Eight Cool Uses for the iPhone Timer

June 07 2008 – 10:30pm

The one app I use more than any other on my iPhone is the timer. It’s great to be able to fully concentrate on the task at hand while waiting for a future task to be ready for action. Here’s just a few things you can use your iPhone timer for:

  1. Expert Tea Steeping
    Any tea lover knows, you don’t want to steep your green tea for too long – or else it gets bitter. But when you’re having a hectic day, you can get distracted within the 2-3 minute window that makes a good green. You can also use your timer to remind you that you’re heating up water for said tea – so you don’t accidentally leave the stove on and melt the handle on your roommate’s pot.
  2. Parking Meter Mate
    How nerve wracking can it be to try to remember that your car is parked at a meter that is going to expire in 30 minutes? Srsly, lots. Just set your iPhone timer to a few minutes before your meter expires, and your mind can be at ease while you go shop, eat lunch, or have an extensive conversation with your butcher about the many tasty ways to enjoy head cheese.
  3. Where is everyone? They're waiting for their iPhone timers to go off!
    Lazy Laundromat
    If your clothes are anything like mine, guarding them at the laundromat just isn’t worth it. So after you throw your rags in the wash, set your iPhone timer for a few minutes before they’ll be finished. Then you can go home and vacuum or make some tea (if only you could have multiple iPhone timers!) without having to worry about ending up with a plank of hard-dried clothes.
  4. Appointment Reminder
    Got a dentist appointment you need to run to in an hour, but want to get focused on your herb garden? You’ll remember to make it to that “tooth hurtie” appointment if your iPhone starts singing at 2:15.
  5. Layover Alert
    Want to go grab a beer at the Jackalope Flats during your layover at Sky Harbor, and not have to keep checking the time while you learn about the pleasures of having a pet tortoise from your bartender, Olaf? Just set your iPhone timer and you don’t have to turn on your bionic ears to listen for the boarding call for your flight.
  6. Dinner Table Tracker
    Go ahead and grab one – or three – Flaming Dr. Peppers from Mugshots while you’re waiting for your table at Ruth’s. Your iPhone will tell you to get back to the restaurant on time – unless you’re too drunk to notice it. You should have paced yourself.
  7. Train Catcher
    Absolutely have to catch the 4:32 BART train to hit the CalTrain in time to make the SV New Tech Meetup? You can concentrate on other things, and your iPhone will let you know when it’s time to go.
  8. If only she had set her iPhone timer, she wouldn't have run into this desert
    Running Reminder
    Want to get your 30 minutes of cardio in for the day, but not sure how far to run before it’s time to go back. You can still listen to music while you jog, but if you set your iPhone timer for 15 minutes, you’ll be reminded when it’s time to backtrack. You also use the timer to check your pulse: just take the number of beats in 6 seconds, multiply it by ten, and compare it to your target heart rate. If only the iPhone had data-in for a heart rate monitor app.

The basic idea is to put your mind at ease so it’s not worrying about the task you have to do in the future, so you can concentrate on the task you’re doing now. Otherwise your brain keeps asking you “are my brownies burnt yet?” while you’re trying to troubleshoot that .htaccess file – and everyone knows brownies and .htaccess just don’t mix. What do you use the timer on your iPhone for?

Laundromat photo by eddiequinones
Jogger photo by dafydd359

This post is filed under Life Hacks, Productivity, Technology.