Some of the many things you did not know you can do with your iPhone

This post comes on the back of last week’s announcement of iPhone 4S stock availability in South Africa, and a recent article by LA Times titled Ten tech items you won’t be needing anymore. There are also many related articles on Google.

We all know that the iPhone, as it is the case with all Apple products, is not cheap. Thus, this post will help you “sweat your asset” using free apps available in the App Store. While I have many downloaded apps on my iPhone, I chose only the ones with practical use and left out the gimmicky stuff. So, here goes.

My first pick is an app developed for music freaks like me. Picture this: you are listening to a beautiful song on radio that you do not recognize, and the dj does not announce its title, album and artist name. You call the radio station but cannot go through because lines are forever clogged, and you cannot find the dj’s Twitter handle to ask for the details. None of your friends know what song you are talking about, made worse by the fact that you cannot sing to save your life.

Well, Shazam is the answer. Download a free version from Apple Store. When you hear a song on the radio, you activate this app on your iPhone, place it next to a speaker and tap on the symbol in the middle of the screen. Shazam listens to the song, matches it and delivers album details on your screen, all in no time! I tried this with 3 different radio stations in my first attempt, and got accurate results with 2 of the 3 songs.


Find My iPhone is a great app for forgetful minds, as it can help you locate your misplaced Mac, iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. With the current high crime rate, this app can also be used to trace your lost Apple device, or remotely wipe personal data found in it. See screen shots of my registered devices in the figure below.

Find Your iPhone
Find Your iPhone – Click on picture to enlarge

Petrol price went up by 22% since January this year. As a result, I now need to keep tabs on fuel efficiency of my car. An app called FuelLog is great for this purpose as it keeps track of my car’s fuel consumption over time and gives me analysis of fuel efficiency from my 3rd petrol fill-up. The app can be used for all your cars, making it easy to compare performance stats.

FuelLog iPhone Screen Shots
FuelLog iPhone Screen Shots – Click on picture to enlarge

Incidences of heart conditions have increased phenomenally in Mzansi, I guess this is caused by the hectic lifestyles career-minded people like myself live these days. Keeping my heart rate under watch has now become easier with the Heart Rate app. All I had to do after downloading was open the app on my iPhone, press the tip of my right index finger gently on the phone’s camera lens for reading of my pulse and voila! What’s more, you can keep a record of your heart rate over time. The figure below is based on my actual heart rate readings. Health freaks can find information on additional apps that the developers, Azumio, at the bottom of Heart Rate screens.

Heart Rate
Heart Rate – Click on picture to enlarge

Recently COP17 highlighted the need for everyone to become a tree hugger if we are to arrest increasing carbon emissions, and use of iPhone’s energy efficient apps can play its part. The two useful apps in this regard are GeniusScan and ScanBizCards. GeniusScan turns your iPhone  into a pocket scanner. Read about this app’s many uses as a scanner in the App Store.

With ScanBizCards – you can get a free version, or pay only $2.99 for a pro version – there is no need to be collecting business cards anymore. When I meet new contacts, I simply scan their contact  details and hand the business cards back to them immediately. This way, I am doing my bit to save trees! What’s more, this dynamic app prompts me to take action after  scanning of each business card. This way, I remember to log follow-ups or send introductory emails on the spot.

ScanBizCards – Click on picture to enlarge

I do a lot of PowerPoint presentations due to the nature of my business. Where possible, I would love to carry less tools for this purpose while not compromising quality of my presentations. I found a great app called i-Clickr, which allows me to use my iPhone as a presentation remote controller. I am loving this app to bits, and urge those of you who are in this line of business to seriously consider using it right away.

While there is a fee version of i-Clickr, I found it was too limited for my needs, so I invested in the pro version that cost me $19.99. While i-Clickr comes with interesting features such as timing of a presentation, what is missing with the current version is a feature for activating and controlling hyperlinks in presentations as well.  Apparently this will be added in the upgraded version that is not as yet available.

i-Clickr – Click on picture to enlarge

There is an app called Trapster, which is a software version made up of a combination between road-related alerts by the @pigspotter and Rob Byrne, and more. The feature I like most – especially for this time of year when holiday makers are taking long trips on our killer roads – is trip monitor (see last screen shot in the figure below). You can log your trip on Trapster and let your family members view you online until you reach your intended destination. AWESOME!

Given Metro Police’s mandate to issue as many traffic tickets as possible in the greater Johannesburg area for purposes of increasing Gauteng Traffic Department’s coffers, this app may come in handy. Check it out and be surprised that there are many recorded speed camera points on the roads you are using, and you can add any content

Traptser – Click on picture to enlarge

Lastly, one could swear that CarLocator is made for women. I know a lot of ladies who need a TomTom to go to the loo in a house they are visiting for the first time. This app was developed for people who lose themselves in a shopping frenzy in retail malls, and forget where they parked their cars (did I hear somebody whispering WOMEN?). CarLocator uses built-in iPhone GPS-driven maps to help you track where your car is parked. User instructions are fairly simple, and they can be found in App Store when downloading the app.

CarLocator – Click on picture to enlarge

The apps above are a fraction of what is available in App Store. As you can see, all of them are free, and some have premium versions. I don’t know about you, but these apps are assisting me to derive huge value from my iPhone.

What other things are you using your iPhone for, except the basic functionality of course? Let us know in the comment section below.

Also check out my Quick Digi-Tips page for other practical tech tools that can make your life easy.



  • Nuffdotty – where thoughts on the subject of education, mostly relating to South Africa, are shared
  • Diski4Life – a blog about development of South African soccer post World Cup 2010


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