13 Hidden iPhone Gestures You Should Know About (in GIFs)

BY Khamosh Pathak

Published 13 May 2017

iphone essential apps featured

iOS is almost 10 years old. That’s a decade of updates and new features. Though, when you simply look at the Home screen of an iPhone running iOS 10, you might question yourself if anything has really changed much over the years. It has, just not in the most obvious, in-your-face way.

Apple is notorious for keeping things simple. That is a great thing – it allows for new users to pick up and iPhone and start using it without very many hiccups. But it also means that Apple ends up hiding pro level features behind long press actions and gestures. If you don’t have the time to discover all of them on your own, just read our exhaustive list below.

1. 3D Touch Settings Icon

iphone hidden gestures settings icon 3d touch

For iPhone 6s and higher: I’m surprised by how many people don’t know that 3D Touching the Settings icon reveals the option to directly jump to the Wi-Fi, Mobile Data, Battery and Bluetooth sections. So you can quickly toggle Cellular Data or Low Power mode. This of course only works on devices that support 3D Touch – iPhone 6s and higher.

Read More: The Complete List of 3D Touch Shortcuts on iPhone

2. Turn Keyboard into Trackpad

iphone hidden gestures trackpad

For iPhone 6s and higher: Another one of the hidden gems is an old school trackpad hiding behind the keyboard. If you’re using an iPhone 6s or higher, just press deeper anywhere on the keyboard and you’ll see that the keyboard gets a frosted glass cover on it and turns into a trackpad. Now, without lifting your finger, swipe left/right and you’ll move the cursor left/right. Swipe up/down to move up or down the line.

The awesomeness doesn’t stop there. Tap deeper once again and swipe and now you’re selecting the text instead of moving the cursor. Awesome, right? One of the most annoying things on touchscreens – manipulating text, just got a whole lot easier.

3. Spotlight Trick from Notification Center

iphone hidden gestures spotlight notification center trick

We told you about this trick that a Reddit user discovered a couple of months back. If you’re running iOS 10.2 or higher, go to any app and swipe down from the top to reveal the notification center. But do it slowly. When you swipe down a bit, you’ll see the Spotlight Search bar revealed. Swiping down a further will now be a bit sticky. Here, just release your finger and you’re directly into Spotlight search, with the keyboard already propped up.

This only works when you’re in an app though.

4. Flash Intensity and Quickly Disabling Flash

iphone hidden gestures flashlight intensity

For iPhone 6s and higher: Swipe up from the bottom of the screen to reveal the Control Center and instead of tapping on the flashlight icon, press deeper on it to reveal three different modes – low, medium and high intensity.

Also, there’s a trick for quickly turning off the flash without going back to the Control Center. From the iPhone’s lockscreen, just swipe left a bit to open the Camera view and release your finger. You don’t even have to swipe all the way through. Just the fact that you’re trying to open the camera view automatically turns off the flashlight. If you’re on iOS 9, try swiping up a bit from the bottom-right corner.

5. Backspace in iPhone Calculator App

iphone hidden gestures calculator backspace

There’s only a clear button in the iPhone Calculator app. But what if you want to just delete the last number? Simply swipe left or right on the numbers field to delete the last number.

6. Instagram 3D Touch and Swiping Between Pictures

iphone hidden gestures instagram 3d touch gesture

For iPhone 6s and higher: Instagram already has one of the best implementation of 3D Touch. In the recent update, Instagram added the ability to post multiple photos in the same update.

Now, when you’re in the Explore screen, in the grid view, and come across a multi-image post, 3D Touch it to see a bigger preview. Just move your finger to the left or right and you’ll be able to see the other photos in the same update. Cool right?

7. Swipe on Shift Key in Keyboard

iphone hidden gestures keyboard shift

To quickly capitalize a single letter and go back to normal typing, tap on the Shifty key and swipe to the letter, then lift your finger.

8. Quickly Switch Between Apps

iphone hidden gestures app switching two apps

For iPhone 6s and higher: One of the new hidden 3D Touch features is related to the app switcher. Put your finger on the left edge and press deeper, now swipe all the way to the right edge of the screen. You’re now in the app you were using previously. Do this again to go back to the original app. This can be a really useful way to quickly and easily switch between two apps, when you’re looking up notes, or passwords from a password manager.

iphone hidden gestures app switcher

When swiping in, if you lift your finger midway, you’ll open the App Switcher.

9. Long Press Safari Toolbar Items

iphone hidden gestures safari long press

Almost every button in Safari has some sort of long press associated with it. We urge you to tap and hold all of the buttons to discover these features.

  • Long press the back/front buttons to get a detailed History list.
  • Long press the bookmarks icon to get shortcuts for adding a bookmark or adding the page to the Reading List
  • long press the tab switcher button for a shortcut for closing all tabs or to open a new tab.
  • Long press the refresh icon to request the desktop site.

10. Scroll to Bottom in Photos App

iphone hidden gestures scroll to bottom

You might already know that tapping on the status bar directly scrolls you to the top of the page. There’s a similar hidden shortcut in the Photos app to quickly scroll to the bottom. In Photos app, this is especially useful as the most recent photos are at the bottom.

So next time you’re browsing around and quickly want to go to the latest photo, just tap between the icon space in the bottom navigation bar and you’ll be at the bottom of the screen.

11. Select Multiple Photos in Photos App

iphone hidden gestures select multiple images

Another cool gesture in the Photos app is the ability to quickly select multiple images. When you’re in an album, tap on Select and then just swipe from one photo to next to select them all. The photos between from where you started and where your finger now is, will be selected. Just lift your finger and now can see the options to delete them, share them and more.

12. Swipe down to Dismiss

iphone hidden gestures swipe down to dismiss

This is something you should remember to do anywhere you see a photo, or when you’re seeing a floating section or a card. Swiping down will dismiss the image or the card and you’ll be back to the previous screen. This works in Photos app, in Messages and in communication apps like WhatsApp. In the Mail app, just swipe down when in the compose screen to save the current message as a draft.

13. Move Calendar Event

iphone hidden gestures calendar

You don’t need to go into the event and edit it just to move it up by an hour. In the calendar view, tap and hold the event, move it were you what and release your finger to save it.

Your Favorite Hidden iPhone Tips and Tricks

If you’ve been using an iPhone for a long time, I’m sure you have discovered little gestures and shortcuts that help you do things faster. Share your discoveries with us in the comments below.

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