High tech tools hidden on your smartphone

U.S. & World

Before you buy a new gadget, check to make sure you don’t already have it in your pocket!

My advice look to your phone first see if you can already do it because in a lot of cases it can, said Andrew Moore-Crispin with Ting Mobile.

Instead of using a pricey fitness tracker, a smartphone’s built-in accelerometer and free apps can count steps, distance and track sleep. The phone’s camera can also double as a heart rate monitor.

It uses the flash and camera already on the phone shines a light through your finger and figures out what your heart rate is, Moore-Crispin said.

Cyclists who want to skip the high-end gadgets can upgrade their ride with a low-cost phone mount.

Download an app and you can track your ride, elevation, speed, Moore-Crispin said.

There are also tools for digital health.

Do not disturb while driving mode on iOS can automatically mute notifications to prevent distracted driving. Both iPhone and Android now have built-in features to track screen time and set limits.

Add metal detector to the list of things your smartphone can do, with the phone’s built-in magnetometer and a metal detector app.

You’re not going to be beach combing and finding buried treasure, but if you need to find an earring back or a screw you dropped in the grass, Moore-Crispin said.

That feature also comes in handy as a stud finder!

Once it finds the right place to hang your art, your smartphone can also make sure it’s level.

Another tip: when you’re low on battery and time, turn on airplane mode for a high-speed charge.

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