12 Awesome, Little Known iPhone Features

Use your iPhone like a pro

Hands using an iPhone

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With a device as powerful as the iPhone, and an operating system as complex as iOS, there are dozens if not hundreds of features that most people never know about.

Whether you're curious about those features​ or think you're an iPhone expert, this list will help you learn new things about your iPhone. From adding emoji to your keyboard and blocking certain alerts and calls, to making Siri a man, these cool hidden features can turn you into a power user and help you get exactly what you want from your iPhone.

Some of these features work only for certain iOS versions. Any important call-outs are included with each feature detailed below.

Shake to Undo

Did you write something only to change your mind about it? Don't hold down the Backspace key. Instead, shake the iPhone to display an Undo button.

When you shake the phone, a pop-up window asks if you want to undo the typing. Tap Undo to remove the text you typed.

If you change your mind, restore the text by shaking the iPhone again, but this time, press Redo.

Undo Typing on an iPhone

The Shake to Undo feature works in many apps, including Safari, Mail, Messages, Notes, and more. You can even shake the iPhone in other situations to undo things other than typing.

Get Alerts From a Flashing Light

On Android and BlackBerry smartphones, a light blinks to notify when there's a text, voicemail, or another alert. Users of those devices often claim that feature as a reason their platforms are ​better than the iPhone.

However, if you change one setting, the iPhone camera lights up for alerts. Open Settings and go to General > Accessibility > LED Flash for Alerts. Then, turn on the LED Flash for Alerts toggle switch. Turn on the Flash on Silent toggle switch if you want the light to flash when the ring switch is silent.

General Settings on an iPhone with Accessibility to LED Flash for Alerts highlighted

On some devices, the LED Flash for Alerts option is available on the Accessibility screen.

Access Built-In Emoji

Emoji are little icons — smiley-faces, people, animals, and more — that add some fun or express emotions in texts and other documents.

Little girl touching the smiley emoji icon on the touch screen
fotosipsak / Getty Images

There are a ton of apps in the App Store that add emoji to an iPhone, but you don't need them. That's because there are hundreds of emoji built into iOS. Follow the link below to learn how to add the emoji keyboard to your iPhone and where to find the emoji on the new keyboard.

Find Hidden Accents

If you write in a foreign language or use a word or two from a foreign language, some letters may be accented with symbols that aren't native to English.

Those accents aren't on the onscreen keyboard. To add accented letters to your writing, hold a few special keys.

Block Calls and Texts on iPhone

If there are people in your life that you don't want to hear from, whether it's a previous relationship or a telemarketer, block them. You won't hear from them by phone, text message, or FaceTime ever again if you block them from contacting you.

Block people using your address book (if they're an existing contact) or from the app that they messaged you on.

Make Siri a Man

Siri, the Apple personal digital assistant, is famous for her wit and polite, even-tempered delivery. On iOS 7 or higher, you can change Siri's voice.

If you prefer a man's voice for Siri, open Settings, go to Siri & Search > Siri Voice, then choose Male to start the voice download.

Siri & Search, Siri Voice, Male option in iOS Settings

If those menus aren't on your device, go to General > Siri > Voice Gender > Male.

Share Texts by Forwarding Them

When you receive a text message that you absolutely have to share, forward it to other people. Press and hold the message you want to forward, then address it to the people you want to share it with.

Follow the link below for details, or learn how to send a text to an email account.

Take Tons of Photos With Burst Mode

The iPhone takes gorgeous photos of people standing still, food, and landscapes. However, like most phones, the iPhone doesn't do a great job with action shots.

Happy couple taking a selfie together
Robert Alexander / Getty Images

If you have an iPhone 5S or newer, use ​burst mode to take up to 10 photos every second. Just hold down the Photo button. With that many photos, you'll be able to capture all the action. 

Disable Amber Alerts on iPhone

Starting with iOS 6, the iPhone automatically notifies you when Amber or other emergency alerts are issued for your area. To stop getting these alerts, shut them off.

To disable Amber alerts, emergency alerts, and public safety alerts, open Settings, tap Notifications, then scroll to the Government Alerts section to turn off the alerts.

Turning off AMBER Alerts in Notifications on an iPhone

Reduce Tracking by Advertisers

Sometimes banner ads follow you around the internet and show up on sites that you visit. It happens because advertisers use an ad network to target you based on your behavior and interests.

This happens with in-app advertising, too. To block advertisers from tracking you in apps (in iOS 6 and up), open Settings and go to Privacy > Advertising. Then, turn on the Limit Ad Tracking toggle switch.

Privacy, Advertising, and Limit Ad Tracking options in iOS Settings

This won't block ads from showing up (you'll still see ads where they would normally be), but the ads won't be personalized to you.

Learn Your Frequent Locations

Your iPhone uses GPS to keep track of the places you go to. If you go to a city every morning for work, for example, your phone will eventually learn that pattern and provide information such as traffic and weather regarding that destination to help your commute.

This feature, called Significant Locations (Frequent Locations for some iOS devices), is turned on by default when you enable GPS features during the phone's initial setup.

To edit its data or turn it off, go to Settings ​> Privacy > Location Services. Scroll to the bottom of that screen and tap System Services, then turn off Significant Locations (or for some devices, Frequent Locations).

System Services and Significant Locations in iOS Settings

Restore Full-Screen Photos for Calls

In iOS 7, Apple transformed the incoming call screen — which used to show a photo of the person calling you — into a generic screen with a small photo and a few buttons. And, there was no way to change it.

Contacts, Add Photo, and Choose buttons in iOS Contacts app

If your iPhone has at least iOS 8, there's a way to solve the problem and get full-screen photos back. It's well hidden, but it's easy.