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Get the most out of your smartphone

Senior Wellness | Jul 24, 2015

It's January 2007 and late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs is on stage, ready to make history. The world didn't know it at the time, but the moment Jobs unveiled the iPhone, personal technology truly changed.

When that device was released a few months later, competitors knew they had to manufacture products to keep up with Apple. Google's Android operating system made its debut in late 2008, and smartphones truly took off.

In the time since, many devices have been released, some better than others. Those early devices likely come off as crude compared to today's phones, many of which are as powerful as yesterday's computers. According to ComputerWorld, even NASA's Orion spacecraft - launched in December 2014 - is less powerful than today's phones.

With the rapid technology advancements, one thing will never change: how to get the most out of your device, from improving performance to managing storage.

Someone holding a smartphone.
How can you get the most out of your smartphone?

Utilize the cloud
Despite a smartphone being pretty amazing in most regards, storage still remains an issue among users. You may find yourself running low on space if you don't delete pictures and videos your children and grandchildren send you.

To gain more space and still be able to view old memories with ease, you'll want to utilize a cloud service. According to PC Magazine, the cloud refers to storing files and accessing them through the Internet. The cloud acts as a virtual storage system for your files. In other words, your phone will not run out of space if you back everything up to the cloud.

Photos are especially important, and luckily, multiple services are available. Popular backup options include Google Photos, Microsoft OneDrive, Flickr and Dropbox. Most of these services offer automatic backup, so as soon as you take a picture, it will be uploaded to the cloud. You can then delete the photo from your phone to regain space.

Always use Wi-Fi when possible
Cellular data is expensive and your phone can rapidly go through your monthly allotment, according to Forbes contributor Ewan Spence. As such, you'll always want to connect to Wi-Fi when possible, especially when you're at home. Whenever you are on a Wi-Fi connection, cellular data is not being used. You can also manually decide if applications consume any data by going to your phone's settings option.

Find a music service
The days of buying A-tracks, cassettes and CDs are over. Instead, you'll want to subscribe to a music-streaming service to have access to all your favorite artists, from Elvis Presley, The Rolling Stones, Michael Jackson to the Grateful Dead.

Having this much music at your fingertips will prove beneficial because you'll never know when you want to listen to a favorite song while reading, or loosen your mind while exercising. Like the cloud, there are multiple options for music streaming, but the main ones are Spotify, Pandora, Apple Music and Google Play Music.

Don't let the youthful designs fool you - the catalogs are extensive and you will likely find any artist you search for.

"You'll have access to all of your favorite artists."

Monitor physical activity
Most if not all smartphones are built today with hardware that tracks your physical activity. You'll definitely want to track your steps and set a daily goal for yourself because not only is it healthy for you, but it will promote movement.

Likewise, you can download apps that will track other activities, such as bike riding. These apps can help motivate you to meet any goals you set on a weekly, monthly and yearly basis. Search through the app stores, and you'll likely find apps that help with low impact exercises and memory games for adults.

Owning a smartphone doesn't have to be overwhelming. Instead, it should be enjoyable so you can enjoy every moment of your post-work life. Whether you travel overseas, bike through the mountains or read the newspaper to soothing music, smartphones serve many purposes.