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25 Hidden iPhone Hacks You Never Knew About

From charging the battery faster to taking a hands-free photo, these are the secret iPhone hacks you'll wish you knew sooner.

Person using Apple iPhone 11 Pro.grinvalds/Getty Images

You’ve been missing out!

Chances are, you’ve only scratched the surface of the amazing things your iPhone can do. Your trusty companion boasts a bunch of hidden features you never knew about, and dozens of little tricks will make using your iPhone 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 the secrets Apple insiders know about iPhones that you don’t.

iphone trick - tag contacts in group messagesvia iPhone

Tag contacts in group messages

The next time you want to get someone’s attention in a group chat, mention them directly by typing the @ symbol followed by their name. Then, hit the space bar or add punctuation to bold the person’s name and make the @ symbol disappear. After you send the message, the mentioned person will receive a notification. This way, your message won’t get lost in a long thread. Find out if you’re guilty of these 12 annoying texting habits that bother almost everyone.

iphone trick - Change your default web browservia iPhone

Change your default web browser

So long, Safari. With iOS 14, you can make Google Chrome, Firefox, or any other web browser your default. Same goes for emails: Rather than automatically opening Apple Mail to write a new email, you can now select another app like Microsoft Outlook or Gmail to be your preferred account, instead. But before you do, beware of these mistakes that Apple experts don’t want you to make.

iphone trick - Add captions to photos and videosvia iPhone

Add captions to photos and videos

Thanks to the latest iPhone update, you can now add captions or keywords to any photo or video you take. Just swipe up on an image or video to add your caption, and it will automatically save to your iCloud Photos. To quickly find the image later, type in the caption or keyword in your iPhone’s Search window. Learn how to hide private photos on your iPhone and iPad, too.

iphone trick - respond to single messagesvia iPhone

Respond to single messages

Replying to specific messages is the new-and-improved way to clear up confusion on a chatty group thread. Tap and hold the message you want to respond to, select “Reply” in the menu of options, and then type and send your message. Now your reply has started a new thread inside the chat—and everyone is on the same page. Make sure you know these other group texting etiquette rules.

iphone tricks - hide unused appsvia iPhone

Hide unused apps

While iPhone apps offer plenty of bells and whistles to improve our lives, you probably don’t use most of them regularly. Thankfully, you can now move your unused apps to Apple’s “App Library” on iOS 14. Simply tap “Remove App” from the app’s quick actions, then select “Move to App Library.” If your iPhone still feels cluttered, try these clever tricks to free up storage on your smartphone.

iphone tricks - Add widgets to your home screenvia iPhone

Add widgets to your home screen

Good news: It is now possible to see your favorite widgets, like Weather, Reminders, or 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. Tidying up the home screen is just one of the brilliant things that highly organized people do on their smartphones.

iphone tricks - Launch apps fastervia iPhone

Launch apps faster

The days of digging around for an app are over. 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” in the keyboard. You should also try this little-known keyboard trick that will save you time.

iphone tricks - Search the web without Safarivia iPhone

Search the web without Safari

There’s no need to open your Safari app 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. If you have set your default web browser to Chrome or Firefox, you won’t need to use Safari at all. On the flip side, don’t waste your time on these 50 Internet hacks that just don’t work.

iphone tricks - Get a faster chargevia iPhone

Get a faster charge

Do you have a low battery, but you’re short on time? For a faster way to top up, turn on Airplane Mode. Doing so will temporarily pause your phone’s background noise (such as random notifications and GPS roaming), which tends to drain the battery as it charges. The extra juice won’t be much, but a little can go a long way. Going forward, make sure you know these secrets for a better smartphone battery life.

iphone tricks - Quickly launch a websitevia iPhone

Quickly launch a website

To pull up a website in a hurry, here’s a shortcut: Type the web address into Safari, and then hold down the period icon on your phone’s keyboard to bring up a list of URL endings. Options range from the standard suffixes (.com, .net) to the more uncommon ones (.edu, .ie). Speaking of keyboard hacks, there’s a hidden mouse on your iPhone’s keyboard, too.

iphone tricks - get more storage spacevia iPhone

Get more storage space

Storage space is a hot commodity for the average iPhone user. To make the most of yours, 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. Doing so will clean out your phone’s RAM, which reduces the amount of space your apps might be taking up.

iphone tricks - correct Sirivia iPhone

Correct Siri

Siri is no fool, but she’s not foolproof, either. If she says something wrong—such as a name or address—you can correct her. Respond 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. Siri isn’t a one-trick pony, though. Here’s how to get her to crack a few jokes.

iphone tricks - Make the screen smallervia iPhone

Make the screen smaller

If you are a one-hand texter, try moving the 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 tap the home button twice to shift the entire top of the iPhone screen down. Both tricks will make the entire screen much more accessible for the average-sized hand.

iphone tricks - Find out what your phone knows about youvia iPhone

Find out what your phone knows about you

Users, beware: Your iPhone is following every single step you make. For proof, go to Settings > Privacy > Location Services > System Services > Frequent Locations. You will see the places you’ve been, as well as how much time you spent there. You can turn off the feature by tapping “Clear History,” and then swiping left on the Frequent Locations tab. But you’re not safe yet—find out the sneaky way Facebook is tracking where you are, too.

iphone tricks - Customize phone vibrationsvia iPhone

Customize notifications

Though the days of customized ringtones are behind us, you can still customize the text notifications you receive. Start by selecting a person in your contacts list and tapping “Edit.” From there, go to “Vibration” and press the “Create New Vibration” button to select a custom vibration for that person. Now you can always know who texted you, from your boss to your children, without glancing at the screen.

iphone tricks - Set a timer for your musicvia iPhone

Set a timer for your music

iPhone users who like to doze off to their favorite snoozing tunes are in luck because their phone will now turn off the music automatically. Go to Clock > Timer > When Timer Ends, tap the “Stop Playing” option, and select the amount of time you want the music to play. 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.

iphone tricks - Use the Measure app as a household toolvia iPhone

Use the Measure app as a household tool

No measuring device on hand? No problem! Opening your iPhone’s Measure app will activate two very practical tools: a digital spirit level and 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 photo of the measurement. In other words, you can finally straighten out that pesky picture frame in a pinch.

iphone tricks - Take a hands-free photovia iPhone

Take a hands-free photo

You don’t need an empty hand or two to snap a photo on your phone. Just turn on your iPhone’s voice command function under Settings > Accessibility > Voice Control. Then, 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.

iphone tricks - Backspace on the calculator appvia iPhone

Backspace on the calculator app

Entering the wrong number on the calculator app can ruin anyone’s day—especially after inputting a long equation. But before you blow a gasket, just swipe left or right to delete what you just typed. The calculator will remember the rest of what you entered, so you don’t have to start over from scratch.

iphone tricks - Erase text with a shake of your handvia iPhone

Erase text with a shake of your hand

Maybe you second-guessed that paragraphs-long text message. To quickly erase what you just typed, give your phone a good shake and tap “Undo Typing.” Want it back? You can always shake your phone again and select “Redo Typing” to make the text reappear. You can also swipe left with three fingers to erase text and swipe right to put it back. If you do happen to press send on a risky text message, here’s how you can unsend it.

iphone tricks - Boost your texting pacevia iPhone

Boost your texting pace

If you still shift back and forth between keyboards to type numbers and symbols, you’re wasting your time. All you need to do is hold your finger down on the “123” button, drag it over the number or symbol you want, and then let go—no screen-switching necessary. Once you get good at it, you can shave seconds off of each text message you write.

iphone tricks - lock the camera's focus and exposurevia iPhone

Lock the camera’s focus and exposure

You only need to tap your screen once to keep your phone’s camera focus sharp. Try holding your finger on the screen until the “AF/AE 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. The camera is one of the sneaky things killing your smartphone battery.

iphone tricks - Press one button to make a callvia iPhone

Press one button to make a call

These days, following up with the last person you chatted with on the phone doesn’t require dialing *69. Instead of digging around your contacts, simply open your keypad and tap the green phone icon. Your phone will instantly redial the last number you called.

iphone tricks - Record a video and take a picture at the same timevia iPhone

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, though: Because the photo is taken by the video camera’s sensors, it won’t turn out quite as high-quality as your other images. If that’s the kind of thing you care about, try these genius tricks to take a postcard-perfect picture on your smartphone.

iphone tricks - Take a photo when your storage is fullvia iPhone

Take a photo when your storage is full

It’s never a convenient time for that dreaded “Storage Full” notification to pop up. Luckily, you can use the camera option in your Facebook or Twitter app, instead. By starting a new tweet or post, clicking the camera icon, and then snapping your photo, the resulting picture will be saved to your Camera Roll. Next, learn how to recover deleted photos from your iPhone.