When leaving the house, you always check if you have three things with you- the keys to your apartment, a wallet where you keep your money and all kinds of documents, and your smartphone- a means of payment and communication with the world, as well as with your closest friends. Did we guess right?
This small device, which only a few years ago was more of a gadget than a multifunctional tool, is now commonly mentioned as one of the items without which we find it difficult to live. This is confirmed by the research conducted by Paw Research Center; according to the report published in 2017, over 46% of Americans cannot imagine surviving even one day without access to a mobile device.
Oh well… We can try to live in an alternative way and give up any inventions that improve the modern life’s comfort. If, however, this is too much of a sacrifice (yes, yes- we agree completely 😉 ), then it is at least worth thinking about why and how we take advantage of the benefits of technology.
It is therefore good to know not only the basic and main possibilities offered by mobile devices. For many people, what is hidden a little deeper and what we can explore ourselves is much more exciting.
We’re talking about USSD codes, which is an abbreviation for Unstructured Supplementary Service Data. Colloquially referred to as “quick codes” or “feature codes”, they can be a real treat for technology maniacs, geeks, or any smartphone users who like knowing a little more about their device than what advertisements tell us.
Thanks to USSD codes, we are able to obtain information about our smartphone, broaden our knowledge about the SIM card or the level and status of mobile network access. They are used to browse WAP, check phone configuration information or access other mobile services.
Quick codes are even more responsive than commonly used SMS codes. This is because USSD messages create a connection in real-time mode, therefore allowing a two-way exchange of data sequences.
What does a typical USSD code look like?
The number of alphanumeric characters in feature codes is limited to 182 characters. They start with (*), followed by digits which make up commands or data. The message is terminated with (#).
One of the most important advantages of these codes is the possibility of checking the IMEI number (i.e. the individual identification number of a GSM or UMTS mobile phone) of any device. The callback service is also useful (it reduces the roaming service fee) and increases the mobile marketing potential. Another function is topping up the SIM card balance or providing one time passwords or PIN codes.
The service is often used by mobile network operators, providing quick access to updates to popular social networking sites- Facebook and Twitter. USSD codes can also be used to get certain Wikipedia articles sent straight to your phone.
TOP 7 USSD codes for Android devices
|Display information about Phone, Battery and Usage statistics||*#*#4636#*#*|
|Resetting phone to factory settings||*#*#7780#*#*|
|Changing the power button||*#*#7594#*#*|
|Enabling test mode for service activity||*#*#197328640#*#*|
USSD Codes used on iOS
|Make an anonymous call||*67phonenumber|
|Get local traffic information||511|
|Help in finding the wanted number||411|
|Check where your text messages are located||*#5005*7672#|
These are just examples of USSD codes. Each software has its own range of useful codes, which can be checked by anyone at any time.
Are USSD codes just a curiosity for typical geeky mobile device users?
Turns out that the aforementioned USSD codes can solve many real-life problems. An interesting application for USSD codes has been found in African countries. On the Dark Continent, they are used to perform internal operations- promotion, balance monitoring, and top-up. The current mobile banking and management applications used throughout the continent, which were not available in Africa without USSD codes, are also based on them. The first start-ups based on coding technology are already being launched.