6 awkward situations obliterated by mobile appsThere was a time when getting a flat tire on the highway required getting out of your vehicle and walking a couple of miles to the nearest payphone, popping in a couple of quarters, and calling a tow truck.

Today, if you have a smartphone, you’re not only able to call for a tow without getting out of the car, but you can access the internet from just about anywhere.  Life before smartphones was good, but it wasn’t quite as convenient.

Here are 6 sticky situations your smartphone can rescue you from:

You’re about to impulse buy a large item

Sometimes when you’re out shopping for groceries or basic items, you might come across a large item you really want to buy, like a 3D TV that happens to be on sale. You already know you want it, but is the sale price legitimate? Is it cheaper at Walmart? How do you figure out if it’s a good price when there’s only one left and the sale ends that day?

That’s easy. You pull out your smartphone and use an app that lets you scan the barcode and comparison shop across all major retailers including Amazon and other online stores. U.S. News has a great guide with summaries of 12 different apps that will help you find the best deals in minutes.

You’re lost in the woods without a compass

Hopefully you won’t get lost in the woods without a compass, but it could happen. No matter the sticky situation, if you need to find magnetic or True North, you can download an app like Compass 12th that turns your phone into a compass. With longitude, latitude, and a digital display of degrees, this app is a great backup plan for exploring the outdoors.

You’re lost and your GPS bit the dust

Have you ever been driving down the highway in an unfamiliar area and your GPS bites the dust? It’s not just inconvenient, it can be scary. Thankfully you can use a mobile map app like Waze to direct you back like a GPS, or even just download a static map of the area ahead of time in case you lose your internet connection.

You swapped shifts with a coworker but forgot to tell your boss

The last thing you want to experience is being called in to work just because you forgot to record a shift swap. If your boss is using shift scheduling software like Deputy, you can log in from your smartphone, make the swap official, and by the time your boss wakes up to see who’s coming in for the day, he’ll never know the difference.

You can’t remember the lyrics to a song

Sometimes you can’t remember the lyrics to a song and it drives you crazy until you can remember them. But lyric websites aren’t always dependable. And since music is mostly digitally downloaded, you don’t have a CD insert you can reference.

To make it easy, you can open up a music app like Spotify that lets you listen to the song directly so you can remember the lyrics and finally get it out of your head. Or you can keep singing it, but with the right words.

You left your shopping list at home

Before smartphones, if you left your shopping list at home, you only had three options. Go back and get it, find a payphone to call the house and have someone read it to you, or go to the store anyway and try to remember what it said.

But what happens when you have items on your list for other people who might be mad if you come home empty-handed? Well, if you created your shopping list in Microsoft Word and have remote desktop software setup, you can just pull out your smartphone and access the list—or any other file for that matter.

Lifehacker has a great guide discussing 5 of the best remote desktop tools out there for both Windows and Apple products. With a remote desktop tool, you don’t have to tell anyone you forgot your list. And if they find it, just let them think you have a perfect memory.

Smartphones to the rescue

Life is full of surprises, and smartphones can be a great tool for getting out of some pretty inconvenient situations. It’s easy to take the convenience for granted, so the next time you’re on the side of the road waiting for a tow truck, or using the internet to find a map when you’re lost, just be grateful and remember the whole process would have taken hours before smartphones.