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Every iPhone user should learn these 8 time-saving tricks

Published Sep 21st, 2021 9:16AM EDT
iPhone Tips
Image: Christian de Looper for BGR

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Apple’s smartphone OS is now in its 15th iteration, so it shouldn’t come as any surprise that iOS is teeming with clever and intuitive features. Still, for some bizarre reason, Apple doesn’t always make these features well-known. Instead, the company is content to rely on Apple enthusiasts to bring some lesser-known iPhone tips to the surface.

With iOS 15 having just been released on Monday, there are so many new features to check out. We’ve already covered a few exciting iOS 15 features over here. Now, we’ve put together a list highlighting eight existing iOS tricks that will save you a ton of time and make the user experience that much more efficient.

Quickly access any camera mode

When you open up the Camera app, it defaults to Photo mode. This is ideal for many users, but perhaps frustrating if you routinely take video or portrait mode photos. If you’re tired of switching between camera modes after opening up the app, there is a solution. Long press on the Camera app icon and you’ll see a list of camera options to jump right into.

Immediately start recording a video within the Camera app

Even though I’ve been an iPhone user for more than 10 years now, every once in a while I’ll stumble across a tip I had no idea about. This is one such example. As brought to light by the folks over at Lifehacker, there’s a quick way to immediately start recording video when you have the Camera app open. All you have to do is press and hold the volume down button and you’re phone will start recording immediately. Note that the recording will end when you release the button.

Record video with background music from Spotify or Apple Music

This nifty iPhone trick can save you some time with editing. Typically, when you record video on your iPhone, background music from Spotify and Apple Music stops playing. If you want a designated song playing to set the mood, however, there is a way to keep the music playing.

Here’s how it works. Open up the Camera app. Now, instead of navigating to the Video setting, simply press down on the white shutter button and drag your finger to the right. A video recording will start and whatever music you have playing in the background will continue.

Take a screenshot by tapping the back of your iPhone

This feature was introduced in iOS 14 and I’m surprised many people still don’t know about it. It’s actually one of my favorite iPhone tips of all time. iOS 15 has a “Back Tap” feature that lets users initiate certain actions simply by double or triple tapping the back of their device. Some of these actions include taking a screenshot, muting your device, viewing the Notification Center, and activating Siri.

To take advantage of this feature, go to Settings > Accessibility. From there, scroll down to “Physical and Motor.” Next, select “Touch.” Following that, scroll down a bit and select the “Back Tap” option.

Once you do that, you can select if you want the Back Tap option to respond to a double or triple tap. You can also choose what type of action you’d like to be triggered upon a Back Tap.

Pin a text conversation at the top of the Messages app

Also introduced with iOS 14, there is a way to pin a conversation to the top of the Messages app for easy access. This is a convenient iPhone tip if there is a person or group chat that you always want quick access to.

To take advantage of this feature, open up Messages and find a conversation you want to pin. From there, long-press on the recipient’s name and you’ll see an option to pin the name to the top. Once you do that, you’ll see that conversation at the top of Messages anytime you open up the app.

Quickly set a timer, an alarm, or start the stopwatch

Apple abandoned 3D Touch a while back, but some of its functionality lives on with long-press. That said, you can quickly set a timer, an alarm, or start the stopwatch without having to open up the Clock app and navigating around. All you have to do is long-press on the Clock app and quickly access the mode you want. Note that if you do this and select “Start Timer,” the timer will be set to whatever your previous timer setting was.

Change the level of brightness on your iPhone flashlight

This is another great iPhone tip I’m surprised more people don’t know about. There is a way to adjust the level of brightness on your iPhone’s flashlight. This is great for times when you need maximum brightness or for times when you simply need a subtle light.

To do this, simply open up Control Center and long-press on the Flashlight icon. From there, a vertical grid will appear whereupon you can choose a brightness level from 5 distinct settings.

Intelligent photo search

iOS makes it easy to look for specific people, places, and things. If you have a massive photo library, trying to look at all the photos of your dog, for example, can take forever. With intelligent photo search, it’s pretty simple.

If you open up the Photos app and select “Search” in the lower right-hand corner, you can type in “dog” and every dog in your photo library will appear. You can also type objects. For instance, if you type in “hat,” you’ll see every photo from your library where someone is wearing a hat. You can also type in places, which is convenient if you quickly want to see every photo you’ve taken on a specific vacation.

Yoni Heisler Contributing Writer

Yoni Heisler has been writing about Apple and the tech industry at large with over 15 years of experience. A life long expert Mac user and Apple expert, his writing has appeared in Edible Apple, Network World, MacLife, Macworld UK, and TUAW.

When not analyzing the latest happenings with Apple, Yoni enjoys catching Improv shows in Chicago, playing soccer, and cultivating new TV show addictions.

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