Today’s mobiles can do millions of things, with all the applications at their fingertips they are extremely versatile. But often there is no need to download an application since the phone itself is enough and is left over for the task. And we have chosen ten common actions for which it is possible to save the download of an app.

Going to the app store and downloading software to do anything is a gesture that we all have internalized. To send messages to another person or because we have gone to a restaurant and we do not have a QR app, for example. Open Google Play or the App Store, look for a valid app, download several because they did not offer the necessary quality… Does that sound familiar to you? Well, maybe you could have saved yourself that work: your mobile does more than you imagine as standard.

Read QR codes

Just take a look at app stores like Google Play to discover the huge demand that QR code apps currently have. All uselessly since the mobile can read these codes natively: Both Android and iOS integrate this function in their code.

To read QR codes on Android you can use your phone’s camera, the most likely thing is that you have the function active: open the app, point to a QR and what it should hide should appear on the screen. If not, you can use Google Lens.

On the iPhone (or iPad) it’s just as simple: open the camera app and point to the QR code. The hidden text will appear on the screen: click on it to see it (or to access the link).

Send messages

Maybe we do not give it too much importance after the boom of applications like WhatsApp, but the truth is that SMS messages are still an excellent way to communicate with anyone. And regardless of the messaging apps you use: an SMS will always reach any phone.

Retrieving text messages is not a bad idea if you want to get away from apps and have a mobile rate that includes unlimited SMS. In addition, RCS messaging is expanding on Android: with this communication protocol, most of the benefits of a WhatsApp or Telegram are obtained natively.

Translate texts

The most common is to access the download of an application, such as the Google translator, but Android already has an internal function to translate: Lens. Just open the wizard, click on the square icon (to the left of the microphone) and choose the translator: pointing with the camera the text is magically translated on the screen. And it can be copied.

iOS does not have any native-level functionality to translate, but everything will change with iOS 14 since the system includes translation in Siri and offers a standard app for it. So, while iOS 14 arrives, texts can be translated without an app by accessing from the browser.


Left, iPhone; right, Android (Samsung)

There was a time when you had to download an application to use the camera flash as a flashlight, but this function has been included in the system for years, both on Android and iOS. And it is usually accessible in the quick settings area, also in the ‘iOS control center’: once the hidden area is displayed at the top of the screen, click on the flashlight icon.

Know the weather information

We often install super complex weather apps and then just look at the forecast for the next day or if it will rain in the afternoon, tasks that they already offer the majority of mobiles thanks to the integrated weather app. Apple has its own on iOS. And most Android manufacturers usually include a similar app. If not, you can always check Google’s weather: through Discover, from the browser or with its integrated weather app.

Back up your phone

There are applications that can perform different levels of backup, but this is a task that the phone already does by itself. And without having to do anything since it is configured as standard.

Android. Go to your mobile settings and enter Google options. Then go to ‘Backup’ and make sure the backup is activated. You can also make a copy manually.
iPhone. In iOS, the backup is iCloud. Go to the settings, look for ‘backup’, access the result and you will see if you have the backup active. You also have the option to make one manually.

Back up photos

The above is for a backup of the phone, in case it had to be restored due to a problem or because a new one was purchased. Now, what about all the photos and videos? There are applications that can save them in the cloud, but it is also integrated in the smartphone.

Android. The person in charge of the copy is Google Photos: you have to open this application (it should come as standard, at least if you have Google services), go to the settings and click on ‘Backup and synchronization’. Go to ‘Size of files uploaded’ and choose ‘High quality’: from that moment on, Google Photos will back up your entire reel, both images and video (quality is slightly reduced). Space is unlimited.
iPhone. iCloud is the one in charge of backing up the images of the iPhone, so it has a limitation: the Free 5 GB of space that Apple delivers to its customers. To check if the backup is being done correctly, go to the settings and enter the user option (the one that appears with your name). Then tap iCloud, go to ‘Photos’ and make sure the ‘Photos in iCloud’ box is checked.

Edit photos

Left, editor of the iPhone gallery; right, MIUI gallery editor (Xiaomi)

To edit the photos it is usually advisable to download an editor since the phone does not always have enough options, especially on Android. Even so, it is possible to edit the images at a basic level, such as crop, adjust exposure or improve contrast, for example. To do this you just have to go to the phone gallery, click on the image you want to edit and click on the respective one, the ‘Edit’ one. In the case of Android, Google Photos can also be used.

Watch DTT television

There are many apps to watch free-to-air TV channels on your mobile, but their use is not essential since the web browser offers access to DTT without major complications than accessing the web and clicking on the desired channel. Quick and very easy, pages like TDT Channels make it possible.

Open a browser on your mobile (the system does not matter) and go to Click on the channel you want and you will be seeing his live in less than a second.

Use your favorite apps

We come to the last place, to the paradox of smartphone software: Can the most popular apps be used without installing their apps? As strange as it may seem, it is true: the web browser and progressive web applications save a lot of space on your mobile.

Services like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube or TikTok have a sufficiently functional mobile website, so it is enough to access it with the browser to use most services. You can even download the PWA or Progressive Web App: you will have an access on the phone’s desktop without the space that the mobile application occupies.