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Monday, October 3, 2022

10 iPhone settings to save time

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Your iPhone already saves you a ton of time with its marvellous multitasking functionality, removing the need for a separate camera, calculator, GPS unit, and more, but we’ve got ways to save you even more valuable time.

Here are ten handy hacks, tips, and tricks that will improve your efficiency when using your Apple smartphone.

1. Teach your iPhone’s Face ID to recognize you when wearing a face mask  

Thanks to a recent update, it’s now possible to “teach” your iPhone to recognize you when you’re wearing a face covering. This saves time as you don’t have to spend time removing your mask when you want to use your iPhone out and about.

Head for your Settings app. Scroll down to see “Face ID & Passcode” and tap this. In the next menu, toggle “Face ID with a Mask” on so it shows green. In the next screen tap on “Use Face ID with a Mask.”

screenshot of iphone settings


Credit: Screenshot / Apple

This now prompts you to place your face into a frame that will appear on the screen. If you don’t hit the sweet spot, your phone will advise you on how to position yourself . You do not need to wear a mask for this process. Next, you need to move your head in a circular motion by following the green lines around the perimeter of the circle on the screen. If you don’t move in the correct way, your phone will prompt you to follow an arrow. 

Once you’ve completed the process you’ll be able to use your iPhone without first removing your mask.

2. Add tools to your iPhone’s Control Center

Your iPhone’s Control Center offers shortcuts to tools you use often. While some tools are in your Control Center by default, you can customize what appears in your iPhone’s Control Center to suit your needs. 

To access your Control Center you simply swipe downwards on the right hand side of your iPhone’s screen.

Screenshot of control center


Credit: Screenshot / Apple

To add or remove tools from your Control Center, you need to head to your Settings app. In Settings, scroll down to see “Control Center” and tap on it. This brings up your Control Center menu showing “Included Controls” towards the top of the screen,, and “More Controls” towards the bottom. These are the controls you have the option to add. Options include “Low Power Mode,” “Text Size,” and more.  

To add any controls, simply tap on the green plus icon next to the tool’s name to move it into your Control Center. Now you can enjoy speedy one swipe access to a range of useful tools. 

3. Create handy “Back Tap” actions 

We absolutely love this clever iPhone function — you can program your device to carry out certain actions depending on how many times you tap on the back of your phone. 

This little trick is part of the iPhone’s Accessibility tool suite and is quick and simple to set up. Go to your Settings app, select the Accessibility menu, then click on “Touch”, then scroll down to see “Back Tap” and tap this. 

screenshot of backtap on iphone


Credit: Screenshot / Apple

You can now select different actions for your phone to carry out if you double or triple tap on the back of your device. These include opening the Camera and Control Center, putting your phone on mute, activating your torch, capturing a screen grab, and controlling the volume. You can select one action for both the double tap and the triple tap setting. 

4. Get quick access to some app functionality 

A cunning time-saving trick you can employ for your regularly used apps is to “long press” — so press and hold — on app icons. Depending on the app, this will bring up whatever shortcut actions might be available. 

screenshot of longpress


Credit: Screenshot / Apple

For example, a long press on Twitter gives you a shortcut to creating a new Tweet. A long press on Gmail shows you a shortcut to compose a new email. A long press on the iPhone’s clock app gives you options to create an alarm and start a timer. A long press on the Google app means you can quickly carry out a Google search.

This is also a great way to quickly fire up certain camera settings. If you press and hold on the camera icon you’ll see the options to take a portrait and portrait selfie, take a standard selfie, and to record video.   

You can experiment with your favorite apps by long pressing on the icons, so see what other shortcuts are available. 

5. Create a speed dial button 

You can create an icon-shaped speed dial button for your most regularly called contacts. To do this you need to use the iPhone’s Shortcuts app. This is now native on recent iPhone models, but anyone with an older iPhone may need to download it from the App Store. 

When in the Shortcuts app, scroll down to see the “Call” section and click on the plus icon to create a new shortcut. Choose from your contacts when prompted, then tap “Add to Homescreen.” 

screenshot of speed dial shortcut


Credit: Screenshot / Apple

Now you can give that shortcut icon a name, presumably the name of the contact, then you can choose a photo from your Camera Roll to represent that person. You can now dial that person directly by tapping the icon on your home screen. 

6. Use volume buttons in the Camera app 

The iPhone’s Camera app has a neat built-in trick that allows you to use your volume buttons to operate it. 

a cute dog in the camera app


Credit: Screenshot / Apple

While you have the Camera app open, pressing either the volume up or down button will capture a still image. Pressing and holding either volume button initiates video recording for as long as you’re pressing the button down. 

7. Use Voice Control to open apps

As part of the iPhone’s Accessibility functionality, you can control your device using your voice. If you enable Voice Control you can ask Siri to open apps. 

screenshot of voice control


Credit: Screenshot / Apple

Go to your Settings app, tap on Accessibility, then “Voice Control.” Toggle this on and you can now speak commands, such as “Hey Siri, open Twitter, ” “Hey Siri, give me my camera,” or “Hey Siri, do a search.” 

8. Grab a still photo while filming video

The iPhone’s camera is a multi-tasking marvel. While you’re recording video, it’s possible to snap a still image at the same time. While you’re in recording mode, look to the right of the record button to see a second, white button. 

screenshot of camera app


Credit: Screenshot / Apple

Tap this to grab a still at any point during your recording process. Do note though, any images you capture while recording will be video quality resolution, so not as high quality as your usual iPhone snaps. 

9. Pin a text conversation to the top of your Messages list 

If there’s someone you text often, there’s a nifty way to ensure you have quick access to that particular text conversation. You can “pin” that conversation to the top of your Messages app list.

screenshot of pinned conversation iphone


Credit: Screenshot / Apple

Go into your Messages app and find the conversation you want to move to the top of your Messages list. Swipe right on the latest message from the contact you want to prioritize. You’ll now see a yellow pin icon appear, tap on this. That conversation will now appear at the top of your Messages app.

10. Find Camera Roll photos faster 

Scrolling through your iPhone’s Camera Roll to find a certain image can take a while. There is a neat search trick that can save you tons of time. Your iPhone has pretty robust keyword-based search functionality built into your Photos app. 

photo of dogs using search in iphone camera roll


Credit: Screenshot / Apple

Go into your Photos app to access your Camera Roll. From here, tap on the “Search” option at the bottom right of your screen. Enter the most appropriate keyword for what you’re looking for and images tied to that keyword thanks to your iPhone’s image recognition software will instantly appear. 





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