So many people have iPhones these days, but precious few people actually know about all of the useful features hiding inside iOS. That’s why we regularly publish articles covering iPhone and iPad features that aren’t well-known — like this post on 25 hidden iPhone features that are really, truly hidden. By bringing these features to light, we help iOS device users get the most out of their smartphones and tablets, and we get emails all the time from people thanking us for helping them learn something new.
Unfortunately, today we’re going to focus on a bunch of great features that aren’t hiding in your iPhone or iPad.
I’ve been spending a lot of time lately with Samsung’s Galaxy S7 edge. In fact, I recently tried to switch to Samsung’s latest flagship phablet from my iPhone 6s, and I really wish I could have. As far as smartphone design and hardware goes, the Galaxy S7 line outshines Apple’s iPhones and everything else out there right now. Add in a class-leading display and the best smartphone camera the world has ever seen, and you can see why I tried my best to make the jump.
But alas, iOS is just too good. I summed it up in an earlier post covering 8 reasons I still can’t leave the iPhone and switch to Android.
I still carry the Galaxy S7 edge with me quite often though — I just can’t seem to leave it behind. And while I’ve been spending so much time with the phone, I’ve discovered a number of terrific lesser-known features.
Here are some of my favorites that I wish were also hiding in my iPhone:
Rearrange/replace shortcuts in settings pane: Apple’s iOS devices have a Control Center that can be accessed by swiping up, and it provides shortcuts to a bunch of features and settings. It’s a nifty tool that I use all the time, but why can’t I customize it? I rarely use the calculator and timer on my phone, for example, so those slots could point to things I actually do use.
On the Galaxy S7, users can swipe down from the top of the phone twice to access a settings pane with far more shortcuts, and then tap the edit button to rearrange them so that the most used items are listed first.
Two power-saving modes: Apple’s iPhone is best-in-class in a lot of ways, but battery life definitely isn’t one of them. There is finally a power saving mode now in iOS, but it doesn’t really do all that much in practice. Meanwhile on the Galaxy S7, there’s a standard power saving mode and an “ultra” power saving mode that cuts all non-essential functions and lets hour phone last for hours on just a charge of just a few percent.
Screen recording: Apple’s iPhone lets you take a still screenshot, but I can’t tell you how much easier my life would be if I could record videos of my screen to help friends and family members with their iPhone problems. On the Galaxy S7, you just go to Settings > Advanced features > Games > Game Tools to enable the feature, and then a single tap on a floating button lets you record a video of your screen.
Reminder notifications: My most important notifications appear on my Mac in addition to my iPhone, but there are some notifications from third-party apps that don’t. Sometimes I see something but I’m busy at work so I forget to come back to it. On the Galaxy S7 you can go to Settings > Accessibility > Notification reminder and set an interval so the phone will remind you of unread notifications.
One-handed operation: This is a huge one for me — probably the biggest.
I really don’t like how small the display is on my iPhone 6s, but I can’t switch to the iPhone 6s Plus. It’s just too gigantic to use comfortably with one hand. Reachability (double-touch on the home button) helps you reach things at the top of the screen momentarily, but it obviously does nothing to make typing with one hand easier.
On the Galaxy S7 and S7 edge, you can go to Settings > Advanced Features and enable the “one-handed operation” feature. Once enabled, a triple-tap on the home button will shrink the entire screen and place it in the bottom left or right corner of the display like this:
It seems odd at first, but I find myself using it all the time. The feature makes one-handed use not just possible, but actually comfortable.