7 ways AI makes life easier on the go

Woman looks at phone while walking dog

AI is much more than an office tool for desk workers or productivity software for businesses. You can also turn to it for quick answers when you’re out and about, helping you get ideas, information and inspiration wherever you are.

One simple way to use AI is to download Microsoft Copilot on your iOS or Android phone. The free AI tool summarizes information from across the web and generates text and images based on your requests, or “prompts,” making it easier to research, plan and create on the go. Here are seven ways having AI at your fingertips can help you save time and do more with your day.

A yellow and pink flower

Learn in real time about the cool things you see

Say you’re photographing pretty flowers on a hike or gazing at San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge and want to learn more. You could use a traditional search engine, describe the flowers and click a bunch of links until you find what you’re looking for.

Or you can save time and effort by snapping a picture and asking a question like “how old is this bridge?” or “what kind of flowers are these?” Copilot will consolidate internet sources into a single, speedy answer — and provide links to where it got the information in case you want to research more.

Because the app is chat-based, it’s easy to ask follow-up questions that zero in on what you want without having to start a new search.
A bowl of food sits on a table

Get cooking inspiration while buying groceries

You’re shopping the sales at a grocery store when you spot a bargain on local fish and fresh asparagus. Problem is, you don’t know the best ways to prepare them and don’t have time to research food blogs and videos for inspiration.

With Copilot’s cooking assistant, you can get recipes and menu-planning by uploading a picture of ingredients in your cart or on the shelf. Just type or say, “I’m a beginner cook. What can I make for dinner with these ingredients?” and Copilot can create a meal customized for your skill level and food preferences.

It can also give you nutritional information and ideas for ingredient substitutions, and help out at home, where you can get a recipe based on a photo of what’s in your fridge.
A woman stands in the airport holding onto a suitcase

Turn your phone into a travel agent

You and your friends are meeting up to plan a long-awaited international trip to shop and eat fabulous food on a budget. Group planning can be overwhelming, but Copilot makes it easy to come up with itinerary ideas when you’re hanging out. Just tell Copilot your criteria — “We’re going to Italy for six days, and we love art and sportscars. Plan our trip” — and it will quickly create a customized itinerary. It can give you instructions on how to book tickets and make reservations and provide a personalized packing list. And it can give directions to where you want to go once you’re on the road.
A man holds his phone in a bicycle shop

Take the stress out of shopping

You’re test-driving cars at an auto dealership and wondering what the salesperson isn’t telling you. Or you’re at a department store trying to figure out if an espresso machine you’re eyeing is cheaper somewhere else. Copilot can help you research specs, comparison shop and cut through stressful information overload.

You can ask it to “create a table of top-rated compact cars sorted by price and features.” Or you can ask it to analyze a photo of that espresso machine — or any item you want to buy — and provide a list of prices and places to buy it or something that looks like it. Copilot can also answer specific questions about a product and provide summaries of what other people are saying about it online.

Copilot can also come up with gift ideas when you’re stumped at the mall, like popular games for your niece or budget-friendly gifts for your outdoorsy friend.
Two people wash dishes

Get your chores done faster

You’ve got a long list of chores, like fixing a leaky faucet and removing an oil stain from your shirt, but aren’t sure what you need or the best way to get things done. Copilot on your phone makes a handy pocket guide, whether you’re at the hardware store or too busy at home to sit down with a laptop.

You can get clear, step-by-step instructions for common tasks by just asking how, as in “How do I change my oil?” or “How do I remove a stripped screw?” You can ask for specific instructions for your car’s make and model, and Copilot will comb through and summarize content so you don’t have to. It will also include links, articles, images and videos in case you want more info.

You can also use photos for problem-solving, like figuring out what’s wrong with your drooping houseplant. Just upload a picture and Copilot will make trained predictions to identify your plant, what’s ailing it and how to nurse it back to health.
A person holds up their phone to take a picture

Up your social media game

You’re at the beach taking incredible photos and want to share them on social media, but you can’t think of an interesting caption. Or you’re reading a long news story at a coffee shop and want to post about it but could use a quick summary.

Copilot can spark your creativity by writing captions for photos and condensing articles. You can ask it to write a witty line for a photo of your cat, an ironic hashtag about the weather or a one-sentence summary of an article you just read.

With straightforward prompts like “make it funny” or “be more descriptive,” you can easily refine your content for tone, humor and messaging whenever your creative mood strikes.
A woman sits and looks at her phone

Get help writing a tricky text or email

You’re at a restaurant, waiting again for your always-late friend, and trying to write a text in the right tone about your concern and annoyance. Or you’re traveling for work and need to send a carefully worded email to your boss about a project that went awry.  

When writing on the fly feels like a struggle, Copilot can help you get started and polish your words. You can tell it what you want to say and it will start a draft for you. Or you can include what you’ve already written and ask Copilot to check it for grammar and spelling, or make it sound more casual, professional, funny or whatever tone you want.

Of course, AI can’t bend time for your friend — or do your laundry and cook dinner — but it can take some tedious tasks off your plate, so you have more time and energy to enjoy things that matter.

All photos from Getty Images, from top to bottom: Petrunjela / iStock / Getty Images Plus, Douglas Peebles / Corbis Documentary, Rocky89 / E+, d3sign / Moment, Superb Images / The Image Bank, Klaus Vedfelt / DigitalVision, Yana Iskayeva / Moment, Betsie Van der Meer / DigitalVision