12+ useful productivity tips for iPhone

Get more done in a hurry with these useful iPhone tips

Apple, iOS, iPhone, tip, Siri, user interface, productivity, How to
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The great thing about all Apple’s products is that you can start to use them effectively almost as soon as you take them out of the box, but the more you get to know how to control them the more useful they become.

Get around in Maps

Checking for directions in Maps? Double tap the Map to zoom in and you can keep on double-tapping to reach maximum zoom. Another tip: double-tap and keep holding and you can zoom in and out of the map by moving your finger up and down on the display.

The ultimate and amazing Calculator tip

When you enter an incorrect number in Calculator, you don’t need to start all over again, just swipe to the left or right in the calculator input screen.

Get around Mail

You can use Mail’s Mailboxes (and add/subtract from these in the Mail>Mailboxes>Edit menu, where you can add some useful selections you don’t usually see). You can also jump quickly between mailboxes by typing words like ‘flagged’, ‘unread’, ‘sent’, ‘junk’ in the Search field – the relevant mailboxes will appear as an option below your search bar. (Added tip: This is a good way to navigate Mail fast when in Reachability mode).


Open Mail’s Mailboxes, tap Edit and then tap Add VIP. You’ll see your new VIP mailbox appear. Look closely and you’ll see a circled I (for information) button, which you should tap. When you do you’ll be in your VIP list. Tap Add VIP and you can add the contacts you really don’t want to miss messages from (boss, kids, significant other, key colleagues, doctor, for example).

Scroll down to the end of the VIP list and you can assign VIP Alerts – I like to set my iPhone to show previews of incoming items from VIP contacts, but only when my device is unlocked, to prevent other people monitoring my most important communications.

Call handling

Call comes in and you can’t take it? Tap Message on the incoming call screen and you can choose a text message to let the caller know you can’t pick up right now.


Want to speak to one of your contacts on speakerphone? Just ask Siri to call that contact and finish the request with the words “on speakerphone”.

App switching

There’s lots of ways to switch between apps on iPhone, but I like this one best: If your device supports Force Touch just press and hold at the far left of the display to open up the App Switcher, you can then swipe between your apps to slip through them fast. What’s nice about this is that the apps you’ve most recently used are the first you’ll see. (iPhone X users must swipe up from the bottom edge of the display to get this).

AirPlane mode

Switch your iPhone to AirPlane mode when recharging and it will charge up faster. Want to make it even faster? Here’s some help.

Full stop

Double-tap the Space bar to add a period. You’ll find lots more typing tips here.

Safari word search

Looking for a specific word on a Safari website? Just type that word in the search bar and scroll down to the On This Page section to find each instance of that workd on the page.

Say what you need

Siri gets way too much criticism. You can even get it to let you know who is calling when a call is coming in and you are wearing headphones,enable this feature on your iPhone in Settings>Phone>Announce Calls, choose Headphones Only. This is quite useful if you are wearing AirPods at the time. You can also ask Siri to remind you about pages or emails you need to read. Or ask it to set up a meeting with a known, named contact at a particular time and it will create the calendar item and drop them an email invite, also. More Siri tips.

Remind me when

You can create location-based reminders. Here’s how it’s done.

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Copyright © 2018 IDG Communications, Inc.

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