No doubt you’ll have been using a smartphone for quite a few years now, and so will be well versed in how mobile phones have streamlined our lives. From acting as our calendars and alarm clocks to our primary method of communication with our friends and loved ones, most of us can no longer remember what life was like before we constantly carried around a mobile phone.
And we probably wouldn’t want to either – especially at university where smartphones can come in particularly handy, such as when you want to call your housemate’s phone to stop their alarm drilling through your much-needed sleep at 6am.
If you’re pretty dependent on your phone on a day-to-day basis, then here are 5 ways to use your smartphone while you’re away at university that could make your life a whole lot easier.
5 ways to use your smartphone at university
1. Record your lectures
No matter how interested you are in the subject you’ve chosen to study at uni, no-one can be fully awake and switched on all the time – especially when you’re trying to make it through a long lecture after just a few hours of sleep.
But no matter how tired you are, the show must go on. That’s where voice recording apps come in particularly useful, as they will allow you to record the lecture and listen to it again later on – possibly after a nap. This will make sure you learn everything you need to, even when you’re feeling less than 100 per cent.
2. Create a portable speaker
Not everyone can afford a smart speaker at uni, which means that a lot of students will resort to playing music off their phones to get the party started before hitting the clubs. But unfortunately, while the speakers on smartphones are improving all the time, you’re probably still not going to get the volume that you’re looking for.
If you want to ramp up the volume, just place your smartphone in any glass, and instantly transform it into a handy portable speaker.
3. Stay in touch
It won’t come as a surprise that your mobile phone will come in pretty handy at uni, particularly when it comes to staying in touch with friends and family – that is what they were primarily invented for, after all.
Stay in touch with your friends and family by sending them daily photos and updates using one of the many social media apps available. Equally, why not follow some of the university society pages so you can keep an eye out for fixtures and meet ups? Joining clubs and societies are a great way to make new friends, and will look great on your CV when you start applying for jobs post-university.
4. Find your way home
It can be easy to get lost, especially when you’ve just moved to a new city for university. Luckily, there are plenty of apps that can help you find your way around. CityMapper, for example, gives detailed instructions on the best transport links to take for various cities around the UK, helping to make sure you to get home as quickly - and cheaply - as possible.
Alternatively, if you’re just looking to explore the local area but worried you might not be able to find your way home, then the Google Maps app works as a very effective SatNav. But be aware that using your smartphone as a SatNav can run the battery down fairly quickly, so it might be worth investing in a portable charger so you don’t run out of juice while you’re on the road.
5. Watch telly
A lot of us don’t have the luxury of a smart TV, especially at university when you’re likely to be living on a fairly tight budget.
Luckily, you don’t need an expensive smart TV to be able to binge watch your favourite shows on the weekend! The Google Chromecast is a tiny gadget that plugs into the HDMI port of your TV, which will allow you to ‘cast’ entertainment from various apps on your phone (such as Netflix and YouTube) straight to your TV screen. If all you’re looking to do is stream, then it’s a nice, cheap alternative to buying a games console, and means you won’t be limited to just watching TV programmes on your laptop.
Making sure you’re covered
In this day and age, even 24 hours without your mobile phone can feel like a lifetime. It’s not only isolating, suddenly being without any means of contacting the outside world (who knows how to use a payphone, nowadays?), but some smartphones can be particularly expensive to replace – a cost you’re probably going to want to avoid when you’re living on a student budget.
If it’s hard to imagine to life without your smartphone, then it might be worth protecting it by taking out mobile phone insurance to protect your phone against theft, accidental damage and mechanical breakdown (outside of the manufacturer's warranty). That way, should the unexpected happen, you won’t have to be without it for too long.