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Life hacks for smartphones

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When you’ve played as many hours of video games as me, it starts to change the way you view and interact with the world. Everything becomes a race, because you’ve spent so many nights trying to out-drift your friends on Mario Kart 8; you become an expert at packing things, because your belongings just become one big game of Tetris; and you become incredibly appreciative of shortcuts (anyone remember the old SIMS cheat “rosebud”?).

So it’s no surprise that I love a good short cut or “life hack”. Any tips or tricks to simplify this busy life are absolutely welcome by me. There just aren’t enough hours in the day to do everything the long way; especially when you’re trying to fit in valuable gaming time.

Thankfully, the great thing about life is that, regardless of the task, there’s always someone coming up with a quicker, easier way to do it. It’s this constant search for efficiency that helped humanity move from the wheel to horse drawn carriages, to driving our own cars, to Uber and hopefully in the future to teleportation.

So in the name of progression and efficiency, I’ve put together a group of ingenious little life hacks for something you use every day: your smartphone.

No more game ads

airplane mode

Sick of those annoying pop up ads interrupting your favourite smartphone games? Get rid of them! Just switch your phone to Airplane Mode before your gaming session and banner ads will vanish.

Sadly, no, it’s not magic: Airplane Mode simply disables the internet connection needed for the adverts to load. Now you can enjoy hours of ad-free gaming. Just remember to switch it back off when you want to start browsing the web again.

Crank up the volume

Need an extra loud alarm to keep you from snoozing through? Try the cup trick: just place your smartphone in a glass for booming sound when your morning alarm goes off. Even the heaviest sleepers will be shocked awake by this racket.

Smart shopping

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I hate that moment when I get back from a grocery shop only to realise I’ve doubled up on perishable items like milk and veg. Now it’s a race against their expiry dates to make sure they get used. Luckily, I have a new life hack to save me wasting money and food.

Before heading off to the shop, take a picture of the contents of your fridge. That way you can see exactly what you do and don’t have. No missed groceries, double ups or searching online for 100 different recipes for carrots.

TV Time

cradle

Do you like to use your smartphone as a mini television for hours of movie and series streaming, but just can’t get comfortable? Not to sound too much like a Snuggie commercial, but it can get annoying holding your phone at the right angle the whole time or have it slip when you try to lean it against something. Don’t worry, you’ll soon be watching in blissful comfort with this easy hack.

Use the arms of any old pair of sunglasses you have lying around the house to make a perfect little cradle for your phone. This will keep your phone standing for viewing while you put your feet up and get cozy. Now all you need is the popcorn.

Up and Away

If you’re as clumsy as I am, it’s always good to have extra safety precautions, especially around valuables like smartphones. I am a constant danger to my mobile phone: I recently smashed my brand new one-day-old iPhone so thoroughly that it was irreparable and I shelled out hundreds replacing it. I now have a protective case, but I am always dropping it, stepping on it and generally putting it through some kind of ordeal.

If you haven’t grabbed of our protective phone cases yet, we have a hack that will protect your phone from being stomped on during charging. As outlets are usually placed close to the ground, it’s not uncommon that phones are left on the floor while they charge. This leaves them at risk of being trampled on.

Make a safe holder for your smartphone to keep it off the floor and away from danger. You can make a little pocket to wrap around the charger out of a range of materials: empty shampoo bottles, old clothes pockets or even just a strip of cardboard. For the artists amongst us you may even enjoy making your holder cute and trendy with some help from these DIY suggestions.

Clap to Find

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Clapping technology is no longer known for just a cheesy appliance from the 80s with a funny name and a silly commercial; you can now take advantage of it on smartphones as an ingenious way to find a lost phone. It’s exactly what you’d imagine: when you can’t find your phone, instead of hunting down your partner, parents or siblings and begging them to call your phone, simply clap and a noise will sound off, allowing you to find the phone.

So you want to take advantage of this neat trick? Well sadly for iPhone users, only Android devices can download the Clap to Find app you need to perform the action. Hopefully as it becomes more popular among Android users, us iPhonians will get a version of our own!

Sleep Easy

sleep

I’m a night owl, which puts me at a biological disadvantage in a world that operates 9 to 5. I used to down coffee after coffee just to make it through the day, and even though I’d come home with bloodshot eyes and dark circles, when I tried to lay my head down, my mind was wide awake, chattering away a million miles a minute so I couldn’t possibly sleep through it.

I’ve managed to find some mercy in sleep apps on my smartphone. There are heaps out there, but the one I’m currently using is Pzizz. Using this app, I’ve gone from waking up 5 times a night to sleeping through, and my internal chatter has stopped as my mind focuses on the app narrator’s silky smooth voice. The voice can be turned off if you find it distracting, but I prefer it on: it reminds me of childhood bedtime stories, read in a soft, hushed voice that lulls you to sleep.

Another thing I personally love about Pzizz, is that the gentle sounds and music it plays reminds me of videogames! For me, it helps the transition from awake to dreaming, as I fall asleep imagining scenes of trudging through fantasy lands to match the music.

Do you have any smartphone hacks we missed? Let us know in the comments below.

11 comments

  1. Suzette Laming says:

    Briĺiant Life hacks! 😀

  2. Lyn Walker says:

    i love the smart shopping idea of taking a photo of the contents of the fridge. Genius! I have a family of 6 so there is always something that doesn’t make it on the list and this will definitely help when I’m in a hurry to do the grocery shopping. Can’t wait to try it :)

  3. Linda says:

    Thank you! This was very helpful.

  4. Steve says:

    Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear. Is this the way the world is really going? There used to be plenty of time available every 24 hours, back in the days of LBS (Life Before Screens). Here is your “Ultimate Life Hack:”
    Just switch it off completely until you need to make a phone call, then suddenly you will have heaps of time for your “real life”.

  5. Readers says:

    More recent models of smartphones will not stay put in the arms of a pair of sunglasses unless the sunglasses owner has a massive head.

  6. Dorne says:

    Thank you. What good ideas! I’m off to try them now.

  7. Carol says:

    As someone who also wakes four or five time a night, I’m gonna try Pzizz. Thanks

  8. mattie meuffels says:

    Can’t wait to try the Pzizz app tonight as I have 5ge same problem with sleeping.
    Madfreo

  9. Practical Ham says:

    Similar to the fridge photo idea: when you run out of carrots or jellied ham, write it on a whiteboard in your kitchen. Then take a photo of the whiteboard just before you head out to the supermarket.

  10. Andrew B says:

    there is a way of accessing the last 20% of the battery’s power, which I have been trying to discover. Would you know this one?

  11. MrsB says:

    Rather than using airplane mode, just turn off your internet connectivity and wi-fi when playing games. It has the same effect (no ads), but you will still be able to receive texts and phone calls.

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