Stuff We Love
12 Ways to Use Your Smartphone In Your Home That You Never Knew About
Make the most of your smartphone with these fun tips, tricks and apps.
eBay Image Search
Forgetting the name of something is frustrating, and when it happens, the eBay app is there to help. When you open up the app, you can utilize the camera icon at the end of the search box to do an image search. This brings up your smartphone camera, which takes a picture of the object (maybe you’re trying to remember the name of the style of a mid-century modern chair you found at a thrift store and you also want to see if it’s a good deal). The app searches for the object you snapped, and shows you eBay auction listings that match it. Love your smartphone? Then you might want to make it its own personalized stand!
Check That a Surface is Level
The Compass app that comes on your iPhone may not be the first thing you go to, but if you’re hanging pictures or installing plumbing pipes, it’s a great trick to have up your sleeve. When you launch the Compass, simply swipe left, and you’ll find a leveler that you can use for hanging artwork or shelves. It works by using your phone’s built-in gyroscope sensor to see if something is perfectly level, even showing you a red margin to reveal just how much the two angles vary. Crafty folks will love these 16 tips for using your smartphone for DIY projects.
Wave Over Your Screen for Music Control
Need to replay that video you just saw? Want to pause a song? How about skip that song that you despise? The Wave Control app allows you to control your music and video playback by simply waving your hand over the phone. No touching required! You can even control your music with the screen off. Also be sure to check out this quick smartphone speaker hack.
Math may not have been your best subject in school, but thankfully you have tech on your side with the Photomath app, which lets you point your smartphone camera at an equation and get the answer. So whether it’s a DIY project, ingredient measurements in a recipe or a genuinely complex equation, the answer is at your fingertips. Check out more of the top iPhone/iPad home improvement apps for DIYers.
Measure Almost Anything
Whether you’re building a picnic table for the backyard and need real-time measurements, or you want to check the size of a sofa that’s on sale at the furniture store, you can utilize the SizeUp app to quickly and efficiently measure an object via your phone’s camera. All you have to do is move your phone across the object you want to measure! The app has been around since 2014 and advanced features have been added to make this popular app even better. Check out these clever measuring tips and techniques for DIYers.
Control Your Home’s Door Lock
Did you forget your key? Did you remember to lock the door? These are questions you no longer have to worry about when you can buy Kwikset’s Premis device, and then download the app. Say “Hey Siri, unlock the door!” to keep from fumbling for your keys when you get home. Open up the app to make sure your door is locked if you’re worried when you get to work. You can even give someone an access code to enter your home when you’re not there, and disable it just as quickly. Ready to upgrade your front door? Keyless door locks are the answer.
Driving in low-visibilty conditions such as fog, rain, snow or darkness can be dangerous and intimidating. To make it safer, before you hit the road, open the Hudway app. Then, put your phone on the dashboard, adjust the brightness settings, and you’ll be given valuable info, like driving speed and a GPS-enabled map, right on your windshield. So long as your phone screen is bright enough, you’ll be able to see the projection perfectly. Here’s how to install a car-mount dashboard device holder.
Test Your Remote Control Batteries
Here’s a fun, no-app-needed way to test your remote’s batteries using your smartphone’s camera. To do this, open the camera on your phone, point your remote at your phone and press any button on the remote to see if a red or pinkish light comes from the tip of the remote when you look at it through your phone’s display. If you see the light, you’ll know the infrared signal is working correctly, and the reason your remote isn’t working properly is because you need new batteries! Is your remote really broken? Here’s how to repair it.
Plus: Sign up for the free Tips & Hints e-newsletter from The Family Handyman for daily home improvement projects and ideas.
Check if Your Garage Door is Open
Chamberlain’s MyQ Smart Garage Hub is a device that can be installed in your garage, and then optimized through your smartphone. Whether you forgot your garage door opener at home, or aren’t sure if you closed the garage door when you left, this product allows you to monitor your garage door straight from your smartphone. Simply open the app to view whether your garage door is open or not, and then with the press of a button, change the status immediately. Here are 10 things to know before buying a garage door.
Turn Off Your Curling Iron
When you’re in a rush, lots of mistakes can happen, like running out the door for work and forgetting to turn off the curling iron or other hazardous devices plugged into an outlet. Belkin’s WeMo turns anything you can plug into the wall into a smart device, even allowing you to brew coffee from bed! Take a look at this simple hair tool storage for when you’re not using that curling iron.
Play With Mood Lighting
Switch out your boring old light bulbs and install Philips Hue bulbs that you can control from your smartphone. From the app, you can play with the tone, contrast and color of light to go with your mood. You’ll never have to fuss with that old-fashioned light switch again! If mood lighting is your thing, take a look at how to install elegant cove lighting.
Disable Your Kids’ Video Games
When enabled with the annual subscription service 4Sight, Control4 MyHome allows you to control your home’s lighting, security, temperature and entertainment systems with the convenience of your smartphone. Even more impressive, you can shut down consoles remotely, so when it’s time for dinner, you can disable your kids video games! Check out more on how you can monitor your home from your phone.