The 15 Best iPhone Hacks & Tips for 2019

Make your iPhone work for you

Man jumping in the air while taking a selfie

Gustavo Rezende Dos Santos/EyeEm/Getty Images

The iPhone packs a ton of great features that everyone knows how to use, but you can make it even more powerful by unlocking the iPhone hacks and tricks hiding in your smartphone. There are hundreds of these secret features, but here are our 15 favorite iPhone hacks.

01
of 15

Charge Your Battery Faster

Battery life

Want to charge your iPhone's battery as quickly as possible? Put it in Airplane Mode first. Airplane Mode turns off most features of the phone, including cellular and Wi-Fi networking, so the battery does less and charges faster. Just remember to turn Airplane Mode off when you're done charging.

To use Airplane Mode: Open Control Center (swipe down from the top right on iPhone X and up, up from the bottom on other models) and tap the airplane icon.

This hack works on all iPhone models.

02
of 15

Closing Apps Won't Save Battery Life

how to quit apps on iPhone

You may have heard that quitting apps helps your iPhone battery last longer. No matter how many people say it, it's not true. In fact, quitting apps can actually make your battery need a recharge sooner! So, don't quit apps you're not using— just leave them in the background.

This hack works on all iPhone models.

03
of 15

Find the Strongest Nearby Cellular Signal

Screenshot of the iPhone signal strength detector hack

Talk about a hidden feature! Forget waving your phone in the air and walking around to find the strongest cellular signal. Just use this trick and you'll get a clear indication of signal strength:

  1. Open the Phone app.
  2. Dial *3001#12345#*.
  3. Tap the call button.
  4. In iOS 6-10, this loads the Field Test screen and you can skip to step 7. On iOS 11 and up, it loads the Main Menu.
  5. Tap LTE.
  6. Tap Serving Cell Meas and look for the lines rsrp0 (your current cell tower) and rsrp1 (the closest backup tower).
  7. Tap the signal strength indicator in the top left corner. 
  8. The lower the number, the better the signal. So -90 is a great signal, -110 is OK, and -125 is no signal at all. Walk around to see how the signal strength changes and use your phone when you've got a lower number.

This hack works on iPhones running iOS 6-10. On phones running iOS 11, your phone needs to have an Intel modem in it. Models that do are iPhone X: (A1901), iPhone 8: (A1905), iPhone 8 Plus: (A1897), iPhone 7: (A1778), and iPhone 7 Plus: (A1784).

04
of 15

Make a Light Blink as a Notification

The back of an iPhone showing the camera and camera flash

nixki/iStock Editorial/Getty Images Plus

Want to get notifications of new texts, incoming calls, or other useful information without looking at your iPhone screen or listening for sounds? With this hack, the camera flash on the back of the phone blinks when you have a new notification. Just follow these steps:

  1. Tap Settings.
  2. Tap General.
  3. Tap Accessibility.
  4. Tap LED Flash for Alerts.
  5. Move the slider to on/green. Also move the Flash on Silent slider to on/green.

This hack works on all iPhone models with a camera flash.

05
of 15

Take Photos With the Volume Button

Taking pictures of fireworks using an iPhone

franckreporter/E+/Getty Images

 

Did you know that tapping the onscreen camera button isn't the only way to take photos? There's actually a much easier way to take photos quickly, without looking at or tapping the screen. Once the Camera app is open just click the volume up button and your phone will snap a photo. This even works with headphones that have inline remotes:, too.

This hack works on all iPhone models. Some models can take photos with the volume down button, too.

06
of 15

Let Siri Help You Take Photos

Activating Siri on the iPhone

SKrow/iStock Unreleased/Getty Images

 

Everyone knows they can ask Siri questions, but did you know Siri can make taking photos faster? While it can't actually capture the photo, Siri can open the Camera app to the setting that you ask for, so all you need to do is tap the camera button (or click the volume button). Here's what to do:

  1. Activate Siri (hold down the Home or Side button, depending on your model).
  2. Ask Siri to take a photo or video. Your options are:
    1. "Hey Siri, take a photo" (you can also say "picture")
    2. "Hey Siri, take a square photo"
    3. "Hey Siri, take a panoramic photo"
    4. "Hey Siri, take a video"
    5. "Hey Siri, take a slow motion video"
    6. "Hey Siri, take a tap-lapse video"
    7. "Hey Siri, take a selfie."
  3. When you've got the image you want, tap the camera or volume button.

This hack works on all iPhone models. The selfie feature requires iOS 10 and up.

07
of 15

Type Your Commands to Siri Instead of Speaking Them

Screenshot of using the Type to Siri feature

Siri is great, but you can't speak to Siri and get answers aloud in every situation (and, for some people with disabilities, speaking may not be an option). In those cases, you can still use Siri if you've got Type to Siri turned on. This trick lets you access Siri and give it commands by typing instead of by speaking. Here's what to do:

  1. Tap Settings.
  2. Tap General.
  3. Tap Accessibility.
  4. Tap Siri.
  5. Move the Type to Siri slider to on/green.
  6. Now, activate Siri and a keyboard appears to let you type your command. You can also speak using the microphone icon.

This hack works on all iPhone models running iOS 11 and up.

08
of 15

Use a Hidden Dark Mode

iphone dark mode

Dark modes are a popular feature for people who often use their devices in the dark. With a dark mode enabled, your bright iPhone interface switches to dark colors that are easier on the eyes in low-light situations (they're also helpful for people with color blindness). While the iPhone doesn't offer a true dark mode, this trick gets you petty close:

  1. Tap Settings.
  2. Tap General.
  3. Tap Accessibility.
  4. Tap Display Accommodations.
  5. Tap Invert Colors. 
  6. Pick either Smart Invert (which switches some onscreen colors to Dark Mode) or Classic Invert (which switches all colors).

You can toggle the dark mode on and off easily. Click the link in the headline for this section for full instructions.

This hack works on all iPhone models running iOS 11 and up.

09
of 15

Add a Virtual Home Button to Your Screen

Screenshot of configuring the AssistiveTouch setting on iPhone

If you have an iPhone X or newer, you might miss the old hardware Home button. Even if you have another model, you might want the options and functionality of adding a virtual Home button to your screen. This is a great hack because it provides fast access to features that otherwise require gestures or multiple taps. To enable this virtual Home button:

  1. Tap Settings.
  2. Tap General.
  3. Tap Accessibility.
  4. Tap AssistiveTouch.
  5. Move the slider to On/green.

For more details about how to configure and use this button, read the article linked to in the headline of this section.

This hack works on all iPhone models.

10
of 15

Hidden Shortcuts For Your Favorite Apps

Screenshot of a 3D Touch shortcut from the Mail app

If you've got an iPhone with a 3D Touch screen, there are shortcuts to common features of some of your favorite apps hidden in the app icons. To access them, hard press an app icon. If the app supports this feature, a menu pops out from the icon with a set of shortcuts. Tap the one you want and you'll jump into the app and into that action.

This hack works on the iPhone 6S series, 7 series, 8 series, X, and XS series.

11
of 15

Make Far-Away Icons Easier to Reach

Reachability on iPhone X

As iPhone screens get bigger, reaching icons in the top corner opposite to your hand gets harder. But not if you know this trick. The iOS includes a feature called Reachability that pulls the top icons down towards the bottom of the screen to make them easier to tap. Here's how:

  1. On iPhones with a Home button, gently double tap (but don't click!) the Home button.
  2. On the iPhone X and up, swipe down from the indicator line at the bottom of the screen.
  3. The contents of the screen will move down.
  4. Tap the item that you want and the screen will go back to normal. If you've changed your mind, just tap anywhere else on the screen to cancel.

This hack works on the iPhone 6 series, 6S series, 7 series, 8 series, as well as the iPhone X, XS series, and XR.

12
of 15

Replace Your Keyboard with a Trackpad

Screenshot of using the iPhone keyboard like a trackpad

It's such a pain to move the little magnifying glass cursor around the screen when you're trying to select a specific piece of text. We've got a trick for you that makes placing the cursor in text much simpler. It works by turning your keyboard into a trackpad, like the mouse on a laptop. Here's what to do:

  1. Open an app where you can edit the text using the default iPhone keyboard (some third-party keyboards support this feature, too).
  2. Tap and hold any key on the keyboard.
  3. The letters on the keys disappear. Drag your finger around the keyboard like controlling a mouse on a trackpad.
  4. Watch the cursor on the screen above and let go when the cursor is where you want it to be.

This hack works on iPhone models with a 3D Touch screen running iOS 9 and up, and on all other models running iOS 12 and up.

13
of 15

Shake to Undo Typing

Screenshot of the Shake to Undo feature

If you're typing a note, a text message, or some other text and decide you want to erase what you've just written, you don't need to use the delete button on the keyboard. If you have this hack enabled, all you need to do is shake your iPhone to delete your writing. Here's what to do:

  1. Tap Settings.
  2. Tap Accessibility.
  3. In the Interaction section, tap Shake to Undo.
  4. Move the slider to on/green.

Then, whenever you've just typed something you want to get rid of, shake your phone and tap Undo in the pop-up window.

This hack works on all iPhone models.

14
of 15

Equalize Music Volume When One Touch

Screenshot of the Sound Check setting on iPhone

Ever notice that the music on your phone is recorded at different volumes? Old songs are usually quieter, newer songs louder. This can mean that you have to change the playback volume all the time. Well, we've got a trick that makes all of your music play at the same level. It's called Sound Check and it's built into the iOS. It checks the volume on all of your music, finds an average, and then applies that all of your music by default. Here's how to enable it:

  1. Tap Settings.
  2. Tap Music.
  3. Scroll down to Playback.
  4. Move the Sound Check slider to on/green.

This hack works on all iPhone models.

15
of 15

Measure Spaces Using Augmented Reality

Screenshot of using the Augmented Reality Measure app to measure a bench

You might know that your iPhone has a built-in Level that can help you straighten pictures or shelves. But did you know that it also has an app called Measure that uses Augmented Reality to help you measure distances? Here's what you need to do:

  1. Tap the Measure app to open it.
  2. Position your iPhone camera so that it's facing a flat surface.
  3. Tap the + icon to start measuring.
  4. Move the iPhone so that the onscreen measure also moves.
  5. When you've measured the space, tap the + again to show the measured distance.

The Measure app can do a lot more than this. Learn all about it from Apple in the link in the headline of this section.

This hack works on the iPhone SE and 6S series and higher, running iOS 12 and up.