Believe it or not: Some dated functions your Android phone may still have

Believe it or not: Some dated functions your Android phone may still have

As smartphones evolve, the scope and complexity of what they can do makes them more like pocket computers. Say you just picked up the flagship Samsung Galaxy S8+. You love snapping beautiful portrait shots with its dual camera. You enjoy the peace of mind its waterproof design provides. And you can’t get enough of the large, bright display. But even millionaire mansions can have messy storage closets. And that means your smartphone is likely still holding on to some relics of the past.

Here we’ll explore some functions that you likely never even knew were there, and common to most Android smartphones regardless of the brand and model.

AndroidPIT Samsung Galaxy S8 2040
Even premium handsets may still contain dated bloatware. / © NextPit

FM radio

With the advent of online radio stations, streaming music services like Spotify and a smartphone’s capacity to hold thousands of songs, tuning into FM radio is a thought that almost never crosses the mind anymore. Most smartphones have the ability to receive FM radio transmissions but will require you to plug in a pair of headphones. I do know that there are still pockets of smartphone users who live in rural areas where the signal strength is not strong enough for 4G connectivity, hence making preloaded songs or the FM radio as the only possible options for audio entertainment on the move.


Not all handsets sport the compass function, but if it's there, it's probably not going to see much action. First of all, you will need to calibrate the compass before using it, but without a proper needle that points to true north, there is some room for error. If you are going to go out into the outdoors or spend a few nights in the forest, it would be highly advisable to rely on a proper compass instead.

Remote control

Many smartphones come with an IR blaster, allowing the right kind of installed software that will enable the smartphone to function as a remote control. It is still easier to make use of an accompanying remote control with the intended device, or the universal remote control that is likely already lying around. After all, I suspect that most of us would have placed the remote control app icon tucked away somewhere that is not on the home screen, leading to more unnecessary swipes instead.


Instant messaging (IM) is so prevalent now, that it's hard to believe that text messaging, or SMS (Short Messaging Service) is being supported. After all, IM is free and offers far more flexibility in terms of attaching media (i.e. photos, videos, audio clips, etc.) compared to SMS. SMS has limitations in the number of characters per message, not to mention it is unable to include attachments of any kind. Hence, I believe that the SMS function has been relegated to the ‘museum artifact’ status among most smartphone users. Unless you happen to live in an area that does not offer 3G or better connectivity.

What baggage does your smartphone carry?

So what functions on your Android smartphone have you never used since day one? Share with us in the comments section!


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  • Linux Jodi Sep 17, 2017 Link to comment

    Alrighty, FM radio is dated, but works regardless of what OS you're on, you could still pick your favourite song on it, without having to rely on any connection..

    Compass is also dated, but it doesn't need any connection whatsoever to tell you where's North and South is..
    When you're lost in a city that was hardly been mapped, having a compass is preferred than a maps based GPS app..

    IR blaster is a must, heck even the latest iPhone had an IR mounted to scan your scummy face..

    And SMS, yeah sure, a bloat app that works in any phone, note that, any phone! You don't need those fancy emojis when texting an emergency service, but hey, I guess you prefer Snapchatting your 911 operator, right..?

  • Mike Chant Sep 17, 2017 Link to comment

    Most contracts come with unlimited SMS these days, so cost is not a consideration. I have the phone number of most contacts, so SMS is still the first option for me.

  • Mike Sep 17, 2017 Link to comment

    So how do I pick up FM radio on my phone?

  • Sir Marky Sep 17, 2017 Link to comment

    SMS works out of the box on ago phones regardless of OS, manufacturer etc. It's hardly dated. A lot of people still use it.

  • Jaola Tymon Sep 17, 2017 Link to comment

    Is it for really? 1 April is long way from now...
    Radio FM - still important feature in many (if not most) parts of the world - even US is not covered in 100%, think about India, China, Russia or Africa!
    Compass - maybe not exactly superaccurate, but still better than nothing. With GPS it becomes very accurate.
    IR - let's You use the device as (e.g.) TV remote, very useful.
    SMS - maybe not as useful, but there are a lot of people (e.g. older) without smartphone or people without social accounts, please tell me how to contact them using IM messages...

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