Having a smartphone gives you more power than most people ever realize. From controlling your own robot army to tracking military traffic, the Android and iOS systems give a person unlimited potential for improving their life or getting up to mischief beyond calling Ubers and swiping right on Tinder.
With the development of hardware speeding up, app developers are pushing the limit daily on what smartphones can do and the technology it gives us access to. Most innovations are fairly harmless, but as is generally the case with human nature, some ideas could be used for nefarious purposes as well.
With the internet and social media, it’s impossible to keep this information secret for long, so here are 20 things you can do with your cellphone that you’re not supposed to know about.
20 Stop Google Listening To You
Personalized ads are pretty creepy but there is a simple way to switch them off and stop Google from accessing your microphone. If you go into your settings menu and then the Google option, there is a box to check which will enable you to opt out of ads personalization.
19 Diagnose Car Troubles
Don’t feel like paying a mechanic to tell you there’s nothing wrong with your car? If you buy an adaptor that plugs your phone into your car's ODB-II port, you can download an app that will scan your car's computer for codes and diagnose any problems. Some of these apps even come with roadside assistance and cashless toll payment processing.
18 Convert Your Free Mobile Minutes To Web Data Allowances
The tutorial on how to do this was revealed on a YouTube video by the team behind TheFixed.org. The process is too involved to describe here but briefly, it involves setting up a proxy then changing the WAP settings on your mobile phone. The amount of data you can get depends on what your network charges.
17 Control Any Infrared Device
As phone technology becomes cheaper, more handsets are being released with infrared blasters built-in. If you have one of these, theoretically you can control any device that responds to infrared signals. If your phone doesn’t come with infrared software, there are plenty of apps available to download that will enable you to control infrared devices via your phone.
16 Check Your Blood Alcohol Content
Not sure if you’re over the limit? You can buy a small device that connects to your phone to turn it into your own personal breathalyzer to determine your blood alcohol content. This goes without saying that this should only be used as a rough guide but if you’re known to enjoy a few drinks it’s handy to have around.
15 Start Your Car
If you already have remote start and locking installed on your car, it’s a breeze to get your phone to transmit on the same frequency, allowing you to start, lock and unlock your car using your phone. Some applications will also allow you to locate your car by GPS as well, in case you forget where you are parked.
14 Driving With Augmented Reality
The police really hate people using their phones in any capacity while driving but it can be an incredibly helpful tool. By downloading an augmented reality app, your phone can project information directly onto a dash-mounted screen like navigation information and current speed. You’ll never have to choose between safety and convenience again.
13 Track Military Planes
Most people know that you can use mobile apps to track air traffic overhead – you can even find out by asking Siri. But fewer know about a mobile website that allows you to track military air traffic all around the world. It also allows tracking of VIP flights and private planes.
12 Hide Your Private Photos On iPhone
There are a ton of apps to help you hide photos you want to keep private but Apple users already have this function in their phone. When you select an image, press the Share key, then choose Hide. The photo won’t be able to be seen via Collections, Moments, or Year view, but can still be accessed through the Album screen.
11 Change The Launcher On Android
Almost every smartphone manufacturer offers their version on Android which a lot of the time doesn’t look quite how you’d like it to, or is missing some features and functions. Third-party developers have made their own launchers accessible via download with most being fully customizable so you can get your phone interface looking just how you want it.
10 Enable Do Not Disturb Based On Your Location
iOS can enable and disable do not disturb mode based on your location. To find it, you need to go through the control center, hold the crescent moon icon then select Until I Leave This Location. There is no such setting for Android users but there are apps to download that will perform the same function.
9 Contain People To One App
If you’re bored of people looking through your phone and apps, both iOS and Android have a setting so only one app can be opened. On iOS go into the General setting, then Accessibility, then Guided Access, then triple tap the app you want to activate. On Android, switch on Screen Pinning in the Security and Location screen then use the pin option.
8 Shut Down Your PC By SMS
This is also pretty involved but by creating a text file on your hard drive and syncing a Kwiry account with your email address, you can then create a rule in outlook express to scan emails for your chosen word and execute the shutdown command. The key is to choose an unusual word so regular emails aren’t shutting down your PC.
7 Choose New Default Apps On Android
Phone manufacturers love to push certain apps on their customers, mostly because they get paid to do so. But in Android, you have the option to change your default apps that are used to perform essential functions. Some apps can even integrate multiple apps into one, giving the user a more natural operating experience.
6 Unlocking The System UI Tuner on Android
The system UI tuner is a secret menu that needs to be unlocked in order to customize things like app notification settings, the clock, and the status bar. It’s a hidden menu but not difficult to find or unlock. It also allows you to set notifications and application access depending on your power level, extending the life of your battery significantly.
5 Download Non-Market Apps on Android
Did you know that the Google Play store only gives you a small selection of all the apps that are out there? You can get access to apps that aren’t available on the store by going to the Applications option in the Settings menu and checking the box to allow apps from ‘Unknown Sources’.
4 Track People's Location
Although this can be used for nefarious purposes, the reasoning behind it is pretty handy if you need to keep track of your children or an elderly person. If you go into the settings menu there is an option to set up Family Sharing which allows location information to be accessed across devices. This is a factory feature on iPhone but Android does the same via its Google Family Link app.
3 Listen In On People's Lives
There is one app that we won’t mention the name of that allows you to track more than just location. Once it is installed on somebody's phone, it allows one to switch the microphone to be on and off remotely, activate the camera, read the address book, calendar, SMS messages, and view all stored data including photos and videos.
2 Flush The Ram On Your iPhone
This is a pretty helpful trick to do when your phone seems laggy or slower than usual. To clear out the memory and restore its normal speed, just hold down the power button, then when you see the ‘slide’ message appear on screen, press and hold the home button. This clears the ram and allows your phone to work like new again.
1 Record Screencasts
Ignoring obvious Copyright issues for a moment, it is entirely possible to record screencasts via a simple process. On Android, this can be done via the YouTube gaming app. On iPhone, you just need to plug your phone into a Mac computer and select Quicktime as the recording input source.