Awesome Smartphone Hacks – Get More Out of Your Mobile Phone

by Sandra Henshaw - , Last Updated on June 9, 2014, How To Guides

Nearly everyone these days has a smartphone, but not all of us are taking full advantage of all the power we have in our hands. If you’re worried that you’re not making the most out of your pricey gadget, then today we’re looking at some of our favourite smartphone hacks. Everything from getting faster charging to how to save up that battery power when you’re running low, we’ve got you covered.

1. Aeroplane Mode for Quicker Charging and Less in game Ads

Use Aeroplane Mode for Quicker Charging

Use Aeroplane Mode for Quicker Charging

We’re kicking things off with a two for one here: switching your phone into aeroplane mode has a couple of advantages that you should know about. The first is that you’re going to get way faster charging. Once aeroplane mode is switched on your gadget won’t be connected using 3G, which means it won’t be using battery power searching for a signal, which in turn means that you’ll get faster charging time. We’ve tested this on a number of phones and they charge at around 30% quicker with aeroplane mode on.

The second advantage? If you hate the pop up ads that interrupt your game play on long journeys, turning on aeroplane mode while you’re playing will make them disappear. Sweet!

2. Save Your Battery Power

Save Battery

Save Battery

We all know that sinking feeling when you realise that you’ve left your charger at home and you’ve only got 10 % battery power left. If you’re looking to make the most out of your remaining juice there’s a few things that you need to do. First, go into your settings menu and check which apps are running and close them all down (some of your apps will be running in the background and sucking up your power), then turn down your screen brightness to the minimum that you can see.

You can also switch to aeroplane mode, but if you can’t do without your 3G then hop into your email programme and change the update settings to the maximum (around once every two hours). Switch off bluetooth and WiFi if possible. Now you should be able to make it a good few hours on your remaining juice.

3. Taking a Screenshot

Take a Screenshot on Android

Take a Screenshot on Android

Grabbing a screenshot on your computer is easy, but do you know how to do it on your smartphone? For iPhones press the home button and sleep/wake button simultaneously until you hear a click and your screenshot will appear in your saved photos file. On an Android hold power and volume down simultaneously and your screenshot will appear in your gallery under “captured images.”

4. One Tap Calling

One Tap Calling

One Tap Calling – Direct Dial Widget

This is a great hack for all you Android owners. Find yourself calling the same person repeatedly? Your mum? Your girlfriend? The local pizza delivery? Then press and hold on an empty area of your home screen and when a menu pops up hit “shortcuts” then “contacts.” You’ll be able to choose from your list of contacts and create an on-screen icon for that number. When you need to call, just hit the icon. Simple.

5. Headphone Picture Taking

Take Picture Using Headphone Volume Button

Take Picture Using Headphone Volume Button

Most iPhone users know that you can snap a pic using the volume down button on your phone. However, what most iPhone users don’t know is that the same trick works using the volume down button on your headphones. Need a little distance to take a pic? Or maybe you want to take a covert photo? This trick will help you do both.

6. Find (and wipe) Your Phone

Track Your Phone

Track Your Phone + Wipe it

Alrighty, this one requires some prior preparation, but it’s more than worth it. If you’ve got an iPhone then download Find My iPhone from the app store, if you’re an Android user get either Where’s My Droid? or Lookout Mobile Security. All of these apps do basically the same thing. You’ll be able to get a GPS lock on where your phone is if you’ve lost it (hey, it might be sitting on your office desk), plus the ability to lock the phone remotely or even wipe all the data just in case your mobile’s fallen into the wrong hands. With smartphone related crime on the rise this is definitely worth doing.

7. Apple Alerts

iPhone Flash Notifications

iPhone Flash Notifications

Most Android devices these days come with an LED that flashes silently to warn you that you’ve got a message, email or missed call. For a long time this has been something that iPhones have missed out on. But no longer! Go to ““settings,” “general,” “accessibility” and then hit “LED flash for alerts” and your phone camera flash will act as your silent warning system, blinking on and off to show you that you’ve missed some all important activity on your mobile.

8. Faster Typing

Faster Typing

Faster Typing

Most of us type a lot on our phones, whether it’s emails, SMSs or social media updates. Looking for a few tricks to speed up your typing? Hitting space twice inserts a full stop for most phones, and hitting shift twice turns on caps lock. You can also programme typing shortcuts. On an iPhone this is under “keyboard settings” and on an Android it’s under “settings,” “language and input” then “personal dictionary.” Set shortcuts such as ‘tu’ to automatically convert to thank you, or even full sentences like “I’m on my way home” and you’ll save yourself precious typing seconds.

We also need to give a shoutout to some of the third party keyboard apps like Swype that let you type entire words just by swiping between letters. They’re also going to be available on iOS8 so stay tuned.

9. Embarrassing Ringing

Avoid Embarrassing Calls

Avoid Embarrassing Calls

We all know how annoying it is to hear a cell phone ringing in the cinema or even in a library. Then you realise that it’s your phone that’s going off. If you forget to switch to silent mode, then touching any side button on most models of mobile will immediately cut off the ringing. Your call will still be going through, and you can answer it or let it go to voicemail, but the noise will stop before your face gets too red.

10. Messed Up Voicemail

Ever left an embarassing Voicemail?

Ever left an embarassing Voicemail?

Ever leave an embarrassing voicemail? Yeah, we’ve all done it a few times. If only there was a way to erase it… But there is. If you’re leaving a voicemail and realise that you’re starting to sound more than a little foolish then simply press the hash key (#) and the recording will erase and you can start over. This only works before you put the phone down though, so there’s no calling back and getting a second bite of the cherry unfortunately 🙁 .

Any hacks we have missed out? What tricks of the trade do you use to get the most out of your smartphone? Let us know in the comments below.

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