Apple may sell millions of iPads and iPhones, but your device is unique to you. You pick out a jaunty ringtone, choose a colorful case, change out the wallpaper, download your favorite apps and make it your own. There are plenty of ways to customize your phone or tablet, but not all of them are obvious.
By delving into some little-known features and settings in iOS, you can make your iPhone more personal to your needs. You can improve how Face ID works, automate some of your smartphone chores and have fun with the way Siri sounds.
Some of these tweaks are only available with iOS 12, so be sure to update to Apple’s latest mobile operating system to take advantage of them.
1. Set up an alternate appearance for Face ID
If you have an iPhone that supports Face ID, then you probably enjoy the convenience of unlocking your device just by looking at it. What’s not as much as fun are those times when Face ID doesn’t recognize you because you’re wearing your giant sunglasses or your face-hugging winter hat. With iOS 12, you can now set your iPhone to recognize an alternate appearance.
Head to Settings>Face ID & Passcode>Set Up an Alternate Appearance and follow the instructions to teach your iPhone to recognize your different look. Just make sure you’re wearing your giant sunglasses, fluffy hat, or other appearance-changing accessories during the setup process.
2. Make custom vibration patterns
You probably already picked out a ringtone you love, but you can also customize the vibration patterns your iPhone uses to alert you. This is especially handy if you often have your phone on silent. You can even set some of your contacts to have different vibration patterns so you know who’s calling when sounds are off.
Open Settings and choose Sounds & Haptics. Tap on Ringtone and then Vibration to open a new set of options. You will see some pre-made vibration patterns, but you can select “Create New Vibration” to make one of your own. Your iPhone will ask you to tap on the screen to teach it the new pattern. You can then stop the recording and save the pattern with a name. You can then assign vibration patterns within your iPhone Contacts app through the contacts editing menu.
3. Give Siri a fresh accent
Here’s a fun way to change up your interactions with your Apple gadgets. We’re all familiar with the Siri assistant’s main voice, that of an American woman. You probably already knew you could change the gender, but you can also choose from a selection of different accents. The options are American, Australian, British, Irish and South African.
Go to Settings>Siri & Search>Siri Voice to check out the different sounds and choose a new accent.
4. Offload unused apps
It’s no fun running out of storage space on your iPhone or iPad. We have some tips for freeing up storage on your iPhone, but Apple can also give you an automatic helping hand with its Offload Unused Apps feature. You can find it by heading to Settings>General>iPhone Storage (or iPad Storage). Tap on “Enable” for Offload Unused Apps. This setting will tell you how much space you can free up. If you enable it, iOS will remove apps you haven’t touched in awhile, but will still save your documents and data.
If you find you need an app after all, you can always download it again or choose to disable the offloading feature.
5. Enjoy more automated updates
In iOS 12, you can choose to just let your iPhone or iPad handle updates automatically without bugging you about it. If this setting is on, then your device will install software updates overnight after downloading them. You will still get a notification, so it’s not happening behind your back. Apple does say, “Some updates might need to be installed manually.”
Head to Settings>General>Software Updates>Automatic updates and toggle the switch to green. Apple says your iPhone or iPad must be charging and connected to Wi-Fi to complete the update. The nice part is that it can take care of itself while you sleep, making it even easier to keep things up to date.
Have fun experimenting a bit with your iPhone or iPad. A few tweaks can make the iOS experience more enjoyable and truly turn your gadget into a device that works even better for you.