Not Just for Instagram: 10 Handy Uses For Your Smartphone Camera [Android]

Tina Sieber 18-06-2013

uses for smartphone camera Within only a few years, the smartphone has penetrated our lives and replaced other gadgets Less is More! 7+ Devices & Tools Your Smartphone Can Replace Phones have gone through an incredible evolution over the past few years. Besides serving as mobile phone and a tiny window into the world wide web, the modern smartphone accommodates a multitude of tools. The... Read More in a way that was never seen before. We wake up to its alarm clock, use it to check our emails, listen to a podcast on the way to work, manage our calendar, hold video conferences, navigate to a client, remote control the TV, use it as a flashlight, and fall asleep to messages exchanged with friends. In a modern life, the smartphone is an omnipresent companion.


Likewise, smartphone cameras have become seriously useful. As the smartphone is slowly turning into an all-purpose tool, the camera adopts a large set of functions, which can be extremely handy in everyday life. Ready to find out the potential hidden within your smartphone camera?

Remembering Random Things

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. It can also be worth a thousand seconds, if it keeps information at your fingertips that you are too forgetful to remember and too busy to write down. Rather than searching the parking garage deck or street name where you parked your car, the opening hours of a store that closed in front of your nose, or the phone number of that restaurant that’s always fully booked, just snap a picture.

uses for smartphone camera

Things a snapshot might help you remember:

  • Contact information
  • Addresses
  • Location of things
  • Documenting food consumption
  • Logging medicine intake
  • Product labels

Use It Like A Mirror

Mirrors or shiny surfaces are everywhere, but what if you’re out of luck? When you need to check your make-up, look underneath something, or inconspicuously see what is going on behind you, whip out your smartphone and let it do the looking for you.


use for smartphone cam

Use It As A Magnifying Glass

Do you find it hard to read small prints? Good thing your smartphone camera also doubles up as a magnifying glass. Focus on the item in question, zoom in, and snap a picture. There are also apps like Magnificent Magnifier that can help you take a steady and zoomed in picture.

use for smartphone cam

Capture A Computer Screen

Whenever we most need to capture a screen, the print screen feature is usually not available. So, use your smartphone camera instead. The added benefit is that you can instantly share the screenshot via your phone’s Internet connection.


use for smartphone cam

Situations when you might want to capture a screen:

  • Windows Blue Screen Of Death
  • Error messages
  • Broken display
  • Ticket vending machine out of service
  • Information displayed on a screen

Take Pictures When You Disassemble Something

Whenever you disassemble something that you have to put back together, take a photo of every step, so you can easily trace back your steps. The added advantage of taking such pictures with your smartphone camera is that the display is usually bigger than that of a regular camera and you can more easily share the photos with others. Imagine you move houses and your spouse has to set up a computer setup you took apart.

using for smartphone camera


Disassemblies you might want to document:

  • Furniture
  • Computer hardware
  • Unplugging of cables

Replace Your Scanner

That’s right, your smartphone camera can function as a mobile document scanner Scan Documents on Your Phone with CamScanner for Android You can use this handy app to scan any document straight from your phone. Read More . You can simply take a picture or use an app like CamScanner. With the app you can process one or more images, turn them into multi-page documents, convert them to PDF, and instantly share them.

using for smartphone camera

With an app like this, your smartphone becomes a tool with which you can ‘scan’ book covers, magazine articles, receipts, whiteboards, blackboards, billboards, posters, presentation slides, and anything else you would like to document.


Detect Colors In Real Life

Have you ever needed to figure out the color in a picture or on a website? There are plenty of tools to help you identify colors on your desktop 3 Free Color Picking Tools To Choose Colors From Your Desktop Read More ! Now what about colors in the real world?

Install SwatchMatic on your Android [No longer available] and use the camera to detect & reuse colors SwatchMatic: Detect & Reuse Colors Through Your Android Phone’s Camera Read More . The app detects the color the camera is pointed at and creates a color palette to match it. The resulting selection is saved as an image, including color names and codes. Great tool for creatives and colorblind people.

using for smartphone camera

A similar Android app is Color Grab.

Log Your Personal Transformation

Whether your are trying to lose weight, build up muscles, or change your style, documenting your transformation with photos can help you stay motivated or give you some chuckles a few years down the road. Just make sure you don’t accidentally share intimidating photos publicly. You can also use the camera to track your food intake with an app like Evernote Food. Evernote Food: A Beautiful Way to Keep Track of Your Favorite Meals, Recipes, and Restaurants [Android] What'd you have for breakfast this morning? How about two weeks ago? And hey, remember that time you and your friends went to that really fancy Japanese restaurant? If you're a bit fuzzy on the... Read More

SwatchMatic Color Detection

Cover Your Ass

A photo can literally save your ass. Use your smartphone camera to capture the state of a car you are renting, document damage when you get into an accident, or take a photo of the license plate and email it to a friend before you accept a ride. Photos can increase your personal security and make insurance claims a lot easier.

Insurance Claim Photo

Things you might want to document with a photo:

  • Anything you rent
  • Things you borrow
  • Damage caused by you or others
  • License plates
  • People who might do you wrong
  • The condition of any damaged packages before opening them

Use It As A Spy Tool

Since your phone is more than just a camera, it’s hard to tell when the camera is in use, unless shutter sounds and your posture give it away. With the right tools and a bit of practice, however, you can take photos without anyone noticing Secretly Take Pictures on Your Android or iPhone Without Being Seen If you want to take photos without being seen, you need these tips and apps. Read More . Just don’t do anything creepy or illegal please!

uses for smartphone camera

Take-Home Message

Your smartphone camera is more useful than you thought! It can make your life easier 10 Ways Your Smartphone Camera Can Make Life Easier "Does your phone have a camera on it?" said no one since 2005. Nobody even asks how many megapixels your phone's camera has anymore. With the ubiquity of smartphones today, and the resolution of the... Read More in many different ways and maybe even track your health. I bet you can think of a few more.

I would love to hear how you use your smartphone camera! Have you found any unusual or creative uses that have changed your life? Please share!

Image credits: Urban Photographer via Shutterstock, Opening Hours via Shutterstock, Rear View via Shutterstock, Computer Cables via Shutterstock, Weight Loss Progress via Shutterstock, Insurance Claim Photo via Shutterstock

Related topics: Digital Camera, Instagram, Smartphone Photography.

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  1. Deepak Rajput
    June 20, 2013 at 7:18 am

    Recording the conversation during any deal.

  2. macwitty
    June 19, 2013 at 4:30 am

    Avoid the discussion "is the spring earlier this year than last" I have a remainder in the calendar on 1 May (yearly) to tell me to take a photo of the pot outside the door. It is a very big difference from year to year (This year the spring was much earlier than last)

    • Tina Sieber
      June 19, 2013 at 7:17 am

      I love that one!

  3. Melanie
    June 19, 2013 at 1:17 am

    In education, a teacher takes pictures of how their room looks at the beginning of the year so that when the next year comes and after the custodians are finished cleaning, they can put their room back together. When I forgot my camera at home, my smartphone camera helped me take pictures of my students' work to transfer to a power point.

    Personally, I have taken pictures of itineraries of flights of my son and step son so that I didn't have to drag paper around or something to lose in transit.

  4. Lee
    June 18, 2013 at 5:52 pm

    A few others:
    -If you're nearsighted and can't find your glasses, you can look through your phone's camera to make things clearer to help find them.
    -If you're trying to get the model number off something that's in a difficult to reach place (like a router or back of a TV), you can stick your phone back there and take a picture. Even if you can read it, it might be a good idea to take a picture of all your device model/serial numbers to keep a record.