Skip to Content
© Poike2017 |
Smartphones & gadgets

Hidden iPhone features everyone should know

No matter how long you’ve owned your smartphone, there’s always more to learn about it. There are features you will never use, and some you won’t know you need until you find them.

Your iPhone and Apple Watch track various health metrics, from your heart rate to your breathing pattern. Here are five important health indicators to keep an eye on.

The iPhone has gone through many changes since its introduction in 2007. It’s not easy to keep up with all the neat stuff you can do with this phone, but here are some tips to get you started.

Level tool

Your iPhone replaces some items you’d typically find in a tool belt. The level feature lets you check whether an object is level, straight or flat:

  • Open the pre-installed Measure app. If you don’t see it, open the App Store and search for Measure.
  • Tap Level, then hold your iPhone against an object like a picture frame or desk.

Emergency Medical ID

You can set up an emergency medical ID that can be accessed from the lock screen. This includes important medical information and emergency contacts.

Let’s say you pass out and can’t use your phone. If someone nearby calls emergency services, first responders can access your critical medical information from the lock screen without needing your passcode. They can also see who to contact in case of an emergency. 

You just need to set up your Medical ID to include the following information about you:

  • Name.
  • Age.
  • Medical conditions.
  • Medications.
  • Allergies.
  • Emergency contacts.

Here’s how to set up your Medical ID:

  • Open the Health app and tap your profile picture.
  • Tap Medical ID.
  • Tap Edit in the upper-right corner.
  • To make your Medical ID available from the Lock screen on your iPhone, turn on Show When Locked.
  • To share your Medical ID with emergency responders, turn on Share During Emergency Call. When you call or send a text to emergency services on your iPhone or Apple Watch, your Medical ID will automatically be shared with emergency services.
  • Enter your health information.
  • Tap Done.

RELATED: Emergency settings to check on your iPhone now before you need them

Text replacement

You can set up text replacement shortcuts to quickly type out longer phrases or commonly used words. For example, you can set “omw” to automatically expand to “On my way!”

  • While typing in a text field, touch and hold the Emoji key (smiley face) or the Switch Keyboard key (globe).
  • Tap Keyboard Settings, then tap Text Replacement.
  • Tap the plus symbol at the top right.
  • Type a phrase in the Phrase field and the text shortcut you want to use in the Shortcut field.

One-handed Keyboard

Enabling a one-handed keyboard mode shifts the keyboard to the left or right side of the screen to make typing with one hand easier. This is especially useful as phones get bigger and bigger.

There are several ways to make your iPhone easier to use when you only have one free hand:

The one-handed keyboard

  • Go to Settings > General > Keyboard.
  • Tap One-Handed Keyboard.
  • Choose Left or Right.
  • You can also open Messages and hold down the emoji or globe button. Then tap the icon for the left or right keyboard.

Reach for the top

  • Go to Settings > Accessibility > Touch.
  • Turn on Reachability to make it easier to lower the top half of your screen.

Hidden Trackpad

On devices with 3D Touch, you can use the keyboard as a trackpad to quickly move the cursor when editing text.

So, why would you want to use a trackpad? It’s perfect for those with thick fingers or poor eyesight. And who doesn’t get annoyed trying to move the cursor on a tiny screen to edit text?

Start with a block of text and then use the following steps to unlock the trackpad feature:

  • Pull up the keyboard if you don’t already have it open. For this to work, you’ll need to be in an active word document, email, or text message.
  • Once you have a block of text written, hold your finger on the spacebar until the keyboard goes blank. You’ll feel haptic feedback that lets you know it’s working. The cursor will enlarge for just a second, showing you the trackpad has been activated.
  • With your finger still pressed down, move it around the entire keyboard to move your cursor inside the block of text.
  • Lift your finger off the screen to return to the standard keyboard.

Hungry for more iPhone tricks? Check out a few others!


The iPhone has a built-in magnifier that is useful for reading small text or examining small objects:

  • Open the Magnifier app. If you don’t see it, open the App Store and search for Magnifier.
  • Use the onscreen controls to zoom in, apply color filters, turn on the flashlight and adjust the brightness or contrast of the image to see it better.

Custom Vibrations

Create custom vibrations for specific contacts to help you identify who is calling or texting without looking at your phone.

  • Go to Contacts, tap a person’s name, tap Edit, then tap Ringtone or Text Tone.
  • Tap Vibration, then Create New Vibration.
  • Tap the screen to create your own vibration pattern.

Bedtime Mode

The iPhone’s bedtime mode can help you sleep better by dimming the screen and silencing notifications during your designated sleep hours.

  • Open the Health app and tap Browse at the bottom of the screen.
  • Scroll down and tap Sleep, and then Get Started.
  • Tap Sleep Goal to set how many hours you want to sleep.
  • Tap Edit or Add Schedule to set your bedtime and wake-up time for each day of the week.
  • Scroll down to turn the Alarm on or off.
  • Tap Done or Add when you’re finished setting up your schedule.
  • Tap Next, then Enable to enable Sleep Focus.
  • Tap Done.

Hidden Camera Features

There are several hidden camera features on the iPhone. Here are some to get started:

  • Burst mode: Have you ever tried capturing a moving person or object and just could not get it right? Burst mode enables your camera to take pictures faster than humanly possible. You get multiple photos for each second and can then select your favorites.
    • Activate burst mode by swiping the Shutter button to the left when taking a picture.
  • Exposure control: Exposure is the amount of light that reaches your camera’s sensor.
    • Open the Camera and tap on the screen to show the automatic focus and exposure settings.
    • Tap where you want to focus and drag the exposure button (it looks like a sun) up or down.
  • Live Photos: Live Photos are like micro movies. You can grab still images from them, use them as GIFs, capture long exposure shots or just share short videos of anything you want. The feature is on by default, and you can tell by the concentric circle icon at the top of your device’s camera app.
    • Tap the circle to turn it off (a slash will appear through the icon), but after you snap a shot, it will turn on again.
    • To turn off Live Photos and only use it when you want, go to Settings > Camera > Preserve Settings and toggle on the switch next to Live Photo. Here are more ways to use Live Photos.

You may also like: Best hidden iPhone messaging tips and tricks you should be using

Refer friends, earn rewards

Share your source of digital lifestyle news, tips and advice with friends and family, and you'll be on your way to earning awesome rewards!

Get started