More Than Meets the iPhone: 9 Add-Ons to Transform Your Mobile Device

Thanks to a legion of software apps, smartphones have evolved into "Star Trek"-like communicator devices. Of course, loading up on software isn't the only way to soup up your phone's "app"-titudes. There's actually a slew of hardware gadgets that snap right onto your phone and open up myriad app possibilities. Best of all, these attachments are tailor-made for DIY doings. So before you embark on your next big home renovation or construction project, consider transforming your phone into a DIY toolbox with one or more of the following add-ons.

  1. TaskOne Toolkit

    Cool Pocket Knives

    Mobile phones have everything but the kitchen sink. With the TaskOne toolkit, they can now take that on too (by repairing a leaky faucet). That's because this nifty case equips your phone with a veritable toolbox, including must-haves like a wrench, pliers, saws, and several different screwdrivers. It's like having Inspector Gadget right in your pocket!

    Related: Pocketknives

  2. Thermodo


    It's a breeze to get the outdoor temperature on your phone. But to pull up the climate indoors, you'll need Thermodo. The add-on plugs right into your phone's audio jack, and you can use it to find out the temp wherever you are. It can help you keep any room at the perfect temperature for cutting energy costs, and you can even make sure the fridge and freezer are functioning optimally.

    Related: Nest Learning Thermostat—Digital-Age Home Temperature Control

  3. Structure Sensor from Occipital

    Occipital Structure Sensor

    When you need to get an idea of how anything will fit, it makes perfect sense to add Occipital's Structure Sensor to your device. This little scanner captures 3D images of rooms, furniture, or whatever you point it at. Among many other functions, you can use those shots to mark up measurements in every dimension or move stuff around in the digital space to find the perfect set up.

  4. Kevo from Kwikset

    Keyless Door

    Turn your phone into a luxury hotel room key for your house with the Kwikset Kevo door lock. It's an easy install on any door and an even easier install on your mobile device. To use it, just tap in the code to unlock your phone, then give one more tap in the Kwikset app to unlock the door—and you're home safe and sound!

    Related: Toss Your Keys—9 High-Tech Door Locks

  5. Phone Fan

    Phone Fan

    This mobile fan attachment will give your phone some "gusto." It's great for DIY projects and especially handy after you've applied a dab of touch-up paint or a smidge of sealant—just call in a little extra breeze, and slick will go dry in the blink of an eye.

    Related: 10 "Really Cool" Cooling Fans

  6. Projector Case

    Phone with Projector

    This little projector case gives mobile phones big-screen capabilities. You can instantly transform any of your rooms into a pop-up home theater. Or use it to project mock-ups of paintings, fireplaces, or windows to find that ideal design and perfect placement.

  7. Armband from Belkin

    Belkin Cases

    With an armband for your phone, you'll never have to drop a tool to access the dozens of apps catered to DIY projects. Follow guides, tips, and detailed blueprints with a simple turn of the elbow. You'll be part human, part DIY machine.

    Related: Bob Vila’s Toolbox—Now on Your iPad!

  8. Phone Grip

    Camera Phone

    Get a grip on your camera phone with this practical attachment. It'll have you primed for snapping photos of home designs that could very well inspire your own. One hand is all you'll need for a steady supply of steady shots. Cheese!

  9. The Canary

    Indoor Air Quality

    No, it's not an actual bird. It's a neato device that keeps tabs on your home's air quality even better than a real canary could. Everything from temperature and humidity to smoke and carbon monoxide can be tracked from an app right on your phone. Tweets aren't the only digital birdcalls in town anymore.

    Related: 10 Houseplants to Improve Indoor Air Quality

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