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5 Can’t-Miss Tips For That New iPhone You Just Got

4 minute read

Unwrapping a new smartphone is always great, but if you were lucky enough to get an iPhone for the holidays, you’re probably more than excited to try out its new features.

From its TrueDepth camera to its powerful library of apps and games, the latest iPhone is full of potential. These tips and tricks will help you get even more mileage out of your newest iOS device.

Customize your Control Center

Swiping down from the top of the iPhone’s display will reveal the control center, where you can enable and disable connectivity options like Wi-Fi and Bluetooth and control media playback, among other options. It’s convenient, but its default selection leaves a bit to be desired. Thankfully, you can easily make a few changes to surface the most important Control Center shortcuts.

In the Settings app, select Control Center, then Customize Controls. You can then pick and choose which options you’d like to include or exclude, so you can remove the QR Code scanner you never use and replace it with the Apple TV remote you depend on daily.

Use apps to avoid Apple’s default picks

Don’t like Safari? Hate the included Mail app? You don’t have to use all the apps your iPhone includes, and can even change default options for various tasks like opening links and sending emails. All you need is the right set of apps. Apps like Opener can help open links in the right apps, and Copied can make it easy to save key information to a more useful clipboard for use later.

You can check out our list of the top iOS apps to get a head start in picking the cream of the crop and customizing your iPhone experience.

Learn how Shortcuts works

One of Apple’s biggest latest additions to iOS is the Shortcuts app, which lets you create your own sequence of actions to take care of complex or repeated tasks. Daily occurrences, like telling your family when you’ll be arriving home, or more utilitarian options, like automatically sharing whatever you just saved to your camera roll, are perfect for Shortcuts. You can create shortcuts with other apps, use more advanced options like programmer-friendly if-then commands, and download existing shortcuts from the app’s gallery of featured options.

Third-party keyboards are your friend

Having a few specialized keyboards in your arsenal makes it easier to enter more obscure characters, or type faster than you would by simply tapping at each letter. Keyboards like Google’s Gboard supports both in-keyboard web searching and typing by swiping over letters. UniChar makes obscure characters and text symbols easily accessible, and TextExpander lets you use keyboard shortcuts you create using the app on your other devices. You can search for keyboards in the App Store or by opening your keyboard in whatever app you choose and selecting the App Store icon that appears next to the text field.

Adjust your screen’s brightness and color

Want more control over your brightness levels? You can get your screen even dimmer by adjusting both the automatic brightness setting and white point level. In the Settings app, go to General -> Accessibility -> Display Accommodations. By disabling Auto-Brightness and enabling the Reduce White Point option, you can manually adjust the brightness of your screen, sparing your eyes from an onslaught of bright blue light. Just remember to adjust or disable the white point option when you need some brightness in the daytime. Speaking of blue light, you can ease the irritation from blue light by enabling Apple’s Night Shift mode, which adds an orange tint to your display and makes it easier to read at night.

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Write to Patrick Lucas Austin at patrick.austin@time.com