20 iPhone tips you’ll wish you knew all along
1. Close three apps at once
Need to force-close multiple apps fast? At the risk of looking like you’re clawing at your phone, you can close up to three apps at once by swiping up with three fingers.
2. Quickly shut off the flashlight
Included in iOS’s Control Center is access to a flashlight. Once enabled, you can quickly shut it off by using the camera shortcut from the lock screen.
3. Hidden bubble level
Leave your lime-green bubble level in the drawer. iOS’s built-in leveling tool uses the phone’s gyroscope to help you find out if an object is perfectly horizontal (or vertical).
To access it, launch the compass, then swipe right to reveal the level.
4. Use bold, italics, and underlining
In some apps like Mail, you can use rich formatting to make text bold, italics, or underlined. But if you don’t know it exists, you might miss it.
Just highlight the text you want to edit, and tap the arrow in the copy/paste pop-up. Then, choose “B I U” to access the formatting options.
5. Quickly ‘go back’
Unlike Android, the iPhone doesn’t have a dedicated “back” button. But, a little-known gesture makes that completely acceptable.
In Messages, Mail, and even Safari, simply swipe right from the edge of the screen to go to the previous window. The gesture even works in some third-party apps like Instagram.
6. 10 earbud controls
The stock earbuds are full of hidden talents. With them, you can snap a photo, ignore calls, and more. There are 10 shortcuts in total, and they’re all outlined right here.
- If you’re listening to music, toggle pause or play by tapping the center button once.
- To fast-forward a song, tap the center button twice and long-press on the second tap.
- To rewind a song, tap three times and long-press on the third tap.
- To skip a song, double tap.
- To go to the previous song, triple tap.
- If you have an incoming call, tap the center button once to answer. Tap again to hang up.
- To ignore an incoming call, long-press the center button. You’ll hear two beeps to confirm that the caller was sent to voice mail.
- If you’re on the phone and you get a new call, tap the center button once to switch calls. To end that new call, hold the center button down for 2 seconds.
- You can achieve supersteady shots by using your headphones as a shutter release. Tap the volume-up button to capture a photo.
- For iPhone 4S owners: prompt Siri by long-pressing the center button.
7. Create custom vibration alerts
Want to know if your best friend is calling without ever looking at the phone? Buried in the contact settings, a fun option lets you create custom vibration patterns for your contacts.
To do it, go to Contacts, choose a contact, and tap Edit in the upper-right corner.
Then, scroll down and navigate to Vibration > Create New Vibration. In the interactive screen, tap and hold to create a pattern, using long presses for long vibration notes, and so on.
8. Lock focus and exposure
When the camera is active, tapping the screen sets the focus and exposure for that object. But, the moment the camera moves, these settings are lost.
To lock the focus and exposure, tap and hold until you see a yellow bar appear at the top of the screen, Even if you change your composition, the focus and exposure will be unaffected.
9. Be more frugal with data
If you’re watching your data usage, it’s a good idea to use a feature introduced in iOS 7: cellular data management.
With this tool, you can decide which apps get to use cellular data, and which apps can load only over Wi-Fi.
Head over to Settings > Cellular to disable cellular data usage for any installed apps.
10. Find out what the locals use
When you’re traveling, it’s a good idea to find out which apps the locals love most — especially public transportation apps.
To see what locals are downloading, go to the App Store and tap Near Me at the bottom.
11. Search text messages
Here’s another one you might only stumble upon. To find a specific text message, use the search bar at the top of the message interface.
Don’t see it? Pull down to reveal it, or tap the top bar.
12. Use iMessage overseas
When you’re connected to in-flight Wi-Fi or traveling without a data plan, you can still send text messages to iPhone-using friends.
Just head to Settings > Messages and make sure Send as SMS is disabled, and that iMessage is enabled.
13. Long-press for more characters
Hidden beneath the unassuming characters of the iOS keyboard is a world of letters and symbols only available with a long-press.
For example long-pressing the dash key reveals em and en dashes, while long-pressing the numeral 0 lets you insert a degree symbol.
14. Reveal timestamps
To see when a message was sent, drag the message screen to the left, and the timestamps will be revealed.
15. Siri’s hidden features
Siri can handle really complex commands. She can even do things like set your alarm, and learn how to properly pronounce names.
16. Charge your phone much faster
Sometimes you need to charge your phone fast. The fastest way to do that? Airplane mode.
With all sending and receiving of data cut off, your phone will charge much faster. Just be sure to leave the backlight off, too.
17. Shoot in burst mode
Thanks to the iPhone 5S’s fast processor, the camera now lets you shoot in burst mode, snapping multiple photos per second.
It’s great for capturing sports, kids, and special moments you want every bit of.
18. Increase battery life
Spotlight is really useful for quickly surfacing data on your phone. In order to do that, however, the tool needs to constantly survey your phone for new data and index it.
To temper the effects on your battery, go to Settings > General >Spotlight and uncheck the items you don’t necessarily need indexed.
19. Protect your privacy
This tip will save your battery life and your privacy. Far, far into iOS’s privacy settings is a setting that, when enabled, sends Apple your location data.
Some people don’t care. If you do — and you want a battery boost while you’re at it — disable the feature. Go to Settings > Privacy > System Services to toggle the option.
20. Faster Touch ID recognition
Touch ID seems to have a beef with certain fingers, consistently requiring multiple scans before unlocking the device.
If this sounds familiar, try this: Go to Settings > Touch ID & Passcode. Here, enroll the same finger two to three times by choosing Add a fingerprint.
Doing so will give Touch ID more information about your finger patterns, resulting in a faster scan.