One of the best aspects about having an iPhone is figuring out all the helpful, under-the-radar hacks that make this powerful device even more effective. Of the hundreds of secret features hiding in your iPhone, the following eight hacks are among the best.
1. How to charge your battery faster
Did you know that your iPhone battery will charge more quickly if you put your device on Airplane Mode first? Since Airplane Mode turns off some of the phone’s features, such as cellular and Wi-Fi networking, the battery doesn’t have to work so hard while it’s charging, which means that it can charge faster. To activate Airplane Mode, simply open your Control Center and tap on the airplane icon.
2. How to get a notification light on your iPhone
Unlike a number of other smartphones, the iPhone doesn’t display a blinking light when you receive a text or other notification. Fortunately, if you want to be able to determine at a glance whether you have messages waiting for you (without having to constantly check your phone screen), there is a way to hack your device to get this feature. Go to the Accessibility page of your Settings menu, tap Audio/Visual and then LED Flash for Alerts, and toggle the slider to On. When this feature is enabled, the camera flash on the back of your device will blink to let you know that you have a new notification.
3. How to take photos without touching the screen
Tapping the on-screen camera button isn’t always the simplest way to take a photo on your iPhone, especially if you’re trying to hold the device steady with both hands. For a quick and easy alternative, try using the volume button instead: open up the camera app, then press the volume up button to take a photo. (You can even do this using headphones with an inline remote.)
4. How to type commands for Siri
If you use the iPhone’s digital assistant Siri, you’re probably accustomed to dictating your commands or questions, but did you know that you can also communicate with Siri by typing? This feature can come in handy in situations where you need Siri’s help, but saying the answers out loud isn’t an option. On the Accessibility page of your Settings menu, tap Siri, then toggle the Type to Siri slider to On. The next time that you activate Siri, a keyboard will appear that you can use to type your command.
5. How to add a virtual Home button
Beginning with the iPhone X, Apple discontinued the Home button on its phones, and many users found that they missed this useful piece of hardware. To bring back the functionality of the Home button in a virtual form—and thus obtain faster access to features that would otherwise require multiple taps or gestures—go to the Accessibility page in your Settings menu and toggle the AssistiveTouch slider to On.
6. How to reach far-away icons more easily
If you tend to use your iPhone with only one hand, then you’ve probably noticed that reaching the icons in the far opposite corner has become more difficult, as iPhone screens have become increasingly larger. Fortunately, iOS has a special feature designed to precisely address this issue. Reachability, as it’s called, temporarily moves icons at the top of your display toward the bottom in order to make them easier to reach. To use this feature on an iPhone X (or newer model), just swipe down from the indicator line displayed at the bottom of the screen. After you have done so, you’ll notice that all of the contents of the screen have moved toward the bottom. After you’ve tapped the item that you want, the screen will return to normal. You can also tap anywhere else to cancel this action.
7. How to swap your keyboard for a trackpad
If you’ve ever wished that your iPhone came with a mouse, just like a laptop, this hack is for you. In any app that involves text editing using the default iPhone keyboard, you can replace the keyboard with a trackpad to make moving the cursor around on the screen easier. Open your app of choice, then press and hold any key on the keyboard. After the letters on the keys disappear, you can drag your finger around the keyboard just as if you were controlling a mouse on a standard trackpad. As soon as the cursor is positioned where you’d like it to be, simply lift your finger away from the screen.
8. How to quickly undo typing
If you type a long note or text message, then change your mind about it, there’s no need to hold down the backspace key to delete it all. Instead, enable Shake to Undo for a quick-erase option. On the Accessibility page of your Settings menu, under Touch/Interaction, find Shake to Undo and toggle the slider to On. Then, the next time you type text that you want to erase, just shake your iPhone. A pop-up window will appear that offers you the option to Undo: tap that button and your text will disappear.