10 Smartphone Hacks You Probably Haven’t Heard of

by Shenron on May 8, 2012


So, you’ve spent a whole bunch of money on a cool new phone and are wondering what all you can do with it? Chances are you’ve already spent a few hours browsing the web looking for tips and tricks to make your phone faster, sleeker, and more able-bodied.

While you may have found all of the common tricks online to jailbreak, untether, and crack into your smartphone, these are some “hacks” you probably haven’t heard of yet. We’re sure they’ll help you get much more use out of your iPhone, Android, or Windows Mobile Device in the coming months.

Charge Sooner Rather Than Later

For the non-tech-savvy generation, the rumor that leaving your phone battery to run down its charge until it’s almost about to die before you hook it up to recharge it again has run rampant and couldn’t be farther from the truth. While it may seem to make some type of sense that if you let your battery drain until it’s almost empty before you recharge it, it will waste fewer “recharges” of the battery’s life and thus helps it last longer, the opposite is actually true. The longer you wait to charge your battery, the more work it has to go through to charge itself back up again. It’s much easier for a battery to replenish itself when it has only lost a few bars of power than when it’s recharged from almost completely dead. It’s estimated that the “optimal” time to recharge your battery is when it’s at about 40% charged, rather than recharging it while it still has most of its charge and before it reaches the last smidgen of power.

iPhone Remote Control Hack

Your phone may have a really nice high-definition screen on it to begin with that you watch movies and TV shows as you’re out and about, but did you know that you can also use your iPhone to control devices around your home? If you have a DVR such as a TiVo, it’s quite simple to install an application to your iPhone that will give you all of the functionality of a TV remote, but from your phone. Other devices around your home entertainment system that use WiFi remote technology can be programmed to be controlled from your iPhone. Other common devices include things like Rokus, Logitech Sound Systems, and Sonos Sound Systems.

Locate Your Lost Phone

As far as we know, this trick only works with lost or stolen Android devices. If you head over to http://www.locatemydroid.com/ you can install the free application that they offer onto your computer or another smartphone device. From there, follow the simple steps, such as entering your phone number and other basic information, and let the app do the rest. While it won’t have pinpoint accuracy like a Pentagon satellite would, you can still get an approximate street address of the phone you’ve lost or had stolen. Be aware that you’ll only be able to use this app if you haven’t already installed some type of software on your phone that disables the GPS tracking ability of your device. If you were still using Google Maps and Navigation on your phone up until the day you lost it, this app is for you.

Free Internet on Your Device

Although smartphones are as common as the air we breathe these days, phone companies are still charging a fortune for internet usage time. If you run out of data usage during the month, this trick will help you get back online by converting your outbound call data into a bonafide internet signal. Without getting into the details, what this trick will help you do is configure some outbound and inbound ports on your device to interpret phone data through a proxy server as Internet service as opposed to just regular phone service. While the trick was designed for phones of yesteryear, it should still work with your smartphone. You’ll have to be careful that you have enough free minutes remaining on your plan, as using the internet on your device can get costly.

Domain Resolution

This trick isn’t nearly as impressive as some of the others listed here, but it may still be useful if you’re always using the Internet on your smartphone. This trick should work for Android, iPhone, and Windows mobile users. With your browser open, instead of typing a URL such as “www.socialhacks.com,” instead all you have to type is “socialhacks.” Your browser will assume that the www is implied in the URL, and if the website is popular enough in the search engine rankings, it will guess at the “.com” or “.org” ending of your typed website. This is especially helpful when you’re on a bouncy bus or train and find it difficult to tap out all of the individual letters of a URL and instead would prefer to just type the website’s name.

Windows Mobile Hidden Info

Android devices and iPhones seem to get all of the coverage, often leaving Windows mobile users in the dark about what they can do with their smartphones to get a little bit of extra functionality. This trick is exclusively for Windows Mobile. First, in just about every application that’s found on Windows 7 mobile, you have the option to “swipe to the left.” Next time you have an application open, try swiping the screen to the left. You may be surprised to see an additional information screen appear out of nowhere with things like tips on how to use the application, as well as additional developer information that may help out with further releases of the app. In addition to these hidden screens within apps, there are also some small dots that may appear at the bottom of an app without you ever remembering how they got there. These “dots” represent a hidden menu that’s available by clicking on them. The menu will reveal additional functionality within an application that may not be available from the app screen by default. The first place you may notice these dots is in the photo app, where settings like brightness and contrast can be accessed by these menu dots.

Call Screening

If there are a few friends that you’re avoiding like the plague because of a fight or just because you think they’re annoying, here’s some good news! Call screening is available by default in Android 2.1 firmware devices and can be activated in just a few clicks. First, head over to your contacts list and find the person you’d like to call screen. Open up their contact information and press the menu button. Next, select “options.” In the options menu you’ll be able to “send calls directly to voicemail.” From now on, any time this person calls you, their phone calls will be sent directly to voicemail and you won’t have to make up excuses as to why you didn’t answer your phone when they called. The standard, “Oh, my phone must have been off” will work just fine!

Speed Dial on Crack

On your old phone you probably had some sort of speed dial option that let you dial the number “3” and then hit send to dial your girlfriend’s number. That’s great. But for those who are really short on time and who want to eliminate an extra step altogether, you can add a “direct dial” contact to your home screen. Once established, this direct dial contact button will allow you to open your phone, hit the button, and be calling your girlfriend or person of significance in under three seconds flat. Simply click and hold on the home screen and choose “shortcuts” when prompted. Next, choose “Direct dial” from the shortcut menu and then select the person whose number you would like to establish a direct dial for. It will pull in their Facebook profile picture and use it as the application picture and put it on your home screen. No more excuses of hating to navigate through your infinitely long contact list.

Listen to Your iPod Before Bed

If you’re like me, you probably like to listen to a few tracks before heading to sleep at night. For the longest time I simply chose an album and waited for it to end before my phone turned itself off for the night. Now, you can put your iPod on shuffle, or choose a longer playlist of songs to play until you’ve dozed off and still have the iPod shut itself off after a certain period of time. In the Clock app, select “Timer” from the options. Set the timer for how long you’d like to listen to music for before automatically turning the iPod off. Finally, in the “When Timer Ends” section, scroll all the way to the top of the list and choose “sleep iPod.” This will automatically disable the iPod functionality after a set period of time, giving you ample time to fall asleep to some relaxing tunes without having to worry about your iPod running its own battery down to empty in the middle of the night while playing music for a non-listening crowd.

Ringtone for Kids

OK, this one isn’t really a hack or trick of any kind, but it’s just for kids. These custom ringtones are designed exclusively for the younger generation who like to text in class, but don’t want their teachers catching wind of their phones going off every few seconds. As the human ear grows in age, it becomes less attune to certain sound frequencies. You may or may not notice that all electronic devices emit a dull, yet high pitched hum when they’re on. Things like your television, phone, and even computer emit inaudible frequencies all the time. These particular ringtones take advantage of the fact that teenagers are still able to hear certain high pitched frequencies, while adults are completely oblivious to their existence. The cutoff of hearing these ringtone frequencies is about the age of 30, so you’ll have to make sure that your professors are of adequate age to hide these tones from them. Simply download the MP3s found on this site and use them as your phone’s ringtone.

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