Real Life

8 tips that every smartphone user needs to know

Whether you're using an iPhone or a Samsung, here are the smartphone hacks you need in your life.

By Caitlin Watkins
We're spending more and more time on our smartphones, but there may be some hidden features on your phone that you didn't know existed.
Here are some of the best hidden tips for both iPhone and Samsung that will make your life easier - and could even help you sleep better.

Bedtime for the sleep obsessed

For iPhone users, Bedtime in the clock app can help you start a regular sleeping routine. Open the app and set the amount of time you want to sleep for each night, the clock app will remind you when to go to bed and sound an alarm to wake you up. To see the data from Bedtime, open the health app and tap sleep!
For Samsung users, Samsung Health, which can be downloaded in the Play Store, provides a sleep tracker which allows you to upload your sleep duration and keep track of your sleeping patterns.

Paying with your phone

Turns out paywave isn't just limited to your bank card, you can pay with your phone too!
Samsung users, Samsung Pay is your new best friend. Download it on the app store, click Start and follow the on-screen instructions to add your credit or debit cards to your account. Once Samsung Pay is all set up, all you have to do is swipe up on your phone, which brings up your "card", authenticate, and place your phone on the payment terminal! easy!
For iPhone users it's basically the same process, go to the Wallet app on your phone, watch the demo video to see how it works and add in your card details. After this, your bank will verify your card details. Once it's all set up, simply hold your thumb on your home button to launch it! Apple Pay, however, is only exclusive to those with an iPhone 6 and above!


iPhone users this one's for you! Airdrop is game-changing for sharing photos, videos and documents instantly. Firstly, swipe up from the bottom of the screen (iPhone 8 or older) or swipe down from the top-right corner of the screen (iPhone X) to launch Control Center.
From here, press firmly (iPhone 6s or newer) or press and hold (iPads or older iPhones) on the wireless control box on the upper left side of Control Center. Tap on Airdrop and and choose who you wish to receive files from. To share a photo to another device, simply open the photo, tap on the share button (it looks like a box with an arrow inside it pointing up) then tap Airdrop and find the device you want!

Create GIFS from YouTube videos

Yes, this is a hidden feature for Samsung users! All you have to do is download an app called Smart Select which is available on all Samsung Galaxy phones 2017 and later. Open the video in the YouTube app, swipe in from the right, choose smart select followed by animation. Set the capture box on the screen, start playing the video and tap record to capture the clip you want. When you're done, simply tap save to save your new GIF!

Charge your phone faster

This is a simple yet super handy hack, especially for those who get impatient waiting for their phone to charge! For both Samsung and iPhone users, the next time your phone is charging, put it into airplane mode. This will stop your phone accessing your network and boost your charging speed.

Camera hacks

iPhone 8 plus and iPhone X users, it's time to get savvy with your selfies. The Portrait Lighting feature in camera can provide natural, studio, contour and stage light to your photos. This setting lives inside your camera so simply swipe across once your camera is open to enable it!
For Samsung S8 users, you can simply say "cheese", "smile" or "capture" to take a photo! To enable this mode, head to settings and toggle the voice control switch to 'on'!

Bixby and Siri

Talking to iPhone's Siri and Samsung's Bixby is a a quick way to get things done on your phone.
If you're unsure what we mean, Siri and Bixby are virtual assistants, but in your phone. By simply saying "hey siri" or "hey bixby" you will hear a virtual voice respond, with which you can request something. For example, "hey siri can you set an alarm for 7 am?"
To access Siri, go to settings > general > siri, then tap the allow "Hey Siri" toggle to turn "Hey Siri" on or off. The next time you need Siri for something, simply say "hey siri" and voila!
To access Bixby, go to settings > settings > Bixby key then tap Press to open Bixby Home. Press and hold to open Bixby Voice.

Slo mo

Because let's be honest, everything looks better in slow motion.
For both Samsung and iPhone users: simply open the camera and swipe across to access different camera modes, one of which will be "slow motion" - enjoy!