Software updates that reveal hidden functionalities

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Many companies are jumping on the bandwagon of activating dormant features on their devices with the arrival of new software updates. We leave you with some examples.

One trend that is taking off with force in some companies is to activate functions that remain dormant in the devices and, after carrying out various tests or other improvements, make that feature available when updating the software .

In short, they activate the button of certain hidden functionalities once your operating system receives an update, as has recently happened with Apple and the new version of iOS 16.3.

These novelties, in most cases, are announced by the companies themselves, however, sometimes it happens that it is the users themselves who almost accidentally discover a new function on their device, as happened with the OnePlus 8 Pro.

Without further ado, let’s look at some present and past examples of hidden features that have been uncovered after a software upgrade by the company.

OnePlus 8 Pro and “its X-rays”

Here we come across an old feature that left some speechless. This feature of the OnePlus 8 Pro seems to use the phone’s infrared sensors to see through black materials.

Note that we are talking about a rumor that circulated through the networks, although it is true that it provides slight visibility through objects that would otherwise be solid, thanks to what appears to be a defect built into the camera.

It turns out that the 5MP color filter camera on the back of the device can see through certain types of plastic; With the OnePlus Camera app’s Photochrom mode enabled, you can point the camera where you want and see the electronics inside the device.

Tesla and his ludicrous mode

Introduced in 2016, Tesla’s Ludicrous mode reduced the 2016 Model S’s 0-62 mph time from an already respectable 3.2 seconds to 2.5 seconds. It does this by transferring power from the battery to the electric motor.

The ludicrous mode was enhanced in 2017 with the introduction of the Ludicrous Plus mode, which activates full battery power for even greater acceleration. Essentially, this allows 100% of the energy from the battery to go to the electric motor.

Of course, Tesla warns that using the vehicle in this Ludicrous mode for prolonged periods will reduce the autonomy and efficiency of Tesla. Using it for too long, simply put, accelerates wear on Tesla’s motors and reduces battery power.

Apple and its updated HomePod

It seems that with the new release of the HomePod Mini, Apple plans to turn on a latent temperature and humidity sensor that has been in the devices since launch but was previously unusable.

Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman reported in March 2021 that the HomePod Mini had that capability, and it took almost two years for this update to come out .

Having this sensor means you won’t need to buy a separate gadget to measure temperature or humidity and run Apple Home automation to, for example, turn on a fan when certain degrees of temperature are exceeded.

Once you start using the temperature and humidity detection function, there are a couple of caveats to keep in mind. In Apple’s HomePod Mini footnotes, it’s detailed that the speaker requires “some time to calibrate the sensors immediately after booting up.”

BMW and remote-control parking

This recent new functionality from BMW for certain countries and vehicles allows users to carry out remote-controlled parking maneuvers outside the vehicle using the My BMW App.

This includes maneuvers previously recorded in the vehicle with the Maneuver Assistant. As they explain, customers can also park their vehicle forwards or backward within a radius of six meters, both longitudinally and transversally.

With these four examples and many others, it seems that this trend of making hidden functions or features that remain latent until the company makes them available to the user has become a growing trend for some years now.

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