. Cheap and easy!
Sometimes, low-tech is the answer
As “smart” as your mobile phone is, keeping a low-tech backup could get you out of a sticky situation one day. Make a list of all your important phone numbers (on paper!) and slip it into the back of your mobile phone case. If you ever find yourself stranded, and with a dead mobile, at least you’ll be able to call someone to rescue you. Of course, you’ll have to find a working phone somewhere first— we’ll let you figure that one out.
Payal Dhar is wondering what life hacks you can come up with using your smarpthone. Any tips? You can share in the comments section below or ping us through our Twitter profile.