22 Hacks, Tricks, And Hidden Features For Common Products That You're Gonna Wish You Learned Sooner

Reddit user u/Independent-160 posed the question: "What common product has a feature you're not sure everyone is aware of?" The thread quickly filled with some seriously handy tips, tricks, and hacks I wish I'd known sooner. Get ready to take notes!

1."Lifetime warranties on consumer goods, like Columbia jackets and Jansport backpacks. If your zipper fails or the material separates or is no longer repelling water, file a claim online and pay for shipping to the factories. They will either repair it or ship you a comparable new version. Companies like this use your returns to identify weak points in their products while retaining lifetime customers."


"Columbia's website says it’s still a limited lifetime warranty. If the zipper fails on an otherwise perfectly good jacket, it looks like they will still honor the warranty. But, if you burn it or the materials just break down over time, as they obviously won’t last forever, or if you transfer ownership of the item, then they won’t honor the warranty."


"Same thing with The North Face. The stitching on a shirt I bought start coming off, so I mailed it in and they sent me a gift certificate to buy a new one since they didn’t carry that shirt anymore."


"Lululemon does this too. I got a 10-year-old jacket replaced because a seam started splitting!"


"Former marketing manager for an outdoor brand here. There's a couple of things to add. Gore-Tex/waterproofing can be hard to claim for. Most guarantees are for normal use and most people mistreat Gore-Tex. For example: Your coat or boots are wet, so you stick them by or on the radiator. This damages the Gore-Tex and you wouldn't be covered. It's rare Gore-Tex fails on its own.

Slightly conversely to the point of this post, an interesting product feature that most people think they know but don't: Waterproof jackets don't usually include the pockets unless you buy very high-end. It's very difficult (expensive) to waterproof a pocket, so most jackets exclude it. Keep your phone in the inside pocket.

'Lifetime' is usually the normal lifetime of the product, not your lifetime. Product lifetime is defined by the type of product. A few brands brought this in to set an upper limit on returns. Hope this helps!"


2."Even though it's only been a couple decades, I feel like people forget that you can just buy an HD antenna and watch local channels instead of needing cable/satellite."


"As someone who works at a locally-owned TV station, it blows people's minds when we tell them they can still get our channel for free over the air. Sure, we're on cable too, but if they buy an HD antenna from the store, they can pick us up pretty easily. They're also shocked when we tell them we carry shows like The Office. We also have five sub channels with other networks, all free over the air."


  Twins / Getty Images/fStop
Twins / Getty Images/fStop

3."Netflix has a Fitness genre where you can watch and work out alongside videos."


4."You can mute most modern microwaves."


  Grace Cary / Getty Images
Grace Cary / Getty Images

5."Apple cameras come pre-installed with a feature that translates those laundry symbols."


"The iPhone has a plant identifier built in. Take a picture of a plant you want to identify. Pull up from the bottom, and there will be an option to 'look up plant.' It’s not always 100%, but still pretty cool."


"It will identify species of birds and some other animals in photos, too."


"Google Lens does this, too! Built into Pixels. Translate anything, identify anything. I use it for bugs all the time."


"It can also convert measurements. If you’re on a website, take a picture, then go into the picture, tap and hold on the particular measurements, and it will bring up a selection of conversions. If you’re looking at printed text, you don’t need to take a picture. Just get it in the view finder, then tap and hold."


6."Turning your iPhone sideways in calculator mode gives you a full scientific calculator."


  BuzzFeed / Via Apple
BuzzFeed / Via Apple

7."Barilla Pasta has a Spotify list. Each specific song has a duration to match the relevant pasta’s cook time."


8."The paper cups for ketchup at counter service restaurants? Those paper cup pleats unfold to hold more ketchup, and that also makes it easier to get the ketchup than dunking."


cup of ketchup
Charmian Perkins / Getty Images

9."Osprey Backpacks has a lifetime warranty. My son lost his in a house fire — almost completely ruined. We called and they sent us a link and said to pick any one off the list, and then they mailed it for free. It’s the only brand we buy for any bags or backpacks."


10."If you're too far away from your car to lock/unlock it but need to (maybe somebody has gone back to the car to collect something), then hold the key against your head and press the button. Your skull acts as a massive antenna, and it will likely work."


  Pliona / Getty Images/iStockphoto
Pliona / Getty Images/iStockphoto

11."Each box of foil, plastic wrap, etc. has tabs on the ends that you push in to keep the roll in the box."


12."If you press and hold the flashlight button on your iPhone, you can adjust the brightness of it."


  BuzzFeed / Via Apple
BuzzFeed / Via Apple

13."Sliding your finger along the spacebar on your phone will scroll along typed text. This makes changing single letters much easier than holding on the screen and trying to place the cursor in the right spot."


14."With the child-proof medication containers, you can flip the lid upside down and use it like a regular lid."


pill bottle
Ihoe / Getty Images

15."The little pepper-looking thing that hangs off of most pin cushions is filled with emery powder to help clean/sharpen your pins and needles."


16."Many dishwashers have an adjustable top rack. So, if your wine glasses won't fit in the top, or if your dinner plates won't fit in the bottom, try adjusting the height of the top rack."


loaded dishwasher
Maria Korneeva / Getty Images

17."You can use the Notes app on your iPhone as a scanner. Start a note, hit the camera icon, and it will give you the option to scan a document. You can do single or batch, and if you share the note or email it to yourself, it will come through as a PDF. The 'scan text' feature below that one is great, too. Instead of creating a PDF, it'll import printed (or some handwritten, depending on how tidy your writing is) text into your note. You just hover over a doc, and it'll pop up as text."


"Follow up with: If you have a MacBook, you can right click on the desktop, click 'Import from iPhone' and 'Scan Documents' and it will open the camera on your phone to scan and send it right to your computer."


18."Your gas icon in your dashboard has a small arrow pointing to the side of your car the cap is on. I travel a lot for work and have had many rental cars. I can’t remember a time where this wasn’t true."


  Georgeclerk / Getty Images
Georgeclerk / Getty Images

19."Power level of microwaves. Basically, it controls how often the microwaves are actually heating your food. Default is 100%, but you can actually turn it down to let your food cook more thoroughly, but with added time."


20."If you use your phone late at night, search for the ‘Reduce White Point’ setting (on iPhone anyway), and it makes the screen even darker."


  BuzzFeed / Via Apple
BuzzFeed / Via Apple

21."A lot of people think that Febreze just covers up odors with perfume. It's actually an excellent odor remover, and there's an unscented version that works extremely well and leaves no smell behind. It's just that when they first brought it to market, a lot of people didn't like it because they associate 'smelling clean' with perfumed products. They found that adding a perfume to it increased their sales. It's hard to find in stores, but you can still order the unscented version on Amazon."


22.And: "If you swipe left on the iPhone calculator, it will delete just one digit so you don’t have to start over."


Any other "hidden" or lesser-known product features people need to know about? Share in the comments!

Note: Submissions have been edited for length and/or clarity.