20 tips for your iPhone

The 20 best iPhone tricks you didn’t know ex­isted

iPad&iPhone user - - CONTENTS - Ash­leigh Allsopp

The iPhone is an im­pres­sive tool with hun­dreds of bril­liant fea­tures, but there are sev­eral hid­den fea­tures and tricks that you may not have re­alised ex­isted – un­til now. Here, we’ve picked our favourite iPhone tips and tricks that can help you achieve things quicker and eas­ier, and you’ll wish you’d known about them a long time ago.

1. Cre­ate cus­tom iMes­sage replies for calls you can’t an­swer

Some­times it’s not the right time for a phone call; and while you could just let calls you don’t want to take go to voice­mail, some­times you want to ex­plain why you’re not pick­ing up. iOS let you quickly re­spond to a call with a text mes­sage.

De­pend­ing on which ver­sion of iOS you’re run­ning, you ei­ther swipe up­ward on the phone icon that ap­pears next to the un­lock slider and choose Re­spond With Text, or tap the but­ton la­belled Mes­sage above the Slide To An­swer slider.

By de­fault, you’ll get three pre-writ­ten op­tions (“Sorry, I can’t talk right now”, “I’m on my way” and “Can I call you later?”), along with a but­ton that lets you en­ter text there and then. How­ever, you can cus­tomise the pre­pared mes­sages un­der Set­tings

> Phone > Re­spond With Text. You can’t have more than three, how­ever: if you want to add a new one, you’ll have to sac­ri­fice one of the cur­rent op­tions. Tap the one you’re will­ing to lose and type in the new re­sponse.

2. Skip calls with Re­mind Me Later

Al­ter­na­tively, you can get iOS to re­mind you to call back later. As with the auto-replies, the way you do this de­pends on your ver­sion of iOS: in iOS 9 you tap the Re­mind Me but­ton above the slide, but in ear­lier ver­sions you swiped up­wards and se­lected Re­mind Me Later. You can choose to be re­minded in an hour, ‘When I Leave’ or ‘When I Get Home’. Make sure your ad­dress de­tails are up to date in Con­tacts, so your iPhone knows where home is. The tim­ings will be based on your GPS move­ments.

3. Cre­ate cus­tom ring­tones and alert tones in iTunes or GarageBand

You can cre­ate ring­tones for your iPhone based on any mu­sic track in your iTunes li­brary. We looked at this in depth here (the tu­to­rial in­cludes a video to walk you through the process), but to sum up: cre­ate a short, sub-30-se­cond du­pli­cate ver­sion of the track; con­vert the file type of this track from .m4a to .m4r; reim­port the track to iTunes as a ring­tone; sync the ring­tone with your iPhone.

Bet­ter still, you can cre­ate unique cus­tom iPhone ring­tones from your own au­dio cre­ations, and this is es­pe­cially user-friendly if you do the cre­ative work on the iPhone it­self. Cre­ate a 30-se­cond track in GarageBand; go to the Share op­tions and choose Ring­tone; then as­sign it to a con­tact or no­ti­fi­ca­tion.

4. Set cus­tom vi­bra­tions on your iPhone

Want to know who’s call­ing you with­out tak­ing your phone out of your pocket? That’s easy – as­sign a

ring­tone to a con­tact. But what about do­ing it all silently? Not only can you as­sign a cus­tom ring­tone or text tone to a con­tact, you can even give them a cus­tom vi­bra­tion pat­tern.

Open Phone or Con­tacts; se­lect a con­tact, then tap the Edit but­ton in the top-right cor­ner. Scroll down to find the ring­tone field; below it is a vi­bra­tion field. Tap that, and you’ll see an as­sort­ment of builtin vi­bra­tion pat­terns you can choose from. Fur­ther down, though, is the abil­ity to add a cus­tom pat­tern: tap Cre­ate New Vi­bra­tion, and you can tap on the screen to cre­ate your own rhythm. When you’re sat­is­fied (tap the Play but­ton to see what it will feel like), tap Save to set the pat­tern.

If that’s not enough, you’ll need to go back to the con­tact and also as­sign a cus­tom vi­bra­tion pat­tern for text mes­sages.

5. Take pho­tos while shoot­ing videos

You’re us­ing your iPhone to film a mag­i­cal mo­ment, and you wish you could snap a photo at the same time. Don’t stop record­ing! Just tap the cam­era but­ton, which ap­pears on-screen in ad­di­tion to the shut­ter but­ton as you film.

You aren’t us­ing the iPhone’s true photo sen­sor; you’re get­ting the slightly less im­pres­sive video sen­sors in­stead, but the pho­tos should still turn out pretty nicely.

6. Save bat­tery with Low Power Mode

If you know you’re go­ing to be us­ing an iPhone for a long time, then switch to Low Power Mode by tap­ping Set­tings > Bat­tery > Low Power Mode.

Low Power mode re­duces con­sump­tion by turn­ing off a num­ber of iPhone fea­tures. Mail fetches less fre­quently (push is turned off ), Hey Siri is turned off, back­ground app re­fresh is turned off and some vis­ual ef­fects are re­duced. The screen goes

dark af­ter a shorter pe­riod of in­ac­tiv­ity. You may not no­tice the dif­fer­ence (al­though you may not get a vi­tal Mail or So­cial Me­dia mes­sage un­less you check for it). On the whole, though, the iPhone works as nor­mal and the bat­tery will last for much longer.

7. Save PDF to iBooks

You can turn web pages into PDFs and add them di­rectly to your iBooks app. This is handy if you’re read­ing a long web doc­u­ment, or es­pe­cially if you’ve found a HTML book on­line and want to keep a copy of it. When you tap Share, scroll across the apps to find Save PDF to iBooks. Tap it and the web page will be con­verted and added to your book col­lec­tion.

8. Set up Do Not Dis­turb mode

Are you us­ing the Do Not Dis­turb fea­ture? It’s per­fect for in­su­lat­ing you from dis­trac­tions where you’re try­ing to work, or get some sleep.

Do Not Dis­turb can be ac­ti­vated from the Con­trol Cen­tre; swipe up­wards from the Home screen (or from within apps, if you’ve al­lowed that fea­ture) and tap the cres­cent moon icon in the top row of op­tions. A match­ing moon icon will then ap­pear in the top bar of your iPhone screen. (Can we take a mo­ment to ap­pre­ci­ate how el­e­gantly this top icon ‘waxes’ and ‘wanes’ when switched on and off?) With Do Not Dis­turb ac­ti­vated, in­com­ing calls and alerts will be si­lenced.

This is the sim­ple, man­ual method for ac­ti­vat­ing Do Not Dis­turb, but we can get more so­phis­ti­cated than that. Go to Set­tings > Do Not Dis­turb (in the se­cond bank of op­tions), and you’ll see a range of op­tions, in­clud­ing the abil­ity (un­der the la­bel Sched­uled) to set ‘quiet hours’ each day or night.

9. ...un­less it’s an emer­gency

Do Not Dis­turb is very handy, but you might worry that it’s pre­vent­ing an ur­gent mes­sage from get­ting through. But you can set up ex­cep­tions for peace of mind.

Switch Re­peated Calls to ON and you’ll be alerted to a se­cond call from the same per­son within three min­utes. You may get the odd triv­ial call break­ing through, but most mid­night call­ers get the hint if their

vic­tim doesn’t pick up first time. Some­one with ur­gent news would be far more likely to try again.

You can also spec­ify ex­cep­tions for cer­tain peo­ple. Tap ‘Al­low Calls From’ to al­low this to be over­rid­den by calls from Favourites.

(You can add peo­ple to the Favourites list in the Con­tacts app. Se­lect a con­tact, scroll down to the bot­tom of their list­ing and tap Add to Favourites. But re­mov­ing a con­tact, or chang­ing the or­der in which Favourites ap­pear in 3D Touch sub-menus and the like, can only be per­formed from the Phone app - se­lect the Favourites tab along the bot­tom and tap Edit at the top of the next screen.)

10. Quickly add sym­bols

You’ve prob­a­bly been us­ing your iPhone’s key­board for ages with­out re­al­is­ing that it’s ac­tu­ally eas­ier than you thought to add sym­bols to your mes­sages.

In­stead of tap­ping once on the 123 but­ton, once on your cho­sen sym­bol and then once again on the ABC but­ton to go back to the con­ven­tional key­board lay­out, you can do the whole thing in one ges­ture.

Tap and hold the 123 but­ton, slide your fin­ger to se­lect the sym­bol you want to insert, then re­lease. Once it’s been added, your key­board will au­to­mat­i­cally re­vert back to the let­ters key­board. One tap in­stead of three: that’s some se­ri­ous time sav­ings right there.

Oh, and while we’re talk­ing sym­bols: hold your fin­ger on the sym­bol for a se­cond or two and you’ll see any al­ter­na­tive (usu­ally re­lated) sym­bols that the but­ton can of­fer in­stead. The dol­lar key also of­fers pound, euro and yen sym­bols, for ex­am­ple.

There are many ad­di­tional sym­bols hid­den within your key­board that you may never have dis­cov­ered.

11. Dou­ble-space for full stop

This one might sound sim­ple but it’s a tremen­dous time saver that a sur­pris­ing num­ber of iPhone own­ers still don’t know about. In­stead of go­ing to

the sym­bol menu to find a full stop at the end of a sen­tence, you can just dou­ble-tap the space but­ton. It’ll add a full stop to the end of the word you’ve just typed, then a space, and then set you up ready to be­gin the next sen­tence with a cap­i­tal.

(You don’t have to do this par­tic­u­larly rapidly, but if you leave a lengthy pause be­tween the spa­ces this doesn’t work – iOS grudg­ingly ac­cept­ing that you do want to type two con­sec­u­tive spa­ces like some kind of gram­mat­i­cal barbarian.)

12. Shake to undo

This one can be a lit­tle awk­ward at times but it can be a bit of a life saver. If you’ve just typed a long sen­tence and ac­ci­den­tally deleted it, or made some other cat­a­strophic er­ror, you can give your iPhone a shake to bring up the undo/redo di­a­logue box. Just make sure you’re hold­ing on to your iPhone tightly be­fore you shake it.

Since im­ple­ment­ing this fea­ture Ap­ple has added an undo but­ton to the sys­tem key­board, thank­fully, but this only ap­pears when the iPhone is in land­scape mode. If you can’t be both­ered to type like that, get shak­ing.

13. Tap to top

Just scrolled down a re­ally long list in Notes, or worked your weary way through a ton of

emails? In­stead of la­bo­ri­ously scrolling back to the top, you can jump there im­me­di­ately by tap­ping at the very top of the iPhone’s screen. We’d rank this tip with the dou­ble-space full stop: it’s rea­son­ably widely known, but for ev­ery­one else it’s a game-changer.

And it’s not just Notes and Mail; tap to top works in most iPhone apps. (It doesn’t work in the ESPNcricinfo app, we’ve no­ticed, but that app of­fers a lit­tle up­ward ar­row icon that does the same thing. If tap to top isn’t work­ing, check for some equiv­a­lent func­tion.)

Some apps, clev­erly, of­fer an undo on this func­tion, just in case you tap it by ac­ci­dent and lose your place in a long ar­ti­cle. The ex­cel­lent In­stapa­per pops up a Re­turn to Po­si­tion com­mand, for in­stance – and if the menu bars have dis­ap­peared you have to tap the top of the screen twice to ac­ti­vate the fea­ture in the first place. Ex­per­i­ment to see if the app you’re us­ing of­fers some other vari­a­tion on or evo­lu­tion of this handy fea­ture.

14. Quick-delete in the Cal­cu­la­tor app

If you use the cal­cu­la­tor app a lot, you might like this handy and lit­tle-known time-sav­ing trick. The Cal­cu­la­tor app, like real-world cal­cu­la­tors, doesn’t have a delete but­ton, which can be an­noy­ing if you’ve just typed out a long num­ber and made

a mis­take right at the end. For­tu­nately you can swipe across the num­ber in the black area at the top – left or right, it doesn’t mat­ter – and for each swipe, a sin­gle digit will be re­moved from the end of the fig­ure.

15. Stop mu­sic with a timer

This is a cool trick for those of you who en­joy fall­ing asleep to mu­sic. The prob­lem with that is it’ll still be play­ing when you wake up in the morn­ing, and you’ve prob­a­bly just drained most of your bat­tery in the process. Us­ing the hid­den ‘Stop Play­ing’ timer, you can choose how long you want the mu­sic to play for as you drift off to sleep.

To set up the timer, go to the clock app and then tap ‘Timer’ in the bot­tom right of the screen. (You can ac­cess this from Con­trol Cen­tre: swipe up from the bot­tom of the Home screen and tap the stylised clock face on the bot­tom row.) Choose how long you want your timer to last for and then tap ‘When Timer Ends’. Scroll down to the bot­tom of the menu and se­lect ‘Stop Play­ing’.

Press start on the timer and then be­gin play­ing your mu­sic from the Mu­sic app. When the timer ends, the mu­sic will fade to a stop. This trick will also work for au­dio­books and other me­dia.

16. Get your iPhone’s flash to blink when you get a mes­sage

If you find that the vi­bra­tion or sound that your phone makes when you get a mes­sage is not al­ways enough to at­tract your at­ten­tion, there’s an­other el­e­ment that you can add to the alert: light. By go­ing to Set­tings > Gen­eral > Ac­ces­si­bil­ity and scrolling down to the ‘Hear­ing’ sec­tion (this fea­ture is de­signed for peo­ple with hear­ing im­pair­ments), you can turn on ‘LED Flash for Alerts’.

Now ev­ery time you get a no­ti­fi­ca­tion, the flash next to your iPhone’s rear-fac­ing cam­era will blink.

17. Triple-click Ac­ces­si­bil­ity short­cuts

An­other ac­ces­si­bil­ity set­ting that could come in handy is the Ac­ces­si­bil­ity Short­cut, which can be found by go­ing to Set­tings > Gen­eral > Ac­ces­si­bil­ity and then scrolling right down to the bot­tom. Tap ‘Ac­ces­si­bil­ity Short­cut’, and you’ll see a menu of op­tions. Tick­ing se­lected fea­tures in this list al­lows you to ac­ti­vate them eas­ily by triple-click­ing the Home but­ton. You can in­vert the colours of your

iPhone for bet­ter vis­i­bil­ity in low-light, zoom in to tricky-to-see parts of the screen and more.

(If you’ve se­lected more than one ac­ces­si­bil­ity fea­ture to be ac­ces­si­ble via triple-click, a di­a­logue box will pop up and ask which one you want – it doesn’t ap­ply them en masse.)

18. Find words or phrases on a web page

If you’re look­ing for a par­tic­u­lar word or phrase on a web page, you can find it by typ­ing the word or phrase in the URL/search bar at the top of the screen. (As soon as you tap on the top bar the page you were on will be re­placed by a screen filled with your Favourites, but don’t worry – you’re still on the web page. It’ll re­turn as soon as you tap off the top bar or run the in-page search.) You’ll see a list of web search re­sults – and search re­sults from the App Store, Wikipedia and so on if ap­pli­ca­ble, but you need to look at the bot­tom of that list for a sec­tion la­belled “On This Page”, with the num­ber of matches.

Tap it, and you’ll see that the re­sults are high­lighted on that par­tic­u­lar web page in yel­low.

Tap the ar­rows at the bot­tom of the screen to go to the next in­stance.

19. Use your head­phones to take a selfie

Self­ies con­tinue to be all the rage, as we’re sure you’ve no­ticed, but if the qual­ity of your self­ies is a con­cern, try this handy trick.

A de­cent pro­por­tion of iPhone own­ers know that you can ac­ti­vate the cam­era shut­ter by press­ing one of the vol­ume but­tons (vol­ume up or vol­ume down – doesn’t mat­ter which) in­stead of the on­screen but­ton. This tends to pro­duce less cam­era shake. But a still bet­ter op­tion for self­ies – and one that is far less widely known

– is to use the vol­ume but­ton on an at­tached pair of head­phones. When the cam­era app is open on your iPhone, you can use the vol­ume but­ton on an at­tached pair of head­phones to take a photo. Not only does this re­duce shake even more than us­ing the iPhone’s vol­ume but­ton, but it also means you can take a more nat­u­ral-look­ing photo from fur­ther away or take a photo hands-free.

20. Switch di­rec­tion in Panorama mode

You can change the di­rec­tion of your Panorama pho­to­graph in the Cam­era app by tap­ping the ar­row that ap­pears in the middle of the screen in the Panorama mode.

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