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Never forget anything ever again with these 11 phone tricks

Nick Mediati | Jan. 22, 2014
Evernote? Reminders? Calendar? Those are fine, but there are other ways to use your phone to remember stuff.

I'll be the first to admit: "Use your smartphone to remind yourself of things" seems like a story that doesn't need to be written. Of course you can use it to keep track grocery lists, to-dos, reminders, and calendar entries. But I bet you didn't know that there are gobs of other tricks for keeping track of things with your phone. Most of them don't even require any apps—you can use your phone's built-in features. Here are a few of our favorite ways to augment your forgetful biological brain with the synthetic brain in your pocket.

Use it as an alarm clock
alarm clock

You might have already known that you can use your phone as an alarm clock, but did you know you can set multiple alarms from it? Go to the Clock app on either your iPhone or Android phone, go to the alarms section, and add all the alarms you want. You can turn them off and on, assign them to certain days of the week, and even set a different alarm tone to each of them.

Can your dumb clock radio do all that? Nope.

Set a photo reminder as your background photo
phonereminders primary

If you're more of a visual-spatial thinker and find that to-do lists don't do you any good, here's a tip to try: Take a photo of something that will remind you of whatever task you need to complete and set it as your phone's background photo. Every time you wake your phone from sleep, you'll get an in-your-face reminder that the milk you have at home has turned, so you don't have to eat dry Froot Loops tomorrow.

Remember your hotel room number
remember room

Were you staying in room 6804 or 8640? Take a picture of your hotel room door to remember your room number. This trick can also be useful if you're attending a conference and don't want to forget the meeting room you're in.

Don't transcribe—take a photo
take notes

Don't waste your time rewriting those brainstorming ideas you scrawled on a whiteboard; instead, point your phone's camera at your notes and take a photo of it, so you can sit and organize your thoughts later on.

You might even be able to use an OCR program like Prizmo to turn that picture into text.

Park your car, drop a (virtual) pin
drop a pin


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