12 Awesome, Little-Known iPhone Features

Use your iPhone like a pro with cool hidden features

With a device as powerful as the iPhone, and an operating system as complex as iOS, there are dozens, if not hundreds, of features 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 giving Siri a new voice, 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, tap Redo Typing.

Notes document with the Shake to Undo feature's Undo and Redo Typing messages highlighted

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 Accessibility > Audio/Visual > 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.

iOS settings with Accessibility, Audio/Visual, and LED Flash for Alerts highlighted

Access Built-In Emoji

Emoji are little icons, such as smiley faces, people, animals, and more, that add some fun or express emotions in text messages 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 emojis 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 normally part of 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.

Change Siri's Voice

Siri, the Apple personal digital assistant, is famous for its wit and polite, even-tempered delivery. In iOS 7 users gained the ability to change Siri's voice. In iOS 14.5, Apple delivered more Siri voice options and enhancements to better reflect a diverse world.

To change Siri's voice, go to Settings, then tap Siri & Search > Siri Voice. Under Variety, choose your basic Siri nationality, then select one of the diverse options under Voice to customize your Siri.

iPhone Settings with Siri & Search, Siri Voice, and Variety and Voice options highlighted

The newer Siri voices use neural text-to-speech technology for a more natural sound.

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.

iOS Settings with Notifications and Government Alerts highlighted

Reduce Tracking by Advertisers

In older iOS versions, to reduce personalized, targeted in-app advertising, you'd go to Settings > Privacy > Advertising and toggle on the Limit Ad Tracking toggle switch.

In iOS 14.5, however, Apple introduced more enhanced privacy features to help you control ad tracking. Now, apps must request your permission to track you via a pop-up box that says something like, "Allow app to track your activities across other companies' apps and websites?" Choose Allow if you're OK with letting the app track you, or tap Ask App Not to Track to deny access.

If you'd rather not deal with these prompts and don't want any app to track you, go to Settings and select Privacy > Tracking, and toggle off Allow Apps to Request to Track.

iOS Settings with Privacy and Tracking highlighted, and the "Allow apps to track" toggle off

You're able to go back to Settings to see what apps have requested to track you and make any changes to your preferences.

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).

iPhone privacy settings with Location Services, System Services, and Significant Locations (toggled off) highlighted

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

Go to your Contacts and select a contact, then select Edit > Add Photo. Tap the Camera to choose a photo, or tap a smiley, memoji, initial, or other options.

iPhone contact screen with Edit, Add Photo, and the Camera icon highlighted
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