Whether you’ve been with Apple since the early days or you’ve only just joined Team iPhone, you probably have no difficulty using your device. One of the iPhone’s best traits is that it’s incredibly easy to get to grips with.
From the simple set up to the bold, clear icons and the easy to use intuitive operating system, iPhones are popular with seasoned smartphones and tech newcomers alike.
So sure, you sounded out the music app in seconds, sending messages is easy as ABC and organising your apps just takes a few taps and swipes. But did you know there are loads of little techniques and tricks hidden away in your iPhone that make them even better to use?
In every iOS update that Apple releases, you can usually find a whole host of subtle changes, shortcuts and improvements that you might not know about.
Let’s take a look at some of your iPhone’s best features you may not have heard about.
Bring back the home button
Okay, so this doesn’t actually bring back the home button, a feature that’s been missing on every new iPhone since iPhone 8. But it’s a decent alternative if you’re pining after that little button.
All you have to do is go to Settings - Accessibility - Touch and turn on Assistive Touch. This makes a little circle appear on your screen that brings up a customisable shortcut menu when touched. You can set all sorts of different functions such as taking a screenshot which can be activated by taps, swipes and gestures of your choosing.
It’s not quite the same as having a pressable home button, but it’s really useful for shortcuts.
Switch to Dark Mode
iPhone users have long been asking for Dark Mode, and it’s finally here. If you’re not familiar with Dark Mode, don’t worry, it’s not as spooky as it sounds. It just flips the bright white backgrounds of your iPhone into dark grey/black. It’s easier on your eyes during the evening, but you might just keep it on all day because you think it looks cool. I certainly do.
To activate Dark Mode just head to Settings, then Display and Brightness and you’ll find the Dark Mode setting there.
Turn the typing keyboard into a trackpad
We’ve all been here - you’re typing, you make a little typo and you need to get the cursor back to an exact spot and it just takes ages. Well, say goodbye to fiddly typo placement.
All you have to do to turn your keyboard into a trackpad is hold down on the space bar with your thumb, the letters will grey out and now you can easily move the cursor to exact spots just by swiping your thumb.
Expand your calculator
The iPhone calculator is really handy for doing quick sums, but did you know you can expand the calculator’s functions to turn it into a full on scientific calculator capable of doing all sorts of complex maths?
To access this, simply open the calculator app and turn your phone to landscape mode and all the new options will be revealed! Just make sure your screen orientation isn’t locked.
Another shortcut for mathematicians, if you just want to do a quick sum you don't even have to open your calculator. Just swipe right on your home screen and pop your sum into the search bar to get an instant answer.
Clear up space by offloading unused apps
The dreaded ‘Storage Almost Full’ pop up is never fun. You’re just trying to save a photo or download an app and your measly remaining storage is posing a roadblock. Instead of scrambling through your photos and videos to see what memories you can delete (although this is a good way of freeing up storage) why not discard some apps you don’t really use anymore first?
If you’re anything like me, you’ve probably got a fair few apps you don’t really use anymore, and if you go into Settings, then iTunes & App Store and switch on Offload Unused Apps, you’ll be able to get rid of all the apps you haven't used in a while.
Offline Google Maps
When you’re away on holiday, depending on your mobile plan, your data allowances might be different and more expensive. You also may need some help in getting around, so Google Maps can be an invaluable mobile companion. But how to get around without using up data?
Simple, just go into Google Maps before you go away or when you have Wi-Fi, tap on your chosen location then select the menu icon in the top left corner and you’ll see a ‘Download offline map’ option. Sorted.
If you go into Settings, then Accessibility and Audio/Visual you can set the LED Flash to light up for your alerts. Really useful if you’re hard of hearing, in a noisy place, or just need to switch your phone on silent but still want to know if you get a call or text.
Staying with the flashlight, you may not know that you can actually adjust the brightness of your iPhones flashlight. Just hold down on the torch icon and an adjuster will pop up.
Text shortcut for your email address
Typing out your email address every single time you want to sign up to something can be a drag, so make life easier by setting a simple text shortcut instead.
Go from Settings to General to Keyboards and into Text Replacement, and you’ll be able to create as many text shortcuts as you want. So for instance, if you want to shorten your email address set the shortcut as AAA and everytime you type ‘AAA’ autocorrect will automatically type out your email.
Set a timer for music and podcasts
If you’re the type of person that likes to drift off to sleep whilst listening to a podcast or some music, here’s how to make sure whatever you’re listening to doesn’t keep on playing for the whole night.
Just go into your Clock app and set a timer, then at the bottom of the ‘When Timer Ends’ section you’ll find a ‘Stop Playing’ option that will automatically switch your sounds off at the designated time.
Charge your phone faster
If you’re getting ready to head out and you realise you forgot to charge your phone, but you don’t have time to wait for a full charge, there’s a hack for that. Just switch your iPhone to airplane mode and then plug it in. It’ll boost the battery a lot faster.
Virtual tape measure
Amazingly, you can even use your iPhone to measure objects. Just open Apple’s Measure app and you can get the dimensions of all sorts of objects just by pointing your phone at them. Goodbye tape measure.
The Measure app has some other great uses too - you can also use it as a spirit level to hang up pictures, or other household redecorating jobs. Just click on the level option in the Measure app, and hold the iPhone up flat against the surface to get the level just right.