Everybody loves secret codes. Finding a little bit of extra functionality in our devices makes us feel like insiders on a secret world. Though many people don’t know them, smartphones carry several codes that let you access useful and interesting functions. Here are a few of them.
If you are concerned with how your phone is functioning in general, the code *#*#4636#*#* is a great way to check it. This code opens a mode where you can get information about your phone in general, about your battery history and current function, and valuable usage information. You can even run a ping test to see how fast your phone is responding. When you are trying to troubleshoot a problem with a phone, the first step is information gathering, so this control panel is invaluable to your efforts.
Image via Flickr by Eric Fischer
GPS location technology has been a game changer for the smartphone world. The ability to geolocate users lets phones serve up better and more interesting ads, trace locations through mapping applications, help find missing people, and more. If you want to check out how well your GPS is functioning, the code *#*#1472365#*#* lets you unlock a GPS test mode. While there may not be much you can do that will make a device with poor location abilities work better, the common use of GPS enabled functions makes it useful to find out just how accurate your phone’s location sense is.
Back Up Your Phone
Like any computerized system, your smartphone is unfortunately sometimes prone to system failure and data corruption. When this happens, you can lose your important documents, photographs, and other information. While you can and should back up any important information to an external source like a computer, an external hard drive, or the cloud, you can also set up a backup file on your phone itself. Just enter *#*#273283*255*663282*#*#* and you’ll get to a function that builds you a backup of your phone’s state at that moment.
Block Your Caller ID
An oldie but a goodie, *67 is a simple way to use caller ID blocking on an outgoing call. For T-Mobile phones as well as others, simply dial *67 before the phone number you intend to call. On the other end, the person receiving your call will see “Unknown” as the name of the caller and no number. This is a good idea if you are calling anyone who you don’t want to know your number, whether out of security concerns or just personal preference. Just be aware that some people do not pick up unknown number calls.
Factory Software Reset
The code *#*#7780#*#* engages a factory reset of the phone. This clears out all the apps and data added to the phone since it was first used, with the notable exception of any firmware updates to the basic functionality of the phone OS. You’ll definitely want to do a factory wipe on your phone before disposing of it in any way to make sure your sensitive data doesn’t end up in the hands of a new owner or scavenger. However, you might also need to factory reset your phone if some element of its data structure gets corrupt and kills it. Because this operation will delete all of your data, you should regularly back up your phone in case you ever have to use it.
Factory Software and Firmware Reset
This is the biggest, no-fooling-around nuke code you can enter into your phone. If you enter *2767*3855#, you are not only doing a factory reset, but also clearing all the firmware updates that you have accumulated as well. A phone that has been completely wiped this way may be prone to security issues if the latest patches and updates are not reinstalled immediately, so if you are in a desperate enough situation to warrant a deep reset like this, be sure to set some time aside to reinstall and update everything you’ll need before you can safely start using the phone again.
Your phone is a major part of your life, so you should make the best possible use of its capacities. Using these codes, you’ll be using your phone like a pro in no time.