Smartphone usage in recent years is higher than it’s ever been, with a third of UK users reporting they reach for their device within five minutes of waking up. That said, though the variety of things you can do with apps like Twitter and Snapchat is well known, especially judging from the number of filtered selfies on social media these days, you may be surprised to know that the average smartphone user doesn’t know about a wealth of things their phone is capable of. From hidden games to additional security measures, here are just some of the cool things you can do with your smartphone.

Access a Virtual World

By far the most recent and exciting development in smartphone usage is the growing number of virtual reality apps and headsets designed to turn your phone into a whole new world you can explore. Simply slot your phone into a headset that you can purchase, or even make one yourself with cardboard, and the (virtual) world is your oyster.

Pay for Things

While virtual crypto-currencies like Bitcoin have been all over the news lately due to an unprecedented explosion in value, you can also now use your smartphone to pay with pound sterling for a wide variety of things you would otherwise need cash or clumsy bank transfers for. In shops that have the corresponding technology, you can now pay for goods and services, as if by magic, with just a wave of your phone through technology called NFC. Failing that, a number of online businesses, such as casinos allow you to pay by mobile phone bill. To do that, you let the provider of the service you’re looking to gain access to (or the product you want to buy) know, and they arrange for a text message to be sent to your phone. By replying to that message, you’re giving them permission to add that fee to your mobile phone bill.

Track Your Physical Health

The default Health app on iPhone is old news by now and, apart from automatically tracking your steps, it can’t offer you much in the way of health monitoring unless you input the data manually. However, if you want a low-effort way to keep on top of your fitness, a wide range of new smart objects are now available to do just that. These include AliveCor’s Kardia mobile heart monitor, which takes 30 seconds to create a snapshot of your heart activity that can be shared securely with your doctor, or the Hydrate Spark, a smart water bottle that automatically monitors how much you’re drinking.

Make Your Phone More Secure

In an age where hacking is becoming increasingly more of a concern, it is more important than ever to keep your data safe from those who would use it against you, particularly for businessmen and other professionals who may have other people’s personal data on their device. For androids, this is achievable without any app purchases, simply by going to the “Security” folder in “Settings” and selecting “Encrypt Device”.

In the event that you lose your phone or have it stolen from you, it is also possible to remotely lock or even wipe your phone to prevent your information getting into the wrong hands. Simply make sure that “Android Device Manager” is activated and then, if the worst ever does take place, you can ring your phone, lock it or even return it to factory settings, all from your computer.

Play a Secret Game

Android users also have the additional advantage of a secret sweet-themed game hidden in the code of their phone. To access it, go to your phone’s settings and select “About Phone” until your phone’s current operating system logo animation shows up. In Marshmallow or Lollipop versions, you can press down on the lollipop or marshmallow to launch a free obstacle-based game.


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