The 60 Best Tips and Tricks for your new iPhone

BY Gautam Prabhu

Published 21 Dec 2014

Best iPhone tips and tricks

If you’ve just bought a new iPhone, and new to the world of iOS, then here are some tips and tricks you should know to use your shiny new device.

Please note that most of these tips and tricks are meant for new users, but I’m quite sure that even long time iOS users have either forgotten or aren’t using few of them actively. The reason for compiling these tips and tricks is to get you to incorporate them in your daily workflow so that you use your device more efficiently (and spend less time using them). If you need help with any particular tip, I’ve included links wherever available to our step-by-step guides which will provide more details.


1. Enable Two-Step Verification

You will use the Apple ID for everything to do with Apple such as shop on the iTunes Store, enable iCloud on all our devices, buy from Apple’s Online Store and lots more, so it is highly recommended that you enable two-step verification for your Apple ID to increase the security of your account, to prevent you account from getting hacked.

➤ How to enable Two-Step Verification for your Apple ID

➤ 5 Essential Security Tips for your iPhone

2. Increase or decrease text size

If you want to adjust the text size on your device for easier reading, then go to Settings and navigate to Display & Brightness > Text Size and adjust the slider to change the text size based on your preference. Please note that apps that support Dynamic Type will only adjust to your preferred reading size.

3. Battery Percentage

By default, iOS displays the battery level in the top right corner of the status bar. You can keep track of the charge remaining in your iPhone more easily by enabling the battery percentage indicator, which displays the battery left in percentage. To display the battery percentage indicator, navigate to Settings > General > Usage and tap on the Battery Percentage toggle to turn it on.

4. Close an app or multiple apps

To close or kill an app running in the background or force it to quit, double-press the Home button to access the new app switcher or multitasking tray and then swipe up on the app that you want to close. You can close multiple apps (up to 3 apps) at a time using multiple fingers.

➤ How to close an app or multiple apps

5. Move or delete an app on the Home screen

If you want to move the icons around on the screen, then tap and hold on the icon for a couple of seconds, and wait for all icons to wiggle. You can now drag and rearrange the icon. If you want to move the app to a different page, then you can drag it to the edge of the screen and wait for it to move across to the next page. To delete an app, tap on the little cross in the corner of the app icon to delete it. Press the Home button to stop the app icons from shaking.

6. Do Not Disturb

Notifications and alerts ensure we don’t miss new information and events, but if you’re looking for something to silence your iPhone, whether you’re going into a meeting or going to bed, then enable the Do Not Disturb toggle in Settings. You can enable it manually by going to Settings > Do Not Disturb, and tapping on the toggle for Manual to enable it, or you can schedule it. When Do Not Disturb is enabled calls and alerts that arrive will be silenced, and a moon icon will appear in the status bar.

➤ How to set up, customize and use Do Not Disturb

7. Reachability

Reachability is a new feature introduced for iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus that come with bigger screens to make it easier for one-handed use. Lightly tap twice on the Home button/Touch ID. This will slide the screen down so that you can reach UI elements in the top half more easily with your thumb. It stays in that position for 5-6 seconds giving you enough time to interact. When the screen pans down, it only stays down for one tap.

➤ How to use Reachability for easier one-handed use on iPhone 6 Plus and iPhone 6

8. Control Center

Control Center gives you quick access to the Camera, Calculator, AirPlay and music controls. It also gives you the ability to adjust the brightness, enable or disable system toggles such as AirPlane mode, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Do Not Disturb and Portrait Location Lock. To access Control Center, swipe up from the bottom edge of the screen.

9. Flashlight

You can use your iPhone as a flashlight. Just swipe up from the bottom edge of the screen to access the Control Center, and tap on the torch icon to enable the flashlight.

10. Apple ID without credit card

In case you’re not aware, you can create an Apple ID without a credit card so that you can use it to download free apps. Some parents create such accounts and top it up with iTunes gift card to control the spending on the App Store by their children.

➤ How to create iTunes account without credit card

Keyboard Tips

11. Add An International Keyboard

If you need to communicate with your colleagues and family in different languages, the iPhone offers a one-tap solution to toggle between the different keyboards. To add an international keyboard, launch the Settings app and navigate to General -> Keyboard -> Keyboards > Add New Keyboard to add a new language to your active keyboards list. Once done, you simply have to tap on the globe icon beside the space bar on the keyboard to switch to another language.

12. Add Special Symbol

Can’t find the € symbol on your iPhone or iPad’s keyboard? To insert this symbol, you simply have to tap and hold the $ key. You will be shown a list of alternate currency symbols, including  €, to pick from. You can use the same trick to insert many other symbols like an inverted exclamation, longer hyphens,etc by tapping and holding the corresponding keys.

13. Quick Way To Start A New Sentence

The iOS keyboard lets you add a period and start a new sentence by simply double-tapping the space bar. This trick is particularly useful while you type long paragraphs of text. To make sure this feature is enabled, go to Settings -> General -> Keyboard and check if  the toggle for “.” Shortcut is enabled.

14. Quickly Insert Punctuation

Many users tend to tap on the “123” key to view the list of numbers and symbols to pick. Once done, they tap on the “ABC” key to revert back to the alphabet keyboard to continue typing. You can do this a lot more quickly by tapping and holding the “123” key, and swiping on the keyboard to the punctuation mark you need in one single swipe action. Once you select the punctuation or symbol you want to add, release your finger, iOS will automatically revert back to the alphabet keyboard. So this saves you the hassle of switching between keyboards.

15. Quickly type capital letters

If you’re in the middle of a sentence and want to type a single capital letter, you’d normally enable the cap lock key, type the letter and disable it again. But there’s a much simpler way: Tap on the Shift key and in one single action slide your finger to the key you want to type. When you release it, you’ll see that the Shift key is disabled again, saving you an extra tap.

16. Quickly Change Domain Name Extension

The Mobile Safari browser comes with a handy .com key for users to easily suffix the domain name extension to the URL in the address bar. You can also use this key to add other extensions like .ORG or .NET. To do this, tap and hold the .COM key to view the alternate extensions to pick from. Interestingly, this list will also include specific country-code extensions if you have the corresponding languages added to your International keyboard list.

17. Shake to Undo

Instead of holding the delete key to remove the typed text, you may simply shake the iPhone (once to your left and back). This will prompt you with an option to ‘Undo Typing‘. Tapping this button will automatically delete your recently typed text.

18. Type smart quotes

The default quote key on the keyboard includes normal quotes, often called “dumb” quotes. But you can type in the curved variants of quotation marks (called smart quotes) by long pressing the quote key.

19. “Will” Contractions

If you wanted to type contractions like “he’ll” or “we’ll,” but iOS doesn’t autocorrect your “hell” or “well” simply add a third “l.” Type “helll,” and the keyboard will recommend “he’ll.” Type “welll,” and the keyboard will recommend “we’ll.”

This also works with “were” and “we’re.” Type an extra “e” (“weree”) and the software recommends “we’re.”

Mail Tips

20. Gestures

Swipe a message to the right to mark it as read or unread. Swipe a message all the way across to the left to delete or archive it. Swipe a message to the left to get more options.

How to quickly delete or archive an email in the Mail app

➤ How to quickly mark an email as read or unread

➤ How to quickly flag an email

21. Quickly access drafts

To quickly access your list of drafts, simply long tap the compose button at the bottom-right. This brings up a list from the bottom with all your drafts. This is much quicker than the usual way of accessing drafts.

22. Selective Quotes

At times you’d want to reply to a portion of the mail, but iOS by default quotes the contents of the entire mail when replying. You can change this by selecting the portion you want to reply to using the standard iOS text selection mechanism and then pressing the reply button. You’ll now see the selected text as a quote in the compose window.

23. Attach media from the compose window

The Mail app doesn’t give a direct button to insert attachments from the compose window, but if you long tap in the compose text field, you’ll see an option to insert a video or a photo (you’ll have to tap the right arrow to see the option). When you tap that, you’ll see the standard photo picker from where you can choose a photo or video.

24. Format text

You can type in your text in the mail body, and format it as bold, italic or underlines by selecting the text and tapping the “BIU” button.

You can also increase or decrease the indent level of selected text by selecting the quote, tapping on the arrow at the right, and then tapping on the Quote level, followed by Increase or Decrease depending on how you want to format it.

25. Get Reply Notifications

To receive notification when anyone replies to an email thread, tap the flag when viewing the message, and then tap Notify Me.

Safari Tips

26. Go back to the top

Tap just above the top of the smart search field to go to the top of the page, so you don’t have to spend time swiping down.

27. Gestures to go back and forward

Instead of using buttons, you can use edge-swipe gestures to navigate between webpages. Swipe from the left edge to go back one page and swipe from the right edge to go forward. These gestures are very useful in full screen mode, since you don’t have the buttons immediately available.

28. Recently closed tabs

If you’ve mistakenly closed a tab, or simply want to open a tab you’ve closed from your last browsing session, just tap and hold the “+” button to see a list of all your recently closed tabs.

29. Access History

You can access the browser history for a particular tab with a long tap on the back or forward button, so you can quickly jump to the site you had visited.

30. Safari Reader

You can tap on the icon to the left of the smart search field (address or search bar) to access the Safari Reader feature, which displays web articles without ads or clutter. The icon turns white when the Reader functionality is activated.

31. Reading list

If you’ve come across a long article that you find interesting but don’t want to read right now, you can add it to Safari’s Reading List, which syncs across all your iOS devices and Macs.

You can save items to your Reading List by tapping the share button in Safari, then tapping on the glass icon. iOS 7 or later also lets third parties add items to Safari’s reading list, so you could even add links from the Share menu in apps.

You can access your Reading List by tapping the Bookmarks icon in Safari’s toolbar, and switching to the tab with the Glasses icon.

32. Search on current page

To search for something on the current webpage, type your search text in the smart search field, and right at the bottom, you’ll see a section called “On This Page” that shows you the number of matches.

On tapping the last cell under the “On This Page”, Safari will take you to the first occurrence of your search text on the current page, and from there you can jump through all the occurrences using the back and forward button at the bottom.

33. Close and reorder tabs

To close a webpage, just swipe a tab offscreen to the left or tap on the x button. You can close only one tab at a time, and there is no option to close all tabs.

You can also reorder tabs by tapping and holding on a tab, and moving it to the place you want it.

34. Private browsing

To enable or disable private browsing, enter the tab switcher view by tapping the tab button at the bottom, followed by the Private button on the bottom left corner.

You’ll see the interface change to black when it is in private mode, so you can differentiate between private and normal browsing mode.

35. Add RSS feeds to Safari

With iOS 8, you can subscribe to RSS feeds in Safari, which then appear in the Shared Links tab. To subscribe to an RSS feed, visit the site you want to subscribe to in Safari, tap the bookmarks icon and tap on the @ symbol. Tap on the Subscription button at the bottom and then tap on “Add Current Site”. You’ll then start seeing updates from the site in the Shared Links tab.

Tips for Messages app

36. Send Photos or Videos

To send a photo, tap on the camera icon when you’re in a conversation, swipe up to take a photo, and send it instantly. To send a video, swipe to the right to start recording the video, and then swipe up to stop the recording and send the video.

37. Message Timestamp

Open the Messages app, and tap on a conversation. You’ll see that the timestamps here are for a collection of messages. To see what time messages were sent, drag a bubble to the left.

How to see what time messages were sent

38. Block Voice, FaceTime calls and Messages

Go to Settings, and navigate to Phone > Blocked, then tap on Add New…, and tap on the Contact you wish to block, to add it to the block list. You can also block a contact or phone number in the Phone, FaceTime and Messages app.

When you add a Contact or number to the blocked list, voice calls, FaceTime calls and messages from that person will be blocked. You cannot selectively block just voice calls, FaceTime calls or messages from a person.

➤ How to block calls and messages on your iPhone

39. Share your location with friends

In the Messages app, tap on the conversation you’re having with your friend or friends with whom you want to share your location. Then tap on Details in the top right corner.  Tap on Send My Current Location if you want to send your current location or tap on Share My Location if you want to share your location for ever or specific period of time.

➤ How to share your location in the Messages app

40. Mute a conversation

Tap on the conversation you want to mute in the Messages app, tap on Details, and then tap on the Do Not Disturb toggle.

➤ How to mute or leave a group chat

Tips for Phone app

41. Respond to a call with a text

If you can’t take a call, you can tap on the Message icon to send a prewritten message response such as “Sorry, I can’t talk right now,” “I’m on my way,” “Can I call you later?”. You can also customize the messages in Settings > Phone > Respond with Text.

How to respond to a call with a quick text message on your iPhone

42. Add profile pictures to contacts

You can sync profile photos of your friends and family from Facebook or Twitter so that when they email or call, you can see their profile photo. To sync the profile photos, go to Settings, and tap on Facebook or Twitter, login to your account, and then tap Update Contacts.

43. Calculator tip

You can delete the last entered number in the Calculator app by swiping from left to right or right to left across the display in the Calculator app.

➤ How to delete a number in the Calculator app with a Swipe

44. Calendar tip

In the Calendar app, the list view is a much easier view to to scroll through the events in the month or year.  So here are the steps: You need to go to the month view. Here you need to tap on the combination list/month view button to the left of the search icon. Then tap on any day in the month. Now tap on the list view icon to the left of the search icon. Voila! This will highlight the list button and you should see the the list view of events in the month.

➤ How to access the event list view in Calendar app

Battery life Tips

45. Enable Auto-Lock

Enable Auto-Lock so that your iPhone will turn off after a period of inactivity to reduce battery consumption. To enable the auto-Lock interval, go to Settings, and navigate to General > Auto-Lock and set the auto-lock interval to either 1, 2, 3, 4 or 5 minutes.

46. Reduce Brightness

Dimming the screen helps to reduce power consumption, so you can lower the default screen brightness based on your preference. Go to Settings, and navigate to Display & Brightness to reduce the brightness.

47. Identify Battery hogs

In iOS 8 or later, you can find out which apps are consuming the most power. To find out go to Settings, and navigate to General > Usage > Battery Usage.

The battery usage provides you information about how much battery is consumed by various apps and services on your device. It is important to mention here that an app with a high percentage battery usage does not necessarily mean it is a battery hog. It could be because you were using it a lot, or if it was running in the background to upload or download content.

The apps that should be a concern are ones that show up on top of power consumption list even though you haven’t been using them. iOS 8 will also tell you what activity that could have resulted in battery consumption such as Background activity etc.

➤ How to find out which apps are using the most battery life

48. Use Location Only While Using an app

In iOS 8, Apple has added a new setting in Location Services called While Using the App, which means that the app will only use location services when you’re using the app, and won’t use it all the time. This can be useful for apps like the App Store, which don’t need to be using location services all the time.

You can see which applications have recently used location services by going to Settings > Privacy > Location Services. Apps that recently used your location have an compass like indicator next them. Tap on the app, you should see the While Using the App, tap on it if you want the app to use location services only while using the app. This will ensure that the app will access your location only when it or one of its features are visible on the screen.

Please note that this feature is available for stock apps and also some third-party apps, however we expect third-party apps to offer this feature when they’re optimized for iOS 8.

Use Location only while using an app to save battery

49. Background App Refresh

Background App Refresh feature lets apps fetch content in the background. It improves the user experience of apps such as RSS clients, news app etc. that can download the latest content so you don’t have to wait for the app to refresh the content when you launch it. Although Apple has a lot of optimizations in place to ensure that battery consumption is minimal, it’s possible that battery life of older iOS devices takes a hit due to this feature. To disable Background App Refresh go to Settings, and navigate to General > Background App Refresh and turn it off for apps like Facebook or other apps that don’t absolutely need to be updated all the time.

More tips and tricks to improve battery life

50. Battery Life Suggestions

iOS 8 or later will also provide suggestions to improve battery life based on your usage such as it will inform you to Reduce Brightness, Enable Auto-Lock etc. To find out what suggestion Apple has for you to improve battery life, go to Settings and navigate to General > Usage > Battery Usage.

Siri Tips

Siri is Apple’s personal assistant, which can be accessed by long pressing the Home button. It can do tons of things. Tap on the ? icon to find out some of things you can ask Siri.

51. What song is this

If you like a song playing on the radio, then you can ask Siri “What song is this?” to find out the name of the song. You can also buy the song from iTunes if it is available by tapping on the buy button.

➤ How to see the list of all the songs you’ve asked Siri to identify

52. Hands-Free Siri

When your iPhone is connected to a power source, instead of pressing the Home button just say “Hey Siri”. It should bring up Siri. You can now make your request. There is also a workaround to get “Hey Siri” to work when your iPhone is not connected to a power source.

➤ How to activate Siri without pressing the Home button

53. Get Siri to respond faster

To get a faster response from Siri, continue to hold down the Home button while you speak, and release it when you finish. Since Siri doesn’t have to identify when you stop talking, you end up getting a faster response.

54. Enable or disable System toggles

Siri has the ability to enable or disable system toggles such as Airplane mode (only enable), Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, Do Not Disturb etc. All you need to say is “Turn on Wi-Fi,” “Turn off Bluetooth” etc. You can also adjust the screen brightness using Siri. You can use commands such as “Turn up the brightness,” or “Turn down the brightness”.

You can also open the Settings panel for an app using Siri. While you’re in an app, say “Open Settings” to open the Settings panel for the app. Alternatively, you can also say, “Open <app name> Settings” or “Open Settings for <app name>”, for example “Open Safari Settings” or just say “Open Settings for Safari” and it open the Settings panel for Safari.

55. Get Siri to pronounce your name correctly

You can tell Siri it is pronouncing your name wrong. You can simply say “That’s not how you pronounce [any name]” to start the teaching process. During the teaching process, it will prompt you to say the name and then prompt you to select from one of options by repeating the name based on how you pronounced it. Once you select the option, it will start pronouncing the name the way you want it. Siri will also prompt you if it has trouble pronouncing a name and request you to teach it how to say it.

Tips for Camera and Photos app

56. Favorite album

Tap to select a photo, then tap on the heart icon at the bottom of a photo to select your favorite photos. They can be accessed in the Favorite album in the Photos app.

57. Hide a Photo

To hide a photo, tap and hold on a photo, while you’re Moments, Collections and Years view or in an Album, then tap on the Hide option to hide the photo.

58. Shutter Timer

In the camera app, frame your shot and tap on the clock icon at the top, the number of seconds (3 or 10), and tap on the shutter button. You will see the countdown on the screen after you tap on the shutter button.

59. Recover and Permanently Deleting Photos

When you delete a photo or video in the Camera app, it is not deleted permanently. They’re just marked for deletion, and are accessible in the Recently Deleted album in the Photos app for 30 days.

You can either recover the photo if you had accidentally deleted it or permanently delete the photo from the Recently Deleted album.

How to recover deleted photos and videos

How to permanently delete photos and videos

60. Separate controls for focus and exposure

You could set the exposure manually while taking a photo in the Camera app. While taking a photo, first tap on the screen to focus. Once you’ve set the focus, you’ll now see a brightness scale, which is the exposure control. Dragging your finger along the scale will make the photo lighter or darker.

How to use the new camera features in iOS 8

Other hands things you should do:

Note IMEI Number

It’s handy to have your IMEI number stored someplace safe in case you ever lose your phone or tablet. This 16-digit number (known as an International Mobile Equipment Identity number) is a unique identifier for every device that connects to a mobile network with a SIM card, and it allows carriers to blacklist the device if it goes missing.

A blacklisted device can’t be used on mobile networks, and this makes it hard for thieves to use or resell the device. And if you’re planning on purchasing a refurbished or secondhand device, it’s a good idea to check whether the device has been blacklisted before buying it.

On your iOS device, Navigate to Settings > General > About and scroll down to view your device’s IMEI number and other details.

There are other ways to also find the IMEI number, check our article for the other methods.

How to find your iPhone or Cellular iPad’s IMEI number

Display Zoom

Apple has added a new feature called Display Zoom for iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, the new higher resolution iPhones. You will be prompted to configure this feature when you set up your iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus for the first time. You can also configure or change this settings via the Settings app by navigating to Settings > Display & Brightness > View. You have an option to set it as either Standard or Zoomed.

In the standard mode, the iPhone 6 Plus runs at 2208 x 1242 pixel resolution, which at 3x resolution works out to 736 × 414 points. In the standard mode, the iPhone 6 runs at 1334 × 750 pixel resolution, which at 3x resolution works out to 667 × 375 points.

In zoomed mode, the iPhone 6 Plus acts like a virtual iPhone 6 display, but running at 3x retina resolution, which works out to 2001 × 1125 (virtual) pixels. Here are some screenshots which gives a good idea of the difference between the zoomed and standard mode on the iPhone 6 Plus. In zoomed mode, the iPhone 6 acts like a virtual iPhone 5s display, but running at 2x retina resolution, which works out to 1136 × 640 pixels.

So the zoomed mode makes each iPhone show the same UI as the standard mode of the next smaller iPhone. It means instead of seeing more content, the content will be larger, which is great for people who want to see slightly larger text, app icons, text labels and user interface elements.

➤ How to use Display Zoom on your iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus

Tips on how to use headphones

You can use the center button (between the volume up (+) and volume down (-) buttons) on the mic portion of your headphones to perform some useful functions without taking your iOS device from your pocket. Follow the link below for all the details.

➤ 10 Tips On How To Use iPhone Headphones

App extensions

App extension is a powerful feature that was introduced in iOS 8 that allows you to extend and customize the functionality of the operating system to do some cool things that was not possible previously.

Here are some of our favorite app extensions:

Prevent frayed Lightning cable

To prevent frayed Lightning cables with wires visible or protruding , put springs at both ends of the cable, ensuring that the cable isn’t in a bended state for a long time. You can get a spring from any ball point pen, and then twirl it around the end, and extend the life of your cable.

➤ How to prevent frayed Lightning Cables

iPhone not charging?

If you find that your iPhone isn’t charging with your Lightning cable anymore, then it could be because of the lint that has got accumulated in the lightning port over time. You can use a toothpick to remove the lint from the lightning port and get your iPhone charging again.

iPhone or iPad not charging? Try this simple solution

That’s it. Hope you found these tips and tricks handy. If you’ve a favorite then feel free to share it in the comments below.