Tech Tips

Your Phone’s Camera: The Human Memory’s Secret Weapon

Are you one of those folks who can remember anything? If you’re over 40, you remember back in the day, when people memorized phone numbers—and if you’re under 30, odds are you have never needed to know dozens of phone number off the top of your head.

Today our smartphones keep track of phone numbers so we don’t have to. So, have you ever thought about all the other things your smartphone can keep track of for you? For much of the information we need day to day, a quick photo or screenshot puts that information at our fingertips when we need it.

First, to keep track of these important details, so they don’t get lost in your phone, create a special album with a name that’s meaningful to you.  (Android: Photos app>Select Create + at top right. iOS: Photos app>Select Albums at bottom right>Select the + at top left.)

Second, make sure you’re using a strong passcode and/or fingerprint security on your phone before you save any of the important info recommended below.

  • Your driver’s license or photo ID: It’s not the same as having the real thing, but it is helpful in a pinch. Especially if you’re traveling and lose this important piece of documentation.
  • Your passport: You still need the real document, but if you lose it, a photo helps a lot.
  • Your health insurance card: Don’t forget to take a shot of both sides—the back usually has important contact info that your doctor needs.
  • Your car information: Your license plate and registration. Your VIN. These are the kinds of things that you get asked 20 minutes into a customer service call when it’s not convenient to run outside to check. Keep them handy in your new album.
  • Medication: Take a photo of prescription medicine, showing the medication, dosage, pharmacy number, prescribing doctor, and any other details you need.
  • Travel arrangements: Boarding passes, confirmation numbers, hotel contact info, the list goes on. You might be counting on your email to keep this for you—but your photos are probably more organized and easier to get to, especially if your phone can’t get data service right at the moment you need this critical information. Take a screenshot of the email or a photo of your paper documents and stick the details in your photo album.
  • Receipts: Many business travelers use their smartphones to photograph receipts and put together expense reports (smart!), but you can also use your phone for those receipts you just need for a little while. Baggage claim tickets. Parking vouchers. Coat-check tickets. These are easy to lose and a hassle when you do—so snap a pic.
  • Your parking spot: Our favorite. Take a photo of the parking level and/or location of your car when you park. No more wandering up and down the parking garage levels in vain. Just remember to delete these parking photos after you use them, so you don’t mix up today’s parking spot with last week’s.