Getting a new phone is like being a kid on Christmas, except as you get older it actually gets better; the gifts just keep on coming. As time goes on, technology improves and exciting new features emerge. With phones evolving at their current rate, it’s no surprise that some new features have slipped under the radar. Whether you love Android or the iPhone, there are a few features you may not realize your device has. If you did, we salute you and your comprehensive knowledge of all things mobile. For the rest of us, sit back and relax; we are going to go through some of the coolest features you didn’t know existed.
Lets start with Android first, not necessarily because I like it better, but because I do indeed like it better and also, why not? Lets call it alphabetical. Android recently released Lollipop as their newest operating system, and it sure is sweet. There are a ton of things to do with Lollipop, some are cool, some are functional, most are both. First of all, when upgrading to a new phone, things can be a little tricky right? Not anymore, with Lollipop you have the ability to load a restore file, created from your last 4.1 or higher Android device. Once loaded, all of the same apps, contacts, and folders are imported to your new device. The icons are even arranged in the same fashion, making the switch a seamless and headache free endeavour. Pair your two devices together, let Android work a little magic, and ta-da! Contacts and all are on your new phone, just as they were before you decided to toss the old one to the curb and upgrade. Do not despair though, all Androids go to the Cloud.
Once your Android is set up, it doesn’t take long to notice some of the new additions that make life a bit easier. One of the more convenient features is the ability to see notifications on your lock screen, which is super handy when you do not have the time to unlock your screen just to check a text. This is a pretty simple feature to spot, and can pose problems when you are getting texts that you may want to keep private. You are still notified when you receive an email or text, but to see the content, it still requires you to unlock the phone. This goes together with another fairly unknown feature, user accounts. If you share your phone a lot and want to keep something private or restrict messaging or call capability, you can create a guest account. Much like user accounts on a computer, this allows you to lend your phone out without the worry of someone running up your phone bill or snooping around.
Before we dive into the iPhone, I want to point out my personal favorite Android feature that often fails to get noticed. With a USB cable and a computer, your Android instantly becomes a portable hard drive. This is great when you don’t have a flash drive and need to transfer a music or photo library. Since most Androids have a microSD slot, the memory is expandable to upwards of 128gb. Pretty awesome when you’re in a pinch for data storage space.
With all that being said, iOS 8 also has some pretty nifty things to take advantage of. First of all, iOS 8 offers a feature even Ethan Hunt (for those of you who have never seen Mission Impossible think Tom Cruise dropping from a ceiling) would be proud to have. Self-destructing audio and video messages, don’t worry the phone itself remains intact. You can enable a message option that will delete your messages after a set number of minutes. This is convenient when sharing sensitive data like top secret mission details, or other less exciting sensitive stuff like the itinerary of a surprise party. Following the secret agent theme, if you are in a tight spot and need evacuation, you can also share your exact location in a text message to your friends, or armed back up. Your iPhone 6 can also be used as a tracking device, this comes standard as a feature that records everywhere you go and lets you view those locations on a map. Super convenient when running errands and you lose something, prompting a quick retrace of your steps, or to show a running routine to a friend so they can join you. While not all of these are meant to be used in a Mission Impossible style, they certainly can be and I enjoy thinking of them in that capacity.
Besides the secret spy like features, there are a ton of other things to be excited about. My friends and I communicate via picture and .gif memes the majority of the time. While this isn’t great for being productive and communicating intellectual ideas, it is great for laughing at inappropriate times and ensuring people look at you in a state of perplexity. iOS 8 lets you view all pictures, and videos, sent and received to a contact in a simple dedicated library. No more scrolling through pointless heart to heart text conversations just to get to a picture of a cat, Dreidel in the example provided, wearing a tie. No no, now you can just scroll through a history of pictures to find that special one you want to use in order to impress your co-workers. In the event that the co-worker is so bewildered by your “lol” worthy image that they fall into a state of despair, there is a feature for that as well. With the iPhone 6 you can store your Medical ID information and access it from the lockscreen in a split second. That way if someone literally laughs their butt off after reviewing all of the pictures you have sent them over the course of your relationship, the paramedics will know if they are allergic to penicillin without having to call around town for their medical history. “Lol” in peace everyone, iOS 8 has arrived.
Those examples are just a taste of what the new generation of phones has to offer. Whether you are an avid phone connoisseur, or just like to make calls and keep in touch with your loved ones, there are a ton of new features to enjoy. With the way things are going, I can’t wait to see what is next, although I think I’ll be too occupied with the current lineup to notice. Just when I thought phones had reached their peak, it looks like the real mobile revelations are just beginning.