Smartphone technology is arguably amongst the best in recent inventions. Besides being a connection to our family and friends, smartphones have provided a gateway to a whole new world of music, literature materials, fitness, and amateur photography just to mention a few.
We’re willing to bet that you don’t know what your phone is truly capable of. Get the most out of your phone by tapping into these surprising features provided by Consumer Reports (CR) that make everyday tasks easier.
In most cases, there’s no need to download an extra app—and when we do recommend an app it’s one made by Apple or Google. There’s just one wrinkle for Android users: Instructions and capabilities vary from brand to brand and model to model. But our instructions should work for most recent smartphones.
Make Tasks Easier with Your Smartphone
Find Frequently Used Utilities Fast
Stop wasting time searching for handy controls and features. Today’s phones have shortcuts for quick access to the flashlight, calculator, music controls, “Do Not Disturb” mode, and other common applications.
- On an iPhone: Swipe up from the bottom of the phone’s home screen or down from the top right corner to reveal the Control Center.
- On an Android phone: Swipe down from the top with two fingers to summon Quick Settings.
Have Your Phone Read to You
Many phones can read the content on your screen out loud, whether that’s a text message, email, or newspaper article.
- On an iPhone: Go to Settings > General > Accessibility > Speech > Speak Screen. (Once enabled, you can click open any article, then drag two fingers down from the top of the screen to get the reading started. You can also control the speed of the reading voice.)
- On an Android phone: Go to Settings > Accessibility > Select to Speak. (A small icon of a person appears on the screen; tap it and the phone begins reading.)
Create and Send a Screen Shot
Want to share a photo, recipe, or another item you find online? Take a snapshot of the screen and send it to your friends.
- On an iPhone: Depending on the model, you either press, hold, and release the Side and Home buttons or the Side and Volume-Up buttons. Then tap on the image to edit or share it.
- On an Android phone: Press and hold the Power and Volume-Down buttons at the same time. Tap on the image to edit or share it.
Record a How-To Video
If you have an iPhone, you can share any of these hidden tricks by creating a step-by-step video of what’s on your iPhone screen, along with your voice-over tutorial.
- On an iPhone: Go to Settings > Control Center > Customize Controls > and tap the + next to Screen Recording. Then go to the Control Center and press the Record button.
- On an Android phone: You have to use a third-party app.
Make Text and Icons Easier to Read
With these simple ways to increase the size of fonts and icons, there’s no need to squint to read texts and emails on your phone.
- On an iPhone: Go to Settings > Display & Brightness > Text Size. To increase the size of icons (and everything on the screen), go to Settings > Accessibility > Zoom.
- On an Android phone: Go to Settings > Display > Advanced > Font Size. To increase the size of everything on the screen, go to Settings > Display Size > then +.
While exploring new features on your smartphone, ensure privacy for peace of mind with these tips.
These cool tools are smartphone features you might not have heard about, too.