21 Things You Probably Didn’t Know Your iPhone Could Do


Your iPhone can do all sorts of magical things that you probably aren’t aware of. Here’s a list of some of the iPhone’s coolest hidden features.

1. Shake to undo


Make a mistake while typing or editing a picture? No worries! Just give your phone a little shake—like you’re making a martini— and it’ll ask you if you’d like to undo the action. Cheers!

2. Recharge your battery faster by switching to airplane mode


Switching to airplane mode turns off battery-draining wireless and cellular access, allowing your phone to recharge up to twice as fast.

3. Get Siri to read your emails aloud for you


Just say the magic words “Read my email” and Siri will read all your messages aloud to you. If you like, you can tell her to read only your most recent email (“Read my latest email”) or just those from a specific contact (“Do I have email from Mark?”).

4. Find out which planes are flying overhead


Just ask her: “What flights are above me?” Or you can be even more blunt and just say, “Planes overhead.” Boom! She’ll bring up a list that shows all the flights above you at that moment. Why you would ever need this I have no idea, but it’s pretty rad anyway.

5. Teach Siri how to pronounce words


The best part about this is that it makes you feel smarter than Siri. Whenever Siri mispronounces something, just tell her, “That’s not how you pronounce [BLANK]” and she’ll offer you alternatives. You can then select the best one.

6. Automatically turn off your music with the timer


If you like to doze off with music playing like I do, you can use the timer to automatically turn your music off so that it doesn’t play all night. In the timer app, select “When Timer Ends,” then scroll down and select “Stop Playing.” The Timer will automatically turn off your tunes after whatever length of time you set.

7. Scroll through videos and music at half, quarter, or eighth speed


This one is super useful. When you scroll—or as Apple calls it, “scrub”—through a movie or a song, the default mode is high-speed scrolling. This sometimes makes it hard to find the exact spot you want. But you can control the rate at which you scroll. To do this, hold down the dot—or “playhead”—in the scrollbar at the top of the video screen (tap the screen to display the scrollbar if it isn’t visible) and slide your finger straight down without lifting it. This allows you to change the scrubbing speed to half-speed, quarter-speed, eighth-speed (“fine scrubbing”). Once you’ve selected the speed, move your finger left or right (without lifting it) to scroll.

8. Take a photo with the volume buttons


Sometimes it’s hard to snap a picture by touching the capture button—if you’re wearing gloves, say—in which case, you can take the shoot by pressing either the volume up or the volume down button. Problem solved!

9. Take multiple photo bursts all at once


If you hold down the capture button, your phone will take a series of rapid shots, or bursts, in quick succession. This is especially useful if you’re photographing a moving subject. Later you can scan through all the bursts and pick your favorite ones.

10. Reveal timestamps on text messages


Drag the text bubble to the left and you’ll see a timestamp for every text message. Among other things, this will show you just how much time you waste texting.

11. Use your iPhone as a level


Need to hang a picture? In the Compass app, swipe left and your iPhone becomes a perfect level.

12. Make your iPhone speak selected text


I like to use this one randomly just to freak people out. First you have to enable Speak Selection. To do that go to Settings > General > Accessibility > Speak Selection and turn it on. A “Speak” button will now appear whenever you select text. Bonus: you can also choose different accents (would you prefer an Aussie iPhone?) and even control the speed at which selected text is spoken. Trust me, you can waste a lot of time with this one.

13. Start a new sentence just by double-tapping the spacebar


Whenever you’re typing and you need to start a new sentence, just double-tap the spacebar and it will automatically add a period and a space for you.

14. See a more detailed calendar


When using the calendar app, turn you phone sideways (into landscape position) and voilà, you’ll get a more detailed look at your sked.

15. Lock autofocus and exposure while taking a picture


It can get annoying when when you’re trying to take a picture and your iPhone camera keeps refocusing and automatically adjusting the exposure. But you can lock in the focus and exposure by pressing and holding your finger on the screen until you see a yellow square blink twice. A yellow icon that says “AE/AF Lock” will appear at the bottom of the screen letting you know that you’ve locked in the exposure and focus. It’ll stay that way until you’re done with the shot.

16. Add web suffixes with a single tap


It took my a while to learn this one—and I wish I’d known about it sooner. When you’re typing in a web address, just hold down the “.” at the bottom of your keyboard, and a menu will pop up showing a list of web suffixes (.com, .net, .edu, etc.)

17. Quickly access your email drafts


This is one that very few people know about. Next time you’re using your Mail app, hold down the Compose icon in the lower right corner of your screen, and it’ll quickly jump to a list of your drafts. I use this feature all the time.

18. Customize vibrations


This will let you change the vibration pattern for alerts and notifications. Go to Settings > Sounds > Ringtone > Vibration > Create New Vibration. You can also customize the vibration pattern for individual contacts by following the same procedure from your contact list. This way, you can tell who’s calling or messaging you just by feel.

19. Create custom keyboard shortcuts


Say there’s a certain word or phrase (or a password) that you use a lot. You can create a shortcut for it. Go to Settings > General > Keyboard > Shortcuts > Add New Shortcut. Enter a word or phrase and the shortcut you’d like to use for it. Every time you type that shortcut, the whole word or phrase will magically appear. You can even create shortcuts for emoji!

20. Create a passcode with letters (not just numbers)


By default, your iPhone asks you to type in numbers when you create the passcode that unlocks your phone. But you can change this setting. Go to Settings > General > Passcode Lock and turn off “Simple Passcode.” You will be prompted to change your passcode, and a full keyboard will appear onscreen instead of just the number pad. This keyboard will pop up every time you unlock your phone.

21. Set your phone to emit light flashes for alerts


Instead of having your iPhone ring or vibrate when you get a call or a message, you can have it emit an LED flash. Go to Settings > General > Accessibility, then scroll down and turn on “LED Flash for Alerts.” Warning: it’s REALLY bright!

Be sure to share these hot tips with your friends by clicking below. They’ll thank you for it.

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  • COD

    So much cool stuff I forget what I read by the time I read the last of them

  • Josh Corrington

    “Why you would ever need this I have no idea, ” you don’t?

  • Danielle

    These are great, thank you! Being a math teacher, I was like a kid in a candy store when I accidentally turned my phone to landscape while in calculator mode, and it changed into a scientific calculator!!
    (One that does order of operations, exponents, sin-cos-tan, etc.)

  • adriana cabebe

    i have iphone 4,i tried #12…now my phone bcame slow and i cant turn it off either…please help.thanks

  • lipstickgunz

    Had a 5s and switched to a note the note but definitely going back to the iPhone

  • http://Blabbadabbadoo Lafnm

    Android and malware go hand in hand. :)

  • John

    #1…. As a paperweight! Crapple Sux!

    • J J

      but not as bad as your IQ score !

    • niki

      Hahahaha on Johns response. For all the “how do I do ______?” questions that this article didn’t cover, the only way to do those things is to get an Android.

      • Kenny Ward

        Which android version are you using, ice-cream sandwich, fragmented soup, or a mixture of many with a multitude of malware to add some spice? Have fun with your droid.

  • Terry

    I’d like to use differs colored text. How might I do that?

  • Betty Anne Glover

    Thanks for all the info. Lots I didn’t know about and a few I knew!!

  • Kregis59

    Thanks! I knew a few but these were very helpful!

  • Michelle

    Great tips, thanks for sharing! I just switched from Android to iPhone last week so everything is still very new to me…

    • FunnyBar

      Why did you switch? Android is better than iPhone.

      • thommo888

        says you who doesn’t own an iPhone

        • Amy

          I had an android & now have the iPhone….I miss my Adroid…it is so much better than the iPhones in my opinion.

          • carole

            will these things work with an android?

    • Val

      I just switched from droid to iPhone and I love my iPhone. Not sure I’ll ever go back to a droid.

  • Mohamad

    thanks man, this was great

  • Bleargh

    This is why, when you get a new bit of tech, you should really sit your ass down with the manual and play. It’s amazing the things you can figure out just playing with EVERYTHING.

    That said, there were a couple cool things I didn’t know about. Thanks for the article.

    • hockeyhouse

      That would be a great idea if the iPhone came with a manual. I don’t think most people know they would have to go download it.

      • Jeff

        Boo-Hoo. Cry us a river. Most phones don’t come with an owners manual. Just a quick start guide. (Which DOES ship with the iPhone) if phones shipped with manuals for everything the phone is capable of, you’d need a seperate box. The HTC One M8 manual for existence is 200 pages! So stop your bitching. Who cares if you have to download it? Only takes a few seconds…

        • Simon

          Why do people like you reply with so much aggression to a simple comment?

          Just imagine that you spoke aloud to someone’s face what you have typed. You would either be treated as someone with a severe social disorder, or be beaten to a pulp.

          • Terry

            Excellent response and spot on.

        • Yo mammas boyfriend

          He wasn’t crying stupid

      • Third stone

        I downloaded a book of directions from the apple website. It has been very useful.

  • Alex

    i didn’t know most of it ! thank you