16+ iPhone tips to get things done faster

A short collection of some of my favourite little iPhone tips to get things done a little quicker.

Apple, iOS, iPhone, Siri, tips
Daniel Masaoka / IDG

I’m attempting to put together an attempt at a definitive list of useful but fast tips to get things done quicker and better on an iPhone. Here are some of my favorites.

Siri everything

Siri is the fastest way to open an app. It’s the fastest way to open Settings for an app – just ask Siri to “open Settings” while you are in the app. It’s also the fastest way to send a fast message to someone and the quickest means by which to dictate an email. You can even ask it to switch on Do Not Disturb or schedule meetings with named contacts.

Fast response

Received a message and want to send a response fast? Just long press the message to open its preview and then slide your finger up the screen to find three quick responses you can use.

Long press links on a page

Long press any link on a Safari page and gently swipe up. You’ll get a range of options including opening and sharing the site. Or long press the Safari icon to open a new session. Or long press any app icon to find numerous shortcuts.

Read later offline

Found a webpage in your lunch break you’d like to take a closer look at later when you’re offline? Long press the Bookmark option and add it to your Reading list.

Need power in a hurry? Use AirPlane mode

Switch your iPhone to AirPlane mode and your iPhone will charge more efficiently in the time you’ve got.

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”.

Maps control

Double tap to zoom in Maps. If you keep holding after the second tap you’ll be able to zoom in and out of the map just by moving that your finger up and down the screen.

Fast App Switching

Swipe right in the indicator area at the bottom of the display to get to the last used app. Keep swiping to move between apps.

Quick currency

When you want to type another currency symbol just press and holdthe dollar key and you’ll see a bunch of alternatives you can use. This also works on other characters, so try this on all the keys.

Which number?

Someone made contact and you don’t know which number they used? Just open up their Contacts app listing and the last method they used to make contact with you will be marked as ‘Recent’.


You can ask Mail in iOS to tell you when a new message comes through in a key conversation. Just tap the flag icon and choose 'Notify Me...' in the options that appear.

Refuse the call

When you receive a call you can’t take then swipe down the screen and use one of the commands you’ll find there: Message will send a text message to the caller saying you can’t speak, while Remind Me will remind you to call them back.


The one everyone knows and so many forget: Double-tap the Space bar to add a period.


The other one everyone knows but sometimes forgets – when you enter an incorrect number in the Calculator app you don’t need to start the sum all over again, just swipe back in the numbers field.

Take a snap

Using the Camera app and want to keep the iPhone steady? Just tap one of the volume buttons on the device, or tap the volume up button on your wired earbuds.

I do hope these come in useful from time to time. Lots more here and here.

Please follow me on Twitter, or join me in the AppleHolic’s bar & grill and Apple Discussions groups on MeWe.

Copyright © 2019 IDG Communications, Inc.

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