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Amy Iverson: Cool phone features to save time and sanity

FILE - In this Sept. 25, 2015, file photo, a child holds an Apple iPhone 6S at an Apple store on Chicago's Magnificent Mile in Chicago. The World Health Organization Wednesday, April 24, 2019, issued its first-ever guidance for how much screen time childr
Apple and Android phones have plenty of timesaving features you may not know about.
Kiichiro Sato, Associated Press

Our phones are full of amazing features and it’s likely that most of us only use (or know about) half of them. Some tricks and shortcuts are so simple and timesaving, though, it’s time you learned about them. No doubt these are tools you’re going to wish you knew sooner.


Search Apple Music with lyrics

This is something fairly new that can be a lifesaver when you have a tune stuck in your head but don’t know the artist or title. Simply go to Music, click on Search and type in the lyrics you can remember. It’s like a text version of the Shazam app. It’s also a great resource if you’re wanting to find a bunch of songs with a certain theme.

Use your phone as a magnifier

For those of us whose eyes struggle reading fine print, but don’t want to carry around glasses, this is huge. You can change your settings so that three clicks is all it takes to turn your phone into a magnifying glass. Go to Settings>General>Accessibility and toggle on Magnifier. From now on, simply click three times on the home button to open up the camera with an ability to zoom in on anything.

Search your photos with descriptions

It can be frustrating when you’re trying to find a specific photo, but can’t remember exactly when you took it. Say you’re looking for the shot of your daughter on a horse that you took some time a couple years ago. Instead of endless scrolling, just go into your photos and click on the search icon. Type in “horse” and you’ll get results showing every photo you’ve ever taken having anything to do with a horse. You can also use multiple words in your search like “horse” and “mountains.”

Use your phone to measure things

This is on every iPhone with iOS 12, and has made me happy I no longer have to carry around a tape measure in my car. Open Measure and a circle will appear on the screen with a dot in the middle. Place the dot on the starting point and click the +. Then click it again at the ending point and the phone calculates the measurement. Hint: you will also now find the level tool in Measure. It works like a charm.

Take a photo while videoing

If you ever find yourself videoing something and wish you could get a pic, but don’t want to stop recording, there’s a simple solution. While recording, look on the screen next to the red “record” circle and there is a similar white one, the camera button. Tap it to take a photo while still recording.


Set up trusted locations

Passcodes are your friend and keep all the information on your phone secure. But it seems silly to have to punch in the security code when you’re sitting on the couch at home. How to set this up may vary a little depending on your phone, but the option will be under security settings. Look for Smart Lock, enter your PIN and tap Trusted Places. Add an address or verify with Google Maps and in the future, your phone will not require a passcode when you’re in that location.

Quickly message someone who didn’t answer your call

Many people consider it a big no-no to actually call someone on the phone, but I still do it on occasion, especially when my hands are too busy to text. If the person doesn’t answer, I like to send them a quick text so they don’t think it was urgent. Android Pie has a shortcut for this so you don’t have to go out of your Phone app and then into your Messages app. After someone doesn’t answer your call, an alert pops up at the bottom of your screen asking if you’d like to send a message to that person. Your phone will suggest a few automatic texts like “This is urgent,” or “Call me when you have time,” or you can type in your own message.

These cool phone features take just moments to understand but should save you tons of time.

Click here to watch Amy Iverson discuss these tips on KSL's "Studio 5."