11 Things Your Phone Can Do That You Might Not Know About

You use your smartphone a lot, we’re sure of that, but you’re probably just touring round the same apps and the same settings day after day. Are you aware of everything your pocketable mobile device is capable of? Here are 11 features you might have missed that should come in useful somewhere down the line.

1) Snap photos while recording videos
The more eagle-eyed among you may have spotted this one already, but it’s actually really easy to snap still images while you’re recording videos, whether you’re on iOS or Android: note the camera shutter button just to the side of the main red video recording button.

You don’t get pictures as good as those snapped with the main camera mode, but it can be a handy way to quickly capture something that’s happening without breaking the flow of the video. Open up the default camera app on Android or iOS to try it out.

2) Put your phone in emergency or lockdown mode

We hope you never use it, but hold down the side button and a volume buttons on a newer iPhone to access an Emergency SOS option: It disables Face ID and Touch ID, and calls the emergency services (visit Emergency SOS in Settings to configure exactly how it works).

Stock Android doesn’t have this yet, but you can disable biometric unlocking in Android 9 Pie. From Settings, choose Security & location, Lock screen preferences, and Show lockdown option to add it to the menu that appears when you hit the power button.

3) Use your phone as a level
The level is hidden away on iOS but once you know where it is, you can use it to gauge the level of any surface using the sensors in your iPhone or iPad: Open up the Measure app (now with extra AR magic), then tap the Level option at the bottom.

You don’t get the same sort of functionality built into Android, unfortunately, but plenty of third-party apps are around to plug the gap. Bubble Level (free with ads) is one of the best we’ve tried, while Level With Voice (free with ads) gives audible as well as visual feedback.


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