18 Hidden iPhone Features You Need to Know
If you're glued to your iPhone as much as I am, it's tough to imagine you've missed much. But it's easy to get caught up in back-to-back Instagram refreshes and gripping recipe videos and never discover some of the phone's most convenient features. Did you know you could set voice messages to self-destruct Mission Impossible-style? Or quietly excuse yourself from that never-ending group text? There are a slew of hidden, little-known tricks to get the most out of your iPhone -- here are 18 to get you started.
See a map of everywhere you've beenGuess what? Your phone is tracking everywhere you go in the background, and there’s a hidden map of your whereabouts lurking in your settings. To check it out, Go to Settings > Privacy > Locations Services > System Services > Frequent Locations and click on any of the listed locations. It even shows you dates and approximate timestamps.
Respond to texts without unlocking your phoneRather than go through the trouble to unlock your phone just to respond with an “OK,” just swipe left and hit "Reply" to type your response.
Turn the keyboard into a trackpadPressing down and holding anywhere on the keyboard while you’re typing on a 6s activates a trackpad, where the letters disappear and you can move freely around your text, which makes editing or modifying whatever you’re writing a whole lot easier.
Slyly ditch never-ending group text conversationsGroup texting is great... until it’s not. To rid yourself of the the ongoing deluge of messages, you can see yourself out by tapping "Details" and scrolling down to where it says "Leave This Conversation.” You’re welcome.
Drop the apps down so they're easier to scrollIf your short fingers make it difficult to comfortably access the upper rows of apps on the home screen, here a handy tip: double touch (read: do not press) the Home button. It’ll bump the top rows down about halfway.
Set your audio and video messages to self-destructYou can set any video or audio messages that you text someone to disappear two minutes after they're watched or listened to. To set it up, go to Settings > Messages and scroll to the bottom.
Automatically respond to calls you can't take with a textWhether you’re in a meeting, out to dinner, or simply ain’t got time for that, you can decline the call and shoot the caller a text by hitting the "Message" button above the "Slide to Answer" notification. Choose from a drop-down of default options including "Sorry, I can’t talk right now," "I’m on my way," and "I’ll call you later?" You can also add custom message options under Settings > Phone.
Use Spotlight search to get quick answersIf you’re too lazy to open the calculator app, you can get answers to any math equation (or get a quick unit or currency conversion) by typing it in plain English in the Spotlight search field (at the top of the screen when you swipe right from the home screen).
Delete numbers in the calculatorIf you use the calculator app with any regularity you’ve probably noticed there's no backspace to fix a number you may have typed by mistake. But rather than start over when you mess up, you can swipe left or right in the display to delete your last-typed entry.
Make sure your framed art looks great on any wallYou don’t need a full toolbox to hang your pictures -- your iPhone comes with its own built-in level. To access it open the Compass app and swipe left.
Switch the orientation when shooting panoramasWhen you want to shoot a panoramic shot but would prefer to capture the scene from left to right, rather than the default right to left, just tap the arrow that tracks your stability and it’ll switch sides.
Set up a digital medical braceletIf you think you might die without your iPhone, well, you might be on to something. See, you can set things up so that certain critical medical info can be accessed from the emergency section of your lock screen -- should anyone, EMT or otherwise, find you unresponsive with your phone nearby. To do it, go to the Health app and fill out your Medical ID.
Speed things up by clearing individual app cachesOccasionally, certain Apple apps can be the root cause of all your phone’s wonkiness. If you notice one is being particularly janky, try clearing its cache. In the Podcasts, Music, Game Center, Phone, and App Store apps, tap any single tab at the bottom of its launch screen 10 times in a row.
Take a photo while simultaneously shooting videoWhen you don’t want to interrupt whatever action you're shooting, but also want to capture a killer still, just tap the small white shutter button beside the one you pressed to record and the camera will shoot and save a photo without skipping a beat.
Relaunch recently closed tabsDid you just accidentally ax a tab you were reading? No problem, you can access any you’ve recently closed by holding down the "+" at the bottom of the “New Window” view in Safari.
Search for specific words in an articleTo find any and all mentions of a specific word or name in Safari, go up to the URL field and type it in. At the bottom of the drop-down of suggested Google searches or recently visited pages that shows up, click “On this page,” and it will highlight any matches in yellow.
Jump back to the top of a pageIf you’ve gone down the rabbit hole on a Wikipedia page (or any article in Safari) and don’t feel like scrolling all the way back to the top, a simple tap of the clock at the top jumps back up. The same trick also applies to text messages.
Revisit your email inbox without leaving the current messageWant to check something in your inbox or in another email without leaving whatever email you’re currently responding to? Tap and slide the email subject downwards until it locks to the bottom of the screen, freeing you up to go back and read other messages. When you’re ready to resume what you were working on, tap the subject once and the message will pop back open.
Sign up here for our daily Thrillist email, and get your fix of the best in food/drink/fun.
Joe McGauley is a senior writer for Thrillist. He can call you back later.