One of the first things we ask ourselves when we wake up in the morning is, “How can I make today run smoothly?” We don’t agree with cutting corners or taking the lazy way out of things, but we’re always looking for that game-changing lifehack that’ll help our daily train make better time. And when those lifehacks come in the form of better utilizing things—common products, services, apps, etc.—we already know and love, we’re even more interested.
But how is that possible? Aren’t all these things pretty straightforward? Well, let us ask you this: Do you know what those extra holes on the zippers of your backpack are for? Did you know you don’t have to listen to that incessant microwave beeping? Or what about those ducking autocorrects we all wish we could get rid of?
We found a treasure trove of features we didn’t know about on Reddit. These are some of our favorites.
Google: “Where’s My Phone?”
What if we told you that you could find your phone if it’s lost in your house, and that even if it’s on silent, you could make it ring at full volume—all by asking one simple question? Well, if your device is synced up to your Google account, this is all true. By either typing “Where’s My Phone?” into a Google search bar, or asking your Google home assistant, “Where’s My Phone?” Google can tell you everything from where it was last seen, to where it’s present location is, and can even make it ring—even if your ringer is on silent. Unfortunately, this feature only works for Google/Android phones connected to a Google account, but it’s still a pretty awesome feature for those of us who aren’t on the Apple bandwagon.
iPhone: Get Rid Of “Duck” Forever
And speaking of Apple, one of the most painful—and most common—issues people have with the iPhone is its unnecessary censorship of cusswords. Listen… we can sort of understand the idea of limiting profanity (not really), but we can say, with 100% certainty, that we will likely never use the word “ducking” in our entire lives. You know what we meant to say, we know what we meant to say, and deep down, we know our iPhones know what we meant to say.
Luckily, a couple years ago, The Guardian columnist Steven Thrasher figured out a nifty trick to beating the autocorrect blues. All you have to do is save two contacts in your phone: First name “fuck” (all lower case), last name “fucker”; and first name “fucked,” last name “fucking.” iOS will always default to using peoples’ spellings of their names, which means no more ducking issues for the rest of your life. People have pointed out that you can create a shortcut or delete the word “ducking” altogether by going to Settings > General > Keyboard > Text Replacement, but we’ve heard mixed results from it.
Potato Peeler: Cutting Out The Spots
This is one for the ages, and one that’ll save you countless time when you need to peel yourself half a dozen spuds for dinner. Brown spots on the potato are actually the result of a necrotic type of virus, so you probably want to do away with them. Usually, we spend a lot of time wasting perfectly good potatoes by shaving layer after layer of potato away until the spots are gone. What you probably never realized is, the reason why most peelers come to a dull-pointed tip is so that these spots can be cut out with perfect precision in seconds, as opposed to wasting all that time, energy, and potato.
Microwave: Mute Those Annoying Beeps
Let’s set a scene. It’s 2 in the morning. You’re fresh back from the bar, the rest of your house is fast asleep, and you really, really just have to have some of the leftover lasagna from last night’s dinner. You put your plate in the microwave, go to make yourself a night cap, and BAM! Your microwave is blaring from the kitchen. Your whole house wakes, everyone hates you forever, and next thing you know, your wife has left, your roommates have moved out, and you’re searching for lasagna scraps in a dumpster somewhere.
You don’t want to be this guy. What you probably didn’t know is that you can actually mute those stupid beeps on your microwave so that they never bother you again. While every microwave is different, it’s usually accomplished by holding down either “0,” “1,” or “2.” Or even more convenient, a lot of newer microwaves actually have a volume button right on their control panel. You’re welcome, and enjoy the lasagna!
Shaving Cream: Remove Permanent Marker
Well, gentlemen, as it turns out, shaving cream isn’t just good for removing the hair from our faces. If you somehow get pen ink or permanent marker ink on your skin, clothing, walls of your house, etc., a dab of some good old-fashioned shaving cream is time-tested and guaranteed to remove the pesky ink. In fact—though we can’t verify it—we saw several sources claim that shaving cream can even work on tougher, greasier stains, too. Who knew?
Ceiling Fan: Reverse Blades
We can’t believe we didn’t know this was a thing, and if you don’t believe us, by all means, go give it a try. The majority of ceiling fans have two motor settings, each serving a different purpose depending on the season. For instance, in the summer time, the fans are supposed to spin in a way that allows them to push air downward toward the ground, thereby circulating cool air. In the winter, however, the fan blades are supposed to push air up toward the ceiling, thereby circulating the hotter air higher up down toward the ground. Just by making this simple switch, you can save your seasonal heating and cooling bills by as much as 15 percent.
USPS: Informed Delivery Let’s You Know What You’re Getting
Sometimes, lifehacks come from a simple misunderstanding of the way our everyday products and services work. When people send and receive letters, they tend to think they’re just going to get their mail when they get their mail. However, the U.S. Postal Service offers a service in most cities and towns across the country called Informed Delivery, a totally free service that’ll allow you to preview your mail and manage your scheduled package deliveries. You’ll be able to view greyscale images of the exterior of packages and envelops, and find out exactly where your mail is coming from and when you can expect it.
Bag Zippers: Locking Out Pickpockets
There are all types of zippers on all types of bags, but have you ever had a backpack that had two sliders on the same zipper chain? Well, it turns out, they’re not there so you can pick and choose which side to open and close your bag on, but so that they can be used in tandem as a locking mechanism. No, really. Close your bag, take each slider, and then look at the end—you’ll notice a peculiarly large hole that looks just large enough to slip a padlock through.
Cars/Trucks: Knowing Which Side Your Fuel Door Is On
For whatever reason, not all manufacturers put fuel doors on the same side. Some manufacturers opt for left, while others, right. And if you’ve just purchased a new car, or are renting one for a vacation or business trip, or are even just borrowing a friend’s to run some errands in, you may not remember to check which side it’s on before you get in and start driving. Luckily, rather than have to physically step out of the vehicle and check to see where your fuel door is, you can just look at the gas gauge itself. On either side of the gas pump at the bottom of the gauge will be an arrow. Whichever way the arrow is pointing is the side your vehicle’s fuel door is on.