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10 hidden iPhone gestures you probably don’t know about

Published Nov 3rd, 2016 11:10AM EDT

Apple sold more iPhones than expected last quarter thanks to the successful launch of its new iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 plus flagship handsets. The new iPhones might look familiar — a bit too familiar for some people, in fact — but almost everything about them has been improved. They’re faster, they have better displays, they’re more powerful, they have better battery life, and they even have better battery life than their predecessors. With the holidays coming up, millions more people will soon find themselves with new iPhones over the course of the next two months.

Whether you’re new to iOS or a seasoned veteran, there are likely tons of features that you don’t know about hiding in your iPhone. Because of that, we periodically cover some of the lesser-known things here on the site, and in this post you’ll find 10 hidden gestures you’ll wish you had known about all along.

MUST SEE: We finally figured out why Google’s Pixel looks so much like an iPhone

3D Touch was the new flagship feature that Apple introduced alongside the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus in 2015, but when it was introduced I immediately pointed out a problem: there is absolutely no indication of where 3D Touch works and where it does not. People will remember some common 3D Touch gestures — press hard on an app icon to access the Quick Menu, for example — but many 3D Touch features are quickly forgotten or go completely unnoticed.

Of course, 3D Touch isn’t the only feature that often remains hidden on iOS devices. There are all sorts of gestures and features that many people don’t know about, which is why I get so many emails thanking me every time I run a post that covers some of them. There’s no clear solution since iOS now includes so many features, so the best we can offer is periodic posts like this one.

Below, you’ll find 10 iOS gestures that are available on your iPhone and can potentially simplify your workflow. There’s no indication whatsoever in the UI that these gestures are supported, but we’re bringing them out of hiding right now.

  1. On iPhone models with 3D Touch support (iPhone 6s/6s Plus/7/7 Plus), press firmly on the left edge of the display and drag your finger to the middle of the screen to open the app switcher
  2. Press on the left edge of the screen and drag all the way to the right edge to switch directly back to the previous app
  3. On the now playing screen in the Music or Podcasts app, drag a finger horizontally across the artwork to scrub through a track; move your finger up or down vertically to speed up or slow down your scrubbing speed
  4. In the calendar app, tap and hold on an event in the Day view to drag it around and change the time of the event
  5. After opening an image, swipe down on it in the Photos app, Messages app and other apps to quickly close it and go back to the previous view
  6. Tap the bottom edge of the screen in Safari to bring the toolbar and URL bar into view
  7. Tap and hold on the “+” at the bottom of the tab view in Safari to see a list of recently closed tabs
  8. In the Calculator app, swipe left or right on the numbers at the top to clear digits one at a time
  9. Everyone knows you can tap the top edge of the screen to scroll to the top, but in an album in the Photos app you can also tap the bottom edge to scroll to the bottom
  10. Zoom in and out while watching videos using the same pinch gestures you use on photos
Zach Epstein
Zach Epstein Executive Editor

Zach Epstein has been the Executive Editor at BGR for more than 10 years. He manages BGR’s editorial team and ensures that best practices are adhered to. He also oversees the Ecommerce team and directs the daily flow of all content.

Zach first joined BGR in 2007 as a Staff Writer covering business, technology, and entertainment. His work has been quoted by countless top news organizations, and he was recently named one of the world's top 10 “power mobile influencers” by Forbes. Prior to BGR, Zach worked as an executive in marketing and business development with two private telcos.