10 things you didn’t know your phone could do

From monitoring your heart rate to matching paint colours, you’ll be surprised how many things ‘there’s an app for’.


There are more than 30million smartphones in the UK and 60 per cent of mobiles are now smart, according to communications regulator Ofcom – but most of us barely dip into their potential functions.

From heart monitors where you place your finger on screen to apps that unlock your car, these are the ten best that you’ve probably never heard of…

1. Match paint colours

Want to paint your walls the same colour as your duvet – or replicate a colour you’ve seen somewhere else in your own home?
Well, ditch the Dulux catalogue and download the paint manufacturer’s free Let’s Colour Studio app on your iPhone instead.
All you then do is take a photo and let the app find the colour for you.

For £1, you can order a tester sample to make sure paint shade is just right.

2. Use your phone as a spirit level

Want to make sure the shelves you put up aren’t sloping?
Don’t rummage around your toolbox – grab your phone.
The free iHandy level app, available on iPhone and Android, is even better.
Just place your handset on the item you want straight and it works in the same way as a traditional spirit level, using the phone’s accelerometer.
However, it also measures the degrees precisely so you can get it bang on zero easily

3. Start your car

Fed up of going out on cold mornings and having to shiver as you drive off to work?
Well, download the Viper Smart App – on either an iPhone, Android or BlackBerry – and you won’t have to.
You’ll need to have attached a Viper SmartStart system to your car’s electronics, but the free app lets users unlock the car and turn the ignition remotely.
The app and SmartStart system also lets you track the vehicle’s movements – handy if you have teenage children borrowing your car.

4. Measure things

Don’t have a tape measure big enough to measure buildings?
No problem – get yourself the £3.99 Dot Measure Pro app for iPhone or the less- effective-but-free Smart Measure Pro app for Android – and your handset will do it for you.
All you have to do is point your camera lens at what you want to measure and, using trigonometry, it will calculate how tall and wide it is – and far away you are from it.

5. Design your dream room

Want to rearrange your furniture are worried to risk doing it in case it won’t fit?
Well, using the £1.99 Mark On Call iPhone app, you can expertly plan how you want your room to look and the technology will do the maths for you.

The app ‘measures’ furniture, then ‘fits’ it into a space – no more lifting and shifting in vain

6. Picture your dream home

Following on from Mark On Call, iPhone owners may want to visualise what the room space they have planned might look like.
To help them, the uDecore app creates an augmented reality image of how the chairs, tables and other furniture items might appear.

7. Monitor your heart

Want to know how much your heart races after an encounter with your fire-breathing boss? There’s an app for that.
Azumio’s free Instant Heart rate app – available on iPhone, Android and Windows Phone – is so good it has won awards.
All you have to do is touch your phone screen for a few seconds and it will tell you how many beats per minute your heart is clocking.
It will also let you know where this fits in compared with your and everyone else’s average.

8. Change TV channels

Fed up of losing the remote? Now you can install it on your phone instead.
ThinkFlood’s £44.99 RedEye Mini dongle lets you change channels using your iPhone.
Just plug it in, download the software and then point at any TVand click to your heart’s content
The firm promises that an Android-compatible device is coming soon.

9. Turn lights on – and change their colour

Turning on light switches from your wall too much effort?
Then do it using your phone. All you need are three Phillips Hue bulbs for an admittedly massive £179.99 and either an Android or iPhone.
Then you can turns the lights on or off and – this is its party trick – change the colour emitted from the clever LED lighting.

10. Record TV shows

Forgor to set your Sky+ box to record a show?
Don’t worry – just download the satelite broadcaster’s free Mobile Record app and record and record it remotely from wherever you are in the world.


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