10 iPhone tricks you’ll wish you’d known sooner
SEATTLE – Jan. 8, 2019 – An iPhone is basically just a computer that fits in your pocket – and in many ways, it's even better than a computer.
The iPhone is more portable than a laptop. The camera is better than many point-and-shoot cameras. Your iPhone may even be able to store more data than a cheap desktop, and the apps are comparable to those on any device on the market.
So it's no wonder certain iPhone features remain buried, and we may never discover them without an insider tip. You can customize almost everything you see and hear, and just when you think you've got a handle on, say, the images you collect, a new trick comes along that changes your entire operational pattern.
Whether you're conversing with Siri or figuring out a new way to navigate your notifications, here are 10 things you didn't know your iPhone could do.
1. Your keyboard can be used as a 'trackpad'
How many times have you awkwardly tried to navigate a text message or email by tapping on the screen where you want to place your cursor? It's maddening, especially if there are minute errors you need to fix. Thankfully, the iPhone can help you your plant your cursor.
All you need to do is press down on your text keyboard, and the keys will disappear. Without the keyboard, you can slide your thumb around in this space to move your text cursor. Press harder, and you can select text.
If you release a bit of pressure, you can deselect text, and then select it again by pressing down. It can take some getting used to, but it's worth a little practice, as you'll be able to navigate much more accurately.
2. Turn on a particular setting to save battery in a pinch
If you've been out all day and forgot a charger, you might be running on fumes when it comes to battery. Luckily, Low Power mode will let you save a little juice for an emergency.
Go to your phone's Control Center and tap on the "low battery" icon to turn it on or off. This should give you a little boost in power, at least until you can get to a charger again and it's all clear.
3. Secretly store photos you don't want others to see
The problem with having your photo albums on iCloud is that others may look over your shoulder and spot an image that, well, requires explanation. If you have a set of pictures in your Photos app that you want to conceal from prying eyes, you can actually hide them from view.
Head to your Photos app, choose the photos you don't want to let others see, and tap the "Share" icon. This looks like a square with an arrow inside. Then choose "Hide."
You'll have to go to your Albums in the Photos app in the future to find them, but they won't be out for just everyone to look at now.
4. Know who is calling before you pick up your phone
If you want to know who's calling you without having to look at your phone, this handy trick should help make things easier.
Go to your Contacts menu, select the person you want to change a ringtone or notification option for, and choose "Edit." From there, go to "Ringtone" and tap on "Default."
You'll be met with a set of options that you can choose for the person of your choice, whether you want to assign unique vibrations or a ringtone, so you know who's calling without having to look at your screen.
5. Scan important documents with the Notes app
Never reach for a scanner again to share important documents and files with others. If you have something that needs scanning, you only need to go as far as your Notes.
Open it up, click the plus sign found at the bottom of the screen near the middle, and choose the "Scan Documents" option. You can use the iPhone camera to take a photo of your document and add it to your notebook. Options like black and white, grayscale, or color will help make sure the scan is of submittable quality.
6. Don't be bothered by messages when driving
If you get a lot of messages or calls while on the road, consider utilizing the "Do Not Disturb While Driving" feature. Turn it on manually via the Control Center, and your phone will automatically swap to this mode when it senses you're in a vehicle going over a certain speed.
All calls, texts, notifications, and other pings will be muted, with an option to send a message to callers that you're driving.
7. Use a one-handed keyboard to improve typing efficiency
If you hate using both hands to type messages, you can opt to use the iPhone's one-handed keyboard instead.
Just open up a message or use your keyboard, and look for the globe button (or the emoji button). Hold it down and choose either the left-handed or right-handed keyboard options. The keyboard will shift to the side you want, and you'll be able to type with one hand this way.
8. Automatically answer calls after a certain amount of time
Sometimes we might be too busy to answer the phone manually, but we don't want to miss calls. This is especially true for folks that opt for earbuds or AirPods to make and receive calls.
You can set your iPhone up to answer calls for you. Go to Accessibility and then Call Audio Routing to find the "Auto-Answer Calls" option, which will let you answer phone calls automatically after a certain amount of time. You can choose how long your phone will wait before it picks up, too.
9. Share something that is on your screen
Ever wanted to share something cool with a friend on your phone, like gameplay from an app or something like that? You can do it natively on the iPhone without having to use an additional program now, thanks to the newest version of iOS.
Go to Settings, then Control Center, then Customize Controls. Then, go to Control Center and tap the screen record icon. It will turn red, and you can exit the menu to do whatever you want. You can also record audio if you'd like. To stop the video, you can tap on the blue banner on the top of the screen or the icon in the Control Center.
Your video will be stored in the Photos and Videos app.
10. Get better answers from Siri by typing your question
You don't have to speak to Siri to work with her. You can instead type to her if you so choose.
For many text-leaning people, this kind of communication may prove more accurate. Go to Settings, then General, then Accessibility and choose the Siri option. Then select "Done."
Siri will answer your query, and likely in a much more accurate manner than if you would have done so with your voice.
Copyright 2019, USATODAY.com, USA TODAY; Tech Talk, Kim Komando
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