30 Hidden iPhone Hacks You Never Knew About
From charging the battery faster to taking a hands-free photo, these secret iPhone hacks will be your new favorite tricks.
You’ve been missing out on these iPhone hacks!
Chances are, you have only scratched the surface of the amazing things your iPhone can do. Your trusty companion boasts dozens of iPhone hacks that will make using your smartphone faster, easier, and more effective. With new features being added with each iOS release, it’s important to stay up-to-date—or you risk falling behind on all the best iPhone tricks, like how to tell if someone blocked your number, how to delete apps, how to screen record and even unlocking your iPhone without a passcode.
Tag contacts in group messages
The next time you want to get someone’s attention in a group chat, tag them by typing the @ symbol followed by their name. Then hit the space bar or add a punctuation mark to make the person’s name bold and the @ symbol disappear. The person mentioned will receive a notification when you send the message. If you accidentally delete a message, here’s how to retrieve deleted text messages on an iPhone.
Change your default web browser and email app
If your phone is running the latest iOS, you can make Google Chrome, Firefox, or any other web browser your default browser instead of Safari. You can also change your default email. Rather than automatically opening Apple Mail to write a new email or block spam emails, you can now select an app like Microsoft Outlook or Gmail as your default.
Add captions to photos and videos
To caption any photo or video you take, just swipe up on an image or video, tap the “Add a Caption” field, and write your caption or keyword. It will automatically save to your iCloud Photos once you’re finished. You can find the image later by typing the caption or keyword into your iPhone’s Search window. Also of note: You can hide private photos that you don’t want others to see.
Respond to single messages
Reply to specific messages in a group thread by tapping and holding the message you want to respond to, selecting “Reply” in the menu of options, and then typing and sending your message. Your response will start a new thread inside the chat, and you’re now officially following the proper group texting etiquette.
Hide unused apps
Want to remove unused apps from your home screen without completely deleting them? Store them in Apple’s App Library instead. All you have to do is press and hold the app, tap “Remove App” from the pop-up menu, and select “Move to App Library.” If you want to do more than hide apps on an iPhone, you can delete them. But be sure you do these four things before deleting an app.
Add widgets to your home screen
Good news: It’s now possible to see your favorite apps, like Weather, Reminders, and Apple News, at a glance. Just drag and drop widgets from the Today View onto your home screen, or add widgets from the home screen’s edit menu. Aside from using widgets, you’ll want to steal these brilliant iPhone hacks from highly organized people.
Launch apps faster
As you search for apps through the App Library or default Search tool, your phone will predict the best match and put it at the top of the results. If that’s the app you want, you can open it immediately by tapping “Go” on the keyboard. For more app-related iPhone hacks, check out how to lock apps on an iPhone.
Search the Web without a browser
There’s no need to open Safari or another Web browser to search for something online. Instead, swipe left to open your Search window, type in the search terms, and open the results directly from the page. While these iPhone hacks will save you time, you shouldn’t waste a moment on these Internet hacks that just don’t work.
Get a faster charge
For a quick way to top up, turn on Airplane Mode as you charge. Doing so will temporarily pause your phone’s background noise (such as Web-based notifications and GPS roaming), which tends to drain the battery as it charges. FYI, learning how to save battery life on your iPhone can prevent such mishaps going forward.
Quickly launch a website
Take a shortcut while browsing the Web by typing the address into Safari and then holding down the period icon on your phone’s keyboard to bring up a list of URL endings. Options range from the standard suffixes (.com and .net) to the more uncommon ones (.edu and .gov). Speaking of iPhone keyboard hacks, there’s a hidden mouse on your iPhone’s keyboard too.
Get more storage space
Want to make the most of your iPhone’s storage space? Clean out your phone’s RAM, which reduces the amount of space your apps might be taking up. If you have an older iPhone with a home button, this is quick and simple: Just hold down the “power” button, wait until you see the option to slide and power off your phone, and then hold down the “home” button.
For newer iPhones with Face ID, there’s an added step. First, turn on Assistive Touch in Settings by going to Accessibility, scrolling down to Touch, and toggling on Assistive Touch. Next, hold down the “power” button and the “volume up” button until you see the option to slide and power off your phone. Tap the Assistive Touch icon (a gray circle), then hold the “home” button. If you still need more space, try to factory reset your iPhone.
If Siri says something wrong—such as a name or an address—correct her by responding with, “That’s not how you pronounce…” and Siri will ask for the correct pronunciation. Once you give it to her, she will repeat it back to you to make sure she’s got it right. Here’s how to get Siri to crack a few jokes too.
Make the screen smaller
One-handed texters, try moving your iPhone’s keyboard closer to your left or right palm by holding the emoji button and selecting one of the keyboards on either side. You can also swipe downward at the base of the screen—in the center, where you’ll notice a horizontal line—to shift the entire top of the iPhone screen down. (For older phones, you can accomplish this by tapping the home button twice.) Both iPhone hacks will make the entire screen much more accessible for the average-sized hand.
Find out what your phone knows about you
In Settings, go to Privacy and then Location Services. Tap on System Services, then scroll down to Significant Locations to see the places you’ve been as well as how much time you spent there. You can clear your location history by tapping “Clear History” and can turn off the feature by clicking the Significant Locations toggle at the top. (Here’s more on how to turn off location tracking on an iPhone.) But you’re not safe yet—find out the sneaky way Facebook is tracking where you are too.
Make every text notification unique by selecting a person in your Contacts and tapping “Edit.” From there, go to “Vibration” and tap “Create New Vibration” to select a custom vibration for that person. Another clever iPhone hack to learn is how to hide text messages on an iPhone, especially if you want to keep your conversations private.
Set a timer for your music
In the Clock app, click the Timer icon and then the “When Timer Ends” field. Scroll all the way to the bottom, then tap the “Stop Playing” option and hit “Set.” Select the amount of time you want the music to play, then hit “Start.” Your phone will stop playing the tunes (on both Apple Music and Spotify) when the timer runs out. There’s also a simple way to make your music play louder on your phone.
Use the Measure app as a household tool
Opening your iPhone’s Measure app will activate two very practical tools: a digital level and a tape measure. The app uses augmented reality to gauge the size and dimensions of objects, show the angle at which a surface is crooked, and even take a measurement through the phone’s camera.
Take a hands-free photo
Turn on your iPhone’s voice command function in Settings by going to Accessibility and then Voice Control. Once it’s set up, you can ask Siri to open your camera and turn the volume down, and your iPhone will capture the moment. If you have an Apple Watch, you can also take a picture by opening its Camera Remote app and pressing the shutter button. Learn more things you didn’t know your Apple Watch could do.
Erase text with a shake of your hand
To quickly erase what you just typed in the Messages or Notes apps, give your phone a good shake and tap “Undo” in the box that pops up. Want the text back? You can always shake your phone again and select “Redo” to make the text reappear. You can also swipe left with three fingers to erase text and swipe right with three fingers to put it back.
Boost your texting pace
Instead of shifting back and forth between keyboards to type numbers and symbols, just hold your finger down on the “123” button, drag it over the number or symbol you want, and then let go. Once you get the hang of it, you can shave seconds off each text message you write.
Lock the camera’s focus and exposure
Try holding your finger on the screen until the “AE/AF Locked” box appears at the top of the screen. Now, the camera won’t lose its focus or exposure settings, no matter which way you twist and turn. Don’t leave this app open for too long, though, because your iPhone’s camera is one of the sneaky things killing your smartphone battery.
Press one button to make a call
To redial the last number you called, simply open your keypad and tap the green phone icon. One way this can come in handy is if you’re looking for a stolen iPhone or a lost iPhone. If a friend recently called your phone, they can redial your number and see if it rings. It’s also useful to know how to see (and delete) your iPhone call history.
Record a video and take a picture at the same time
To snap a photo while filming a video, just press the shutter icon next to the video button. One warning: Because the photo is taken by the video camera’s sensors, it won’t turn out as high-quality as your other images. If that’s the kind of thing you care about, learn how to edit photos on your iPhone so they look even better.
Take a photo when your storage is full
Snapping a photo through your Facebook or Twitter app will allow you to bypass that pesky “Storage Full” notification. All you have to do is start a new tweet or post, click the camera icon, and then take your photo. The resulting picture will be saved to your Camera Roll. Next, learn how to recover deleted photos from your iPhone.
Get flash notifications
If you’re hard of hearing or just tired of loud, annoying iPhone notifications, you can activate the camera flash to blink every time your phone goes off instead. In Settings, scroll down to Accessibility and tap on Audio/Visual. Toggle on “LED Flash for Alerts” to make use of this feature.
Write on email attachments
Believe it or not, you can add notes, text, a magnification window, and more to your email attachments straight from your iPhone. Open the PDF in your Mail app and tap on the pencil icon in the top right corner to write on it. You can also tap the + symbol in the bottom right corner to add text, a signature, or use the magnification tool.
Sign a document
To sign a PDF file on your iPhone, simply download the file and click the pen icon in the top right corner. After you sign the document, click “Done” in the top left corner, and your phone will give you options to send the signed attachment in an email. You can also share signed documents between your Apple devices if you learn how to use AirDrop—it can really come in handy in a pinch.
Find an iPhone’s owner
If you ever find someone’s misplaced iPhone, just hold down the home button and ask Siri, “Whose phone is this?” She’ll tell you the owner’s name so that you can get in contact and return the device. By the way, your iPhone can get a virus if it falls into the wrong hands, so make sure you maintain good iPhone security to stay safe.