41 Super Smart Ways To Use Your Phone's Camera

41 Super Smart Ways To Use Your Phone's Camera

Your mobile phone's camera is not just for selfies - we've listed 41 seriously clever ways for you to use it. Check them out now!

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1. Keep track of lending

So IT WAS YOU who borrowed them...
So it was YOU who borrowed them...

Before you lend that DVD to your friend, take a photo of them holding it. This will help you keep track of what and who has borrowed from you - and will also remind you of what is missing before you start a long rummage for it.

2. Never got lost in a new city

Using public transport in a different country can be confusing, especially in a busy, crowded city. Save yourself a bit of time looking for signs and capture photos of any public transport schedules and maps you're likely to use.

3. Translate when travelling

If you're on holiday and have no idea what some text says, take a photo of it on your mobile phone. Google Translate then uses your camera for instant text translation into 26 languages. If you've got an iPhone, download Google translate today. Magic!

4. Check pictures are straight

Don't sit there worrying that your picture frames aren't straight. Whip out your camera phone, turn on the grid view and check if the frames are all nicely lined up. Then all you need is to recruit someone to help you adjust the wonky ones.

5. Last minute booking

Take a photo of your passport for any mega exciting last-minute flight bookings. I suggest storing this important photo in a password-protected folder on your phone, just in case you misplace it.

6. Be prepared at the supermarket

Never wander aimlessly around a supermarket again! If you write all the ingredients you've run out of on a white board in the kitchen, take a snap of it and you can replenish your cupboard when on your next supermarket trip.

7. Remember what your kids are wearing

Do you have small children? If you're heading to a crowded environment, take a quick photo of them before you enter. This way, if anyone happens to gets lost, you'll know exactly what they're wearing, and you can pass this information onto others as well.

8. Be inspired

open frige door
Check the fridge first.

Need to cook later but don't have a recipe? Take a snap of the ingredients you've got in the cupboard to help inspire you later. This will also help you waste less food and save money.

9. Cover your back

When you move into a rented accommodation, take photos of each room for insurance purposes. You can also take photos of any damage that already existed, in case this is disputed upon your leaving.

10. Borrow recipes

If you're flicking through your friend's cookbooks and you see a recipe (or several) that you like, open up that phone camera. You can write down everything later in your personal recipe book.

11. Find new music

spotify on phone
Keep up to date.

Enjoying a party playlist on someone else's phone? Take a photo of it with your camera phone. Stumbled across a YouTube music video that you like? Take a screenshot of it. Happy listening!

12. Send a postcard

If you've got an iPhone then you'll be interested in touchnote.com. Grab your camera phone, take a special photo and turn it into a real card. You can then send it anywhere in the world - sounds pretty great, doesn't it?

13. Noting down stock room numbers

Ikea fans, no need to scribble down information with that cute little pencil - take photos of stock room numbers and the furniture on your phone. You'll also have a second chance to decide if you want it, rather than rushing into a purchase.

14. Take the stress out of choosing an outfit

Do you have trouble picking out an outfit for work on weekday mornings? Try on different outfits and take pictures of yourself in them. Instead of trying on every top in the drawer, you can save time by scrolling through the outfit options saved on your phone instead.

15. Know your rack

Keen cooks, make sure you always have an up-to-date photo of your spice rack on your mobile When debating last-minute dinner options at supermarket, just double-check what have and what you don't have. You don't want to end up with 7 jars of cumin...

16. Find your bed

If you're staying in a hotel in a new country, take a photo of nearby landmarks and road signs so you can get back to it easily. You'll never get lost again - just make sure you don't lose your phone!

17. Wifi information

If you've got a guest round and they are desperate to use the WiFi, the last thing you want to be doing is hunting behind the back of a dusty sofa. Instead, take a photo of the user name and password so you can share it with visitors.

18. Record moving boxes

Moving - one of life's great pleasures.
Moving - one of life's great pleasures.

Moving house? As you pack your boxes, make a list of all their contents, e.g. Box 1 - glasses & mugs (kitchen). Take a photo of this list and you'll be able to quickly work out if a box is missing. You can also decide which boxes are more important to unpack on the first day in your new home. See 17 smart packing tips to make moving home a breeze for more tips like this.

19. At the gym

If you're a gym-goer, use your camera phone to take note of any class schedules, so you always know when to turn up. You can use it to send to other class-mates too. Unfortunately, this will remove the ability for anyone to use the excuse 'I didn't know when the class was!'. Shame.

20. Out shopping

Window shopping? Take pictures of clothing you like, in case you can find it online at a cheaper price. You could also send a snap of you in various clothes to friends or family, if you wanted some outside advice.

21. Keep safe

Before you head off on holiday, take pictures of your passport, travel documents and any other important information to give to your family, friends or neighbours. This way, if you happen to lose them while you're away, you will be able to access them easily.

22. Car renting

Take a photo of your new rental car, including the license plate. Hotel check-ins will be easy and you'll quickly be able to recognise your car if you park in a busy car park.

23. Taxi information

If you're putting your friend into a taxi late at night, or if you're heading to an unknown place, take a picture of the taxi license plate and driver details. E-mail the photos to a friend or loved one, just as a security measure.

24. Keep organised

Snap a photo of your To Do List and save it as a screensaver on your phone - or go paper-less and write it on your phone and then save it. This way you can't avoid those tasks - no matter how hard you try!

25. Convert currencies with ease

Before you set off travelling in a different country, take a screenshot of a currency converter cheat sheet. Try out gofox.com for the conversion of all major foreign currencies. Happy shopping, bring me back a fridge magnet!

26. Moving cables

mac cables
Easy peasy!

If you're looking to move over a set of cables from one room to another, say for your home TV system, take a photo of how all the connections are set up. The shots will be able to help you work out what goes where with ease.

27. Snap your journey

When you embark on a new walking journey, take screenshots of the area on Google maps. If you lose reception en-route, you won't get lost! You can also do this for driving directions, just screenshot the steps.

28. Find your way in a car park

Parking in a MASSIVE car park? Take photos of nearby landmarks so you can find your way back. If you're parking in a multi-storey car park, take a photo of the floor number and area.

29. Get your phone back

Catch criminals by using apps that use your phone's camera to snap people when they try to steal your phone. There are a few apps about that do this, so have a look at the store to find one suitable for you.

30. Exploring new cities

When you head to a new city, it's always a good idea to find a free map from local train stations and information points. Take a photo of this city map - it will be easy to zoom in for greater detail and less annoying than unfolding a large map!

31. Check your make-up

Your phone camera also works as an emergency mirror! Stick the front camera on and you can quickly work out how your make-up is, or if you have something in your teeth.

32. Car prangs

If you have the misfortune to get into a minor traffic prang, then use your camera phone to capture any damage, insurance details and minor injuries.

33. Know your shops

Take a photo of the opening and closing hours of the places you use occasionally, such as the doctors, the bank and the post office. Now you'll never turn up after closing again!

34. Protect your valuables

Just before you go on holiday, take photos of any valuables. If the worst happens and your home gets burgled, you can use the snaps for insurance purposes.

35. When playing boardgames

If you're taking a breather from a particularly long-lasting board game, take a photo of the board. You'll be able to keep track of where everything is and prevent any cheating!

36. Discover new hair

fashion magazines
Ooh la la!

Looking for that perfect hair cut? If you happen to see it in a magazine, on television or on a person walking down the street - capture it on your camera phone! Your hairdresser will appreciate it.

37. Keep an eye on the fridge

Take a photo of the contents in your fridge, so when you head to the supermarket, you'll already know what you've got enough of.

38. Before flying

Use your mobile phone camera to take a photo of your luggage before you fly, this can help save time and problems, if the cases are lost along the way.

39. For retracing your steps

When you take a gadget or electrical item apart, take a photo of every step you take. When it comes to putting it back together, you won't make a mistake.

40. Finding missing objects

Use the flashlight to help you find objects in the dark. Or if you're like me, objects hidden in your bag that's unfortunately filled with rubbish, like old train tickets and receipts.

41. Check before you buy

industrial dining table
Will it go?

Going shopping for furniture? Take a quick snap of the rooms in your house. It will be easy to see if the piece will suit the room!

Phew, that's a long list for you to read - hope you enjoyed it! If you've got a way to use your mobile phone's camera, please share it with us below.

Colleen B


Lifelong biscuit addict. Obsessed with recipes, cooking & eating. Slightly lazier than the average bear, so likes writing about life hacks & discovering the quickest / easiest way to do things.

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  1. Author Philip Hurrell on November 6, 2015 at 8:32 am

    Some phone tips I do already but some useful new ones

    1. Author Colleen B on November 6, 2015 at 10:23 am

      Glad to hear you enjoyed the post, please tell all your pals!

  2. Author Lesley on November 6, 2015 at 10:42 am

    I'd just like advice on how to use my phone - as a complete technophobe I stupidly bought a mobile phone only to be told I need a wifi code to use it - and whatever my broadband provider say, my phone just keeps telling me the code is incorrect. Wish it was the 1970's again when we didn't even have a landline phone (or just "phone" as it was back then!)

    1. Author Gary Gemmell on November 7, 2015 at 4:12 am

      You only need a wifi code if you are connecting to your home router or one outside say if you are out at the shops in Costa or Asda and they have free wifi. Your code for home wifi will be on the back or bottom of your home router under the SSID which is your home network name!

    2. Author Colleen B on November 9, 2015 at 1:09 pm

      Hi Gary - the wifi code is more for visiting guests who need to get online. Thanks for letting us know about the free wifi at Costa & Asda, I didn't know that!

  3. Author Rod Smith on November 6, 2015 at 8:13 pm

    Take pictures of event posters etc. so that you can add them to your diary or book tickets later

    1. Author Colleen B on November 9, 2015 at 2:16 pm

      Great tip Rod, thanks very much!

  4. Author Gary Gemmell on November 7, 2015 at 4:10 am

    Like part 39 i use it all the time for electrical repairs and wiring in my car , home and computer systems repairs. Some new ones on me like the photographing of my herb cupboard - i have wasted money so many times buying duplicate items,. Great list very useful. Keep up the good work!

    1. Author Colleen B on November 9, 2015 at 2:15 pm

      Thanks so much Gary for your kind words - so glad you like our tips! Don't forget to tell all your pals about our website.

  5. Author Natalie on November 7, 2015 at 6:57 pm

    Take a picture of your. Car registration so when asked for in a shop, car park where ever, you can be certain x

    1. Author Colleen B on November 9, 2015 at 1:02 pm

      Great tip Natalie, thanks!

  6. Author Em on June 28, 2019 at 2:27 pm

    I keep a photo of my dog’s microchip record, so that if she does get lost I can report this at the time. And also prove it’s my dog that’s been found!

    1. Author Joanne A on July 1, 2019 at 10:34 am

      Great idea, Em!

  7. Author Roz on February 21, 2022 at 1:14 pm

    Use your mobile phone camera for very small writing for example ingredients list on product packages. Take a photo and enlarge to see it clearly. I do this all the time, must be an age thing. Lol

    1. Author Joanne A on March 3, 2022 at 3:35 pm

      That's such a great idea!

  8. Author Lucy Ambrose on February 27, 2022 at 2:34 pm

    I agree that an Uber or other ride-sharing should be treated with caution, but a registered and legal taxi is covered by so many regulations that all passengers are safe and accounted for.

    1. Author Joanne A on February 28, 2022 at 3:35 pm

      Thanks for sharing your views, Lucy!


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