A Private Eye Tool: The Smartphone

In the Not-So-Long-Ago Days...

I used to lug around all kinds of equipment for my investigations, such as digital and video cameras, cell phone, notebooks, pens, digital recorders, flashlight, magnifying glass, measuring tape and more. However, my smartphone now contains a lot of these tools as apps. Yes, even the measuring tape! I also have apps to do language translations, capture video if motion is detected, capture public data about homes, and much more.

Keeping Devices Charged

Back when I lugged around a bag or two of equipment, I had to always ensure some devices had been charged sufficiently so they'd have enough "juice" when I was out in the field. Just my luck if I hadn't taken the time to charge my cell phone or the video camera or any other item!

Winging It

When a digital camera, for example, ran out of power, I'd have to wing it. If I had a video camera with me, I'd use its photo feature to take still shots. But I avoided using the camera on my cell phone because the quality was so shoddy, and I didn't want to insert amateurish, cheap-looking photos into an investigative report. Good news is that today's smartphones take clear, usable photos and video.

These days I need to always keep the smartphone charged. Fortunately, we have battery chargers in both of our vehicles to help with this.

Smartphone Apps for Investigators

To read more about smartphone apps for PIs, click on the below article links. Some I wrote for my "sister" site Guns, Gams and Gumshoes; others are written by other P.I.s on their sites (in no particular order):

12 Essential Smartphone Apps Worth Investigating (Pursuit Magazine)

Must-Have iPhone Apps for the Private Investigator #3 (P.I. Advice)

Must-Have iPhone Apps for the Private Investigator part 2 (P.I. Advice)

Must-Have iPhone Apps for the Private Investigator part 1 (P.I. Advice)

iPhone Apps for Private Investigators (Guns, Gams and Gumshoes)

More iPhone Apps for Private Investigators (Guns, Gams and Gumshoes)

 

I still carry a pen and pad for taking notes, but I also take notes by typing them into my smartphone, which I can then email to myself/client.

I still carry a pen and pad for taking notes, but I also take notes by typing them into my smartphone, which I can then email to myself/client.