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Despite its title -- "Things You Never Knew Your Cell Phone Could Do" -- this widely forwarded email is mostly comprised of misinformation, including the specious claims that 1) the worldwide number for dialing emergency services on mobile phones is 112, 2) you can unlock your car door from miles away using a remote key and a pair of cell phones, 3) there is a secret code for activating "reserve battery power," and 4) yet another secret code can be used to "disable" your phone in the event it is stolen. The good news is that you can dial a special 800-number to make "free" 411 calls, but you'd best check the provisions of your service plan to make sure you won't be charged for minutes used. Read more...


March 12, 2007 at 9:41 pm
(1) Lamar says:

112 is linked to 911 in Arlington, Tx. Just a bit of advice if you decide to test it. Phones display dialing emergency number at least with Motorola RAZRs. The number did connect to 911 must to our surprise !

March 14, 2007 at 10:12 am
(2) nettiebug says:

112 directs you to 911 on your cell phone (in NY), the *#06# doesn’t diasable your cell phone BUT it does give you your IMEI number (serial)

March 23, 2007 at 2:40 pm
(3) Wendy B says:

Most cell phones purchased in the US can only be used in North American only, you need a TRI-Band phone to go global, so using your cell phone in Europe is not usually an option!

February 17, 2008 at 6:51 pm
(4) ronald says:

unlocking car doors from cell phones work i did it it worked but must be from same provider i have a varizon and it will only work from a varizon cell phone not another.

March 18, 2008 at 12:27 pm
(5) Hal says:

Ronald you’re full of crap there is no way it would work because the frequencies are different. The 112 number I can see because it’s used all over the UK and Europe so cities here want to make sure it’s tied to 911.
Beware forwarded emails offering esoteric tips and tricks “you never knew.” Most of the claims in this message are either false or have limited applicability. Let’s examine them one by one:
1. The worldwide emergency number for cell phones is 112.
Not quite. Throughout most of Europe and a few countries outside of the EU, dialing 112 will connect users to local emergency services. However, the number won’t work in North America, nor most of Asia and Africa. Many, but not all, cell phone models will allow special emergency numbers such as 911 to be dialed even if the phone lacks a SIM card or the keypad is locked.
2. Unlock a car door with your cell phone and a spare remote key.
False. As seen on SNOPES.COM and many other HOAX related sites, cell phones and remote keyless entry systems work on entirely different radio frequencies. Therefore, cell phones are incapable of re-transmitting the signal from a remote key to unlock a car door.
3. Press *3370# to access ‘reserve battery power.’
False. On some Nokia phones, users can punch in special codes and toggle between speech codec modes to 1) enhance voice transmission quality at the cost of diminished battery performance, or 2) enhance battery performance by decreasing voice quality. Apparently, some users have misconstrued the latter as “tapping into reserve battery power.”
On that score the email is doubly erroneous because *3370# is the code for enhancing voice quality, so using it actually decreases battery life!
4. Press *#06# to disable a stolen cell phone.
Not exactly. On some cell phone models, but not all, pressing *#06# will cause the phone’s 15-digit International Mobile Equipment Identity to be displayed.
Some service providers, but not all, can use that information to deactivate the handset. In any case, it isn’t necessary to supply an IMEI number to cancel your cellular account in the event of theft; simply call your provider, give them the appropriate account information, and tell them the phone was stolen.
5. Make 411 calls on your cell phone without charge by dialing (800) FREE 411.
Basically true, though cell phone users may still incur a charge for minutes used, depending on the specifics of their plan.

December 7, 2008 at 2:00 pm
(6) Laura says:

I dialed the 112 number here in the U.S. and in Mexico and it linked me to the emergency numbers from both countries, so it does work. Also I have a Sony Ericson phone and the code for the reserve battery did work once, although I have tried it on different phones I haven’t found another one that will work. So I suggest the author to do a little bit of experiments with different phones before publishing a blog, hummm I wonder on what else has he lied about???

March 11, 2009 at 11:20 pm
(7) Sue says:

My daughter and son-in-law used their cell phones to unlock their car using remote device as stated in the Things your cell phone can do so before you state that it doesn’t work, you might want to try some research yourself.

April 5, 2009 at 2:32 pm
(8) sammy says:

yeah, you can use your cell phones to unlock car doors…I’ve tried it, though admittedly not from miles away.

May 22, 2009 at 1:48 am
(9) Brandon says:

Like most other users i have unlocked a car door using a verizon cell phone but i on hte other hand have a metropcs phone, ya i wasn’t miles away but i know for a fact i was far enough where i couldn’t unlock it normally. So people who are saying this is false i suggest you go try it yourself

February 7, 2010 at 1:36 pm
(10) marie says:

The battery on my cell phone was just about dead and I did the *3370# and up came an hour glass and when it went away, my battery went from red to green and had 2 of 3 bars lit. So it did work. I have a Motorola phone.

November 27, 2010 at 11:39 am
(11) Dan says:

Google has a free 411 service through text and voice and their sms text service can pull up many things you didnt know.

November 15, 2012 at 8:56 am
(12) I love my mobile says:

I have an iPhone.
I dialled #iron# and my shirts were immediately ironed !
It works !!

June 21, 2013 at 7:41 am
(13) Stu says:

Omg- I iron finally writes some sense about all this nonsense. Thanks!

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