15 uses for your phone's camera (other than taking selfies)

The camera is the Swiss Army Knife of your phone. Use it to its fullest potential with these tips.

Alina Bradford
1 of 15 Alina Bradford/CNET

​Learn about the stars

If you've ever looked at the night sky and wished you had paid more attention in science class, then you should download Sky Map (formerly Google Sky Map) or SkyView for iOS or Android. With these apps you can point your phone's camera at a star or constellation and the app will tell you what you're looking at. They even work during the day to show you the position of the stars you can't see.

2 of 15 Taylor Martin/CNET

Use your phone as a security system

If you have an old phone lying around you can use it for home security. Taylor Martin explains the details in his article on how to turn your old phone into a home security camera you can watch from anywhere.

3 of 15 Alina Bradford/CNET

​Give visitors your Wi-Fi info

Write down your Wi-Fi name and password, take a photo and keep it in your gallery. When people come for a visit you can easily text them the photo.

4 of 15 Alina Bradford/CNET

​Get all those business cards out of your wallet

Install a scanner app on your phone that uses your camera to scan your business cards, analyzes the information and stores it in your contacts for you. Here's an article with some good scanner apps to try.

5 of 15 Alina Bradford/CNET

​Solve math problems

Need to help your kid with some math homework, but you've forgotten everything you learned in math class? Download Photomath and take a photo of the equation. The app will take you through the process of solving the equation step by step and give you the answer.

6 of 15 Alina Bradford/CNET

​Find out your exact measurements

The MTailor app uses your phone's camera to measure your body so you don't have to -- useful for clothes shopping. All you do is stand in front of your phone. The maker claims the app is 20 percent more accurate than a tailor. As of right now, the app is just for men.

BodyRecog is another app that measures your body using your camera. Once the measurements are taken, it gives you health recommendations based on the data it collects.

7 of 15 Chris Monroe/CNET

​Keep a visual list of favorites

Open a new notebook or page in OneNote or Evernote and start a visual favorites list of certain brands you want to remember. For example, when you find a wine or beer you like, snap a photo of the label and save it in your favorites list. The next time you head to the store, you'll know exactly what brand tickled your fancy. No more standing in an aisle, scratching your head for 10 minutes while you try to remember that beer you discovered at your brother's cookout last week.

8 of 15 Alina Bradford/CNET

​Know everything

Install Google Goggles and you can find information about just about anything with a click of your camera. Simply take a photo of something you want to know more about and the app will search for information about the object. You can also use the app to cheat at Sudoku.

9 of 15 Alina Bradford/CNET

​Find the best deal

If you've ever stood in a store and wondered if you should shop around before making a purchase, look no farther than your phone. Apps like ShopSavvy, Price Rhythm and Quick Scan will scan the bar code of the item and look for deals online and in brick-and-mortar stores.

10 of 15 Alina Bradford/CNET

​Make makeup easy

Take a photo of your foundation, blush and lipstick labels so you'll always know what shade to pick up at the store without having to memorize names or numbers.

11 of 15 Taylor Martin/CNET

​Play a game

You can use your phone's camera to play augmented-reality games. For example, Pokemon Go lets you feel like you're hunting for Pokemon in the real world. Ingress is an augmented-reality game that has been downloaded over 8 million times and Zombies Everywhere! lets you battle zombies in your neighborhood.

12 of 15 Alina Bradford/CNET

Save your neck

Does your neck hurt right now? It may be because you're leaning over your phone to read this article. The app Text Neck Indicator LITE uses your camera to watch your head and alerts you when you're using poor phone posture. Learn more about text neck and this app.

13 of 15

​Be safe in an emergency

Write down what you are allergic to, what medications you take and your emergency contact information. Take a photo of the information. Then, make the photo your phone's lockscreen photo in case someone needs your information and you're unable to speak or incapacitated in some way.

14 of 15 Alina Bradford/CNET

Get help after a robbery

Take photos of all of your credit cards, your car's license plate and your car's VIN number. Now, if your wallet or car is stolen, you'll have all the information you need to report it to the credit card company or police. Store these photos in a locker app like Folder Lock or AppLock to keep them safe from scammers.

15 of 15 Alina Bradford/CNET

Talk to your animals

With the right setup, you can talk to your animals while you're away using your phone, a tablet and Skype.

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