8 Unique & Creative Potential Uses for The iPhone

apps   8 Unique & Creative Potential Uses for The iPhoneAll phones double as cameras, stop watches, voice recorders, calendars, radios and much more, but the iPhone takes alternative uses to another level, stopping short of making your morning coffee. Thanks to the ever-growing app store, there is no limit to the potential uses of the iPhone, depending on your own personal needs.

What are the potential uses of the iPhone? There is just so much that the iPhone can do for you, that we couldn’t fit all of it into one article. In this first part, we’re going to take a look how you can use your phone to stay fit, to avoid a speeding ticket or even how to turn your phone into your very own personal shopper.

Radar Detector

Trapster [iTunes link] is an app that depends entirely on user contributions. When a user spots a speed trap, they report it by tapping the map as they pass by. Other users are alerted as they approach it, and can confirm the trap’s location by tapping the map as well. It could be anything from a red light camera to a live police trap. The app also alerts users to road hazards including construction zones, flooded roads and more.

To avoid inaccurate information, all traps are voted on by other users, and if they are not voted on, they will automatically be removed. You can also configure Trapster to receive push notifications, so you don’t always need to keep the app open to benefit from the alerts.

The app is incredibly feature rich, allowing you to check for speed traps nearby, choose from a wide variety of sound themes and languages, listen to your iPod music while the app is open, and can even be used as an alternative to the native Maps application to get directions.

A variety of added useful locations can be displayed on your Trapster map including parking lots, gas stations and ATM machines.

Trapster   8 Unique & Creative Potential Uses for The iPhone

Sports Trainer

We wouldn’t recommend cancelling your gym subscription, but the iPhone can sometimes come in handy when you need to get a workout, and with 321Run Free [iTunes link] you can turn your iPhone into your own personal trainer.

You can use the app to log all of the details about your runs, including how far you’ve run, how long it took you, and using the iPhone’s GPS feature, the exact place where you were running. But 321Run Free does more than just log your progress. The app features a variety of suggested programs tailored to suit various goals such as burning a certain number of calories, reaching the ability to run for 30 minutes straight, or if you’re training for a marathon to run for up to 2 hours straight.

You can listen to the music on your iPhone while using the app, connect to your Twitter account if you want to share your progress, and have the option of your “ËśCoach’ alerting you as you reach your milestones, or when you tap the screen, to let you know how far along you’ve come.

321Run   8 Unique & Creative Potential Uses for The iPhone

Personal Shopper

The free iPhone Amazon app [iTunes link] offers users a unique timesaving feature called Amazon Remembers. As if it couldn’t get any easier making purchases on the go using your iPhone, Amazon aims to make it even easier for you.

If you can’t find an item that you’re looking for, snap a picture of it using your iPhone camera, and the photo will automatically be sent to Amazon for them to search for a similar product. Within a few minutes Amazon will send you a suggested listing closest to your image, notifying you by email when they do.

AmazonRemembers   8 Unique & Creative Potential Uses for The iPhone

You can also turn your phone into a comparison shopper, using SnapTell. Take a photo of a CD, book or video game, and SnapTell will display all the online prices available for that product.

Newsstand

You can turn your iPhone into a newsstand with Zinio [iTunes link]. While the app itself is free ““ of course not all the magazines available are free, but you can snag a couple of issues and samples here and there for free, including the Reader’s Digest Humor Issue.

Magazines can be browsed by category, by top sellers, and new arrivals. You can then choose to purchase a year’s subscription, or purchase just one issue.

Zinio   8 Unique & Creative Potential Uses for The iPhone

Flashlight

The free Flashlight [iTunes link] app turns your iPhone into a torch by opening up to a bright white screen. You can customise the appearance of the flashlight, choosing between a variety of colours, and can switch between them by swiping your finger across the screen. You can even create your own custom colours.

Double-tapping anywhere on the screen takes you into the settings where you can choose which colour to automatically open the app on, and how long to wait before turning off the display ““ starting at 5 minutes.

Flashlight   8 Unique & Creative Potential Uses for The iPhone

Spirit Level

iHandy Level [iTunes link] is a free Spirit Level app that can indicate whether a surface is level. The app can be used when you’re hanging up pictures and want to make sure they’re hung on the wall straight.

The app is very straightforward to use ““ simply lay it against the flat surface, in either landscape or portrait mode, and the app will let you know if it’s level or not.

iHandy   8 Unique & Creative Potential Uses for The iPhone

FTP Server

You can turn your iPhone into a small portable FTP server using the free version of Wifi FTP [iTunes link]. After installing the app on your phone, open it up, making sure that you’re connected to a WiFi connection.

Turning the server on allows you to access the iPhone FTP server using any FTP client of your choice. Simply connect anonymously using the IP address provided in the app, using the FTP client of your choice, such as the popular Filezilla. If you’re a Mac user, check out this list of 8 choices for a few alternatives.

FTP1   8 Unique & Creative Potential Uses for The iPhone

Not only can you use an FTP server to save your files, you can also edit .txt and .csv files on your iPhone, and upload them to Google Documents or email them as attachments.

FTP2   8 Unique & Creative Potential Uses for The iPhone

Tip Calculator

It might not be particularly difficult to use your iPhone’s calculator to figure out how much you should leave for a tip when you’re done at a restaurant. But when you have an app like Tip and Split [iTunes link] to make life easier, why not use it?

Tip and Split allows you to calculate a tip anywhere up to 30% of the amount of your bill. Unlike other free tip calculators, it also allows you to split the total, tip included, between you and up to 19 other people. The app works only in landscape mode.

Tip   8 Unique & Creative Potential Uses for The iPhone

A few other potential uses of the iPhone that have already been covered on MakeUseOf include turning your iPhone into a remote, into the ultimate radio, the perfect GPS unit, and a Walkie-Talkie. In the next part of this article, we’ll show you how to turn your iPhone into a security monitor, an e-reader, and your own personal tutor.

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18 Comments -

Nat Jay

I like the ‘Spirit Level’ app for some reason. It reminds me of Physics lab back in high school.

Kilian

You’ve got a list of creative uses for the iPhone and don’t feature Sonic Ruler? That is by far the most creative (regarding the iPhone hardware) application I have ever seen.

nm

Thanks for your comment Kilian. We only review free apps so I couldn’t have included it in the list – but it certainly looks like it’s an interesting app.

Firewall

These apps (and a whole load more) and also available for the Android (anything from Trapster to Amazon app) – free and better (does the iPhone FTP app work in the background with multitasking?).

Why does everyone seem to ‘push’ Apple these days? They’re bigger than Microsoft now – lay it off!

nm

We’re not “pushing” anything and this post is not about Apple. It’s about free applications that have been provided to users by developers. The iPhone is undeniably a popular phone so why not give people more suggestions on how to use it?

And nothing was said about the iPhone or its apps being better than Android phones or any other phone – after all a ‘better’ experience is entirely subjective.

In any case, there are lots of articles on MakeUseOf especially for Android users – maybe you’ll find something that is of interest to you here: http://bit.ly/b3FrQU

Firewall

Many thanks, Nancy. I’m sorry if I came across wrong. I was not suggesting that you were wrong to promote these excellent free applications, nor am I denying (or indeed could plausibly deny) that the iPhone is an absolutely awesome phone.
I suspect it was possibly just unfortunate wording…
“All phones double as cameras, stop watches, voice recorders, calendars, radios and much more, but the iPhone takes alternative uses to another level, stopping short of making your morning coffee.” suggests that iPhone stands apart in these respects from all other phones… on a league of its own (or maybe “another level”).. anyway…
Thank you for the link.
I look forward to your “Windows 7 manual” and “Android manual” to complement the already available “Mac manual”, “iTunes manual” and “iPhone manual”…. since you’re not “pushing” Apple…

;-)

nm

Thanks for taking the time to reply – and explaining where you were coming from. You’re right – I should have worded it more about the app store than the iPhone itself. That’s Apple getting into it’s customers heads for you ;)
And I will definitely relay the message in your interest in the Android and Windows 7 Manuals.

Firewall

These apps (and a whole load more) and also available for the Android (anything from Trapster to Amazon app) – free and better (does the iPhone FTP app work in the background with multitasking?).

Why does everyone seem to ‘push’ Apple these days? They’re bigger than Microsoft now – lay it off!

veera

this reply from phone as a test

nm

We’re not “pushing” anything and this post is not about Apple. It’s about free applications that have been provided to users by developers. The iPhone is undeniably a popular phone so why not give people more suggestions on how to use it?

And nothing was said about the iPhone or its apps being better than Android phones or any other phone – after all a ‘better’ experience is entirely subjective.

In any case, there are lots of articles on MakeUseOf especially for Android users – maybe you’ll find something that is of interest to you here: http://bit.ly/b3FrQU

nm

nm

Thanks for taking the time to reply – and explaining where you were coming from. You’re right – I should have worded it more about the app store than the iPhone itself. That’s Apple getting into it’s customers heads for you ;)
And I will definitely relay the message in your interest in the Android and Windows 7 Manuals.

News Innovations

Thanks for the creative tips. I would like to add couple more uses of iPhone. It can also be used as a remote control and as a projector too.
http://www.newsandinnovations.com/index.php/2010/06/10/use-apple-iphone-ipod-a-projector-for-home-theater-experience

News Innovations

Thanks for the creative tips. I would like to add couple more uses of iPhone. It can also be used as a remote control and as a projector too.
http://www.newsandinnovations….

nm

Absolutely – there’s a post about using the iPhone as a remote here on MUO: http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/7-free-remote-control-apps-iphone/

Of course the projector idea is great too and shows just how innovative you can be with the phone – but of course it requires additional hardware. I’ve seen some other interesting options like accepting credit card payments using your iPhone and even unlocking your car.

News Innovations

Really, iPhone is becoming more useful with new applications and additional hardware.

nm

Absolutely – there’s a post about using the iPhone as a remote here on MUO: http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/7

Of course the projector idea is great too and shows just how innovative you can be with the phone – but of course it requires additional hardware. I’ve seen some other interesting options like accepting credit card payments using your iPhone and even unlocking your car.

Aibek

I am sorry but are you the author of the post? :-)