10 Things You Don’t Know Your iPhone Can Do

You've probably never read all 284 pages of Apple's official iPhone manual, but we have. We've found 10 awesome things to make your life easier that you probably don't know your iPhone can do.

Table of Contents

You’ve probably never read all 284 pages of Apple’s official iPhone manual, but we have. We’ve found 10 awesome things to make your life easier that you probably don’t know your iPhone can do.

10-things-your-iphone-can-do-autocorrectStop Autocorrect

iPhone users love to complain about Autocorrect, but you can actually make it a lot smarter with just a little effort. Identify whatever words or phrases you use frequently that Autocorrect doesn’t seem to like, and do this.

  1. Go to Settings.
  2. Tap General > Keyboard > Add New Shortcut.
  3. Enter your unusual word or phrase in the Phrase field, but leave the Shortcut field empty.

10-things-your-iphone-can-do-shortcutsCreate Your Own Typing Shortcuts

Avid texters love to use acronyms like “lol” or “imho.” Whether you’re into that sort of thing or you just want to speed up your texting, you can create shortcuts to do a lot of the work for you. Get creative and use them for any phrase, word, or even names of people you text frequently.

  1. Go to Settings.
  2. Tap General > Keyboard > Add New Shortcut.
  3. Enter your word or phrase in the “Phrase” field, and whatever sequence of letters you want to use for your shortcut in the “Shortcut” field.

10-things-your-iphone-can-do-smsSwitch Between iMessage Texting and SMS

This one’s useful for those times when Apple’s iMessage service is on the fritz. If you can’t get a message to send through iMessage, you can have it try again as a standard SMS text message.

  • Double-tap on the blue bubble you want to resend as SMS. The bubble will turn green, indicating that your phone has changed it to an SMS text and sent it that way.

10-things-your-iphone-can-do-siri-punctuationHave Siri Insert Punctuation in Your Dictations

Siri’s great for dictating stuff to instead of always thumbing the virtual keyboard. But if you want to dictate more formally, with proper punctuation marks and all, that’s always an option. Siri understands all punctuation marks if you say them aloud, like “new paragraph” or “quote… end quote.”

  • Just say what you want, exactly where you want it. For example, you might dictate, “Hi comma how are you question mark” to get Siri to output “Hi, how are you?”

10-things-your-iphone-can-do-vibrationsCreate Customized Vibrations

You probably know you can set different ringtones for different callers, and chimes for notifications. You may even know that you can set different vibrations for various uses. But did you know you can use your iPhone to create vibration patterns? Maybe you want your phone to vibrate in Morse Code, or the drum beat to a favorite song. It can be anything you can imagine.

  1. Go to Settings.
  2. Tap Sounds, then select any item on the “Sounds and Vibration Patterns” list.
  3. Tap Vibration.
  4. Tap “Create New Vibration.”
  5. Tap out the vibration you want to create. When you’re satisfied with it, tap Save. You can now assign it to any action or caller.

10-things-your-iphone-can-do-dial-breakAutomate Phone Dialing of Extensions and Pass Codes

Speed-dial is great, but it hits a big ol’ speed bump when you have to dial an extension or you get one of those godawful automated operators. Fortunately there’s a very easy way to keep even this part simple. Using one of two options, you can insert pauses in your speed-dialing.

  1. Go to Contacts.
  2. Select the one you want to add an extension to, and tap Edit.
  3. Enter the phone number first.
  4. Tap the “+*#” button on the keypad.
  5. Choose Pause or Wait and then enter the extension.

Pause inserts a 2-second break. You can use Pause multiple times if you want to add longer breaks. Use this one when you know exactly how long the break is between the answer on the other end and the moment when you’re directed to enter the extension.

Wait stops all dialing activity until you hit the Dial button a second time. So you enter the phone number and then it kicks into the Wait function while you listen for the recording on the other end to finish. Use this when you don’t know the exact break time between when they answer and when they ask for your extension. Or if the break is a different length each time you call.

10-things-your-iphone-can-do-focusLock the Camera’s Focus and Exposure

I never knew about this one until I read the iPhone manual, and boy do I wish I’d known it before now. You know how it is: you’re trying to snap a great picture but people or cars or whatever keep moving in and out of the frame in the foreground — making the camera’s autofocus go all kinds of wonky. It keeps changing focus so various areas of the frame get blurry while others sharpen up, shifting between light and dark, and it all fluctuates so wildly you can’t get it to land on the right focus or exposure. To work around this, you can easily force your camera to focus on one specific spot and lock it there.

  1. With the Camera app open, identify the spot on the screen that you want it to lock focus on.
  2. Touch and hold your finger on that spot until the rectangle starts to pulse. “AE/AF Lock” will appear on the screen near the shutter, indicating that you’ve been successful. Now, no matter what happens, the focus and exposure both will remain locked on your sweet spot.
  3. When you’re ready to turn it off, just tap the screen.

10-things-your-iphone-can-do-itunes-barChange the Shortcut Buttons in the iTunes Store

The iPhone’s version of the iTunes Store is very minimal, and one size doesn’t fit all. The black shortcut bar at the bottom defaults to Music, Movies, TV, and Search, but if these don’t suit your needs, you can customize the bar to include the shortcuts you want.

  1. Open the iTunes Store on your phone.
  2. In the shortcut bar at the bottom, tap on More at the far right.
  3. On the next screen, tap Edit in the top right corner.
  4. A new menu will slide down showing the nine buttons available to use in the shortcut bar. You can change out your shortcuts for stuff like Tones (ringtones), Audiobooks, Genius, and more.

Sadly, you can’t customize the shortcut bars in the App Store or iBooks.

10-things-your-iphone-can-do-donotdisturbTrick Out Do-Not-Disturb Mode

You’ve probably heard of Do Not Disturb mode, but you may not realize just how smart and useful it can be. It’s not a blanket thing where you throw the switch and suddenly all sounds are turned off. Or rather, it doesn’t have to be that way. You don’t even have to manually turn it on and off.

  1. Go to Settings.
  2. Tap Notifications, then Do Not Disturb.
  3. The next screen gives you a number of options you can tweak here to make DND work more intelligently. At the top of the screen you can set specific time you’d like your iPhone to turn DND on and off for you each day. Below that, you can allow calls from specific people when DND is on. (These are defined in Contacts, by setting individuals as Favorites or putting them in Groups.)

10-things-your-iphone-can-do-zoomZoom In

You don’t have to have vision problems to want to see things on your screen a little easier. Your iPhone’s robust Accessibility suite includes a nifty option for zooming in that works on the Home screen and inside most apps.

  1. Go to Settings.
  2. Tap General > Accessibility > Zoom.
  3. Turn Zoom on.

From here, use the following gestures to control the settings on-the-fly:

  • Auto-zoom in and out: double-tap the screen with 3 fingers
  • Manually zoom in and out: tap the screen with 3 fingers and then drag up or down
  • Navigate a zoomed-in screen: drag the screen with 3 fingers
Picture of Kokou Adzo

Kokou Adzo

Kokou Adzo is a stalwart in the tech journalism community, has been chronicling the ever-evolving world of Apple products and innovations for over a decade. As a Senior Author at Apple Gazette, Kokou combines a deep passion for technology with an innate ability to translate complex tech jargon into relatable insights for everyday users.

11 thoughts on “10 Things You Don’t Know Your iPhone Can Do

  1. “10 Things You Don’t Know Your iPhone Can Do”

    That’s an exceedingly arrogant claim.

    You scored 2 out of 10

  2. Warning: When you enable zoom it also works on the lock screen. So don’t panic if you happen to pick up your phone some day and see the screen is zoomed! You’ve accidentally pushed the button and double-tapped the screen with three fingers. Just double-tap with 3 fingers again to get back to the full lock screen.

    Note, you can use this as a quickie emergency lock if you don’t want anyone to be able to start your phone. The unlock slider is off-screen when it is zoomed, so if they don’t know about this feature they won’t be able to unlock it.

  3. I just knew those things without readding the manual. I use ios for 2 and a half year now and discovered all those functions

  4. Colin doesn’t deserve the cookie because he’s an idiot. All of those features havn’t been in existence for 2 1/2 years.

  5. Colin should get half the cookie for being so clever. Seth should stand in the corner with his face to the wall wearing a Dunce hat for 30 minutes. Colin didn’t say those functions have been around for 2 1/2 years ` he said he has been using ios for that time.

    1. I wish people would learn to spell….Random….should “know” what I’m talking about.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Posts