How to get more value from your smartphone

Nick Williams, Star Tribune on

Published in Business News

By some estimates, Americans spend as much as three hours a day on their smartphone, if all touches are added up.

The value users receive from their phones, however, can depend on how much that person understands what's available, or possible, with that device.

We talked with cellular service, app developers and device management executives about how they gain the most value from own personal devices.

"Key features customers are looking for are great photos and cameras, more storage and upgrades after noticing the more they do on their phone, the more storage they need," said Amanda Seabaugh, an AT&T vice president who oversees mobility and consumer markets in Minnesota and nearby states.

Seabaugh applies a few tricks to her phone — some of them functions users tend to overlook.

Using a smartphone to manage emergency contacts is something most people should do. Enabled location settings allow emergency response teams to locate people via a phone's GPS signal.


For other health-related functions, users can download apps, or in some cases use pre-installed apps, to better manage their health, Seabaugh said. Those apps track heart rates and food intake, monitor progress of their workouts, track glucose intake and blood sugar levels.

Some app functions help couples track ovulation for those trying to get pregnant, Seabaugh added. For those tight on time, using teleconferencing with a physician for non-emergency appointments is helpful, she said.

For busy parents, using calendar applications to monitor and be reminded of their children's activities, instead of an erase board or notes on the fridge, is also helpful, said Seabaugh, who uses certain apps to see how her children are performing in school and if they're turning in their homework on time.

At work, Seabaugh uses Microsoft Outlook to manage her daily schedule and Apple Notes to manage daily tasks, a system much better than using a physical daily planner or calendar book, she said.


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