The Best iPhone Hacks For 2017
iPhone lovers and productivity fans have dozens of new features to celebrate with the September 2016 release of iOS 10. Most of these ways to express yourself, save time, or outsmart the masses are brand-new—though we've mixed in a few indispensable classics.
Close All Your Safari Tabs At Once
How to do it: Hold down on the tab icon on the bottom right (it looks like two little boxes), then choose to close all tabs.
Why it helps: The limit on Safari tabs has been lifted in iOS 10—after a few months, you could end up with hundreds. Save a couple of seconds and a lot of annoyance by closing tabs all at once rather than closing them individually.
Create Shortcuts For Phrases You Type A Lot
How to do it: Go to settings/general/keyboard and choose Text Replacement. You can enter a phrase, and the shortcut you want to use to bring it up.
Why it helps: iMessage provides a few automated responses, but you may prefer your own phrasing. You can also create a shortcut for your email or physical address if you find yourself typing it out often.
Quickly Access Your Email Drafts
How to do it: In Mail, tap and hold the compose icon, and all your drafts will appear.
Why it helps: Nothing groundbreaking, just another way to save a few seconds and be more productive.
See Recently Viewed Web Pages
How to do it: In Safari, tap and hold the back button to see pages you recently viewed. Note: It's only going to show you pages you viewed in that tab.
Why it helps: Whether you accidentally closed a tab or just need to get back to it fast, this simple action saves time over searching through your history.
Close Multiple Apps At Once
How to do it: On the app multitasking screen, you can swipe up with one finger to close an app. You can also swipe up with two or three fingers to close more than one app at a time.
Why it helps: Get those apps closed 200% faster.
Quickly Undo Typing
How to do it: It's simple. If you make a typing mistake, just shake your phone like an Etch-a-Sketch to erase it. It works just like Undo in your word processor.
Why it helps: It's faster than deleting word by word, and much more fun.
Respond To An iMessage Quickly With Simple Expressions
How to do it: Tap the message you want to respond to, then tap one of the options.
Why it helps: Sometimes a message doesn't really require a response so much as it requires affirmation. You're seeing this more and more frequently in communications platforms—another example is the "applause" button in Basecamp. Instead of texting someone something insipid like "yes!" or "lol" you can simply tap with a heart, thumbs up, thumbs down, ha ha, exclamation point, or question mark.
Send Money To A Friend Through Siri
How to do it: Square Cash, Venmo, Discover Mobile, and PayPal all have Siri integration. It only works if you have one of those apps downloaded. Tell Siri "Pay [Name of a Contact]." Siri will connect you with the payment app of your choice, ask you how much you want to send, and complete the transaction.
Why it helps: Get that debt to a friend out of the way while you're thinking about it.
See Transcriptions Of Your Voice Mails
How to do it: Do nothing. This service, which is beta, will sometimes show up when you get voicemail.
Why it helps: Decide whether you need to respond to a voice mail in seconds by reading it, rather than the awkward task of listening through the message.
Make Your iPhone Faster
Charge Up Faster
How to do it: If you put your phone in Airplane mode while you're charging, it will charge faster.
Why it helps: If you aren't using your phone while you're charging, use this trick to get up to 100%. Another possibility—activate Low Power Mode, so you can still get texts and calls while you charge.
Reduce Data Use By Making Images You Text "Low Quality"
How to do it: Go to settings/messages, scroll down, and choose "Low Quality Image Mode."
Why it helps: If you are trying to stay under a data limit—or are trying to make sure your teenagers do—enable this setting. You probably won't notice the difference.
Free Up Storage By Deleting Older Texts
How to do it: Go to settings/messages and choose "Keep Messages." You can choose to keep messages forever, for 1 year, or for 30 days. This action is retroactive, so it will delete all texts older than the time span you choose.
Why it helps: If you text a ton, especially pictures, this simple step will keep you from maxing out your storage.
Be More Productive At Home
Share A Note With Someone
How to do it: On any existing or new Note, tap the share icon at the top of the note to choose a contact to share it with.
Why it helps: This doesn't replace Evernote, but it's a simple functionality for easy sharing of things like grocery lists or the Thanksgiving menu.
Use Your iPhone As A Level
How to do it: Open the compass app and swipe right to get a digital "bubble" level.
Why it helps: No need to buy or borrow a level just to measure how straight a few framed pictures are. Occassional home improvers can now just use their iPhones.
Request A Taxi Ride Through Siri
How to do it: Uber and Lyft both have Siri integration. Tell Siri "Send a Lyft" and it will bring up a screen showing you how far away the nearest Lyft is, and ask you to confirm.
Why it helps: Save precious time—especially when you're leaving a packed conference. While everyone else is fiddling with their apps, your Lyft will be on its way.
Make Restaurant Reservations Right From Maps, Or In Siri
How to do it: When you tap the name of a restaurant in Apple Maps, it will give you an option to see available reservation times. Or, tell Siri the name of the restaurant you want reservations for. You'll need to also have the correct reservations app installed, like Open Table or Yelp.
Why it helps: This is the fastest way yet to make restaurant reservations. With Maps, it's especially easy to check out multiple restaurants in a certain area. Or, if you already know your target, Siri will ask you when you want to eat and find reservations at that time—or show you the times closest to what you're looking for.
Send An iMessage In Your Own Handwriting
How to do it: Open iMessage and tilt the phone horizontally, to landscape view. Then scrawl your message on the screen-wide touchpad.
Why it helps: It's not quite a handwritten letter, but a text written in your own hand feels more special to recieve than a typed one.
Pair Your iMessage With Intense Full Screen Effects
How to do it: Type message, then tap and hold the up arrow to bring up the "Send With Effect" screen, choose "screen." You can choose from these effect: balloon, confetti, lasers, fireworks, and shooting star.
Why it helps: When someone texts you life-changing news, an emoji or two probably isn't enthusiastic enough. Reply to "I got the job!" or "We're engaged!" or "State champs!" with a text that meets the occasion. These effects fill the entire screen with excitement.
Create A Photo Or Video, Add Markup To It, And Send It As An iMessage
How to do it: Start a new message. Tap the digital touch icon, then tap the video icon. For video, draw before or during recording. For photo, take the photo then add your sketch.
Why it helps: Hmm, this sounds familiar. iMessage now has a Snapchat-style video creator. No filters though...yet.
Decorate Your iMessage With Artsy Or Pop-Culture Stickers
How to do it: Start a new message. Tap the app store icon, then tap the "four boxes" on the bottom left to bring up a menu, then tap the store icon. Hundreds of cool stickers await.
Why it helps: Give your texts little style with animated stickers, like these from the Disney movie Moana, and the cult favorite Sushi Cat.
Add An Animated .gif To An iMessage
How to do it: Start a new message. Tap the app store icon, then tap the "four boxes" on the bottom left to bring up a menu, then tap the images icon. From there you can pick from popular animated gifs to add or search for your own.
Why it helps: If a picture is worth 1,000 words, an animated picture can be worth even more.
Make Simple Sketches
How to do it: The Notes app has a sketching menu with pen, colored pencil, and marker options. It also includes a ruler to help you draw straight lines.
Why it helps: May replace the classic "napkin sketch" of the tech world's glory days.
Change How Bright The Flashlight Is
How to do it: If you have 3D Touch, hard-press on the flashlight icon. Choose the brightness level you'd prefer from the menu that comes up.
Why it helps: While everyone else is sleeping, you may not want the full blinding power of the iPhone flashlight. Don't try to wing it in the dark—give yourself moderate light with this trick.
Take Photos With The Volume Buttons
How to do it: Rather than touching the icon on the touchscreen, you can take photos by pressing the volume control buttons at once.
Why it helps: No more fussing for the button on the front of the screen, risking a catastrophic phone drop.
See The Desktop Site For Web Pages
How to do it: In Safari, tap and hold the refresh button, then choose "Request Desktop Site."
Why it helps: Some sites hide information in their mobile view—quickly see the full picture.
Get Siri To Pronounce Your Name Right
How to do it: Tell Siri, "say my name." She'll say it. If you don't like the way she is pronouncing it, say "that's not how you pronounce my name." You'll then go through options to get your name said the correct way.
Why it helps: Good for people with names or pronunciations that are rare in the U.S.