Gadgets

7 things you didn't know your smartphone can do… student edition!


It’s not uncommon to feel isolated at university, especially if it’s the first time you’re living away from friends and family. And if you’re feeling a bit lonely, the first thing you’ll probably do is reach for your smartphone. After all, our phones not only provide us with endless hours of entertainment, but they’re an instant gateway to friends and family – something you might be grateful for when you need a quick chat!

But these aren’t the only ways your phone could become an essential part of your student life - they say we only use a tiny percentage of our brain capacity, our lung capacity and now NASA has launched three smartphones into space to act as satellites – this begs the question, are we only using a tiny percentage of our phone’s capacity?

Here are 10 phone hacks for uni that will unleash your phone’s full potential!

1. Save you a trip to the library

The last thing you’re going to want to be without at uni is wi-fi – particularly if you’ve got a last minute assignment to finish… or just a great Netflix series to binge!

Rather than hauling all your stuff to the library or a friend’s house whenever your wi-fi gives out, why not create a wi-fi hotspot and tether your laptop to your phone’s internet?

There are plenty of smartphone apps out there that can help with this such as Easy Tether Lite and FoxFi - but lots of smartphones actually have this feature built in so you’ll just need to go to your settings to switch it on!

2. Pay for stuff

In the time of COVID-19, it’s encouraged to pay by contactless rather than cash where you can. So why not take it one step further and pay for everything via a virtual wallet on your phone? It could even save you having to carry your wallet or purse around with you!

If you’re worried about security, apps such as Google Pay allow you to lock your virtual wallet remotely should your phone get lost or stolen.

3. Manage your bills

Budgeting is a hard discipline to crack at the best of times. Tallying and counting money is rarely a fun exercise; especially when you're on a tight student budget! But you don’t just have to use your contactless card to pay for stuff – there are loads of smartphone apps like Toshl Finance that will allow you to manage your monthly expenditure and even send you reminders for your upcoming bills!

4. Monitor your driving

If you’re commuting or taking your car to uni, you’ll likely be paying for your student car insurance alongside your other university costs – and if you’re a young or new driver, you could even be facing steeper insurance prices than more experienced drivers.

Luckily, there are lots of easy ways to save money on your student car insurance, such as getting a black box installed in your car. With Endsleigh’s black box insurance, you can download the Endsleigh Loop app to get quick access to all your driving feedback. You can use the app to monitor your driving score, receive advice on how to lower your score and work towards securing personalised rewards!

Find out more about black box insurance.

5. Catch a criminal

We’ve already covered off that mobile phones can come in pretty handy at university. But sadly our research also shows that 11% of claims* in 2019 were for theft – which means you may want to take extra steps to protect your mobile phone and other gadgets while you’re away at uni.

*Based on Endsleigh possessions claims 2019

Keep an eye out for phone security apps that offer features such as taking pictures of the thief, setting off alarms and/or wiping your device remotely. Even if your phone isn’t stolen, if you were to use an app to take a snapshot of the thief and it sends back a snap of your handbrake, at least you’ll know you’ve left it in the car again!

Aside from researching security apps, another easy way to protect your student belongings is with an Everywhere Student Pack from Endsleigh – simply choose your level of cover up to £1,000, £1,500 or £2,500 to protect your possessions anywhere in the UK and up to 90 days worldwide against theft, accidental and liquid damage!

Find out more and grab your pack!

  1. Be your navigator

If you’ve just moved to a new student city, it might take a little while to get to grips with your surroundings and confidently find your way around. If you’re commuting to uni, you probably don’t want to be late to your first lecture because you couldn’t find your way to campus!

Apps like Waze or Google Maps can turn your phone into a SatNav that re-calculates your route based on community based real-time road closure features and traffic updates. Some have even got a feature that tells you which fuel station is the cheapest in your area – particularly handy if you’re living on a student budget!

7. Help you sleep better

We don’t need to tell you that there’s nothing more important than getting plenty of rest at uni – whether it’s sleeping off the night before or getting your full forty winks before an early lecture. Getting plenty of sleep is one of the key ways you can take care of your health and wellbeing while you’re at uni – but unfortunately that’s sometimes easier said than done!

There are loads of different smartphone apps offering services that will help you rest easier at night – why not download an app that will turn your music off after 30 minutes so it’s not running all night? Or an app that will generate all manner of nature sounds so you feel like you’re sleeping outdoors? Whatever works for you, there will be an app designed to help you get to sleep at uni.

8. Be your study buddy

Let’s face it – it’s easy to fall into the procrastination trap, especially when you don’t have a parent or teacher breathing down your neck to finish your homework!

Your mobile phone could become your best study-buddy at uni, with a million-and-one useful apps to help you meet your deadlines as well as maintain a healthy work/life balance.

Read more about 11 study apps students couldn’t be without!

9. Refresh your memory

Along the same lines as acting as your study-buddy, you could also use your phone to record your university lectures and seminars so you have a perfect record that will come in EXTREMELY handy when it comes to completing your uni assignments!

Even if you don’t want to use this feature for recording lectures, you could use it to capture the perfect memory of an entire night out at uni… if you dare!

10. Rescue you

While studying is obviously important, so is socializing at uni – but unfortunately not all social experiences are good ones! Luckily, there are plenty of smartphone apps available for those situations when you’re trapped talking to someone you wish you weren’t. For example, ‘Fake Me Out Of Here’ let’s you shake your phone to activate a fake call, allowing you to gracefully excuse yourself from any social situation!

Aside from escaping awkward situations, it’s always a good idea to have the Uber app or something similar downloaded to your phone so you can call an emergency lift should you need to.

With you every step of the way

This university year will be like no other in history - but we’re here for you. We’ve partnered with NUS & Totum to provide you with as much support as possible and help you find your feet. Through the themes of mental health, finance and study we'll be helping you navigate a (hopefully) temporary student life, keeping you informed, safe and protected along the way.

Read more about finding your feet at uni!

Read our full disclaimer here.