Touch interfaces, driven by multi-touch displays, have revolutionised the way we interact with our devices. But many features are now harder to find. The combination of taps, tap-holds, Force Touch, swipes, pinches and other gestures have resulted in innovative functions that rarely get used.
With that in mind, here are five of my favourite iPhone tweaks that you should definitely take the time to master.
Apple gave the Notification Centre a thorough once-over with iOS 12, finally adding grouped notifications. But if you swipe right on notifications, you can now manage that app’s notifications directly from there without having to jump into settings. That’s simple and more direct, saving you a few taps on the screen and some searching through the still poorly organised Settings app.
#2 Today View
I use the Today view almost as much as any app on my iPhone. The easiest way to access it is to get to the first screen of icons on the iPhone home screen and then swipe to the right. The default settings are pretty boring but if you scroll to the bottom of the display, you can use the Edit button to customise the widgets that are displayed. Ands, if you’ve been using Apple’s new Shortcuts app, you can make shortcuts directly available from there.
#3 The Hidden Trackpad
I’ve mentioned this one before but it’s worth reiterating. One of the most annoying things I’ve found is using Apple’s loupe tool for moving the cursor when editing some text. But, when you tap hold on the iOS keyboard, the letters disappear and the entire area becomes a trackpad so you can then manoeuvre the cursor around the screen.
#4 Accessibility For All
I expect that many people don’t bother using the iOS Accessibility tools all that often. But there are a couple of handy features in there.
When you triple-press the power button, a menu appears at the bottom of the iPhone display. You can customise this menu through Settings | General |Accessibility. I have the Magnifier enabled through Settings which makes it easy for me to look at very small text as it uses the iPhone camera at a high level of zoom. Smart Invert offers up the iOS version of Dark Mode and there are other items you can add to the menu.
#5 Swipe To Switch Apps
With the latest iOS devices doing away with the Home button, Apple has added the swipe up gesture to return you to the home screen or, if you tap-hold the bar at the bottom of the screen, you can see previews of your open apps so you can switch apps or kill them by swiping up. But if you swipe to the right on that bar at the bottom of any app screen, you can scroll through your open apps without having to tap-hold.