15 iPhone Tips Everyone Should Know
The iPhone is known for its ease of use, but there's a lot of great stuff you can do if you dig just a little bit beneath the surface. These handy tips can help you get things done faster, enjoy longer battery life, improve your photos and more.
Make Custom Vibrations for Contacts
How do you know who's trying to text or call you when your phone is in your pocket? You don’t need a smartwatch. Just pick a custom vibration alert for that contact by selecting Edit in the top right corner, then tapping the Vibration option under Ringtone or Text Tone. There, you'll be able to choose from seven standard vibration alerts. Even better, you can select Create New Vibration and tap out a pattern of your own. I chose the beat to the Cosmos soccer team for my best friend.
Get a Better Signal
Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't, but it’s always worth trying. When you find that you don’t have enough 4G signal strength to download that email or share that Facebook photo, try toggling cellular data on and off quickly. Just slide up from the bottom of the screen to open the Control Center, tap the airplane icon to enter airplane mode, then tap it again to deactivate airplane mode after a few seconds. A good portion of the time, you'll wind up with a better signal.
Get A Better Signal
Save Battery Life by Disabling Location Tracking
There are plenty of ways to make your iPhone's battery last longer, including using Auto Brightness for the display and enabling Low Power mode. But apps also play a role, especially if they're tracking your location even when they're not in use. Go to Settings/Privacy and Tap Location Services. In general, we don't recommend that you turn these services completely off, but we do recommend that you go through your list of apps on this screen and decide which should be set to Never or While Using. Don't select Always unless it's a maps or navigation app.
No Bluetooth Speaker, No Problem
Use this trick if you don't have a Bluetooth speaker with you and you want to pump up the volume. Face the speakers on the bottom of your iPhone toward the nearest wall to bounce the audio off it. Whether you're in the kitchen cooking dinner or in the bathroom getting ready for work, the reverberation should make whatever you're listening to sound louder.
Enable Wi-Fi Calling
When you're at home or work and want better reception, you can use Wi-Fi calling so that your conversations aren't going over the cellular network. This should result (depending on the speed of your Wi-Fi) in clearer calls and could save you money if you're not on an unlimited minutes plan. Under Settings, scroll down and tap Phone, then select Wi-Fi calling and enable the feature. (You may need to go through a few more screens from your carrier before it's all set up.)
Delete Parts of Messages Without Losing the Thread
Maybe you have a snooping spouse or you just don’t want your sensitive messages — or parts of them — falling into the wrong hands. Redact those questionable exchanges by pressing and holding on the text in question, then tapping the More button and then the Trash icon on the left bottom part of the screen.
Brighten Up Dark Photos
It's not that obvious to most iPhone shutterbugs, but you can increase the exposure on the iPhone's camera when you're trying to let in more light. To do it, you just tap on the area of the live view of the photo you'd like to brighten, then drag your finger up on the little sun that appears. You can lower the exposure as well by dragging your finger down on the screen.
Use Siri Suggestions to Save Time
One of the things I like about iOS 9 is that it now suggests apps based on time of day and your routine. Swipe left from the home screen to see Siri App Suggestions, which in my case suggests the NJ Transit app each night, which I use as my bus ticket home. You'll also see suggested contacts, as well as shortcuts to place recommendations and news headlines.
MORE: 10 Siri Tricks
Close Three Apps at Once
No, closing apps actually doesn't help battery life, but some of us just prefer to keep things less cluttered on our iPhones. If you have a lot of apps open, just double press the Home button, then position three fingers on the screen and swipe upward to zap three apps at once.
Close Three Apps at Once
Create Contextual Reminders with Siri
With iOS 9, you can tell Siri to scan whatever's on your screen to create a reminder with the proper context. For example, you can say, "Remind me about this article when I get home," when you're viewing an article in the Safari browser, and the reminder will pop up later with the proper link attached. Or you could say, "Remind me about this at 5 p.m.," if you're composing an email and want to send it later.
Text Faster with Shortcuts
Even if you count yourself a swift touch-screen typist, you can send that text or email faster if you use the Text Replacement feature in iOS settings. Go to Settings/General/Keyboard, then select Text Replacement. Once there, you can create a new shortcut by hitting the + button and entering the phrase and shortcut. The next time you type the shortcut, you'll see it appear after you type the characters and the space button. Even better, you can program shortcuts for emojis.
Shrink Your Screen with Reachability — Great for the Plus
The giant screen on the iPhone 6 Plus and 6s Plus are great, though not when you're trying to use your phone with one hand. The Reachability mode in iOS makes essentially shrinks the screen in half so you don't have to sprain a thumb. Just double tap — but don't press — on the Home button to make the screen smaller, then double tap it again to return things to normal. Just keep in mind that this mode doesn’t support keyboard input, which is a bummer.
Quickly Save Draft Emails
It used to be that you had to Cancel an email and then select Save Draft to save it. Now, all you need to do is swipe down from the top of the message to save it as a draft, at which point you’ll see it shrink down so that only the subject line will be visible at the bottom of the screen. After you’re done scanning your inbox or searching for that other email, just tap that narrow bar at the bottom to bring up the full message again.
Search Settings Fast
The iOS Settings menu seems a little dense at first, but you can get right to the option you need just by entering a search term. On the Setting screen, scroll up to reveal the search bar, then type in the specific setting you’re looking for, even if it's buried a couple levels deep. So you can search for things like Low Power mode (under Battery) or Text Size (under Display and Brightness).
Correct Siri's Pronunciation
There's nothing more frustrating than hearing Siri mispronounce the names of friends and family, especially when they share your last name. Fortunately, you can correct Apple's assistant. When you hear something from Siri that makes you shiver, simply say, "That's not how you pronounce X," and it'll give you a few options from which to choose.
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