Advanced Iphone Tips, Tricks, Shortcusts and Hidden Features


1) Take Photos with Headphone:

Let’s start with something simple. When taking photos, it is important to remember that despite the advanced features that come with the iPhone camera, it is still an iPhone. There are times when photos become jittery, but one way to lessen the possibility of blurry photos is to take photos by using your headphones as a shutter button. When in the camera app, simply press the center of the headphones and the photo is taken.

2) Boost Photos HDR:

HDR stands for High-dynamic range photos. What this technology essentially does is take two photos, match both of their best qualities together, and offer up a stunning photo in about 3-5 seconds. The iPhone allows you to take these type of photos by going into the camera app, clicking “Options” at the top center, and switching on “HDR”. It’s important to remember that HDR automatically turns off when you adjust flash settings, and HDR automatically adjusts lighting, so put this into consideration as well.

3) More Access with AssistiveTouch:    

Apple has successfully made iPhone more accessible for people with disabilities. Through the Assistance feature in settings, seeing- and hearing-impaired people can use features that help them navigate. Luckily, you don’t have to be differently-abled to take use of these features.

When in the accessibility section (General > Accessibility), you’ll find the “AssistiveTouch” feature. This allows you to have a button available to easily access Siri, favorites and the home screen. In “device options”, you can do everything from taking a screenshot to rotating your device without doing anything more than clicking a button.

4) Get Notified with LED Alerts:

Blackberry and other devices make it easy to know when you have a notification with the use of the red notification light at the top left, and you may be surprised to learn that the iPhone has a notification option as well. In Accessibility, you can have your iPhone’s camera flash go off when you have a notification. Simply go to Settings > General > Accessibility > Activate “LED Flash for Alerts”.

5) Scroll to Top – Faster:

When reading text or scrolling through a web page, the hardest part is having to get to the top. It’s time consuming and involves a lot of thumb movement. Why go through the trouble when you can quickly scroll to the top with one tap? First, find the top tab bar, this is where you’ll find signal strength, time, and battery life. Then, all you have to do is click that area.

6) Quick Access When Locked:

A locked iPhone shouldn’t have to stop you from quickly being able to do common iPhone tasks. Two options you have when your iPhone is locked are Siri access, and photo taking. You can activate Siri as normal by pressing the home button twice, and to take a photo, just find the camera icon at the bottom right, then press and flick all the way up.

7) Hide Native Apps:

The App Store offers so many ways to make your iPhone work for you. You can find apps that make tasks simpler to do or more advanced, and as a result, native apps that come with the iPhone can become unnecessary. Leaving them out in the open can become an eyesore and takes up space.

What can be your saving grace? You may be be surprised to learn that Parental Controls can help. When iPhone restrictions are enabled, that prevents access by essentially hiding the app. You can do the same by going to Settings > General > Restrictions > Enable Restrictions > Enter Your Password > Switch toggles off to enable restrictions.

8) Emoticons Galore:

The second best way individuals find ways to express emotions from afar is through the use of emoticons., but the text emoticons don’t cut it nowadays. iPhone allows you to have emoticons on board, without having to download an app. Simply go to the keyboard settings of iPhone (Settings > Keyboards > Add New Keyboard… > Emoji). When you are ready to use it, simply bring up the keyboard, then press and hold the globe at the lower left until you see Emoji. Click on that.

9) Know When iMessages are Read:

Whenever you are annoyed about not hearing back from someone you’ve messaged, iMessage offers a great solution: through the use of Read Receipts, you can view when a message has been read and at what time/date. To activate, go to Settings > Messages > and toggle on Send Read Receipts. This not only allows you to know, but also allows the recipient to know you’ve read their message.

10)  iCloud Reading List

The last lesser-known feature of iPhone is the iCloud Reading List. When you are visiting a webpage on your Mac, you may want to finish enjoying the page or news article on your iPhone. If both devices are connected to the same iCloud account, this is possible. Once iCloud is set up on your Mac and iPhone, just go to Safari > Bookmarks icon > then iCloud Tabs. Separated by device, you will see a list of the active tabs on that device that you can view on your iPhone.

11) Create custom iMessage replies for calls you can’t answer:

Sometimes it’s not the right time for a phone call; and while you could just let calls you don’t want to take go to voicemail, sometimes you want to explain why you’re not picking up. iOS let you quickly respond to a call with a text message.

Depending on which version of iOS you’re running, you either swipe upward on the phone icon that appears next to the unlock slider and choose Respond With Text, or tap the button labelled Message above the Slide To Answer slider.

By default, you’ll get three pre-written options (“Sorry, I can’t talk right now”, “I’m on my way” and “Can I call you later?”), along with a button that lets you enter text there and then. However, you can customise the prepared messages under Settings > Phone > Respond With Text. You can’t have more than three, however: if you want to add a new one, you’ll have to sacrifice one of the current options. Tap the one you’re willing to lose and type in the new response.

12) Skip calls with Remind Me Later:

Alternatively, you can get iOS to remind you to call back later. As with the auto-replies, the way you do this depends on your version of iOS: in iOS 9 you tap the Remind Me button above the slide, but in earlier versions you swiped upwards and selected Remind Me Later.

You can choose to be reminded in an hour, ‘When I Leave’ or (where applicable) ‘When I Get Home’. Make sure your address details are up to date in Contacts, so your iPhone knows where home is. The timings will be based on your GPS movements. 

13) How to set custom vibrations on your iPhone:

Want to know who’s calling you without taking your phone out of your pocket? That’s easy – assign a ringtone to a contact. But what about doing it all silently? Not only can you assign a custom ringtone or text tone to a contact, you can even give them a custom vibration pattern.

Open Phone or Contacts; select a contact, then tap the Edit button in the top-right corner. Scroll down to find the ringtone field; below it is a vibration field. Tap that, and you’ll see an assortment of built-in vibration patterns you can choose from. Further down, though, is the ability to add a custom pattern: tap Create New Vibration, and you can tap on the screen to create your own rhythm. When you’re satisfied (tap the Play button to see what it will feel like), tap Save to set the pattern.

14) How to take photos while shooting videos:

You’re using your iPhone to film a magical moment, and you wish you could snap a photo at the same time. Don’t stop recording! Just tap the camera button, which appears on-screen in addition to the shutter button as you film.

You aren’t using the iPhone’s true photo sensor; you’re getting the slightly less impressive video sensors instead, but the photos should still turn out pretty nicely.

If that’s not enough, go back to the contact and also assign a custom vibration pattern for text messages.

15) Save PDF to iBooks: 

You can turn web pages into PDFs and add them directly to your iBooks app. This is handy if you’re reading a long web document, or especially if you’ve found a HTML book online and want to keep a copy of it.

When you tap Share, scroll across the apps to find Save PDF to iBooks. Tap it and the web page will be converted and added to your book collection.

16) Do not disturb call:

Do Not Disturb is very handy, but you might worry that it’s preventing an urgent message from getting through. But you can set up exceptions for peace of mind.

Switch Repeated Calls to ON and you’ll be alerted to a second call from the same person within three minutes. You may get the odd trivial call breaking through, but most midnight callers get the hint if their victim doesn’t pick up first time. Someone with urgent news would be far more likely to try again.

You can also specify exceptions for certain people. Tap ‘Allow Calls From’ to allow this to be overridden by calls from Favourites.

(You can add people to the Favourites list in the Contacts app. Select a contact, scroll down to the bottom of their listing and tap Add to Favourites. But removing a contact, or changing the order in which Favourites appear in 3D Touch sub-menus and the like, can only be performed from the Phone app – selet the Favourites tab along the bottom and tap Edit at the top of the next screen.)

17) Shake to undo

This one can be a little awkward at times but it can be a bit of a life saver. If you’ve just typed a long sentence and accidentally deleted it, or made some other catastrophic error, you can give your iPhone a shake to bring up the undo/redo dialogue box. Just make sure you’re holding on to your iPhone tightly before you shake it!

Since implementing this feature Apple has added an undo button to the system keyboard, thankfully, but this only appears when the iPhone is in landscape mode. If you can’t be bothered to type like that, get shaking.

18) Stop music with a timer:

This is a cool trick for those of you who enjoy falling asleep to music. The problem with that is it’ll still be playing when you wake up in the morning, and you’ve probably just drained most of your battery in the process. Using the hidden ‘Stop Playing’ timer, you can choose how long you want the music to play for as you drift off to sleep.

To set up the timer, go to the clock app and then tap ‘Timer’ in the bottom right of the screen. (You can access this from Control Centre: swipe up from the bottom of the Home screen and tap the stylised clock face on the bottom row.) Choose how long you want your timer to last for and then tap ‘When Timer Ends’. Scroll down to the bottom of the menu and select ‘Stop Playing’.

Press start on the timer and then begin playing your music from the Music app. When the timer ends, the music will fade to a stop. This trick will also work for audiobooks and other media.

19) Get your iPhone’s flash to blink when you get a message:

If you find that the vibration or sound that your phone makes when you get a message is not always enough to attract your attention, there’s another element that you can add to the alert: light. By going to Settings > General > Accessibility and scrolling down to the ‘Hearing’ section (this feature is designed for people with hearing impairments), you can turn on ‘LED Flash for Alerts’.

Now every time you get a notification, the flash next to your iPhone’s rear-facing camera will blink.

20) Find words or phrases on a web page:

If you’re looking for a particular word or phrase on a web page, you can find it by typing the word or phrase in the URL/search bar at the top of the screen. (As soon as you tap on the top bar the page you were on will be replaced by a screen filled with your Favourites, but don’t worry – you’re still on the web page. It’ll return as soon as you tap off the top bar or run the in-page search.) You’ll see a list of web search results – and search results from the App Store, Wikipedia and so on if applicable, but you need to look at the bottom of that list for a section labelled “On This Page”, with the number of matches.

Tap it, and you’ll see that the results are highlighted on that particular web page in yellow. Tap the arrows at the bottom of the screen to go to the next instance.

21) Switch direction in Panorama mode:

You can change the direction of your Panorama photograph in the Camera app by tapping the arrow that appears in the middle of the screen in the Panorama mode.

22) Use your headphones to take a selfie:

Selfies continue to be all the rage, as we’re sure you’ve noticed, but if the quality of your selfies is a concern, try this handy trick.

A decent proportion of iPhone owners know that you can activate the camera shutter by pressing one of the volume buttons (volume up or volume down – doesn’t matter which) instead of the onscreen button. This tends to produce less camera shake. But a still better option for selfies – and one that is far less widely known – is to use the volume button on an attached pair of headphones.

When the camera app is open on your iPhone, you can use the volume button on an attached pair of headphones  to take a photo. Not only does this reduce shake even more than using the iPhone’s volume button, but it also means you can take a more natural-looking photo from further away or take a photo hands-free.

23) Scrub through photos:

When using your iPhone or iPad to view a photo within an album (or viewing a photo from a Moments collection), you’ll see a thin timeline beneath the main image showing other photos in that album or collection. This is there for more than just information purposes.

Tap and drag on it and you’ll rapidly “scrub” through the photos, allowing you to switch to another quickly and easily. Give it a try! Alternatively, you can just tap one of the photos within the timeline to switch to it immediately.

24) Scrub through home movies:

Following on from the previous tip, when you’re watching a movie you’ve recorded or been sent, the photos thumbnail listing at the bottom of the screen expands into a scrubber bar for that video file.

Tap and drag here to quickly advance backwards and forwards within the movie file. (If you can’t see the scrubber bar, just tap the screen once.)

25) Facedown for battery savings:

Train yourself to leave your iPhone on your desk or bedside table so that it’s screen-down. This helps avoid liquid damage should you spill something but, more importantly, it tells the iPhone to not wake in order to show notification messages. Therefore your battery will last longer.

Putting the phone face down also deactivates Hey Siri, so that it no longer listens for the magic words that will cause it to respond (Hey Siri is always-on with the iPhone 6S – unless you turned it off in settings – but only responds if the Lightning cable is connected on the iPhone 5 and 6; putting the phone face down deactivates it regardless of model).

26) Turn web pages into eBooks:

iOS already offers the Reading List feature within Safari that lets you save web pages for viewing later, even if you’ve not got an Internet connection. However, iOS 9 provides another and much cooler way to store a web page for reading at your leisure – you can turn it into a PDF, which will then be added to iBooks.

To make this happen, click the Share button when viewing a web page and tap the Save PDF to iBooks icon at the right of the upper row of icons. The web page will even be formatted into individual pages within the PDF, like a genuine book!

Indeed, if you visit an eBooks site like Gutenberg, and view the novels there as HTML, then this is a quick and easy way of generating your own bonefide eBooks for reading later!

27) Swipe down to return to the camera roll:

How’s this for a quick and easy tip: if you’re viewing an image full-screen, just swipe down to return to the album you were viewing, or to return to the camera roll.

You can already swipe left or right to move forward or back in the list of photos, of course.

28) View details about stations:

Transit directions within the Maps app is a headline feature of iOS , of course, and For example while they presently only cover Greater London for those in the UK, it’s quite surprising how much information Apple has packed in.

For example, the precise location of entrances and exits to stations are shown on the map when you zoom into any station. Additionally, tap on a particular tube line’s identifier within a London station and you’ll see bang-up-to-the-minute schedule information too.

There’s loads more to explore but don’t forget that all of this will be invisible unless you tap the (i) button at the bottom left of the Maps screen and select the Transport option.

29) Turn Siri into an Aussie or American:

It’s always been possible to change Siri’s accent within the Settings app but that would also switch it to listening for that particular accent too – and that could lead to voice recognition errors.

However, in iOS  the control for Siri’s voice has been split from the recognition components, so you can have an Aussie Siri talk to you while it still listens for the British voice.

Just open the Settings app, click General > Siri > Siri Voice, and then make your choice. You might have to download the voice, however, and this will happen automatically when you next connect to Wi-Fi.

30) Time-out quicker:

On the iPhone iOS  now lets you set an auto-lock time-out of a speedy 30 seconds, in addition to the usual 1-5 minute options that were in older releases of iOS.

Just open the Settings app, then tap General > Auto-Lock, and make the selection.

31) Quick access to Apple Pay:

If you’ve added a debit or credit card to Apple Pay (and if not, why not?), you can quickly prepare for a transaction at a checkout by pulling your phone from your pocket and double-clicking the Home button, then leaving your thumb on the Touch ID sensor in order to complete the purchase.

Note that this only works if the iPhone is in sleep mode when you double-click, or if the lock screen is visible. This double-click can be hard to pull-off on the new iPhone 6S, which has much faster Touch ID recognition, so some rehearsal might be necessary!

32) Leave a message in FaceTime:

If you call somebody using FaceTime and they don’t answer (or decline the call, for whatever reason), a new button appears in iOS  offering to let you leave a message.

It’s not a mystery how this new feature works – if you tap the button then you’re simply booted over to the Messages app, where you can type an iMessage.

33) Copying files out of iCloud Drive:       

The iCloud Drive app is a headline new feature within iOS and allows access to the same iCloud Drive you see within Finder on the Mac.

If you can’t see the iCloud Drive app in your launcher, open the Settings app, then tap iCloud > iCloud Drive, and tap the switch alongside Show On Home Screen.

While the file listing within the app is easy to navigate, what’s less obvious is that it lets you copy files to rival cloud storage services – provided you have the app for that service installed, of course. Just tap the (i) button alongside the file, then tap the Share button at the bottom left and select the service you require.

34) Vibrate no more:

If you don’t like the fact your iPhone vibrates then iOS lets you turn it off systemwide in one fell swoop.

Just open the Settings app, then tap General > Accessibility. Scroll down to the bottom to the Vibration heading, and tap to turn it of. Doing so will turn of all vibrations for every system tool, even though elsewhere in the Settings app vibrations will still show as being activated.

35) Do quick maths:

Although iOS already offers quick access to the Calculator app from the pull-up Control Center, and you can do maths by simply asking Siri, in iOS 9 there’s an even easier way to do sums – just drag on the home screen to bring down the search field and then type.

You’ll need to use the standard “computer” maths symbols – an asterisk for multiply, for example, a forward slash for divide and ^ for powers (e.g. 9^2). For square roots type sqrt(x), with x being the number – sqrt(81), for example. You can create some reasonably complicated formulas involving brackets, and constants like pi and e are understood too – just type them!

36) Turn off blocking – temporarily:

Another headline feature of iOS 9 is ad-blocking within Safari. For this to work you’ll need to download an ad blocker app (see this list here for a wide choice), then enable it in the Safari section within the Settings app – click the Content Blocker heading, and then put a check alongside the one you installed.

But what if you’re viewing a website and, for whatever reason, you actually want to view the ads? Just tap and hold the refresh icon at the address field. Then select Reload Without Content Blockers from the pop-up menu that appears. This can be useful if you find a site simply doesn’t work once you’ve enabled an ad-blocker.

37) Create reminders – in Notes:

In a sure sign that the Notes app will soon replace the Reminders app by swallowing up its feature set, Notes in iOS  lets you create check boxes (a.k.a. tick boxes in British English). On an iPad just tap the checkbox symbol above the keyboard when typing a new Note.

On the iPhone you’ll need to first tap the plus symbol above the keyboard to make the toolbar visible. The checkboxes work like any other in that you can tap them to check them, and tap again to remove the check.

Notably compared to Reminders, they’re rather more primitive – Siri can’t work with them, for example, and each entry in the list doesn’t disappear once it’s been checked. Still, for making quick reminder lists it’s a pretty useful addition.

38) Need to check Do they take Apple Pay?

Want to know if a shop or restaurant you’re about to visit accepts Apple Pay?

Use the Maps app to locate it, then view its info by tapping on the pop-out balloon. Beneath the address details might be an Apple Pay symbol – a feature entirely new to iOS . Super simple!

39) More comfortable Reader View:

One of iOS’ lesser known functions, Reader View, receives a welcome update in iOS. Reader View turns any webpage into plain text, formatting it elegantly so it’s ultra-readable.

Only some pages are compatible, however, and you’ll know which because when you access that web page Safari will show a Reader View Available message in the URL field. Just tap the paragraph symbol to the left of this to activate Reader View.

New to iOS , however, are iBooks-like controls to alter the page colour and switch the font. Just tap the aA symbol at the top right. Notably, Reader View now offers a “night mode” for use when it goes dark and you don’t want to be dazzled by the white screen – tap the black circle at the right of the colour options.

40) Swipe down to search:

iOS  lets you swipe down to search instantly if you’re viewing your app icons.

As an alternative you can also swipe right, of course, and this time you’ll see Siri’s various contact, app and news suggestions. However, there’s no need to tap the Search field at the top of this screen to place the cursor there – just swipe down here too. This will clear away all of Siri’s suggestions, and switch the screen to a standard search.

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