A Trusted Friend in a Complicated World

What Apple Insiders Know About iPhones That You Don’t

Get ready to love your favorite device even more.

1 / 13
man's hands pulling iphone 11 out of pocket. close up.
gece33/Getty Images

Become an iPhone super user

The iPhone was launched in 2007, and the lives of the hundreds of millions of people who use them worldwide have never been the same since. Think about it: Once upon a time, if you were going on a trip, you’d bring along a camera, a GPS (or a fold-up map!), a stack of CDs, and a phone that you would use to, you know, talk to people. Now, all those functions—plus a whole lot more—can be handled by your iPhone.

And as easy as they are to use and as astounding as the capabilities of something that fits into your pocket are, there are many next-level hidden iPhone tricks and hacks that many of us don’t know about. Here, insiders at Apple, as well as expert tech writers, share some simple tips that will elevate your iPhone game.

2 / 13
iphone screenshot. hide alerts in messages.
via iPhone

Stop group texts from taking over your phone

Are you being driven nuts by a million group-chat notifications? Got a bunch of friends who make it their mission to blow up your phone with emojis and assorted nonsense? “Luckily, you can control iMessage notifications for a specific thread by swiping left on the text conversation you want to mute and tapping Hide Alerts,” says one Apple rep. So, you can effectively shush your group of text-crazed friends without missing any important notifications from work.

3 / 13
iphone screenshot. dark mode icon in control center.
via iPhone

Save your eyes

Whether it’s our phones, our computers, or our TVs, we all spend a large portion of the day looking at screens, which can put some serious strain on our peepers. Apple has a fix for that. “With iOS 13, you can enable Dark Mode, a new dark color scheme that delivers a great viewing experience, is easier on the eyes, and won’t disturb those around you,” says an Apple rep. “Dark Mode is integrated throughout the entire system and third-party apps. It can be accessed in Control Center or by asking Siri, or it can be set to turn on automatically at sunset or at a specific time.” That said, an occasional break from screens is a good idea. In case you were wondering, these 21 signs mean you’re way too addicted to your phone.

4 / 13
iphone screenshot. low power mode in battery settings.
via iPhone

Switch to Low Power Mode on travel days

Another Apple representative explains: “Low Power Mode reduces the amount of power that your iPhone uses when the battery gets low, so you can keep your charge longer. It’s especially great for those moments when you are traveling and constantly on-the-go. Just access Settings and click on Battery to activate Low Power Mode or to check battery usage for the last 24 hours or up to the last 10 days.”

5 / 13
iphone screenshot. bedtime schedule.
via iPhone

Create healthy bedtime habits

Instead of staying up all night scrolling through social media feeds, use your phone to help you get some much-needed shut-eye. “You can use Bedtime in the Clock app to set the amount of time you want to sleep each night, which helps with going to bed and waking up at the same time every day,” says one Apple insider. “When Bedtime is turned on, your display dims and notifications are silenced until you unlock your iPhone in the morning.” Here are 12 innocent habits that are completely ruining your sleep quality.

6 / 13
iphone screenshot. add someone to the note.
via iPhone

Turn your chores into group projects

Divide and conquer all of those time-sucking trips to the store. According to one of our Apple insiders, “the refreshed Notes app has a great new feature that you’re going to love: You can add someone to any iCloud note or an entire folder of notes on your device. Then they can make edits and see the latest changes you’ve made.” This way, your roommates will know that you bought toilet paper before everyone buys it independently and you wind up with a year’s worth stacked outside your bathroom door.

7 / 13
iphone screenshot. location reminder.
via iPhone

Get reminders based on where you are, not what time it is

“With the redesigned Reminders app, it’s even easier to create and organize reminders,” says an Apple rep. “Not only can you set specific reminders and tasks, but you can also set alerts based on location. Just tap the Location button to assign a notification based on where you are, or tap Custom to add your own location, whether that’s when getting in the car, leaving work, or arriving at home.”

8 / 13
iphone screenshot. asking siri to translate.
via iPhone

Translate in real time (or close to it)

Leave the bulky phrasebook home on your next trip. Per Apple: “Just simply say, ‘Hey, Siri, how do you say what time is it in French?’ or ‘How do you say what’s your name in Japanese?’ and have a translated answer in mere seconds.”

9 / 13
iphone screenshot. control center showing airplane mode active.
via iPhone

Charge your phone faster

Tech expert Sam Costello explains how to charge your iPhone as quickly as possible on Lifewire: “Put it in Airplane Mode first. Airplane Mode turns off most features of the phone, including cellular and Wi-Fi networking, so the battery does less and charges faster.” Don’t miss these phone battery myths you really have to stop believing.

10 / 13
iphone screenshot. edit contact page.
via iPhone

Personalize your text alerts

If you don’t want to check your phone every time it pings but at the same time don’t want to miss an important text from someone like your kid or significant other, Dave Smith, writing for Business Insider, suggests setting up a personalized alert sound: “Go into your Contacts app, click on the person you want, click Edit, and then click either Ringtone or Text Tone. From there, you can choose from a handful of Apple-made ringtones or text tones to play whenever that person calls or texts.”

11 / 13
iphone screenshots. turn on flash for alerts
via iPhone

Get notified with lights

Costello has another great iPhone trick up his sleeve. This one provides a smart solution for getting notifications without reading your screen or listening for alerts. “With this hack, the camera flash on the back of the phone blinks when you have a new notification,” he explains. Follow the steps he outlines below:

  1. Tap Settings.

  2. Tap Accessibility.

  3. Tap Audio/Visual
  4. Tap LED Flash for Alerts.

  5. Move the slider to on/green. Also move the Flash on Silent slider to on/green.

While we’re on the subject, make sure you know these group texting etiquette rules.

12 / 13
apple iphone 11. womans hands holding phone horizontally.
grinvalds/Getty Images

Take a photo with your volume button

Tech experts come in all shapes and sizes. This tip came from an 11-year-old at a family party, who noticed the author of this article struggling with the photo button on his phone’s camera app. Here’s how to take a photo without even touching your screen. Once the Camera app is open, all you need to do is click the volume up button on the side of the phone. You no longer have to squint to see the button you’re trying to hit or check your photo library to see if you actually hit it. Plus: No more accidentally taking a video instead of a picture due to clumsy fat fingers! Here are more genius tricks to take a postcard-perfect picture on your smartphone.

13 / 13
iphone screenshot. attention aware features toggle.
via iPhone

Take back some control

Khamosh Pathak, a tech expert at iPhonehacks.com, notes that Apple’s Face ID system knows if you are looking at your phone, and based on that, it performs operations like dimming the screen or automatically silencing the phone. But if you don’t want Apple to do all of these things for you, Pathak says to go to Settings > Face ID & Passcode > Attention Aware Features and turn the feature off. Next, check out the helpful things you didn’t know your iPad could do.

Joe McKinley
Joe McKinley is a regular contributor to Reader's Digest, covering cars, careers, tech and more.