Sure, everyone and their mother has an iPhone, but that doesn’t mean the entire experience is overrated. Quite the opposite, in fact; there are plenty of features on iOS that simply don’t get talked about enough in the public sphere. We all know how convenient iMessage and FaceTime are, or how good the photos and videos you take on your iPhone can be, but what about the other, more subtle experiences we don’t discuss?
A Reddit thread on r/iPhone asks this question of its users, and the thread sparked a lot of ideas, many of them truly underrated. We’ve highlighted our 12 favourite underrated features from that thread, but feel free to investigate yourself to see if there are any you hadn’t heard of or thought about before.
The hardware mute switch
As ImprobableValue points out, the hardware mute switch on iPhone is an underrated, but highly convenient feature. Most of us on iOS might not realise it, but almost all Android devices are missing such a switch. OnePlus is the only major Android OEM to include it, meaning Samsung, Google, LG, and other major manufacturers omit it.
For those who keep their phones perpetually on silent, you might not see what a big deal this is. Having a physical switch with a colour indicator makes it easy to tell whether your iPhone is going to ruin that meeting or not, without needing to actually wake up your device. You can flick the switch in your pocket, for example, until you feel the vibration, and know everything is going to be quiet from here on out.
Tapping the top bar to scroll up
This one’s a personal favourite. When you’ve been scrolling for a long time, and you need to get back to the top of the page quickly, just tap the top bar of the window. User martitten points this one out, although technically you don’t need to tap the clock, just the top bar of any given window.
Some apps even expand upon this useful feature. Apollo, for example, lets you return to your original position on a page by tapping the top bar again. I would be thrilled if Apple implemented this expansion system-wide.
A new iPhone feels like yours from the beginning
A great point from zorgofuge: When setting up a new iPhone, you can choose to copy over everything from your old device, exactly the way it was. Sure, your new iPhone is new, but it also feels intrinsically yours. Your apps and widgets are how you like them, your sound settings are already set, there’s no need to reset your notification options — everything is in its rightful place.
Of course, not everyone likes to set up their iPhones this way. Personally, I like to start from scratch, while letting my iPhone fill in my data from iCloud. Still, it’s a great feature Apple packs into its ecosystem for iPhone buyers who don’t want their day-to-day interrupted by setup headaches.
As FakeNewsGazette discusses, Apple Pay is a fantastic feature that still not enough people use. Not only is it super convenient and secure to pay with your iPhone wherever it’s compatible, but you can use Apple Pay online as well on your other Apple devices. If you don’t have Apple Pay set up on your iPhone, what are you waiting for?
An excellent point from spankmydingo: iPhones hold their value very well compared to other smartphone and tech products. If you keep yours in good condition, you can recoup a large percentage of the original cost, which makes the next iPhone you buy all the cheaper.
The Notes app features a document scanner
If you know, you know. The Notes app’s document scanner is a killer, yet hidden, feature on iOS. Apple even seems to acknowledge that the scanner is a bit too buried for most people to know about. In any case, we totally agree with jhoncorro here — the scanner is useful for so many purposes, not least of which saving a digital version of your COVID vaccine card to your iPhone. You can learn more about this feature from our guide here.
You never have to give out your email again
To be fair, this one’s a bit new, so it might not be as underrated in the near future. That said, look at the responses underneath; nobody knows about it! With iOS 15, Apple included Hide My Email, a perk of iCloud+. With Hide My Email, Apple lets you share a “burner” email account with any company that asks for your address, then securely forwards all messages to your actual inbox.
If you so choose, your real email address could be secret from each and every company you want to do business with. It’s a great privacy-forward feature from Apple; if you want to learn more, check out our full guide here.
No annoying bloatware
Apple has the benefit of making both the hardware and software for its devices. Most phone manufacturers don’t; Google makes its own phones and software, but Samsung, for example, relies on Android for its devices, even if it places a skin over that software. As such, you’ll find a lot more unnecessary apps on devices that want their own programs in addition to what you’d normally find in the stock OS.
As PoetryRadiant6278 argues, we don’t need two versions of many apps, nor do we want to be persuaded to leave reviews for the manufacturer’s apps. When you boot up an iPhone, it’s all stock, and you can choose to use those apps or download a third-party option instead.
Suggested passwords and password management
Password management is pretty great on iOS. When you create a new account, the system will suggest a new, strong password for you to use. Choose to use it, and iOS saves it to your keychain. When you’re ready to log in again, you can simply use Face ID or Touch ID to auto-fill the credentials.
29stumpjumper likes this feature quite a bit, but wishes Apple could expand it — although it’s nice to see other iPhone users expanding knowledge, such as ean6625 telling 29stumpjumper about wifi sharing.
iPhones have awesome haptic feedback
I couldn’t agree with tha_oz more. The iPhone has been a leader with haptic feedback since the iPhone 7’s taptic engine. With it, you receive subtle, realistic “taps” while using iOS, from scrolling through options, to using haptic touch on various elements. The one area that I’d like to see this feature expanded is on the keyboard; as readingaccnt points out, Samsung has had haptic feedback on its keyboards for years.
The word Key-Assistant-4091 was looking for is AutoFill! While TheFissureMan prefers it on Android, iOS does a great job; when trying to authenticate yourself with an SMS code, the system presents the code in your keyboard. Just tap it, and you’re all set, without any need to jump back and forth from the app in question to your messages.
Sorry, how’d this one get in here? Might be time for lunch.