We’ve covered a ton of iPhone and iPad features in the past, but these options are easy to overlook if you’re not used to browsing through the right sections of your iPhone or iPad’s Settings (or even just using certain buttons). And you should take some time to learn what’s available, as there are plenty of useful tools that Apple has snuck in there, and they’re great for increasing productivity.
Among our favourite iPhone hacks:
- Using a double-tap of your space bar to add a full stop and start a new sentence. Makes typing a whole lot speedier!
- Type simple equations in your search bar for quick maths. The Apple team shared that if you swipe right over the home screen, lock screen, or while you’re looking at your notifications then type the sum into your search bar, your phone will work it out for you.
- You can set up the apple on the back of your phone so it functions as a button.
- Change your settings so new notes don’t start with an annoying title.
- Toggling your iPhone’s brightness with a triple tap or dimming the screen even lower than you thought possible.
- Triggering your device to read whatever’s onscreen with a simple swipe gesture.
- Creating a virtual home button with the Assistive Touch feature.
- Removing system animations and auto-playing media.
- Zooming in even closer on your screen than normal.
- Changing your screen’s colour or applying filters to aide those with colour blindness.
- Controlling your iPad with a mouse.
- Setting auto-adjusting brightness—a feature worth knowing about, says Lifehacker’s Senior Technology Editor David Murphy, as it’s what you’ll need to toggle on and off (under Display & Text Size) to recalibrate the brightness sensor if your phone glitches out and stops automatically adjusting it on its own.
There are two features other we want to describe in a little more detail: magnification and voice controls. The former is a great way to get a closer look at anything your phone’s camera can see, and the latter is an incredibly useful way to control your iPhone or iPad with your voice.
Use Your iPhone/iPad as a magnifying glass
The Magnifier tool uses your device’s camera to zoom in on real-world objects.
- To use it, go to Settings > Accessibility > Magnifier.
- Tap the “Magnifier” toggle on.
- Triple-press the home button to open the Magnify camera. You can zoom in and out using the slider, and snap a photo with the shutter button.
I was surprised at just how close the camera lets you zoom-in, though the quality of the zoomed-in image will differ between devices. If you find your zoomed image is too bright, try turning on the “Auto-Adjust Exposure” option in the Magnifier menu to help reduce glare. (Note that Magnifier is different from the Zoom feature listed above; that one gives you a closer look at whatever apps or photos are currently displayed on your screen.)
Use Siri to manage your iPhone or iPad via “Voice Control”
- Go to Settings > Accessibility > Voice Control
- Tap “Set Up Voice Control” then tap “continue.” You’ll be shown a list of Siri commands that can be used to control your device.
- Tap “Done” to close the instructions.
- Tap the “Voice Control” toggle the feature on.
You can now use any of the commands listed in the instructional guide to control your device (and you can find the list again by tapping “Learn More…” under the “Voice Control” toggle).
You can also customise your commands, onscreen feedback and interface setup in Settings > Accessibility > Voice Control. Here’s what each option does:
- Language: Set your preferred language for controlling Siri (defaults to your system’s preferences).
- Customise commands: Create and edit new voice commands.
- Vocabulary: Lets you teach Siri new words that can be used to create commands. This can help make your commands feel more natural.
- Show confirmation: Turns on visual feedback when a command is heard by Siri.
- Play sound: Enables audio confirmation when Siri hears your commands.
- Show hints: Offers real-time tips based on how you use Siri commands, and suggests commands to use.
- Overlay: Turn this on to give each on-screen element a number value, .which can then be used in your voice commands to specify buttons or parts of the screen you wish to access.
This article has been updated since its original publish date.