Every major iPhone update ushers in new features. Here are some under-the-radar tips that you might have missed.
Did you know that your cherished iPhone hides secrets from you? That's right, a simple nod of the noggin could shift the way you use this precious gadget.
Apple's iPhone is a revolutionary gizmo that has changed the mobile landscape forever, but even if you've had one for years, there are still a few things you probably don't know about it. Each major update that Apple rolls out — and there have been many — brings new features and changes. Here are just a few of the things you've likely missed along the way.
1. CONTROL YOUR PHONE WITH YOUR HEAD
The iPhone is a "smartphone," but it might be even smarter than you ever thought. There is a special control option built into it that lets you use tilts of your head to perform various functions. It's part of a feature called Switch Control, and you can enable it in the Accessibility menu of the iPhone settings.
You can set up a Switch Control command to notice when you tilt your head to the left or to the right, and use that movement as input for things like pressing the home button or checking the notification center. It's built into the phone to assist those with certain disabilities, but it can also be convenient for controlling your device when your hands are busy with other tasks — like when you're wrist-deep in dinner preparation, and don't want to get goo on your gadgets.
2. UNDO TYPOS WITH A QUICK SHAKE
Tapping quickly on a tiny screen with our big ole' clumsy thumbs means typos are an annoying and inevitable part of life. So rather than send texts laden with errors, just give your iPhone a little shake, as I show you in the accompanying Tech Now video. That motion brings up a prompt to undo the typing or cancel and continue. It also works if you accidentally select, copy or paste text you didn't want to. Seems so simple, yet can be so satisfying, when it comes to dealing with this daily digital dilemma.
3. A BURST OF CREATIVITY
Taking an important photo only to have it turn out poorly is one of the most frustrating things in the world, but you can greatly increase the chances of capturing the moment perfectly by using your iPhone's burst photo feature.
Normally when you take a photo you simply tap the on-screen capture button, which produces just a single photo, but if you hold down the button you'll automatically activate burst mode. Using burst mode, your phone will capture a ton of photos in rapid succession, and save them in a small gallery. Taking photos this way ensures that between the inevitable blinks and giggles, you'll snag a perfect photo.
4. LOCATION-BASED REMINDERS
Have you ever gotten home and realized that you forgot to pick something up from the store? How about arriving at a relative's house and remembering that you have something for them back at home? Believe it or not, your iPhone can help with this common occurrence using its Reminders app, one of the most underutilized iPhone functions.
All you need to do is set up a Reminder as you normally would — and if you've never set up a reminder before, it takes just a few seconds — and then tap on the information icon that pops up. From this menu you can activate the location feature, which will use the iPhone's GPS to notify you of the reminder whenever you enter or leave a specific location. It's like having a personal assistant with you at all times!
5. BLOCK PESKY CALLERS AND MESSENGERS
Is there a telemarketer who just doesn't get the hint to leave you alone? What about a texting service that you accidentally gave your number to, that buzzes you at all hours of the day and night? You can easily block those annoying communications using your iPhone!
Head into the Phone menu of your iPhone settings and add any offending numbers to the Blocked list. That's it! Now, if the bothersome calls and texts continue, you'll never hear a peep. Peace of mind at last.
What are some of the magic tricks you use on your iPhone? Be sure to let us know.
Jennifer Jolly is an Emmy Award-winning consumer tech contributor and host of USA TODAY's digital video show TECH NOW. E-mail her firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter: @JenniferJolly.