12 Awesome, Little Known iPhone Features

Use your iPhone like a pro

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 can 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

Shake to Undo on iPhone

Did you write something only to change your mind about it? Don't bother holding down the backspace key — simply shake your iPhone to get an undo button!

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

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

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

Get Alerts From a Flashing Light

General, Accessibility, LED Flash for Alerts screens on iPhone

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

However, changing just one setting lets the iPhone's camera light up for alerts, too. Open Settings and go to General > Accessibility > LED Flash for Alerts to find the toggle button. After enabling LED Flash for Alerts, another option called Flash on Silent becomes available, which will flash even when the ring switch is silent.

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

Access Built-In Emoji

Little girl touching the smiley emoji icon on the touch screen

fotosipsak / Getty Images

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

There are a ton of apps in the App Store that add emoji to your iPhone, but you don't need them. That's because there are hundreds of emoji built into iOS if you know where to look.

Follow the link below to learn how to add the emoji keyboard to your iPhone and where to go to find them on your new keyboard.

Find Hidden Accents

Alphabet Capital Letters And Special Characters Drawing

FrankRamspott / Getty Images

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

You won't see those accents on the onscreen keyboard, but you can add them to your writing by holding down special keys — you just need to know the right ones. 

Block Calls and Texts on iPhone

Unhappy mixed-race woman texting on cell phone

Jamie Grill / Getty Images

Almost everyone has one or two people in their lives that they don't want to hear from. Whether it's an ex or an annoying telemarketer, you don't need to hear from them — by phone, text message, or FaceTime — ever again if you block them from contacting you.

You can block people from their contact (if they're an existing contact) or from the app that they messaged you on.

Make Siri a Man

Settings, Siri & Search, Siri Voice screens on iPhone

Siri, Apple's personal digital assistant, is famous for her wit and polite, even-tempered delivery. If you're running iOS 7 or higher, did you know Siri need not be a woman?

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

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

Share Texts by Forwarding Them

Person texting

Chad Springer / Getty Images

Just received a text message that you absolutely have to share? You can forward it to other people by pressing and holding down on the message you want to forward.

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

Take Tons of Photos With Burst Mode

Happy couple taking a selfie together

Robert Alexander / Getty Images

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

If you've got an iPhone 5S or newer, however, you can utilize ​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

Settings and Notifications screens on iPhone

Starting in iOS 6, the iPhone automatically notifies you when Amber or other emergency alerts are issued for your area. If for whatever reason you want to stop getting these alerts (we recommend you keep them enabled), you can shut them off.

To disable Amber alerts, emergency alerts, and/or public safety alerts, open Settings and then Notifications, and then scroll to the bottom to toggle it off.

Reduce Tracking by Advertisers

Settings, Privacy, Advertising screens on iPhone

Ever notice that sometimes banner ads will follow you around the internet, showing up on site after site that you visit? It happens because the advertisers are using an ad network to target you, in particular, based on your behavior and interests.

This happens with in-app advertising, too, and when it comes to ads in apps, you can do something about it. 

To block advertisers from tracking you in apps (in iOS 6 and up), open Settings and navigate to Privacy > Advertising. Tap the button next to Limit Ad Tracking to make it on/green.

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

Learn Your Frequent Locations

Location Services, System Services, Significant Locations screens on iPhone

Your iPhone is really smart. So smart, in fact, that it can use GPS to keep track of the patterns of the places you go. If you go to a city every morning for work, for example, your phone will eventually learn that pattern and start providing information like traffic and weather regarding that destination, something that can 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 yoru 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 Significant Locations (or for some devices, Frequent Locations).

Restore Full Screen Photos for Calls

Contacts and image screens on iPhone

In iOS 7, Apple transformed the incoming call screen — which used to show a big, beautiful photo of the person calling you — into a boring screen with a tiny photo and a few buttons. To make matters worse, there was no way to change it.

Fortunately, if your iPhone is running at least iOS 8, there's a way to solve the problem and get full-screen photos back. It's pretty well hidden, but it's also really easy.