Photo: wicker_man/flickr/CC-BY-NC-ND 2.0

All the Most Useful Things You Can Do with Your Phone 

Lauren Slocum
Updated February 19, 2020 15.9k votes 1.4k voters 45.1k views

This just in! Smartphones weren't solely invented for selfies, food photos, and Snapchat. We can all agree that smartphones have become quite the 21st century nuisance; everywhere you go, faces look downward and fingers are flying across four square inches of glass screen. But before we all start boycotting public use of smartphones (HA!), let's take a look at some of the coolest, most impressive uses for your smartphone. 

It's true that people get a little carried away with being on their phones. I mean, you're driving to 7-11 to pick up some munchies and next thing you know, you're trolling your ex's Instagram while sitting at a stop light. WHY?! But there are some really intelligent and helpful apps out there. Nowadays, there are entire high school and college courses dedicated to creating apps. Apps are the world wide web of the future, and because they pinpoint specific needs, there's a cool smartphone use out there for everyone. 

Trying to lose weight? My Fitness Pal will count your calories and help create workout plans for you. Been meaning to tune that dusty old banjo for the past two years? Cleartune is a simple and accurate way to do it directly from your phone. So next time you're watching your favorite band at that cool venue and everyone around you is on their phone, don't get annoyed! They're probably doing something really important like checking their blood pressure or reading Moby Dick on their Kindle. 

What are your favorite uses for your smartphone? Vote up your favorites and add any cool things you can do while staring at a screen that you don't see listed here.
list ordered by
Learn Something New
Google it, yo!
Listen to Music
Spotify, Sound Cloud, iTunes, YouTube... the options are endless! 
Never Get Lost
The standard Google Maps app will do the job, but it can be a bit of a dud. Waze has gained popularity especially with its attractive and user friendly interface. Not satisfied with either? If Apple's made a believer out of you so far, you'll probably like using Apple Maps
Check the Weather
Whether you're team Droid or team Apple, you automatically have a weather app on your phone. 
Talk to Distant Friends/Relatives
Using apps like Skype, Facebook, text, or FaceTime to connect. 
Light the Way
Use the Flashlight app to illuminate all your darkest hours. 
Take Pictures
Edit Videos and Photos

Vine lets you loop, edit, and share videos. IMovie is also a great, classic video editing app.

Online Banking
Wherever do you bank? Download their mobile app!
Stream Movies

Amazon Prime Video, Netflix, Hulu, HBO GO, Shudder, and YouTube Movies.

Buy Movie Tickets

Conveniently look up showtimes and purchase tickets through a theater's app or other options such as Fandango and Atom Tickets.

Stream the NFL

NFL Mobile, RedZone, Yahoo Sports, Amazon Prime Video, Sling, and several other options.

Read a Book
The Kindle and iBook apps are many bookworms' personal faves.
Watch TV

There are several options that allow you to stream live television to your phone, here are some of the more popular apps: YouTube TV, Sling, Hulu, and CBS All Access. 

Keep Track of Your Life
Simply use the Calendar app on your phone to manage your tasks and plans, or take it up a notch and use Sunrise Calendar.
Stream the NHL

NHL.TV, fuboTV, Sling TV, YouTube TV, Hulu, PlayStation Vue, and Direct TV Now.

Exercise Your Brain
Using fun brain game apps like Lumosity
Track Traffic Reports
SigAlert is the Old Faithful of the bunch, but Waze and Beat the Traffic are efficient and reliable runners up. 
Calculate the Right Tip
Tip n Split Tip Calculator or plain ol' Tip Calculator apps are super convenient for those awkward moments when you're trying to calculate the tip in front of your date.
Map Your Public Transportation Route
Use Transitapp to quickly navigate your city's public transit lines. 
Learn a New Language
Duolingo is a great app for brushing up on all those Spanish vocab words you forgot from high school.
Pay for Things
Concert/Event Admission
If you're purchasing concert tickets online, request digital copies so you don't have to print out hard copies for the show. They'll scan the barcode when you arrive. 
It's a Phone Right?
Check in for a Flight
You can do this directly through your email, or if you're a frequent flyer, download your preferred airline's mobile app and check in that way.