Friday, July 12, 2024

Do you have a new iPhone? 23 iPhone Tips and Tricks You’ll Want to Master

Improve your battery life, improve your privacy, and clean up the clutter on your iPhone.

Did you get a new iPhone for the holidays? While getting started with an iPhone can be very simple, tweaking a few settings can really make a difference in the way you use your Apple device. And if you’re new, well, you have a sea of settings to modify.

Maybe you’re ready but find that the battery is draining too quickly, or you want to save some time and set a shortcut to turn on your favorite workout playlist while you hit the gym. There are tricks and quick fixes at your disposal; you just need to know where to find them.

You’re sure to find some great customization options, including some you know and some you’ve never heard of. Do you want to organize your home screen? Do you use your battery a little less throughout the day? You can do all this and more with these 23 iOS settings to improve your phone’s performance.

If you want to check out other iOS features, check out how to unlock your iPhone’s hidden trackpad with the rest of our iOS 17 tips and tricks.

1. Prevent apps from detecting your exact location.

Apps like Doordash and Postmates require your exact location to deliver the food to the right location or directly to you. But that doesn’t mean that every app on your iPhone needs to know where you are at all times. This is why you have the ability to prevent an app from tracking your exact location.

In the Settings app, choose an app (like Instagram, for example), tap Location, and then change the Precise Location. Any app with Precise Location enabled will know your approximate location, within just a few miles.

1. Prevent apps from detecting your exact location.
Screenshots by Nelson Aguilar/CNET

2. Turn the back of your iPhone into a button.

The back of your iPhone can be used as a secret button to enable certain actions like taking a screenshot, turning on Low Power Mode, or running a shortcut that appears when you arrive at the gym. It can play music automatically. The action button on the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max does the same thing, but if you don’t have either of those models, the back of your iPhone works.

However, the option is hidden deep in your settings; Here we explain how to find it.

In the Settings app, go to Accessibility > Tap > Tap Back and choose one of two options: double tap or triple tap. You should see a list of actions you can perform by tapping the back of your iPhone, such as opening the camera, turning on the flashlight, and scrolling up and down. Tap the action or shortcut to activate it with BackTap.

2. Turn the back of your iPhone into a button.
Screenshots by Jason Cipriani/CNET

3. Enable Live Voicemail to get a real-time voicemail transcript.

You get a call and you don’t necessarily want to answer it, unless it’s important. Unfortunately, the only way to know is if you listen to the voicemail left after the call. However, with iOS 17, you can read a real-time transcript of any voice message you leave. That’s right: if someone leaves you a voicemail, you can read it on your phone and choose to connect with the person who left the voicemail and take the call.

The Live Voicemail feature is not enabled by default, so go to Settings > Phone > Live Voicemail and turn it on. that’s all!

4. Get full screen incoming call alerts.

If your iPhone is unlocked and you receive a phone call, a banner-style notification appears at the top of the screen, with a small image and the name or number of the caller, and there are options to answer or reject the call .

This wasn’t always the default option. In the past, when your iPhone was unlocked, incoming calls would take up the entire screen. It was disruptive, sure, but it also got the job done. Banner can be a welcome change for many as it is more discreet and allows you to use your phone while receiving a call.

However, if for some reason you’re not a big fan of the banner and want to switch back to the more attention-grabbing full-screen alert, go to Settings > Phone > Incoming Calls and tap Full Screen.

4. Get full screen incoming call alerts.

5. Disable 5G coverage that you don’t want or don’t have

Apple uses a specific smart data feature for its 5G phones that will automatically switch between 4G LTE and 5G networks depending on how you’re using your device. However, your iPhone battery may drain faster than before. Turn it off if you don’t want to sacrifice battery life for the faster speeds of 5G. You can always turn 5G back on whenever you want or when service improves in your area.

To turn off 5G on your iPhone, force it to always use 4G LTE (even if you have 5G coverage), open the Settings app, then go to Cellular > Home > Voice & Data and tap LTE. Alternatively, if you want your iPhone to use a 5G connection exclusively when available, you can select 5G on.

6. Adjust the amount of data consumed by a single 5G connection.

If you’re happy with your 5G performance, here are some network settings you should check. Go to Settings > Cellular > Home > Data Mode, where you will find three options: Allow more data on 5G, Standard, and Low data mode.

Although you can read brief descriptions below of the three settings, they don’t show the full picture of the first option. According to an Apple support document, allowing more data in 5G will give you higher quality videos and FaceTime calls. It allows your phone to download software updates and stream high-definition Apple TV and Apple Music content, and allows third-party developers to improve their respective apps.

The default settings on this page will depend on your carrier and data plan, so it’s a good idea to check your iPhone and make sure it’s set up correctly based on your preferences.

7.Prevent apps from cluttering your home screen.

The App Library is a place where you can quickly find and access all your apps. And when apps are placed here, all newly downloaded apps also appear on the home screen. This may not be a problem if you download apps sparingly, but if you install new apps regularly, they can quickly clutter your home screen.

To prevent downloaded apps from appearing on your home screen, go to Settings > Home screen & app library and select App library only. If you want to search for an app, you’ll need to swipe left on the home screen until you reach the app library.

7.Prevent apps from cluttering your home screen.

Unlock your phone while wearing a mask.

Unlocking your iPhone with Apple’s Face ID technology can be frustrating if you wear a mask in public. Since half your face is covered, Face ID doesn’t work. And while entering your password to unlock your phone works, it’s not that easy.

With iOS, you have the option to activate the Face Unlock feature that makes it easier to unlock your iPhone when you are wearing a mask. Before the update, you could only unlock your iPhone if you had an Apple Watch.

To unlock your iPhone with your Apple Watch, open the Settings app on your iPhone and then open the Face ID & Passcode option. Scroll down until you find the Unlock with Apple Watch section (you must be connected to the Apple Watch for this setting to appear), where you can unlock the settings of any watch connected to your iPhone. You can activate the function.

If you have an iPhone with iOS 15.4 or later, you can unlock your iPhone using a skin without an Apple Watch. Go to the Settings app and open Face ID & Password. From there, you can activate the Face ID with mask option. This is very amazing.

9. Move the address bar in Safari again.

The address bar in Safari was moved to the bottom of the screen a few years ago – welcome for those with small hands who had trouble reaching it with one hand up. While this motion may seem more natural since it’s closer to the keyboard and where you normally place your thumbs, it can be off-putting since some people are used to seeing the URL bar near the top of the screen.

If you want to move the address bar back to the top of the screen, go to Settings, tap Safari, and select the Single Tab option under the Tabs subheading.

10. Add features that can be used when your iPhone is locked.

There are times when you want to have certain information at hand even when your phone is locked. That’s why Apple allows you to enable certain features without unlocking your device, such as Notification Center, Control Center, the ability to reply to messages, and the Wallet app.

To customize the features you want to access on the lock screen, launch the Settings menu, tap Face ID & Password, and enter your password when prompted. Scroll down until you see the Allow access when locked section and change the sliders to your preference.

10. Add features that can be used when your iPhone is locked.

11. Make your favorite email app or web browser your default

It’s not just about Safari. On your iPhone, you have the ability to choose your default apps, at least for email and web browsing. This means that when you tap a link or button to send an email, your iPhone will automatically launch the web browser or email provider of your choice instead of Safari or Mail.

To get started, open the Settings menu and select the app you want to set as default (like Google Chrome or Outlook). You should then see a button that says Default Mail App or Default Browser App. Tap this option and select your preferred app instead of Safari or Mail.

11. Make your favorite email app or web browser your default

12. Receive full notifications on your lock screen.

When you first experience Apple’s Face ID technology, you’ll notice that you can’t see the content of new alerts and notifications on the lock screen. For example, instead of seeing who texted you and what they say, you’ll just see a generic message alert.

By default, all iPhones with Apple’s Face ID technology will hide the alert content until you pick up the phone and unlock it. It’s a privacy feature I enjoy, but I also understand how annoying it can be (I’ve heard some complaints from readers and family members alike).

You can change how notifications appear on the lock screen by going to Settings > Notifications > Show preview and selecting Always. On the other hand, you can choose Never if you want to always keep the content of your notifications hidden on the lock screen.

13. Disable (or enable) HDR video for video sharing.

The iPhone can record high dynamic range (HDR) video with Dolby Vision. This means your videos tend to be brighter, with more accurate colors and better contrast. This may be ideal for some people, but if you don’t want videos to auto-adjust because you want to do it yourself, there is a way to turn off the feature.

You can turn off HDR video by going to Settings > Camera > Video Recording and moving the switch next to HDR video to the off position. In the future, all videos will be captured in standard dynamic range.

14. Personalize your home screen with stylish wallpapers

Another home screen adjustment you should make has to do with the wallpaper or background. Apple has many of its own wallpapers, with a nice touch.

Open the Settings app on your iPhone and select Wallpaper from the list. Make sure the switch labeled “Dark Appearance Dims Wallpaper” is turned on, which you’ll see below the two thumbnail previews of your wallpaper. Now, tap on Choose New Wallpaper and choose Still Images or Live. See the circle near the bottom of each wallpaper? It’s half black, half white.

This circle means that the wallpaper has light and dark mode versions and will change automatically based on your phone’s system status.

If you are not convinced about dark and light mode, you can also set a live wallpaper as your background.

15. Activate dark mode to save battery.

Speaking of dark mode, if you don’t want to have to adjust the screen brightness every now and then, you can use your phone’s dark mode. Dark mode changes all white app backgrounds to, for the most part, a black background. In turn, your phone can save battery life thanks to darker colors.

Turn it on by going to Settings > Display & Brightness and selecting the Dark option at the top of the screen. You can also swipe down from the top right of your iPhone and tap the Dark Mode icon in Control Center.

Apple apps will automatically switch to a darker color scheme and most third-party apps have also adopted this feature.

15. Activate dark mode to save battery.

16. Manage your notifications with Focus mode.

We receive a lot of information every day, but not all of it is relevant all the time. That’s why Apple introduced a feature called Focus Mode. Think of it as a custom Do Not Disturb feature tailored to specific situations.

Focus mode blocks less relevant alerts and allows notifications from important people and apps to arrive so you don’t miss a thing. You can set a variety of focus modes for specific situations.

Apple currently offers Do Not Disturb, Personal, Sleep, Work, Driving, Fitness, Gaming, Mindfulness, and Reading options, but you can also create your own custom mode. You can schedule focus modes to activate automatically when needed and display their status in apps to let others know you’ve muted notifications.

To get started, open the Settings menu, tap Focus, and select one of the available options to set your notification preferences. Tap the plus sign (+) in the top right corner to add a new focus.

17. Make your screen text bigger or smaller

With a few taps on your iPhone screen, you can adjust the font size to make it easier to read. Open Settings and go to Display & Brightness > Text Size, where you can use the slider until you’re happy with the font size. To add an extra touch, you can turn on bold text (it’s right below the text size button).

18. Add an alternative look to Face ID.

Apple’s facial recognition feature, Face ID, continually learns different aspects of your face with each scan. If you’re having trouble getting Face ID to recognize you consistently, try the alternate appearance option.

Go to Settings > Face ID & Password > Enter your PIN > Set an alternate appearance and follow the process of re-registering your face.

19. Turn off auto brightness for longer battery charge.

The brightness level of your iPhone screen can have a big impact on battery life. By default, iOS will automatically adjust the screen brightness based on the amount of light its ambient sensor detects. But if you want full control, you can turn off auto-brightness, which means the brightness level will stay there until you adjust it again.

Open Settings > Accessibility > Display & Text Size, and at the bottom of the page you’ll find a switch to turn off auto-brightness.

Now, whenever you want to adjust your screen, you can do so by swiping up from the bottom of the screen on a device with a home button, or swiping down from the top right corner on newer iPhones to open Control Center .

19. Turn off auto brightness for longer battery charge.

20. Sort your privacy settings.

The first time you set up your iPhone with all your apps, you receive messages asking for permission to access personal information, from tracking your location to Apple Health information to accessing your camera roll.

It’s easy to get into the habit of approving everything just so you can use an app, but take a few minutes and go into your privacy settings to see what each app can and can’t see. We guide you through the entire privacy process in two quick steps.

21. Use Control Center to access apps by swiping or tapping.

iPhone Control Center is a convenient place to quickly change songs, activate airplane mode, connect to Wi-Fi, or start a timer, but there’s more. You can quickly turn on your flashlight, check the stopwatch, or start recording your screen with just a quick swipe and tap.

Customize which apps and features are available in Control Center by opening Settings > Control Center. Delete an option by tapping the red minus button or add an option by selecting the green plus button. Drag the features up or down using the three-line icon on the right side of the screen.

Personally, I like the quick access to the Wallet app and toggling between low power mode and dark mode.

As a reminder, if you have an iPhone with a home button, like the iPhone SE, you can swipe up from the bottom of the screen to open Control Center. If you have an iPhone with Face ID, you’ll need to swipe down from the top right corner of the screen where the battery icon is.

  1. Manage alerts with notification summaries.

Apple wants to help you manage your notifications on iOS, starting with the Notification Summary feature. Instead of notifications piling up on your home screen, you can schedule non-urgent alerts to arrive in a package at a specific time of day.

Important notifications like calls, direct messages, and other urgent alerts (for example, the status of your Uber or Lyft ride) will continue to appear immediately.

To try it out, open Settings, tap Notifications, and tap Schedule Summary.

23. Change Siri’s voice.

If you recently set up a new iPhone, you may have noticed that Siri no longer has a female voice by default. Instead, you’ll be asked which Siri voice you want to use, including several newer options. Once you make your choice, Apple will change Siri’s voice on all devices linked to your Apple ID.

You can check the voice options by going to Settings > Siri & Search > Siri Voice. For more information, check out our complete guide to changing Siri’s voice. Apple also added a gender-neutral Siri voice option for English speakers.


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