11 hidden iPhone features you should be using

iPhone 14 Pro
(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Ah, TikTok. You've brought a lot of shadiness into the world, it has to be said. You've been exploited by hackers to spread malware, for one. You're potentially facing a U.S. ban due to national security concerns, for another. And, worst of all, you drive masses of people to engage in ever more stupid activities for short-term viral fame. 

Despite all your evils, though, you've still done some good. Your brown noise trend helps people get a good night's sleep. You've taught millions how to budget using cash stuffing — pretty crucial in these hard financial times. And perhaps greatest of all, you've shown us some pretty epic iPhone hacks. 

Does that make up for your wrongs? No. But am I grateful for you teaching me how to identify the breed of any dog I pass? You can bet your buttocks I am.

So, in the spirit of gratitude, we thought we'd round up eleven of our favorite iPhone hacks, all of which we learnt from TikTok. Read on to see the hacks that TikTok taught Tom's Guide. 

11 iPhone hacks and tips we learnt on TikTok

We've since covered all of these iPhone hacks ourselves and included the videos below, as well as links to step-by-step guides. For more tech content, make sure you follow @tomsguide on TikTok for regular news, reviews, demos and how tos.

1. Get custom battery alerts with a shortcut

Ever miss those 15%, 10% and 5% battery alerts your iPhone gives you because your phone's on silent? We're the same. Thankfully, TikTok taught us how to set custom battery alerts on iPhone using a simple shortcut. 

With this hack, you can set an alert to go off at 30% or 40%, giving you more of a heads up that you're starting to get low. Better still, you can have Siri announce your battery warning, so even if you keep your iPhone on silent, you'll never miss the battery warnings again.


♬ about damn time x lets get it started by altego - ALTÉGO

2. Track flights using iMessage

That's right, TikTok taught us that your iPhone has an actual flight tracker built into it. Where can you find it? Weirdly, not in Maps or a standalone app, but in iMessage. 

Aside from its strange placement, this feature is super cool, as knowing how to track flights on iPhone can let you to check where someone is if they're flying out to see you, or vice versa. Just don't track Elon Musk. 


♬ about damn time x lets get it started by altego - ALTÉGO

3. Delete multiple contacts at once

When spring draws near, your contact book shouldn't be exempt from a seasonal clean. That's why it was handy when TikTok showed us how to delete multiple contacts on iPhone

Before Apple introduced this hack, deleting multiple contacts involved going into iCloud on a desktop, and was all very long-winded. This new way makes it so much easier, so you can be as ruthless as you like with who gets to stay in your contacts.


♬ original sound - KristyLee

4. Close all your Safari tabs automatically

682 open tabs? We feel you. Thanks to TikTok, though, we learned how to close all Safari tabs automatically. While you can't simply close all your tabs by tapping an X button, as with other browsers, iOS Safari does let you set automatic intervals at which it'll close all your tabs for you. That's even less work! 


♬ American Boy but Shibuya is there too - goalsounds

5. Drag and drop between apps

If you need to move stuff between apps regularly — which, let's face it, you probably do — you'll want to know how to drag and drop between apps on iPhone. This feature is super handy for quickly moving files about your phone without needing to copy and paste. It doesn't work with every file type, but image, videos, PDFs, audio files, and text documents are supported. Thanks again, TikTok.


♬ American Boy but Shibuya is there too - goalsounds

6. Drag and drop between Apple devices

If you thought the last TikTok iPhone tip was neat, this hack is even better. When this trend went viral on TikTok, we were pretty blown away. On top of dragging stuff between apps, you can even drag and drop files between Apple devices using Universal Clipboard. While it isn't exactly hard using AirDrop, this feature makes it even easier to share files between nearby Apple devices — and makes you look like a magician while you're doing it.


♬ original sound - ozu ♚

7. Unlock an interactive weather map

Did you know your iOS Weather app has a hidden interactive forecast mode? Neither did we until this hidden feature blew up on TikTok. Once you know how to access your iPhone's interactive weather map, you can see a rolling precipitation and weather events forecast for the next 12 hours, just like you'd see on TV!


♬ originalljud - Slay

8. Delete characters on Calculator

This one might sound pretty dull, but it's actually super useful. Your iPhone's built-in Calculator app actually has a hidden delete gesture, allowing you to delete characters if you make a mistake. How many times have you just deleted everything and started over because you got the last digit wrong? Well, your troubles are now over.


♬ American Boy but Shibuya is there too - goalsounds

9. Identify any dog breed from a photo

Everyone enjoys a bit of dog spotting. But it can get kind of frustrating when you see a beautiful goodboy but don't know the breed. How will you know what to look for when you try and adopt one of your own? 

Fear not, as we learned from TikTok that you can identify any dog breed on iPhone from a photo using the iOS Visual Look Up feature. You can also use this feature to identify any plant on iPhone if you're a budding botanist, too.


♬ misery 4 u - Nikjaay

10. Take better selfies with the front camera

You're beautiful as you are. But have you ever noticed that your iPhone selfies look a little different to how you look in the mirror? This is because your iPhone flips the image you take with the front camera. In doing so, it provides true representation of what you look like to others, but not what you see in the mirror.

Having images flipped makes a big difference to the look of your selfies, and if you prefer the mirror version, you'll definitely want to learn how to mirror the front camera on iPhone.


♬ loverboy - <3

11. Eject water from your iPhone using a shortcut

Dropped your iPhone down the toilet? No rice in the cupboard? Don't worry, you don't need rice anymore. You can learn how to eject water from your iPhone speakers in a similar way to how you eject water from your Apple Watch.

While all of the current iPhone 14 models and the iPhone 13 models are water resistant and can be submerged in several meters of water without damage for half an hour, leaving standing water in the speakers for much longer can still damage your phone — this hack purges the speakers to ensure they're clean and dry. You can even see the water being expelled!


♬ FEEL THE GROOVE - Queens Road, Fabian Graetz

Here at Tom's Guide, the hints, tips and hacks just don't stop. So, if you want even more iPhone tips, we still have you covered. 

Make sure you learn how to clear RAM on iPhone, as this can help speed your device back up if it's running slow. You might also want to learn how to hard reset an iPhone, as this can help, too. 

Got a new device? Learn how to transfer data from iPhone to iPhone. Keep getting annoying junk messages? Learn how to stop spam texts on iPhone. Sick of ads and pop ups? Learn how to block ads on iPhone and how to block pop ups on iPhone.

If you need some help with the basics, don't worry, we've also got you covered there: every iPhone beginner needs to know how to screenshot on iPhone and how to screen record on iPhone. Keep falling asleep to podcasts? Learn how to enable the iPhone built-in sleep timer.

Next up: make sure you have the functions you need at your fingertips by learning how to customize Control Center on iPhone.

Peter Wolinski
Reviews Editor

Peter is Reviews Editor at Tom's Guide. As a writer, he covers topics including tech, photography, gaming, hardware, motoring and food & drink. Outside of work, he's an avid photographer, specialising in architectural and portrait photography. When he's not snapping away on his beloved Fujifilm camera, he can usually be found telling everyone about his greyhounds, riding his motorcycle, squeezing as many FPS as possible out of PC games, and perfecting his espresso shots.