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Smartphones & gadgets

10 things you didn’t know your iPhone could do

Whether you’re an iPhone newbie or you’ve been using your trusty device for years, you’re just about guaranteed to not know a few things about that powerful pocket computer of yours.

Even expert users can still stand to learn a thing or two about the phones, because there’s so much you can do with them that a few of the cool functions can fall through the cracks.

Whether you’re learning how to communicate with Siri via text or figuring out a new way to navigate your notifications, here are 10 things you didn’t know your iPhone could do.

Bonus: 10 great Siri tricks you’ll wish you knew sooner

1. Your keyboard can be used as a “track pad”

How many times have you awkwardly tried to navigate a text message or email by tapping on the screen where you want to place your cursor? It’s maddening, and extremely frustrating if there are quick errors you need to fix. Thankfully, the iPhone is capable of doing some pretty slick maneuvering if you know what you’re doing.

All you need to do is press down on your text keyboard and the keys will disappear. When the keys disappear, you can slide your thumb around in this space to move your text cursor. Press harder and you can select text. If you release a bit of pressure, you can de-select text, and then select it again by pressing down. It can take some getting used to, but it’s well worth practicing for the utility alone.

2. Turn on Low Power mode to save battery in a pinch

If you’ve been out all day and forgot a charger, you might be running on fumes when it comes to battery. Luckily, Low Power mode will let you save a little juice for an emergency. Go to your phone’s Control Center and tap on the “low battery” icon to turn it on or off. This should give you a little boost in power, at least until you can get to a charger again and it’s all clear.

3. Hide photos you don’t want others to see

If you have a set of photos you want to hide from the prying eyes of the public in your Photos app, you can actually hide them from view. Head to your Photos app, choose the photos you don’t want to let others see, and tap the “Share” icon. This looks like a square with an arrow inside. Then choose “Hide.” You’ll have to go to your Albums in the Photos app in the future to find them, but they won’t be out for just everyone to look at now.

4. Customize ringtones and vibrations for different callers

If you want to know who’s calling you without having to look at your phone, this handy trick should help make things easier. Go to your Contacts menu, select the person you want to change a ringtone or notification option for, and choose “Edit.” From there, go to “Ringtone” and tap on “Default.” You’ll be met with a set of options that you can choose for the person of your choice, whether you want to assign special vibrations or a ringtone so you know who’s calling without having to look at your screen.

5. Scan your important documents in with the Notes app

Never reach for a scanner again to share important documents and files with others. If you have something that needs scanning, you only need to go as far as your Notes. Open it up, click the plus sign found at the bottom of the screen near the middle, and choose the “Scan Documents” option. You can use the iPhone camera to take a photo of your document and add it to your notebook. Options like black and white, grayscale, or color will help make sure it’s the quality you need it to be.

6. Turn on “Do Not Disturb While Driving”

If you get a lot of messages or calls while on the road, consider utilizing the “Do Not Disturb While Driving” feature. All you need to do is turn it on manually via the Control Center, and your phone will automatically swap to this mode when it senses you’re in a vehicle going over a certain speed. All calls, texts, notifications, and other pings will be muted, with an option to send a message to callers that you’re driving.

7. Use a one-handed keyboard to improve typing efficiency

If you hate using both hands to type messages, you can opt to use the iPhone’s one-handed keyboard instead. Simply open up a message or use your keyboard, and look for the globe button. Hold it down and choose either the left-handed or right-handed keyboard options. The keyboard will shift to the side you choose, and you’ll be able to type with one hand this way.

8. Automatically answer calls

Sometimes we might be too busy to answer the phone manually, but we don’t want to miss calls. This is especially true for folks that opt for earbuds or AirPods to make and receive calls. You can actually set your iPhone up to answer calls for you. Go to Accessibility and then Call Audio Routing to find the “Auto-Answer Calls” option, which will let you answer phone calls automatically after a certain amount of time. You can choose how long your phone will wait before it picks up, too.

9. Record your screen

Ever wanted to share something cool with a friend on your phone, like gameplay from an app or something like that? You can do it natively on the iPhone without having to use an additional program now, thanks to the newest version of iOS. All you need to do is go to Settings, then Control Center, then Customize Controls. Then, go to Control Center and tap the screen record icon. It will turn red, and you can exit the menu to do whatever you want. You can also record audio if you’d like. To stop the video, you can tap on the blue banner on the top of the screen or the icon in the Control Center. Your video will be stored in the Photos and Videos app.

10. Type queries to Siri

You don’t have to just speak to Siri to work with her. You can instead type to her if you so choose. Go to Settings, then Geneal, then Accessibility and choose the Siri option. Then choose “Done.” Siri will answer your query, and likely in a much more accurate manner than if you would have done so with your voice.

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