20+ Best iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro Tips and Tricks

BY Dilum Senevirathne

Published 23 Oct 2020

Just got yourself an iPhone 12 or an iPhone 12 Pro? You’ve literally got the fastest smartphone on the planet, and that too by a long shot. It comes with Apple’s latest A14 Bionic chipset, features 5G connectivity, and sports an incredible Super Retina XDR display, among loads of other new features. If you just picked up your iPhone 12 or iPhone 12 Pro, here are a handful of tips and tricks that you must definitely keep in mind as you go about using it.

Top iPhone 12, iPhone 12 mini, iPhone 12 Pro, and iPhone 12 Pro Max Tips & Tricks

1. Transfer from iPhone

If you are coming in from an older iPhone, don’t forget to transfer your data first. That way, you get to avoid having to set up your iPhone 12 or iPhone 12 Pro from scratch.

While you can do that over iCloud, a faster way is to transfer your data directly from your previous iPhone (if you still have it at hand).


After turning on your iPhone 12, place it next to your old iPhone and connect both phones to power. You should see the Quick Start screen on your old iPhone. Follow the onscreen instructions and select Transfer from iPhone to transfer your data quickly.

2. Understand 5G Icons

After years of hype and rumors, you get 5G connectivity baked into your iPhone 12. That allows for incredible download and upload speeds of up to 4.0 Gbps and 200 Mbps, respectively. With that comes three different status icons that you may want to keep an eye out on — 5G, 5G+, and 5GUW.

5G — Indicated normal 5G network availability.
5G+ / 5GUW —  Indicated faster high-frequency 5G network availability.

3. Manage Smart Data Mode

5G is amazing. But it can also ding your iPhone’s battery life. To make that less of an issue, your iPhone 12 or iPhone 12 Pro features Smart Data Mode, a functionality that switches between 5G and 4G depending on network activity.

For example, you won’t need 5G while scrolling down your Twitter and Facebook timelines. Smart Data Mode will make your iPhone use 4G in those instances. But if you choose to download a video on Apple TV, your iPhone 12 Pro automatically takes advantage of faster 5G.

You can manage Smart Data Mode via Settings > Cellular > Voice & Data. Select 5G Auto to enable Smart Data Mode or 5G On to disable the functionality — the latter setting will force your iPhone to use 5G all the time but may end up draining your battery.

4. Restrict 5G

Smart Data Mode aside, you can also restrict your iPhone 12 or iPhone 12 Pro from using 5G (except during video streaming) by turning on Low Power Mode. Head into Settings > Battery to turn it on. Alternatively, you can tap the Low Data Mode icon within the Control Center to turn it on.

5. Don’t Forget About MagSafe

Your new iPhone comes with a MagSafe connector. It consists of an array of magnets on the back that allows you to snap on a host of accessories from wireless chargers, wallets, to smart cases. Check out the MagSafe Accessories section on the Apple Store for loads of cool stuff that you can use.

6. Buy 20W USB-C Power Adapter

Your iPhone 12 may not come with a charging adapter, but it sure comes with a Lightning to USB-C cable for fast charging. So, consider grabbing a power adapter with a rating of 20W or higher instead of sticking to your old 5-10W charger.

7. 5G iOS Updates

Due to 5G connectivity, you can download OTA (over-the-air) iOS updates using cellular data. To enable that, head over to Settings > Cellular > Data Mode and select Allow More Data on 5G.

8. FaceTime HD Calls

For the first time on an iPhone, you can perform FaceTime video calls in 1080p HD. Go to Settings > Cellular > Data Mode and select Allow More Data on 5G  to FaceTime in HD over 5G. You can also do that by connecting to Wi-Fi.

9. Take Better Low-Light Photos

Don’t be shy to shoot photos with your iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro in low-light scenarios. The larger f/1.6 aperture on the Wide camera can capture 27% more light, allowing for photos that look incredibly better compared to similar shots on the iPhone 11 lineup.

10. Shoot and Edit 10-bit HDR Video

The iPhone 12 can shoot 10-bit Dolby Vision HDR video at 30fps, while the iPhone 12 Pro ramps that up to 60fps. You can also edit captured videos on your iPhone itself via the standard Photos app.

11. AirPlay 4K HDR Content

If you have a second-gen Apple TV or an AirPlay 2-enabled smart TV, you can AirPlay 4K HDR content using your iPhone 12 or iPhone 12 Pro.

12. Quick Take Videos

Quick Take is available on other iPhones. But it’s an incredibly useful feature that should come in quite handy whenever you want to shoot a quick video. Rather than fumbling around switching to Video mode on your iPhone 12 or iPhone 12 Pro, tap and hold the Shutter icon to start recording video with Quick Take. Swipe your finger to the right if you want to switch to video recording completely.

Tips & Tricks – iPhone 12 Pro Only

13. Take Advantage of LiDAR

The triple-lens camera array on the iPhone 12 Pro consists of a LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) sensor. It uses lasers to measures distance, and that brings about lots of benefits. For example, your new iPhone can provide superior Augmented Reality experiences, so don’t forget to hop over to the App Store to try out some AR apps. To make things even better, LiDAR also improves auto-focusing by up to six times, helping you capture even better photos and videos.

14. Snap Portraits in Night Mode

Both the iPhone 12 and the iPhone 12 Pro supports Night mode on the front and the rear cameras. But on the iPhone 12 Pro, in particular, you can also capture Night Mode portraits with the rear camera. That is made possible due to the improved auto-focusing brought about by the LiDAR sensor.

15. Shoot in Apple ProRAW

Your iPhone 12 Pro comes with a fantastic triple 12MP camera array consisting of a wide, an ultra-wide, and a telephone lens. It allows for amazingly detail-rich photos, especially with the Apple A14 Bionic’s advanced computational photography features at play.

That said, your iPhone 12 Pro also supports a new imaging format called Apple ProRAW. As its name implies, you can shoot photos and videos in the RAW format without the fancy camera effects, allowing you to have the final say by editing them however you want.

Apple ProRAW won’t be available if you just got your iPhone 12 Pro on the release date. Instead, the Cupertino-based tech giant is supposed to add it in a future iOS update. Do keep an eye out for it.

Essential iOS 14 Tips & Tricks

16. Customize Home Screen

With iOS 14, you can completely customize the Home screen on your iPhone 12 or iPhone 12 Pro by adding and modifying Home screen widgets, removing unwanted apps, hiding entire Home screen pages, and so on. Check our iPhone Home screen customization guide for more details.

17. Watch Videos in Picture-in-Picture Mode

iOS 14 allows you to watch videos in Picture-in-Picture mode. Swipe up while watching a video in full-screen mode, and you should see the video show up in a floating PiP pane automatically. The functionality works on apps such as Apple TV, Hulu, and Netflix. You can also watch YouTube in Picture-in-Picture mode.

18. Watch YouTube in 4K

Speaking of YouTube, iOS 14 brings support for Google’s VP9 codec. That means you can watch YouTube in all its 4K glory on your iPhone 12’s stunning Super Retina XDR display. While watching a supported video on YouTube, bring up the Quality selection menu and select 2160p to switch to 4K.

19. FaceTime Eye Contact

You can complement FaceTime HD on the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro with Eye Contact. Once enabled, the feature will make it seem as if you are looking directly at the person on the other end of the call instead of at the camera. To enable it, go to Settings > FaceTime and turn on the switch next to Eye Contact.

20. Change Default Browser

With iOS 14, you don’t have to be stuck using Safari or the default Mail app. Instead, you can set up any other supported third-party web browser or email client (such as Chrome or Outlook) to function as the default.

To do that, dive into the Settings app on your iPhone 12 or iPhone 12 Pro and select the app that you want to make the default. Then, tap Default Browser App/Default Mail App and specify the app as the default.


21. Manage Your Privacy

While you are using the best smartphone that money can buy, you must also be mindful of your privacy. Thankfully, iOS 14 comes with loads of privacy-related settings and options that can help you do just that. We’ve covered every one of them extensively in our iOS 14 privacy features guide. Don’t forget to check it out.

What Your Favorite?

The list above is exhaustive by no means, so don’t forget to explore each nook and cranny of your iPhone 12 or iPhone 12 Pro. If you find something unique, do share it with us in the comments section below. Meanwhile, you may want to check our top 35+ iOS 14 tips and tricks list for even more ideas on what you can do with your new iPhone.