It’s impossible to deny that many of us spend an awful lot of time on our smartphones. In fact, a recent study shows that some US consumers spend up to five hours per day on their mobile devices – more time than is spent looking at television screens.
However, exactly what apps people spend their time on varies considerably. With over two million apps in each of the Apple and Google app stores alone, there’s a whole lot of choice out there. That said, beyond an initial flurry of downloading apps when we first buy a new device, many of us stick to our tried and tested favorites, and don’t branch out much into new ideas.
This can leave us unaware of many of the wonderful things our smartphones are capable of. Often, we only hear about new apps and functions when our friends tell us about them, meaning that we don’t fully embrace the capabilities of these sophisticated devices.
With this in mind, here are five things you can use your smartphone to do, that may not have occurred to you yet. Perhaps one of them will inspire you to forego your next game of Candy Crush for something a little different!
- Look at the Sky
Thanks to the GPS and accelerometer features of most modern smartphones, with the right apps it’s possible to point phones skywards and learn about what’s going on above our heads.
Fans of astronomy can try out apps such as Pocket Universe to identify stars and planets and learn about the solar system. Alternatively, travel nuts have a range of apps that will show them details of planes flying overhead, revealing their origins, heights and destinations.
- Make some Music
Smartphones and other mobile devices are fantastic musical tools. UK band Gorillaz even made an entire album using iPads back in 2010.
Even if you have no musical training, you can do everything from creating beats to learning to play piano or guitar using free or low-cost mobile apps. If you’ve always felt like you have an album in you just bursting to get out, playing around with these apps could set you on your way.
- Have a Flutter
Smartphone gaming isn’t just about puzzles and word games. If you like a gamble, you can play plenty of games like slots and bingo from the comfort of your phone screen. With the appearance of websites that collate and review the latest online casinos and almost universal support for smartphone play in the industry, it’s now much easier to get involved with blackjack or poker. Next time you see somebody tapping away on their phone, they may be minutes away from a life-changing jackpot – and not simply passing the time on Facebook Messenger.
- Keep an Eye on your Home and Family
There is a wide range of smartphone apps out there specifically designed to help you keep an eye on your loved ones. Sophisticated baby monitor apps can hook up to other household mobile devices and take the place of old-fashioned baby monitors, and all kinds of cameras and security systems can now use the internet to help you keep an eye on your home and treasured possessions.
If you have older children with smartphones of their own, apps like Apple’s own “Find Friends” make it easy for you to keep a watchful eye on them when they’re out and about too.
- Get Healthy
You don’t need to be an exercise addict to benefit from the plethora of health and fitness apps available for smartphones. As a simple example, many people are surprised to know that Apple’s built-in iOS Health app keeps count of steps taken at all times. If you have an iPhone and have never tried this out, you should find that you already have a historical log of all your activity. What you find within may reassure you of your level of fitness or inspire you to get out and move a little more!
Smartphones can do so much, but it’s easy to get trapped in a pattern of only using them for the same things. Why not make today the day you test out some of their other functionality?