3 Helpful Things You May Not Realize Your Phone Can Do

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Excited smiling woman wearing glasses and looking at smartphone for happy news
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The old saying about smartphones — which have now been around long enough to have old sayings — is “there’s an app for that.” But these days, you might not even need an app.

Smartphones continue to add built-in useful features, and unless you enjoy keeping up with the details, some things likely fly under the radar.

Following are a few useful things your smartphone can probably do that you might not realize.

1. Make it easier to read

Skeptical confused man looking at a suspicious text message on his phone
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If you struggle to see text on your phone — whether it’s because of the size, colors or contrast — there’s probably an easy fix waiting in your accessibility settings.

iPhones and iPads have an option to invert colors, or make them the opposite. They can do this for everything you see on the screen or skip doing it for images, videos and apps that have an active “dark mode.”

There are also color filters to account for different types of colorblindness, an option to make text thicker or bigger, and an option to tone down fancy blurring and transparency effects that sometimes hurt the contrast between text and background.

Android offers an equivalent set of features. There are options letting you adjust font size up to 200%, make text bold or higher contrast, and make color corrections to compensate for colorblindness.

2. Read to you

Happy woman smiling and laying on the bed with her smartphone taking pictures or browsing the internet
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If your hearing is better than your sight, or you simply want to spend less time looking at your phone, you can get your device to read text out loud to you.

On Android, this is known as Select to Speak, when it’s for just small snippets of text you highlight, or Read Aloud when you want to hear the entire web page. You can even scroll away from the text or switch to another app while your phone narrates.

On iPhones, this feature is known as Spoken Content regardless of what you want read aloud. There are multiple options for voice, dialect and speaking speed, and you can correct pronunciations it gets wrong.

3. Schedule text messages

Senior man uses his smartphone for banking
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Think of something you want to text someone, but not right now? It’s possible to schedule messages for your phone to automatically send later.

The process is easier on Android devices:

  • “Open Google Messages.
  • Open a conversation.
  • Enter your message.
  • Touch and hold Send.
  • Choose from the suggestions.
    • Optional: If you choose your own date and time, a calendar opens. After you pick a date, a clock opens so you can pick a time. Tap Next.
  • Tap Send.”

If your phone isn’t connected to the internet at the scheduled time, it will send as soon as a connection is available. You can also edit, delete or reschedule messages before they are sent.

On iPhones, you’ll need to use a feature called Automations to set up a recurring message — it can be daily, weekly, or monthly. If you only want it to send once ever, you can delete the automation. You’ll find step-by-step instructions here.

Consider upgrading your device

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New and improved features often work best on — and may only be available with — the newest operating systems. Old phones can’t always update to the latest and greatest software so you might miss out.

It isn’t necessary to upgrade your device every year to stay current, but you also may not want to wait five years or more to gain useful improvements. If you’re ready for a new device, you can shop for a good deal in the Money Talks News Solutions Center.

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