20+ iPhone tips you’ll use frequently

Useful iPhone tips for the people

Apple, iPhone, iOS 10, tips
Michael Kan

I write about Apple every day. I write opinions, news analysis, tips, features – all sorts of stuff. Today I thought you might enjoy this collection of 20 lesser-known iPhone tips, which I do hope are of use to you. Here we go:

Fickle fingers

Does Touch ID sometimes fail to recognize your finger as fast as you like? You can improve its accuracy by registering the same fingerprint two or more times in the system. You can improve it even more if you register the same fingerprint on a cold day, and when it is damp, as both can impact your print slightly. Add (and name) fingerprints in Settings>Touch ID & Passcode.

Don’t waste data

If you share images using Messages (and most of us do), and keep hitting your data allocation every month why not try to reduce the size of the attachments you share?

You can do this easily in Settings>Messages>Low Quality Image Mode, which you toggle to on (green). Now the images you send will be less high quality, but they’ll take a lot less space.

Silence and light

Camera mode is interesting because:

  • You can turn off the flashlight just by launching the Camera app when the light is on;
  • You can connect your iPhone silently to power if you launch the app on your device before plugging it in.

AirPlane Mode

Your iPhone will recharge much faster in AirPlane mode.


Writing on your iPhone gets a lot easier once you realize that if you hard press the virtual keyboard it will become a touch sensitive cursor you can easily direct to a specific part of your email, Message, or anything else.


Like the cursor tip? Then don’t forget that you can select text by word, sentence, or paragraph. Press deeply once for a word, twice for a sentence and three times to select a paragraph. Don’t worry if this doesn’t work initially – it takes a little time to get the rhythm right.

Apple turnover

Silence Siri and Notifications while in a meeting the easy way: just turn you iPhone face down and the proximity sensor will keep them quiet.


How to delete a mistyped character in calculator: When we accidentally type the wrong number when creating a calculation many of us delete the whole thing and start again, because it’s not obvious how to delete the mistyped number. All we really need to do is swipe a finger left or right in the input field to delete the last typed number.

Easy touch

Press your finger firmly on the far left of the display and swipe to the middle to get to App Switcher, or swipe all the way across the screen to get to the previously used app.


When someone gets in touch it’s frustrating when you don’t know which of the telephone numbers or email addresses to use to get back to them.

It’s easy to figure this out, just open up their page in your Contacts app and look for the word ‘Recent’, that will be the number they last used to make contact with you.

Call wrangling

When you get a call you can’t deal with don’t just ignore it – tap the Remind Me or Message icons to get back to people with an automatic response or to set a reminder to call someone back. You can change these automated message responses in Settings > Phone > Respond With Text.

Space extenders

You’re short of space and you know it, so visit the Movies/Films section of the iTunes Store, find a movie that is larger than your available capacity, and click rent. The rental should not be initiated as you lack the space, instead choose Settings in the dialog that appears. iPhone will automatically flush as much digital stuff as it can, creating you more space, which you can use until you get the chance to create more space manually.

Gimme my… RSS?

To subscribe to a site’s RSS feed in Safari just tap the Bookmarks button, then tap the @ button at the top. At the bottom of the page tap the Subscriptions item – then, at the bottom of the next page tap ‘Add Current Site’. The site will be added to Safari’s built-in RSS reader. You’ll be able to monitor newly published items in the @ field.

Apple Pay

If you use Apple Pay you may have missed this: When paying for items at checkout you do not need to wake up your iPhone and get to Wallet: Instead, just put your Touch ID-registered finger on the Home button and place your iPhone near the reader. Your phone will wake itself up automatically and deal with the rest.

Make a PDF almost anywhere

I recently wrote about this elsewhere, because it’s useful. To make a PDF from almost any iOS app, just tap Share and choose Print. In the Printer Options screen that appears you will see an image of the item you want to print. Use two fingers to expand the image and you’ll enter a preview mode that has its own Share button. Tap this new Share button and you can send it to apps, share it, and do all sorts of other things that may not have been possible using the original app.

Traditional stopwatch

I’m sure you know about the stopwatch feature in the Clock app, but did you know that when you use it you can access a more traditional stopwatch clock face just by swiping your finger left?

Tackle the Tabs

Safari’s ability to handle unlimited tabs is brilliant, but there are three things you may not have noticed:

  • Got a load of open tabs and can’t find the one you need? Turn your iPhone to landscape view and tap the Tabs button at the lower right. You’ll see a new view, at top left you’ll see a search bar. You can use this to search through the webpages and contents you have open in Safari.
  • Closure: Tap and hold the Tab button in any Safari page and you’ll be able to close all your open Tabs in the next item.
  • Reopen: Or tap the Tab button, then tap and hold the + icon to access your Recently Closed Tabs.

Low Power Mode

If you know you want to get more time out of your iPhone one day, don’t forget you can manually switch it to Low Power Mode in Settings>Battery>Low Power Mode. Doing so reduces power consumption by disabling Hey Siri, background app refresh, visual effects, and no longer automatically downloading email, but you’ll get better battery life.

Apple Music

You’ll get more using 3D Touch on Apple Music. When scanning any playlist view a long press on a song title lets you easily access a bunch of useful controls, including Create Station, Love, Dislike, Share and a variety of playback options.

Mail right

Threaded messages are useful, but you may not like the default order in which messages are placed. You can choose whether to show old or new messages first in Settings>Mail.

NB: Unfortunately some of these tips will only work on iPhones with 3D Touch.

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Copyright © 2017 IDG Communications, Inc.

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