Everyday Products with Surprising Hidden Features

Just because we’ve been taught how to use certain everyday items a specific way, doesn’t mean that we also aren’t completely overlooking other crucial features. Features that can take something as helpful as a smartphone and instantaneously elevate it to be that much more dynamic of a tool. Discovering unexpected extra features in products that you regularly use isn’t only an eye-opening experience, but you can stand to gain that much more value from products you already invested your hard-earned resources in. We’ll take a look at some of the most impressive hidden features in everyday products that we came across. 

1. iPhone Cameras Can Identify Plants

An image of a lush landscape with tons of different plants.
Chris Abney/unsplash

Yes, you read that correctly. It turns out your iPhone camera can act as a helpful plant guide for whenever you find the urge to participate in some plant identification. As a quick disclaimer though, don’t rely on your iPhone camera to identify potentially poisonous plants. The camera function still has the capacity to be a bit hit or miss.

To use the plant identifying functionality, open your phone’s camera app, and take a picture of the plant you want to identify. Then, open your photos app, navigate to the picture you just took. Next, swipe up from the bottom of the picture to open the image info dashboard. Last, simply tap the “Look Up” banner on the info panel.

2. Barilla Pasta’s Spotify List

You can take your next at-home pasta night to a whole new level thanks to this fun food product trick. Barilla very slyly set things up such that they have special Spotify playlists to align with whatever duration of time you need to cook a specific pasta. To make things even better, the playlists themselves are solid too.

3. Osprey Backpacks Lifetime Warranty

As far as things go when it comes to ensuring that you get the maximal value out of a heftier investment into a nice product, Osprey is crushing it with their lifetime warranty on backpacks. Backpacks, and especially those designed by the likes of Osprey, can end up going through a lot, and you just can’t plan for unanticipated brutal hits to a backpack you just dropped a sizable amount of money on.

With Osprey’s “All Mighty Guarantee” though, they offer to repair any damage or defect to an Osprey Raptor Pro pack, regardless of the reason, and free of charge for the first five years from the actual date that you purchased the backpack.

4. Use Your Head As An Antenna For Your Key FOB

A close-up image of a car remote.
Syed Hussaini/unsplash

You probably didn’t think you’d come to learn that you can use your head as a helpful antennae to locate your car keys, yet here we are. Your key fob operates by sending out a short-range radio signal. As was confirmed through an interview conducted by New York Times with a Silicon Valley radio engineer, Tim Pozar, basically what’s happening is that the fluids in your head end up serving as a nice conductor for your key fob. We’re not talking a complete game-changer here, but you are able to extend your car key’s wireless range by at least a few car lengths. 

5. Use Your iPhone Notes App As A Scanner

A close-up image of the camera on the back of an iPhone.
Auguras Pipiras/unsplash

You’re able to use the Notes app that’s on your iPhone as a scanner. All you’ve got to do is fire up a note, hit the camera icon, and then you’ll be provided with an option to easily scan a document. You can either opt for scanning a single document or go ahead with scanning a whole group of documents. If you decide to share the note or email back with yourself, you’ll receive it as a PDF. What’s more is that the “scan text” option located below the prior option is able to import printed (or on occasion even handwritten) text back into your note(s). Simply hold your phone over your document, and then it will appear as text. 

6. Toasters Have A Slide To Make The Bread Crumb Cleaning Process Easier

A close-up image of toasters lined up next to each other.
Daniel Salgado/unsplash

It’s already generally a good practice to regularly clean your toaster for the optimal toasting experience. Not only that, but you don’t want to end up with a toaster that makes your apartment/house/etc. a smoky mess every time you need to satisfying a toast craving. Most toasters have a slide located either at the bottom that can be easily opened up for cleaning out bread crumbs, or it might a panel instead. 

7. Shaking Your iPhone Will Undo/Redo Typing

A close-up image of a person holding their iPhone up.
Bagus Hernawan/unsplash

Man, some of us have really been sleeping on all of the helpful hidden features lying within iPhones. You probably wouldn’t assume that doing something like shaking your iPhone would both undo and redo typing, but alas, you’d be wrong. This can come in handy if you have one of those terrible moments when you accidentally delete a lengthy text too.

8. Many Ceiling Fans Have A Switch Built In To Either Pull Or Push Air

A ceiling fan located over a bed.

This convenient built-in feature on numerous ceiling fans can be a game-changer when you need to shake things up amidst a season change. During the wintertime you’ll want your ceiling fan to spin clockwise at a lower speed to push the warmer air down. Then, the opposite for during the warmer summertime months.

9. The Fuel Gauge Arrow Tells You Where The Gas Tank Is

A close-up image of someone driving a car that shows part of the speedometer and fuel gauge.
Rob Scholten/unsplash

This is definitely one of those “hidden” features that can read out like it should be common sense. But, just in case you didn’t already know, the arrow that’s located on almost every vehicle’s fuel gauge is there to let you know which side of your car that you can expect to find the gas tank.

10. The Vacuum Hook Trick

An image of a vacuum cleaner next to a pair of shoes that have been tossed around.
No Revisions/unsplash

It’s all about saving time in this busy day and age. As it turns out, numerous vacuum cleaners contain specialized hooks that you wrap their cords around that can also swivel downward to allow for you to loosen the entire cord in one swift movement.

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