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10 ways you aren't getting the most out of your phone

Based out of Dallas, Texas, Mary McCoy is a writer and social worker for disenfranchised women and children. She's a single mom, lover of Texas barbecue, and a die-hard fan of yoga

You're doing it wrong

Owning a smartphone can’t actually make you smart. And by smart, we mean knowledgeable. You’re obviously smart if you’re reading this article. Here are our thoughts on how to capitalize on that wildly expensive piece of tech hotness that you’re currently using as a paperweight/fancy number dialer.

Young woman using a smartphone

1

Screen shot, baby

Instead of just mindlessly thumbing through the same Facebook updates over and over again while in the waiting room, put your brain and your phone to use. If you’re working on a project and need to do a little research, surf the internet on your phone and catalogue your findings by using the screen shot feature and saving the page images to your gallery. You’ll be able to easily access all the data later.

2

Extreme coupon

Couponing is about as fun as rubbing a cheese grater across your forearm. But if you absolutely must save yourself a gleaming Kennedy half dollar on the cost of Velveeta, the Coupon Sherpa app allows you to upload coupons directly to your phone, from whence they can be scanned. Yes, folks, a cashier can actually scan your smartphone for coupons! Mind. Blown.

3

Free the music

If you’re averse to paying 99 cents per song download, use Pandora or Songza on your phone. Pandora allows you to create playlists based on genre or artist, and Songza has all kinds of fun playlists for different daily activities (showering, working, jogging, sexy time — it’s like having your own life soundtrack).

4

Light the way

Losing your phone in your purse is an age-old problem — or at least a problem since circa 1995. Consider activating your phone’s LED beacon to flash when you receive a call or text so you can easily see it in that fashionable 18-pound purse. For directions, download this Android app.

5

Star treatment

Aside from having your own life soundtrack (see number 3 above), there are all kinds of ways your smartphone can treat you with luxury by using NFC. NFC stands for Near Field Communication, and NFC-enabled smartphones allow your phone to communicate with other electronics that are “tagged” with NFC technology. Although the options are endless, we especially like that you can program your electronics to turn on or off with a simple tap of your phone.

6

To the Cloud and back

External computer hard drives are becoming a thing of the past. Now you can send your pictures, videos and other smartphone data directly to the Cloud so you can store and access your files remotely in the event that you misplace your phone. Both Google and Android have their own free Clouds that you can access from all your devices. Consider it photo, video and data insurance.

7

Stuff your face with apps

What’s to eat this week? Maybe some spaghetti? Perhaps a few tater tots? If you’re tired of racking your brain for clever meal plans, consider letting your smartphone do the thinking for you. Many apps are available, but we like Ziplist because it generates meal plans, creates lists and then allows you to send those lists to your husband so he can do the work for you. Genius.

8

Picture preparation

Isolated red camera

Especially if you have kids, photogenic moments can come and go in an instant. If your phone has the capability, program it to open its camera application as soon as you wake up the home screen so you won’t miss anything.

9

Track your kids

You’re allowed to be Big Brother until your child is 18. If you’re concerned about his safety, you can turn on the GPS in your kid’s phone to make sure he’s where he said he’d be.

10

Feeling lost?

Use your GPS! There's no need for a separate GPS. Just plug in the address and your GPS should take you to your destination.

More ways to stay connected

5 New ways to stay connected to friends
Best alternatives to the iPhone
10 Best Android photo editing apps for on-the-go moms

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