So, you think that smartphone of yours is smart? We get it. You use it for more than just sending text messages and making calls. It’s how you organize your life, stay in shape and even find the right bra. Most of us would be lost without our smart devices. Our phones have become so indispensable that we’re always on the lookout for ways to make them feel new again. But what if we could simply make them smarter?
A smarter smartphone may sound like an unnecessary indulgence but with the help of a few apps, wearables and gadgets, you won’t believe what your phone can do for you. We’ve put together five tips to make your phone smarter. Give them a try and you’ll soon see what we’re so excited about. In fact, you may find yourself wondering why you thought your phone was smart to begin with.
1. Hook Up Your Home: We know your current favorite contacts are your besties and your boo, but to raise your phone’s IQ, you should make it start communicating with your gadgets. Turn your smarter smartphone into a full-on know-it-all and make it the control panel for all of your connected devices at home. That means less time spent worrying about the smooth running of your household and more time chillaxing. We think you can handle that, right?
Many products in the Quirky family, from the Aros A/C to your locks, to lights and blinds can all be monitored from Quirky’s main Wink app. With your smartphone on your person, the Lyric thermostat knows when you come, when you go and when you’re on your way home at night and can adjust your preferred settings accordingly. As the Internet of Things expands, look for more and more products with companion apps hitting the market — like the connected welcome mat SmartMat that texts you in real-time when someone is at your door. Now if that’s not smart, we don’t know what is.
2. Turn Your Phone into Your Assistant: If you want to get the most out of that smartphone of yours, you need to know how to make it work for you. Play your cards right, and you could be looking at your new personal assistant. While you’ll probably still have to do some mundane admin work, there are plenty of tasks you can delegate. And who better to do them than your smartphone?
You know about Siri and Cortana, but instead of them being little annoying gals trying to creep into your conversation, put them to work for you! Set up shortcuts and ask them for help when you need it. It is (literally) what they’re there for along with loads of other simple solutions for task-specific productivity. Tempo is a smart calendar app that gets you the background info your real-life assistant might on people you’re scheduled to meet. We’re also big fans of Mailbox, Dropbox’s handy app that learns your email habits over time to get you to Inbox Zero easier than ever.
3. Let Your Smartphone Map Your Way: Who says a smartphone can’t keep you safe? PlaceUs is a tracking app designed to keep people in your inner circle in the loop on your comings and goings. The app uses artificial intelligence as well as ambient sensing technology to not only track your movements but to check you in and make predictions about your behavior. Basically, you can sit back and let the app learn from where you go.
Not only can it tip others off to your whereabouts but this app will notice if you haven’t been to the gym in a while and will send you a notification. If you often text your significant other while out grocery shopping, PlaceUs will detect and automate the action. Never forget to pick up TP ever again!
4. Get Dressed Up: We can’t get enough of wearable tech. These anything-but-geeky accessories will transform even the most ordinary smartphone into a superhero that does everything from tracking your fitness to making sure you never miss another call (unless you choose to, of course). And the best part is that they’re so fashionable you’ll actually want to wear them.
Two of our favorites include the Beacon + Lively cuff as well as Ringly! Both of these accessories use personally tailored, individual vibrations and ambient colors to alert you to incoming calls, messages and other notifications you don’t want to miss when your phone is tucked away. Get notified specifically, and in different, custom-set ways if the babysitter is calling or when your Uber has arrived.
5. Make Your Cell Make YOU More Self-Aware: Don’t get us wrong, we love our smartphones as much as the next gal. But sometimes you need a break. For those moments when you just can’t seem to disconnect, your smartphone may help dictate that digital detox you’ve been kicking around. At the very least, that smart little device will make you more self-aware of your habits. And you know what they say: Awareness is the first step to a good detox.
You could invest in some phone-blocking clothing but that seems a bit extreme, so how about one of the many great apps that solve a similar problem instead? One of our favorites is Moment, a free iOS app which will give you an idea of just how addicted you are to your phone. The app lets you set daily usage limits and sends you notifications when you’re approaching them.
What apps and gadgets do you use to make your smartphone smarter? Share your tricks with us in the comments below.