Other than as an Actual Phone, What Do You Normally Use Your Smartphone For?

Inventing the mobile phone was such a great idea; it’s so helpful to always have a phone handy whenever we need it. But that’s not all we use our phones for these days.

Admit it, it’s been a long time since you only used your smartphone for placing and receiving phone calls. We use it for texting, social media, as a camera, for listening to music, etc. We asked our writers, “Other than as an actual phone, what do you normally use your smartphone for?”

Our Opinion

Robert reports that he uses his smartphone for reading the news, listening to podcasts, as an interval training time, and for “ritually Googling ‘trump’ upon waking up in the morning to see what mad things he’s done/said/tweeted during the night.”


Phil says he uses his mostly all day in one way or another. He uses it as a music player, a clock, a digital recorder, and to listen to radio/podcasts. Additionally, he uses it as a cooking timer, meditation assistant, calculator, satnav, and camera, and to text. He also uses Facetime “to talk to the kids as a substitute for having them come over and litter my house with their stuff.”

Damien, like Phil, admits the one thing he doesn’t use his for very often is to make phone calls. He uses his phone “more like a mini PC where I check email, read news, listen to music, watch videos, play games, browse the Web, etc.”

Fabio jokes that he uses his smartphone for everything and more seriously, says he uses it as a calculator, alarm clock, to watch videos, to listen to music, to go online, for videoconferencing, etc.

Vamsi says that other than for making phone calls, he uses his as a dedicated audiobook player, for reading tech news, listening to podcasts, and chatting on WhatsApp.


Kenneth uses his as a WiFi hotspot and loves it that with Android, he can connect up to eight devices.

Ryan reports he uses his smartphone the same way he uses a PC. “It’s the primary way I check emails, keep up with the news, and stay connected on social media. He also uses it to watch TV and movies when he’s traveling and even downloads torrents on his phone. What he doesn’t like doing on his phone is typing, preferring a physical keyboard and larger monitor.

I’m with him on that. And now that my iPad can take phone calls and SMS via WiFi, I don’t need my phone as much. But what I do use it for is as a second screen while working, like if I want to look something up in Evernote while I’m on a different app and don’t want to multi-task on the iPad, and I, too, use it as a hotspot. I also use it in bed to track my sleep, read e-books, as an alarm clock, and use it the next morning to track my weight. The one unique thing I use it for is as a heart rate monitor. I have to track my heart rate twice daily and find it easier to use my iPhone.

Your Opinion

You can see that our writers use their smartphones for many different things other than as a “phone.” How about you? Other than as an actual phone, what do you normally use your smartphone for? Tell us in the comments section below.

Laura Tucker Laura Tucker

Laura has spent nearly 20 years writing news, reviews, and op-eds, with more than 10 of those years as an editor as well. She has exclusively used Apple products for the past three decades. In addition to writing and editing at MTE, she also runs the site's sponsored review program.


  1. No carrier has good signals where I live, so I really use my smart phone for a phone when I’m in the nearest town or on the road. Why pay the ridiculous web pricing for lousy signals? I have 2 Samsung III’s (new for me) and a landline for $35/mo. through C Cellular. You quickly learn that there isn’t a thing that is so important that I need to pay over $100/mo. for sporadic coverage. Actually most everyone I know doesn’t have anything that’s so life shattering important to pay that amount for 2 people, or more for kids.

  2. I’m using my phone for more than calling friends or reading news or listening to music/watching movies. I’m translating movie subtitles from English or French to another language. And I’m very satisfied with the writing possibilities offered by phones or tablets. I even have a keyboard for my 8 inches tablet, but I don’t use it anymore because there’s a great way of using the inbuilt keyboard for mobile devices: the swipe mode. I hold my tablet or my phone in my left hand, and, with the right one, I write with twice the speed I get using my both hands by pressing the keys. You can’t imagine what a speed one can get by using this technique.
    When I get tired of sitting in front of my pc (because you never can do on a phone or tablet what you can do on a pc, and that’s why I spend more time on it than on my mobile devices,) I put myself on the sofa or the bed and do, or try to do whatever I do on my pc. Aside from translating movies, I might browse the net and choose sites proposed by StumpleUpon, or reading news etc. And, when I want to continue my browsing on my pc, I press on Microsoft Apps for Windows Insiders icon, and my pc opens Edge at the exact location I stopped on my phone, and I can continue my browsing as I had never stopped it.
    Or I can work on my pc from my tablet, using a Remote Desktop software. Mine is Google’s, but Microsoft has one of its own too. The whole desktop appears on my tablet or phone. That’s where my tablet’s keyboard is useful. This way, all I can do on my pc I can do it now on my tablet.
    So, there’s much more and much more interesting things you can do on your mobile devices, something that worths the money invested in them.

  3. I really enjoyed reading about what everyone else does with their smart phone!! I have to admit though, besides using my smart phone as a phone, I definitely use it as a video camera, a reader, and definitely my way of listening to music!

  4. These are all good uses. I use mine for communication (social media), browsing the internet, and GPS.

  5. I use my phone as a computer. I use the internet all the time and I also read books on kindle app.

  6. There are so many different things to do with a smart phone. I use it for connecting with my family, and so many more things!

  7. There are so many uses for a phone like that. I use mine for work, connecting with family, taking pictures etc.

  8. I usually just use my smartphone by getting in contact with my family and friends back home in the Philippines.

  9. I only recently got a smartphone last December. I was one of those hold outs that didn’t think it was necessary. Now, I use it for a lot more than talking with friends and family. I am so impressed with the picture-taking capabilities. I use it for the GPS directions. I watch TV at night on it. And, it’s the best alarm clock.

  10. I use my phone for so much more then phone calls. With so many great features being added phones are really changing.

  11. I use my phone to take photos and for my notes, calculator and alarm clock. I have to yet to download some apps.

  12. What an interesting question, I wonder how different the use if for everyone, I know I like to use the maps and some calendar or planner apps, also social media!

  13. I use my phone to keep my life together! My entire schedule and work email are on my phone so I’m always on it.

  14. I have an xbox one and a laptop. But i find myself spending far more time being on my phone than any other device. I game on the go, and i can use my phone to do anything i can do on my laptop.

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