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 toggling on or off Bluetooth, or switching on your camera flash to use as a flashlight. After you start using Control Center, you'll wonder how you ever got by without it.

These instructions work for iOS 12 and iOS 11.

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 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 to move the item into the Include section. Drag these new controls to the position you prefer. 

  6. After you've made all the changes you want, leave the screen. Your changes save automatically.

Commonly Used Control Center Features

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

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

Commonly used Control Center items include:

  • Airplane Mode turns off Wi-Fi 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 step 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 manage devices.
  • Screen Rotation Lock prevents the screen from rotating when you turn your device.
  • Do Not Disturb prevents notifications of any calls or messages while it is activated. If you've set up Do Not Disturb, this item toggles the settings you've already established.
  • Brightness slider makes your iPhone screen brighter or dimmer.
  • Night Shift changes 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 offers a shortcut to the built-in iOS Clock app, which can show you world clocks, alarms you have set, a stopwatch, and timer.
  • Calculator opens the built-in Calculator app.
  • Camera launches the iOS Camera app.

Optional Control Center Features

Control Center offers several other features, not activated by default, that you may find useful:

  • Accessibility Shortcut takes you to the Accessibility app. 
  • Alarm opens 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. Set preferences for this tool 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 controls 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, thorugh reducing screen brightness and toggling off nonessential features.
  • Magnifier turns your camera into a digital magnifying glass.
  • Notes launches 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 opens the Timer feature in the Clock app.
  • Voice Memos activates the Voice Memos app that lets you record sound files through the device microphone.
  • Wallet launches the Wallet app, where credit cards for Apple Pay are stored.

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), several 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). 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. Even when it's disabled, you can still reach the Control Center from the Home screen.