Apple’s products have a reputation for being simple and easy to use. That’s because Apple specifically tailors its devices to “just work” — and the iPhone is probably the champion of that design philosophy.
Out of the box, you probably won’t find a more straightforward product to get the hang of. But despite that, there are actually a handful of hidden tips that can make your Apple handset even easier to use than it already is. Best of all, some of these tips can even boost your iPhone’s efficiency and productivity.
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7 Shift Your Keyboard to Type One-Handed
Larger iPhones are great, and they’re becoming increasingly popular. But the increase in size comes with its own set of tradeoffs. For example, it’s fairly difficult to type one-handed on Plus model iPhones. Luckily, Apple has remedied that in iOS 11.
This feature shifts the keyboard to the left or the right, making it easier to access and type on with one hand. Just tap and hold the Keyboard icon (it’ll appear as an Emoji face or a globe) and select one the keyboard orientation you like.
You can also switch either on permanently in Settings > General > Keyboards > One Handed Keyboard.
6 Make Text Easier to Read
Sometimes, text on an iPhone can be tough to read. That’s especially true if you’re still rocking a smaller device like an iPhone 5s or iPhone SE. Luckily, you can make text both larger, bolder and easier to read pretty easily.
Just go to Settings > General > Accessibility > Larger Text, and optionally, toggle Larger Accessibility Sizes. From here, you can use the slider near the bottom of the screen to adjust displayed text to your liking.
If you back out to the Accessibility menu, you can also Bold Text by toggling the feature.
5 Create Custom Alert Vibrations
If you’re like most smartphone users, you probably get quite a few notifications throughout your day. Between texts, app notifications and email alerts, it can be hard to tell all of the buzzing apart unless you’re actively looking at your iPhone.
But you can actually create custom vibrations that’ll help you know which is which. Just go to Settings > Sounds > (Choose a Notification Type) > Vibration. Scroll down and tap Create New Vibration and follow the instructions.
If you make a series of vibrations with unique patterns and assign them to different notifications, you’ll easily be able to tell a new iMessage alert apart from an app alert.
4 Send Photos Faster Than Ever
If you aren’t using AirDrop, just know you should be. It’s by far the easiest way to transfer files (like documents, videos and photos) between your Apple devices — the days of needing to email yourself photos of your last vacation are long gone.
You’ll just need to go to the Share pane for a photo, video or document. If AirDrop is set up correctly, you should see a list of nearby devices that you can send the documents to. It’s really that easy.
3 Find Apps and Everything Else Faster
You may already use iOS’s built-in Spotlight search bar, but if you don’t, it’s an extremely handy tip that makes navigating your iPhone, finding data and information and opening apps incredibly easy. If there is one tip that users should remember from this list, it’s this one. And there’s no reason not to use it.
Just tap and slide down from the Home screen to access it. Alternatively, if you’re within an app, you can still access the search bar by “pulling down” from the very top of the display.
Just type in a query, and iOS will show you apps, notifications, emails and a range of other results. No more digging around your iPhone for that app hidden in a folder, or scrolling to find an older notification.
2 Learn These Useful Typing Tricks
Did you know that double-tapping the Spacebar when typing in iOS will automatically add a period and a space (a full-stop, for non-U.S. readers)? It’s a handy feature that lets you end complete sentences much faster. But there are other quick tips you should know, too.
When typing, you can also shake your iPhone to undo the last bit of text you wrote.
Additionally, you can tap and hold on basically any key to access a wider variety of character options. For example, tapping and holding “$” will bring up other currency symbols, while doing the same for “N” will bring up common accents.
1 Use “Hey, Siri” Hands-Free
We’re officially in the age of getting computers to do things without even touching them. Just look at the rise in popularity of Amazon’s Alexa. If you don’t have an Echo, don’t feel left out: your iPhone has a similar feature built-in.
It’s called “Hey Siri,” and you can use it as long as you have an iPhone 6s or newer (including iPhone SE). Just go to Settings > General > Siri > Hey Siri to set it up.
At that point, you can invoke the digital assistant just by using that phrase basically anytime — hands-free. From there, you can just use Siri as you normally would. It’s incredibly handy.