15 Ways Smartphones Have Changed Your Life​


Transportation, er, transported

4. Digital directions. Remember when you relied on paper maps or asking someone for directions when you were lost? You would have to remember the gas station attendant’s instructions to “go two blocks, make a right on Main Street and take a left at the stop sign.” These days, you find your way through Apple Maps, Google Maps, Waze and other location-capable apps, all of them free.

You can even go beyond the navigational smarts once reserved for expensive in-dashboard GPS systems. Apple’s CarPlay and Android Auto have widespread compatibility across recent model year vehicles. Audible turn-by-turn directions and, in some cases, crowdsourced traffic data can steer you to a faster route. Never wonder where to find a gas station, hotel, landmark or restaurant again.

5. Private-car taxis. When was the last time you hailed a cab? Nowadays you can arrange for a taxi to meet you or schedule a ride in advance via Lyft, Uber or other ride-hailing apps that wouldn’t exist without the phone.

6. New travel routines. Paper boarding passes printed at home or an airport kiosk or home, like paper airline tickets, are becoming relics of a time before smartphones. Now you can show the pass to a Transportation Security Administration (TSA) agent on your phone screen. What’s more, the TSA may soon accept a digital driver’s license as proof of identification.

You probably booked your flight and the rest of your itinerary through your phone without making a call. The phone screen is also where you’ll see delay and gate change information. When you get to your hotel, you might even use your phone as a room key.

Entertainment on your schedule

7. Books in your pocket. The phone doubles as an e-book reader, sparing you from schlepping a stack of back-breaking books and other reading materials. You can purchase and download books right from the handset or borrow them from your local public library through an app.

8. Music libraries transformed. In some respects, the smartphone is the modern equivalent of the transistor radio of yesteryear, but with far superior sound and the ability of tapping into local stations and listening to content from around the world. Beyond radio stations you might get through an app, typically for free, you can hear almost any song you want whenever you want to hear it, at least if you subscribe to services such as Amazon Music, Apple Music and Spotify.

You can also listen to podcasts on virtually any subject imaginable at no cost.

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