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Tricks of the trade for smartphones

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Can you believe the modern smartphone has been around for only six years? In that short time, it's changed the way society does business, communicates, flirts, gets news, makes news, plays games and so much more. According to a Pew survey, more than half of American adults own a smartphone.

That isn't to say most are smartphone experts. Here are five tricks that you might not know, but really should.

Take a screenshot

Your friend texted with a hilarious typo and you want to share it. Capture it as an image with a screenshot.

On an iPhone, press and hold the Home button along with the Sleep/Wake button. You should hear a shutter click. The screenshot will appear in your Camera Roll or Saved Photos section.

On Androids, hold the Power and Volume Down buttons at the same time. The image is saved to the “Captured Images” folder in your Gallery app. That only works in Android 4.0 and higher.

All wet

It's a heart-stopping moment when you drop your smartphone on the ground. If you don't have a good case, there's a chance it won't survive.

It's even worse if you drop it in the water. Or is it? You might be able to salvage it.

First, and most important, DON'T turn it on. If you turn it on with water inside, you'll fry it.

Instead, wipe it down with a dry microfiber cloth.

If the phone has a removable battery, take it out. Then put the smartphone in an uncooked rice-filled container overnight. The rice will help pull out the moisture.

Under no circumstances put the phone in the oven or microwave!

The next day, put the phone back together and turn it on. If it starts up, congratulations! If not, you're off to the store for a new one.

Find a lost or stolen phone

If you are apt to lose your keys, you might lose your phone. Or maybe a thief walks off with it.

Fortunately, iPhones and iPads support Apple's Find My iPhone app. This allows you to find your missing phone using GPS. You can remotely lock and wipe your phone of personal information as well.

Android gadgets have apps that do the same thing. Where's My Droid?, Lookout Mobile Security and Carbonite Mobile are good ones to check out.

Don't share too much

If you aren't careful when you snap pictures, you're sharing your location with everyone. Smartphones can embed GPS information into photos that anyone can read.

To turn GPS off on your iPhone, go to Settings>>Privacy Location Services. You can turn it off for everything or just for the camera.

On an Android, go to Settings>>Location Services and turn GPS off when you don't need it.

Creative uses

Instant Heart Rate for iPhone and Android uses the phone's camera to figure out your heart rate. Want to go hunting for metal? Metal detector apps for Android and iPhone have you covered. They use your phone's built-in compass to find metals. You just need to hold your phone close to the ground.

Have fun!

Email Kim Komando at techcomments@usatoday.com.

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