11 lesser-known iPhone tricks that will change the way you use your phone

The iPhone has been one of the best smartphones on the market for over a decade. Even if you buy an old model, you can enjoy it for years to come thanks to Apple’s determination to make iOS compatible with as many iPhone models as possible each year. That means you should pick up iPhone tricks the more you use the device. And some of those tricks will completely change the way you use the handset. In what follows, we’ll show you some of the most important iPhone tricks you should learn.

Improve the quality of voice calls

The iPhone may be a little computer in your pocket, but one of its most important functions is still a phone. Whether you use the default Phone app or call your friends and family through instant messenger and video chat apps, there is a way to improve the call quality for the other person.

You have to go to the Control Center to find the Voice Isolation setting. Image source: Chris Smith, BGR

The function is called Speech isolation and requires a 2018 or later iPhone with iOS 16.4 or later. If these requirements are met, you should be able to enable it.

Unlike most iPhone settings, this one hides Control Centerthat you have to pull up after you start a conversation. Follow these steps to enable Speech isolation:

  1. Swipe down from the top right corner Control Center
  2. Press Mic mode menu that appears on the top right, above the media controls
  3. In the next menu, select the Voice control choice

Use the iPhone for sound recognition

iOS doesn’t just improve the quality of voice calls. The iPhone can also listen for specific sounds and notify you when they are heard. This is another Accessibility institution: Sound Recognition.

The sound recognition feature of iOS 16.
iOS 16’s sound recognition feature. Image source: Chris Smith, BGR

You can use it to recognize default sounds that the iPhone already supports by default. Or you can create your own. You can find our complete guide to iPhone sound recognition at this link.

Use the iPhone to identify music

I’ve been using this iPhone trick since before Apple bought Shazam. Now that Apple owns the music recognition software, it comes standard in iOS. You can ask Siri what song is playing in the background or you can Shazam app on your phone.

Even better, add the Music Recognition button to the Control Center in the Institutions app.

Change the settings per app

Another hidden iPhone trick involves customizing the look and experience of individual apps. You may have set up the iPhone the way you want through the Settings app. But the Accessibility menu in the Institutions app you can enable Settings per app.

You can add as many apps as you want and adjust the settings per app.
You can add as many apps as you want and adjust the settings per app. Image source: Chris Smith, BGR

You can increase the size of the text or make it bold for some apps, and you can increase the contrast. Other options include reducing motion and transparency.

Give the iPhone lock button new functionality

While you are in the Accessibility section, you may want the Shortcut for accessibility menu. This allows you to assign a triple-click gesture to the standby button that can bring up all sorts of useful shortcuts.

The menu that appears on the iPhone screen when you click the lock button three times.
The menu that appears on the iPhone screen when you click the lock button three times. Image source: Chris Smith, BGR

For example, you want to open the magnifying glass or enable Live Captions with a triple click. We have already discussed the features of this iPhone lock button trick in detail.

That’s not the only hidden iPhone button you can enable. The entire back of the handset can act as a button supporting double-tap and triple-tap gestures.

It’s another gem out of the Accessibility institutions. Just search for the To touch menu that allows you to enable Tap back. You can assign various shortcuts to it, such as opening the Control Center or taking a screenshot.

Just remember which shortcuts go where if you enable both Back Tap and the lock button shortcuts from the previous step.

Tap and hold app icons for quick shortcuts

If you’ve been using an iPhone since the iPhone 6s, you’ll remember the 3D Touch gesture Apple introduced back in the day. It’s no longer called that, but it still works, and it’s a great shortcut for accessing app content faster than opening the app.

iPhone Quick actions for the Settings app.
iPhone Quick actions for the Settings app. Image source: Chris Smith, BGR

If you’re new to the iPhone, just tap and hold on an app icon to open a menu. You’ll get used to accessing shortcuts for many of your favorite apps that way. Each application has its own shortcuts if the developer implements them. It’s up to you to learn them.

Use your iPhone’s trackpad

While we’re at it, your iPhone has a hidden trackpad that you don’t use. It’s one of my favorite iPhone tricks and one I use all the time. I often want to make edits while typing, and the hidden trackpad allows me to place the cursor exactly where I want to make the changes.

What the secret iPhone trackpad looks like.
What the secret iPhone trackpad looks like.

To make it work, tap and hold on the keyboard while using it. I like to go for the space bar so I don’t type anything else on screen. As you hold, you’ll see the keys disappear and you can move your finger freely to position the cursor on the screen.

Copy text from images and video

Another neat trick to improve your texting speed is to copy text from images. This is another trick I often use. Just take a picture of some text or a screenshot. iOS automatically recognizes the text through the iPhone’s Live Text feature. It even recognizes email addresses and phone numbers.

Tap the text to copy and paste it into an app. You can also call or compose an email directly from an image. The feature is incredibly useful when you’re on the go and don’t have time to type in the text you want to forward or save.

iOS 15 Live Text
Live Text Previews on iPhone with iOS 15. Image Source: Apple Inc.

If it’s a video playing on the screen, you can always pause it to take a screenshot of the text you want to use later.

Scan documents from iPhone and Mac

If you want to save the contents of entire documents, you need a trick other than the one above. Do not use the camera to recognize text in it, but to scan documents. The handy iPhone trick can also be activated from the Mac, if you also have a macOS computer.

But it’s really the iPhone you’ll be using to scan documents. Here’s what to do:

  1. Go to the Notes app
  2. Open a new note
  3. Crane on the screen where you want to insert the scan
  4. Press Camera icon
  5. Select the Scan documents choice

You can then scan as many pages as you want. The document is available in the Notes app on iPhone, iCloud, and Mac.

Look for the camera icon in a note to scan documents.
Look for the camera icon in a note to scan documents. Image source: Apple Inc.

Scroll through pages faster than ever

Most iPhone apps require a lot of scrolling, especially websites. And some have really long pages that can make scrolling quite tedious, especially if you want to get to a specific place faster.

Fortunately, there’s a great iPhone trick built into iOS that helps you scroll faster. Here’s what to do:

  1. Open an app or web page
  2. Start scrolling to display the scroll indicator on the right
  3. Tap and hold the indicator to scroll faster
  4. Move up and down to find the place you want
  5. Stop scrolling

That’s all there is. Combined with the other iPhone tricks above, it’s much easier to navigate the iPhone, deal with sounds, music, and text, and use handy shortcuts whenever possible. Plus, most of these iPhone tricks also work on iPad if you have one, since iPadOS is essentially a copy of iOS.

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