iPhone and iPad

15 Ways To Avoid Hassles And Save Time Using Your iPhone

Bakari Chavanu 25-09-2012

iphone time management appIn my humble opinion, technology should save us time and make getting things done more efficient, but I constantly run into people who are not making use of the tools and features, of say their iPhone, that could reduce the amount of time and hassle it takes to carry out tasks or daily routines. In fact, the excuse I give for buying an iPhone is that it’s a money maker for me. It actually saves me time, and thus money.


Below are some tools, features, and apps I use to save time or the hassle of doing routine tasks. This list is intended for non-power users of the iPhone—users who still haven’t set alarms on the iPhone, don’t know how to use the built-in voice dictation, or make a list of reminders. For you experienced users of the iPhone, I hope that you will share with us your useful apps and ideas for saving time.


Set Multiple Timers

Use the Clock app to set multiple alarms for nearly every time sensitive daily activity you need carry out. Do you need to leave the house by an exact time to get to work or drop your kids off at school? Set an alarm for that. Alarms can be labeled and turned off and on when you need them.

iphone time management app

Keep a List of Restaurant Orders

Typically the food items at a restaurant you order for your family don’t change from week to week, so why not keep a standard list of those items in the iPhone’s Notes app. Your list can easily be copied, emailed, or printed out for another family member to make orders.

iphone time management

Also if you go to a restaurant for the first time and order a meal you really like, either take a picture of it with your iPhone and save it to a supporting notes app (the built-in Notes app doesn’t allow you add photos), or use Evernote’s elegantly designed Foods app (Free) to keep a pictorial list of your favorite meals.

Maintain a Recipe App

On the other hand, if you and your family go out to eat too much, find and use a recipe app on your iPhone, and maintain a list of at least 15 meals you can select from and plan out for the week. The 250,000+ recipes app is a good one start with. There are dozens more.

iphone time management

Notes App in Your Dock

Keep a notes app in the dock or homepage of your iPhone so you can access it quickly. With your handy mobile device, there’s little point of keeping scraps of papers or locating a pen to write with. I like use Drafts, because it creates a new document each time the app is launched, and it provides a list of other apps and places I can save quick notes to.

iphone time management

Keep Business Cards on Your iPhone

I keep what I call a Quick folder of apps in the dock of my iPhone. It includes an app called CardFlick that contains my digital business card. With a single click, I can pull up this card and email it. I also use Card Manager ($0.99) to capture and access paper business cards, that used to get thrown in my office desk drawer.

iphone app manage time

Whenever I attend networking socials or events where I might meet people I want to stay in contact with, I like to use Evernote’s Hello app. It’s little buggy, so I can’t fully recommend it, but I like it because when I collect someone’s contact information in the app, it automatically emails that person my preset contact info. The app includes a feature for snapping photos of your contact, but I don’t use it, because it feels weird asking to take someone’s photo when you barely know them.

iphone app manage time

Add Your Driver’s License to Your iPhone

Use a quick, time saving app, called PeekIt to pull up a photo of your driver’s license or any image you need to show quickly. Using PeekIt means you don’t have to go hunting for a photo in your Photos library app. With a single click your preset image just pops up.

iphone app manage time

Use the Dictation Tool

Stop wasting time pecking away on the little iPhone keyboard, and learn to use the built-in voice-to-text diction feature. You simply tap the Mic icon and dictate your text when you want to dictate text, say in the Message app. This feature is part of the new Mountain Lion update, and work say way. See my article How To Dictate Writing On Your Mac: Apple's Dictation vs DragonDictate For a long time if you wanted or needed to use a speech-to-text dictation program on your Mac, your only choices were MacSpeech Dictate (now defunct) and Nuance's DragonDictate. But with the release of Mountain... Read More on how to use it.

Find My iPhone

If you haven’t installed Apple’s Find My iPhone app yet, it probably means you’re wasting lots of time looking for your phone around the house. Install this app on your iPhone and you can send an alarm message to it from your computer to locate it. It’s like having someone call your phone so you can find it in the couch or in your car where you last left it. It’s also may be very helpful when your phone is truly lost or stolen How to Track and Locate Your iPhone Using Location Services You can track your iPhone and share or find its location using the iPhone Location Services feature. We show you how. Read More .


Save Favorite Web Pages As Apps

If you use your iPhone to visit favorite websites, like MUO, open the site in the Safari app of your iPhone, tap the share button, and select Add to Home Screen. Now whenever you need to go to that site, just click the “app” on your homepage.

Save to home

Use Multiple Web Browsers

Similarly, if you use your iPhone for surfing various frequently accessed websites, download one or two additional web browsers and use one, say for your work related websites, and another for your personal web browsing. With more than one web browser, you can save time searching bookmarks and typing frequently accessed webpages.

Mercury web browser

There are dozens of web browser apps for free download. >Mercury Web Browser is a good one start with.

Use a One Touch Timer

The iPhone’s built-in Clock has a timer feature, but you can’t set multiple timers with it. Use an app like Timer to keep and access pre-set times–e.g., 10, 20, 30 minutes. With Timer, you just tap open the app and select a preset timer, or multiple timer.

Timer app

Use a Task Manager

If you really need to stay focused and get a routine number of tasks done on a regular basis, an app called 30/30 ($0.99) might be of use to you. 30/30 enables you to preset a number of tasks and assign each of them a timer. You tap the start button and you will get an alarm at the end of each timed tasks.

30 30

Use a Dedicated List App

Creating and accessing lists can be huge time savers when for example preparing for a trip, a presentation, a workflow, events, etc. I use List Book for this purpose, but you can just as well use the built-in Reminders app on the iPhone for a similar purposes How to Set Up Location Alerts in iPhone Reminders Set location-based alerts using the iOS Reminders app and never forget to buy bread or pick up a package ever again. Read More .

List Book

Take Photos of Receipts

Download and use a dedicated iPhone “scanner” app for all your important receipts and documents. JotNot Scanner Pro ($1.99 and Free version.) is a good one.


Use Dropbox to Access Your Documents

Start saving all your documents on your computer to Dropbox (Free) so you can access them on your iPhone and other iOS and Mac devices. If you don’t know about Dropbox or similar cloud storage apps and services, you’re not making full use of your iPhone. MUO has dozens of articles on using Dropbox.

Dropbox app

Bonus: Remote Control Stuff in Your Home

Okay, admittedly this is not a free or low cost solution, but as a bonus I have to throw it in as one of my most used gadgets. It’s called WeMo. I use to remote control my hot water pot from my iPhone. The controller itself is $49.99, and the WeMo iPhone app is free.

iphone time management app

With WeMo you can set up a rule to turn your device, such as a coffee pot, on and off at scheduled times, which is really handy for when you’re running late in the morning to get out of the house. While that’s a huge timer saver, you can also use an Ifttt hack to trigger your device via your Messages app while you’re away from home. So if for example I’m driving home from the gym, I can send message to the Ifttt server to turn on my coffee pot, say ten minutes before I get there.

Okay, that’s my list of time saving apps and features. Tell us about about a few of your own, and let us know which of the above ideas you plan to use.

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  1. Alex Perkins
    October 8, 2012 at 5:36 pm

    The WeMo looks awesome, but i'm not sure whether the iron being connected to it is such a good idea...

    • Bakari Chavanu
      October 15, 2012 at 5:26 pm

      True, Alex, may not be a good idea. Point well taken. lol.pc

    • Bakari Chavanu
      October 15, 2012 at 5:26 pm

      True, Alex, may not be a good idea. Point well taken. lol.

  2. bonioloff
    September 27, 2012 at 2:07 am

    I use List Book, and it is very slow.. First launched nothing shown, and after about 20 seconds it show all the list, it is very slow.. I prefer not using it again..
    And i think you should mention about Eisenhower, it is a good priority management for iPhone.

    • Bakari Chavanu
      September 27, 2012 at 3:46 pm

      Hmmm, bonioloff, I haven't experienced that problem with List Book, but thanks for pointing it out. I'll also check out Eisenhower. Thanks for your feedback.

  3. Chris Foley
    September 25, 2012 at 11:36 am

    Another great reason to use multiple browsers is so you can read the New York Times through the month without needing a subscription once you've arrived at the monthly 10-article limit.

    • Bakari Chavanu
      September 25, 2012 at 4:59 pm

      Thanks for that tip, Chris.