How to Use Control Center on iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch

Customize what's available in your Control Center

control center in iOS 12

Apple, Inc.

Control Center is one of the most useful features of iOS. It offers shortcuts to a ton of handy features on your iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch, such as quickly toggling on or off Bluetooth, or switching on your camera flash to use a flashlight. Once you start using Control Center, you'll wonder how you ever got by without it.

How to Customize Control Center in iOS 11​​​ and Later

Apple delivered a great update to Control Center with iOS 11: The ability to customize it. Now, instead of being limited to one set of controls, you can add the ones you find useful and remove the ones you never use (from within a certain set, that is).

Here's what you need to do on any device running iOS version 11 or later:

  1. Tap Settings > Control Center > Customize Controls

    Settings, Control Center, Customize Controls
  2. To remove items already in Control Center, tap the red  icon next to an item.

  3. Tap Remove.

  4. Change the order of the items by tapping and holding the three-line icon to the right. When the item rises up, drag and drop it to a new location.

    Minus button, Remove button and move item button in iOS Control Center Customize settings
  5. To add new controls, tap the green + icon. This will move the item into the INCLUDE section. You can then drag-and-drop added controls to the position you want. 

  6. When you've made all the changes you want, leave the screen and your changes are saved.

Commonly Used Control Center Features

Reveal the Control Center by swiping up from the very bottom of your iPhone's screen.

To open Control Center on the iPhone X, XS, or XR, swipe down from the top right corner.

Here are the functions of commonly used Control Center items:

  • Airplane Mode turns off WiFi and cellular radios on the device. Turn on Airplane Mode by tapping the icon. When Airplane mode is on, the icon is orange. Tap it again to turn it off.
  • Wi-Fi toggles your device's connection to all Wi-Fi networks. Technically, this doesn't turn Wi-Fi off; you need to go into the Settings app to do that.
  • Bluetooth toggles on or off the Bluetooth radio. It doesn't forget devices, however; you need to go to Settings > Bluetooth to do this.
  • Screen Rotation Lock will prevent the screen from rotating when you turn your device when activated.
  • Do Not Disturb will prevent notifications of any calls or messages while it is activated. If you've set up Do Not Disturb, this enables the settings you've already got.
  • Brightness is a slider that will make your iPhone screen brighter or dimmer.
  • AirDrop enables the AirDrop file-sharing feature. When you enable this, you'll need to choose some options for who you want to share with. Note: This option is not present in iOS 12 and later; you can access from Settings > General > Airdrop instead.
  • Night Shift will change the color warmth of your device's screen to reduce the amount of sleep-disrupting blue light emitted.
  • Flashlight toggles your camera flash on and off, functioning as a flashlight.
  • Clock is a shortcut to the built-in iOS Clock app, which can show you world clocks, alarms you have set, a stopwatch, and timer.
  • Calculator is a straight forward shortcut to iOS's built-in Calculator app.
  • Camera is a shortcut to the iOS Camera app.

Optional Control Center Features

Control Center has a number of other options that you may find useful. They're not enabled by default, but they can be added using the customization instructions above.

  • Accessibility Shortcut takes you to the Accessibility app. 
  • Alarm is a shortcut to the alarm screen in the Clock app.
  • Apple TV Remote is a shortcut to the Remote app used to control your Apple TV from your phone.
  • Do Not Disturb While Driving toggles on Do Not Disturb mode. You can set preferences for this by going to Settings > Do Not Disturb.
  • Guided Access locks down your iPhone to allow it to use only a single app or small set of features with this option.
  • Hearing is a shortcut to Accessibility options for hearing-impaired users.
  • Home is a shortcut to control your HomeKit-compatible smart home devices.
  • Low Power Mode can help you squeeze extra life out of your battery by reducing the amount of power it consumes by reducing screen brightness and toggling off nonessential features.
  • Magnifier turns your camera into a digital magnifying glass.
  • Notes is a shortcut to the Notes app.
  • Scan QR Code lets you use your camera to scan QR codes.
  • Screen Recording allows you to capture in a video everything that happens on your screen. Just tap this button to start recording.
  • Stopwatch is a shortcut to the stopwatch feature of the Clock app.
  • Text Size lets you change the default text size of the words on your screen.
  • Timer is a shortcut to the Timer feature in the Clock app.
  • Voice Memos is a shortcut to the Voice Memos app that lets you record sound files through the device microphone.
  • Wallet is a shortcut to the Wallet app, where credit cards for Apple Pay are stored, here.

Control Center Options in iOS 10

Control Center has two panels of options in iOS 10. The first contains the options described above. Swipe right to left to view the Music and AirPlay options.

  • Music Controls: These buttons let you control the music playing on your device. The progress bar shows how far into a song you are and how much is left. You can drag the line in that bar to change position within the song. The buttons underneath it let you move to the last song, play/pause, or move to the next song. The slider below that controls volume.
  • AirPlay: The bar along the bottom of this panel lets you use AirPlay to choose where the music is played. The default output uses the iPhone's speaker or headphones, if attached. If there are AirPlay-compatible devices nearby, you can choose one of those as your output.

Control Center and 3D Touch

If you have an iPhone with a 3D Touchscreen (as of this writing, the iPhone 6S seriesiPhone 7 series, iPhone 8 series, iPhone X, iPhone XS and XS Max), a number of items in Control Center have features that can be accessed by hard-pressing the screen.

  • Networking Panel contains multiple controls: Airplane Mode, Cellular Data, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, AirDrop, and Personal Hotspot.
  • Music Panel brings up music controls such as volume, play buttons, and AirPlay settings.
  • Screen Brightness Panel gives you finer control over the brightness slider by enlarging it. It also lets you toggle on Night Shift and True Tone.
  • Volume works like with screen brightness, enlarging the slider bar to allow more precise volume control.
  • Flashlight allows you to set the brightness of the flashlight feature, from very bright down to dim.
  • Calculator lets you copy the last result totaled in the app so you can paste it elsewhere.
  • Camera gives you shortcuts to take selfies, record video, scan QR Codes, and take Portrait mode photos. 
  • Home displays your common Home scenes.

How to Hide Control Center

When you're done using Control Center, hide it by swiping down from the top of the screen (or up from the bottom on iPhone X and newer models). You can also press the Home button to hide Control Center if your iPhone model has the Home button.

Control Center Access Within Apps

Tap Settings > Control Center to access a slider to allow or disallow access to the Control Center from within apps. When this is disabled, you are still able to reach the Control Center from the Home screen.