12 tips to make your iPhone easier to use

Lynn Wright / 19 May 2016

Get more from your Apple iPhone with these 12 hidden features that make using your iPhone faster and easier.

Using an iPhone isn’t rocket science. Apple has always focused on ease of use and its iPhone is no exception. Making calls, sending messages and emails, listening to music, downloading and using apps is straightforward enough, but typically iPhone users only scratch the surface of the hidden extra functionality and features found on their phone. There are lots of hidden iPhone tricks that make it easier to use your iPhone – here are 12 of the best.

Let Siri do the maths

If you need to do a quick maths calculation and don’t want to fire up the Calculator app, open Siri and recite your sum to Siri to get a speedy answer. Siri can add, subtract, divide, and even work out percentages of numbers – handy for dividing restaurant bills or calculating a tip.

Quickly delete digits in the Calculator app

The Calculator app on your iPhone doesn’t have a delete button, so if you make a mistake when typing in a long number, most people start over again. But here’s a little-known timesaving trick: simply swipe to the left or right across the black area at the top to remove the last digit. You can do this again to remove each subsequent digit until all the numbers are cleared.

Keep iPhone steady when taking photos

Your iPhone can capture stunning quality photos but holding such a small device steady while pressing the shutter button can be problematic, especially if you suffer with shaky hands. You can avoid blurry photos by using the Volume Up or Down buttons on the iPhone’s headphones inline controls to take a picture while in the Camera app.

Related: What is Instagram?

Shake to undo typing

iOS 9 has a hidden feature that lets you quickly delete something you’ve typed with just a quick shake of the iPhone. So, next time you need to remove something you’ve typed, simply shake your iPhone. A dialog box appears on screen: hit the Undo button. This works if you’ve just accidently deleted text too; in this case the dialog box will read Redo.

Double tap for a full stop

Here’s a handy keyboard tip that will speed up typing messages and emails. Instead of hitting the number menu to find the full stop key, just double-tap the Space button. It adds a full stop after the last word you’ve typed and then a space. The next character you write will automatically be capitalised.

Tap to top

Scrolling back to the top of the screen after reading a lengthy piece of text or a long list of items can be a chore, but in many apps, including Apple’s Safari, Mail, Messages, Photos and News, you can tap the very top of the screen to whizz back to the head of that page.

Set Do Not Disturb

Hate receiving calls and alerts when you’re working or late at night when you’re trying to sleep? Then make sure you’re using your iPhone’s Do Not Disturb option. To activate, swipe up from the bottom of your Home screen to open the Control Centre and tap the crescent moon icon in the top row of options. Alternatively, tap Settings > Do Not Disturb. Then choose Manual to turn on Do Not Disturb now or turn on Schedule and set a time when you don’t want to be disturbed. You can also allow calls from specific people or repeated calls so you never miss an urgent call.

Quickly correct typing mistakes

Apple’s 3D Touch makes it easy to quickly correct text mistakes. Press deeply anywhere on the keyboard until the magnifying loupe appears over your text. Then slide your finger to move the cursor next to your mistake, let go and make your corrections.

Save power in a pinch

If your iPhone battery is getting low and there’s nowhere to charge it, switch to Low Power Mode by tapping Settings > Battery > Low Power Mode. This squeezes an extra few hours out of your battery by disabling demanding features such as Hey Siri, mail fetching and background refresh. Low power is only a temporary mode; your iPhone automatically switch it off once the battery is sufficiently charged.

Related: Seven tips for safer mobile phone charging

Sleep better at night

To reduce eye-strain when using your iPhone at night and help get a better night’s sleep, turn on Night Shift. This automatically changes the colours in your phone’s display to eliminate the bright blue light emitted when dark that can prevent you from falling asleep. To turn on Night Shift, tap Settings > Display & Brightness, then tap Night Shift. Tap to turn on Scheduled and select a start and stop time, or tap Manually Enable Until Tomorrow to activate it immediately. Use the slider at the bottom to make the colours in the display warmer or cooler to suit your viewing.

Find your iPhone with sound

Need to find your iPhone in a hurry but can’t remember where you left it? You can make your iPhone play a sound – even if it’s set to silent. Open the Find iPhone app on another device, tap the missing iPhone, tap Actions, then tap Play Sound.

Create custom messages to reply to calls

Not able to answer a call because you’re too busy, in a meeting or on the way home, but want to let the person know you’ve received their call? Apple lets you respond to a call with one of three preset text messages. To set this up, tap Settings > Phone > Reply with Message. Then type in the reply you wish to use or follow Apple’s examples: ‘Sorry I can’t talk right now’; ‘I am on the way’ and ‘I will call back you later’.


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The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.