With these clever uses for your phone’s camera, you’ve got a powerful personal assistant right in the palm of your hand.
Let’s be honest for a minute: your phone is probably either in your hand right now or not far from it. We’re so addicted to our smartphones that, in any given instant, we can find it more easily than we can our car keys.
It’s that accessibility which makes your phone a powerful memory aid and personal assistant, especially when you know there are uses for your phone’s camera besides taking selfies.
30 Uses For Your Phone’s Camera (besides selfies)
Stop losing things
1. Your car. Take a photo of where you parked at the mall or airport so you can quickly locate it.
2. Your pet. Keep updated photos of your pet from all angles. If Fido or Fluffy run off, you can easily share the photos on neighborhood Facebook pages so others can help find them.
3. Your hotel. When traveling out of the country, take photos of landmarks near your hotel. If you get lost, you can show them to locals for help finding your hotel even if you don’t speak the same language, or don’t have cell phone service to access maps in that country.
4. Your suitcase. Before flying, take a photo of the contents of your suitcase. If it gets lost in transit, you’ll have the info needed to file a proper claim.
5. Your possessions. Take photos throughout your home to document your belongings. In the event of theft or a fire, you know you’ll grab your phone — but you’ll also have a record of everything you need to claim on your insurance forms.
6. Your group on an outing. When heading out to crowded events, take a photo of everyone in your group. If you get separated, it will be easier for others to help reunite your party if they can see what everyone looks like and is currently wearing.
Make Shopping Easier
7. Know what to buy. It’s easy to lose a piece of paper while you’re at the store but chances are you won’t misplace your phone, so take a quick picture of your grocery list just in case.
8. Know what NOT to buy. Snap a picture of your refrigerator and cupboard contents before shopping to avoid buying things you already have on hand.
9. Show others what to buy. Before sending your spouse or teen to the store, snap photos of the items on your list to show them what brand and size to buy.
10. Record infrequent purchases. Make it easier on yourself to shop for furnace or water filters, vacuum cleaner bags, even family members’ clothing by taking photos of the proper sizes, so you always have the info available.
11. Record gift ideas. Remind yourself about the toy your child was begging for or the scarf your friend raved about by taking a photo of it. When their birthday or Christmas rolls around, you’ll know just what to buy.
12. Coat check tags. Heading somewhere swanky? Take a photo of your coat check tag so you can get your wrap or overcoat back even if you lose the stub.
13. Wifi passwords. Hotels write the wifi password on the sleeve of your hotel key, but most of us toss that and slip the key into our wallets. Take a photo of it, so you don’t have to call the front desk.
14. Prescriptions. Keep a photo record of your current prescriptions and herbal supplements to use when filling forms at the doctor’s office. Bonus: you’ll also have the necessary info to reorder prescriptions even when you’re not at home.
15. Charitable donations. Snap a picture of donated items before dropping them off at your local charity. Use that information at tax season to claim the deductions to which you are entitled.
16. Things you’re disassembling. Need to take your IKEA furniture apart before a move? Fixing something? Take a photo of how it’s assembled first, so you know how to put it back together.
17. What cords go where. Before taking your computer to the shop for repairs or rearranging your entertainment center, take a picture of where the various cords and cables are attached.
18. Games in progress. Next time you need to cut a game of Candyland or checkers short, snap a photo of the board before you put it away. When you’re ready to resume, you’ll have a record of the game’s status and can pick up where you left off.
19. Stuff you lend. Before your teenage daughter borrows your favorite sweater or your best friend borrows a book, snap a photo of them with the item. Use the photo to gently remind them when it’s time to return it (or to show your daughter that your sweater did not have makeup stains before she wore it).
20. Gifts you receive. Share your joy with long-distance loved ones by having someone take your photo as you open their gift. Including such pictures in your Thank You card is a wonderful way to show your gratitude.
21. Anything you rent. Before returning a rental car or tool, or surrendering the keys to an apartment at the end of a lease, take detailed photos to show you left it in good shape.
22. Your car and valet. In the event your valet goes on a joyride or misbehaves in your car, you can prove which valet you left it with and how your vehicle looked at the time.
23. Blue screens of death. Got an error warning on your computer and don’t know how to fix it? Take a photo so you can show it to tech support or look it up on an operable machine.
24. Accident scenes. Whether it’s a minor fender bender or something worse, having photographic evidence of the accident scene will help you prove your insurance claim.
25. That sound your car makes. Many times it’s difficult to describe to a mechanic the sound your car is making, but you can capture it using your phone’s video camera. Have a passenger aim the camera at your speedometer while making the recording — that way if it only happens at a certain speed you’ll still be able to show your mechanic what you mean.
26. Your hotel room to help prevent human trafficking. Human traffickers often use hotel rooms to perpetrate their abuse and routinely photograph their crimes. TraffickCam is a database of hotel room images that law enforcement officers can efficiently search to find other images that taken in the same location. By submitting photos of your hotel room, you can help them track down and prosecute abusers.
Health and Beauty
27. Your hair cut and color. Help your stylist remember the exact look you’re going for by taking photos of yourself from several angles on a good hair day.
28. Track skin changes. Got a strange mole or other growth? Keep a photo record of it to share with your dermatologist so you can point out any changes that might be of concern.
29. Food diary. Monitor your food intake and keep yourself honest by snapping a picture of every meal or snack — you don’t even have to share them online!
Show them you mean CLEAN
30. Define “clean.” After cleaning a room or spending a weekend helping your kids get their rooms clean and organized, take a picture of it. Next time you tell them to clean you can also show them what you mean so they don’t try to just pick up one or two items and claim they’re done.