Even though we use our iPhones all day every day, there are still a handful of features that are relatively unknown.
Some of these features are buried in the Settings menu while others are hidden in plain sight.
Plus, there are a few things Siri can do for you that you may not know about.
(Note: Most of these features are available in iOS 8 and higher, while some are available in iOS 9 and higher.)
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Respond to texts without unlocking your phone
Respond to texts while you're in an app
See which apps drain the most battery
Want to know why your iPhone battery is draining faster than usual? Head over to Settings >General >Usage>Battery Usage. This will tell you which apps are occupying the most battery power.
View every photo someone has texted you, and vice versa
Send audio and video messages that self-destruct
You can send audio snippets and video messages that expire after two minutes. If you head to Settings>Messages and scroll to the bottom, you’ll notice a section for audio and video messages. You can choose to let them expire after two minutes or never.
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Share your current location with a friend
Let your friends track where you go
If you want your friends or a family member to be able to track you as you move, you can complete the same steps mentioned in the previous slide and choose the “Share My Location” instead of “Send My Location.” You can choose to share your location for one hour, until the end of the day, or indefinitely.
Mute text messages
Leave a group conversation
Name a group conversation
If you frequently chat with the same group or are talking with multiple people about a particular topic, naming a group conversation can be helpful. To do this, head over to “Details” in the message thread and fill in the “Group Name” field with an appropriate title.
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Multitask within emails
If you’re in the middle of an email, you don’t need to trash it to return to your inbox and browse other messages. As you’re composing an email, simply tap the top of the message where it says either “New Message” or the subject and drag it down to the bottom of the screen. This will push the message to the bottom so you can look at other emails. When you want to return, simply tap the email to keep editing it.
Forward text messages to other contacts
You can forward text messages to other contacts the same way you would an email. Just double tap the message you want to forward, press the “More” option that appears next to the text, and that specific sentence, word, or phrase will appear copy and pasted into a new message. Fill in the “To” field at the top to forward that message to someone else.
Use Siri hands-free
You don’t always have to hold down the home button to launch Siri. If you have the new iPhone 6S, just say the phrase “Hey Siri” to launch Apple’s virtual assistant (any phones older than the iPhone 6S must be plugged in to a power outlet for this feature to work). Just head over to Settings > General > Siri and turn on Enable Hey Siri first.
Have Siri read anything
You can enable Siri to read articles on websites, books, text messages, and more thanks to one of the iPhone’s lesser-known accessibility features. Head over to Settings > General > Accessibility > Speech. Then turn on “Speak Screen” and “Speak Selection“. Now, when you swipe down from from the top of the screen with two fingers, Siri will dictate the content of whatever is on the screen.
Tell Siri how to pronounce names
You can also teach Siri how to pronounce names. First, launch Siri and ask her to say the name in question (i.e. if it’s your name, ask “What’s my name?”). When she answers, tell her that she’s not pronouncing it correctly. Make sure you use her pronunciation so that she knows which word you’re talking about. Siri should then ask you how to correctly pronounce the name. Once you do, she will present three ways to pronounce the name. Choose the correct one, and Siri will remember it.
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Control your iPhone by simply moving your head
This is another feature buried in the Accessibility section. Navigate to Settings > General > Accessibility and then scroll down to the Interaction subhead and tap “Switch Control.” Tap “Switches” and “Add New Switch.” Select “Camera” and choose “Left Head Movement” or “Right Head Movement.” Then pick an action under the “System” menu, which essentially tells you what task your head movement will trigger. I chose Siri, so each time I tilt my head to the left it automatically launches Siri.
See everywhere you've been
You’re iPhone tracks each place you’ve been, and there’s a way to find it by digging into your phone’s settings. Press the Settings icon and head to Privacy > Location Services > System Services. Then, scroll to the bottom and select “Frequent Locations” and look at the History section.
Save battery by putting your phone in grayscale mode
Tap the home button twice to move app icons and other content toward the bottom of the screen (iPhone 6 Plus only)
Access emergency medical information directly from the lock screen
If you set up a Medical ID in the Health app that comes with iOS 8, you can access medical information without having to unlock your iPhone. Tap the “Emergency” button that appears with the keypad for entering your passcode and you’ll see the Medical ID button on the lower left corner.
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See your iPhone's actual signal strength
There’s a clever trick that shows the actual signal strength on your iPhone rather than just the dots or bars you usually see in the upper left corner of the screen. Business Insider’s Steven Tweedie explained it to us.
First, you’ll need to access a hidden app on your phone called Field Test Mode. To do this, you’ll need to open up your Phone app and dial the following number, *3001#12345#* , including the asterisks and hashtag, and tap “Call.”
This opens up Field Test Mode, which is mostly filled with menus of cell signal jargon that you don’t need to worry about. What you’re interested in is the tiny number in the upper left-hand corner of your iPhone, which should have replaced those cell signal dots. While that number can vary anywhere from -40 to -130, it will always be negative, and the closer that number is to zero, the better your cell signal. The best signal you can get would be -40, and no signal at all would be -130.
Business Insider’s Steve Tweedie explains how to find it here.
See who's calling you even if a phone number isn't in your contacts
Use Siri to skip filter photos on your iPhone by date or location
You can now ask Siri to show you photos from a certain time period or location. For instance, if you wanted to view photos taken two years ago on vacation, you could say something like, “Show me photos from 2013 taken in Jamaica.” It saves a lot of time since you no longer have to scroll through your whole photo library to find older images. This only works if your iPhone is updated to iOS 9.
Have Siri remind you to read a text message or email at a later time
Launch a music app just by plugging in your earbuds
If you listen to music at the same time every morning, your iPhone will automatically know that it should launch the music app as soon as you plug your headphones in. This is another feature that’s new with iOS 9.
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